3rd Burma War

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3rd Burma War
9 November-28 December 1885
Chronological list of Wars and Campaigns
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Location: Burma
British India Burma
Result: British victory. Annexation of Burma
Medals: India General Service medal, Burma 1885-87 clasp
Category: 3rd Burma War
Battlemappic.gif See our interactive map of
3rd Burma War 1885
locations and routes on Google Maps

Also includes some information about later expeditions.


In the 1880s British concerns were raised by contacts between the Burmese and the French whose colonial expansion in Indo-China had reached the Burmese border. When a British company was fined by the Burmese for contraventions of its teak extraction contract, the British demanded arbitration and, when that was refused, issued an ultimatum which would have reduced Burma to a vassal state. When this was not accepted on 9 November 1885 an invasion force under Maj-Gen Harry North Dalrymple Prendergast was sent up the Irrawaddy. By 26 November the envoys from King Thibaw offered to surrender. Thibaw was taken into exile in India and the British annexed the remainder of Burma on 1 January 1886. Increasing numbers of troops were required to counter the resistance campaign which continued into 1889. Unrest continued in the northern tribal areas. See Chin Lushai Expedition 1889, Chin Hills Expedition 1892, Kachin Hills Expedition 1892 & Kachin Hills Expedition 1895.

Upper Burma Field Force

Expeditionary Force

9,034 fighting men, 2,810 native followers and 67 guns under Maj-Gen Harry North Dalrymple Prendergast


  • Q-1 Royal Artillery
  • 9-1 Cinque Ports Division (Mountain)
  • 3-1 Scottish Division
  • 4-1 North Irish Division

Sappers and Miners

1st Infantry Brigade
Brig-Gen H H Foord commanding

2nd Infantry Brigade
Brig-Gen G S White CB VC commanding

3rd Infantry Brigade
Brig-Gen F B Norman CB BSC commanding

Mounted Infantry
Maj E C Brown, Scots Fusiliers commanding

Reinforcement Spring 1886


Reinforcement Sept 1886



Sappers & Miners


At the end of October 1886 the force totalled 31,653 fighting men

Other units deployed during the campaign

British Library holdings

India Office Records:Publications

  • IOR/L/MIL/17/19/30 Proceedings of the Government of India Military Department: Burma 1885-86. 460 pages. Calcutta, 1886.
  • IOR/L/MIL/17/19/31 History of the Third Burmese War. Calcutta/Simla: Intelligence Branch, QMG's Dept, 1887-94. 6 volumes + 3 index volumes
  • IOR/L/MIL/17/19/32 Supplement to the Third Burmese War. Diary of events. Lt Henry Ernest Stanton. Calcutta/Simla: Intelligence Branch, QMG's Dept, 1888-93. 3 volumes + index volume.
Some volumes are available online, refer below, but most are restricted to viewers in areas such as North America etc. The is however, one volume viewable without restriction.

Medal rolls

Medal rolls for Burma 1887-1889 - Transcribed from WO 100/73 series at The National Archives from Kevin Asplin’s British Medals website

External links

Historical books online

History of the Third Burmese War [1885-1891]. The official history of the third Burmese war compiled in the Intelligence Branch of the Quarter-Master-General's Department in India consisting 4 volumes and 2 index volumes online. Restricted viewing, available to North American etc viewers. HathiTrust Digital Library.