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: British Empire & Commonwealth

: Stephens

: 2005/044/2/020-078

: Letters from India covering the voyage out, Bombay, Mhow, and Rawalpindi

: 29 October 1945 - 5 May 1946

: Letters cover the voyage to India and Stephens' experience as young Corporal in a Signals Regiment stationed initially in Mhow, in Madhya Pradesh and subsequently in Rawalpindi in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). He talks about events which have also been recorded in his photographs, and the links to his photograph albums are highlighted wherever possible. Including: 2005/004/2/20: 29/10/45 - On HMT Scythia, a requisitioned Cunard Liner, describing voyage from Liverpool. 2005/044/2/21: 01/11/45 - 'somewhere in the Med' en route to Port Said. 2005/044/2/23: 05/11/45 - To Phillip (who is at university), about books, John about passing through Suez Canal, Red Sea, Dead Sea, flying boats, porpoises, locusts, good detailed description of voyage. 2005/044/2/25: 12/11/45 - In quarantine. Mentions that he wishes to be a Methodist minister. 2005/044/2/26: 21/11/45 - Bombay, description of hospital - he is in isolation. 2005/044/2/31: 02/12/45 - Discharged and travels to Mhow India Command (Madhya Pradesh between Mumbai/Agra). A long letter describing going into the town, Hindi weddings, the bazaar. 2005/044/2/34-35: 13/12/45 - Letters to Rachel and John about life in India - he mentions schooldays at Kingswood School Bath (which was established for sons of Methodist clergymen). 2005/044/2/43: 28/12/45 - 5 airletters with description of Christmas celebrations in mess house in Mhow, and of cycle ride with camera to Patalpani Falls which are too dark to photograph by time he gets there. 06/12/45 - 4 airletters with description of dinner with Indian Army vet and a discussion about Indian Independence ('it is not the right time') followed by further cycle ride to Patalpani (see photographs on pages 1-2 in album 2005/044/1/1 ). Further comment about Ghandi and religion - 'Christianity the only religion that could unite India'. Shows how important camera film is to him - he lends camera to colleague to take one photograph 'but he took 4!'. Also mentions sending back gym shoes, having suits made, and references to rationing at home. 2005/044/1/46: 19/12/45 (this should be dated 19/01/1946) - Posted to Rawalpindi, North West Frontier Province HQ Northern Command Signals. Description of 2 day train journey. 2005/044/2/49: 24/01/46 - Day after his 20th birthday. 2005/044/2/51: 29/01/46 - Letter describes anti-English atmosphere (Quit India) in Rawlpindi. Refers to taking photographs at the races and riding with Ted Palmer from Bristol (see photographs page 3 in album 2005/044/1/1). 2005/044/2/55: 17/02/46 - Acquires film from Mhow. At this point, Stephens introduces a personal index system for his letters with A001 onwards. 2005/044/2/56: 18/02/46 - A002 to sister Rachel refers to photograph of 'four of us with our 'chico' or boy - about 15 and a Sikh', General description of duties of boy/bearer and their wages (photograph on page 3 in album 2005/044/1/1). 2005/044/2/57: 23/02/46 - A003 refers to trouble in Bombay, Karachi and expected in Pindi. Observations of life around railway stations. 2005/044/2/58: 28/02/46 - A005 swimming and diving (see photographs on page 4 in album 2005/044/1/1). There are many references in subsequent letters to swimming in the pool at Pindi. 2005/044/2/61: 06/03/46 - A007 to mother - there has been an order that no further food parcels are to be sent out of India. 2005/044/2/63: 16/03/46 - A010 Stephens has managed to send food parcel with 3lb candied peel 1.5lb glazed cherries for a wedding cake, later mentions jellies and tin fruit. Mentions Voluntary Help Parcels. Excursion to Patalpani, takes photographs of swimming at a pool (see page 5 in album 2005/044/1/1). 2005/044/2/71: 07/04/46 - Promoted to Corporal after Mhow Course, and making plans for going on leave to Srinigar with Eric Richardson 'saving up all the film we can get', 'mine takes a 116 and I have 5 films'. Holiday in Srinigar postponed and it will be a holiday in Murree instead.

India, Pakistan

: 58 documents

: File

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