Burma Star Association
Burma Star Association

81st West African Division

The Badge of this unit was a black tarantula spider on a yellow circular background, (in West African folklore the spider always comes out on top)

 

This formation was the first division ever to be formed from units of the West African Frontier Force, it was made up of the troops from each of the four African colonies, it was assembled in Nigeria in March 1943, and was dispatched to India in August 1943, one brigade was sent to help form part of Wingate's Chindits in long range penetration. 

 

In December 1943 the division crossed the hills into the Kaladah Valley and operated on the left flank of the main force, thereby becoming part of the biggest formation to be supplied  wholly by air.

 

In the following year it again advanced down the Kaladah Valley and took part in the successful assault on Myowaung, and helping the "Fourteenth Army" in it's hard fought battles that led to the liberation of Burma.

 

They were commanded by Maj/Gen CS Woolner (CB MC)

 

Divisional Commanders:

Maj/Gen CC Woolner (CB DSO)

Maj/Gen  Loftus-Tottenham (DSO)

 

Headquarters Brigade

 

Divisional Artillery

3rd 5th 6th  Light Field Regt (Royal Artillery)

 

5th West African Brigade

5th Btn Gold Coast Rifles

7th Btn Gold Coast Rifles

COMMANDED by

Brig NH Collins

Brig FJ Jefferys ( OBE DSO)

 

6th West African Brigade

4th Btn Nigerian Rifles

1st Btn Sierra Leonne Rifles

1st Btn Gambian Rifles

COMMANDED by

Brig JWA Hayes (DSO)

Brig RN Cartwright

Brig AA Crook (DSO)

 

West African Service Corps

5th  6th, Brigade GP Trt Coy's

Divisional Trt Coy

 

Medical Services

5th  6th  Field Ambulances

5th  6th  Field Hygenic Coy's

 

81st West African Provost Unit

81st West African Signal Coy

When you go home

tell them of us and say,

For your tomorrow,

we gave our today

Lt Gen Slim at Fort Dufferin, Mandalay, in March 1945 Lt Gen Slim at Fort Dufferin, Mandalay, in March 1945
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