Lochaber No More
The Cameron Highlanders honour their Kohima dead with scholarships
On the night of May 3/4, 1944, at the height of the battle of Kohima, the 1st Battalion of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders infiltrated and captured the highest point in Kohima, known as 5120, being its height in feet above sea level. On the following night, the Japanese counter-attacked, and in the ensuing close-quarter fighting, the Camerons lost 105 men killed, wounded and missing The Camerons held their position on 5120 until May 18, when they were withdrawn to a reserve area.
This epic battle was commemorated six months later by the installation of a simple stone with a bronze plaque on which the names of the dead are engraved. Below the names are the words “Lochaber no More”, the historic epitaph of Camerons who would never return to their homes in Lochaber, from which the regiment was originally recruited.
The stone, designed by one of the Cameron officers Captain Alan MacKillop was excavated and manhandled to the battlefield by men of the Angami tribe, was consecrated by the Reverend Frank Maclauchlan, the Regimental padre, in a ceremony attended by all ranks who had taken part in the fight for Point 5120. It was also attended by numerous Nagas of the Angami tribe, who sang “Onward, Christian soldiers” in their own language as the Camerons filed past the memorial. The then Chief Elder of the Angami Tribe – Krusietsu Khezhie – came forward and stated “As long as the sun shines and rains fall, we will look after this memorial”. These words are inscribed on a supplementary plaque which was unveiled on February 19, 2011.
The Regimental Committee of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders decided in 2011 to support the Kohima Educational Trust which awards scholarships to young Naga boys and girls. A grant of £2,100 was given to provide scholarships in the names of seven of those killed:
4541051 Pte Henry Ernest Burgess
3320375 Pte Adam Connor
2933531 Pte Stanley Edward Bennett
2823226 Pte Peter Russell Collins
2938000 Pte Alfred William Evans
2932081 Pte Simon Gillies
4393337 Pte Thomas James Wilson
These seven were chosen to represent all their comrades who lie together in the Kohima cemetery.
The scholarships, which run for three years, were awarded on condition that:
1. The children selected must be from the Angami tribe.
2. The name Cameron must be included in the title of each scholarship.
3. All seven are to be awarded together.
4. Annually on May 4, each child awarded a scholarship is to place flowers on the grave of the Cameron Highlander in whose name the scholarship has been awarded.
5. The men in whose names the scholarships are awarded are all private solders, the men who had borne the brunt of the heat and burden of the epic battle.
On Friday 18 February 2011 the scholarships were presented at the Cameron Memorial by KET Trustee Graham Spearing assisted by Joan Potter (a past KET Trustee) in the presence of some 200 parents and children. As their names were called, each winner of a scholarship came forward with a placard bearing the name of the soldier and the word Cameron.
The plaque quoting the words of the elder at the 1944 consecration was unveiled to the accompaniment of bagpipes played by Donald Maclauchlan, the son of the regimental padre who conducted the 1944 ceremony. On May 4, 2011 the children laid flowers on the graves of the soldiers whose names their scholarships bear.