May 14th 1940 – Assam


Our last day we went up to Gulmarg with food. I am a bit sore in calf, through falling off the footplate of ‘Butterfly’, and I have a spirited horse. I get him under control on the way down though. On return we have dinner on ‘Butterfly’ and go to a dance at Nedou’s – coming back pretty grim, and there seems to be something between Elaine and Dudley, which rather worries me. (JDW: not surprised!) However, such is life. In bed at 3am and up at 5.30 and we drive off to Pindi, a bloody journey via Murree with two punctures, and we are both rather remorseful. I spend the night at Pindi station with some free beers in the Club where I get in a circle with Robinson 3/10 and some friends of his. Change at Lahore and reach Calcutta on 12th in the morning. I get blackmailed over my excess baggage by the Babu, helped by a YMCA chap and it costs me 10/-. A helluva job to cash a cheque at the Great Eastern, but after much telephoning of Uncle Stanley’s friends I get it backed. (JDW: Dad was on his way to stay with Uncle Stanley, Stanley Wood, a tea planter in Assam).

Dinner on the Assam Mail, breakfast crossing the Bramaputra on a ferry from Amingoan. Then up through some real African jungle with the cicadas in full throat to Titabar station. Some pleasant shooting out of the train in the morning with my Colt, at Paddy and wading birds, including a stork. Not far out either. Pass a beautiful train smash, with telescoped vans, torn rails and an engine with a really drunken list. The Uncle meets me at the station and here I am. Uncle Bill is dead, I am told, and left me £200. Hugh (JDW: his elder brother) put up a good show and hoping for a DFC. I’m sure I’ll never see this war!

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