Photocopy made through the good offices of Mr. S.F. Bolt.
‘The Burma Story (December 1941 – July 1942)’ told by Captain N.S. Tayabji (Indian Navy Retired) recounts the saga of the evacuation of Burma following the Japanese advance into the country in November-December 1941, and the massive bombing raids on Rangoon on 23rd and 25th December 1941. Captain Tayabji, at that time a representative of Tata Oil Mills Company Ltd., 28 years of age, found himself ‘catapulted’ into the Ministry of Commonwealth Affairs of the Government of India and, with the Government Agent, Mr Hutchings, planned the evacuation of refugees from Rangoon. Later he was ordered to set up refugee camps in Mandalay and to represent the Agent of the Government of India in all matters involving law and order, health clearances, issues of passes along the evacuation route and finally to take charge of the Air Evacuation Scheme.
The memoir gives a poignant picture of the hardships, illness and tragedy which accompanied the great migration of refugees from Mandalay in Burma to Imphal in Assam, and the devoted work against impossible odds, of the camp administrators, the army, the civil authorities (particularly the D.C. of Imphal) and the few educated and qualified refugees themselves. An incident of particular horror was the Japanese bombing of the camps in Imphal.
The story closes with the author’s onward journey to Calcutta, a refugee himself and finally to Bombay where his application to join the Indian Navy, made in 1934, was at last accepted. 47pp.