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  #1  
Old 17-09-21, 08:05 AM
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High Wood High Wood is offline
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Default Burma Independence Army badge?

I have been thinking that my newly purchased Burmese Peacock badge may not have any connection with the Burma Rifles despite its similarity.

Firstly, it is a thin stamping with thin lugs and and not of a particularly good quality. Possibly stamped out in a hurry to issue to a large number of people forming a new army.

It occurred to me that if it wasn't a British issued Burmese badge, it might be a Burmese made/issued badge. My next thought was why was it made and who for? It could be a cheaply made badge for a school or institution, but I would expect it would give some indication of what the school or institution was.

It then occurred to me that it might have something to do with the Burma independence movement, the peacock being a national symbol of Burma.

I found this article about the Burma Independence Army and was pleasantly surprised to see that the flag of the Burma Independence uses the same crudely stylised peacock.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma_Independence_Army

Given that my badge came with a Rangoon University Training Corps cap badge and that the leaders of the Thakins, the instigators of the Burma Independence Army, were nearly all radicalised students from Rangoon University, it might be something more than a badge cheaply made for tourists.

Whilst all this is conjecture at this stage, I would welcome your thoughts.

Could my badge have been worn by members of the Burma Independence movement? Did they even wear badges?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rangoon university 005.jpg (116.0 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg Rangoon university 007.jpg (117.0 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg Rangoon university 008.jpg (73.7 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg Rangoon university 002.jpg (114.9 KB, 20 views)

Last edited by High Wood; 17-09-21 at 09:25 PM. Reason: Correcting spelling.
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  #2  
Old 17-09-21, 09:01 AM
Khyber Khyber is offline
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Hard to say, Simon.. unless we find any documentary evidence or photos showing someone wearing it, has to be in the realm of conjecture...They used the peacock on lots of things... looks like a pretty good badge though in terms of quality and construction.

Don't know if the BIA had any badges, but they did issue medals, as I'm sure you know..they used to come up occassionally on ebay, but haven't seen any in a while.. would have liked to have the medals..
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  #3  
Old 17-09-21, 12:09 PM
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It is certainly not one that I have seen before, or can find anything out about. I doubt that it was worn by the Rangoon University Training corps as they clearly had their own cap badge. IMO it is too big for a collar badge and the quality, particularly the loops are not strong enough for a regular tunic.

I think that it was produced cheaply and quickly without much thought of quality.

If it was produced for a long standing institution such as a Customs or a Port Authority, I would expect some sort of title scroll. As the badge of an independence movement it wouldn't necessarily need a title as the symbolism of the Peacock is enough in itself.

That said, the I.N.A. had their own cap badge with a title, so the Burmese peacock may have been a generic expression of opposition to British colonial rule, rather than a B.I.A. cap badge.

There seem to be very few images of any Burma Independence Army soldiers in uniform apart of course from the leaders, out there on the internet.
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  #4  
Old 17-09-21, 12:22 PM
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Difficult to see the cap badge clearly. Is it a peacock?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma_...ry_officer.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aung_S..._Kyi,_1942.jpg

Last edited by High Wood; 17-09-21 at 12:25 PM. Reason: Adding a link.
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  #5  
Old 17-09-21, 03:23 PM
Khyber Khyber is offline
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No. Simon it's an altogether different badge. I had a good look at the photos too but there are other photos on the net that show Aung San with a different cap badge more circular. It might be a different design of peacock though.
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  #6  
Old 17-09-21, 04:30 PM
conservator conservator is offline
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Just a thought, this badge could be for the Burmese Army under Japanese Occupation. A possibility.
I have a large coloured poster somewhere depicting the insignia, with Burmese and Japanese text. It shows the full range of badges, many being similar to their Japanese equivalents; the rank badges are the same format as the Japanese Army but in white on green rather than yellow on red. I'm sure the cap badges depicted the peacock.
This belonged to a Senior British Officer at a Japanese POW camp {his details are written on the reverse).
I'm unable to locate this at the moment as I'm tn the process of moving house, I will try again once moved though.
George
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  #7  
Old 17-09-21, 09:30 PM
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George,

many thanks for posting. I would love to see your poster and will patiently wait until you are able to unearth it.

Good luck with your move.

Simon.

Last edited by High Wood; 18-09-21 at 06:26 AM. Reason: Terminological in-exactitude
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  #8  
Old 18-09-21, 05:57 AM
koi_hai koi_hai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by High Wood View Post
I have been thinking that my newly purchased Burmese Peacock badge may not have any connection with the Burma Rifles despite its similarity.

Firstly, it is a thin stamping with thin lugs and and not of a particularly good quality. Possibly stamped out in a hurry to issue to a large number of people forming a new army.

It occurred to me that if it wasn't a British issued Burmese badge, it might be a Burmese made/issued badge. My next thought was why was it made and who for? It could be a cheaply made badge for a school or institution, but I would expect it would give some indication of what the school or institution was.

It then occurred to me that it might have something to do with the Burma independence movement, the peacock being a national symbol of Burma.

I found this article about the Burma Independence Army and was pleasantly surprised to see that the flag of the Burma Independence uses the same crudely stylised peacock.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma_Independence_Army

Given that my badge came with a Rangoon University Training Corps cap badge and that the leaders of the Thakins, the instigators of the Burma Independence Army, were nearly all radicalised students from Rangoon University, it might be something more than a badge cheaply made for tourists.

Whilst all this is conjecture at this stage, I would welcome your thoughts.

Could my badge have been worn by members of the Burma Independence movement? Did they even wear badges?
Hi Simon, I would support your tentative identification of the badge as being of the BIA. You might be interested to see the attached image of a BIA brassard that sold at auction a while ago. The peacock was indeed a central motif of the BIA.
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  #9  
Old 18-09-21, 06:37 AM
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Thank you for your input, as you say the identification is tentative, but I am sure that further research will rule it in or out. The BIA flag in the wikipedia link has the same stylised peacock and your armband clearly shows that the peacock formed part of the BIA uniform.

The armband must be a particularly scarce item to find, probably only worn between 1942 and late 1944 when the tide began to go out for the Japanese in Burma. A very nice find.
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  #10  
Old 23-09-21, 10:05 AM
Cannoneer Cannoneer is offline
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Lightbulb “BIA”

The only badge I recognise is that for Rangoon UTC. There is another badge worn by UTC, similar, but with “6th Burma Bn University Training Corps on the circlet.
This was part of the Burma Territorial Force, probably going back to the days of India’s control.However Burma also had a badge: similar to the Burma Rifles, but with only B.T.F. below the peacock feet.

The BIA had a number of titles, and the following is based on the writings of those who were there: Tinker (Civil Servant), Collis (Judge), and McEnery (Soldier).
1. Dec41/Jan42. BIA formed and became
2. 26Aug42. B Defence Army, becoming
3. 1Aug43. B National Army, on being “granted Independence” by Jap;
4. 30May45. Patriotic Burmese Forces, led by General Aung San, after going over to British Forces, led by Gen Slim.
5. Disbanded,and new regular army began recruiting.However those who did not enlist in the new army formed The People’s Volunteer Organisation, with Aung San at its head: this allowed him to take a political lead with power, having
turned downbeingappointedBrogadoer in the new army
6. Oct53. PVO declared illegal.
The new Burma set up by the British with a common cap badge, made in U.K,
and British military system.
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  #11  
Old 23-09-21, 04:15 PM
Cannoneer Cannoneer is offline
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Default “BIA” Pt2. Personal anecdote

Some 6 years ago I was having supper with a UK based Burmese medical consultant, visiting various local medical locations. I produced a stamped out tin badge a little larger than an RAF beret badge; at the top it had star and within the wreath vertical lines like radio waves. He studied it for a few moments, asked if he could photograph it, and declared it was of the Burma Defence Army. What seemed radio was on fact a script. He said he was amazed to see it, last seen when his father had been Gen Aung San’s personal physician in the war.
Bosleys has sold this badge twice in the last couple of years, going for about £40
each.
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  #12  
Old 03-10-21, 05:03 AM
koi_hai koi_hai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cannoneer View Post
The only badge I recognise is that for Rangoon UTC. There is another badge worn by UTC, similar, but with “6th Burma Bn University Training Corps on the circlet.
This was part of the Burma Territorial Force, probably going back to the days of India’s control.However Burma also had a badge: similar to the Burma Rifles, but with only B.T.F. below the peacock feet.

The BIA had a number of titles, and the following is based on the writings of those who were there: Tinker (Civil Servant), Collis (Judge), and McEnery (Soldier).
1. Dec41/Jan42. BIA formed and became
2. 26Aug42. B Defence Army, becoming
3. 1Aug43. B National Army, on being “granted Independence” by Jap;
4. 30May45. Patriotic Burmese Forces, led by General Aung San, after going over to British Forces, led by Gen Slim.
5. Disbanded,and new regular army began recruiting.However those who did not enlist in the new army formed The People’s Volunteer Organisation, with Aung San at its head: this allowed him to take a political lead with power, having
turned downbeingappointedBrogadoer in the new army
6. Oct53. PVO declared illegal.
The new Burma set up by the British with a common cap badge, made in U.K,
and British military system.
Hi Cannoneer,

Thank you for your informative post. Would you know if the Burma UTC Bns had a shoulder title?
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  #13  
Old 08-10-21, 09:28 AM
Cannoneer Cannoneer is offline
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I rather doubt UTC wore a s/t. As far as I am aware Rangoon was the only UTC as part of the Indian UTCs. It seems that after semi independence in 1937, this UTC became part of the Burma Territorial Force; the badge of which was similar
to the Burma Rifles but the only inscription below the Peacock was “B.T.F.” I suspect the UTC continued to wear its own splendid badge. I have a TD to a major of the UTC but with BTF at the end of the unit name.
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  #14  
Old 08-10-21, 04:34 PM
koi_hai koi_hai is offline
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Thank you for your reply. There were about 13 Indian UTC units during the period 1922-1942. They were re-designated UOTC from 1942 onwards, and as you rightly point out they formed a part of the ITF. The 6th (Burma) Bn UTC was constituted in 1922 and in 1937 became part of the BTF as the Rangoon UTC. The UOTC wore cloth slip-on titles while the UTCs did have a brass s/t. Very few examples appear to have survived unfortunately.
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  #15  
Old 08-10-21, 04:39 PM
koi_hai koi_hai is offline
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It would be wonderful to see an example of a Burma UTC/UOTC s/t if anybody has one in their collection.
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