^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page




Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials



Recently, a visitor to this site sent us a selection of her mother's holiday photos to look at. When we saw them, we were astonished to find photos of a military cemetery/memorial which featured men of the Devonshire Regiment. For her holiday this year, Rajati Hudaja went to Myanmar, better known to us as Burma and in particular, to the town of Mogok where the cemetery is situated*.


We found these simple graves and stones very moving. No battlefield tours for the families of these men who died   in one of the most inhospitable places in the world, deep in the jungles of northern Burma, beyond the navigable limit of the great Irrawaddi river and about as far from home as you could get in Queen Victoria's reign.


We are very grateful to Rajati for giving us this glimpse into the past of the 2nd Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. Is it possible that amongst our large readership, there is someone who can tell us more about any of these men? If so, please contact us - Rajati and her daughter would love to find an ending for the story they have begun.


*The cemetery is not exclusive to the Devonshire Regiment; men from other British regiments who served in Burma are also buried there.


This map is the copyright property of W. J. P. Aggett and the Devonshire Regiment


The Devonshire Regiment officially adopted this name in 1881 when the 11th (North Devon) Regiment of Foot was amalgamated into the Devon Militia. At the same time, a new role was created - the Regiment was, for the future, to become the custodians of Britain's far-flung Empire in Asia.


The fact was that by the end of the 19th century, very few Asiatic countries actually wanted to be part of the British Empire so subversion popped up with some regularity, usually in some very out-of the-way places which took a long time to reach.  The authorities were particularly anxious about  territories which adjoined their  border with southern India. What was needed, they reasoned, were well-manned outposts, set up throughout these territories whether their rulers wanted them or not, so that any little local difficulties could be dealt with promptly and thoroughly.

It's not surprising that Burma, right on India's very doorstep, should be the scene of three separate wars in 1824, 1855 and 1885. The third war was still rumbling on in 1892 but this does not seem to be the reason for the deaths of the men buried in the cemetery Rajati Hadaja visited on her holiday. From the Regimental History, we can see the effects of tropical fevers, septic insect bites, l high temperatures and lack of clean water to drink.


In October 1890 men of the 2nd Battalion set off for the three locations chosen to be defensive bases in case of insurrection -  Schwebo. Bhamo and Bernardmyo. The plan was for two companies of men to be stationed at each place. They knew only too well that the terrain and climate in that part of Burma were some of the harshest conditions in the world and that they had to keep a constant vigil knowning they were never safe from ambush, even behind their stockades.


Burma was not considered to have been pacified so the 2nd Battalion was not relieved of its involvement in that country until well into 1892. The men chosen to defend the Empire in these remote places were all young, fit and well when they disappeared into the jungle in 1890 but the sad photos which follow indicate quite another story and go a long way to explaining why the physical condition of the regiment was so poor when they were called upon to take part in the 2nd Boer War a few years later.




^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page