War  |  Memory  |  Gratitude

39 Hours: Walking in my Grandfather's footsteps

39 Hours: Walking in my Grandfather's footsteps


The Kohima Educational Trust is delighted to welcome back our trustee Charlotte Carty as guest speaker in conversation with Dr Robert Lyman for this webinar about her epic walk from Jessami to Kohima over 39 hours following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Lt Col William Felix 'Bruno' Brown.

In Charlotte's own words:

"My Grandfather, Lt Col William Felix ‘Bruno’ Brown, was the Commanding Officer of the First Assam Regiment at the time of the Battle of Kohima in 1944. 

I became particularly interested in the withdrawal back to Kohima of the Assam Regiment from the village of Jessami, where fierce preliminary contact had been made with the invading Japanese. This withdrawal, on foot, was over a distance of some 29 miles as the crow flies, and some 60 miles along the paths and tracks, across sub-Himalayan terrain, in frequent contact with the Japanese. The Regiment achieved this in 39 hours, with some 260 men making it through to bolster the thin defences at Kohima. They started at midnight on 1st April and arrived at Kohima 39 hours later at 3pm on 3rd April 1944."

As part of the 80th anniversary of the battle in 2024, Charlotte, her family, together with Dr Rob Lyman and a team of supporters recreated this walk in April 2024.  Their wish was to highlight the achievements of all of the forces who fought at Kohima, and to remember the local Naga people who were so vital in the campaign and in particular the fighting withdrawal of the Assam Regiment back to Jessami.

The recording is now available to view below:




Dr Robert Lyman - Military Historian, Author and Trustee of KET  Born in New Zealand in January 1963 and educated in Australia, Robert Lyman was, for twenty years, an officer in the British Army. Educated at Scotch College, Melbourne he was commissioned into the Light Infantry from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in April 1982. In addition to a business career he is an author and military historian, publishing books in particular on the war in the Far East. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Robert is married to Hannah, has two sons, and lives in Berkshire. For information about Robert's publications please visit his website: robertlyman.com


Charlotte Carty - Charlotte's initial interest in the Battle of Kohima was due to her grandfather's involvement there as Commanding Officer of the Assam Regiment. Through her research into his war, Charlotte found the Kohima Educational Trust and subsequently became a Trustee. 


Sylvia May - CEO of The Kohima Educational Trust Sylvia May was born in New Jersey, USA in 1957. Her parents moved to England in 1963. Educated at High Wycombe School for Girls, she decided to pursue a career in the world of books. Sylvia worked for HarperCollins for 37 years, the last eleven of which she headed up their UK-based International Sales team. Sylvia May is the daughter of the late Gordon Graham, Founder and President of the Kohima Educational Trust. She is proud that her father has inspired many people to share his vision to commemorate those who fought and died in Kohima, and the wonderful Naga people who have done so much for the British in the past. She first visited India in 1994 with her husband Robert, and has returned on numerous occasions, staying in Kohima several times. In 2000, they followed the WWII route of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, her father’s regiment. The regiment’s first main engagement in this theatre of war was at Zubza shortly before the Battle of Kohima.

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