War  |  Memory  |  Gratitude

Battle of Kohima commemoration held in Sidmouth

Battle of Kohima commemoration held in Sidmouth


With the sun shining on the morning of Saturday 22nd June 2024, a parade marched up Church Street with standards aloft, to be be greeted by a good number of onlookers, both on the pavements and around the war memorial at the Parish church.

In his short opening address Chris Lockyear, Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, reiterated the message of remembrance, and the importance of 'spreading the all important word' of these crucial events in our history, in particular those in younger age groups studying history at school/university.  He laid a wreath which was followed by those on behalf of the Royal British Legion and the Kohima Educational Trust. In the principle address, David Thorneley made reference to The Battle of Kohima being seen widely by historians as pivotal, for it was the first defeat suffered by the Japanese Army at the hands of the Allied troops, thus thankfully thwarting the plans of the Japanese to invade India. Accounts made at the time make it very difficult to imagine the harshness of the conditions endured by the Allies, for not only was the terrain dense jungle on very steep inclines, but with the start of the monsoon season the weather was more often than not atrocious. 

A special mention was given to the decision made in 2004 by the veterans at their last reunion in York to form the Kohima Educational Trust as a debt of honour to the local Naga people, as well as a means of sustaining the memory of the courage and sacrifice of those who fought and died in the battle: it was so important to honour the Nagas who were their allies in the war by bringing about assistance in the succeeding generations of Naga children in the field of education. Looking at the KET website was strongly recommended, especially the series of Zoom talks given by experts, thereby enabling a wider and greater understanding of the battle.


At the end of the ceremony it was really encouraging that a number who attended made their appreciation known or referred to their own family links to the Burma campaign. Some who had never heard of Kohima will now look at the KET website and other sources of information: all this augers well for the future thus fully justifying the decision to hold these important ceremonies.

KET would like to thank David Thorneley most warmly for his support of the KET and extends our thanks also to Chris Lockyear, Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, as well as Megan Bellfield and Ralph Hickman of Royal British Legion 

Above Photo: David Thorneley, John Greenwood, RAF, Ralph Hickman and Cllr Chris Lockyear (Image: Peter O'Brien)

With thanks to the Sidmouth Herald for the text of their article.

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