War  |  Memory  |  Gratitude

Medical Support at the Siege of Kohima, April 1944

The Friends of Millbank present the George Blair Memorial Lecture

Medical Support at the Siege of Kohima, April 1944


The Kohima Educational Trust is delighted to share information about this lecture hosted by The Friends of Millbank. This year the annual George Blair Memorial Lecture was on the subject of Medical Support at the Siege of Kohima, April 1944. The talk was held at the Chelsea College of Arts on Millbank, London, formerly the Royal Army Medical College.  It was also streamed via Zoom and the recording is now available below.

The Friends of Millbank is an organisation whose aim is to celebrate the heritage and achievements of military medicine and to show its relevance for modern health care worldwide.  From the Friends of Millbank website:

The Asian theatre of World War II is often overlooked other than by those with a special family or history interest. For a fateful couple of weeks in April 1944, a hastily assembled and vastly outnumbered force of Indian and British combat and support troops held off the seemingly invincible Japanese Imperial Army at India’s doorstep in Kohima. Unsurprisingly, the siege and battle of Kohima have achieved mythic and iconic status in the history of modern warfare. The story of the siege of Kohima continues to inspire post-war generations and has become synonymous with courage, determination, and leadership.

This joint presentation describes the remarkable performance, against all odds, of medical personnel in Kohima who themselves suffered many casualties and also highlights those qualities of leadership that ensured the garrison’s survival.

An aspect that often goes unnoticed is the critical role played by the indomitable Naga tribespeople. After all, it was on their homeland that these ferocious engagements were fought. In this context, the speakers thank Friends of Millbank for generously and readily agreeing to their request to support the Kohima Educational Trust, a charitable organisation that provides educational assistance to the young people of Nagaland, India.

The KET is enormously grateful for the generosity of both speakers and thanks Col (retd) David Vassallo Chairman, Friends of Millbank and all their supporters most warmly.

Below is the Friends of Millbank information leaflet with further detail:

INFORMATION LEAFLET - Medical Support at the Siege of Kohima



Soundararajan Jagdish is an independent researcher. He has served in the Defence Medical Services and the NHS, specialising in anaesthesia and pain management.

Matthew Roberts is an Attending Anesthesiologist at Denver Health in Colorado, USA. He served in the British Army as an anaesthetist and has an abiding interest in military medical history.

The recording of the talk is available to watch below:

ARTICLE: Medical Support at the Siege of Kohima, April 1944

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