We Gave Our Today
Date of publication: December 2010
Nearly a million strong by 1944, the British 14th Army fought and ultimately defeated the Japanese forces that invaded Burma and strove to breakthrough into India. It was a near run thing, as the title of its commander's famous memoir, DEFEAT INTO VICTORY suggests. The Japanese routed the British forces in Malaya and Burma in 1941-2.
The surrender of Singapore is the greatest defeat ever suffered by the British Army. The fight back was long and difficult, not the least because our forces in Burma and India were last in the queue for men and equipment as priority went to defeating Germany. The soldiers joked about being 'The Forgotten Army', although General Bill Slim famously told them.'what do you mean, forgotten? No-one's f---ing heard of you.' Slim, who rose from private soldier to field marshal, proved to be one of the greatest soldiers of the war. This is the story of his remarkable army, the largest army fielded by Britain and the Commonwealth during World War II. From the brink of total defeat in 1942, the British rallied and ultimately liberated Burma and Malaya in summer 1945.
Their monument at Kohima reads: When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today