BIT OF HISTORY: WHERE KALEWA, TUG ARGAN, ARAKAN BARRACKS OF THE ZAMBIA ARMY GOT THEIR NAMES

THIS picture was taken in 1945 and it shows soldiers from the 1st Northern Rhodesia Regiment, ( later to become Zambia Army) holding a captured Japanese regimental flag on the summit of “Hill 852” at Kalewa in Burma.

The Northern Rhodesia Regiment was part of the Kings African Rifles served the British Army right up until Zambia’s independence on 24 October 1964 and then became part of the Zambia Army.

Kalewa is a town at the confluence of the Chindwin River and the Myittha River in Kale District, Sagaing Region of north-western Myanmar (Burma)

Tug Argan barracks is named after a place in Somalia where the 1st Northern Rhodesia Regiment went into battle with the Italian forces where it was estimated that the Italians army outnumbered the British forces ten to one. It is here that the Kings African Rifles earned its first Victoria Cross for bravery. The Victoria Cross is Britain’s highest medal awarded for valour and bravery beyond the call of duty.

Kohima barracks is named after a town in India; where 1st Northern Rhodesia Regiment fought Japanese in the “The Battle of Kohima” from 4 April to 22 June 1944.

Chindwin barracks are named after the Chindwin River, Arakan barracks after a hard fought campaign area in Burma and Mawlaik and Kalewa Barracks named after towns in Burma.

Over 14,580 men from Northern Rhodesia, served with the British Army as combatants and non-combatants in campaigns in the Horn of Africa, the middle East as far as Iraq, Italy, Burma, Malaya, Singapore and Japan. Some of the Northern Rhodesia soldiers even found themselves amongst the British Army forces in Poland, whilst other Northern Rhodesia soldiers were part of the occupation British Peace Keeping force sent to Tokyo, after Japan’s surrender in September 1945.

(Credit: Lowdown Zambia)

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