The Burma Forces Welfare Association (BFWA) was formed in December 2000 as a new member organisation of the British Commonwealth Ex-services League (BCEL) to provide urgently needed welfare assistance to the surviving ex-servicemen and their widows of pre-independence Burma. It is an autonomous organisation within the charitable status of BCEL, raising its own funds and responsible for setting up and running a welfare programme. Although it may turn to the already hard pressed BCEL for additonal financial support, it must predominantly rely on its own efforts.

The widow of a veteran
awarded the D.S.M.

Before World War Two

The Burma Rifles
Burma Frontier Force
Burma Royal Naval Volunteer Reserves

In World War Two

Chindit Reconnaissance units (Burma Rifles)
Force 136 (20,000 Burma Rifles and Levies)
Northern Kachin Levies
OSS Detachment 101 (Kachins)
Force V and Z Intelligence units
Karen Rifles
Kachin Rifles
Chin Rifles
Burma Regiment

The late Subedar Nang Hke Hpung
The Northern Kachin Levies
His widow is being helped
The Burma Rifles were mainly recruited from the Karen, Kachin and Chin hill tribes, who remained staunchly pro-British throughout and after the War. Over 120,000 Karens are now displaced persons in primitive camps in Thailand where over 200 ex-servicemen from World War Two and widows have been found among them, suffering hardship and restriction. So far, more than 300 old soldiers have been found inside Burma, mainly in the Kachin State and around Rangoon.

The present political and ecenomic circumstances within Burma cause much hardship. Many old soldiers and widows we have found have eaten no meat or fish in years and even in their 80s some are forced to do manual labour and still pay punitive taxes. Nothing could be done to help them for over 40 years.

To attempt to cope with these severe hardships, BFWA already is managing to rapidly expand its network of contacts and reliable means of providing help where most needed. BFWA tries to give each beneficiary whether in Burma or Thailand about £100 on first being found. Many are now badly in need of further help.

If you would like to make a gift, please make cheques payable to Burma Forces Welfare Association, and send to:

Burma Forces Welfare Association
Tyringham Hall
Upper Church Street
HP18 0AP

Burma Forces Welfare Association
Registered Charity 1107755

Member of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-services League