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Colonel John Brough DSO. MC. MBE.

22 Feb

When, square bashing and training was finished at Fulwood Barracks Preston. I along with my platoon we were sent to Barnard Castle County Durham to join up with the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment.
At the time the regiment had just been amalgamated from two famous northern regiments the King’s Own and the Border Regiment hence The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment.
At Barnard Castle the regiment was split between two camps (B) (C) and (HQ) Company at Humbleton Camp and (A) and (Support) Company at Westwick Camp. I was sent to Support Company at Westwick.
It was there at Westwick I learned that the O.C. of (A) Company was a man named Major Brough. The men of (A) Company thought the world of him. I never heard a bad word said about him. In my opinion they were the best Rifle Company in the Battalion, because Major Brough made them that way. They called themselves Brough’s Chindits
I knew from chatter around the camp and since what I have read that Major Brough had a good war record and I have investigated further
John Brough was born in Carlisle in 1920 where his parents were farmers. He joined the Army and served in the Coldstream Guards before taking a commission in the Border Regiment. He then went on to command a company in Burma. In the Arakan In March 1944 Major Brough commanded (C) Company of the 11th Sikh Regiment part of the 7th Indian Division.
On the night of March 6, his company was ordered to capture a strategic hill near Buthidaung in the Kalapanzin valley. The only way to approach the hill was up a narrow track, they came under murderous machine gun fire as they attacked the Japanese positions, which wer held by 40 men well dug in. The leading section was led by Naik Nand Singh who although wounded attacked three trenches and killed all the occupants. His platoon followed up with the rest of the Company and thirty seven of the enemy were killed in taking the position. Nand Singh serving under Major Brough was awarded the Victoria Cross.
A few nights later a Japanese platoon had infiltrated the battalion position and moved on to a hill overlooking the main Maunndaw-Buthidaung road. The position was of vital importance and Major Brough was ordered to drive them off. He organised an attack with the support of tanks and directed it himself. The offensive was carried out with great boldness, consequently the hill was retaken and the Japanese positions annihilated. Major Brough who killed six of the enemy himself was awarded an immediate D.S.O.
During the month of May 1945 Major Brough now in command of (D) Company, was ordered to attack the entrenched enemy on an organised diversion over 500 yards of open rice fields. Behind a barrage of mortars they took the Japanese by surprise. The Company went in with the bayonet and completely overrun the enemy’s position to take the strong point. Major Brough for his action was awarded an immediate M.C.

After the end of the campaign in Burma and the Second World War, Major Brough re-joined the Border Regiment, later to be named The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment
It was in 1960-61 while in the Cameroons West Africa I came off a patrol that had overrun a terrorist camp which I have written about in my book. Major Brough was there to meet the patrol on our return. He told us to gather round him and said “we had done a good job and were a credit to the regiment”.
Coming from him it meant a lot to each and every one of our patrol. I also knew why the lads of (A) Company held him in such high esteem. A true warrior and man
He was appointed an MBE and retired as Colonel in 1969 and died in 2009.

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