Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1944, Captain Michael Allmand V.C., 6th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers, attached to 3rd Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles, was killed in action during the Battle of Mogaung in Burma.
The son of the Professor of Chemistry at King’s College, London, he was educated at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire, and Oriel College, Oxford, where he read history and was the founder of a literary review journal. A year after beginning his university studies Captain Allmand joined the 6th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers.
When GHQ India called for volunteers to serve in the Second Chindit Expedition, Captain Allmand responded immediately, and was attached to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles. On the 6th of June, 1944, the 77th Brigade advanced towards Mogaung. They fought over 4,000 Japanese through monsoon weather, with torrential rain and swampy terrain, suffering casualties not only from combat but disease – by the end of the week their number was reduced to 550 from over 2,000.
For his actions on the 22nd and 24th of June he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, part of the citation for which reads: “The Battalion was ordered to attack the Pin Hmi Road Bridge. The approach was narrow, the road banked up, land on either side was swampy and densely covered in jungle. The Japanese [were] dug in along the banks and in the jungle with machine guns. As the platoon came within twenty yards, the enemy opened heavy fire, inflicting severe casualties. Captain Allmand with the utmost gallantry charged on by himself, hurling grenades into enemy gun positions and killing three Japanese with his kukri. Inspired, the surviving men followed and captured their objective. Two days later Captain Allmand took command and, dashing ahead through long grass and marshy ground, swept by machine gun fire, killed a number of enemy machine gunners and led his men onto the ridge. In the final attack, Captain Allmand...moved forward alone through deep mud and shell-holes and charged a Japanese machine gun nest single-handed, but was mortally wounded and died shortly afterwards. The superb gallantry, outstanding leadership and protracted heroism of this very brave officer were a wonderful example to the whole Battalion and in the highest traditions of his regiment.”
Captain Allmand lies buried in the Taukkyan War Cemetery in Burma, and there is a memorial window in his honour in the St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Golders Green. From Golders Green in London, he was 20 years old.