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Garrison Hill battlefield, the key to the British defences at Kohima.

Colonel Donald Friswell Easten MC (15 July 1918 – 28 February 2017[1]) was a British Army officer of the Royal West Kents who was awarded the Military Cross for his actions during the defence of Kohima from Japanese attack during the Second World War. In retirement he bred Hampshire Down sheep and was master of beagles at Colchester Garrison.[2][3][4][5]

World War Two Service[]

Originally a clerk working in the City of London, Donald Easten joined the Territorial Army in 1938.[6] Easten was commissioned from the Honourable Artillery Company as a Second Lieutenant into the Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment on 14 January 1940.[7] Joining the 4th Battalion in 1942, Easten served in North Africa and Iraq before reaching India in 1943.[8]

By 1944 as a captain, Easten was commanding D Company of the 4th Battalion Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment. Despite being recommended for an immediate award on 10 May 1944, Easten was not awarded the Military Cross until 8 February 1945.[9] His award was for bravery both in the Arakan from 16 to 23 March and during the Battle of Kohima during 7 to 8 April 1944. On both occasions he showed "complete disregard for his own safety".[10]

At the end of World War Two, Easten was Mentioned in Dispatches for gallant and distinguished service during the Burma Campaign.[11]

Post War Military Service[]

On 2 August 1947 Easten relinquished his Emergency Commission in the Royal West Kent Regiment together with his War substantive rank of Captain to take a Regular Commission as a Lieutenant in the Royal Army Service Corps.[12] For his previous service with the Royal West Kent Regiment Easten was belatedly awarded the Efficiency Medal (Territorial) in August 1949.[13] By this time although still a substantive Lieutenant he had attained the temporary rank of Major in the Royal Army Service Corps. He promoted to substantive Major on 8 November 1952.[14] Easten further promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 22 August 1960[15] and Colonel on 14 June 1965.[16] After more than 33 years of military service, Colonel Easten retired from the regular Army on 31 January 1973.[17]


  1. "Donald EASTEN Obituary - London Bridge, City of London | The Times". 2 March 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  2. "Obituary – Colonel Donald Easten". The Times. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  3. Keane, Fergal (2 November 2002). "A soldier's story is as much about love as it is about the cruelties of war". The Independent. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  4. "Colonel Donald Easten MC". For the Love of Hunting England. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  5. "Col DF Easten MC visits Kohima — Sponsoring Education in Nagaland, India". KOHIMA Educational Trust. April 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  6. Keane, Fergal (2010). Road of Bones: The Siege of Kohima 1944. London: HarperPress. ISBN 978-0-00-713240-9.  p62.
  7. "No. 34772". 16 January 1940. p. 291. 
  8. Keane, Fergal (2010). Road of Bones: The Siege of Kohima 1944. London: HarperPress. ISBN 978-0-00-713240-9.  pp63-69.
  9. "No. 36928". 6 February 1945. p. 801. 
  10. National Archives Catalogue Reference WO 373/35/71 accessed 7 May 2017
  11. "No. 37730". 19 September 1946. p. 4701. 
  12. "No. 38032". 1 August 1947. p. 3613. 
  13. "No. 38693". 19 August 1949. p. 4011. 
  14. "No. 39691". 11 November 1952. p. 5930. 
  15. "No. 42186". 8 November 1960. p. 7547. 
  16. "No. 43829". 30 November 1965. p. 11303. 
  17. "No. 45899". 8 February 1973. p. 1680. 

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