British 19th Indian Division Cloth Formation Sign Patch
Printed cloth formation sign
Jon Mills Reference 3590
The Division's original role as conceived by Army Commander General Sir W. J. Slim was to meet any attempted Japanese invasion while at the same time training actively for jungle warfare. It first saw action, having become part of Indian XV Corps, at the onset of the third Arakan Campaign in March 1944 where it held and enlarged the Maungdaw Base and established superiority over the enemy.
In May 1944 command of the division was assumed by Major-General George Wood, previously commanding British 4th Infantry Brigade in India. In November 1944, supported by destroyers of the Royal Australian Navy, the division cleared the Mayu Range down to Foul Point and occupied Akyab Island. Following this, with 3 Commando Brigade under command, it made a series of successful seaborne attacks down the coast, supported by sloops of the Royal Indian Navy and winning four Victoria Crosses in the process. These actions included the decisive Battle of Kangaw and landings at Myebon and Ruywa to intercept the retreating Japanese.
In April 1945 the division was withdrawn to South India to prepare for 'Operation Zipper', the invasion of British Malaya, having been chosen for the assault landing (amphibious) role. Although hostilities then ceased, the operation proceeded as planned and 25th Division was the first formation to land in Malaya, occupying the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and then accepting the surrender of the Japanese Army. The division was disbanded in Malaya in February and March 1946.