Stopford, General Sir Montagu, 1892-1971

Stopford commanded the XXXIII Indian Corps which reopened the Imphal Road into Burma and captured Mandalay. He was posted to this command in November 1943 and was sent into action when the Japanese mounted their offensive across the Chindwin on Manipur in early 1944. Stopford was ordered to this new front and mobilized and transported his men there with enormous speed. The Japanese had successfully cut the Kohima-Imphal road which stopped communications and supplies to British troops in that part of Assam. Furthermore the British garrison at Kohima, a small force of 1500, was outnumbered four to one and subjected to an intensive barrage. Stopford arrived in time to clear out the road-block, raise the siege of Kohima and continue along the Imphal road at great speed despite monsoons to join SCOONES’ IV Corps and help relieve the siege of Imphal. Stopford immediately pressed into Central Burma to take Meiktila and then into the Burmese mountains to attack Mandalay from the north in March 1945. The XXXIII then followed the Irrawaddy River to capture the Yenangyaung oilfields. When SLIM left Burma, Stopford became commanding officer of the Fourteenth Army and accepted the Japanese surrender in Burma. Stopford was a highly respected General and very successful in this, the most intense campaign of the Far Eastern Theater.

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