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

Date of Auction: 27th September 2017

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,600

An outstanding ‘Second Battle of Kohima’ 1944 M.M. group of five awarded to Sergeant V. S. Woodward, Royal Artillery, originally recommended for the D.C.M., he and his gun layer personally engaged five enemy bunkers, destroying four and damaging one. Under heavy fire for the entirety of the action, they continued to engage the enemy until both were wounded by a direct hit


Military Medal
, G.VI.R. (815250 Sjt. V. S. Woodward. R.A.); 1939-45 Star; Burma Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, generally good very fine (5) £1200-1600

Footnote

M.M. London Gazette 31 August 1944 (originally recommended for the D.C.M.):

‘On 30th May 1944, on the Imphal - Kohima road, No. 815250 Sgt. Woodward V.S., while in command of an A tk gun showed outstanding courage and leadership.

When the guns were being manhandled into position they were engaged by intense enemy mortar and shell fire. Regardless of the danger, Sgt. Woodward guided his gun into its position and coolly ordered the engagement of enemy bunkers. While carrying out his duty he was continually exposed to direct fire. One of his detachment was killed and one wounded. Sgt. Woodward however continued with the gun layer, Bdr. Squires, to serve the gun and engage the enemy. Their coolness and courage resulted in four enemy bunkers being destroyed and another one damaged. Sgt. Woodward and the layer, still under heavy fire, fought their gun until a direct hit exploded the ammunition and wounded them both. His example and judgement under difficult circumstances was outstanding and was responsible for the successes achieved.’

Vincent Stanley Woodward served during the Second War with the 222nd Anti-Tank Battery, 56th LAA/Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery in Burma. He distinguished himself during the Second Battle of Kohima, May - June 1944.

With the lifting of the siege of Kohima in mid-April 1944, another major battle for that famous ridge commenced, only on this occasion the British and Indian forces found themselves on the offensive against an enemy who excelled in defensive warfare. Defending every bunker with extraordinary determination, the surviving elements of Sato's 31st Division reaped heavy casualties on the men of 4th, 5th and 6th Brigades who had been allotted the unenviable task of taking the Allied advance forward. In scenes reminiscent of the famous siege, fierce hand-to-hand fighting, sniping, grenade and phosphorous bomb attacks, and bayonet charges were all part of everyday life.

Bombardier V. H. Squires was also awarded an M.M. for this action.