March 26th 1940

I get sudden orders one night to go with the convoy leaving next morning, so have to pack in hell of a hurry. This gives me six days spare on the way, so I wire the Franklins in Jhansi that I am coming to stay with them. We get down to Mangai OK then manage to catch the convoy to D.I.K. (DERA ISMAIL KHAN) after lunch. Davidson, a dentist and I share a staff car. A deadly dull journey, a long straight road, a regular speed of 24 mph with the milestones and furlong posts slowly slipping by. A flat desert on each side, like the Mari Indus-Lakki Marwat stretch, only flatter, with hills in the distance. I shut my eyes and think of Tiree, and every detail of the house comes back, rather extraordinary, as I had never thought of it before.

Met Colonel Weld in the Club in DIK, had a drink with him and went to look up Jackson, Chief Clerk. He is out so return to the Club. At about 11pm Davidson and I set out in an old car for Darya Khan. We cross innumerable arms of the Indus, by boat bridges, and catch the midnight train to Lalamusa. He goes on to Lahore, I change for Delhi, change again and arrive at Jhansi 4.10pm on 24th.

The Franklins are staying in the Club and I see them about 7pm, only to discover they are heading for Bombay and home the next day. I have dinner in the Club with Fenella (JDW: FENELLA RUBY FRANKLIN, married HENRY CHARLES MOONEY, 7 February 1942, Quetta, India; b. 1 May 1921, Aldershot.) and two of her admirers, Harry Lee of 2/18 and one Tony of the Northamptons. I spoil their tete-a-tete-a-tete and after dinner they leave eventually. one after the other. Fenella and I sit in the moonlight under a tree, and I play my cards wrong like the bloody fool I am. Anyway both the other two sneak back to say goodbye properly, and I creep off to bed disgruntled.

I see the Franklins leave at 6.30am, and that day I have never been so bored in years. Joe Nash is away, Gus Holland is in Bombay, and I have read all the papers in the Club. I wire Chemsie Motor Service and am leaving today for Pachmari, though I don’t have to be there until 31st. How I feed I don’t know, but it can’t be a worse place than this. I see that Harry Browell is with the Warwicks in Razani, and that a platoon sergeant won a DCM at Lower Tambre Obo! – my first Razani piquet.


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2 responses to “March 26th 1940”

  1. Shabnam Vasisht Avatar


    I am researching British officers of the Raj who are buried in Dublin and was led to your blog as it mentions Fenella Ruby Franklin (her father-in-law Maj Henry Austin Mooney is buried in Dublin). I am thoroughly enjoying the blog and wonder if I may refer to the lively paragraph about Fenella in your 26/3/1940 posting?

    Thank you,
    Shabnam Vasisht

    1. James Dunford Wood Avatar
      James Dunford Wood

      Hi there, by all means refer to this blog and diary entry. Glad you are enjoying it! James

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