In April 1944, the British garrison in the village of Kohima was besieged by troops of the Japanese Imperial Army.
For two weeks, 1,000 men of the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, the Assam Regiment and the Assam Rifles held out against 15,000 enemy soldiers, until relieved by the British 2nd Division and the 7th Indian Division. After six more weeks of fighting, the Japanese invasion of India was successfully thwarted.
These events inspired the epitaph engraved on the Memorial of the British 2nd Division in the cemetery at Kohima:
‘When You Go Home, Tell Them of Us and Say,
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today.’
In this lecture, Fergal Keane will reflect on the significance of the British victory and consider the awful reality of the retreat to Burma for the exhausted soldiers of the Japanese 31st Division.
This event has been developed by the Kohima Educational Trust as part of the Kohima 80th Anniversary Weekend.
Fergal Keane is one of the BBC's most distinguished correspondents and an award-winning broadcaster and author. He has reported from Northern Ireland, South Africa, Asia, the Balkans and most recently from Israel and Gaza. He is the author of ‘Road of Bones: The Epic Siege of Kohima’.