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BURMA STAR ASSOCIATION
 

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History of the Burma Star Association

THE 17th INDIAN INFANTRY DIVISION

Click to read a short history of the 'Black Cat' Division
Click Here for a link to The Border Regiment
Personnel and Search pages

Click here for the 1942 Structure of the Division and it's Officers
Click here for the 1943-45 Structure

 23rd MOUNTAIN BATTERY
S.E.A.C. Report on contribution by 17 Indian Div

Short History of  Black Cat Division 

17 Mountain Division was originally raised as 17 Indian Division at Ahmednagar on 01 July 1941 under the command of Maj Gen HW Lewis, CE, CIE, DSO. Though the formation was earmarked for operation in North Africa after raising, it was rushed to Burma as part of the Burma Corps due to the adverse situation prevailing in SE Asia. In March 1942, Maj Gen DT ‘Punch’ Cowan, CD, CEE, DSO, MC assumed command of the formation. The division as part of 4 Corps and under 14 Army, was launched into Burma in December 1944. Starting with the battle of Meiktila, it continued its advance into Burma till Rangoon fell to the Allied Forces in June 1945. The formation won many laurels including 7 VCs, and 161 MCs, besides other gallantry awards.

On conclusion of World War II, the Division was disembodied in 1946. It was re-raised as 17 Infantry Division at Ambala in 15 November 1960 under Maj Gen KS Katoch, MC. During 1961, the Division was assigned the task of liberating Goa under Maj Gen Candeth. Subsequently on 15 Nov 1963, the Formation moved to Sikkim since then it has been successfully guarding the 245 Km long Sikkim border with Tibet.

 

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STRUCTURE OF THE DIVISION: (Order of Battle 1942)

Headquarters Brigade
4th Btn 12th Frontier Force Rifles
1st Btn West Yorkshire Regt
7th Btn 10th Baluch Regt

Divisional Artillery
129th Fld Regt (Royal Artillery)
82nd A/Tank Regt (Royal Artillery)
1st Indian Fld Regt (Indian Artillery)
2nd Indian A/Tank Regt (Indian Artillery)
21st.28th.29th. Indian Mountain Regt (Indian Artillery)
1st Indian Light A.A. Regt (Indian Artillery)

16th Indian Infantry Brigade
1st Btn  9th Jat Regt (Royal)
4th Btn Frontier Force Rifles
2nd Btn Duke of Wellington's Regt
1st Btn 7th Gurkha Rifles
2nd. 4th. 5th. 7th. 8th. Btn The Burma Rifles
COMMANDED by
Brig. J.K. Jones

46th Indian Infantry Brigade
1st Btn Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
5th Btn 17th Dogra Regt
3rd Btn 7th Gurkha Rifles
9th(?) Baluch Regiment
COMMANDED by Brig. Ekin up to the Sittang Bridge catastrophe of 1942 after which the 46th ceased to exist

48th Gurkha Brigade
1st Btn 3rd Q.A.O. Gurkha Rifles
1st Btn 4th P.W.O. Gurkha Rifles
2nd Btn 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (F.F.)
COMMANDED by
Brig. R.T. Cameron for most of the 1st campaign and well into 1942.  It is believed that he was then relieved by Brig. N. Hugh-Jones

44th Indian Infantry Brigade
6th Btn 1st Punjab Regt
7th Btn 8th Punjab Regt
6th Btn 14th Punjab Regt
COMMANDED by  Brig. G. Ballantine

7th Armoured Brigade
7th Queens Hussars
2nd Royal Tank Regt

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Indian Engineers Sappers & Miners
70th Fld Coy K.G.O. (Bengal Lancers)
60th Fld Coy Q.V.O. (Madras)
414th Fld Park Coy K.G.O. (Bengal Lancers)
24th Fld Coy (Royal Bombay)
Tehri Garhwal Fld Coy (State Forces)

The Following Regiments also served with this Division during the withdrawal from Burma.
1st Btn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
1st Btn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
2nd Btn Duke of Wellington's Regt
6th Btn 7th Rajput Regt
6th Btn 9th Jat Regt
9th Btn 13th Frontier Force Rifles (M/Gun)
An Infantry Btn of Chinese Army

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(Order of Battle 1943=1945)

DIVISIONAL COMMANDERS
Maj/Gen H.V. Lewis (C.B. C.I.E. D.S.O.)
Maj/Gen J.G. Smyth (V.C. M.C.)
Maj/Gen D. (Punch) Cowan (C.B. C.B.E. D.S.O. M.C.)

 

Headquarters Brigade
4th Btn 12th Frontier Force Rifles
1st Btn West Yorkshire Regt
7th Btn 10th Baluch Regt

Divisional Artillery
129th Fld Regt (Royal Artillery)
82nd A/Tank Regt (Royal Artillery)
1st Indian Fld Regt (Indian Artillery)
2nd Indian A/Tank Regt (Indian Artillery)
21st. 28th. 29th. Indian Mountain Regt (Indian Artillery)
1st Indian Light A/A. Regt (Indian Artillery)

48th Indian Infantry Brigade
1st Btn West Yorkshire Regt
1st Btn 12th Frontier Force Rifles
1st Btn 3rd Q.A.O. Gurka Rifles
1st Btn 4th P.W.O. Gurkha Rifles
2nd Btn 5th (Royal) Gurkha Rifles
1st Btn 7th Gurkha Rifles
COMMANDED by
Brig. M. Hadley (D.S.O.)             

 

63rd Indian Infantry Brigade
1st Btn Gloucestershire Regt
9th Btn Border Regt
7th Btn 10th Baluch Regt
1st Btn 11th Sikh Regt
2nd Btn 13th Frontier Force Rifles
1st Btn 10th Gurkha Rifles
COMMANDED by Brig. D. Burton  (D.S.O.)

99th Indian Infantry Brigade
1st Btn East Yorkshire Regt
6th Btn 15th Punjab Regt
1st Btn Sikh Light Infantry Regt
COMMANDED by  Brig. G.L. Turver (D.S.O.)

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Royal Indian Army Service Corps
14th. 42nd. 43rd. 45th. Animal Trt Coy's (Mule)
121st G.P. Trt Coy
47th. 49th. 52nd. 54th. Animal Trt Coy's (Mule)
50th Gwalior Pony Coy (State Forces)
900th. 902nd. 903rd. 904th. 906th. Jeep Coy's

Medical Services
I.M.S. R.A.M.C. I.M.D. I.H.C. I.A.M.C.
American Fld Service (U.S.A.)
23rd. 27th. 39th. 50th.  Indian Fld Ambulance

17th Division Provost Unit
17th Division Signals Unit

Indian Army Ordnance Corps
20th Mobile W/Shop Coy
117th Ordnance Sub=Park

Indian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers
1st. 123rd. Infantry W/Shop Coy's
17th Division Recovery Coy

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HARRY GIBSON Harry Gibson, born 5 July 1914, died 13 March 2002.Private, Royal Artillery. Was secretary of Widnes branch of the Association.
MAJOR RICHARD POWERS Family request for information about Major Powers and also aircraft shot down in Ceylon. Please click here to help
'GUNA' HAYES Click here to see the photo of Guna Hayes - driver of Major Powers
MAJ GEOFFREY PAWSON Please CLICK HERE if you remember Major Pawson as we need your help
AMERICAN FIELD SERVICES (Ambulance Drivers) If you knew any AFS ambulance drivers, could you please contact Hugh Gemmell on meg3128@home.com 
SGT RUPERT (RUBE) MAYNE If you can help with information, can you please CLICK HERE
MAJOR SAMEK Both officers were part of 557 Indian Infantry troops workshop - if you can help with information about them, please
CLICK HERE
MAJOR SHEEHAN
WO1 ALBERT SAVILLE Albert of 46th & 48th Brigades is looking for old comrades - please CLICK HERE for details
GEORGE CHARLES BURTON

George's Granddaughter is seeking information.  If you can help, please
CLICK HERE

RSM JACK HOLT M.M. Just died (w/c 25/6/2000) Click here for details

 

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MAPS OF BURMA
................

Read about
THE KOHIMA EPITAPH
Click Here
 

Diary 1941-46

Battle Memories

 

Examples of WWII Japanese
propaganda 
Click Here
 

Read about the
Thanbyuzayat War cemetery
Click Here

A Nurses Story Click here