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Ensign of the Royal Navy animated.gif
CountryFlag of British Burma 1939 to 1941 and 1945 to 1948.png British Burma
AllegianceFlag United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.gif United Kingdom
BranchNaval Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Navy
TypeNaval Base & Station
Garrison/HQRN Base, Akyab, Burma

Akyab was a naval base and area command of the Royal Navy.


Originally a small fishing village, Akyab became an important seat of maritime commerce, especially as a port for the export of rice after the British occupation of Arakan, now known as Rakhine State, following the First Anglo-Burmese War. Akyab was the location of a battle during the conquest of Arakan by the Burmese king Bodawpaya. In 1784, the Burmese expeditionary force, some 30,000 strong, encountered the governor of U-rit-taung Province, Saite-ké (General) Aung and his force of 3000. Although heavily outnumbered, the Arakanese force tried to fight the Burmese forces on both land and sea, but were brutally crushed. This defeat opened the route towards the inland Arakanese capital of Mrauk-U, which was soon conquered, ending the independence of the Arakanese. According to Arakanese lore, all of the Arakanese defenders were killed.

In 1826, after the First Anglo-Burmese War, the British transferred the seat of government to Akyab on the coast. During the first 40 years of British rule it expanded from a village to a town of 15,536 inhabitants, and by 1901 it was the third port of Burma with a population of 31,687. In the 1860s, the Consulate General of the United States (Kolkata) had a consular agency in Akyab. During colonial times, Site-tway had a bad reputation for malaria and cholera, although historical records indicate that it was no better or worse than many other locations along the India coast. During World War II the island was an important site of many battles during the Burma Campaign due to its possession of both an airfield and a deepwater port. Following independe3nce Akyab was renamed Sittwe.

In Command

Map of RN Bases and Ports Indian Ocean in World War Two. © Graham Smith https://www.naval-history.net

Naval Force Commander, Burma