“10th May 1942”- First Imphal Bombing of World War 2nd

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“10th May 1942”- First Imphal Bombing of World War 2nd
Prelude, Facts and Consequences Yumnam Rajeshwor Singh)

Rangoon was abandoned on 7th March 1942( by British) and occupied by the Japanese the following day. The British managed to evacuate sufficient supplies of food and petrol to maintain their forces on the retreat, saving the army from starvation as it trudged towards India. After a fortnight on 19th March General Alexander appointed Major General Slim, a former officer of the Gurkha Regiment(Fergal Keane).

General Slim’s regiments came out of Burma as skin and bones, in rags, though under arms, and took post along the frontier for the monsoon…. The end of the retreat was in sight. The British columns disappeared into the mountains of Manipur as the monsoon rains broke. As the last echelons passed over the Tamu road it was washed out behind them. On May 20th, Alexander’s Army of Burma ceased to exist as a command, and his troops were incorporated into the IVth corps of the Indian Command based on Imphal… There is a tale which must be told elsewhere of the suffering of the 4,00,000 Indian and Burmese refugees who fled before the fire and sword of the enemy( Japanese). Probably 10,000 died on the road to India, most of them in the dreaded Hukawng Valley beyond Myitkina ( Frank Owen).

A refugee camp was established just north of Imphal at Koirengei. Here they came in their hundreds. Many had no money, food or spare clothing. Many, above all the women and children, were desperately ill. On most days the road was packed, until one felt one must be emerging from a football stadium. For the refugees India had become the Promised Land. Manipur was for them not India. They must go farther, beyond the Brahmaputra, in their search of safety…. Day and night the march went on. Those who dropped out lay where they fell. Vultures waiting above the refugee camps and halting-places could be seen from afar. Every night a score of corpes was burnt lest an epidemic break out. Children were leaving their parents, and parents their children. The farther they walked, the less they carried (Geoffrey Evans)..

On 9 March 1942, the 64th Sentai was transferred to Chieng Mai airfield, in Thailand, in preparation for operations over Burma… The Unit arrived with 15 Ki-43s and two Ki-27s, as well as one captured Hurricane. Both the Ki-43s and Ki-27s were used for escorts of 52 Ki-21s bombers which were operational at that time. From early May 1942, the 64th Sentai operate from its new air base at Toungoo in Burma (Hiroshi Ichimura).

Siren-Bombing-AlarmThe Siren that was used in Imphal for the Bombing alarm

In April (1942) Japanese reconnaissance planes began to fly over nearly everyday. The siren whined, but never a bomb dropped. After a sequence of false alarms the warnings became little more than tiresome interruptions to the day’s leisurely routine, and soon they were regarded with scant respect. Indeed Gimson (Christopher Gimson was the then British Political Agent) recalls that when the siren did sound mid – Morning on May 10th, he said to his assistant: “I must remember to tell Hurrell ( Commanding the 4th Assam Rifles at Singjamei) to stop these silly signals’. An hour later the siren wailed again. ‘Damn!’ exclaimed Gimson on his verandah. ‘I forget to tell Hurrell’… These were almost famous last words. Bombs crashed upon bazaar and cantonment alike. Seventy civilians were killed and another eighty wounded, while a score of European refugees, one of them, a judge, were caught either in camps or lorries and killed (Geoffrey Evans)

As per the British Records, following 84 Manipuries were recorded death on that fateful day of 10th May 1942. There are mistakes in spelling of names of individuals and name of places. The exact words from the record are reproduce to adhere to authenticity.

SL NO SURNAME AGE IN GRAVE RECORDS
1 ABDUL HALIM 33 OF KHERAGAO. DIED AT IMPHAL.
2 ACHUNGPA KABUI NAGA 26 OF MANJER KHUL. DIED AT MANJER KHUL.
3 AJIGAR 34 OF MANTRI PUKHRI. DIED AT MANTRI PUKHRI.
4 AKOIJAM THARE DEVI 50 OF LAMABAM LEIKAI, IMPHAL AT LAMABAM LEIKAI, IMPHAL.
5 ALIGAR KHAN 32 OF KHAN SAHIB’S HATTA, IMPHAL. DIED AT EUROPEAN REFUGEE CAMP, IMPHAL.
6 AMARU NAGINEE 22 OF MANJER KHUL. DIED AT KHOYATHONG.
7 AMIR-UD-DIN MIAN 30 OF KAIRANG. DIED AT CHINGMEIRONG.
8 AMUREIMA DEVI 32 OF SINJABUNG LEIKAI. DIED AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
9 ANGANGMACHA DEVI 80 OF LAMABAM LEIKAI. DIED AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
10 BAJET PAO KABUE NAGA 35 AT MANJER KHUL.
11 BARUNI DEVI 32 OF KONSAM LEIKAI. DIED AT CHINGMEIRONG.
12 BHADUR THAMI 45 OF CHINGMEIRONG. DIED AT REFUGEE CAMP, BRITISH RESERVE, CHINGMEIRONG.
13 CHABANGBAM TOLMU SING 55 OF KHURAI, SOIBAM LEIKAI. DIED AT SOIBAM LEIKAI.
14 CHABUNGBAM ONGBI BHUMAR DEVI 40 OF KOIRENGEI. DIED AT CHINGMEIRONG.
15 CHINGANGBAM LALA SING 20 OF KHURAI, CHINGANGBAM LEIKAI. DIED AT MANTRI PUKHRI.
16 DALIP SINGH 43 AT IMPHAL.
17 GINAM BHUBAN SING 13 OF FOUSANGBAM LEIKAI, THANGMEIBAND. DIED AT THANGMEIBAND.
18 HACTOMBA KABUI NAGA 45 AT MANJER KHUL.
19 HEIKRUJAM MEINA SING 27 OF SAGOLBAND. DIED AT REFUGEE CAMP, BRITISH RESERVE.
20 HEIKRUJAM RAJMANI SING 19 OF NUNGU VILLAGE. DIED AT LAIKANGBAM LEIKAI.
21 IBEM LAL DEVI 34 AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
22 IBEMCHAOBI DEVI 11 OF POLEM LEIKAI. DAUGHTER OF SAKHI DEVI. DIED AT POLEM LEIKAI.
23 IBETON DEVI 2 AT POLEM LEIKAI.
24 IROM IBOCHA SING 20 OF KHURAI KONKHAM, LEIKAI. DIED AT MANTRI PUKHRI.
25 JANAB ALI 50 OF KHAN SAHIB’S HATTA, IMPHAL. DIED AT EUROPEAN REFUGEE CAMP, IMPHAL.
26 JUBATI DEVI 20 AT MAINAM LEIKAI.
27 KAKHUPUM KABUI 25 AT MAJORKHUL, IMPHAL.
28 KAMINI DEVI 35 OF SAGOLBAND, NANDIEBAM LEIKAI, IMPHAL. DIED AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
29 KAMINI DEVI 36 OF KONSAM LEIKAI. DIED AT CHINGMEIRONG.
30 KANGHUJAM THORI THORI SING 23 OF KHURAI LALANBUNG, KHEIDEM LEIKAI. DIED AT AWANG.
31 KARAM SINGH 28 AT IMPHAL.
32 KETUKI DEVI 20 OF NINGTHOUBUNG. DIED AT IYAMAPAL.
33 KHETRIMAYUM ANGRU SING 34 OF KONGPAL, KHETRI LEIKAI. DIED AT CHINGMEIRONG.
34 KHETRIMAYUM NINGOL PENU DEVI 36 OF KANGAJABI, NAGAMAPAL, MANIPUR. DIED AT KANGAJABI.
35 KHOMDON SANA RAJ KUMAR 14 AT POLEM LEIKAI.
36 KHOMEI DEVI 19 AT MAINAM LEIKAI.
37 KUMARI DEVI 36 OF KONSAM LEIKAI. DIED AT CHINGMEIRONG.
38 LAIMAYUM CHAOMACHA SHARMA 66 OF POLEM LEIKAI, IMPHAL. DIED AT POLEM LEIKAI.
39 LAISAM YAIMA SING 17 OF CHINGTHAM LEIKAI. DIED AT MXWELL BAZAR, IMPHAL.
40 LAISRAM TOMBA SING 30 AT TOP NOARIA.
41 LAMABAM IBOONGOTON SING 56 AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
42 LEIRIK DEVI 21 AT MAINAM LEIKAI.
43 LEMABAM TAMPHAMANT DEVI 13 AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
44 LOITONGBAM TOMBA SING 60 OF LALAMBUNG MAKHONG. DIED AT KWAI LALAMBUNG, IMPHAL.
45 LUCAS TOPPO OF KUTUNIA, GANGPUR. DIED AT MANIPUR ROAD.
46 MADHUMATI DEVI 22 AT POLEM LEIKAI.
47 MALIKA DEVI 50 AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
48 MANI SHARMA 24 OF TERA KEITHEL. DIED AT KHOYATHONG.
49 MOIRANG LEIMA DEVI 74 AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
50 MUHAMMAD MIAN 30 OF KHERAGAO VILLAGE, IMPHAL. DIED AT THE IMPHAL-DIMAPUR ROAD.
51 NAKE NAGINEE 45 OF THANGMEIBAND. DIED AT MANJER KHUL.
52 NAMRAM YAIMA SING 25 OF NAMEIRAKPAM LEIKAI, MOIRANGKHOM. DIED AT MANTRI PUKHRI.
53 NANDIESBAM MOHAN SING 25 OF CHINGTHAM LEIKAI. DIED AT MAXWELL BAZAR, IMPHAL.
54 NGANGBAM AMUTHOI SING 18 OF LAMABAM LEIKAI. DIED AT TERA URAK.
55 NGANGBAM GOUREMANI SING 46 OF KANGABAM LEIKAI, IMPHAL. DIED AT KHOYATHONG.
56 NINGTHAN KHONGJAM NARAN SING 53 OF MOUGSANGEI, IMPHAL. DIED AT LEI INGKHOL.
57 NINGTHONJAM GOKUL CHAND SING 40 OF MOIRANG KAMPU. DIED AT REFUGEE CAMP, BRITISH RESERVE.
58 NIPAMACHA SING 1 AT POLEM LEIKAI.
59 NONGTHONBAM ONGBI TONSIJA DEVI 40 WIFE OF NONGTHONBAM TOMBA. DIED AT LAMLONGGEI, IMPHAL.
60 NUPIMACHA DEVI 35 AT POLEM LEIKAI.
61 PANCHASANI NAGINEE 50 OF THANGMEIBAND. DIED AT NAGA BAZAR.
62 PANTI SINGHIK NAGINEE 35 AT MANJER KHUL.
63 PENU DEVI 22 AT LAIKANGBAM LEIKAI.
64 PHIJAM CHAOBA SING 50 AT LALAMBUNG MAKHONG.
65 RULIA RAM 38 AT IMPHAL.
66 SAGOLSEM MANI SING 30 AT LOURUNGPUREL LEIKAI.
67 SAKHI DEVI 38 AT POLEM LEIKAI.
68 SAMSOO MIAN 35 AT KHETRI.
69 SANASAM MEINE SING 37 AT LOURANGPUREL LEIKAI.
70 SARAF-UD-DIN MIAN 26 OF KAIRANG VILLAGE. DIED AT CHINGMEIRONG.
71 SHYAMA 9 (ALIAS YAIMABI DEVI). OF SAGOLBAND, NANDEIBAND LEIKAI. DIED AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
72 SHYAMA DEVI 9 AT LAMABAM LEIKAI.
73 THAKCHOM BRAJAMANI SING 20 OF URIPOK SOIRABAM THINGEN, KABRAMBAM, LEIKAI. DIED AT KHUYATHONG.
74 THAMBAL DEVI 40 AT KANGJABI LEIRAK, MEINAM LEIKAI.
75 THARO DEVI 40 OF KHONGHAMPAT. DIED AT CHINGMEIRONG.
76 THIAM IBOTON SING 28 OF KEISAMPAT, IMPHAL. DIED AT MAXWELL BAZAR, IMPHAL.
77 THIAM NARAHARI SING 39 OF THANGMEIBAND. DIED AT MAXWELL BAZAR, IMPHAL.
78 THIAM NARHARI SING 40 OF LILASINGKHONGRANG MAKHONG. DIED AT AWANG DUKAN.
79 THOKPAM LALA SING 21 OF KONGKHAM LEIKAI. DIED AT MANTRI PUKHRI.
80 THOUDAM DEVEN SING 4 AT MAINAM LEIKAI.
81 THOUDAM IPI SING 2 AT MAINAM LEIKAI.
82 THOUDAM UPENDRA SING 28 AT MAINAM LEIKAI.
83 YUMLEMBAM MANGI 16 SON OF YUMLEMBAM CHANDRAHAS. DIED AT KHUYATHONG POLEM LEIKAI, THANGMEIBAND, IMPHAL.
84 YUMNAM KAMAL SING 35 OF LAMABAM LEIKAI. DIED AT MANIPUR.
Disclamer: – The data represents the figure with present research status. Present data is not exhaustive.

Following Europeans and other refugees were also killed that day in Manipur because of the bombing.

SL NO SURNAME FORENAME AGE INFORMATION IN RECORDS
1 APPARAO DEVASAHARAM 64 OF 6/263, LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. HUSBAND OF MARY HELENA RAJA MONEY APPARAO. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
2 APPARAO MARY HELENA RAJA MONEY 56 OF 6/263, LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. WIFE OF DEVASAHARAM APPARAO. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
3 APPARAO REGINA LILY SAMATHANAM 21 OF 6/263 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF DEVASAHARAM APPARAO. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
4 BIDGOOD SUSAN 94 OF 38 SOUTH STREET, EXETER. INJURED 4 MAY 1942, AT EXETER; DIED AT 1 CASTLE WALK.
5 BIRSA PATRAS OF KUTUNIA, GANGPUR. HUSBAND OF MAGDALI ORAON. DIED AT MANIPUR ROAD.
6 CHARLES DAVID DEVASAHAYAM JOHNSON 1 OF 3/246 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. SON OF A. CHARLES AND HELEN DAISY DHANAM CHARLES. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
7 CHARLES HELEN DAISY DHANAM 20 OF 6/263 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF MR. ADISHTAM DAVID, M.A., B.L., INCOME TAX OFFICER, RANGOON; WIFE OF A. CHARLES, OF HOME DEPARTMENT, BURMA SECRETARIAT. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
8 CLARKSON
9 DALIP SINGH 43 AT IMPHAL.
10 DAVID ADISHTAM 47 M.A., B.L.; INCOME TAX OFFICER, GOVERNMENT OF BURMA; OF 3/246 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
11 DAVID GRACE NESAMONEY 37 OF 186 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF THE LATE I. APPADURAI PILLAI; WIFE OF IMMANUEL DAVID. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
12 DAVID ROSE KAMALAM 39 OF 3/246 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. WIFE OF ADISHTAM DAVID. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
13 DAVID VICTORIA JABAPAKIAM JEMIMA 9 OF 3/246 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF ADISHTAM DAVID, AND ROSE KAMALAM DAVID. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
14 DEVASINGAMONEY I. ALEXANDER 12 OF 186 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
15 DIXON JOSEPH 69 S.J.A.B., MEDALLION AND BARS. SON OF THE LATE MR. AND MRS. JOHN DIXON, OF TAMWORTH; HUSBAND OF MABEL F. DIXON, OF 5 MELBOURNE VILLAS, STATION ROAD, NEW ROMNEY. DIED AT SANDS HOTEL, ST. MARY’S.
16 ELIAS I. GNANAPRAKASAM 34 OF 186 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
17 ELIAS PHILIP KENNETH KIRUBAKARAN 11 OF 186 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. SON OF I. G. ELIAS. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
18 ELIAS VINCENT JONATHAN 5 OF 186 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. SON OF I. G. ELIAS. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
19 GAYA SINGH BURMA GOVERNMENT SERVANT. DIED AT IMPHAL.
20 GHOSH 38 M.SC.; ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, BURMA METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT, RANGOON. DIED AT IMPHAL.
21 GNANAMONEY MABEL VICTORIA CHANDRAVATHANA 17 OF 3/246 LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
22 HARCOURT COOZE GEORGE 32 AT IMPHAL.
23 LUCAS TOPPO OF KUTUNIA, GANGPUR. DIED AT MANIPUR ROAD.
24 MAJUMDER SUPERINTENDANT. OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, RANGOON. HUSBAND OF RUTNA PROVA DEVI. DIED AT IMPHAL.
25 MURPHY JOHN JAMES CHRISTOPHER 45 I.C.S. DISTRICT AND SESSIONS JUDGE, RANGOON. DIED AT IMPHAL.
26 NICHOLLS JOHN BOYTON 19 HOME GUARD. SON OF MRS. E. E. NICHOLLS, OF 8 LAUDERDALE, DYMCHURCH ROAD. DIED AT 2A RAMPART ROAD.
27 RAY Mr. HIS SON AND HIS ATTENDANT ALSO DIED WITH HIM (BOTH UN-NAMED). DIED AT IMPHAL.
28 RULIA RAM 38 AT IMPHAL.
29 SHAW KATHLEEN 50 WIFE OF HARRY COTTRELL HUGHES SHAW, OF SURMA VALLEY LIGHT HORSE. DIED AT IMPHAL.
30 SOLOMON 43 OF 61 MURUGAPPA MUDALIAR STREET, PURASAWAKKAM, MADRAS. DIED AT MANIPUR.
31 SOLOMON ALICE FLORENCE SUNGUNABAI 10 OF LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF KIRUBAKADATCHAM RAJA SOLOMON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
32 SOLOMON HANAH JESSIE RATHNABAI 15 OF LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF KIRUBAKADATCHAM RAJA SOLOMON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
33 SOLOMON HILDA DOROTHY RAGINABAI 8 OF LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF KIRUBAKADATCHAM RAJA SOLOMON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
34 SOLOMON JANE CHRISTOBEL SUSILABAI 4 OF LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF KIRUBAKADATCHAM RAJA SOLOMON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
35 SOLOMON ROSALIND SUNDARI KAMALABI 6 OF LEWIS STREET, RANGOON. DAUGHTER OF KIRUBAKADATCHAM RAJA SOLOMON. DIED AT IMPHAL EUROPEAN EVACUATION CAMP.
36 SUKRAM JUNNAS OF KUTUNIA, GANGPUR. SON OF MANGRA LUCAS. DIED AT MANIPUR ROAD.

Within a few hours (of the attack) almost every house in the centre of Imphal had been abandoned: the Manipuris fled for safety to outlying villages, and almost the only local civilians to be seen were a few unwelcome looters…. Far more serious was the cutting of the supplies of water and electricity, particularly the former. Not that the stirrup- pump band stayed to curb the fires: they too ran away, and the bazaar was gutted. For several days there was no one to bury the corpse of man and beast alike.Most of the policemen failed to report for duty and this led to their suspension(Geoffrey Evans)
Atlast the Japanese Radio claimed that they had bombed Imphal Airfield (none existed at the time). The Germans went one better in their Radio, “Their Japanese allies had bombed Imphal Railway Station”

Bibliography:-
1. Fergal Keane, Road of Bones ( Harper Press, 2010)
2. Frank Owen, Campaign In Burma (Himalayan Books, 1989)
3. Geoffrey Evans & Antony Brett- James, Imphal- A Flower on Lofty Heights ( Macmillan & Co Ltd, 1962)
4. Hiroshi Ichimura, Ki-43 Oscar Aces of World War 2 (Osprey publishing Limited, 2009)

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