With a certain shortage of property deemed as “appropriate” by the British Army, somehow or another they were able to enlist the help of local Maharajas…. The official word was that the larger properties were to be used by single officers as a Mess or Hostel . They would all stay in these rather sumptuous houses and be able to come and go where ever they were posted . Upon returning on leave, they would still have some of the standards one expected, don’t ya know! However, because it appeared that a fair majority of the Officers were married with families, this didn’t quite work out as the Army had hoped and so these rather wonderful residences were given over, not to single Officers, but to married Officers and their family.
The above ” hostel” was a home my family lived in for about six years on and off. They shared half of it and another Officer family had the other half. When they were sent to places further away, the house was simply locked up with a small skeleton staff to keep the gardens tidy and ensure all Home Fires were burning upon the family’s return. My grandmother loved this garden and tended, with a little bit of success, a rather beautiful Rose Garden there until she left around 1945.
Rather blurred but you can see my father reading a book on the Verandah with his parents sitting behind him. Life seemed calm
As the years went by, my father excelled at sports and as it was an Indian Boarding School he mixed with a huge cross section of European and Indian children. His love of Boxing as a young teenager meant he won many cups and shields before returning to England. He was 14 in the picture below….
Nothing seemed to rock their life. My grandfather worked hard; was often away. Sometimes they went with him. Sometimes they couldn’t. The picture below is of my grandmother ( she would have been 43 with more hand made shoes..) and my father getting ready to see him box at a County Championship for his school
They had become more and more integrated with the lifestyle there. My father hardly remembered their life in dismal England… they didn’t realise that their life in India was now only a year or so nearing its end.
( my grandfather was sometimes called Hadji by his Batman. He could never determine whether it was a term of respect ( as in elder) or the Hajji spelling as a form of slightly offensive nickname used to refer to Afghans….as he spent a lot of time there. But more of this with the next set of photographs)