Old Army songs
Quotes and sayings
Dad's brother -
1911 - 1944
THOMAS (BERTIE) DONOGHUE
Thomas Herbert Donoghue
Bombay June 1943
Born - 1911 Died 24.4.1944
1st Batt. Royal Berk Regt.
I have been asked by my Colonel to forward details of how Cpl. Donoghue of this Batt. met his death.
He was killed in action on the 24th. April at Kohima, in the area of the famous D Coy's Bongolow. It happened like this.
My Company, D. Coy, had been relieved on the 23rd. April by another Coy. after a very heavy attack the night before. On the night of the 23rd. the Japs succeeded in capturing a forward position and pimple over looking this Coy's. area. After severe hand-to-hand fighting the Japs were strongly in this most important position. By then the O.C. of C. Coy. had been killed, and a platoon of D. Coy. in which Cpl. Donoghue was, went down to re-enforce C. Coy. They continued unsuccessfully to press the Japs and to try and force the position. Cpl. Donoghue in one of these attempts, picked up a Bren gun and ran along the top of the Jap position firing into them. It looked as if he was going to save the day when a sniper shot him, he died at once. His body was never recovered to my knowledge though some twenty days later when all our attacks were successful I went down there to find his, along with nine others that were missing, but there was no trace of any of them.
The Batt. memorial is on Parrison Hill, with below it, on the ground where the action above took place, is the Divisional Memorial. All those who were killed in Kohima and Imphal Road operations will have their names enscribed on the Batt. plaque at the back of the memorial.
Cpl. Donoghue was a grand Corporal, - always cheerful and most courageous. His last act, though abortive, had a great effect on those who were with him.
Yours sincerely, J.W. (major)
O.C. D. Coy.
There is quite an incredible tale behind this page.
In 1999, when I last visited England to see my relatives, my Aunty Paddy gave me the picture and letter that are reprinted here. She gave them to me in the hope of finding two long lost nephews (my cousins). From what I can remember of what she told me, Uncle Bertie and his wife had two sons, Bill and ?. Tragedy befell these two boys. Besides their father being killed in Burma there was an unconfirmed story was that their mother was killed in the London blitz. The two boys were evacuated from London and that was the last anyone in the Donoghue family heard of them. Where they went to no-one knew.
When I got home from the trip I created this page, with the thought of honouring my Uncle but never expecting to find my cousins.
A year later I received an email from a son of one of the cousins asking if the picture was of his Grandfather. I was astounded. After more than fifty years of being apart the family was back together again.