A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
Major Neville Graham HOGAN. as a KAREN and who commanded KARENS. KACHINS, CHINS and SHANS, signs for the brave, largely forgotten, loyal hill tribes of BURMA, some of whose destinies sadly to this day have been affected by their fighting for the BRITISH and against the JAPANESE.
Neville, who became Chairman of the CHINDITS Association in 1997, ended the war as a Guard Commander for the JAPANESE SURRENDER CEREMONY in the big hall at SINGAPORE. Firstly he served with the BURMA AUXILIARY FORCE during the difficult Retreat, then later becoming part of the Reconnaissance element in 46 COLUMN 111 BRIGADE, Second CHINDITS in OPERATION THURSDAY and then 2nd Battalion, The BURMA RIFLES training for the cancelled Third Operation and inserted with and for FORCE 136 before joining the 2nd Battalion, The KAREN RIFLES.
Through his signature we also recall the extremely valuable role of the British JOURNALIST, Mr FRANK OWEN. who did so much to develop the SOUTH EAST ASIA COMMAND SEAC Newspaper, which was such an important foundation of the revitalisation of “The Forgotten Army, Navy and Air Force” and sustaining their self-confidence and morale moving from the defensive to the offensive – when the changing conveniences of post war politics found power swinging to the plains people Burmans, Owen did not forget the debt of honour Britain owed to the KAREN and the KACHIN Rangers. Even today Britain is reminded of the paradoxical difficulties of those loyal hill tribes to this day.
Separately through the Occupation experiences of Neville’s then future wife, Glory and her mother, interned at BESSEIN and elsewhere, one can record a strong personal witness tribute to the helpful and lenient treatment of women and children there by a local Japanese Commander, who had been to Cambridge University before the war. Also recalled here are the brave British and Burmese agents who stayed behind (such as “Daddy Longlegs” Seagrim, many of whom would not survive the Japanese Occupation. Major Hugh Paul “Longlegs” Seagrim (1909-1944) DSO MBE GC was a famous leader of Karen rebels, fighting Japanese invaders in Burma during WW2.
His brother was Derek Anthony Seagrim VC. He and his brother have the distinction of being the only siblings awarded the Victoria Cross and George Cross, both posthumously. When the Japanese invaded Burma, after earlier secondment to the 20th Burma Rifles, Major Hugh Seagrim was given the task of raising irregular guerrilla forces from the Karens and other minority communities. The British had been driven from Burma by May, 1942. His small forces were isolated for a long time, but Force 136 dropped agents and wireless operators who made contact with his guerrillas in October, 1943.
Seagrim led Karens in a campaign of sabotage against the occupation, enjoying much support from Karen civilians despite several brutal Japanese reprisals against Karen villages. His force was gradually wiped out by a concentrated Japanese manhunt and so as to prevent further bloodshed Seagrim surrendered himself to the Japanese forces on 15th March 1944. He and eight of his Karen companions were executed by the Japanese on 22nd September in Rangoon. For gallantry under captivity, he was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1946.