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15 October 2014
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Roger Lines memories

by John Lines

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John Lines
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Contributed on: 
31 December 2005

The following was written by my father, and starts during the war, but most of the memorable events occurred in India after the war. I hope it will still be of interest.

Dear Sirs, I was recently watching a TV Program inviting people to write in or relate their War Time experiences.

I was called up on my 18th birthday and reported to the Beds and Herts camp. I was then posted to Northern Ireland (thankfully more or less peaceful then).

I enjoyed this period and got to know and like the Ulster falk. I was then posted to Catterick Camp to train as a Radio Mechanic. This lasted about 15-18 weeks. My next posting was to GHQ signals in QuettaAbout links (Balochistan). Unfortunately I fell onto a concrete floor of the Barracks and thus spent my first Christmas in Quetta Hospital.

Our boat was the first to go to India after the war ended and we were not sure whether the Japanese submarines knew that the war had ended.

At Quetta I had the amazing luck to be present at the last Tribal DurbarAbout links (which had gone on unchanged since the rule of Queen Victoria.) The Durbar is held out in the desert so no tribal chief is able to take precedence over the others. The first day of the Durbar is devoted to ceremonial. The Governer General is in full Diplomatic dress, his chest is covered in gold braid and his silver sword gleaming. Each chief bows to the Agent to the Governer General, representing the Crown (George V at the time). The Indian Army laid on a parachute drop - no doubt to impress the local tribes. The next two days were given over to local sports such as camel, horse and donkey racing, tent pegging etc. It was quite obvious that these second two days were for fun, and quite subsidiary to the first day. That is why they were all gathered together here.

From Quetta to Delphi by train I saw quite a bit of North West India, and later managed to have three short holidays in the foothills of India, as far North West as Sandakphu (13,000 feet) and saw much in the way of Budhist temples.

I was in Darjeeling when Indian Independance day took place with much celebration as this area is largely Hindu.

I greatly enjoyed my time in India and fortunately escaped the worst of the communal violence. It was only many years later that I read a full account. During this period when I was back in Delphi I went to one of Gahandi's Prayer Meetings and was able to take photographs of him quite close up.

Shortly after this I was posted to DeolaliAbout links Transit Camp and so back to Britain after two and half years in India.

Roger Lines

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