September 26th 1939 – Madras – 2/13 Frontier Force Rifles

Madras – was given a farewell party in Sgts Mess – Miller made his same speech again, and when he sat down, CSM Blackwell said “I wish I had your command of English, sir.” RSM then invited me to get up and beat it, which I believe I did with one oor two cracks against the CSM of “D” company. On Friday I was kept on the range until 2pm, and that evening I had drinks with Colonel Weld in District Mess. We had a pretty awful trip to Bannu, each with the front seat in an empty Bagai lorry, and stopped at the Narai to say goodbye to those present at Btn HQ. Met a gunner, Tom Christopher (81 Field Artillery), and Donald Gordon at the rest camp, and had a swim and saw the flick on the club lawn, very pleasant, as you sipped beer at the same time. I there saw the first woman for me for six months, when I saw a brace in Kohat.

Got to Mari Indus the next day safely, having said goodbye to Nick on the platform. We filled the heatstroke express with ice and were damn cool, it all dripping out of the door at the halts. Reached Rawalpindi early next morn and Christopher had us up to the gunner’s mess for the day. I read all the “Times” and bought 10/- thermos canteen, which has been very useful since. In Bannu I found my cigarette case was missing, so I wrote to Micky Wardle to look for it, but I think I have sen the last of it. Gora Miller left at Meerut and I changed at Delhi. The restaurant Babu walked me round the fort, about five miles, and then I met Donald and a lad in 2/8 GR and we went to Maiden’s Hotel. We drank beer and gin, and watched some beauties who were there, including a French girl. I then left that afternoon and reached Madras two days later at 1800hrs. In Itarsi was a train load of Germans, bound for an internment camp and guarded by armed policemen at every carriage door. The captain in charge said he had one carriage of Nazis and one of Jews and they wouldn’t look at each other, neither would the Jews drink Becks Beers.

Palmer met me in Madras and we went out to the Mount in the regimental bus. I met Symonds there and next morning Niven and C/O Smythe, Freeland being in the Fort at Madras, commanding the station. Drinks at Jimmy Smythe’s and the Niven’s houses. Madras is nine miles away but John Palmer and I went in the other night for a drink at the Connemara to meet a girl of his and then to the flicks afterwards.  We met the girl – a Mrs Honor Ransome (hubby Royal Indian Navy) – in her room, and so did five other men including one Freddie Holmes (Flt/Lt DFC) and a lad by the name of Mac. They all danced with Honor and then Jo and I went to the cinema with Mac. After that we returned to his room in the Connemara and drank beer and sandwiches and talked. I got to bed at 0130 and up again at 0530 on company training by Black Rocks. John’s girl Honor then came out here last night for booze with one May Green, wife of Lt Green RIN, as chaperone. John has a large notice ‘Ladies’ above the door of his ghugle khana,  and they use it, too! They are both now coming to dinner here tonight, in the “Ladies Room”. So God help us – or me, as John won’t need it.

List of Officers, 2nd Bn 13th Frontier Force Rifles:

Lt Col Freeland R.A.B. MC Command Madras
Major Smyth J. Present C.O.
Major Goode R.L. GSO India Office, London
Major Gilbert C. on leave
Major Morris C.F. DSO on leave
Major Woods D.L.O. OBE S.W. Scouts
Capt Nash J.H.E. Jhansi Brigade H/Q
Capt Abbott B.E. Staff College
Capt Armstrong W.J. Staff College
Capt Keen P.J. Political
Capt Wainwright V.L.M. MC T.B.
Lt Niven R.W. Present Adjutant
Lt Elsmie R. T.B.
Lt Steward R. Commanding Trichanopoly
Lt France M.H.C. on leave
Lt Beale G.F.A. on leave
Lt Symonds R.H.B. present
R/Lt Palmer J.B. asst QM present


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One response to “September 26th 1939 – Madras – 2/13 Frontier Force Rifles”

  1. My Father K A Rahim was commissioned in 2/13 FF Rifles on May 1st 1939 from Dehra Dun. We were in Avadi Camp in 1946-47. He brought the Unit to Kohat by train in August 1947. Commanded the Battalion and was Col Commadant from 1960 to 1970. He commanded 14 Div in Dacca 1960-61 and resigned in 1963. Died Feb 22, 1981 as Resident Director Pakistan of Royal Dutch/ Shell. I joined the army in Short Commission in 1968 with Guides Cav (FF) and left in Dec 1973 to join Shell Oil in Management Group.

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