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About the KOHIMA Educational Trust

Kohima Children
Kohima Children

Purpose
The purpose of the trust is to provide educational assistance to the young people of Nagaland, India in order to repay the debt of honour owed for their unstinting help given to the 2nd Division and other British Army units during the battles of 1944.



Background
Kohima, a town set high among jungle-covered hills in Nagaland in North East India near the border with Myanmar (Burma), was the site of an epic battle in the war against Japan. In fact it was one of the crucial battles of World War II.

In April 1944 the town was besieged by a Japanese division spearheading what they hoped would be the invasion of India.

 

British with Japanese flag
2nd British Division soldiers with Japanese flag

The defenders, 1500 men of the Royal West Kents, the Assam Regiment and the Assam Rifles, held out for two weeks until relieved by their comrades of the 2nd British Division. The ensuing battle, fought at close quarters for two months, was the first defeat of the Japanese by the British army, and a turning point in the war in Asia.

The town of Kohima was completely destroyed, but this did not prevent the local inhabitants from supporting the British and Indian troops as guides, porters and combatants. Without the help of the Naga people, it is doubtful if the battle could have been won.

For sixty years after the battle the veterans, along with their families and members of the contemporary 2nd Division, met annually in York to remember their fallen comrades who lie buried in the war cemetery on the Kohima Ridge, the scene of the most bitter fighting.

Kohima Cemetry
Kohima Cemetery

Honouring the Nagas
As the veterans planned their final reunion in 2004, they resolved to found the Kohima Educational Trust (KET) as a debt of honour to the Naga people. The trust is seen by its founders both as a means of sustaining the memory of the courage and sacrifice of those who fought and died in the battle, and of honouring the Nagas who were their allies in the war through assisting the education of succeeding generations of Naga children.

This is being done in collaboration with the Kohima Educational Society (KES), a charity formed by leading Naga citizens in response to the formation of the Kohima Educational Trust.

Support for the trust comes from the band of veterans; from the contemporary 2nd Division, and from individuals and organisations learning about the Kohima story.

It is a noble cause and deserving of support. How to Donate


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