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Burma (now officially called the Union of Myanmar) was a province of the Bengal Presidency until the establishment of the Burma Office in 1937 after which it was administered separately until independence in 1948.


Places in Burma:


The British annexed parts of Burmese territory after their victory in the 1st Burma War. Lower Burma was annexed in 1852 after the 2nd Burma War. In 1862, these territories were designated the minor province of British India, British Burma. After the 3rd Burma War in 1885, Upper Burma was annexed, and the following year, the province of Burma in British India was created, becoming a major province in 1897. This arrangement lasted until 1937, when Burma began to be administered separately by the Burma Office and the Secretary of State for India and Burma. Burma achieved independence from British rule on January 4, 1948.

FIBIS resources

Extracts from "The Private Letters of William Porter, Gunner, 3rd Batt., Madras Artillery (1826-1857) (Mss Eur. G128, British Library)", including time spent in Burma


Also see

Trek Out of Burma in 1942

Following the Japanese bombing in 1942, half a million refugees attempted to walk to India. Many died.

  • Koi-Hai website
    • Some sample pages from Forgotten Frontier by Geoffrey Tyson, first published 1945, may be downloaded as a pdf from the Koi-Hai website. This book may be viewed online on the Digital Library of India website.The book is about the escape of refugees from Burma in 1942 and the help provided by the tea planters of Assam in assisting the refugees from north Burma into India.
  • Anglo-Burmese Library - transcriptions and report. Also the list of internees.
  • Exodus from Burma, 1941-42; a Memoir by Captain Nadir S. Tyabji Parts 1 and 2 , scroll down for Part 1, Parts 3-12 in reverse order, scroll to the bottom for Part 3. amitavghosh.com. The author was appointed as Assistant to the Agent of the Government of India in Burma, and was subsequently in charge of arrangements for the refugees, predominantly Indian, trekking out of Burma.
  • "Burma before the Japanese Invasion" and "Diary of the Trek out of Burma 1942" by Jose Johnson with an earlier memoir "My Journey to Burma 1940 by Flying Boat" bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar
  • The Elephant Man is about the rescue of refugees by Gyles Mackrell , an Assam tea planter. He mounted an operation to save refugees who were trapped by flooded rivers at the border with India using the only means available to get them across - elephants. website of Cambridge University.
  • Listen to a radio interview with Felicity Goodall, author of Exodus Burma. news.bbc.co.uk. Today,Tuesday, 13 December 2011. Details of Exodus Burma, the British Escape Through the Jungles of Death 1942 by Felicity Goodall 2011.
  • Tales of wartime courage revealed Yorkshire Post Wednesday 11 January 2012
  • "Barefoot from Burma to India, 1942" by Benegal Dinker Rao, born 1917 in Rangoon, an employee of the Government of Burma. A nephew Arvind Benegal, is the author of the first part, based on his uncle’s oral accounts.
  • "Exodus from Burma" by Krishnan Gurumurthy, aged 9 in 1942. His father was employed in the Burma Railways and was one of the many Indian working in Burma. amitavghosh.com
  • Burma Diary by Paul Geren published 1943 In 1941 Paul Geren agreed to spend two years at Judson College in Rangoon, Burma, as a short-term missionary under the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. Following the Japanese bombing Professor Geren's classroom became a field hospital as he offered his services as an ambulance driver to Dr. Gordon Seagrave, the famed Burma surgeon. He later trekked to India. From the website ourstory.info
  • Account of Capt. G.J. Stapleton. I.A., Burma Frontier Force: Retreat from Myitkyina 1942 . He was awarded the King´s Police and Fire Service Medal, for Gallantry. spink.com 25 Apr 2013
  • "Burma, 1942 and the Anglo-Indian and Anglo-Burmese Community" by Megan Stuart Mills, 1999. Eighth edition of the International Journal of Anglo-Indian Studies.
  • ICRC Archives in Geneva. The International Committee of the Red Cross has some records in respect of refugees from Burma. [1]



British Library

  • Baptisms, Marriages and Burials for Burma are included in the Bengal returns (N/1) up to 1936. Records for 1937 to 1959 are in a separate series N/10 with a single index for Burma BMBs.
  • Burma Gazette IOR/V/11/3406-3694 1875-1952.This publication was one of the Government Gazettes which were the official newspapers of the Government of India and its provincial governments where information, such as appointments, promotions,etc was 'gazetted'.

LDS (Mormon)

The LDS film catalogue has the following entries:


  • From the catalogue of the Centre for Jewish History, New York and available through the American Sephardi Federation:
    • Birth Register Book: Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue Rangoon. Published 1979 In English, records available from 1896 to 1979. In Hebrew, available from 1888
    • Death Register Book: Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue Rangoon. Published 1979. Available from 1888. In Hebrew with Sephardi Script.

Economy and business

The leading British firms in Burma were the Burma Oil Company, which controlled the oil industry, Steel Brothers and Company Limited, which worked in oil, rice and general trading business, the Rangoon Electric Tramway and Supply Company Limited, the Anglo-Burma Tin Company , and the Burma Corporation Limited, which operated the Bawdwin Mines.[2]

Also refer Twentieth century impressions of Burma: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources by Arnold Wright in Online books below

Recommended Reading

  • The book Old Soldier Sahib by Frank Richards, is about the early 1900s in India and Burma and mentioned in Military reading list. The book was first published in 1936. There is a further 2005 edition, annotated by Krijnen and Langley, with many footnotes and illustrations. "Each page is annotated to give information on Frank Richards’s friends, his officers, the places where he served in India and Burma, dates, events and the language, for example".[3]
  • Details of the book A Soldier’s Story-From the Khyber Pass to the Jungles of Burma: The Memoir of a British Officer in the Indian Army 1933-1947 by John Archibald Hislop, edited by Penny Kocher 2010. There is a review by Richard Morgan of A Soldier’s Story in FIBIS Journal Number 26 Autumn 2011, page 52. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals. The review may also be read in this link, along with other reviews.
  • The Brewing Storm – 1939-1941 (2013) and Burma Invaded - 1942 (2013), both by Major C M Enriquez, based on his diary. Review by Peter Bailey, page 52 FIBIS Journal Number 33 (Spring 2015)

External links

Library.gif The FIBIS Google Books Library
has books tagged:


Historical books online


  1. Milner, Rowland Family History Donald Mellican Rootsweb India Mailing List 04 September 1999. Retrieved 20 January 2015
  2. Google Books snippet search result from Joint international business ventures in the Union of Burma, page 18 by U. Tun Thin 1959.
  3. Victorian Wars Forum