Japanese flag captured on Ramree Island, January 1945
Cotton flag with crimson disc representing the sun, annotated with Japanese ideographs and marked with blood stains, 1945.
On 21 January 1945, during Operation SEASON, troops of 26 Indian Division made an amphibious assault on Ramree Island - part of the assault on the southern front during the Burma Campaign. The wider operation was known as Operation MATADOR and involved the XV Indian Corps, which had the aim of capturing Ramree and Cheduba Islands in order to establish air bases which could then be used to supply the inland campaign - which at that stage was at risk of outstripping the range of the current bases in use at Imphal and Agartala. Among those taking part were the 2nd Battalion of the Green Howards, who went ashore in three LCI(L) landing craft, and who were part of 4 Indian Infantry Brigade.
On 25 January 1945 the battalion's D Company were on patrols when No 11 Platoon made contact with around 40 Japanese. In the aftermath of the firefight, one of the Japanese soldiers who had been killed was found to have this flag under his shirt.
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