Monday, 27 April 2015

Holden, Richard - Private

(No soldier photo available)
1st. Bn.
North Staffordshire Regiment
Died 17 July 1943
Age 23

The 1st. Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment arrived in the Maungdaw area of the Arakan front in Burma (now Myanmar) on 24 April 1943. On 16 July 1943 'Operation Polecat' was launched. The objective was for a company to ambush the Japanese forces on the Maungdaw to Buthidaung road. They were to eliminate any troops found, destroy any vehicles seen and to capture prisoners. All taking part were volunteers. Throughout the operation, the rain was extremely heavy. Movement was only possible at night, and the going so difficult through thick jungle, the Burmese guides soon became lost. At dawn on 17 July, the Japanese made a surprise attack with mortar and machine-gun fire. The company sustained many casualties and were forced to withdraw. It was not possible to evacuate the wounded and the Japanese took them prisoner. Private Richard Holden lost his life in this action.

Richard was the son of Joseph and Jane Holden. He was aged 23.

Richard's body was never found so he is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, Yangon, (formerly Rangoon), Myanmar. The Memorial bears the names of almost 27,000 men of the Commonwealth land forces who died in the country and have no known grave. Richard's name is on Face 17.