A small village in Manipur’s Tamenglong district will be commemorating the death anniversary of a senior British Army officer General Orde Charles Wingate on March 24. Wingate is known for his creation of the Chindit deep-penetration missions in Japanese-held territory during the Burma Campaign of World War II, considering its historical importance.
“The villagers of Thuilon under Tousem sub-division expressed their desire to commemorate the death anniversary of General Orde Charles Wingate annually during a simple commemoration programme with wreath laying ceremony at the plane crash site on Saturday,” President of the second World War Imphal Campaign Foundation (WWICF) Yumnam Rajeshwar told Northeast Now.
Autonomous District Council member Micah Panmei of Tamenglong, Chairman Rampisinang Kahmei of Thuilon village, Yumnam Rajeshwor and his team representing “The Chindit Society, United Kingdom” besides villagers attending the event, maintained one minute silence, followed by condolence prayer, service by the village Pastor.
“Initially they (villagers) didn’t have much detail of the historic event even though they have memory of the incident,” Rajeshwar, a war researcher initiated this year’s death anniversary commemoration program after necessary correspondence with the Chindit Society in United Kingdom said. “Now with more research inputs, they are planning to observe commemoration in the village every year.”
Expressing the villagers’ willingness to observe the death anniversary of the British officer whose “Chindits,” or “Wingate’s Raiders,” a brigade of British, Gurkha, and Burmese guerrillas, harassed much stronger Japanese forces in the jungles of northern Burma (now Myanmar) during World War II, Khangamlung Goimei, from Thuilon village who is presently doing M Phil programme on Battle of Imphal and its impact, said, “We’ve agreed to commemorate General Wingate’s death anniversary on every March 24 considering our village’s connection with those departed souls.”
Sharing a similar sentiment, another post graduate student Gaikulung Goimei of the village said, “The student union of the village has even submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister last year to set up a memorial park and a memorial hospital at the crash site. But there is no positive response so far.”
Interestingly the remains of British aircraft which was crashed in 1944 are still kept intact in Thuilon village which is known for large scale production of vegetables and fruits including Yongchak (tree bean), oranges and king chilli. But due to poor connectivity and lack of basic amenities, about 2000 population of the village have been facing lots of untold miseries till date.
General Orde Charles Wingate died in a plane crash after meeting Air Marshall Baldwin in Imphal on way back to Lalaghat in the hilly area of Thuilon village, about 190 km west of Imphal under Tousem sub-division on March 24, 1944. All on board including a number of war correspondents were killed during the accident as part of battles of Imphal and Kohima in World War II in 1944.