Friday, 2 October 2009

Return to Kohima

Fire trucks at Kohima fire station

Although I had been to Kohima before, I also wanted my parents to experience the place so we made sure to spend a few hours exploring the place before moving on to Assam. I managed to fit in a few sights, which I missed the last time around so even for me it was an interesting return to Kohima. The must-see attraction of Kohima is the immaculately kept War Cemetery for the British casualties of the legendary WWII battle of Kohima, which turned the war fortunes in the Asian land war in favour of the allies as the Japanese failed to take the town and thus block the Imphal road supplying the British forces in Manipur

But we also managed to go visit the decent State Museum (pictures not allowed, so not included in this post) and we made it to an abandoned British Tank, which came under Japanese fire and tumbled sideways down a hill. Amazingly the crew, despite landing close to the Japanese positions managed a safe return by forcing the tank's guns to auto-rotate and auto-fire and escaping in the confusion. According to their wish the tank was never moved from the spot where it landed on that day in 1944.

Me at the abandoned British Tank

On the way we also visited this small covered local market to buy some fruit

A bunch of larvea for sale

Nitoli pretending to eat one. However, despite being a Naga, she is pretty squeamish about this kind of food so it never got further than the pretending

My mother and brother wandering around Kohima's War Cemetary

One of the many, many hundred grave stones here. Each stone marks the name, religion (many Hindu and Muslims Indians fought for the Allies), rank and age of the person buried beneath. This particular stone is noteworthy for being for the highest ranked soldier buried at Kohima: Brigadier W.H. Goschen.

A dignified memorial tablet. As far as I understood this covers those who bodies went missing or for other reasons couldn't be buried here.

My parents going back to the car while my brother Ole and Nitoli chat in the lower part of the picture

At the lowest point of the cemetery a small monument has been erected in honour of all those who fell here. It bears a very beautiful and sad poem of remembrance:
When You Go Home
Tell Them of Us and Say
For Your Tomorrow
We gave Our Today


bigkat1100 said...

Its good to see that someone else knows of the battle at Kohima.My father George Edward James Lee was in a Lee Grant tank when he was killed on the way from Jotsoma to relieve the the garison at Kohima.I did some research and was told by the R.A.C museum that only four men were killed in tanks at that time. ... George M Lee

Esben said...

Thanks for your comment George. I wonder if you have been to Kohima to visit the cemetery and other memorials in the area?