Official History of the Indian Armed Forces in the Second World War

The Royal Indian Navy 1939–1945

by Instructor Lieutenant D. J. E. Collins, B.A.L.T. Indian Navy


To All Who Served

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: India’s Maritime Heritage

Chapter 2: The Eve of War

Chapter 3: The Early Stages of War

Chapter 4: Operations in the Red Sea

Chapter 5: Operations in the Persian Gulf

Chapter 6: The Japanese Peril

Chapter 7: Home Front – 1

Chapter 8: Home Front – 2

Chapter 9: Home Front – 3

Chapter 10: Home Front – 4

Chapter 11: Operational Needs and Requirements

Chapter 12: Operations in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean

Chapter 13: Burma Operations (1942–1945)

Chapter 14: Burma Operations (Continued)

Chapter 15: Epilogue

Appendix 1: Summary of Recommendations of the Chatfield Committee

Appendix 2: Naval Headquarters, Bombay, till 1941

Appendix 3: Base Facilities

Appendix 4: Shore Establishments of the RIN During the War

Appendix 5: Ships of the RIN in 1944

Appendix 6: Flag Officers Commanding Royal Indian Navy

Appendix 7: Officers of RIN, 1941

Appendix 8: Approach Tracks for Ships – Operation BISHOP

Appendix 9: Ships for Operations BISHOP

Appendix 10: HMIS Sutlej and Jumna – Officers

Appendix 11: Training Establishments and Major Works Objects (1944) of the RIN

Appendix 12: Progressive Rate of Intake of Men in the RIN During the War

Appendix 13: Manning Progress of the RIN During the War

Appendix 14: Honours & Awards, Burma Naval Operations 1942–45, Royal Indian Navy

Appendix 15: Names of Officers Borne in Ships which took part in the Burma Operations

Appendix 16: Names of Officers borne in the Coastal Forces of the Burma Operations

Appendix 17: Selection of Personnel Directorate, General Headquarters, India




Maps and Charts

1. Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (1939–1941)

2. Operations in the Middle East showing evacuation of Berbera and the Italian invasion of Somaliland

3. Massaw Channel

4. Persian Gulf and Adjoining Countries

5. Persian Gulf – off Abadan

6. Khor Musa Area showing A.I.O.C. Oil Tank Installations

7. Operation DOVER Embarkation Plan

8. India – Royal Indian Naval Establishment and Bases during World War II

9. Intake of men in the RIN during World War II

10. Sicily

11. Burma – RIN Operational Area (Sheet 1 of 3 Sheets)

12. Royal Indian Navy Eight Amphibious Operations in Burma

13. Burma – RIN Operational Area

14. Burma – RIN Operational Area (Sheet 2 of 3 Sheets)

15. Burma – RIN Operational Area (Sheet 3 of 3 Sheets)

16. Approach Tracks for ships – Operation BISHOP


1. HMIS Hindustan

2. HMIS Cornwallis

3. HMIS Lawrence

4. HMIS Pathan

5. Lieut. N. Krishnan, DSC, RIN

6. Lieut. (E) D. Shankar, DSC, RIN

7. Chief Ordnance Artificer P. C. Mascarenhas, DSM, RIN

8. A general view of the parade ground of HMIS Himalaya as Vice-Admiral Godfrey declares open the new establishment

9. Landing Craft put troops ashore on one of the beaches in an assault

10. Indian soldiers visit HMIS Peshawar, a model warship at the War Services Exhibition at Peshawar

11. CPO Moina Imam, WRIN

12. Surg. Lieut. C. M. Dave, MBE, RINVR

13. Lieut. N. Krishnan, DSC, RIN, explains a problem of navigation to recruits for the Instructor Branch in HMIS Feroze, Bombay

14. A contingent of Indian troops leaving for overseas

15. Officers of the Bengal with souvenir pieces of Jap shell fragments

16. Some of the speedy, hard-hitting units of the Royal Indian Navy’s Coastal Forces

17. At their Advanced Base on the Naaf river MLs of Arakan Coastal Forces embark stores and ammunition for another sortie into enemy water

18. Dawn view of LCTs and motor mine-sweepers passing the Mayu Peninsula on their way to Akyab Island

19. LCAs on their way to Ponnagyun in the Kaladan Valley with a battalion of Royal Garhwal Rifles

20. HMIS Jumna fires a four-inch salvo into the Japanese defences

21. MLs of Arakan Coastal Forces sail into liberated port of Akyab

22. Reinforcements wade ashore at Myebon, supporting one another as they feel their way over the soft mud bottom

23. During the assault on Myebon 74th Indian Brigade lands from LCTs to support the Commandos

24. With loud hailer and Aldis lamps RIN Beach Commandos direct traffic at Myebon

25. Moored to the mangroves HMIS Narbada trains her guns on the enemy’s coastal supply road

The Kangaw beach-head

Advisory Committee

General Editor:

Bisheshwar Prasad, D. Litt. Combined Inter-Services Historical Section (India & Pakistan)


Secretary, Ministry of Defence, India


Dr. Tara Chand

Prof. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri

Prof. Mohammad Hasbib

Dr. R. C. Mujumdar

General K. S. Thimayya

Lieut.-General Sir Dudley Russell

Lieut.-General S. P. P. Thorat, Military Adviser to the High Commissioner for Pakistan in India


Dr. Bisheshwar Prasad