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: British Empire & Commonwealth

: Stephens

: 2005/044/2/166-215

: Letters from India - Abbottabad, Peshawar

: 6 December 1946 - 24 May 1947

: Letters expand on local troubles in this period as Partition approaches, complicated also by actions of Hazaran tribesmen on North West Frontier. In May he is transferred to Peshawar. Including: 2005/044/2/168: 12/12/46 - 'we have been having a spot of trouble again and I have been working day and night...you probably know more about the trouble here than we do, but I cannot say much, since secrets are secrets in the Signals.' 2005/044/2/169-170: 18/12/46 - 'the trouble here has subsided, though the troops are still out.' Refers to recent photographs which have been quite good. 2005/044/2/171: 21/12/46 - 'It is very difficult to find much to say, when I cannot talk about my work, and the interesting things I know! But I suppose that is one of the penalties (amongst a great many) that one has to pay for being in Cipher. The great advantage, of course, is that by being eccentric in the eyes of the rank and file, I am keeping in line with the reputation that Cipher Operators have gained for themselves. The saying 'Oh he's in Cipher' explains away all sorts of peculiar habits!'. 2005/044/2/172: 22/12/46 - 'the whole atmosphere was such a happy one, that it was difficult to imagine the strife going on around us in India'. 2005/044/2/173: 29/12/46 - Earlier he had referred to album being wrapped and ready for Christmas. In this letter he describes Christmas Day and how 'I arranged the first two pages of my new album, and mounted the snaps. We listened to the King's Speech, knowing that you would be doing the same'. 2005/044/2/178: 02/01/46 (this should be dated 1947) - First letter to mention a death - Fred Llewellyn killed when his destroyer was torpedoed. 12/01/46 (this should be dated 1947) - Refers to HQ Mhow directives that indicate that cipher operators will stay in India up to June 1947 'condemned to stay in India for the rest of my time'. Writes of his photograph album - 'got as far as the course in Mhow in March.' He mentions that '50 or 60 more (British) have come up to Abbottabad to sort out the trouble' (from Pindi). 2005/044/2/179: 12/01/47 - A curfew is imposed and he encloses 2 newspaper cuttings about Hazara district disturbances. 'Military forces at Oghi to enforce fine on Nandihar tribes for incursions', 'situation in areas east of Abbottabad continues to be serious'. 2005/044/2/180: 14/01/47 - Describes visit of Army Commander Sir Frank Messervey to Oghi and Abbottabad. 2005/044/2/182: 28/01/47 - 'The Hazara operations are, for the time being, ended'. Describes his 21st birthday, took photographs on a stroll in the hills. Expecting a transfer to Peshwar. 2005/044/2/188: 10/02/47 - A signal interrupts letter his writing 'it looks as if the tribal trouble or else communal trouble, instigated by the Muslim League will start again!' He gives opinion on British Government statement on India (made on 20 February 1947 when 'His Majesty's Government announced their intention of transferring power in British India to Indian hands by June 1948') - 'slipped up in giving a time limit. It will pay us, of course, to get out quickly; but I honestly do not see India solving their problems in any other way than by giving vent to their pent-up hatreds in civil war'. 2005/044/2/190: 09/03/47 - Disturbances in Pindi - 'we are now cut off and all trains stopped'. Refers to making progress in studies. 2005/044/2/191: 10/03/47 - Still cut off 'knowing the possible effect of no mail on our morale the DQ has sent an armoured car to Pindi to bring it all up…it is a week since I received any mail at all and I am beginning to tick about it'. 2005/044/2/193: 20/03/47 - 'The situation here is steadily deteriorating according to latest reports, so I am expecting another rush of work very shortly...the bazaar is still out of bounds.' 2005/044/1/194: 25/03/47 - Spring arrives. More fretting about post-demobilisation and studies for Methodist role, but has heard that the grant 'available for going to Uni after release from the services also applies to...ministerial Training Colleges'. 2005/044/2/195: 31/03/47 - Cutting attached to letter about trans-border raid attacks on Oghi and Battal near Abbottabad, but tone of letter is very dissatisfied with his status as BOR (British Other Rank) in Indian army vs commissioned officers. He shows frustration about his future. 2005/044/2/196: 02/04/47 - To John, refers to the troubles and reinforcement from Indian Battalions but prospect of Civil War. 2005/044/2/197: 08/04/47 - To Philip, laments lack of good library. 2005/044/2/199: 15/04/47 - To Rachel, describes coming across demonstration of Muslim League on his bike trip. 2005/044/2/200: 17/04/47 - 'I did a little birds nesting last week and procured a house sparrow egg'. 2005/044/2/201: 25/04/47 - Tony (the other cipher) is recalled to Peshawar and Stephens is on his own after 7 months together. 2005/044/2/203: 27/04/47 - Lines were cut 5 miles from Abbottabad 'As I write this I can hear the drums beating and the shouts of 'Pakistan' and the trump of hundreds of feet coming down the road. It just means that the Muslim League are at it again.' 2005/044/2/209: 18/05/47 - 'had another big fire in Abtbd last night and a row of Muslim shops, high class English goods, were burned down...presumably it was in retaliation for the last one, and the recent bombs in Abbotbd.' 2005/044/2/211: 21/05/47 - To be sent to Peshawar - under officer Lieut Densley 'a brute of the first order'. 2005/044/2/213: 24/05/47 - Leaves Abbottabad for Peshawar by train from Havelian; takes photograph of Muslim League procession also 'at Attock, where I took forbidden snaps of the bridge over the Indus'.

India, Pakistan

: 49 documents

: File

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