Forgotten Frontier by Geoffrey Tyson

FORGOTTEN FRONTIER by Geoffrey Tyson (published in 1945 by W.H.Targett & Co. Ltd., 4 Lyons Range, Calcutta) is the story of the part played by the Tea Planters of North-Eastern India in the civilian evacuation of Burma in the Spring and Summer of 1942. In the van of advancing Japanese armies, several hundred thousand refugees made their way from Burma to India – mainly across the wild and inaccessible mountain passes of the Assam-Burma border. Little known to the outside world at the time, or since, the movement was one of the great pilgrimages of history. An evacuation of this magnitude, carried out amidst the swirling tide of battle, could hardly fail to acquire at least some of the elements of
drama and Mr. Tyson’s story has recaptured much of the excitement, the hasty improvisation, the squalor, the tragedy and the heroism of the stirring days of three years ago, in which the tea planters of Assam and Bengal found themselves engaged on one of the strangest missions of mercy that can ever have been assigned to a civilian organisation in time of war.

Here's a poem taken from the book:

The Trek from Burma 1942

“They were coming in their thousands; they were streaming through Tamu,

 The young and old, infirm and fit, determined to get through;

 ‘Twas survival for the fittest, and downfall for the weak,

 As the countless hordes pushed onward, security to seek.

 From the shores of Irrawaddy, from bazaars of Mandalay,

 They had clutched their goods and chattels ere they started on their way;

 And along the Chindwin Valley, in Rangoon and far Moulmein,

 They had seen their houses burning; they had left their kindred slain.

 And many were the aged, who faltered on the way,

 Whose heart and nerve and sinew had known a better day;

 Grim death soon claimed his victims, dread dysentery was rife,

 As the multitude pressed forward, goaded on by love of life.

 And many were the stragglers, who even with succour nigh,

 Just fell out by the roadside, in loneliness to die."


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