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The 19th Indian Infantry Division was an infantry division of the Indian Army during World War II, and played a prominent part in the final part of the Burma Campaign.

19th Indian Infantry Division
19th indian division.svg
Formation sign of the 19th Indian Infantry Division.[1]
Active1941– postwar
CountryBritish Raj British India
Allegiance British Empire
BranchBritish Raj Red Ensign.svg British Indian Army
 Indian Army
Nickname(s)"Dagger Division"
EngagementsBurma Campaign
Jackie Smyth VC
Thomas Wynford Rees


The 19th Indian Infantry Division was raised in Secunderabad, India in October 1941 during the Second World War and became part of Southern Army, which was mainly concerned with defence against a possible seaborne invasion by the Japanese. The division originally consisted of the 47th, 48th and 49th Indian Infantry Brigades. The divisions' first General Officer Commanding (GOC) was Major General Sir Jackie Smyth VC, who left in December to take command of the 17th Indian Infantry Division, then fighting in Burma. Between January and April 1942 all three brigades were reassigned and replaced by the 62nd, 64th and 98th Indian Infantry Brigades.[2]

British 3-inch mortar detachments support the 19th Indian Division's advance along the Mawchi Road, east of Toungoo, Burma. The mortar proved the most effective weapon in jungle warfare.

After short periods under the command of Major General Geoffry Scoones and Douglas Stuart the division in October 1942 came under the command Major General Thomas Wynford Rees, who was to become GOC until December 1945. The division spent an extended period on internal security duties and in training before being committed to the Fourteenth Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Sir William J. "Bill" Slim, on the Burma front in July 1944.[2] From October the division concentrated on the Imphal plain under IV Corps and from November its brigades were involved in operations on the Chindwin River advancing to establish contact with the British 36th Infantry Division advancing from the north on their left.[2] Concentrating once more at Sinlamaung the division came under Indian XXXIII Corps, and played the major role in the capture of Mandalay which was completed on 20 March.[2] Transferred to IV Corps, it guarded the Fourteenth Army's lines of communication and mounted an offensive towards Mawchi, in the Shan States.

Casualties of 19th Indian Division being treated in Mandalay, March 1945.

The division's successes were due to its fitness and high morale. Not having been stationed in the unhealthy mountains on the Indian/Burmese border in 1943, nor fought during the battles in 1944, it had a high proportion of pre-war regular soldiers among its officers and senior Non-Commissioned Officers. The 19th Indian Division was occasionally referred to as the "Dagger Division", from its divisional sign, which was a hand thrusting a dagger overhand, in yellow on a red background.

During the Second World War, a large number of brigades were assigned or attached to the division. The included at various points the 9th, 47th, 48th, 49th, 62nd, 64th, 98th and 99th Indian Infantry Brigades as well as the 22nd (East Africa) Infantry Brigade.[3]

Order of Battle 1 March 1945Edit

General Officer Commanding: Major General Thomas Wynford Rees
Commander, Royal Artillery: Brigadier John Alexander MacDonald
Chief of Staff (GSO1): Lieutenant Colonel John Masters

62nd Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier James Ronald Morris)

64th Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier John Godfrey Flewett)

98th Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Charles Ian Jerrard)

Divisional Troops


Just before the Indian/Pakistani war of 1965 began, 19th Infantry Division was at Baramula under XV Corps (India). Its brigades were the 104th Brigade, Tithwal, the 161st Brigade, Uri and the 268th Indian Infantry Brigade, Baramula.


  1. ^ Cole, Howard (1973). Formation Badges of World War 2. Britain, Commonwealth and Empire. London: Arms and Armour Press. p. 81.
  2. ^ a b c d Kempton, Chris (2003). 'Loyalty & Honour'. The Indian Army September 1939 - August 1947. Part I: Divisions. Milton Keynes, U.K.: The Military Press. pp. 101–105. ISBN 0-85420-228-5.
  3. ^ "19 Division units". Order of Battle. Retrieved 22 October 2009.

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