Kharagpur’s Diaspora Reunited            

For friends of BNR people and students of the Railway European High School
of the late 1940s to the early 1950s

Main Page

**NEW** 29 July 2008
This edition updated as of: Tuesday 29 July 2008 with the addition recent correspondence

To all my dear Readers -

You must be wondering whether I've falled down one of those potholes in Kharagpur and disappeared off the face of this earth, but here I am again, like the proverbial "bad penny" - refreshed after a necessary sabbitical and "ready to go!"

All of you have been very patient, and the letters have still flowed in - thank you all - and I shall be answering all of them in due course, and printing will resume shortly.

I am continuing where we last left off, with a few relevant photographs, on the subject of our holiday home in Jhargram. Several people identified with this once small British colony, and I am told that it has now expanded to become a popular "Retreat Centre" but no news of our own villa, known as "Hazel Villa" - my grandparents' home and land (photographs following).

Claire Gordon sent a scanned photograph of the Raja's Palace in Jhargram, and I am including this, only because the Raja had visited my grandfather on a few occasions in connection with some community activities, and I well remember the caparisoned elephant arriving at the gate, and the gardener running to "open up" for him. Uncle Charles (Brendish) used to have the car sent for him regularly, as he was consulted officially on the subject of "modern" technical equipment being installed in the Palace.

Donald Thorne mentioned that he recalls the Boy Scouts, under the leadership of Fred Jones, the schoolmaster, taking them on "camping" expeditions to Jhargram "somewhere near the station" and that would have been about 7 miles from "The Colony" - through dense jungle - and a trip we only took to the Station to take the train to Kharagpur. Later, there were bus services once a day, to and from Kharagpur, which we used instead.

So much for Jhargram, and now to go back to Kharagpur. I shall be continuing with my "postings" and look forward to your mail flowing in, but do please remember that we are walking down "Memory Lane" together, and so descriptions of your own particular memories are welcome.

Your dedicated host in keen anticipation of your own personal recollections,

Corinne née Crampton



Readers are invited to forward their own recollections, stories and news for inclusion. This is what makes this WebPage so appealing and lively.

Links

CLICK HERE to send me a message, memory, or comment. Say "Private" if not for publication.

(View Previous Correspondence by clicking the links below)

Part 1:
24 April - 2July 2006


Part 2:
3 - 22 July 2006


Part 3:
23 Jul - 20 Sep 2006


Part 4:
21 Sep - 18 Oct 2006


Part 5:
19 Oct 2006 - 23 Feb 2007


Part 6: 1 March - 23 July 2007
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Links

CLICK HERE to send me a message, memory, or comment. Say "Private" if not for publication.

(View Previous Correspondence by clicking the links below)

Part 1:
24 April - 2July 2006


Part 2:
3 - 22 July 2006


Part 3:
23 Jul - 20 Sep 2006


Part 4:
21 Sep - 18 Oct 2006


Part 5:
19 Oct 2006 - 23 Feb 2007


Part 6: 1 March - 23 July 2007

Introduction

In the decade following India’s independence in 1947, many of Kharagpur’s founding families either were repatriated or elected to emigrate – hence the term “diaspora.“

Kharagpur in West Bengal was better known as India’s “Railway Town“ and still boasts the longest platform in Asia, if not in the World. Its 20th Century community was largely founded to serve the fledgling Bengal Nagpur Railway (BNR) established in 1904 and staffed mainly by Colonials who incorporated British technology in the development of the railway. (A history of Kharagpur may be read at http://www.answers.com/topic/kharagpur, courtesy of Clare Gordon)


Kharagpur Railway Station 1945 ...

and as it is today (By courtesy of www.railwaykgp.com)

Now, 50 years later, and through the magic of the Internet, those far-flung families are rediscovering one another. This website is intended to provide a forum for discussion about, and sharing the re-discovery of, fond friends and beloved aspects of the life enjoyed in a long lost era of the British Raj ending in the early 1950s. These people and their memories were an essential part of Kharagpur’s history makers. By contributing your own memories you may become its history writers.



Your host here on this website is Corinne Joy Baxter née Crampton


Corinne as she was when she left India.

Here is where we live; "Heart's Abode" in Heart's Desire.

My parents were Ernest Hope and Eyleen Crampton. My father was in the Boiler Dept. as Foreman when we left Wynne Ave (Fourth Ave) in May 1950. I attended the BNR European HS and continued my education in England. My elder sister is Althea, and the younger, Jill, who died very suddenly in August, 2004. Althea and her family live in Oakville, near Toronto, and Jill's family live nearby us in Ottawa, Canada, where we have resided since 1990. My parents who had lived in North London near Wembley Park, wishing to be near us all, retired to Canada in 1964. I have three sons, two of whom (Martin and Nicholas) live here in Ottawa with their families. The third and youngest, Laurence, returned to England five years ago.


Our house on Wynne Ave (Fourth Ave) as it was 56 years ago

.... and as it is now.

We left India in 1950, and settled in London, where eight years later I married Stephen Baxter, an officer in the RAF. We were finally posted to Norway for three years, during which time a decision was taken to move to Montreal in Canada. That was in 1974. Meanwhile, amidst all the career moves, I lost address-books and also many dear friends. But such are the exigencies of Military life, and I have felt the need to correct the situation and try to make up for lost time!

My cousin, Michael Green, left Kharagpur soon after we did and resided with us for several years. Our Green family were prolific – the Greens, Meades, Mayberrys, Edwards, Brendishes, Kellys (transferred to Nagpur) and others whose names now escape me, were all related, and made up a large proportion of Kharagpur, so somewhere along “the line” someone will recall a branch of my extensive family!!

Last year we celebrated 16/16/16; that is years of married life in UK/Montreal/Ottawa. This year year we celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Meanwhile we look forward to hearing from many lost friends.

With a genuine "Welcome!" to you all,

Sincerely yours,

Corinne


Correspondence Part 7

From: Corinne

Date: Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Memories of Jhargram and Salboni Colony

I have received two letters concerning Jhargram. The first letter was from Gautam Mukherjee;

Dear Mr. Mukherjee,

Your very encouraging letter of July 26, 2007 was such a pleasure to receive, and the history of Salboni which you had taken the trouble of locating on my WebSite and dispatching to us, was indeed touching. Thank you for all the trouble you have taken. You said, among other things:

Dear Corinne,

One of the greatest enduring legacies of the British is the excellent educational institutions they had created in this country, India. The description of the holidays you and your family spent in Jhargram revived happy memories of my own childhood spent in a small town near Goa.

I was born in the industrial town of Jamshedpur. I did my kindergarten schooling from a private play school run by one Mrs.Clayburn (who was an Anglo-Indian I suppose). I am trying hard to locate her family on the Web too. I myself have studied in a Catholic Missionary school in the Konkan Region near Goa. I am originally from a village in Midnapore district of West Bengal. It is about 50 km from Kharagpur. There is an abandoned World War -2 airstrip about 10 km from my village. It is a place called Digri. The RAF 159 Squadron had its base there during ww2. Their military officials used to visit Kharagpur.

http://www.graemefraser.net/raf159squadron.html

I presently stay in a city called Noida which is in the outskirts of New Delhi, the capital of India. Right from my childhood I have stayed outside Bengal due to Dad's posting in Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka before we came to Noida.

In my annual holidays we used to visit our home town/village. Once In 1989 I had visited Jhargram with my cousin's brother who stays in a village called Chichra near Jhargram. When we were returning from Jhargram I saw an English couple in a villa on the way. I was surprised and asked my cousin about it. He replied that some "Angrez" (European) people do sometimes visit this area.. I had forgotten about this untill it suddenly struck me that day that it must be the area where you spent your holidays.- Garh Salboni. A little search on the web gives me additional information. It is a tourist destination now!

http://www.jhargramtourism.com/webpage/jgmhr.html

As I stay far away from Bengal now, I will try to contact people with similar interests like mine through the WEB to give the latest info (and pictures hopefully) to you about Garh salboni. [Keenly awaited. Corinne]

Unfortunately the Wikimapia site does not have a good zoom level for this area.

http://wikimapia.org/#lat=22.430864 &lon=86.986313&z=13&l=0&m=a&v=2

I am very much interested about the British period in Midnapore (spelt as Medinipur now). There is a very old church near the Railway station. I think the name of the church is St.John's. Do you have any information regarding the same? If I am able to go to my hometown in October during Puja holidays by the grace of God, I will try to visit all the areas you have mentioned and give you updated information on the same. [Again, keenly awaited. Corinne]

I wish to mention here that you have an excellent style of writing and I think you can collect your memoirs in the form of a book like "Farewell the Winterline"

Highest Regards and wishing you and family good health.

Gautam Mukherjee.

The second letter was from Ranajay Gupta:

Dear Mr Gupta,

Thank you for your very imformative letter of August 10, 2007. You said, in part;

Dear Corinne,

I have been hunting for the Anglo-Indian connections of Salboni (the name Garh Salboni was, of course, a creation of the Postal Department to distinguish the small post office from the larger town of the same name in Midnapore district). It was a pleasure to discover your site.

Like you, I have many nostalgic memories of holidays spent in Salboni. My grandfather, the late J. C. Gupta, bought a house with land there in 1949, from Mrs Winifred Elizabeth Franz. I don't know if you have any memories of the house. It used to be called Hugh-Bets' Lodge. The adjoining properties belonged to Mr A Lewis on the West and Mrs L M Staples on the East, Mrs Cutts' land to the north and Mr Watson's property across the road on the South.

The Sen family, who bought Mrs Cutts' house (now known as Salboni retreat), are my cousins.

Hugh-Bets' Lodge is now Niribili (the most apt translation of this Bengali word is 'far from the madding crowd'), and my wife and I look after it. We ran it as a tourist destination for some time, but our own work in Calcutta now prevents us from doing so. I would send you photographs if there was any way of uploading to this site, or if you could send me an e-mail address.

I recently discovered some old photographs of Garh Salboni Anglo-Indians in my grandfather's papers. I couldn't identify any of them ? I was too young when most of them left. I have memories of only a few.

Like Mrs Eden. I spent my study leave for my BA exams in Salboni. Afternoons, I would often stroll over to her place. I would always be sure of a proper English tea set out on a lace tablecloth.

I can't forget Mr Martin's confections. Huge buns, soft and bursting with raisins, light, white bread and heavenly cakes to add to the pleasure of our Christmas holidays.

I can't quite place Hazel Villa, though the name seems to ring a bell.

I don't have time to continue just now, but if you can tell me how, I'll try to send you some photographs ? and continue the nostalgia.

Regards,

Ranajay Gupta

I was most interested in the background of this once tiny "Colony" and have many dear recollections of my childhood spent there.

Yes, Jhargram was indeed part of the Salboni area - or perhaps the other way around! - and many years before my Grandfather retired, he had purchased a large plot of land, planned a house and grounds there, and commenced the building of the project. It was a beautifully planned enterprise, and by the time I was born, the entire estate was well-established along with several neighbouring properties around about.

My grandmother did the planning of their home and garden herself, down to the very smallest detail. In today's world she would have been an engineer and architect, and a very good one at that! It was a well-appointed estate, down to the tiniest flower! As it was, they retired to a well-run home, with lovely neighbours surrounding them, hence, the Colony - which included several retirees from Calcutta.


Harold Kelly, Lesley Meade, Grandmother Green,
Hope Crampton, Robin Brown, Grandfather Green,
Billy Kelly (on the bullock cart), and "Harrah."

West View of my Grandparents' home in Jhargram, "Hazel Villa."



Front view of my Grandparents' home in Jhargram, "Hazel Villa."

Jhargram Palace as it is today.

My sister Althea and me at Jhargram "Banana Grove."

The Colonists set up a wonderful ambience, quiet and amiable, and mostly very sociable. The homes were set far back from what passed as roads - really, sandy ribboned lanes - and there was a sort of "barter" system in place among the Colonists, which worked very amicably.

Some properties contained well laid out gardens and orchards. Others, the minimum of foliage, and there was one family who started an apiary, so we were well supplied with honey in return for my grandmother's cashew nuts or wine, or whatever worked at the time. Another family were wonderful at baking bread, and so on. The "Barter" system truly worked well!

Our home was well-appointed and thoroughly planned. The house was set facing South,and on the North side, the orchard yielded fruits of various kinds, a well, which brought forth wonderful spring water, and deep enough to prevent structural problems. An assortment of English berries on the West side of the house; flowering shrubs which were so colourful on the East; flowering perennials and annuals in the front - all with tidy brick edging to the beds. And a wonderful spruce in the centre to help us celebrate Christmas.

The main "family holiday" season seems to have been the "Puja" holiday, when we all trailed down there along with friends and their children, and somehow we all fitted in - with the aid of a Kharagpur neighbour's tent, in which he slept along with another friend - braving both the mosquitos and any wild animals that happened to be prowling by.

There were "Duck shoots" during the day, lots of sports played on the grounds, and siestas during the heat of the day. Evenings were spent dancing on the patio to an old "wind-up" gramophone, sometimes Bridge parties, and an awful lot of camaraderie and general FUN! We children amused ourselves until we were old enough to join in. Meanwhile, my father - who absolutely loved going there - bought a piece of land opposite my grandfather's place, and we built a little "cottage" - thereby enlarging the "sleeping space" a smidgen! But camp-beds were in abundance, and failing that, "field beds," which we youngsters thought more sociable. We would chatter away far into the night, with an occasional yell from one of the "grown-ups" in an adjoining bedroom, to "Settle Down!"

There was no electricity, then, so hurricane lamps hissed into life just before dusk, and were placed in all the rooms, casting shadows on the walls - which frightened us to death at times, but added to the ambience of the whole escapade! We had employed a "chowkhidar" who patrolled the sandy roads between the houses at night - all alone, and armed with just a stout stick - which he called a "lathi!" He never seemed to be afraid, although in the early days there were cheetahs and wolves around, and the occasional man-eater tiger had to be dealt with, but his call was so reassuring to us all : "Chowkhidar, memsahib!" (Repeated two or three times every few paces). He never seemed to mind the elements, but we always had the most wonderful moonlight nights during the Pujas.

There were romps on the grounds, raids on the abundant fruit-trees and rides on the bullock-cart, with our servant "Harrah" who took such good care of us all. The land-servants went home to their nearby village at the end of the day having done an excellent job of keeping my grandparents' gardens in such good condition, but the house servants stayed in the quarters which had been provided for them, and my grandmother made sure that they were comfortable and well-fed. I used to enjoy listening to them singing and dancing far into the night - how they ever reported for work at the first light never ceased to amaze me. But there they were, bright as buttons, facing another long day - except for the afternoons when they remained in their quarters with their own families.

Grandmother seems to have been perpetually busy, preparing dozens of biscuits, cakes and one meal running into another which she always supervised in her own kitchen, and being a bit of a perfectionist, making sure the tables were set with due order and lovely flowers. It all added to our colourful memories, which I shall retain to my dying day.

I often wonder what happened to "Hazel Villa" - so little information filtered through to us after we left. We had heard that it was turned into a school, then a hotel, and all kinds of other rumours, none of which was substantiated. Alex Eden, grandson of Ashley Eden, who had once been a neighbour and very good friend of my grandparents, is the only one who visits the area from time to time.

Our own "cottage" was sold to the then Mayor of Calcutta - a Mr. Goughgawyer(?) - who extended the property and loved going down for holidays. He had married Mr. Eden's daughter, Gwennie, and so they were able to see her father, Ashley, and their family more often. They took good care of the property, and it was a solace to my parents' to know that the house was in good and loving hands.

These are my recollections of my old childhood holiday home, and we never dreamed that we would one day sell out and leave the country. But life has a funny way of surprising us, doesn't it!

I was interested in the original owners of the "Salboni Retreat" having the name of "Cutts" - one of the original colonists was a "Cutts" family, and their son, Alex, was one of our playmates. I wonder if it is the same family - do you know?

You have revived many happy memories for me, and I thank you for it. Do write again, and my best regards to you -

Corinne Baxter née Crampton


Dear Readers,

Date: 18 June 2008

A Treasure Trove of Pictures

We are indebted to Bill and Anne Morden for sharing with us below a virtual treasure trove of photographic memories from that long-lost era of early 20th Century Kharagpur when it was in its prime. This WebSite is all about memories, so stand by for an onslaught of pictures that will reveal astonishing details of people and places to promote, we hope, a dazzling response from you all of similar memories and anecdotes from that precious era.

These are, without any doubt, the best collection of photograhs of early-20thCentury Kharagpur that we have ever seen. Bill's Grandfather, A. E. Morden, was Chief Draftsman (oddly the American terminology they used in Kharagpur than the more usual English "Draughtsman." Note that the Passport gets it right, but the Railway Pass does not!) for BNR at Kharagpur, so we are enriched by the professionalism that comes through, even today, in the quality of his photographs that have come down to us from an era of often sub-standard "Snapshot" photography among the general population. I suspect that some of those "striving-for-perfection" genes have been preserved in Bill as evidenced in the assiduous care he has taken to digitize and forward this treasure to us in such excellent detail.

These are but a few of the pictures he has sent us. He has yet more at home, and we feel that his collection is worthy of more formal treatment than we can depict here, possibly for eventual publication. He even tells me that there are in his possession numerous non-photographic artifacts from his Grandfather's era. I hereby encourage him to digitally photograph these artifacts and, if possible, to share them with us. Let me therefore emphasize that the Copyright to all of them is his alone, and we should all thank him for entrusting these few copies to our WebSite.

But there is an undercurrent of sadness in Bill Morden's invaluable contribution. Mortality had denied him access to the lliving memory source, his father, of the personal treasured background information that might have given more meaning to the images he has been able to preserve for us, but we will let him speak to it in his own words below.

Why some of the repatriated British Empire-born British menfolk of that Indian Independance era should have obliterated their heritage from their progeny who could preserve it is an enduring enigma. We hear of it here time and time again. Perhaps the convulsion of Indian independence and the consequent repatriation to England, and elsewhere in the Empire, of foreign-borne British citizens bore too much of a price for them to bear. Let's face it. None of the repatriated folk recognised anything in the England of the early 1950s that related to their fondest expectations fostered while they and their forebears lived under the protection of the Raj. England was a dream homeland to which they were assured they belonged, notwithstanding that they were living, and likely born, overseas. My parents, and even I as a tweenager at repatriation, would attest that it was a shock for them irretrievably to land back in their nominal homeland that was still struggling under a threadbare post-war economy beset by the rationing still in place, and worse, a population that did not understand them. Nevertheless, we children -- and later my husband -- were constantly regaled with fond and fascinating stories of life in British India, so to repress so completely such a rich heritage as Bill experienced is beyond my understanding.

Perhaps they found it an unbearable loss to have been injected into an incomprehensively structured world without servants and the underpinning societal privilege to which they had been born. There may have been for many of them a painfully discovered new reality for them that revealed their own vulnerability with which they might have been unreasonably uncomfortable. Nonetheless these pioneers have left their indellible footprint on the page of history. Let's be glad to enjoy what they have left to us and, if it be possible, to fill in the gaps. We rely upon our dear readers for that.

I have rendered Bill's images at the maximum resolution consistent with the WebPage's width, although many have more detail that I could forward individually. I have also retained the original borders to preserve the "album" appearance. One of his offerings comprises a c1935 black and white movie (rendered to DVD) of a tour around his Grandfather's garden at 306 Third Ave, but at some 200 MB it is a bit too large to include here. It won an award medal as a "Flower Show" prize in 1935. His Grandad was a keen gardener, although his task must have been made simpler than ours with the number of native gardeners that feature in the movie! Arrangements could be made, with Bill's approval, to forward a DVD copy upon request. So enjoy!

Corinne Baxter née Crampton


In his December 2007 message, he said:

Dear Corinne,

Most of the pictures I am sending to your WebSite are from two albums that were brought to England by my Grandfather when he retired here in 1944. My father was brought to England in 1929 by his parents to go to college. They returned to KGP soon afterwards. I was born in 1945 and have vague memories of my Grandfather, he passed away in 1949.

I know very little about the source of the photographs, only places and approximate dates recorded in the albums. If only I had known about their existence while my Dad was alive! The only information I have is the place and date as recorded in the albums which, I think, were probably put together by my Grandad, E. A. Morden.

The house where we lived for the first 22 years of my life had what we called a "box room." It was no more than about six feet square with shelves on two opposing walls. As a child I remember, along with preserved fruit in Kilner jars and rolls of toilet paper and other household items, there were several attache cases and strong cardboard boxes tied up with string. Child curiosity informed me they belonged to my Grandad "Gagan." Of course, I grew up and eventually left home, and it was only when my Dad died did I get access to the cases and boxes. I found within them a treasure trove of Indian family history. Mum knew something about their origins (she became very close to my Grandparents when they visited England in 1933; she and my Dad were an "item" by then) so she told me what I know now.

During my life at home my Dad talked little of his life in India (this is symptomatic of the enduring dilemma of deliberate non-cognizance among repatriates that I spoke of earlier. Stephen), in fact, if it wasn't for a water colour picture of 306 Third Ave hanging in the hall and the presence of some carved wooden boxes, I could have been forgiven for not realising that I had an Indian connection. Only after my father's death in 1981 did I begin to unearth a small treasure-trove of artefacts, photographs and personal items, such as the Railway Pass. Even my Mother had not seen many of the items and could answer few of my questions.

Why do we leave our curiosity until it is too late? When my Mum died I brought all the items to our home and many now adorne the walls and mantlepieces, but their history is unknown. (This is where I concentrate on my recommendation to Bill that he make a professional digi-photographic record of these artifacts, and anything else that cannot be scanned. Stephen.) Only since meeting my Father's cousin have I been able to put names to some photographs.

As for telling a story to fit the pictures, well, I'm afraid I know very little about their life in KGP apart from the fact that my Grandfather worked for the BNR, and Dad spent most of his youth at St Joseph's College in Nanital. After he came to England he never went back. Grandma died in 1938 and is buried in the Lower Circular Road Cemetery in Calcutta. I've been in touch with the curator who tells me the grave is in "good shape", although the Angel is missing. I should imagine that Corinne knows more about the pictures than I do!! In fact, I've sent a set to Penny Harrison, she may be able to assist.

As for the albums, both are in reasonable condition and the quality of the pictures are quite good. Unfortunately, only one comprises loose-leaves, the other is bulky and not possible to get on a scanner, hence the reason for photographing some pictures.

The "Vacation"-entitled photos are pictures of a memento folder given to my Grandad when he took extended leave to bring my father to UK in 1930. The accolade is quite touching, and I think it shows what kind of man my Grandad was. My Mum always spoke highly of him and he introduced her to, and taught her, the art of. Indian cuisine. Grandad is the gentleman wearing the bow tie in the picture of the CME and Drawing Office Staff.

That's about it, I'm sorry if I can't provide you with the detailed commentary you (Stephen) asked for. If only I'd known what questions to ask when I had the opportunity to ask them (Don't we all say that! Stephen). I'd best get on with the scanning, it's going to be a long night!!

With best wishes,

Bill Morden


306 Third Ave c1938


306 Third Ave c1940


306 Third Ave c1940 again


329 Third Ave c1938


Apprentices House c1910


BNR Magazine Cover c1935. Bill's grandmother is depicted at 306 Third Ave.


Dated 1910


Dated 1911




Bill's young Dad with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Morden in 1928


Dated 1910



Unspecified perspective of the lock in 1910


A wide perspective of Third Ave


A closer perspective of Third Ave in 1940


Yet another perspective on Third Ave in 1938


Bill's Grandparents at tea in the garden 1938


Bill's Grandparents at the gate in the garden in 1938


A closer view of Bill's Grandparents at the gate in the garden in 1938


Dated 1938


Grandma's Grave



A handpainted image on, what I think, is a Banyan leaf.


Dated 1910


Dated 1910




Dated 1910


Dated 1911


The old-fashioned nomenclature is interesting.


BNR Inc Slate c1938

The old-fashioned nomenclature is interesting.


Dated 1911





Taken in 1911 before the addition of the second and third stories.


Taken in 1912. Note the new stories


Taken in 1911


Dated 1930


Dated 1930


Dated 1930



Dated 1910



A small ivory casket (one of a pair) that contains a small red bean with an ivory plug. The contents are tiny carved ivory elephants and other creatures. The coin is to give you an idea of size. It's a one English pound coin and is 22mm in diameter. Bill says that he is amazed at how the animals were carved. Most are little larger than a pin-head!


**NEW** 29 July 2008

From: Corinne

Date: 24 June 2008

Dear Ron,

Ronald D'Cruz Rediscovers his Heritage

It was such a pleasure hearing from you after all these years. You said on June 9:

My name is Ronald D'Cruz and I came to do an Apprenticeship in this very prestigious Workshop at KGP early 1946 (in the Boiler Shop under my father's, Hope Crampton's administration; Corinne).

We left Kgp and India June /July 1948 and most of our relatives are here too spread all over the UK. The girls I got involved with was Babs Rainey, May Sweeney, Buddy Deefolths and Clare Johnstone I see from the Website they are all happily married and so are you and all have families but would request if Buddy (Mrs?) would consider getting in touch again Via e-mail as I am almost 80 will be on 26/9/08 and I made her a promise I never kept having lost all mail etc. when wedding bells came along and I moved out to a new abode. I married Joy Rosemary Sheppard in June 1954, who was born in Quetta (India) 1932 her dad was a regular in the Tank Corps. I have a son Adrian 53 and a daughter Michelle who will be 40 this year and lives at home. Adrian is married to Anita and they have two sons Jason 20 and Lee 18 my daughter is single. Joy and I had Our Golden Wedding June 12, 2004. Unfortunately I lost Joy suddenly on 31st.Dec.2006 after being let down by her GP and the Local NHS Hospital in Bath.

Its so long ago and the memory banks are failing but looking at your picture on that site I can see Bob all over again. I am so sorry to learn of their Passings also about sister Jill She must have been very young when we were introduced to the family. Your mum was always hospitable to us.

Best Regards to you both.

Indeed, I do remember you and your brother, Neville, very well indeed. I recall how very upset we were that our cow was so ill, and that you used to come over to attempt to help it. We were so agitated with the cruel milkman for feeding her broken glass - and all because we had our own supply and were not patronizing his services! How devilish some of those "merchants" were.

I recall, too, that you worked for my father - Mr. Hope Crampton - not "Bob" - and yes, Mr. Roga was my father's assistant, not the other way around. The two worked well together, and a third member of the team was Lulu McGuire. We waited ages for a relevant quarter to become available, only because Sandy Stewart would not move out (he was far too comfortable where he was!) and eventually a suitable house became available, and we moved to 408, Wynne Ave, where we remained until we shipped out to England.

As I have indicated before, I simply loved our town in England, and quickly settled in. My mother had that rare gift of making a home wherever we were, and this was no exception. She was always a warm, hospitable person, and very quickly, our old friends found their way over. Our home was always "bubbling" over with lively company, good cameraderie, putting down fresh roots and fuelling the old ones, which, by now, also included my own school friends, as well as those of my sisters.'

It was not long before we got to the "boyfriend" stage, and endless familial teasing began, and then - THE ONE - namely, one Stephen Baxter!! We were married in 1957, and so we celebrated our 50th Anniversary last year. We happened to be in England last August/September for the usual visit and also our youngest son's Wedding in September. So, we combined an Anniversary celebration-luncheon with the wedding, (which was to be held in Ashington, Sussex, a few days later) and invited 30 guests over to a party which included some of our relatives and many of Stephen's old University friends and their wives, all of whom have stayed in touch throughout all these years. You can visit http://www.leo.ukphotographers.com/redmarley07 for a slide show of that event.

My dear cousin, Barbara née Mayberry, and her husband Peter Condon, so kindly opened their lovely, very historic stately home and garden to us for the occasion, and we organized the event together, Barbara doing the 'lion's share" because of the prohibitive distance involved. It turned out to be a beautiful day, defying the historic flooding that had taken place over most of West that Spring, so we had cocktails out in the garden, and a luncheon indoors, prepared and served by a very efficient caterer, who did us proud. What a memorable occasion, to be followed a week later by our son's gorgeous wedding. Our sons' - Martin and Nicholas had joined us for the event, and it was indeed a very happy family "Re-union" (Martin had not been back to England since we left in March 1974). The four of us travelled home to Ottawa together, all feeling the effects of such a very happy holiday, but missing Laurence, who resides in Islington, London, with his brand new wife, Rachel. We are comforted by the knowledge that they are so happy, and Laurence loves England, all our English relatives, and his job very much indeed.

Stephen and I were so sorry to hear about your own loss, and one cannot imagine the extent of the chasm left in one's life when a dear soulmate goes on, but our deep sympathies go out to you and your family, Ron.

I have passed on your correspondence to Claire Gordon, who knows the Deepholts' family, and she will, I am sure, forward your request. So many people made solemn "vows" of perpetuating friendships, all sincerely meant at tha frenetic time, but the change of scene and the distraction of setting up home in completely new surroundings presented such a formidable task, that many a sincere thought simply went by the wayside.

Ron, there is much we can say to one another, and several thoughts are whizzing through my mind as I write this, but I shall have to close right now or we will be late for an appointment, and I want to get this off to you as soon as possible. Do lets hear from you again, and our best wishes to your brother (Althea says they never "dated" - she merely accompanied him on the piano - to his violin. She spoke highly of both of you.)

Many kind remembrances -

Corinne Baxter née Crampton


**NEW** 29 July 2008

From: Corinne

Date: July 24, 2008

Dear Fatima,

An Enquiry from Fatima Ghosh of Calcutta

You said in your July 22 message:

When I visited a friend of mine, Roz Felstead in Royston, England earlier this year I met her Uncle, Noel Minos, who used to live in Kharagpur years ago. I am just wondering if he is the same person whose photo I saw just now. He and his wife Bernadette live in Enfield, England. Just thought I would pass this on. Fatima Ghosh, Calcutta

Your enquiry with regard to a certain photograph has been noted, but I simply do not know to which photograph you are referring - there are dozens of them! However, I think you are talking about the group one outside the church taken during one of our vacation bible schools, and one of the men was incorrectly described as "Clive d'Silva" but should have read "Noel Minos." This was recently pointed out, and the correction will be made in due course. I have had to take a little rest from the project as I was becoming completely overwhelmed by the hundreds of letters received, all most welcome, and joyfully received, but time-consuming none the less! What with the incumbent pressures of teaching and students entering exams. and competition work etc. I ran out of time and energy! However, we are 'back on track" and eager to go, so one of the first tasks is to remedy the error!!

Please give Noel Minos my kind regards, and happy remembrances to him and his family, and my good wishes and thanks to you for taking the trouble to write.

Do keep in touch with news of Calcutta.

Corinne Baxter née Crampton


**NEW** 29 July 2008

From: Corinne

Date: July 24, 2008

Dear Ron,

Ronald D'Cruz Sends Some Pictures

Just a very brief note to acknowledge the receipt of the photos, most of which I was not able to identify, but of course the one which included my family, I am able to tell you something about.


302, Third Avenue, in front of our Honeysuckle Archway

It was taken at 302, Third Avenue, in front of our Honeysuckle Archway - my mothers pride and joy! - and included:-

back row - L to R: Guess who? Then, Gloria Bunyan; Shirley Bunyan, her brother; Althea and Billy Kelly, our cousin, who was visiting us from Nagpur for a holiday.
Next Row: Me with my doll, Bernadette; and Patsy Kelly, my cousin
Front Row: Jimmy Kelly and Jill with Althea's old Teddy bear "Hug-Me" !!

Obviously, the girl posing with you was Althea's friend, Gloria Bunyan. I must have been 9 years old at the time, and Althea, 13, and Jill , 5 years.

Shirley and his brother, Dudley, and Gloria were the children of my mother's old school friend, and their father, George Bunyan, had been an apprentice with my father, so the two families were quite entwined in more ways than one, as families in those days often were, especially in our very small community.

So good of you to take the trouble to scan these photos and send them along to me, Ron, but I am forwarding the others to Claire since they seem to be of her family, and she will, I feel sure, be in touch with you in due course.

The "boxing" photo of you did arrive, but was very faint and may not reproduce any further. I had a dismal result with some of the other group photos of the offices and apprentices of various eras which Carl Heldt had so kindly sent us. Everyone looked like a caricature!!

You asked if I remembered the names of the CMEs - I remember my father mentioning Messrs. Chase; Oldfield; Ramchandran; and I hear that Rajanath followed.

You mentioned "initiation" ceremonies at the Apprentices' Home, and my father would never allow anyone to discuss them "in front of the ladies" - he simply felt it was "men's talk" and I'm inclined to agree. We were not allowed to cycle around there for the same reason "you never know what you might hear...." and for that reason he protected us from untoward conversation. Althea was not allowed to "date" the local boys since she was much too young, and when I think of it, she was only 17 when we left India, so Daddy was right and Mummy backed him to the hilt. She attended dances, but always chaperoned properly. Such were the days, Ron, and they could do with some of that discipline today, in my opinion!

Do keep in touch, and I appreciate all your communications very much -

With kind thoughts,

Corinne Baxter née Crampton


**NEW** 29 July 2008

From: Corinne

Date: July 24, 2008

Dear Susan,

Susan Lewis of the Woodfall Family Makes Contact

Your communication a few days ago was most appreciated, especially as you took the time despite your own busy schedule.

You said in your July 21 message:

May name is Susan Lewis and my mother was Daphney Emily Gertrude Woodfall and the daughter of Lancelot Andrew Woodfall. I would love to be involved in all this although time is difficult for me as I am a Nursing Team Leader working with Heroin addicts within the criminal justice system and have not got much of it! I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards, Sue.

I particularly appreciate the effort as I know from my own experience how time does fly when one is caught up with a hundred and one things and just so many hours in which to fit it all in!

With your busy routine in mind, I telephoned one of your relatives in Chingford - Donald Thorne - and asked him to give you a call or write to you. In fact, to open the communication and also to pass on the message to Ben Woodfall and the two "girls" - Fairy and Patsy. He immediately recalled your father's name and made the connection, and was very responsive. My husband and I were about to leave the house for a luncheon appointment, and the conversation had to be kept short, but Don calls every Saturday afternoon, and I am sure your name and family connection will come up during his next call.

It is always a pleasure to make connections between old friends and family, and makes the viability of the whole project so worthwhile. I had to take a bit of a sabbatical last Autumn, because I was getting completely overwhelmed by this particular hobby and my teaching profession, but I soon felt the urge to continue, and so here we are - back on track!

So glad that you decided to join in the spirit of fun which I have tried to promote, and we do look forward to hearing from you again.

With kind regards,

Corinne Baxter née Crampton


**NEW** 29 July 2008

From: Corinne

Date: July 24, 2008

Dear Derek,

Derek Edwards Recounts Many Fond Memories

What a delightful surprise to receive your communications after all these years!

You said, among many other things in your July 4, 7, and 21 messages:

This is by way of introduction and after seeing my cousin Penelope Ann in print already connecting with the Malins family. I have had a build-up of sentimality over the past several weeks as your marvellous webpage has unfolded before my eyes. Magnificent! Thank you for this experience.

My name is Derek Edwards, son of Frank Edwards and Gladys Meade. I was born in 243 Second Avenue on 24 October 1928, second child, following Althea (Queen Madge) who unfortunately contracted polio amd died before my second sister, June, was born, also from 243. She moved to the USA and married in Canada (could be a long story, later) before going to her home in Idaho Falls, where she lived happily until her death in 2003. We moved to Australia starting in 1947.

Dad was the foreman of the loco workshop at KGP, and once I was old enough to cling onto his hair, he took me to the workshop on many occasions. The home also became my first place of learning, not only from my mother and ayah, Tunu, but also from a pre-kindergarten group of relatives and friends, cousins Daphne and Fay Meade, and Margaret Stanley. Then formally into KGC with Miss Davies, following swiftly into KGA with Miss Magery. Along with a handful of other people of my age or slightly older, including Pam Stoker, I was sent to the Greatorex remedial class, to have my writing made legible. Pam was my first crush, although she didn't know it, or refused to even acknowledge my existence. Then off to Boarding School, Victoria in Kurseong for a year, followed by Sherwood College in Naini Tal. All these early memories have come flooding in. I look forward to ongoing reminiscing with your indulgence.

Watching and reading entry after entry in your marvellous news sheet, has caused me to realise that I knew very little about Khar(a)gpir, the town of my birth and early childhood. My earliest education was received at the hands of my mother, with the occasional addition of my Aunty Lovey (Meade), two wonderful women who played an important role as mentors for most of my life. My mother, Gladys, outlived every one of her siblings, eventually departing this mortal existence in December 2003, as it happens on 26th, which happens to be the date of our wedding anniversary each year. Leila and I were married in South Perth in 1953, and seem to have our anniversary at about the same time as so many Khargpurians. The scattering far and wide has interrupted our constant association, but memories have been kept alive throught the medium of many family parties and celebrations. My Nanna Meade came to Australia with three of her sons, Maurice (a police sergeant from Calcutta), Terrence and Ivan (Honey).

To pick up the thread introduced at the commencement of this snippet, Victoria School, Kurseong, was chosen for my first foray into boarding school life. It could well have been the school in which I would attain all the necessary qualifications, but for Mum and Dad seeking better. So, in 1938, I was transferred to Sherwood. I had a handful of friends and cousins in Khargpur, and we skimmed the surface of what was there. But School took up nine months of each year, 15 March to 15 December, and the return to Khargpur from December to March was as a stranger. There were a few Sherwoodians in KGP, notably the Webber family of five boys, including Clive, who was one year my senior at school, but condescended to take me under his wing during the holidays.

We scratched the surface of the social life, notably the Christmas Tree in which my mother was deeply involved, being the chief procuring officer of gifts for the children of the town. Unlike my Dad, Mum enjoyed the hustle and bustle of visiting Cal(cutta). She retained this position for all the years we spent in KGP. I got to know a few families in KGP, no more than 1 or 2%. The three months' holiday just swept past, and in hardly any time we were back in the rigours of new school kit before being bundled on to a train to Howrah (BNR) and then Lucknow (EIR) and then by RKR to Kathgodam to endure the final 22 miles by bus to Nain Tal.

Now, with the Diaspora available, I realise just how little of KGP it was my pleasure to know. Pictures occasionally, and family picnics in the AF(I) truck stand out in my memory, but it was always family. How I wish, in retrospect, that I had been allowed to mix and mingle with my contemporaries. I made my annual lament, complete with copious tears, to be allowed to stay home and attend the Railway School, but to no avail. Added to that, my sister June was bundled off to All Saints, the sister school to Sherwood, so my fate was sealed. Furthermoe, my Dad was transferred to Bilaspur as part of a promotion package for three years, taking in my Junior Cambridge to Senior Cambridge years. Fortunately an additional promotion saw him transferred back to KGP. And then the Mahatma intervened, and the cataclysmic episode ensued, and the rest, as they say, is history. Not of our choosing, needless to say. But as we recollect those wonderful days in India, and perticularly Khargpur, we can rejoice in the experience.

Sincerest good wishes for a joyful continuation of your good work. Derek Edwards.

It gives me no end of pleasure to hear about the many connections achieved through my website - we never thought it would go as far as it has - the response has been enormous. Now the problem lies in finding the time to keep it going as we would wish!

As you may remember, our mothers' were first cousins, through Aunt Addie (your grandmother) and my grandfather, Uncle William to you, who were brother and sister. I remember your mother very well, but more especially your father, dear Uncle Frank, and I have mentioned him earlier in my correspondence. He was such a good-natured tease, and had me singing my favourite nursery rhyme over and over again, which seemed to amuse him - especially as I loved acting out my idea of the actions!!

Of course, you will also recall that your old school was very much our "family school" - all the Meades, Green and Mayberry boys attended Sherwood, and the girls, All Saints, Naini Tal. It became a tradition, I believe, for our parents generation, but I have heard that Pam Meade and Harold Meade's daughters went elsewhere. In our generation, Jimmy Mayberry and Michael Green attended Sherwood, but I'm not sure about Patrick and Michael Meade and some of the others. My mother talked about sending us to N.T but of course the political situation put an end to all such plans.

Some years ago, somewhere between '74 and '80, Stephen and I attended an Evangelical Church in Montreal, and came across someone who knew you at school. A man called Peter Ghey, whose father had been a Colonel in India. They had lived in Calcutta, and he had met my parents while they were visiting Montreal some years before, so it was a very pleasant experience to renew the acquaintanceship through our church connection.

I have often wondered what had happened to the Meade side of the family,and I was so pleased to have you "fill in" the missing period. I had met Kay Fryling during her visit to England just before she married Jan, and I happened to be visiting my parents at the same time. I adored her, and wish I could have seen much more of her, but we kept up a correspondence, and I still have some of her charming letters which she wrote from New York. Spoke to her on the telephone from time to time, and the last call was just before she left for Australia, when she mentioned that she felt she ought to "end her days" with her family around her. By that time many of the siblings had passed away, and she was missing Jan.

I was so sorry to hear that your mother passed away, and on your 50th Anniversary - how very sad for you and your wife. Quite devastating for both of you, since you will always connect the two events, and what should have been such an auspicious occasion turned out so very sad. Stephen joins me in sending you our belated condolences on the loss of your mother and June - in the same year.

By contrast, it is so refreshing to hear how well your family are doing, and the wonderful blessings of grandchildren.

What has become of the other members of the Meade family? I recall Aunt Addie telling me that she somehow managed to bring up her 11 children with very little help, and my mother always displayed such admiration for her amazing humour and strength of character as she soldiered on without a grumble - indeed, the opposite! You may remember that Aunt Lovey, Laddie, Aunt Addie, Terence, Honey and Marjorie lived diagonally opposite my parents, so the endless visits and "get togethers" prevailed, and I remember the laughter and general cameraderie so very well. Aunt Marjorie's delicious sweets; the dogs; Tuno, who also worked for them and died there while so young; Jacko - Patrick's monkey; the sound of Terences's saxophone; and visits by Henry Ross and Bubbles Morgan all added to the general ambience in a young child's mind. I do recall you visiting them - with your red hair and your neat outfits which included knee-high socks (school uniform, no doubt!)

Well, I have allowed myself to get carried away, haven't I, but I hope you won't mind. Indeed, lets have more of these reminiscences - they are such fun!!

My very best to Leila and your family, Derek, and thank you for your many good wishes and encouragement, all of which is much appreciated by Stephen and me -

Much love and warm regards to you, Leila and the family -

Corinne Baxter née Crampton


**NEW** 29 July 2008

From: Corinne

Date: July 24, 2008

Dear Paul,

Paul Hubbard Makes Contact

I was so pleasantly surprised to receive your mail, and delighted to learn that you were following my website, which I set up about two years ago, largely on a sudden impulse, although I had always been interested in our associations with India and the lively little town at which we had all once lived and thoroughly enjoyed.

In your July 19 message you said:

My name is Paul Hubbard, eldest son of Roy and Zoe Hubbard (née Laurence). I have been reading the information on the website with great interest. When I was a young lad I met my cousin Michael Green once when he was visiting my aunty Vee, sister of Michael's mum Sheila. Isn't it a small world.

I live in Nottingham UK with my wife Janine and children Thomas (named after Tom Laurence my grandfather) and Emily. My brother, John, lives in Walton on Thames, Surrey with his wife Beverley. Our sister, Delphine, lives in Guildford, Surrey.

Of all the old folks, only aunty Chick (nee Laurence) is still alive, she lives in Dartford, Kent. Unfortunately she does not have a PC so cannot access your site but I must print off some text and photos for her, particularly the ones she is in. Mum died in 2003 and uncle Gordon on the 5th Jan this year. God Bless. Paul

Kharagpur was very much a "family" town, friendly and community-minded. Our families must have felt so 'lost" when they moved out of it, and it was so sad to hear of hitherto "close" associations being torn apart and having to adjust to war-torn surroundings with all the prevailing implications.

My mother had so many friends who found their way over to our home in London, and were warmly welcomed at all times. Among them, Vee, who was a regular visitor to our home, and sometimes, your own mother. We, in turn, visited your family, just before your father passed away. You were quite young at the time, so you may not recall the incident. We knew them very well in Kharagpur. Your father worked in my father's outfit (Daddy was in charge of the Boiler Dept. of the railway). I remember what a good voice your father had, so joined the choir of the Baptist church. Your mother's father had been a Deacon there, and both your Lawrence grandparents were active in so many ways. Your mother taught Sunday School, and taught my little group, so I especially remember her with affection.

Of course, the association between our two families culminated with the eventual marriage between my mother's brother, Uncle "Boysie" and your father's sister, Aunty Sheila, so in a way, we are distantly related, through marriage!

Years later, when Stephen and I were living in Medmenham (RAF Signals Command Headquarters), Vivienne often visited us for the weekend, and I have some lovely photographs taken in the garden of the Officers' Mess, to commemorate the occasions. She was a dear family friend, and we were all very fond of her. She loved coming over to our home, and we shared so many laughs and happy thoughts together.

I was so sorry to hear about your mother's death in 2003, she must have been a good age. I heard about Vee's death through my cousin Michael Green. She was like a surrogate mother to you children, and Zoe often mentioned what a help she had been, especially after your father died. Both ladies got along so well, and there was a lot of "give and take" between them - a rare characteristic these days!

I had heard that Clive d'Silva died recently, but have had few details, so I omitted to place an obituary in my "column." Perhaps you would be kind enough to supply me with some information, Paul.? "Chicken" might help in this area. I also had received information that Gordon had died, but I hesitate to print anything momentous unless I have it substantiated - so, here again, if you could supply me with a few details, I will apply the notice to my website.

So good to hear news of your brother John and your sister, Delphine, and am particularly delighted that our two families have made contact after all these years. Do lets keep in touch, Paul, and I thank you for taking the trouble to write.

My best wishes and warm regards to all of you, and especially to you and Janine and your dear children, Thomas and Emily.

Many kind remembrances,

Corinne Baxter née Crampton


Copyright ©

People reading this site to date
search engine optimization
search engine optimization