Under canvas on the Afghan Border

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It would appear my Granddad spent a lot of time on the Afghan Border.  And when it was cold.. it was cold.  Some of the time his ” men” had to sleep under canvas but it didn’t seem to deter their spirits.  he said often they argued over blankets; hot toddies and sleeping in their uniform.  Anything to keep warm.  Its hard to imagine the snow there, but snow it did.    He always spoke highly of them and his Indian counterparts…afghan border

Each morning, there was Parade.  Wherever you were, and something that the men needed to keep their spirits high …..part of their training and part of their security . My grandfather, at the end of the third row. Smartly turned out and ready for inspection. He said he smiled to himself thinking of my grandmother moaning about darning ” ruddy woollen socks” smart boys

He got to know the Afghan Crossing pretty well and you have seen the picture of the Guide ( with rifle) marking the end of British India… ( yes, I know, what a cheek!) but here the picture marks the time the vehicle went off the road… the roads being infamous for treacherous paths and sudden drops. The question of the day was how they were going to right it and return it to their base… No small feat!   ( and a simple case of keep your eyes on the road, Captain please!)   oops

My grandfather loved his men and supported them very much……in return they respected him and fought for him.  He said he understood them because he was one of them.  A lowly Cannon Fodder boy who had to borrow the money to become an Officer, because ” his sort” just weren’t, ( normally) Officer Material.  He was with the Army until he retired in 1963.. when he was ….63 years old.  Having joined at 15 years, after lying about his age.

grandad and his men

An Obvious remark, but my granddad is on the right…notice how shiny his shoes are even after the dust and dirt.

And finally

Camels.. a huge event.  The camel market.  Held in the hills around the Afghan Border… A wonderful event for all to see.. more camels that the naked eye could imagine   ( and what a smell , as well)    he said he always remembered the smell….  came;s

Until next time.. with more louche tales of British Society in India…


7 thoughts on “Under canvas on the Afghan Border

    • Hmm . . . now strangely, this reply didn’t appear in my notifications area, which makes me wonder whether that long-winded exchange I initiated was pointless in any case. It’s going to be a problem if I have to keep checking to see if you’ve replied, so let’s hope it fixes itself – sometimes these WordPress glitches do. Anyway, do feel free to call me Harold if you wish. 😉


  1. HAH – I wondered if you would notice! You sound slightly exasperated Harrold, 0ld chap. Are you constipated or just ” out of sorts!”


  2. Quite enjoyed this, my Dear Jackie! And the easy relationship that Your grandfather had with the troops, as evidenced in their ease with him, just ‘reclining’ on that vehicle, is good to see. No wonder they fought ‘for’ him. …Regards. 🙂


    • or if I wanted to be contentious I could say they had little respect for him, slouching in front of an Officer ( unless he said to ” stand easy”… I have a beautiful silver cigarette case they presented to him. Lots of other memorabilia which I must put together. More stories as well.
      But mindful, as always , that the story the British tell would not be the story the Indians tell

      Liked by 1 person

      • C’mon, my Dear Jackie! You know that posture has little to do with respect. What more respect can a soldier render his officer than to be ready to go into the jaws of death at his command? 🙂

        Of course the view point can, and perhaps will, differ. But I think they are better left in the mists of time!

        Regards. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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