For archive (Updated on February 8, 2019)
Note about the Getty Photo
(by Dr. Thank Oke Kyaw Myint)
The Getty Photo had titled the photo as “The Widow Returns”. Ma Ma Molly Tin Tut (Mya Saw Shin) told me that Daw Than Tin was still in Rangoon but she and her sister Peggy were studying in UK and the photo was about their return to Burma in the death of their father.
U Tin Tut did not attend the meeting at Secretariat on July 19, 1947 (Martyr’s Day) and escaped death, but he did not survive the assassination attempt on September 18, 1948. It was another ominous day in the history of Burma.
U Tin Tut is the elder brother of U Kyaw Myint, U Myint Thein, Dr. Htin Aung, Daw Khin Mya Mu, Daw Khin Saw Mu and Daw Tin Saw Mu. He is the uncle of Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint, Sayama Daw Khin Saw Tint and U Nay Oke Tint.
U Tin Tut was the first ICS by invitation. He passed away when a grenade that was placed under his car parked while he was in front of his office on Sparks Street (Bo Aung Kyaw Street) later exploded.
His murder case is still an “unsolved” mystery.
Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint wrote about his Bagyi Tin Tut.
I have incorporated some feedback from his posts.
THE EMPTY TOMB
by Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint
Yesterday [July 19, 2018] was Martyrs’ Day in Burma. People attended the remembrance ceremony at both the memorial as well as in cities and towns all over Burma.
The present memorial near the Shwe Dagon was the second structure built after the bombing incident to assassinate South Korean President Chun Doo Wan by North Korea.
The original tombs [nine of them with Bogyoke’s tomb in the center] were not built again but remnants of the tombs were interred at the same site as the previous memorial.
I wonder whether people know of the two other tombs, together with the tombs of the martyrs?
One was of Bo Sein Hman, and other was of U Tin Tut, my father’s elder brother. [Both were victims of assassination attempts: one in mid-air and the other on the ground.]
The remains of Bo Sein Hman were in the tomb on the right and U Tin Tut to the left of the other tombs.
On the left was an empty tomb, for U Tin Tut. He was killed by a grenade placed under his car on Sparks Street in front of his offices of New Times Of Burma press in 1948.
Our family’s tradition was for cremation of family members who passed away and to “float” the ashes into the nearest river.
After his military funeral, U Tin Tut’s body was cremated. There used to be a small crematorium in Kyandaw, which was built to cremate U Tin Tut, as previously those who died were buried.
In spite of my father saying that there should not be a tomb, the Prime Minister insisted that there should be a tomb so that U Tin Tut would be remembered and the tomb be at the Martyrs mausoleum.
What was buried there was a empty coffin containing his uniform as a Brigadier. The family never went there on the anniversaries of his death, as it was a meaningless gesture by the government to have an empty tomb next to that of the martyrs.
When I was working as a consultant Pediatrician in the Children’s Hospital, I received a call from Col. Soe Nyunt (Htila Sithu) saying that after the [North Korean] bombing, the government would like to leave the remains of the martyrs only, and had decided to move the remains of U Tin Tut and Bo Sein Hman to the the cemetery in Kyandaw and tombs would be made for the two of them.
I learned that Bo Sein Hman’s wife requested the remains of her husband to be interred at the mausoleum which was done.
We explained that as there were no remains of U Tin Tut at the site of the mausoleum, there was no need to have a tomb in Kyandaw. Yet the government was insistent in having a tomb for U Tin Tut, at the cemetery.
Another coffin with a photostat copy of U Tin Tut photo was carried in a hearse and interred in the tomb in Kyandaw. Yet another empty tomb.
I often wonder why and who decided that there be two tombs for my uncle. Was it a sense of guilt by those who were behind his assassination, in insisting that there be a tomb for him?
When the new cemetery was built in Ye Way, families were told to move the remains of the loved ones from Kyandaw to the new cemetery outside Rangoon.
Much to our relief, another offer was not made to move for a third time to have yet another empty tomb.
Who was behind U Tin Tut’s assassination ? It was a puzzle never solved.
In the autobiography of commissioner of police U Ba Aye, there is a mention about U Tin Tut. He was the Deputy Commissioner then in 1948. The Commissioner was U Aung Chein (father of Prof. U Than Aung).
U Ba Aye was in charge of the case of assassination. In his book, U Ba Aye wrote that he was told by U Aung Chein to investigate the case with caution. Did the Commissioner knew or suspected the real culprits behind the killing of U Tin Tut?
We would never know.
The irony was that U Tin Tut was about to leave for England as Burma’s first ambassador to the Court of St. James.
[According to Mya Saw Shin (Daw Molly Tin Tut), Ko TOKM’s original posting had some minor mistakes. She wrote :
Thank you so much for writing this post, which means a lot to me. Just who was behind my father’s brutal murder? I think the answer is generally known, even if never articulated. Please forgive me if I point out some minor mistakes in your post: the grenade was placed under his car, parked on Sparks Street while he was in the New Times office, second, the date of my father’s death was Sept. 18, 1948, and third, my mother Daw Than Tin and my oldest sister Khin Nyunt Yin (Katherine), were in Rangoon at the time. My older sister Saw Hla Khin (Peggy) and I were away at boarding school in Gloucestershire, England. The picture shows Peggy and me being met by our mother at the airport a few days later. We are wearing our school uniform!]
Although he had been the Minister of Finance in Aung San cabinet and later as Minister of Foreign Affairs after independence, he was not political.
Was there jealousy that at Independence, he held the rank of a brigadier? Was it because he and his regiment chased after the communists when they went underground?
If so we could only think of one man who was below him by rank in the army and who was a former communist himself. But then it might not be true.
Years had passed and our family had accepted that the death of U Tin Tut will never be solved.
We have gone on with our lives
U Tin Tut passed away on 14 October 1948.
Thane Oke Kyaw-Myint
- Per Dr. Htut Kyaw Win, U Tin Tut was in charge of territorial forces and not part of Burma Army. Burma Army was still under the supervision of UK military commission per Letya-Freeman agreement. So after his demise, AUMP was formed under Home ministry.
- U San Lin (Maung Lu Pay, M87) wrote an article in Burmese/Myanmar based on the article by Dr. Thane Oke Kyaw Myint. It is provided as a separate post.