A Collection of Awards for Burma Operations during the Second World War

Date of Auction: 27th September 2017

Sold for £900

Estimate: £600 - £800

An Immediate Second War 1945 ‘Battle of Monywa’ M.C. group of five attributed to Major P. M. J. Rawson, 3rd Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles, who was later killed in action, 1 March 1945, during operations to capture Myogon

Military Cross, G.VI.R. reverse officially dated ‘1945’ and additionally engraved ‘Major P. M. J. Rawson MC 3/8 Gurkha I.A. Rifles’; 1939-45 Star; Burma Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, mounted for wear, edge bruise to fourth medal, generally good very fine (5) £600-800

Footnote

M.C. London Gazette 9 April 1945:

‘During the battle of Monywa between 16 and 25 Jan 45 this officer’s coy was employed on an encircling move round the enemy flank with the object of laying ambushes, cutting coms, and harassing the Japs in every way possible. This operation was a hazardous one and entailed risks considerably above the average.

During the above period Major Rawson’s coy was engaged in actions against the Japs in the Kadogon Lake area, at Kanbyagale, and at K.G. Wood. During all these actions this officer displayed skill and leadership of a high order and showed continuous personal bravery in the face of the enemy.

His example was an inspiration to his men, and it was mainly due to his lead that considerable casualties were inflicted on the Japanese, and that his coy eventually occupied the two important enemy strong points at Kanbygale and K.G. Wood. On the 20th Jan alone, this officer conducted an operation against a strongly bunkered enemy position which entailed being under almost continuous fire for a period of three hours, and on account of which it was possible to make important gains elsewhere.

His personal example, courage and skill throughout this long and almost continuous action are worthy of very high praise.’

Peter Michael Joseph Rawson was the only son of the Reverend P. M. Rawson, of Serampore College, Bengal, and resided at 15 The Mall, East Sheen. He served during the Second War as Temporary Major with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles in Burma. He was awarded his M.C. for the battle of Monya, and the Regimental History gives the following:

‘The next objective, Monywa - an important railroad junction, and once a flourishing Chindwin port - lay about 25 miles to the south. The 32nd Brigade group moved forward on 13th January, 1945.

On 14th January, the Commander, 33rd Indian Corps (Lieutenant-General Sir Montagu Stopford), visited the Battalion. On 16th January, 1945, a Battalion commando force about 250 strong (consisting of “C” and “B” Companies with a detachment of H.Q. Company, under Major M. E. Ovens, M.C.), moved round east of Monywa with the objective of cutting the Monywa - Sagaing road. The enemy were engaged and casualties inflicted. On 19th January, Subadar Singhbahadur Gurung I.O.M., was wounded, and a rifleman killed.

By 22nd January, 1945, the capture of Monywa was completed. Once again Northamptons, 3/8th Gurkha Rifles and 9/14th Punjab had scored a success. Monywa was in ruins. The final entry was somewhat of an anti-climax to the stiff fighting of the two days before, only a few snipers on the extreme south of the town being met with.

The Battalion casualties were: Killed, 3 Gurkha other ranks; wounded, 7 Gurkha other ranks..... On 19th February... information was received of awards of the M.C. to Major P. M. J. Rawson, and three M.M.s for Monywa operations.’

Rawson was killed in action, 1 March 1945, and the Regimental History continues:

‘It [3/8th Gurkhas] remained in reserve till 7th February when it came directly under command of the 20th Division. It continued its advance towards Myinbu. On 16th February, it crossed the Irrawaddy River near this place. In the early hours of the 22nd February, the Japanese made a determined attack which was beaten off with severe casualties to them.

From the 17th, the 3/8th had been located at Kanlan. On 1st March, the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. E. V. Whithead, Maj. P. M. J. Rawson, MC, and the Forward Observation Officer were killed due to Japanese shelling at Inna, just north-east of Myogon, when they were adjusting positions of the companies. On 2nd March, Myogon was captured.’

Rawson is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial.

Sold with a photographic image of the recipient.