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In this Burma WW2 tour, Dr Robert Lyman takes us through modern-day Myanmar drawing from its depths the stories of those that were part of the Burma Campaign. This Burma battlefields tour aims to commemorate the soldiers and civilians not only from Britain, Japan and Burma, but a score of nations, and ensure that their stories are not forgotten.
Since finishing a twenty–year career in the British Army in 2001, Robert Lyman has published widely on the Second World War in Europe, North Africa and Asia. He is Field Marshal Bill Slim’s military biographer. His presentation of the case for Slim won a National Army Museum debate in 2011 for Britain’s Greatest General and his case for Kohima/Imphal won a National Army Museum debate in 2013 for Britain’s Greatest Battle. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a trustee of the Kohima Educational Trust since 2004.
Throughout the journey Robert will make presentations on aspects of the Burma Campaign that are not directly covered in this tour such as the battles of Imphal and Kohima and the siege of Myitkyina.
Today you shall be greeted at Yangon Airport and taken into the city. Enjoy a drinks reception with Rob and the Sampan team.
Explore the story of Aung San, the student nationalist who went on to lead the Burmese Independence Army against the British. See a plaque to Major Hugh Seagrim at the Holy Trinity Church and his grave at Rangoon War Cemetery. Cocktails at The Strand Hotel.
Fly to Mawlamyine, the first capital of British Burma. The loss of Mawlamyine to the Japanese was the first crushing blow for the Allies. Follow the advance to Hpa-An and Kyaikto.
Take a picnic lunch at the site of the Sittang Bridge. The blowing of this bridge by the British – with two brigades still on the wrong side – was a turning point in the Japanese conquest of Burma. Proceed to Htaukkyan War Cemetery. This evening there will be a private screening of Forgotten Allies.
Fly to Kalaymyo and then drive to Kalewa. See the sites of Operation Capital across the Chindwin River.
This morning you will drive to Mandalay. Visit the Mandalay Palace (“Fort Dufferin”) and ascend Mandalay Hill for sunset.
Spend the day on a boat on the Ayeyarwaddy River and see the river crossing sites at Ngazun.
Drive from Mandalay to Meiktila and hear about Slim’s “hammer and anvil”. Travel on to Bagan for sunset.
Spend the day exploring the temples and stupas of the resplendent Bagan Empire.
Fly to Yangon and spend the afternoon at leisure.
Today you will be left at leisure before being transferred to Yangon International Airport to catch your departure flight from Myanmar.
A few years ago Sampan Travel teamed up with the film-makers Grammar Productions and the charity Help for Forgotten Allies as they created a documentary about the lost heroes of the Burma Campaign. On this tour there will be a private screening of Forgotten Allies and – we hope – a Q&A with the filmmakers. You can watch a trailer for Forgotten Allies here.
‘The finest hostelry East of Suez’, the Strand remains the grandest places to stay in Yangon.