February 15th 1939 – Razmak


This morning dawns with six inches of snow, and it is continually a steady downpour. I have had two teeth stopped and go today for a final polish of stoppings. I hear the 1st Brigade went out yesterday, down the Khaisora to join the 2nd Brigade I suppose.

The Brigadier came in yesterday, after presenting Irving with his L.S. and G.C. medal, Andrews’ “Challenge of the North West Frontier” puts forward some interesting opinions. Russia is no longer a menace, being occupied with her own undeveloped Asiatic territory, and faced with a German-Japan axis. India pays for the British troops out here, has no say in their employment, takes orders from Britain in the League of Nations, so we obtain two votes and seats there. He reckons there’s no justification for keeping such a large army on the frontier. It’s an Imperial reserve, no doubt, paid for by India, but our Waziristan policy seems a failure, and so many troops only irritate the tribesmen. He advocates a withdrawal, and the establishment of medical centres, as a beginning of peaceful administration. Air bombing, even with warning, seems to be just as barbarous in the actual results obtained, driving the homeless tribesmen to the rifle as a means of subsistence.

But they are responsible for raids on the plains or into Afghanistan – surely adequate border patrols and posts would keep the Plains safe? Maybe the Chatfield commission will have far-reaching developments and suggestions to put forward in their report. But Peter Fleming’s account of Russian activities in Sinkiang seems to bear out the old bogey.

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This entry was posted in 1939/02, Waziristan Campaign, North West Frontier, 1938-1939. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to February 15th 1939 – Razmak

  1. a gray says:

    “. . . I have had two teeth stopped.” I am not certain about what this means.

  2. a gray says:

    “. . . . our Waziristan policy seems a failure, and so many troops only irritate the tribesmen. He advocates a withdrawal, and the establishment of medical centres, as a beginning of peaceful administration. Air bombing, even with warning, seems to be just as barbarous in the actual results obtained, driving the homeless tribesmen to the rifle as a means of subsistence.”

    Given the present state of affairs, this is a fascinating observation from 75 years ago. How little things change.

    • James Dunford Wood says:

      Exactly! Fighting exactly the same guys as before.

      • a gray says:

        It is absolutely amazing to read these entries. I feel like I am reading the latest news from Afghanistan. I would guess that in 1939 they felt as though they were doing what had been done so many times before.

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