3rd Burma War
|3rd Burma War|
|9 November-28 December 1885|
|Chronological list of Wars and Campaigns|
|Result: British victory. Annexation of Burma|
|Medals: India General Service medal, Burma 1885-87 clasp|
|Category: 3rd Burma War|
|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
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
Maj E C Brown, Scots Fusiliers commanding
- 31 Royal Scots Fusiliers
- 15 Rangoon Volunteers
- 52 Police
Reinforcement Spring 1886
Reinforcement Sept 1886
- 2nd Btn Royal West Surrey Regiment
- 1st Btn South Yorkshire Regiment
- 1st Bengal Infantry
- 5th Bengal Infantry
- 17th Madras Infantry
- 3rd Infantry, Hyderabad Contingent
- 1st Btn The Rifle Brigade
- 2nd Btn Royal Munster Fusiliers
- 27th Bombay Infantry
Sappers & Miners
- Part 2nd Coy Bengal Sappers and Miners
At the end of October 1886 the force totalled 31,653 fighting men
Other units deployed during the campaign
- 2nd Squadron 2nd Madras Cavalry
- 12th Bengal Infantry
- 13th Bengal Infantry
- 15th Bengal Infantry
- 16th Bengal Infantry
- 18th Bengal Infantry
- 27th Bengal Infantry
- 44th Bengal Infantry
- 3rd Madras Infantry
- 13th Madras Infantry
- 15th Madras Infantry
- 27th Madras Infantry
- 1st Madras Pioneers
- 1st Bombay Infantry
- 7th Bombay Infantry
- 27th Bombay Infantry
- 3rd Goorkhas
- 2nd Infantry, Hyderabad Contingent
- 1st, 3rd, 4th & 6th Coys Madras Sappers and Miners
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.
- Third Anglo-Burmese War Wikipedia
- Naval Brigade in Upper Burmah by W L Clowes www.pdavis.nl
- Annexation of Burma War Medals and Their History - Google Books
- Map of British Conquest of Burma Google Books
- King Thibaw of Burma Wikipedia
- Thibaw's palace in exile www.deccanherald.com
- Drawings of an elephant battery at Tongo, Burma 1885 with guns loaded on the elephants’ backs. old-print.com (archived page) Originally from The Graphic Saturday, October 24, 1885
- Digitised images of the Burma military campaigns of 1891/1892 taken by the official photographer Felice Beato, who escorted the army. British Empire & Commonwealth Collection catalogue reference 2003/001/001 Bristol Museums.
- Burma Campaigns 1889-91. Details of photographs in the Cambridge University Library. Mentions the assault on Kyaing-Kwintaung Stockade during the Wuntho Sawbwa Campaign of 1891 by the 2nd Devonshire Regiment
- 10 online photographs from this collection , some attributed to "Felix Beato", using the search term "Y3029A" repository.cam.ac.uk
- Britain’s Wars in Burma (1824-1946) by Ross Dix-Peek. Lists the regiments taking part. 1st, 2nd, 3rd Burma War.
Historical books online
- Our Burmese wars and relations with Burma : being an abstract of military and political operations, 1824-25-26, and 1852-53, with various local, statistical, and commercial information, and a summary of events from 1826 to 1879, including a sketch of King Theebau's progress by Colonel W F B Laurie 1880 Archive.org
- History of the Third Burmese War, 1885, 1886 and 1887. History of the war prior to the annexation of the country Period-1 India. Quarter Master General's Department. Intelligence Branch 1887. Central Secretariat Library, Delhi (Govt. of India). Archive.org mirror version.
- 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.
- History of the Third Burmese War, Diary of Events: Period 2 (Suppl.). From 1st April 1886 to 30th September 1886 Google Books. This seems likely to be one of the four volumes which form IOR/L/MIL/17/19/32, mentioned above, by Calcutta/Simla: Intelligence Branch, QMG's Dept.
- Frontier and Overseas Expeditions from India Vol V - 3rd Burma War Archive.org
- "The Third Burmese War" Chapter IV, page 82, Burma under British Rule - and Before, Volume I by John Nisbet, late Conservator of Forests, Burma 1901 Archive.org.
- The London Gazette
- Operations in Upper Burma which resulted in the capture of Mandalay 28 November 1885 and the overthrow of King Theebaw. Official correspondence in the London Gazette Tuesday 22 June 1886
- Official correspondence in the London Gazette Friday 2 September 1887 Includes lists of those (mainly officers) mentioned as having rendered specially good service
- "Field Operations, Burma" London Gazette November 15, 1889 page 6057. Covers the period 31 March 1888 to 31 March 1889.
- "Field Operations, Chin -Lushai" Operations of the Burma and Chittagong Columns of the Chin-Lushai Expeditionary Force commencing November 1889 The London Gazette 12 September 1890 issue: 26087 page: 4931
- "Field Operations Burma", in the Wuntho territory, February- April 1891 The London Gazette 9 February 1892 issue: 26256 page: 677
- The Coming of the Great Queen : a Narrative of the Acquisition of Burma by Major Edmond Charles Browne, Late Commandant Mounted Infantry Corps, Burma Field Force 1888 Archive.org
- The Pacification of Burma by Sir Charles Crosthwaite. Chief Commissioner of Burma 1887-1890. 1912 Archive.org.This edition which has illustrations, is missing the first page of the Preface which may be viewed in an alternative edition.
- My experiences in Manipur and the Naga Hills by the late Major-General Sir James Johnstone 1896 Archive.org. The account concerns the period 1873 to the operations in 1885-1886, at the time of the 3rd Burma War.
- Record Of The Service Of The 23rd Bombay Light Infantry During The Campaign In Burma, From July 1886 To May 1888 by Captain W A M Wilson 1893. Archive.org version, mirror from Digital Library of India.
- "Notes on Cavalry Employed in Upper Burma From October 1886 to October 1887". Originally from History of the Third Burmese War 1885, 1886 and 1887 (1889) Reprinted in SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol 2, No 1, Spring 2004. Archive.org
- "Mandalay in 1885-1888: The Letters of James Alfred Colbeck" “The present letters include the years 1885-1888, when Colbeck returned to Upper Burma with British forces and served as both mission priest and as acting chaplain for British forces”. Originally from Letters from Mandalay, A Series of Letters For the Most Part Written From the Royal City of Mandalay During the Troublous Years of 1878-79; Together with Letters Written During the Last Burmese Campaign of 1885-88 (1892). Reprinted in SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol 2, No1, Spring 2004. Archive.org. (1878-1879 Letters Archive.org)
- "The 4th Battalion in Burma 1888-89" page 51 The Rifle Brigade Chronicle for 1895 (Sixth Year) 1896 Archive.org
- The Hampshire Men (37th Regiment) in Upper Burmah in 1889 by Lieut-Colonel F Cochran, Commanding 1st Battalion The Hampshire Regiment 1890 Hathi Trust Digital Library
- Military operations in Burma, 1890-1892; letters from J. K. Watson Edited by B. R. Pearn. Southeast Asia Program, Dept. of Asian Studies, Cornell University, 1967. The author of the letters was Lieutenant J K Watson, 4th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps
- "Third Burmese War and Annexation of Burmah 1885-87", page 295, Medals of the British Navy and how they were won by W.H. Long 1895 Archive.org
- "Among the Dacoits" page 128 The other way: respectfully dedicated to all good housewives by Ernest Forbes 1899 Archive.org
- The Life Of General Sir Harry N.D. Prendergast by Henry M. Vibart 1914. Archive.org version, mirror from Digital Library of India. Sir Harry led the 1885 expedition.
- “A Naval Officer on an Indian Army Staff” by G. A. B. The Naval Review May 1938 Vol XXVI Issue no 1, pages 75-85 and Issue no. 2, pages 271-282. Part 1 (scroll down) and Part 2 (scroll down), now archived pages. During the Burma river war of 1885, the author, G. A. B., was appointed naval aide-de-camp to General Prendergast who was in command.
- The Annexation Of Upper Burma by D P Singhal 1960 Archive.org, Digital Library of India Collection.