25 December 1941
Christmas Day 1941
Christmas Day 1941. Japanese imperial forces bomb Rangoon for a second time, killing at least 2,000 people. As many as 4,000 may have died that week (out of a total population of less than half a million). Over 100,000 began to flee in panic, by sea or air if they could (including from sea-planes taking off from in front of the Strand Hotel), otherwise by land to Assam. Hundreds of thousands more would follow and tens of thousands died along the way. It was one of the greatest and most horrific refugee exoduses in history. Rangoon's docks and oil refinery were utterly destroyed, but much of the city itself was spared, unlike Mandalay which by May would be left a blackened ruin. This is a photograph of the American "Flying Tigers" who though outnumbered, managed to down 50 enemy planes over Rangoon (whilst losing 10).