Dear friends, Stephen and Corinne,
Do I note a slight hiatus in the flow of correspondence, or is it that in your part of the world [Canada] the warm weather is keeping people outdoors and not in front of a computer ?! [More likely it keeps them indoors in their air-conditioned paradises in front of the same inconsequential 200+-channel TV that you can see too. Stephen.]
[None of the above. Those of our readers who can contribute are likely your age too, Terence, and it takes a little time for them to access old memories and photos - that they probably have not viewed for decades - before they respond - if, indeed, they have ever entered this InterNet medium. Even if they have InterNet access, that does not mean that they have photo-scanning equipment. So few have.
In practice, it is more likely that their computer-equipped modern relations who are genuinely interested in their own heritage, after accessing our WEBsite, are the ones who have relayed our news and challenge to their seniors. All this takes time. If you as our second generation Reader recognise yourself as such, please make yourself known, securely, using the "CLICK HERE..." switch.
We have therefore adopted a policy of patience. If more than a fortnight goes by without an input, well, perhaps we should consider closing this WEBsite!
Besides, Terence, while your country in our antipodes may well be the land of the 'Barbie,' ours in Canada is much more civilised and uses it more discriminatingly only to annoy our neighbours. Stephen]
To the "concert players " [Derrick Hogermeer's photo of July 10]. There are some 5 to 6 pretty young girls in the photo surely they should be easily recognized !
New identification, courtesy of 'Sweetie' Ann Colquhoun née David; the tall young lad in the feathery hat on the right is her brother Bill David and the face between King and Queen belongs to Mr. Reardon (she thinks). Brother Colin suspects the boy on his shoulder is Billy Enwright! [See photo in previous letter]
There have been no more new recognitions on the "Vacation School" picture. [See Terence O'Flynn's photo attached to his June 8 as amended July 3 above] since Donald Thorn's input. I can now add that No.31 is my grandmother, Mrs. Jeannie Jones.
My wish is now to find 'Kharagpurians ' in Sydney and maybe meet for a lunch and who knows, "today Sydney; tomorrow the World "
From: June Howe née Hendricks
Date: July 15, 2006
A Blast from the Past
My maiden name was June Hendricks. I married John Howe, brother of Booboo Howe (Walter Howe).
You may remember my grandmother, Mrs Strong, who was a lady ticket collector with Colleen David, mother of Sweetie David and Dinky David. My aunts, Colleen Strong and Rita Strong both worked in the canteen.
My dad Gerry Hendricks was a mail driver. My mum, Hilda Hendricks, had eight children: Norma, Maureen; Sydney; Raymond; Millicent; Mavis; Desmond; and me, June.
We first lived at 436 Wynne Avenue (4th Avenue) opposite the Baptist Church. We then moved to 340 3rd Avenue. John lived at 448 Wynne Avenue opposite the Institute, just in front of the Jordans and Cranns (Gordon and David). We then moved to 437/2 Wynne Avenue.
John Howe and I got married in 1960 and left for England. We have four sons and one daughter, and ten grandchildren - and another one on the way. We came to Australia in 1973 and settled in Melbourne.
John remembers all the teachers. Mrs Magry taught in kindergarten. When I was in school Mr Rosemeyer was the Principal - I remember him very well, he was our History teacher. Without opening his book he would recite word for word. (I am sure he had an in-built computer).
Corinne, it is wonderful to reflect into the past; Alleluia and Praise the Lord. You have started something that we just can't stop talking about; KGP. I am sure my children think we are quite mad, but they don't understand the life we had "It Was Simply the Best." Not much but enough to keep us happy.
Do you remember the 4½ anna tickets for the first five rows at the pictures, and the rest was 10 annas, and 1 rupee 4 annas.
Also, do you remember the Cartman (Nanabhai): you name it; he had it. During the interval we would buy choc/gum/candy etc. from him.
Also our Library had magazines from England; a must read. As children we would watch the pictures from the hatch between the hall and canteen. Our aunts would stand us on a stool. We used to love Errol Flynn; my Swashbuckling Hero!
What about our dances and jam sessions? You were too young to remember them. [Don’t you dare believe it. I was there and fully alive to them. Corinne]
We had Alex Saldahna. The lights were dimmed during the last dance He would Play Goodnight Sweetheart..
Then there was the Tag Dance - the boys would stand in the centre of the hall eyeing the girl he wanted to dance with. He would go and tap the boy she was dancing with. This way he had the pleasure of dancing with her; no punches were thrown; all very gentlemanly.
The other band we had was Mrs Williams which had Robert Williams, Michael Dedumbal, Neville Antioch and Dick D'Cruze. The singers in KGP were Mrs Manly, Mrs Partridge, Diana (Tootoo) Williams, Mavis (Bird) Hendricks and Frank Bannister. (I still remember him Singing Mocking Bird Hill).
Would anyone know what happened to the Five Boards . We had in the railway school hall, with the names of the Head Boy, Head Girl, Champion House, Champion Athlete (Boy) Champion Athlete (Girl). These boards are very important to the history of the school, which was founded in November 1899. Maybe Alwyn Jordan could look into this (come on Alwyn, do us a favour. Look into this on your next trip).
I will now call a halt to this diatribe I will keep some more memories for later.
Keep up the good work.
June Howe née Hendricks
Date: July 29, 2006
We were so thrilled to receive your well-thought-out package which arrived yesterday, and Stephen is busily sifting through the items to try and post them to the web as soon as he can. We are caught up at the moment with several domestic issues and have had to "take it easy" on the web, consequently we have a bit of a back-log, but hopefully, will remedy the situation as soon as we are able. Thank you so very much for your thoughtfulness and promptness, which is going to be appreciated by many of our readers.
I do remember the boards of which you speak - they hung on the west wall of the "shed" as it used to be called, (and I always thought such an inappropriate term!), but they were revered as school-crests always are. For a moment, I had to think hard, as I was visualizing all the crests in our hall in my old school in England. There they had stood, in proud array, against a background of wood panelling, so many of them as to make a grand display, and it was a moment of great honour when one's name was embossed in letters of gold, and the crest was once again mounted, with suitable ceremony, at the usual school Assembly (at which all were required to attend - whatever one's religion ). It was quite a stirring moment. The Railway School had no such tradition, and I shouldn't wonder if those crests were simply used for firewood, when the rest of the RAJ archives were treated in the same manner. However, your friend Alwyn may oblige you by trying to discover what may have become of them.
I was very interested by your family news, and although I didn't know them at all, many of the names you mentioned were familiar, and this is the whole purpose of our Website, to try and get the background of the many families who had inhabited KGP in our time. This should help us all orientate, and get to know each other - "Diaspora Re-United." Obviously, the net will bring in old friends, former neighbours, acquaintances, old school chums, and then perhaps, the "hark back" to the previous generation and the original Founders, who held the key to Kharagpur in their hands - they had shaped the History of this little town. I tried to convey all these thoughts in my Introductory paragraph.
Most of our parents left soon after Independence: some were repatriated under the terms of their contracts (several of my family came under that agreement - 30 year contracts under Civil Service Commission conditions, which happened to end after the War or around Independence), others felt the need to get away as soon after as they could legally terminate their services. Your family left in '60 after you were married, so you must have witnessed the dramatic decline of our old town, of which so many speak with sadness. We used to receive letters describing the state everything was in, and we felt so glad that we had left when we did.
Yes, I remember the Cartman who used to vend down our roads selling toiletries, stationary, and large jars of "sweets" on the top of his cart. "Bullseyes" and "Jujubes" and "Butterscotch" to name a few. Chocolates would melt, so we bought those from Billimoria or Pujara's. where they were refrigerated. I believe he did his vending every day at about the same time, so we were conveniently supplied with household necessities. But, I still remember the vendor's cries - (Down the backroads, for the servants) "Saboon" (soap, usually the cheapest sort), "Chunna" (highly popular), and one memorable cry "Weigh-your-boo-die" (with suitable accentuation!) - took me ages to decipher what he was trying to say, until I saw a huge scale being towed along!! Then, the "Bickry walla" - what a superb way of recycling rubbish! But my favourite was the "Cake-wallia-mamsahib" (superb cakes and marzipan Easter eggs all decorated with Royal icing, and containing marzipan fruits - delicious). They had to be especially ordered, of course, but his "everyday" fare included a delectable assortment of cup cakes. What a treat!
I remember John and his brother very well, both were keen hockey players, and although a bit older than me (I was in the 6th Grade when we left) they had made their mark on the school through their athletics, so everyone knew them! I recognized many of the people in the photos, but Stephen is trying to lighten the shading a bit to bring out the sharpness, by use of digital scanning. It would have been easier to scan off the original print, but anyway, he's giving it his best shot!
As regards the teachers, Lionel Kidd was the Head when I was there, and a very good Principal he was, too, and I had heard that he had died, but I wonder what became of his two children, Brenda and Christopher. The last we heard was that they were still in England, but we lost touch around the mid-60s when my parents came over to Canada to spend Daddy's retirement years here near the family.
Stephen and I were still globe-trotting on RAF postings, so the likelihood of our being nearby them was very remote, and the other two girls and their families were in Canada, hence the decision to join them. But, we had enjoyed visits from the Kidds for many years, and missed them and other old friends - Austin and Elaine Gunther, the Brown family - Robin and Blanche, "Lilla" and her two brothers, to name a few. There were so many it would take space to name all of them.
Mummy was such a warm hospitable person, and had the gift of making people feel so welcome that they loved coming over to our home. That went for all our old school friends - scattered all over London - and later, our boyfriends. The operative word was "friends" - no over-familiarity was permitted, nor exercised. We never had to be told to "hold-back"- they expected good behaviour! If Daddy didn't approve of someone, he made it very clear, and they were never invited again!
Such were the times, June, and we don't regret a moment of them, do we. Every part of our lives held some interesting adventures, but the early years in India were unique, and it does us all good to recall them and reminisce with each other - hence the WEBsite!
Stephen's just brought up another batch of letters so I had better "wind down" but it is with many kind thoughts to you and John, and many, many thanks for all your trouble: it is much appreciated, I do assure you.
From: Derrick Hogermeer
Date: July 26, 2006
You have no idea what a stir this site has caused. The discussions in my family, and the efforts made to try and remember who lived where, and all the happy times we shared before we left India have given great joy to all of us.
I am sending you a picture of John Enright. He gave this to me before he left India. Mrs. Redden is in the background at the side of the Sacred Heart Church in Kharagpur. I have no idea where John is now.
We both enjoyed sprinting. Especially the 100yds. Mr Pharoah used to make us run against each other across the school playground.
If the picture is not too clear I can send it to you with the group photo which was taken around the same time. [Yes, please, Derrick. Corinne]
P.S. July 27, 2006
I do keep in touch with Rex and John Naug.
Rex is in Queensland, Australia, and John is in Sarnia, Ontario. I thought you may be interested in what Rex wrote.
Rex wrote as follows:
"Yes, I do indeed well remember Corinne Crampton and some of the mischief we got up together. She of the red hair and freckles, used to live next door to us at 404 on Fourth Avenue (western extension of Wynne Avenue) opposite the gate to the apprentices' home. Yes she may have been a year or two older than me. The Cramptons moved in when the Kellys moved out. That was Driver Kelly with one arm. The other one got blown off when a shotgun went off in the car he was travelling in went off. John Upshon had a similar accident, but was lucky enough to have only a small part of his tricep blown off leaving a nasty scar! I wonder how Mr Kelly drove a loco with just one arm!"
Corinne, Terence has written that Colin O'Flynn thinks that the lad standing next to him in the King and Queen group photo is John Enright!
My family think and I, think it is me! What fun! I was always a tall lad. I am six feet three inches tall now!
I took part in many plays and concerts and think that this may be the one where the King and Queen were seeking a suitor for their daughter. The contenders for her hand in marriage had to provide an answer to three questions.
The only question I remember is that they had to bring a gift of something that had NEVER been seen by anyone in the world before!
I do remember this because the guy who did win the hand of the princess showed an EGG.
He declared that nobody in the world had seen the inside of the egg he held in his hand!
I do remember dressing up in that ridiculous outfit and walking about on stage. I did not have much else to do!
I would have loved to have heard you play the piano. Sadly, I do not play much now but love to listen.
Love to all your loved ones,
P.P.S July 28, 2006
I read you letter again. It is such a joy to be in contact with someone from KGP even after 60 years!
I note that your music students perform from memory. I am sure that must have got them excellent results. You must appreciate the fact that they will always remember you. If we can remember Miss Fernandes and Mrs Swyny, and they were quite a formidable pair, I am sure they will have no difficulty in remembering you. You have a special gift and this you have shared with your students.
If I remember correctly, we had our 'Pieces' which included studies, and we prepared then for a whole year before the exam. I must confess that I was absolutely terrified at performing the pieces in front of an examiner or an audience.
I note also that you played some Mozart Sonatas in duet form. I have not come across those before. I have played the sonatas K570 in Bb for Grade 8, K284 1st Movement for Grade 7. I found these difficult.
I used to get a decent marking for playing Bach. A lot of my family think he is boring but I do love his music. All the romantic stuff is so easy on the ear that it is inclined to get overdone.
I had and still have, no problems entertaining. I enjoy playing in front of family and friends. I wonder if anyone remembers me playing 'Scrub Me Mama' at an amateur talent competition in the Railway Institute? I came second. Norma Dalby came first with her rendition of "Some Sunday Morning." She grew up to be a fine singer too.
Just before I left India I entered the Ovaltine Amateur Hour. I had to go to Calcutta and audition. Then all the Calcutta Amateurs were taken to The Hindustan Recording Studios and I recorded "Cross Hands Boogie." This was broadcast from Bombay but I never got to hear it because I was on the P&O Arcadia travelling to the UK in 1956! Mrs Swyny would not have approved of my playing "that sort of rubbish." She would have died of shock if she had heard me play that! .
I do not know what happened to Mr Ottman. I had no idea that he went to British Guyana.
Street Map of Wartime Kharagpur
For your perusal and comment. There is some dispute over the accuracy of the West end of 4th Avenue, so we invite your corrections.
1 Railway to Midnapore 2 Road to cemetery 3 Carriage Shop
4 Boiler Shop 5 Blacksmith Foundry 6 CME's Office
7 Type Housing 8 Church 9 Dispensary
10 Markets 11 Locomotive Sheds 12 326 Third Ave, Nailer's Residence
13 Ration Shop During War 14 Level Crossing Gates 15 Signal Box
16 Khargeswar Mandir Shrine 17 Station Committee Rooms 18 Parking & Rickshaw Stand
19 Railway to Calcutta 20 Railway Station 21 Rest House
22 Underground Passage 23 Post & Telegaph 24 Avery's Machine
25 Billamoria's Store 26 Control Office 27 All Saints Church of England
28 Teachers' Quarters 29 Armoury 30 European Institute
31 Tennis Couts 32 Bandstand 33 Masonic Lodge
34 Wynn Court Officers' Quarters 35 Parochial Hall 36 Priest's House
37 Japatapur 38 Sacred Heart RC Church 39 D'Souza House
40 Magry House 41 Bunyan House 42 Meade House
43 Bowling Green 44 Hornby House 45 Allen House
46 Officers' Club 47 345 Third Ave 48 CME's House
49 Baptist Union Church 50 AMO's Quarters 51 To Cuttack, 170 miles
52 Railway Hospital (Main Part) 53 Maternity Wing 54 To Hijli
55 Apprentices' Home 56 Culvert 57 West End Foremans Quarters
58 Saw Mill 59 Watch & Warp 60 Heat Treatment
61 Electric 62 Machine Shop 63 Erecting Shop
64 To Bombay, Tartanaga 79 miles 65 Bengal Nagpur Railway Workshops
Vitai Lampada by Sir Henry Newbolt (1862-1938)
Kharagpur European High School Anthem
There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night – This is the word that year by year
Ten to make and the match to win – While in her place the School is set,
A bumping pitch and a blinding light, Every one of her sons must hear,
An hour to play and the last man in. And none that hears it dare forget.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat, This they all with joyful mind
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame, Bear through life like a torch in flame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote – And falling fling to a host behind –
"Play up! Play up! And play the game!" "Play up! Play up! And play the game!"
To: Derrick Hogermeer
Date: July 26, 2006
I am writing these few words to thank you for the letters you have so regularly sent with photos and ID of Terence's photo in which we can now clearly see what you looked like as a young "courtier" in Terence's and "Sweetie" Ann David's Kingdom!!
Pity you don't remember what the play was all about, but then many of us are in that position! I was regularly cast in some school play or the other, and do you think I could remember any one of them. I think we were so busy learning our parts and generally remembering all the instructions we were being fed, that after the event we simply cast it out of our minds! And that applied to musical performances as well. Everything had to be "Memorized" - the mind can only take in so much, but these days, they don't do any memorization at all. But, this teacher insists her students perform by memory!
As you can see,Derrick, your photo of John Enright was posted, and it will be interesting to see if there will be any response. I heard that they are in Australia, but then I think you knew that. Perhaps Terence can help - he knows so many from KGP! The Meade family - Bill (Billums) and Leslie Peter are cousins of the Enrights and may just hear about my WEBsite. I believe they may be in the Perth area.
You can imagine the excitement in our home when we read the reaction this site is creating in your family. We have worked hard to engender happiness through our outreach to all of you, and it warms our hearts to hear your expressions of appreciation. Dear Clare has sent us a little word each day to share her own thoughts with us, and we are so very encouraged by all your kind words. Telephone calls have also added wonderful surprises though I wouldn't want anyone to run up bills with the Phone Companies!
Keep in touch, Derrick, and Stephen joins me in sending you our kind regards and best wishes-
P.S: All the pieces you mentioned are well known to me, and perhaps the happy day will come when I hear that your choir is giving a performance at the National Arts Centre, in Ottawa, where we are Corporate members and attend 6 concerts a year and any others we may wish to add. Recently, we treated our 13 year old grandson, Christopher, to an evening at the Opera - he loved it and wanted more! Corinne
From: Derrick Hogermeer
Date: July 28, 2006
I read your July 26 letter again. It is such a joy to be in contact with someone from KGP, even after 60 years!
I note that your music students perform from memory. I am sure that doing so, must have got them excellent results. I think that you only really know a piece if it is committed to memory. One can then concentrate on performing it with the composer's intentions in mind.
You Corinne, must appreciate the fact that your students will always remember you. If we can remember Miss Fernandes and Mrs Swyny, and they were quite a formidable pair, I am sure your own students will have no difficulty in remembering you. You have a special gift and this you have shared with them. If I remember correctly, we had our 'Exam Pieces' which included studies, and we prepared them for a whole year before the exam. I must confess that I was absolutely terrified at performing the pieces in front of an examiner or even a friendly audience.
I note also that you played some Mozart Sonatas in duet form. I have not come across those before. I have played the sonatas K570 in Bb for Grade 8, and K284, 1st Movement for Grade 7. I found these difficult. I used to get a decent marking for playing Bach. A lot of my family think he is boring but I do love his music. All the romantic stuff is so easy on the ear that it is inclined to get overdone.
The last time I played 'Seriously' was in front of a critical audience in an Advanced Pianoforte Class in Morley College in South London. I was never so nervous. My friend told me that I should be having fun, and that is when I realised that I should do something else. I turned to singing!
I had, and still have, no problems playing fun music in front of family and friends. I wonder if anyone remembers me playing 'Scrub Me Mama' at an amateur talent competition in the Railway Institute around Christmas Time in 1947? I came second. Norma Dalby came first with her rendition of 'Some Sunday Morning'. She grew up to be a fine singer too.
Just before I left India I entered the Ovaltine Amateur Hour competition. I had to go to Calcutta and audition. All those who passed the audition for the Calcutta Ovaltine Amateur Hour were then taken to The Hindustan Recording Studios and I recorded 'Cross Hands Boogie'. This was broadcast from Bombay but I never got to hear it because I was on the P&O Arcadia travelling to the UK in 1956! Mrs Swyny would not have approved of my playing "That sort of rubbish!"
I still think of Mrs Swyny's singing classes. Do you remember being taught 'Early One Morning', 'The Lonely Ash Grove' and 'Believe me,' and all those endearing young charms etc. They are still taught today. Even now at rehearsal with The London Symphony Chorus we are exhorted to open our mouths wide etc!
Thank you for your interesting WEBsite.
Love to you and all you loved ones.
P.S. I do not know what happened to Mr Ottman. I had no idea that he went to British Guyana. Derrick.
From: Clare Johnstone née Gordon
Date: August 3, 2006
I can't seem to get away from this obsession that Kharagpur's Diaspora Re-united has on me.
It is this obsession that has moved me to sit back, write and share these feelings with all you folks on Kharagpur's Diaspora Re-United.
As always, thanks to Corinne and Stephen, and to all the subscribers here who have turned up that switch, bringing back the High Light of my Kharagpur, that was fading slowly away from me. Thanks.
Many of you folks on this Website don't know this old timer Clare (Johnstone) Gordon, but we do have one beautiful thing in common: memories of Kharagpur, our youth days spent there.
Kharagpur does have a habit of getting hold of one's feelings, even my husband Eric Gordon whom I used to refer to as the foreigner, coming from Bangalore, St Joseph College, placed Khargpur as the best place he has lived in, over his birthplace Bangalore.
And, all this time silly Clare thought Eric liked Kharagpur because of her. That's a woman for you.
Eric took his five years apprenticeship at Kharagpur's Local Shed.
To me the Institute was where our happiest moments were spent: Gathering with friends, pictures, dances, housie, tennis, badminton: you name it, it is there we have left all our youth felt happiest moments. I know I fall deeply into this category, head over heels.
I always refer to her as 'my' Kharagpur, as if she belongs only to me. On second thoughts, I shall share her with you folks.
Now IF only those bricks that make up the Institute can talk, what stories they would tell.
Of course we all know it takes the folks in a town to make things happen, all of us, in our very small way have contributed to this innocent whole sum happiness of Kharagpur Days.
Many friends were made, many friends we have lost touch with and many friends who have left this earth, like my husband Eric. All these friends have added their drop of happiness into our lives spent in this Kharagpur of Clare's !!
All these folks carry that same love for Our Khargpur.
I thank God for His gift to me, choosing Kharagpur as my birth place. Thank you God.
And so I shall conclude here thanking all of you for your love and contribution to Kharagpur's Diaspora Re-United.
Keep this love alive by talking with your family looking at old photos of your blessed days in Our Kharagpur.
God bless all of you.
Yours in Kharagpur's friendship
Clare (Johnstone) Gordon
Date: August 3, 2006
Rev. Arthur Sanford's former congregation in Kharagpur expanded quite significantly under his Ministry. He had such a flair with people, and his wife was a charming and friendly person.
They had their hands full with just keeping up with their busy routine, and learning the language, not to mention conducting Hindi services on Sunday afternoons for the servants. I suppose that today we could call it a form of segregation, since they were not allowed to sit with us. They all squatted at the back of the Sanctuary, in the hall, while they waited for us. Evidently Rev. Sanford abided by the social structure of the time, whatever his own private conviction might have been. Consequently, no rules were infringed, but he always behaved with great diplomacy, which is why we respected him so much.
We received a letter from Peter Nailer yesterday with details of his own WEBsite which had been closed down by his carrier. Very informative, but different in structure from my own, and yours. Mine is more informal and invites contribution of recollections, in anecdotal form, and includes pictures of people only if there is sufficient detail to recognise them. More and more are hearing about it, but I do have to edit carefully. Some are obviously much younger, or left India long after Independence, visualizing a different Kharagpur entirely from the charming town of our time.
We always have to be careful not to misrepresent the memories of our parents and the early Founders who lived there at the turn of the century. I intend soon to go back in time and also display some old photos of those generations. Althea has so many from Mummy and Daddy - she "swept" the albums. Regretfully she has not cooperated in the least, so I am turning to other members of the family who may be willing to scan and send me copies. My readers have been so generous, even to the extent of entrusting me with the originals, in some cases, which I have copied and registered back to them - so kind of them.
Peter Nailer, by the way, is the son of Herbert Nailer (who worked for my father in the Boiler Dept.) who was married to a KGP girl and had two boys, Gavin and Peter. I sometimes played with Gavin - nice family, very dignified and friendly. Well brought up boys, we always thought.
Stephen and I had quite a laugh when we read Rex's letter - completely erroneous facts!! I'll ask Dorothea to write the true story of poor Uncle Harold's accident resulting in the loss of his right arm. It was a shooting accident perpetrated by a man who should never have handled a gun in the first place - a panicky, over-excitable idiot ("ulo") whom Uncle Harold gallantly defended, but who was eventually exposed as a liar upon cross-examination by my Uncle Christie (who was then Chief Superintendent of Police). "One armed driver of a train" - my foot! " Whoever would believe such a thing? "Cocked gun went off as he was driving a car!" What sheer baloney! This is exactly how rumours used to get hopelessly distorted - your mother was the victim of several of them, and used to tell me about it.
I'd love to know what has happened to Connie Lou and Danny, any news of them? You used to be quite friendly with Danny, I seem to remember. Yes, memories do keep flooding back, it was a special time in our lives - so uncomplicated and happy. As children we simply didn't know the lurking dangers of the time.
Our parents tried hard to protect us from unpleasantness of any form, and everything. Even a simple train journey, was such an experience. The sights and smells of the area are still with me, I could almost reach out and touch them. Divali, cherags, Puja holidays in Jhargram with so many friends, Daddy going duck-shooting with Harra in the bullock-cart and coming back with live ducks which Nana turned into "Duck á l'Orange" (she was so good at cooking), and all our friends spread over the two houses in Jhargram. Dancing outside after dinner, and Bill Hill playing jokes on us! All the fun....
Well, Michael, we could go back in time and dream, but we must come back into reality and enjoy our lives today, too. We have so much to look back upon, and see God's hand upon our family, but so much to which to look forward, too. Our children's (Andrew and Laurence) forthcoming weddings in 2007 in England amongst them. I shall be so sorry to miss Andrew's wedding - couldn't they possibly make it mid-August when we will be visiting - Andrew's of all weddings! - we had so wanted to be there for it.
Hope Rosemary, your talented wife and new Church of England emergent vicar, is enjoying her retirement. She thoroughly deserves it, having always worked so hard, as indeed have you. Look forward to seeing you all next year.
Love, as always,
From: Michael Green
Date: August 4, 2006
Regarding Pastor Arthur Sanford and Family
I am sure that Rev. Arthur Sanford will welcome your mail. He seems to be very keen to hear from all his old congregation. It is probably what keeps him going. I understand that his wife, Nathalie, is not as active as he is.
We did draw up the Meade side of the family tree once, when you were here a couple of years ago. We will have to do it again when we get together. The only Meade I remember was the one who married the Polish Count!Michael Green as a young boy in Kharagpur.
I heard from Clive D'Silva, now 88. He married Zoe Lawrence's sister Bobby. Gordon Lawrence and the other sister, Edwina or "Chicken," are both still alive and living in Dagenham, England. Of course Clive was great friends with 'Hopey' and 'Boysie.' It was quite nostaglic talking to him because he knew all our family extremely well. He worked in the boiler shop for your Dad and he knew all the Greens and Zoe, Vivenne and Daphne etc. Apparently Daphne is still alive and living in a home.
Had an e-mail from Vicky as well. Remember her? She was younger than the others. She remembers Sheila who nursed Rev. Sanford when he had typhoid. Also my dad. We tend to think of people as we knew them, but forget that they are now much older. How time flies. Cried as I replied to Sanford - brought back so many memories - especially of my Dad - cycling in khaki shorts down 4th Avenue.
I am attaching Vicky's letter. I don't know how well you knew them. Vicky was very young in my time. However I am sure she will give you Connie's address.
Love to all. We are off to India at the end of September until the monsoons come. I guess it is in my blood. I am going to try and make Kharagpur this time.
From: Vicky Sanford courtesy of Michael Green
Date: Early August, 2006
How wonderful to hear from you, Michael.
Connie Sanford and her family live in South Carolina and Dan Sanford, whose wife passed away two years ago, lives in Minnesota close to his daughter, and I live in Wyoming with my husband of 40 years. Our one daughter lives in Pennsylvania with her family and our other daughter lives close by here in Wyoming.
We often talk about going back to Kharagpur, and maybe someday we will, but we have looked at how it has become modern from pictures that different ones have sent and by bringing it up online. Your dad and Sheila were really wonderful people. Did they ever get to England? Interesting that you have started a charity in Goa, I never got any further south than some of those southern towns in W. Bengal.
Did you hear about the 100 years celebration of the Union Church in Kharagpur? It was held last December and I guess lots of people from all over attended. Dad received your e-mail from Francis Halyburton, I think. She is same age as I am and born on the same day and we have said hello online too.
Do your remember Victor Koppole, he was in the BYF and his sister Gladys is my age. Gladys and I are still very good friends, and have remained so all these years. She lives right now in New York, but is selling her place. I have been in contact with Sherrill and Susan Naug at times, and Dan keeps in contact with Stephan Naug. Denzil and his wife keep in contact with mom and dad, have visited them several times over the years. Just recently Dad has made contact with George and Ray Dunkleberg; and the list of former Kharagpur members, friends, keeps growing and amazing and delighting us all, especially Dad..
By now you probably know that Dad does Bible studies online and my small publishing company has published 5 of them, with number 6 on the way. It is amazing that his Bible study group is around 200 all over the world. And it keeps him so alive, and mom is still alive too but not quite so fit as my dad. But they celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary this May.
So that brings you up to date, sort of, on the Sanford family. So good to hear from you and I looked at the websites, really interesting things you are doing. We will keep in touch and definitely if we get to England we look you up which is a destination that I have wanted to go to for a very long time.
To: Rev. Arthur Sanford
Date: August 5, 2006
Dear Rev. Sanford,
Many years have passed since we last attended the Union church in Kharagpur. So much has happened in the intervening years, and you may not remember our family at all. But I feel I must send you this little word to let you know that we have always been mindful of you, your wife and family, and indeed, remember you all with much affection and many happy recollections.
You may remember my sister and me, Althea and Corinne Crampton, attending the Sunday services, including Sunday School, the Evening Service and then the monthly Youth for Christ - where I made my first real commitment to the Lord under the ministry of Hubert Mitchell. Then followed a Baptismal service along with several others.
I must have been about 11 years old at the time. (Most people seem to remember me for my long, red hair!!) My "entering-in" experience meant a great deal to me, and although there have been large spiritual "plateaus" in my life during the maturing years, I have always felt the Lord's hand on my life throughout. "He is faithful despite our lassitude" as my husband would say.
We left India in May 1950 for the land of our forebears - England - not really knowing England at all except that several members of our family - the Founding Members of the "Jewel in the Crown" had originated from there! We arrived to a war-torn England, with a completely different reality from those of our dreams, but the old stoic British spirit prevailed. We decided that it had to be successful since a good deal of prayer for guidance had found it's way to Heaven before we "embarked" on the project, and we had felt very disposed to making England our final choice of emigration.
It did not take us long to settle and re-establish our roots (my parents' and theirs), and we have had many happy years there. I met my husband (a young Royal Air Force officer) in London and have spent a good deal of time on various RAF postings all over Europe, and Norway, finally deciding to settle in Canada after spending some time here on business during which period Stephen was made some very enticing offers which we felt we should not ignore. The boys loved Canada, and that was the "clincher!"
We have been blessed with three boys, two of whom live, with their families, just half an hour away from us in Ottawa. The third, our youngest son, returned to England after completing his Masters degree at York University in Toronto. We gave him a holiday in England as a "treat" and he felt a great tug towards the land of his birth, and that was it! But, again, the Lord must have had His hand in it, because the way simply opened for Laurence, and although we are sick at heart at the void in our lives, we are happy for him. He has met a lovely young lady who is the daughter of a solid Christian family, and they are engaged, to be married in September, 2007 - the year we celebrate our 50th Anniversary.
I do not want to make this "Introductory" letter too long, especially as you may not have an inkling as to who is writing to you in the first place, and secondly, I do not want to overtire you - you probably receive hundreds of pieces of mail from your former congregation in Kharagpur.
Michael Green is my cousin, and made his home with us during his first years in England. Uncle Boysie was my mother's brother, and of course, Sheila an old family friend who became my Aunt in Kharagpur.
I would love to renew my acquaintanceship with your family - Connie Lou and I used to sit together in Church, and visited each other from time to time during her holidays, and Danny used to be quite friendly with Michael. Vicky was very young at the time, a cute little girl, with an animated disposition, I seem to remember! I understand that she has a publishing company, and a web-page as indeed do you, I am told. May I have the sites' IDs? I'd also love to hear from Connie and Vicky sometime. You may be interested to know that I started this web-site of my own, entitled "Kharagpur Diaspora Re-united" - in which you have been mentioned in several references, and some pictures of the old church posted to it.
A fairly good response followed, and we have divided the site into three parts. I really wanted an informal exchange of letters in which we could recall happy memories in a thoroughly "chatty" manner. I hope that this will encourage the shyer readers to participate fully, and fortunately, this has been happening. Like all new projects, it will take time to gather momentum, but we have been very happy with the results so far. Above all, we want the site to be a "forum" as I explained in the introductory paragraphs. I do hope you will be able to access it and give me your ideas.
Our very best regards to you and your wife, Nathalie, and many happy remembrances.
From: Rev. Arthur Sanford
Date: August 5, 2006
I confess right now I can hardly see for something blurring my eyes and makes them sort of damp!
You mentioned your long red hair: who could forget that, Corinne? Really, all the contacts with the Kharagpur folk has given me such a blessing.
Nathalie and I are in a retirement home where she is in a skilled nursing area, and I in semi-independent area, but close enough to spend all day together. It is afternoon now, and she is in bed for couple hours. I am going down to get her in her wheel chair for the rest of the afternoon, so I will answer you more fully later today or
How I thank God for your letter and for you, Corinne.
The old Padre
From: Glenn Halyburton
Date: July 27, 2006 (Posted: August 6)
Street Map of Wartime Kharagpur
[Glenn introduced himself by kindly forwarding a copy of the Street Map of Wartime Kharagpur which I have edited and posted here. We delayed posting his e-mails, which I have concatenated below, until we could establish the proper attributions. It has been an exciting journey in identifying the author, Peter Nailer (with whom we are now in contact) whose aunt had bequeathed a marked-up copy to him. We are most grateful to both of them, and look forward to receiving more illuminating background information. Stephen]
I'm a younger Halyburton born in 1956. Conrad is my cousin and he has sisters called Coral, Fanny (Francis), Heather, and a brother Terrence, just to name a few. Conrad lives in Melbourne, Australia, and so does Fran.
I got the Street Map from a guy called Peter Nailer some time last year - he did all the work and should get the accolades. He did a lot of research on the town.
My dad was Clarence Halyburton, brothers Charles and Wallace. Their parents died young and they were brought up by the Baptist family, Harold and Florrie, I think. Mum is Beryl Chapman - had sisters Olive, Gwen, Doris, and brothers Henry, Eugene and Leslie.
There are six in our family - Rodney (1947) Delphine (1951), Lorriane (1953), me, Henry (1959), and Cynthia (1963).
Dad worked as a Guard on the Railways and most of us went to to the South East Railwaly Mixed Higher Secondary School, and I remembered some of the teachers you mentioned like Mrs. Netto. Mum is still alive and I will show her your WEBsite this weekend - should get her excited.
[We would love to hear of her reaction and, more importantly, any reminiscences she might care to share with us. Corinne]
We lived on 469 before we moved to Australia in 1971.
I will send e-mail addresses of Fran and Conrad some time over the weekend.
P. S. The Union church had a reunion last Christmas.. attached is the address - some good info on the church here. http://unionchurchkgpca.tripod.com
Date: July 27, 2006 (Posted: August 6)
Dear Glenn and Margaret,
A Wish Fulfilled in Spades
What a lovely surprise when we opened the mail this morning to find not only a new contributor, but the much longed-for Street Map which Clare and we have been moving heaven and earth to try and find. Thank you so much for all your efforts.
I was trying to place you, Glenn, since the name Halyburton rang big bells in my memory, and then I remembered - do you have a relative by the name of Conrad, (you use the name several times) who was a bit younger than me, but attended the school in KGP? He may even have had a sister, who is a bit hazy in my memory, but perhaps you can clear the blurr?
I'd love some background on you and Margaret, when you are able, and perhaps a memory or two of our old childhood town, in which we all played a role. Sometime soon, I want to take us all back to the previous generation - our parents and their parents, the Founders of KGP, but for the moment, we are all still "shaking hands" over the InterNet, as more readers join in, and share information as to their whereabouts and their own particular recollections.
My husband wanted to send you a word...."I'd be interested to know who made the ID comments on the map, and when?" It was obviously a 1932 Survey map, but the "Ration Shop" would have applied to the war years, so it was used till the late 40s' presumably.
So looking forward to hearing much more about you both, and again my best thanks for getting in touch with us.
With kind regards,
From: Peter Nailer
Date: August 2, 2006 (Posted: August 6)
Regarding my Own Memories of Kharagpur
I am more than happy for my expired WEBpage, copy herewith, to be placed somewhere like on your WEBsite. I, like you, want these memories preserved. Even though I was very young when we left India.
[I have delayed posting this while waiting for permission to do so. Peter Nailer emerged as the author-of-record of the "Street Map of Wartime Kharagpur" (edited by yours truly and already included in this WEBsite) through the good offices of Glenn Halyburton. He, Peter Nailer, had done a great deal of research, the results of which he had published in an expired but fascinating WEBpage of his own portraying the very Kharagpur of our WEBsite's era. He has furnished me with a copy of what he has left of it, and I am now trying to work out how best to display his work here, whilst retaining the integrity and original character of his original work. It is entirely worthy of his own original signature from which we will not knowingly detract. Just give me a little time to work it out, whilst Peter himself tries to enhance for me the images of the facial characteristics of the plethora of group photos, not to mention the many scenes, that he has to present to us. We all await Peter's enhancements with baited breath. Stephen]
I copied the Street Map of Wartime Kharagpur from a copy of a copy with notations made by my late Aunt Marjorie Magry. I will try to assist with what you want to know from the little I know.
[Peter. Do tell us about your aunt, but who is "Brenda ****** née Carter, Melbourne? Corinne]
I left as a little boy in 1950 and don't remember much.
I went back in 1974 and again in January this year. It has changed so much. There is no charm left; it is just another Indian town.
Kharagpur has always had this treasured place in my heart. So much so that I went back this year to celebrate my 60th birthday in the town and land of my birth. I do genealogy as a hobby so we visited a lot of the family tombs etc down south. It was great to share this with my Australian-born wife.
Give me some time, say a month and I will update the Street Map along with the town plan.
You said that the area west of the hospital was in dispute. This is what my Aunt Marjorie drew from memory. Can you tell me what corrections to make?
[Regretfully, no! I have to rely entirely upon Corinne and our readers for their corrections based upon their own memories. But what they (read Corinne) tell me so far is that there are too few houses on Fourth Ave west of the hospital, that "Wynn Ave" as an extension of Third Ave is wrong, that Wynne Ave was an alternative name for Fourth Ave, and that the Apprentices’ Home was farther south. (Our readers will surely straighten us out on this, together with the gossip regarding "Lovers' Lane," too young for Corinne then to appreciate!) Stephen]
Date: August 06, 2006
The Clock Tower, KGP
As regards the clock tower, which friend Donald Thorne cannot seem to remember, well, we had a perfect view of the tower from our old house - 302a, Third Ave. The siren at the top of it was the "Buzz," or "ponga" which the servants called it! The clock face was clearly visible from our upstairs bedroom and bathroom-balcony. It made such a pretty background and the gurkha quarters were just below it on the Hijli road as was the watchtower which was extensively used during the war.
We all have memories, and although very young, I remember an awful lot, I'm happy to say. The Administration offices were just under the clock and within that particular vicinity. My Aunt, Phyllis Green, worked there, and so had my mother when she was Mr. Dubour's (d'Boards) secretary. I sometimes get the spelling wrong - as we all know!! - but sounds, sights and the smell of the foliage are so clear to me still.
Have just written to Rev. Arthur Sanford who is still alive and active at the age of 92! he has a website of his own, and is still corresponding with his old congregation from KGP. He even has a Bible-Study on line, and I have asked him for the site ID. He may not remember me after all these years, but I hope he will respond. We certainly enjoyed the Union Baptist Church - it was so alive under his ministry, and he simply brought the Word to us in a down-to-earth non-affected way.
From: Clare Johnstone née Gordon
Date: August 8, 2006
Stored Data of Kharagpur by: Clare (Johnstone) Gordon
Each and everyone of us have our own memories of our youth days spent in Kharagpur, each carrying their own depth to it's meaning, giving us a beautiful rainbow, of those past days.
My first twenty years of life were spent in India. These memories are limited to three sections: the Johnstone family; the Railway School; and my last three years at the famous European Railway Institute.
Memories of the Johnstone family, will be of no interest to folks other those of my era in Kharagpur. My dad Ernest Johnstone was a Mail Driver. We lived in 345 Third Avenue from 1937 till his retirement early 1948. We were a large family, I being the eighth of ten siblings. Most children in our family attended boarding schools. My two older brothers left India in 1937 for England when I was only seven years old, and they both - then 16 and 14 years of age - became RAF and Army survivors of World War 2.
My school years 1937-1947 at Kharagpur's Railway School, (one year at Staines School, Coonoor) were based on the same rules and regulations that were in force before the end of the Raj Rule. Principles were changed, each bringing their own ideas as to how this school should be governed. During my attendance at the Railway School, Mr. Eccliston and Mr Lowery were Principles. Both these Principles left for England before August 1947. Several of the teachers named in Kharagpur's Diaspora Re-united taught while I was a student at this school. They were old timers.
I recall in grade two we studied two foreign languages, French and Hindi. It was during WW2 that French was dropped. A great shame. I would have preferred to have studied French as opposed to Hindi, as my dear friend and ex-class mate, Donald Thorn, will agree. Clare was not an intelligent student, but one who passed each grade by the skin of her teeth, as the saying goes. I was a quiet, reserved young lady. This would be the description of Clare as a student of the Railway School who kept a lot to herself. I was unable to participate in any sports owing to a heart condition that I was born with. I have spoken more to Donald Thorn since Kharagpur's Diaspora Re-united opened, than when we were in the same class room! Agree here Donald? Thanks for your several phone calls from England to me in Laguna Niguel, California.
Clare in Kharagpur, 1948. I am still in touch with one of our devoted teachers, Olive Peters, married to Dick Lennon, is now living in Jhapatapur, India. Miss Fernandez and Miss Netto were my favourite teachers, who taught my two favourite subjects; Math and Needlework. One year I was awarded the prize in Needlework, a great surprise to me. I still have the award book and my exercise books of these classes taken under Miss. Fernandez's teaching. Here I stand holding these 60 year-old antique work books. Who knows, one day someone may come across these books, look through them, and wonder at this 1940s teaching system of the European Railway school, Kharagpur, India, and wonder at their odd way of teaching this subject. With all this teaching from Miss. Fernandez, sewing these days is not a favourite pastime of mine.
1948 saw me no longer a student in that school. The Johnstones were then awaiting
their departure for England, renting rooms at 'Rose Dean' owned by the Mugries
(sp) in Jhatpatapur.
Leaving 345 Third Avenue was hard on us Johnstones. This house held shared happy and sad memories, including the leaving behind of our servants whom we had known for years and were part of our family. It was a sad day when items were sold; items that had been in the family for generations, only allowing us to select what we could take with us to this unknown country, England. To me it was like a limb being torn off one's body, moving to this unknown territory, England, leaving behind what was very precious to me; India.
Rose Dean in 1950.
Jeanette (Seddon) and I knew our childhood friendship was coming to a close but promised to keep in touch with each other. Five years later we both met in England, I, married with my son Guy, while Jeanette was still a young single woman. It was on one of our last days in Kharagpur, a sunny casual day when Jeanette (Seddon) and I were riding our bikes down Second Avenue going towards the Post Office, when we heard the ringing of bicycle bells behind us. Both of us thought we were being chased by Punjabi men, who were active at this time during Gandhi's riots with their "British Quit India" policy. We headed for the Post Office thinking that would be the safest place for us. On our arrival at the Post Office, who do you think were chasing us? None other than two full grown Caucasian teachers of the Railway School; Mr. Jones and Mr. Pharaoh. Their reason for this chase was that Mr Pharaoh wanted to know if I would be his guest to the school dance to be held the following week!
"You have got to be kidding," I thought to my self, while Jeanette wore that quiet smile. "This has to be a joke, me and Mr Pharaoh?" My dad would have thrown a fit to hear of this; an old man like Mr Pharaoh and his young daughter!!. This teacher must have been at least twenty years my senior. Okay Clare, you could be stretching this age difference a bit !
My reply to Mr Pharaoh was that I would let him know after I had spoken with my dad. I had no intention of even mentioning this episode to my parents. It was something I didn't even want to think about, let alone discuss it. Both Jeanette and I had the heartiest laugh here. "Clare and Mr Pharaoh, Clare and Mr Pharaoh," we kept saying. What a laugh. This kept us amused for days to come, and remained a life-long joke between us.
My memories of the Institute days were brought to life at the age of seventeen-plus years when the opposite sex moved from the "jerk's" position to the "check out" position. Was I stepping into dangerous territory here from a quiet secure area?
Dances and boys were never my cup of tea, I spent most of my days hanging around my brother Bruce Johnstone who was fourteen months my senior, climbing trees, checking out bird's nest, butterfly collection etc, right up to the time of my seventeenth birthday.
I remember one Christmas I received a doll at one of those Christmas functions at the Institute for children. I told my Mum I wish they had given me a game instead of this doll. One didn't have the option as to what you would like for Christmas, you got what the Big Boss thought you should have for your age.
The dances brought the opposite sexes together, one can say. We didn't have to worry if we had a steady boy friend or not because we were chaperoned to these dances by parents or friend's parents. Formals were the dress code for all these functions. These dances were always happy occasions.Whether it was an ordinary dance, or a fancy dress ball, fun was had by all.
The "Canteen Cats" Band was 'the' top band during my dance days, with music from the Glen Miller, and Dorsey brothers era; everyone's favourites. Our female singer was none other then Ms. Kate Bell, now Mrs Carl Heldt. Kate had a beautiful, smooth, strong voice and accompanied with this talent were her good looks. Yep, she was an attractive young lady and still is, living in Canada with her family and grandchildren. The only players I can remember in the "Canteen Cats" Band were Douglas, Derek and Carl Heldt, and Malcolm Meade.
There was a standing rule, if one had a steady boyfriend. The first and last dances belonged to him, especially the last dance. Those dimming of lights (an old tradition) during the Last Dance was more than just a dance. I leave one's imagination as to what the "more than just a dance" meant here. One must bear in mind these were the early 1940s when kissing (clean kissing) and holding hands done in public were taboo.
In Clare's book? For me, certain songs belonged to certain dance partners. If you were one for jitterbugging, one had a special partner here. Jitterbugs was not my kind of dancing; not ladylike with all that body throwing etc. A special song played, belonged to that special dance partner. Still today whenever "Begin the Beguine" is heard my memories return to that partner. This was a song that was not too popular after I married Eric, as you will gather, this song belonged to someone else before Eric became my steady male friend, who finally became my husband in 1949.
The Street Lights were our signal it was time to leave for home no matter where you were. The meeting of boys at the Institute: if you had a steady boy friend they would walk one home along with your younger siblings. One would get lucky if those siblings would run on ahead and left us two alone where we could get that good-night kiss in before they returned to join us and before we reached home.
The Rose Gardens were known to so many as Lover's Lane. The only time I went to those Gardens was on a daylight trip, with Jeanette We wanted to see the different flowers in this ever-popular Rose Gardens people talked so much about being Lover's Lane. To me it was nothing but a garden with Rose bushes, I couldn't connect this Rose Garden with being a Lover's Lane, this leaves me baffled.
Sixth Avenue was also known as Lover's Lane. Now this, I have witnessed as using 6th Avenue as our Lane, that is Eric and yours truly. We had a favourite tree we would stop at and talk with each other. Did we carve our names on our favourite tree trunk "loved forever" ? Yes. On my third visit in 2001, since leaving Kharagpur in 1950, I walked down 6th Avenue alone without my Eric, and found our tree no longer standing there. It seemed to me then, that Our Tree had left with Eric accompanied with our other memories of our Raj days spent in Kharagpur, India.
Now I am left standing here on my own, flipping back those pages of our walks down our Lover's Lane, 6th Avenue, Kharagpur.
Do memories keep one alive? It is so funny. In today's language Lover's Lane would go well beyond the holding of hands and a short period of clean kissing during this walk. 'This' is my memory of Lover's Lane, holding hands and clean kissing.
I can honestly say that I had only a handful of friends in Kharagpur, while the others, to me, were mere residents of Kharagpur. Everyone who worked in KGP worked for the same Company, we were all employees of this one Big Company known as The Bengal Nagpur Railway. This Company controlled all operations in Kharagpur, like the running and building of the Institute, the school, the hospital, the trains, the workshops, and the work shed: all were under the Bengal Nagpur Railway. There were no founders here. All supervision was controlled by the Bengal Nagpur Railway - the Big Boss who hired and fired each of us Kharagpurians, their employees.
This Employer sorted each employee out as to where they lived according to their rank at work. Their children attended the only school there, though some parents sent their children to Private schools outside of KGP And, of course, the European Railway Institute Club membership was controlled by BNR. All these deductions were taken from their employee's paycheck for the privilege of the above living, controlled by this one organization, the Bengal Nagpur Railway. No one owned a house in Kharagpur. We were all Renters in Kharagpur; just plain good old Renters.
If one could not afford the school fees, their children went without an education. There was no Free schooling in Kharagpur for either Caucasians or the poor Indians. Come to think of it, nothing was free in Kharagpur.
With all of the above 'my' Kharagpur still holds my youth happiness, known to me as: "My Raj Memories". By 1948 the seven older children of the Johnstone Family were either in England or the USA, leaving just the three younger ones in India, that would be Blossom, Stanley and yours truly, Clare. In March 1949 Mum, Blossom and Stanley left for England, while Dad followed a few months later after receiving his retirement from the Railway.
What happened to Clare? Well, she married Eric Gordon on the 30th March 1949 before my Mum, sister and brother left for England. 1950 saw Eric and his one year-old bride in England, with her parents. Please, bear in mind, these are Clare's Stored Data of Kharagpur, and is not meant to be viewed as gospel.
In Kharagpur's friendship,
Clare (Johnstone) Gordon
To: Peter Ince
Date: August 09, 2006
Getting to know you, Peter
Thank you for your brief introductory message, which was:
"My name is Peter Ince, and like everyone else from Kharagpur, I too was thrilled to come across your WEBsite. I would like to add the names of friends and relations that spring to mind, and I feel warrant a mention. Eric Ince (my dad), Ena Ince (my mum), Marion, Dora, and Patricia, my sisters. Arthur and Dorothy Palfrey, Wally and Alice Conway, Gertie and Bessie Peacock were nurses. Joe and Phillis Paulie and their children John, Patrick and Erica. Clifford Ambrose and his sister Connie. A very good friend of mine Douglas Reid. Henry and Barbara Hamilton and their children John, Peter, Bill and Mary. And also Bill Daranjo. Bill is not on the internet, but has just asked me to try and get the e-mail address of Randolph or Gordon Wright please. I would be obliged if you could get their permission to forward it to me. Thanks. Our Best Wishes,
"Peter Ince "
I was so delighted to hear from you in yesterday's post, especially as I remembered you as a little boy, along with your sister who was then know as "Patsy." Indeed, your sister Dora was in class with me, and we were quite good friends at the time, though we lost touch when we left India in 1950. Marion was a bit older, but I often visited your home when you lived above the Palfreys (on 3rd Ave?) whom I seem to remember were related to your family in some way?
Your mother, Ena Ince, would sometimes help us with our Geography homework, and a jolly good teacher she was, too. I wished that she were our regular teacher - she explained things so clearly, and had a natural gift of communication. I cannot remember where your father was at the time - may have been war-service or something like that, but I do remember the Palfreys very well, especially when they moved to live opposite us when we lived near the hospital - on the west side, near the Nurses' quarters.
Mr. Palfrey used to bring over his instruments - I forget which one it was, there were so many who brought over instruments, and I would play the piano along with them. Ensemble performing was encouraged by my parents who derived great pleasure from musical evenings. Gertie Peacock used to be a regular visitor to our home, and she loved singing all the "pop" songs of the day, especially "Buttons and Bows" which, thank Goodness, Miss Fernandes never found out about! She was my music-teacher at the time, and was very strict about our keeping to the "Classics!" I've had many teachers since then, and they always agreed to allow me to play anything in addition to my curriculum pieces on the principle that it was all good for sight-reading experience, which is what I teach my own students today.
To get back to the KGP list of names which you have submitted, Peter. It's so invigorating to hear all these people whose names have faded somewhat in the mists of time. This is the reason I started my website. Stephen and I wanted to rejuvenate and stimulate my memory, but I need a little "thumbnail sketch" of each person mentioned, otherwise we could be just a telephone directory! As I mentioned to someone, I do not want to run this website as an "agency" - the AI Association does that! - this is to be a re-introduction of sorts, a little pool of memories being exchanged between the old RAJ from KGP; an assortment of anecdotes which we will all enjoy reading and remembering; and if, in the process someone recognizes the people whose names have been launched and friendships have been restored, then all the better!
Now you have mentioned several names which I personally remember, but others may not have a clue as to whom you are referring. So say a little bit about them please, Peter, and of course, about yourself! You say nothing about yourself, nor give me any of your own personal recollections. I am totally in the dark about you, or when you were in India or anything about your list of names etc. I am having to rely upon my own recollections which may be in error since it was all such a long time ago, and I was very young when we left India as you will see from my Introduction.
My husband has very courteously passed on your request to Randolph Wright who has only written to us once, and has telephoned, and I understand had changed his e-mail address. How Stephen found him I don't know, but he kindly forwarded your request, and it was very briefly acknowledged by Randolph. So you can take it from there - the two of you.
Now, I would really love to hear from you again, and do so look forward to that happy letter, with perhaps some news of my old school-chum, Dora? Better still, something from her personally as well - now that would be a BONUS! I wonder what happened to the third party in our group - Halycon Ross - who lived very near to our house at 408, Wynne. She had a brother, Carlyle, and also a lovely family-minded mother, as was yours, and mine.
Stephen has just handed me another letter from you acknowledging your receipt of the Randolph’s e-mail address and about Bill Daranjo - who is he? Randolph Wright had been in class with Dora and me, and in an earlier letter, I communicated my recollection of as many of our class-mates as I could remember, but I may have missed out a few. Perhaps Dora could fill in the blanks.
You say that you lived at 409, what a coincidence! Could you tell me more? My cousin Gerry Green was there when we left in May 1950. Where did he go? The Palfreys with whom you were staying at one time lived opposite, what happened to them? They were such nice people.
So, you can see Peter, that there are lots of gaps begging to be filled in!! So, let's hear YOUR story!
We are enjoying inaugurating this website - my dear husband's "brain-child" but it does take a lot of time which neither of us minds at all if we are successful. Stephen is an awfully busy person at the best of times, but is hugely sharing and loves meeting all you folk through the medium of the web, but we've all got to "pull our weight" and I reserve the right to "Edit"- which I have had to do quite often. Some people have sent excerpts from books printed on Kharagpur - I would not want a legal suit of plagiarism levelled at me! Fortunately, I knew the books from which they were quoted!
Once again, Peter, do write soon, we are eagerly looking forward to the next "installment" of your family news, and meanwhile, my very best wishes to all of you.
With kind remembrances,
Corinne Baxter (nee Crampton)
From: Clare Gordon née Johnstone
Date: August 7, 2006 (Posted August 25, 2006)
Dear Corinne and Stephen:
My love and thanks go out to both of you for the gift you have given all of us folks from Kharagpur. Your precious time spent here putting this Site together for our pleasure.
Do you know, Corinne and Stephen, I keep searching my mind to find a word than can express my gratefulness for this gift from both of you, and I keep failing hopelessly.
For the mean time I am going to turn the table around, thanking both of you dear thoughtful people for your gift to us. Thanks.
May God bless both of you for bringing the lost and found together through 'your' Kharagpur's Diaspora Re-united.
Take care of each other.
God be with you both always.
"I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing."
Kathrine Mansfield, 1888-1923, New Zealand writer
From: Peter Ince
Date: August 10, 2006 (Posted August 25, 2006)
Well, I am dumbfounded that not only do you remember me and my family, but to the degree that you do.
I must apologise for the virtual list of names that I sent you, but the truth is that I did not expect you to remember any of them, but hoped it might help prompt other peoples memories.
Unfortunately, I have a 3 second memory now, so it is very difficult to recapture the past to any degree. However, having said that, only recently I said to my sister Marion, that I vaguely remember Mr and Mrs Palfrey,(my mums sister) living for a brief spell at 409, before us. Her reaction led me to believe that I had flipped. I am glad that you seem to recollect that as well. Mrs Palfrey came to the UK in the early 1960s, and lived with me till she passed away a few years later. Mr Palfrey died in India just before she came here.
This was to have been a one line acknowledgement of your letter, till I got some more info for you. However I have managed to ramble on. Anyway, Marion is the one with the snaps, so I shall raid her collection, and in the not too distant future, hopefully, be able to furnish you with examples of, the dangers of using fast acting ageing cream.
Once again, thank you for your lovely letter, as I know how time consuming this is for both of you, especially with the response you have received. I shall put together more details where ever I can, and you can dispose of any unwanted info.
Love from our family to yours.
From: Donald Thorn
Date: August 8, 2006 (Posted August 25, 2006)
Dear Corinne and Stephen,
I have just been to the Diaspora Reunited site and saw your letter to Clare.
That building with the clock tower is a complete blank in my memory -- although you were lucky to have it so near to you that it was visible from your house. I have now added it to my memory banks for future reference.
I clearly remember the Ghurka quarters and passed by them a few times on my cycle -- although I must say that I did not go around that area very often. I also remember the Apprentices Home very clearly -- and went there a few times.
Corrine, I wonder if you or anyone remembers the K.S.C.(KGP Station Committee) Dairy Farm -- It was right to the end of Wynne Ave going East past the Institute and the Armoury. You then came to it facing you on the opposite side of the road. They used to sell milk, butter,eggs, flowers and veggies which they grew there. I am not sure if it was still there when we left in 1948. Perhaps someone may be able to throw some light on it.
A few names from the past come to mind. Charles Brendish, Thaddeus family who lived above the A.R.P.Post No.13 (House No.430) . The Lawrences lived in the other half.
Then there were the Foxens in the next house (432) with the Eddie Carville in the other half. That block was right opposite the Baptist Church.
Ronnie Vernieux, the Athlete, also comes to mind. Les and Lorna Meade, daughter Pamela. Terence and Roxy Shea, daughter Anne, Ben Andrews and wife, Children Bertie (pilot in Indian air force), Olive,Ralph and Margaret. The Minos family. Ted and May Isham. (Ted was from Gloucester as was my dad, Cyril Thorn), Ronnie Turner, "Pondie" Faloon (came from Pondicherry), son Andree. Noel and Gertie Kelly, daughter Ann, son Peter. Noel had a band called "The Crackerjacks," used to play for the dances around 1943/1944. "Jock" Palfrey, Andrew Curtiss, The Mays sisters who were typists in the Workshops; they lived in Third Ave opposite the Nailers (Herbert and Gwen).
Well my dears, so much for the present! Will give you a "run-down" of more names at a later date -- much later -- did I hear you say ? LOL !
Keep up the good work on the Diaspora Reunited -- I love to go there and see the latest news to be posted. God Bless, be kind to each other,
P.S. If you need to know anything about KGP please drop me an Email, and I will try to help if I can.
P.P.S. It's Don Thorn again -- Meant to tell you that I spoke tp Clive DaSilva last week on the phone -- he says that the picture that you thought was him (No.38) was in fact Sylvia Roga's brother , Vivian Roga. One more added to the list !
To: Donald Thorn
Date: 25 August 2006
Just a quick word in reply to yours of the 8th August.
We left for our favourite mountain retreat shortly after your letter arrived, and I don't think that I replied very fully. You had mentioned several names to which I do not think I responded, so let's have another stab at it!
You mentioned Charles Brendish, who married my mother's sister Aunty Hazel, and they had two boys, both of whom are in touch. I am hoping Keith, their elder son will get around to contributing to my website in the form of a letter about his parents and perhaps a photo or two. Uncle Charles has passed on, and shortly after, Aunty Hazel also - much too young, unfortunately. You may remember that they were "transferred" to Adra for the last period of his tenure with the Railway, and they emigrated to UK in 1948, I believe. He then got a position with "Crown Agents" in Nigeria, and spent many years there, returning to UK in the late 1950s - Keith will confirm this, I might be wrong on dates. They lived in Sunninghill, Windsor, for the last few years of their lives, and I have some photos of family-gatherings including Charles and Hazel Brendish, Uncle Arnold Mayberry, Michael Green and his wife Rosemary, the Baxter "mob" and a few others who may just be of interest to some of my readers. How about some from you - we'd love to see them.
Les and Lorna Meade have also passed away, but I was in conversation with my cousin Pam Meade, and told her about the website. She isn't into computers too much, she said, but it would still be so nice to hear from her sometime. She is very busy with her Mayorial duties along with her husband, who is the Mayor of Wigston, nr. Leicester, and I am sure they are terribly absorbed by their duties there, but aren't we all busy in one way or another!
You must have seen Peter Ince's letter in which he mentioned Jock Palfrey and his wife (who had lived opposite us on Wynne Ave. at one time).
The Mays sisters worked closely with Aunty Phyllis, and we used to see them walking to the office with their parasols and white stockings - always so neat and tidy. Gentle people, as I recall, and so ladylike.
All the names you mentioned will "ring a bell," I am sure, with some folks, and is bound to prompt a response. It is such a joy to hear about people getting in touch again after all these years - gives us such pleasure. I do appreciate your own 'phone calls from time to time, Donald. Hope you are keeping well....
Many kind thoughts from both of us -
From: Usha Mathew, New Delhi, India
Date: August 22, 2006 (Posted August 25, 2006)
A friend of mine from school, (more than 30 years ago) mailed me your news letter about Kharagpur. And of course, that served to bring back cherished memories of my days in boarding school and all the girls who were my friends and who are now scattered all over the world. I might add that among them there was no one from Kharagpur, but I dare say that life would have been similar to that of yours in all the railway towns of the 1950s and 1960s, in India.
My link with KGP, if any, was at best tenuous except that in 1973, on a trip back home to Jamshedpur (Bihar) from College in Madras (now Chennai), my friends and I had to detrain on account of a flash railway strike and, ergo, spent the rest of the day with enough time to explore the platform! I am not exactly sure that the nearby school we visited was the one you went to but I'm hoping it was!!
I am not Anglo Indian, but most of my friends from school were, and I watched with regret the slow exodus of the community from India during the 1970s. I thought that they had been lost to me until the MAGIC of the internet was made available to us.
What I really want to say is to thank you for bringing back memories of an era more graceful and certainly simpler than the one we are in now. Your newsletter and the accompanying pictures and correspondence made for good reading and I thank you once again .Keep up the good work!!
Date: August 25, 2006
I was particularly delighted to receive your letter upon our return from a short mountain-lake vacation especially as you had had no connection with our town, Kharagpur, and still took the trouble to write and acknowledge my website and the contents, which you have been following. How very kind of you to go to the trouble of connecting with me personally, and expressing your pleasure and encouragement.
I note that you spent time in a boarding school, but you do not mention which one, so I assume it may have been up in "the hills" - Himalyas or Malibar? So many of our townsfolk went up to the Himalyas because they happened to be nearer, but a few went to the Nilgiris (?)
My own parents had it in mind to send us to my Mother's old school at Old Saints, Naini Tal, if we had remained on in India, but my Father was quite adamant that we should leave India as soon as it was feasibly possible.
I spent a good bit of my schooling in England, which I so enjoyed. I must admit, Usha, that I do not look back upon my schooldays in Kharagpur with any particular relish or enthusiasm. I had a lot of fun, mostly because of Kharagpur being the friendly town it was, and my friends who made the school experience palatable, but the education wasn't nearly as interesting as my school in England, and the style of teaching was not at all progressive or productive!
My latter school stands out in my mind as one of the happiest periods of my life - I loved the character-building aspects, the traditions and sense of pride one had in one's uniform, and the general attitude of the teachers toward their students - respectful and respected. So, I cannot claim to have any particular affiliation to the BNR European High School in Kharagpur. I understand that it changed significantly after Independence, but that's another story!
I hope that you may be able to restore contact with your old school friends but that you will continue your readership of my website, and maintain correspondence with us whenever you are able.
Once again, my best thoughts and kind regards go out to you, Usha, and all good wishes,
Corinne Baxter (nee Crampton)
From: Cynthia Rischmueller née Woodward
Date: August 7, 2006 (Posted August 25, 2006)
It was great to find out the past in KGP.
My name is Cynthia Rischmueller née Woodward. We left in September 1948. My mum Sheila and dad Fred Woodward (decd), my brothers Terry and Fred and my sister Corrie, all live in Adelaide, SA. I will write and give more news of other family's.
Thanks for your memories
Date: August 25, 2006
Your letter was so welcome and I was delighted to hear from you. I am equally sure that many other people will be happy to hear from you after so many years.
My memory is clear in many respects, but occasionally, I need a bit of a "jog!" Of course, I remember seeing you around at school, although we weren't in the same class, but probably had the same teachers.
I note that you left KGP in 1948 - just two years before we did. The time was right, as I understand that the town slipped downwards from that point, but it has changed radically now, from all accounts, and I don't think I could ever go back. Sometimes, it is better to retain the old memories, although it takes a special kind of courage to return and STILL keep ones former memories intact!
I am so looking forward to hearing all your family news, and I hope that you will continue following the website. By the way, have you ever come across Adele Hilton (known to us all as "Dell") who used to live on 3rd Avenue near the hospital end. Her mother was Blanche Hill before she married, and I believe had two brothers - Douglas, and I think, Maurice. Adele used to be a visitor to our home in London, England, and decided to join her family in Australia sometime in the 1950s. She used to be friendly with my sister, Althea, but I haven't heard anything about her for years.
Again, my kind thoughts, Cynthia, and do hope to hear from you soon.
Corinne Baxter (nee Crampton)
From: Lynette Hare née Sellers
Date: August 15 and 23, 2006
This is Lynette Hare née Sellers, eldest daugter of Laurine and Jim Sellers of Wynne Avenue.
How thrilled I was to have details of this web site forwarded to me. I can't wait to send it to my mother, now 89. Whilst most of the people mentioned are not known to me personally, the names sound so familiar. I'm sure my mother will know just about everyone mentioned.
I do, however, know Michael Green, as he was a good friend of my borther Lionel Sellers. I would love to be put in touch with him and I'm sure Lionel would too.
Michael's parents took our family in for a week prior to our leaving for England. My father died 6 weeks before we left, and good friends of ours, including the Greens, went to tremendous lengths to get us on the SS Batory in time for departure on 15th February 1954.
I have many good memories of life in KGP. Two of my best friends were Hilaré Homer and Patsy Pinto. I saw Patsy at a party at her cousin Wendy's not so long ago and recognised her straight away: she still has her twinkling eyes and lovely smile. I met Hilaré in London many years ago but unfortunately we have lost touch. The last I heard, she was living in Bristol and married to Leslie Foxley.
My mother remarried three years after we came to London. She is physically frail, but mentally as robust as ever. We had a wonderful step-father, George Alveyn (a cousin of the Pintos) who died 7 years ago. Mum and Uncle George moved to Winchester 16 years ago to be near their son, Christopher. My sisters Arlene and Penny also live in Winchester.
We are planning a big party for Mum on 4th March next year, her 90th birthday, and shall be inviting her former pupils (she had a shorthand and typing school on our front verandah) with whom she is still in touch.
My husband Phillip and I have been married for 43 years, have a son and daughter, plus three grandchildren and a step grand-daughter. My daughter Alison named her daughter India as she wanted her to remember her roots.
My brother Lionel Sellers is a bachelor and lives in Ruislip. My sister Arlene married Christopher Gardner and they are temporarily in the Turks and Caicos Islands where Christopher is Chief Justice. They have a son, and daughter. My sister Penny lives in Winchester; is divorced and has no children. My sister Christine and her second husband, James, are currently in Istanbul where they are both lecturers at the university. Christine's daughter Laura is married with three children and living in Michigan.
I would love to hear from anyone who remembers our family.
Lynette Hare née Sellers
Date: August 25, 2006
This is SO exciting - re-introducing ourselves throughout the globe, and catching up on the intervening years with an exchange of family news and sometimes, photographs, but above all, sharing recollections of a time spent in a friendly and unique little town in faraway India in which we all had a part to play.
I seem to recall my Aunt and Uncle - the Mayberrys - mentioning your family. Perhaps you all lived close by - they lived opposite the Armoury and near the Institute, then they were transferred to Bilaspur where they remained until they left for England in 1948.
I 'phoned Michael in England as soon as we returned from vacation, but his wife, Rosemary, told me that Lionel and he had already been in touch by telephone and had had a wonderful time "catching up" on news about each other!
I do hope that your mother will be able to capture her own memories on tape, or E-mail, and share it with us. So few are able to do this and we long to know something about life in Kharagpur in their time. She would be about the same age as Clive d'Silva, and he takes a keen interest in Michael's website ("Kharagpur Remembered").
I was so sorry to hear about your father's death so shortly before you left for England - what a dreadful shock for all of you, but what courage on your mother's part in proceeding with her plans to leave India despite the adverse circumstances and her personal grief. It must have been so difficult for her to leave all her memories behind, but what a blessing that she was able to find happiness again in the person of George Alveyn, and that all of you regarded him so highly.
Do give your mother our congratulations on her courage and fortitude, and we shall submit our happy birthday wishes in due course - March 4th. Probably there will be many from Kharagpur joining me in sending our thoughts at that time.
Your brother, Lionel, may just know "BooBoo" Howe, who also lives in Ruislip, as well as the Desmeyer (?) family - relatives of Marjorie Desmeyer, née Brown - and Geoffrey and John Brown. All were resident in that vicinity.
Do keep in touch, Lynette, and I hope that you will convey our kind thoughts to your mother and the other members of your family.
With many good wishes,
Corinne Baxter (nee Crampton)
From: Rev. Arthur Sanford
Date: August 27, 2006
Memories of a Pastor in Kharagpur
Today as we, my son Dan and I, were talking, something popped into my memory which I wrote down at once so I wouldn't forget again. Good thing I did because, about an hour later, I thought, "What was it I was going to share tonight?" And really it was completely gone until I saw what I had written down. Well here it is.
One day a circus came to Kharagpur, and since there was no one with me at that time - Nathalie was in Landour with the kids who were in school - I decided to go see that circus.
Got there and decided to get a third class ticket so I could sit aways back from the one ring that it had. But the manager saw this white man sitting back there and came and took my hand and said he had a special seat for me as his personal guest.
Well what could I do but go with him to the front row and a good seat about three feet from that platform that went all around inside the tent. And on this all the animals walked..
Well, it wasn't bad when the monkeys were out because they were small. But then came some giraffe, and wow, they were way up there. Then four tigers became loose. Wow! When they went by me those big animals, with nothing between me and them, and that biggest one looked at me as if to say, "Umm, good dinner!"
I looked back at that seat I had left and thought, "What did I do to deserve this?" And that wasn't all. A couple of acrobats came out with two old clowns, and they had fun with that white man out there all alone.
One of them had a chair and was doing something while whirling it, and suddenly it flew through the air right at me and, wow, I ducked, and that chair stopped about three feet from me before the clown was there with a big grin and bowing and apologising.
The rather big crowd had all the fun, but at my expense. I was the only white person there that night, and I sure wished I were any place but there. Afterward I got to remembering it and really was glad I went. But the next circus I went to, I stayed in the third class seat a long way from that front. But, wow, they had some great actors.
Goodnight to you all and God bless you, one and all.
The "old un" having fun writing to you,
The old Padre, now just Art
From: Sukhbir Singh Arora
Date: August 27, 2006
This is Sukhbir from Kharagpur.
A friend of mine from Canada (Stephanie Halyburton Lobo) had forwarded your website to me last night. My wife and I couldn't stop reading the letters. They were so interesting.
I came to Kharagpur in 1967 and studied in the Railway (EM) School. I did my Senior Cambridge from there. And I do remember Miss Netto. I can never forget her. Why? Every time you made a mistake in Trigonometry, you had your knuckles rapped with a ruler!
Kharagpur of the late 1960s and early 1970s was still lively. There were still many AngloIndians here. We still had a dance every month. I know because I became a band member after the rhythm guitarist (Kevin Thompson) left for Australia. I must have been the first non-AngloIndian in Kharagpur to play the guitar and sing in a band. Now, we are not sure if we are going to have the Christmas and the New Year Dance.
Our band broke up when the lead guitarist (Brian Chapman) left for the UK and the Bass guitarist (Gregory Henderson) and the Drummer (Gordon Manuel) left for Australia.
Now I am married to an AngloIndian (Charlene Ross) and have a daughter, Sonia, from her. She has a son from her first marriage. He is married too and has two daughters. They are working in Delhi at the moment.
I work in the Railways. You can say that I got the job for a song. When I was in the band the then Divisional Superintendent, came for the New Year's Dance and asked us if we were in service. We all said we were jobless. So he asked us to put in an application for a job in the Railways. Luck was with me. I got the first call. Now I hold the position of a Chief Ticket Inspector. By the way, my full name is Sukhbir Singh Arora. I still have seven more years of service left.
I shall try and send you some old photos of Kharagpur. I have already asked my mother-in law, Mary Ross (née Francis), to look for some old photos. I hope I have not bored you with this long letter. Bye and take care. Will keep in touch.
Mentioned in Dispatches
There were 245 Names last time we counted (up to 2 July 2006)
There are now 482 Names (up to 25 August 2006) just 8 weeks later.
Most of our readers who remember their beginnings in Kharagpur are now in their retirement years, but a few of them are InterNet-savvy enough to appreciate what they read here and do respond. They have nothing but fond but fading memories of the Kharagpur of the late 1940s and early 1950s, and are willing to share them with us to our combined delight.
Then there are their younger relatives who can recognise their family connection here, and can alert their older brethren to our WebSite, bless them. Even so, we feel that our reach to the senior folks, and their response to us, falls far short of what we had hoped for. So we would like to encourage that younger generation to intercede for us to capture from their seniors anything that may be left of their memories of Kharagpur.
Our wholehearted challenge to them is to capture from their seniors via script, tape, or annotated old photo, any anecdotes describing life as it was in the old Kharagpur whilst there is yet time to do so.
This Kharagpur of our fond memories was, in our minds, a dream community living during the fading fourth decade of the 20th Century Indian Raj in an area of only one-and-a-half square miles. It was founded by brilliant British notables in 1904 south of the tracks comprising mainly detached and semi-detached houses mixed in with just a few institutional buildings like the Institute, the Apprentices’ College, and the Hospital.
Now that we have resurrected the names of those inhabiting the Kharagpur of our childhood, (and there cannot possibly be many more left unidentified) let us now try to capture what may be left of them in our fading memories to give those names some substance, and those old fond "ghosts" some animation. Stories about them are the only way to give them any liveliness.
The names of these dear people have now been resurrected in our memories; so please help give them life. I have tried to eliminate all duplications, and this means that the names you will see are those by which they were known in that distant era. Married names have been eliminated if they were not known at that time.
George Alveyn Clifford Ambrose Connie Ambrose
Anne Andrews Ben Andrews Bertie Andrews
Margaret Andrews Mrs Andrews Olive Andrews
Ralph Andrews Neville Antioch Joan Ashe
Norma Ashe Phyllis Ashe Rona Ashe
Rona Ashe Sam Ashe Denzil Baker
Matron-Alvina Baker Noel Baker Terence Baker
Frank Balchandami Frank Bannister Ronnie Baptist
Dorothy Baptiste Douglas Barracliffe Douglas Barret
Kate Bell Jackie Boland Cynthia Bourne
David Bourne Freddy Bourne Johnny Bourne
Noella Bourne Charles Brendish Hazel Brendish
Keith Brendish Barry Brewster Brenda Brewster
Freda Brewster Gillian Brewster Louisa Brewster
Una Brewster "Baby" Brinkhurst "Girlie" Brinkhurst
"Billie" Brown Andrew Brown Bertie Brown
Blanche Brown Bunty Brown Elizabeth Brown
Family Brown Geoffry Brown Jean Brown
John Brown Lewin Brown Marjorie Brown
Robin Brown Cleone Browne Wendy Burns
Peter Butler Renée Butler Shelia Calahan
Dick Carr Dorothy Carrol Priscilla Carrol.
Philip Carroll Duncan Carter Edward Carter
Kathrine Carter Leonard Carter Reg Carter
Eddie Carville Miss Caster Rev.Derrick Catley
Roly Chapman Sonna Chapman Gloria Clements
Owen Clements "Sweetie"Anne Colquhoun Alice Conway
Wally Conway Dorothy Corks Horace Corks
Kathleen Corks Vernon Corks Althea Crampton
Corinne Crampton Corinne Crampton Ernest Crampton
Eyleen Crampton Hope Crampton Jill Crampton
David Cranns Gordon Cranns Andrew Curtiss
Dick D'Cruze Norma Dalby Annie Dandapat
Dr. Dandapat Raja Dandapat Bill Daranjo
Clive DaSilva Ann Davenport Colin Davenport
Joan Davenport Patrick Davenport "Dinky" David
"Lambe" David Bill David Colleen David
Stanley David Hilda DeCruz Mike Dedombal
Buddy Defholts Neville Deranjo Margorie Desmayer
Kulwant Dogra Mr Dubour George Dunkelberg
Ray Dunkleberg Principal Eccleston Carlyle Edwards
Billy Enright John Enright Rex Evans
"Pondie" Faloon André Faloon Teacher-Miss Fernandez
Winnie Fink Julian Finnimore Keith Finnimore
Peter Finnimore Family Foxen Lesley Foxley
Daphne Gasper Darell Gaudin Inez Gaudin
Mavis"Bobby" Gilmore Mavis Glewis Mr(Institute) Goldsworthy
Bernie Goodwin Eric Gordon Owen Graham
"Boysie" Green Alan Green Barbara Green
Daphne Green Derek Green Eyleen Green
George Green Gerry Green Gloria Green
Joan Green Michael Green Millie Green
Phylis Green Sheila Green William Green
Maureen Greenwood Mrs Greenwood Sylvia Greenwood
Austin Gunther Elaine Gunther Carmen Hall
Gene Hall Les Hall Nora Hall
Val Hall Francis Halyburton Glenn Halyburton
Barbara Hamilton Bill Hamilton Henry Hamilton
John Hamilton Mary Hamilton Peter Hamilton
Charles Harbin Jimmy Harbin Joyce Harbin
Rankin Harbin Eric Hartley Leo Haudin
Carl Heldt Daphne Heldt Derek Heldt
Douglas Heldt Inez Heldt June Heldt
Kate Heldt Mavis Heldt Randolph Heldt
Desmond Hendricks Garry Hendricks Hilda Hendricks
June Hendricks Maureen Hendricks MavisBird Hendricks
Millicent Hendricks Norma Hendricks Raymond Hendricks
Sydney Hendricks Blanche Hill Douglas Hill
Kevin Hill Maurice Hill Adele Hilton
ApprCaretaker Hoare Desiree Hoare Bert Hogermeer
Daphne Hogermeer Maureen Hogermeer Hilaré Homer
Dorothy Houghton "Booboo"Walter Howe John Howe
Zoe Hubbard "Bunny" Hustin Dora Ince
Ena Ince Eric Ince Marion Ince
Patricia Ince Peter Ince Peter Ince(Rev)
May Isham Ted Isham Alwyn James
Norma James "Dunnie" Jansen Isabel Jansen
Teacher Jansen Derek Johnson Ian Johnson
Ronny Johnson Blossom Johnstone Bruce Johnstone
Clare Johnstone Ernest Johnstone Stanley Johnstone
Daphne Jones Freddie Jones Jeannie Jones
Alwyn Jordan Geoff Jordan Alwyn Jordon
Denzil Jordon Helen Jordon Vivian Jordon
Eddo Keith Ann Kelly Family Kelly
Gertie Kelly Noel Kelly Peter Kelly
Brenda Kidd Christopher Kidd Lionel Kidd
Denzil Koppole Gladys Koppole Victor Koppole
Bobby Lawrence Edwina"Chicken" Lawrence Gordon Lawrence
Zoe Lawrence DrMartin Leake Colleen Lee
Colleen Lee Edna Lee Joan Lee
Margaret Lee Dick Lennon Olive Lennon
Sisters Lennon Principal Lowery Don MacFarlane
Dorothy MacFarlane Doug MacFarlane Sadie MacFarlane
Family Magry Margorie Magry George Major
Anne Male Mrs. Manley Colleen Manuel
Dennis Manuel Jean Manuel Yvonne Manuel
Mike Martin Stanley Martin Mona Massek
Usha Mathew Arnold Mayberry Fay Mayberry
Jimmy Mayberry Noreen Mayberry Sisters Mays
Lulu McFarlane LooLoo McGuire "Lovey" Meade
Barbara Meade Beryl Meade Bill Meade
Clare Meade Cyril Meade Daphne Meade
Denzil Meade Fay Meade Harold Meade
Helen Meade Honey Meade Isobel Meade
Kathleen Meade Leslie Meade Lorna Meade
Malcolm Meade Marjorie Meade Maurice Meade
Pamela Meade Russell Meade Terence Meade
Barbara Mee Carl Mee Dick Mee
George Mee Gerald Mee Harold Mee
Vyvyan Meiselbach Family Minos Noel Minos
Glenn Mitchell Keith Mitchell Teacher Moore
"Bubbles" Morgan Bishop-Arabindo Mukherjee Roy(Hindi) Munchie
Gavin Nailer Gwen Nailer Herbert Nailer
Peter Nailer Archie Naug Bob Naug
Butch Naug Chistine Naug Duncan Naug
John Naug Olive Naug Patsy Naug
Peter Naug Rex Naug Sherrill Naug
Stephen Naug Susan Naug Miss Netto
Colin O'Flynn Holly O'Flynn Terence O'Flynn
Tony O'Flynn Robbie Osborne Nevin Ottman
Arthur"Jock" Palfrey Dorothy Palfrey Ronnie Partridge
George Pascal Irene Paul Erika Paulie
Joe Paulie John Paulie Patrick Paulie
Phillis Paulie Rev.Russel Payne Bessie Peacock
Gertie Peacock Leslie Peter Eardley Pharoah
InstituteMngr Phillips David Pinto Patsy Pinto
Wendy Pinto Colleen Pope Ralph Raymond
Mrs Redden Douglas Reid InstituteMngr Richards
Fater Richie Sylvia Roga Vivian Roga
Brian Rosemeyer Carlyle Ross Halcyon Ross
Alex Saldanha Connie Sanford Dan Sanford
Nathalie Sanford RevArthur Sanford Aubrey Seaman
Esme Seaman Joan Seaman Marlene Seaman
Ronnie Seaman Tom Seaman Bertie Seddon
Chickie Seddon Dudley Seddon Jeanette Seddon
Keith Seddon Leslie Seddon Neville Seddon
Nora Seddon Shirley Seddon Arlene Sellers
Christine Sellers Jim Sellers Laurine Sellers
Lionel Sellers Lionel Sellers Lynette Sellers
Penny Sellers Rajib Sen Barbara Seth
Joan Seth "Roxy" Shea Anne Shea
David Shea Terence Shea Bain Singh
George"Podgy" St.Clair-Paul Margaret Stanley Adrienne"Tiddley" Stoker
Elizabeth Stoker Pam Stoker Teacher Stone
Colleen Strong Mrs Strong Rita Strong
Carmen Stuart Joanna Stuart Phyllis Stuart
Sylvia Swyney May Swyny Philip Swyny
Roy Symons Carl Tapsil Horace Taylor
Family Texiera Edwin Thaddeus Ronnie Thaddeus
Cyril Thorn Dolores Thorn Donald Thorn
Geoffrey Thorn Irene Tobin Eunice Tucker
Philip Tucker Trevor Tucker Ronnie Turner
Gwen Upshon John Upshon Paul Upshon
Peter Upshon Family VanHaeften Bunty Vanjour
Ronnie Vernieux Noel Wainwright George Whitaker
"Sunbun" Williams Bobo Williams Diana(Tootoo) Williams
Maureen Williams Maureen(Bouncer) Williams Mrs Williams
Robert Williams Winnifred(Mamaji) Williams Douglas Woodhouse
George Woodhouse Lena Woodhouse Norma Woodhouse
Cynthia Woodward Ted Woodward Gordon Wright
Randolph Wright Lou Xavier
From: Lynette Hare
Date: August 29, 2006
Thanks for posting my letter on the web site. News about the site is getting around.
Nancy Pinto (née Loader) rang my Mum to ask her permission to post memories on the site; Nancy was one of my mother's pupils who is still in touch with her, others are Marion Feegrade (née Ince) and Pamela (née Jenkins).
My children, nephews and nieces have been fascinated with the information on your web site, and very amused by the pet names, and the fact that they are still in use! Mum still hasn't seen the site, but I have read many of the letters to her. I'm hoping she will post her memories, and what memories they are!
[So do we. Please do your best, Lynette, to capture those precious reminiscences for our combined benefit. Corinne.]
Mum was working in Adra as a Secretary when she met my dad, and she had three proposals of marriage on the same day, two by post from young men in her home town of Bilaspur, both of whom had heard she was 'walking out' with my dad.
To: Bill Gilson
Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Thank you for your brief introductory comment which was:
"My father and mother, John and Alice Gilson, served some interim time in Kharapur during the 1950's though they were permanently stationed at Balasore, Orissa. My father was in charge of much of the American Baptist Bengal-Orissa mission business affairs. He was an engineer and not a clergyman. My mother fell and did some real damage to her arm and shoulder on one of their stays in Kharagpur and she always remarked that she received such great treatment at the Railway Hospital. I'm sure I must have visited Kharapur sometime in the period '46 -'51, but I frankly only remember it as a railroad stop on the BNR on the way home from and to school at Woodstock. I did know the Sanford kids, Connie, Dan and Vickie though they were younger than me. I recently had a great reunion with Rev. and Mrs Sanford and daughter Vickie at their home in the Atherton Baptist Home. Bill Gilson"
We are delighted to welcome you to our website and are looking forward to hearing much more from you. You seem to have a store of interesting experiences which we would all love to have you share with us. If you have followed my website, you will have read of the number of people who attended the Union Baptist Church, and also Woodstock school. Some of my readers were also friendly with the Sanford family, and may even be familiar with your father's organization - The American Baptist Bengal-Orissa Mission Business Affairs.
My own memory is very acute, and I am always so happy to chat with anyone who may have had connections - even remote ones - with Kharagpur and it's many facets.
I look back on the Church, Sunday school, and could even smell the glossy paper of the leaflets they used to give out to the Children's Sunday School - all so beautifully and colourfully illustrated, and such a joy to collect. I kept the entire collection of my early years in binders which my mother and I assembled and bound, then kept in my bookcase, but had to abandon them along with other personal collections when we left India. How I wish I could get hold of some of them now, from their archives - if they have such a thing! Do you think it's worth writing to the American-Baptist Association and finding out?
You mention the accident to your mother's arm, and what good medical attention she received at the European Hospital, as it was then known, and she may even have been nursed by my Aunt who was the Matron at about that time - Sheila Green. Rev. Sanford's daughter, Vicky, wrote that she had nursed her father when he took ill at some stage of his ministry. It is such a small world, Bill, nothing surprises me anymore!
I am glad that you were able to effect a Reunion with the Sanford family at Atherton - wherever that is - and I am sure that you had a great deal to talk about. They must have been delighted to recall so many years of memories.
Do write again and let us get to know you properly through the medium of the Website. My husband and I are surprised each day at the trend this site is taking, and although it is quite impossible to write and post to the web every single day, we do try to maintain the connection as often as we possibly can.
Meanwhile, thank you once again for your contact, and my husband joins me in sending you a welcome greeting, and the wish that we may soon hear from you again -
All the very best -
To: Lynette Hare
Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2006
How a Dear Departed Father's Treasured Bible has now
Found its Way Home through this Website
Your poignant and very touching story began, innocently enough, from your introductory comment of August 15 to which I had posted a reply. Rev. Arthur Sanford had spotted these together with your August 29 posting, and wrote in his inimical fashion:
"Wow! Just spent two hours in your Website and among others I saw Jim Sellers daughter's name. That brought back memories: Jim Sellers taught me Hindi for about a year and his family gave me his Hindi Bible.
"I just wondered if his daughter would like to have that. If so I would love for her to have it back. Could you give me her e-mail address so I can write her? How I would love to see her too. Got goose bumps when I saw her name and remembered how good friends Jim and I were.
"And here beside me is that very Bible out of which he taught me to read Hindi.
I put him in touch with you, as requested, and he soon responded:
"This is my letter to Lynette. I do thank you for helping me to contact one of Jim's family. Every day it seems I get something new to cause me amazement and thrill through this little machine and thing called e-mail. I was 89 when I got my start in this and now, tomorrow, I will reach 94 and contact today with over 150 people through this machine, 45 of them being once a part of the Khargpur Church. Wow, God IS GOOD. I love this and all of you to whom I send. Art"
"Yes. I have a Hindi Bible that was given to your dad on January 19, 1944.
"On the front page is written "To" (then a word I can't make out) "Jim with - (then looks like might be a name) - best love." "Praying God's Blessing on the reading of His Precious Word. Kharagpur, Bengal, India 19--1--44" And after that, "Presented to the Sanfords by his family 1954."
"Your dad's name J M SELLERS is embossed in gold letters on the cover. Yes your father taught me to read and understand and speak Hindi. And then when he went to be with the Lord, your family gave this to me as his friend, but now I am very near the end of my own life's journey.
"None of my children can read Hindi so when I saw your name in the Kharagpur Diaspora Website I thought, maybe, you would like to have something of your father's which has been to me a reminder of our friendship, as well as a part of my ministry in India.
"And I want you to know how much I appreciated Jim Sellers in our early days in India. His friendship, his teaching, his helping me understand India, made my early days there a lot easier.
"Sincerely, Arthur L Sanford (but your dad just called me Padre or Art)
I am so glad to hear that we have helped you to make contact with Rev. Arthur Sanford, and that you have given him the joy of returning a very precious object to you. He will have had the pleasure of sharing his last days in correspondence with his old friend's wife and daughter and I am certain that you will have the blessing of your father's kind act.
I must explain to you, at this juncture, that several letters, and sometimes just parts of a letter are excluded from printing, because I do not deem it appropriate - for various reasons, but chiefly because people should be allowed to express themselves freely - and they do - but I reserve the right to edit. I would never allow anyone to feel hurt in any way, or compromised, and I would not subject myself to be labelled a "gossip" or something worse! We try to be as discreet as possible, and I am sure that you already know that from the tone of the letters already posted to the Website. The whole idea is to communicate, share memories, and "shake hands" again throughout the globe, and hopefully, to make new friends also.
We have great joy in sharing our thoughts and efforts with all of you, and I look forward to hearing from you, your mother, and perhaps other members of your family with their special recollections of Kharagpur.
With many kind thoughts,
To: Gil Osgood
Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Saying Hello and Welcome!
Thank you for your brief introductory comment which was:
"What wonderful surprise to be sent the URL to your website.
"I was born in Khargpur in what was then the Brush's bungalow next to Union Church in 1941. My parents were missionary colleagues of the Brush's and later the Sanfords. Our mission station was in the small village of Hatigarh a few miles from Jaleswar about 40 miles down the BNR from Khargpur. We often passed through Khargpur staying a day or two and sometimes going to Church. My most vivid memory of the congregation from the 1940s and 1950s is listening to people talking about emigrating - who had already left and who was planning to leave and where they were going. We never stayed long enough for me to get acquainted with other kids in Khargpur but I remember a nice young man giving me my first ride on the back of a motorcycle.
"I have thought of those broad, quiet streets and bungalows often over the years but have been back to India only once since I graduated from high school in 1959. Unfortunately, I was travelling with the last remaining missionary who took me straight to Jaleswar and our train from Calcutta passed through Khargpur in the middle of the night. Because of poor planning we ended up jammed into what used to be called 3rd class on the eve of Holi. I managed to force my way down from the top bunk where I had been sitting cross legged for hours, but because of the mass of humanity in the compartment, I could only bend my body at the waist to catch a glimpse of the wonderful long station platform at Khargpur.
"I never got the chance as a child to learn much about the lives of the people I saw in Khargpur and it is wonderful to read all the letters and learn something of them now. I never could have imagined as a child when I listened quietly to the people at the Union Church and in the neighbourhood that I would once again get the chance to quietly listen to their conversation.
"Thank you for inviting me back to my birthplace! Gil Osgood"
Your letter was so welcome, and Stephen and I read your account of your experience on the train - in a 3rd Class compartment - no less - and wondered how you ever survived the experience. To think that the great Gandhi did it all the time! I well remember the small amount of space between the upper berth and the roof with those revolving fans so close by, a little slip of judgement and one's hair could be caught in the blades! But to be sitting there, in a cantilever position for hours on end, must have been sheer torture!
I had the experience of sitting in a 3rd class carriage only once, and that was during a visit to our holiday home at Jhargram when I was very young - probably about 6 years of age. I contracted Malaria during one of our Pujah holidays. (It was the custom to invite several family friends and cousins to share the holiday with us). My father had already returned to Kharagpur with the other husbands, and the wives and children remained on in Jhargram with my grandparents.
My mother decided to return to KGP as my fever had reached a dangerous level and it had become a bit of an emergency. So, we were obliged to travel through the jungle which divided the British Colony from the station, in the dead of night (as the train passed through Jhargram in the very early hours of the morning), and by bullock-cart, with only one servant for protection. My Mother didn't want to make a big production of it because she resisted spoiling everyone's holiday - they were all having such a good time!
Well, every time the bulls stopped, our hearts did a "flip" and the journey was long and tedious, but eventually we reached the station, and the train was just steaming in. It didn't stop at Jhargram station for more than a couple of minutes, so we raced - to the nearest compartment, it didn't matter that we had a 1st class pass! Well, it happened to be a 3rd Class - full of some tribe who frightened me out of my wits - they were all heavily made up and stared us up and down. I remember shaking to such an extent, my mother didn't know whether it was the usual malarial-ague, or nerves! She decided it must have been nerves, even though I had a raging temperature, and in a loud, purposeful voice she intoned: "Chin up! Don't show fear - REMEMBER YOU ARE BRITISH!!" Well there was no stopping for the next hour or two, and I quaked all the way, but daylight saw the approach of Kharagpur, and I've never blessed that station so much as I did then.
You'll be hearing a lot about our friendly little town if you follow along with us on this site, and you will, I assure you, make many new friends, so keep logging in, and we also hope to hear much more from you, Gil.
With many kind thoughts,
Corinne and Stephen
From: Derrick Hogermeer
Date: August 31, 2006 (Posted September 8)
Thank you very much for your address. I am so glad that you are now refreshed spiritually and physically from your mountain retreat.
I intend sending you some of the original photos that you already have, plus one or two more when I can find time to search for them!
On the 2nd September, we are attending a Reunion of the old boys from St Michael's - Patna, St Patrick's - Asansol, St Vincent's - Asansol, and St. Joseph's Convent, Bankipore, Patna. There is great excitement for this particular reunion because we are going to see old boys from Australia, Canada and the US there. I hope to meet some old boys from Khargpur too. They seem to be well aware of your site.
One of the boys is Darrel Fitzpatrick, from Sydney NSW, who was born in Dhanbad which was a small Railway town on the EIR. His father is from Limerick in Ireland. Darrel has never visited the UK before and he hopes to visit the birthplace of his father too for the first time. Jennifer (my wife) and I will be looking after him. As a special treat we are taking him to Buckingham Palace on Sunday and then a High Tea in The Selfridges Hotel. I am afraid that it may seem downhill after that when he stays with us in our humble abode in Stevenage! However, I am sure you will also agree, that Darrel will love the History and Architecture of London and the surrounding area.
Love to you and all your loved ones,
Date: September 1, 2006
Saying Hello Again
So interested to hear about all your old connections re-surfacing after all these years, and that you will be attending a Re-Union tomorrow. What is the connection between all the schools you mentioned, or is it that they all originate from schools in the Patna area who are now spread out between Australia, Canada and the US? I am very glad to hear that there may be some representatives from KGP, and also delighted to hear that they are aware of my Website. I Hope to hear from them at some time soon.
I keep hearing that news of my Website is spreading, but I am also aware of the fact that many do not have computer facilities and are not able to respond. But families are drawing together to share news derived from the letters, and it appears to be generating a good deal of joy. This is so very pleasing to both Stephen and me, as it was our aim from the very beginning to draw us all together after all these years, and share vestiges of our memories of the KGP of yesteryear. I am also so delighted that a few former missionaries are now joining in, as you will see from the letters posted.
I have been a bit sluggish about writing this past week for several reasons, but the old back is playing up again - an injury which plagues me from time to time, and sitting for any length of time is sheer murder, but it is much better now, as you can see!
We are having absolutely wonderful weather, despite the "storm-warnings" about being hit by Katrina or Ernesto, which terrifies people in the Florida and New Orleans areas, but so far, we have been spared the effects of both these monsters!
I received such a lovely 'phone call from my son, Laurence, in UK yesterday. He and his fiancee, Rachel, have won two tickets (Airline) to Goa through Michael's charity draw, [See his Website at http://www.sachintrust.org/ ] and will be going out next March with Michael and Rosemary. What a lovely prize! It will be Laurence's first trip to the Orient, and after all he has heard about Kharagpur, he is simply longing to see something of the East. They are visiting Canada for Thanksgiving (October 12, but they are arriving on the 8th), and we will hear more details of the plans then. Can't wait to see Laurence again, and meet our future daughter-in-law, who seems a charming and delightful person.
Busily preparing for the next academic year which starts on September 11th and am auditioning prospective new students, and seeing some new applicants. It is always a pleasure to see so many interested in taking lessons, and receiving the old students again. They usually see the course through, which is so encouraging for us teachers. One or two "drop out" at the end of the school year, but they are often non-achievers anyway, and would seldom amount to much. It's thoroughly tiring to push and shove, motivate and encourage, and sometimes with no reciprocal effort on their part, so we teachers feel that it is far better that they spend their time on some other activity!
Enjoy your outing with the old boys' and yes, London has so many cultural activities it is hard to select when time is limited, but I always think the British Museum is surely one of the finest places, and of course, dear old Madame Tussauds, which is often so very crowded, unfortunately. The London Eye is also very impressive, we thought, and well worth the expense.
Take care, Derrick, it's always such a pleasure hearing from you, and we look forward to hearing about the Re-Union as soon as you are able-
Love from both of us -
To: Vijay R. John, Secy., Kharagpur Union Church
Date: September 2, 2006
Welcome to Kharagpur Union Church
Thank you for your brief introductory comment which was:
"It is a wonderful idea and effort that you have made to unite all the Kharagpurians on this Website and may be to meet at the place wherever they are.
"Recently i.e, in December 2005 we have celebrated the centenary of Kharagpur Union Church and many of the people have shared of their experiences and also some photographs of the good old days.
"I shall be happy to hear especially from those who used to worship at Kharagpur Union Church where Rev. Arthur Sanford used to Pastor. This is the oldest Church in Kharagpur town and we are making every effort to do evangelism and social service to the needy children. Since there are so many of you from Kharagpur, I am sure your prayers will go a long way in accomplishing the will of God.
"In His Service- Vijay R. John, Secy.Kharagpur Union Church."
We were very pleasantly surprised to receive your communication, and were delighted to know that my Website has obtained such far reaching results. Here we all are, having left India so many decades ago, and all renewing our old acquaintanceships and friendships, as if the intervening years had never occurred.
One has to take time to pause and remind oneself that life went on, long after the Diaspora, and we have all grown up, married and had children, who, in turn, have grown up and blessed us with grandchildren, and still we hark back to that time so long ago when we were children, in a completely different setting. We watched as an age passed by - never to return, except in our memories. And now, we want to revive those precious memories before they go forever. This is the purpose of my website, and I bless my husband for initiating the idea, and spending so much time on it, even though he was never in India himself.
There are many of my readers who attended the Sacred Heart Church, and the Anglican Ministry, but they take a keen interest in the Union Church, which my sister and I attended for many years. I do not know whether Rev. Sanford really remembers me, it was all so long ago, and he had just taken over from Rev. Brush, so he was the "newcomer" when my sister, Althea and I were members.
My parents attended meetings at the home of a former College friend of my father's. They (the Bains) used to live opposite us on Wynne Ave, and were of the Open Brethren persuasion. They were very informal and evangelical in format, but, deeply into the Word, as I recall from the odd time I attended. It was a very well-attended congregation - about 70 members, on average, which was a sizeable number of people to fit into one's home, but they were all old alumni friends, and the wives had also known each other at school, so there was great camaraderie amongst the Fellowship.
I was interested to hear about the Centenary meetings, and can imagine that they created many a "damp-eye" amongst all the chatter and happy recollections which must have followed the service. Our congratulations on attaining such an auspicious landmark. I should love to receive any photographs of the occasion, but most especially, any group photos circa 1940 - 1950 which may be inhabiting your archives, and which may be posted to the Website. They would be greatly appreciated. They may just contain many of my readers who left India around 1950. Would you be able to do this for us, Vijay?
I am posting your very kind letter to my Website, and look forward to hearing from you whenever you are able. My cousin, Michael Green (Kharagpur Remembered site http://www.kharagpur-remembered.com/ ) hopes to visit Kharagpur again in the near future and may well contact you. I am sending him a copy of your letter, and also Rev.Sanford's, though I believe he has heard from the Sanford family at some stage.
I do thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers, Vijay, and ours go out to you -
With best wishes and regards,
Stephen and Corinne Baxter (nee Crampton)
To: Gordon Wright
Date: September 7, 2006
A Handshake Over the Years!
Thank you for your brief introductory comment which was:
"Dear Corinne, How are you? It's been quite a while, hasn't it?
"My brother Randolph Wright was at my place today, and we were 'reminiscing,' and he asked if I had spoken with you. I said no, but I promised him I would.----not that I did not want to, but the memories I have are so lovely. When Randolph told me about Jill, your mum and dad I felt, perhaps 'wrongly' it was best to remember the pleasant times of the past. I'm sorry --I feel I was wrong.
"I have three children. Youngest is Tracey Ann , she is a solicitor and lives and has her practice in London. Stephen lives and works in Hong Kong. Two years ago he crossed the 89 parallel to the north pole and made it so his name goes down with the 'greats ' (chip off the old block!!?) Oh go on say yes!!! I don't know about my Paul. He lives in France. I love him so dearly but I have no contact with him.
"Do you remember Jargram? Lots of love. Gordon."
What a wonderful surprise I had when my husband brought up the mail from his study, and there amongst all the letters was one from you! After all these years....
I am glad that the noble Randolph fed you with information about my website, and urged you to get in touch, now I wish he'd take a leaf out of your book and do the same. But, fair's fair, he did 'phone us as soon as we'd made ourselves known, and we had a lovely long chat, catching up with news and many a laugh as we recalled the old days when we were all children! Now, it's as if those intervening years had never existed, and we are all transported back to the days of our youth in dear old Kharagpur, the uncomplicated and simple lives we had lead, contrasting so much with the present age.
There is so much to catch up on, and it would take me a long time to cover it all, but you will have read all my "snippets" as you wound your way through the website. So I won't repeat it all and bore my readers, but I urge you to spend a little time reading the very interesting letters so many have written, with quite a few anecdotes. These should "trigger' your own memory banks, and perhaps you will oblige us by adding some of your own when you are able. I keep hoping "Lord Randolph" will do the same!! We appear to have many "silent" readers, and they do not participate by writing, but at least they do follow events!
I intend including Jhargram and a few photographs of my grandfather's house there, along with some of our own little house, which happened to be opposite my grandfather's, on a smaller lot of land. My father grew Lisbon-lemon trees, and grafted Bangalore mangoes as well, and we had quite a good crop before we sold out to the mayor of Calcutta and his family about a year before we left India. Grandpa's house was sold in the 1960s, but he left it to my Aunt Phyllis, and emigrated to England with us in 1950. Missed the old place so much - there had been so many happy gatherings there when my grandmother was alive, and he recalled the memory of these events with a degree of nostalgia, but was immensely brave about the transition.
I am interested to hear that your youngest daughter is a solicitor and practices law in London. So does my future daughter-in-law, Rachel, who is engaged to our youngest son Laurence. He lives in Islington, and she in Old City Road, very near her Company. They are planning to visit us on October 8th for a few days, and we are all terribly excited about it.
You must miss Stephen, but does he get home often. Wonderful news that he has crossed the 89th parallel, but how bleak the area must have been, it takes a special kind of bravery to encounter such an experience! Yes, "the old block" was always very brave, as I recall!
Do let's hear from you again, this has made me so happy, and get "Lord Randolph" to join you!
Many kind thoughts from us both -
From: Anirban Mukherjee
Date: September 8, 2006
Letter From a Modern Fan
Let me clarify at the very outset that I do not belong to the Kharagpur community that has been contributing to this wonderful Website. I stumbled upon this purely by chance, the common area of interest being Kharagpur. I was amazed at the fondness with which the old memories are cherished, and the excitement of re-discovering old friends or just anyone who understands/shares a common piece of personal history - undoubtedly a very wonderful time in your lives.
I have spent 4 years of my life in Kharagpur - studying engineering - from 1991 to 95. Anyone who stayed there in the 50s' or visited later would know that Kharagpur got the distinction of starting the first IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) which is now renowned globally (especially amongst premier US engineering colleges) as having the best graduate produce. This was first started at the Hijli Jail building which a lot of your contributors would recognize.
I realize that Kharagpur no longer is the Kharagpur that all of you cherish in your memories. Like all other places, time has taken a toll, and also has given a lot. This is especially true for India in general, that had to get up and stand on its own feet over the last 50+ years - any place would look very different from what it did under the British Raj. We need to realize that democratization, integration, and progress means that disparities have begun to blur - and the pretty parts are turning uglier, as many ugly parts that may have been kept hidden away, are seeing better days (not unlike the pains European integration is causing). In today's Kharagpur - the rickshaw puller on the roadside actually sends his kids to school, and has a point of view on national and maybe even international politics!
However, my moot point is that Kharagpur is actually one city that has "progressed" much less than many other parts of the country. I used to love discovering the quaint ways and aspects of the old city that still have a whiff of the old Raj. I realize that while it is definitely not a journey to be undertaken without planning, I would encourage many of your contributors to visit the place, if they feel so inclined. I am no longer in Kharagpur (in fact I am currently working for some months in London), I am sure I could help with advice and reliable contacts for anyone wishing to undertake the expedition. While I am not sure how I can work this out, I would love to contribute recent pictures of any spot that some of your contributors might want to see in the current day.
It was wonderful discovering how much of us is really the places we have been in and loved.
To: Cynthia née Woodward
Date: 10 September 2006
Memories of the Woodward Family
Thank you for your letters of August 7 and September 7 which said:
"Hi, Corinne, It was great to find out the past in KGP. My name is Cynthia Rischmueller née Woodward. We left Kharagpur in September 1948. My mum Sheila and dad Fred Woodward (dcd), my brothers Terry and Fred, and my sister Corrie, all live in Adelaide, SA. I will write and give more news. Thanks for your memories. Cynthia née Woodward" (August 7)
"Dear Corinne, I tried to send some Photos of the Woodward family but my Computer is having troubles. [Please persevere, Cynthia. Photos make such a difference. Corinne] Terry the eldest is 76 years, and is married with 3 children and 4 grand-children. Fred is 74 years, married with 3 children and 5 grand-children. Cynthia (me) is 73, married with 5 children and 14 grand-children and 1 great grand-child with 2 more due, one in Sept and one in Oct. Corie is 69 years, married with 2 children and 5 grand-children. My Father, Fred, passed away at 81 years, and Mum was 94 years. Mr Bert Seddon and Wife Chickie passed away years ago. Shirley Kimber (née Seddon) died 8 years ago, Brother Neville is married and lives in Adelaide. Mr Norman and wife Patsy Rodrigues passed away. They had one daughter Beverly. Dick and Carl Mee live in Adelaide. Carl lives not far from me. The above people were friends of my Parents. Well I Shall send you more news on my Family. With Best Wishes. Cynthia née Woodward" (September 7)
Your letter listed so many familiar names, which I am glad to include on my Website, since I am sure several of our readers will be interested.
Sadly, so many of them are no longer with us, but since they had once played such a big part in the lifestyle of Kharagpur, I feel that whenever they are mentioned, they should be treated with the deference due to them by attempting to paint them into our Kharagpur scene.
I am trying to constrain our Website to the period starting from 1904 to the early 1950s. Although it is always interesting to hear about later developments, and we welcome them, they really have no place on our era-specified Website, (unless for retrospective illumination, for obvious reasons.)
It is indeed a different place now - unrecognizable to our readers of that era, but we have to accept the fact that, although I couldn't bear to go back - it would break my heart, I'm sure.
I am about to post some photographs of the Fancy-Dress and the various Garden parties which were held when we were all children, and earlier, to include our parents and theirs - the Founders of Kharagpur. Any photos of those particular events will be welcome. At this juncture I have to say that some of my own photos were so under-exposed, and others were so dark and shadowy, my husband, Stephen, wasn't able to scan them properly, so they had to be abandoned. Do include - with your next E-mail - any family snaps that you may have which you feel might be appropriate.
Although I cannot promise to post all of them, certainly a selected few may be included, if they are appropriate and of sufficient quality. I am not including the younger generation at this stage! Again, my best thanks for your letter and,
With kind remembrances,
Corinne Baxter (née Crampton)
To: Linda Rixon née Marten
Date: 10 September 2006
Just a word to thank you for the thumbnail-sketch of your family which said:
"Hello. My name is Linda Rixon née Marten born 1951 at Kharagpur. My God Parents were Harold and Daphne Dean. My mother Norma Althea Maderia married my dad Kenneth Anthony Marten who worked as a BNR Guard from 1956 to 1959. I went to Sacred Heart School. My brothers; Glen born 1945, Brian born 1946, Keven born 1949. My sisters; Maureen born1944, Wendy born 1948, and me. I will see if I can get pic 1950 or pic of 1985 of Kharagpur. Thanks very much. Linda"
I see that you were born in 1951, and that the event of your birth coincided with the period of the big exodus (Diaspora, as I have entitled it in my Website, as we were all truly scattered during that period in our little town's history). I see that your family spanned the 1940s, although I am confused as to whether your father worked in Kharagpur during that period (you mention that he worked as a guard from 1956-1959).
Once again, my thanks for taking the trouble to contact me, Linda, and I hope to hear from you again with perhaps some more details of your present whereabouts and your family.
Corinne Baxter (née Crampton)
To: Vicky Sanford
Date: September 10, 2006
After all These Years
Your letter of September 6, said:
"Dear Corinne, I love your Website. Some of the people I remember, but most I didn't remember, but my Dad, Rev. Arthur Sanford did. I finally finished reading it the other day and what memories it brought back. I am nine years younger than Connie and 6 years younger than Dan, so when we knew you in India, I was very young. But as soon as I saw your picture I knew who you were. I remember your flaming red long hair. My Dad used to have a movie camera when we first moved out to India and guess what? You are in some of the scenes that he took of the church people coming and going on a Sunday morning. I have seen those movies over and over again, especially since we put those old 8 mm films on VHS. Also, in some of the old slides that Dad took, he was sort of a camera bug, you are there. I haven't looked at those slides in a long time but when I do I will send you some of the old pictures. I gave some of the old movie footage to Gabriel Rufus and he was going to put them on a DVD for the reunion this past Christmas at the KGP church, I don't know how many got to see those movies or if they did. My husband and I live in Wyoming so anytime you are going to see Yellowstone National Park if you come to USA you are welcome to stay here. Love to hear from you. Bye for now, Vicky"
It came as a complete surprise, and a very pleasant one, too, especially as it followed on the heels of one from the secretary of the Union Baptist Church in Kharagpur, whose letter will be posted to the Website at the same time as yours, probably tonight sometime.
It was also a great joy hearing from your father, and it is quite astonishing that he remembers as well as he does at his age. My mother's too had also been awfully good to the very end of her life at the age of 82. But she finally suffered frequent little memory lapses, and it troubled her, but we were assured that it was not dementia, just her age and her hitherto very active brain; it was becoming overloaded! She used to joke about this with the quip: "You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't!" But there she was, doing crossword puzzles, jig-saws, and watching "Jeopardy" every night, and answering most of the questions correctly, too!
I am receiving some interesting letters from former folk, but I am going to have to restrict the span, because there are several contributors who have written, but whose families had had absolutely no part to play in Kharagpur during the era in which our Website has expressed an interest, that is, circa 1904 to the early 1950s, which is around the time of the big exodus. Those who remained on and whose families had played a part in the KGP society during those years are welcome to write in, but anyone long after that time would not really be known by anyone and therefore hardly "re-united!"
I would love to receive any photographs containing members of the Churches then operating in KGP. Group photos? Better still! Perhaps your father would be able to identify the images, and for that matter, the existing photograph (scroll back to Part 1) has several unidentified faces, and your father may be able to help out with that, if he wouldn't mind. Photos of that era are hard to come by, so few people had cameras, and even if they did, the exposures are not evenly delineated, so are difficult to scan faithfully.
I understand that you are running a publishing company, Vicky. Do tell us about it - my husband is particularly interested.
Many thanks for your very kind invitation to visit you if we are in your area, and that is so tempting. I have always longed to visit the West coast of the States; so much to see there, but somehow, although we've travelled extensively, we have never made it to the West. May we reciprocate - if you ever feel like coming this way to Montreal or Ottawa (only two hours drive between the two cities) - you are most welcome to come and stay with us. We are in Ottawa, as you know, and only about 15 - 20 minutes to the famous Downtown area. We are very conveniently placed to the main feeder roads.
Do keep in touch, Vicky, I look forward to hearing from you, and so do my readers, I am sure.
Many kind thoughts to you and your family,
Corinne Baxter (née Crampton)
To: Brenda Naser née Brewster
Date: September 10, 2006
Historical Data from Old Shipping Lines' Manifests
Your note today was most interesting. It said:
"Hello, Corinne and Stephen. I received this link a few weeks ago and was playing around putting in various names to see what I could find. The Website is 'Moving Here' and records Migration Histories to Britain. http://www.movinghere.org.uk/search/advanced.asp Within the Moving Here Website you are able to search ships' passenger lists just by entering a name. I have had great fun looking up friends and relatives and thought you might enjoy it too. In the Search page you need to select South Asian Community, Documents and Catalogue of Digitised Records. Just enter a last name and you get a list of documents in which the name appears. Have fun! Hope things are going well with both of you. Brenda.
I had never even thought of looking over the shipping lines for the listings of passengers all those years ago. Stephen did find the Website, and we were amazed at the information which they released to the public - what a dreadful invasion of privacy! Useful to the reader, though, if official information is required. But truly, the computer is becoming a sort of "Big Brother is watching you! Circa 1984." Kind of you, though, to take the trouble to forward the information. Thank you, Brenda.
I am about to post a notice to the effect that we hope to run a sequence on the old Fancy Dress and Garden parties which used to be held, and your photos of the event will be included in the context of the Fancy Dress parties which you sent to me some time ago. As you can see, the site has been quite busy, and we simply had to take some time away from it, but we feel that this is a good juncture at which to run the exciting party spirit once more.
I must thank you for sending me the Meade cousins' addresses, and I duly followed up on the lead. To my great joy, we made contact, and they seemed so happy to chat once again. Daphne is not able to speak due to a throat condition, but Don played the "medium" and Daphne has written , using her "pocket mail" computer. Brave family, they are still in such good spirits, despite everything. Russell's death was a dreadful shock, amongst other unfortunate catastrophes. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, Brenda, it meant a great deal to me.
My cousin, Michael Green, sends a kind message to all three of you, and your names came up in conversation again today as I had a lovely long chat with Johnny Naug (now, John!) who, he tells me, lived beside you when you were in our old house - 408. They had once lived beside us at 302A - they were 302B, and were very good neighbours for several years. So many coincidences between your family and ours, although we did not really know each well when we lived on Third Ave. Althea remembers Gillian and you coming over to play with Jill, and Priscilla Carroll often joined in as well.
Stephen joins me in sending you our kind regards, and hope that you are both keeping well.
Do keep in touch -
To: Sukhbir Singh Arora
Date: September 11, 2006
Thank you for your August 27 letter describing to us the Kharagpur of today. It said:
"Dear Corinne, This is Sukhbir from Kharagpur. A friend of mine from Canada (Stephanie Halyburton Lobo) had forwarded your Website to me last night. My wife and I couldn't stop reading the letters. They were so interesting. I came to Kharagpur in 1967 and studied in the Railway (EM) School. I did my Senior Cambridge from there. And I do remember Miss Netto. I can never forget her. Why? Every time you made a mistake in "Trignometry" you had your knuckles rapped with a ruler. Kharagpur of the late 1960s and early 1970s was still lively. There were still many AngloIndians here. We still had a Dance every month. I know because I became a band member after the rhythm guitarist (Kevin Thompson) left for Australia. I must have been the first non-AngloIndian in Kharagpur to play the guitar and sing in a band. Now, we are not sure if we are going to have the Christmas and the New Year Dance. Our band broke up when the lead guitarist (Brian Chapman) left for the UK and the Bass guitarist (Gregory Henderson) and the Drummer (Gordon Manuel) left for Australia. Now I am married to an AngloIndian (Charlene Ross) and have a daughter, Sonia, from her. She has a son from her first marriage. He is married too and has two daughters. They are working in Delhi at the moment. I work in the Railways. You can say that I got the job 'for a song.' When I was in the band the then Divisional Superintendent, came for the New Years Dance and asked us if we were in service. We all said we were jobless. So he asked us to put in an application for a job in the Railways. Luck was with me. I got the first call. Now I hold the position of a Chief Ticket Inspector. By the way, my full name is Sukhbir Singh Arora. I still have seven more years of service left. I shall try and send you some old photos of Kharagpur. I have already asked my mother-in law, Mary Ross née Francis to look for some old photos. I hope I have not bored you with this long letter. Bye and take care. Will keep in touch. Regards, Sukh."
Yes, Kharagpur has certainly seen a great many changes, rendering it a far cry from our little town of yesteryear. I do not think that I could bear to go back, it almost seems unrecognizable, and also all our old companions will have left and there would be so many strangers in their place. But, it is kind of you to put yourself out to keep us informed and I do appreciate it.
The photograph of the house being demolished will mean a lot to Clare since she lived opposite, and if it is an improvement, then all to the good, but why that particular house? Most of the houses in that area were built around the time that Kharagpur got started as a railway colony, I gather around 1904, but I might be mistaken - perhaps someone would help me out here! The West End properties (that is on the west side of the Madras Mail cutting) were built much later, but I heard that those were in a bad state of disrepair.
It's interesting to try to imagine the current flavour of the town, although it has changed so vastly that I find it very difficult.
What a coincidence that your wife and Clare should know each other, and I note with interest that they have resumed their friendship - hence the "Re-united" part of my title.
My thanks, once again, for your letter, Sukhbir, and your vivid descriptions of present-day Kharagpur.
All the best to both of you and kind regards,
Corinne Baxter (nee Crampton)
From: Derrick Hogermeer
Date: September 7, 2006 (Posted September 21)
The Swingtimers Band
Thank you so much for your newsy email.
I have enclosed two photos, which you already have, and another of The Swingtimers Band. The photograph was taken around 1949/50, at the side of our house in Block 333 in KGP. Alex Saldanha and the rest of the band our came over for practice. Mum had just joined the band and they had the new music stands prepared. Alex thought it would be a good idea to take a photograph for posterity. Alex is standing next to my mother who was Aileen Hogermeer. Mr Palfrey is the one on the left with the piano accordion and trombone. I believe Laurence D'Souza played the double bass but I have forgotten the rest of the guys in the photo.
The other band in KGP was the Canteen Cats (or was it Kanteen Kats? ). I do remember sneaking into the Canteen one day during a Jam Session, when to my delight I heard Kathleen Bell sing 'Do you think I ought to know'. This was the hit song that was sung by Ella Fitzgerald. After she had finished, Charmaine Alexander sang 'I Surrender Dear'. Charmaine was quite young at the time and probably too young at 14 or I5 years, to be singing with the band! St. Michael's School in Patna had a very successful reunion on 2nd Sept. The other schools who joined us were St. Patrick's and St.Vincent's from Asansol, and St. Joseph's Convent, Bankipore, Patna.
The Irish Christian Brothers ran the first three schools. The Convent was a boarding school run by the Sisters of St. Joseph. I believe it was a Swiss/German Order of Nuns that ran the school. Missionaries ran most of the boarding schools in India. The standard of education was much better than that was offered at Kharagpur! There were two school terms. Most of the boys who lived quite a distance away went home twice a year. The shortest term was the winter, which was from January to May. The longest was from June until December. I thought we fared better than the pupils of the 'Hill Schools' did, because they were allowed home just once a year for three months. I am not sure that I would have liked the long term of nine months. The Schools of St. Patrick and St. Vincent were taken over by the British Army during the War and used as Barracks. The pupils were accommodated at St. Michael's in Patna. That is the main reason why we combine for the reunion.
Most of the pupils who attended the reunion left India during the 50's and 60's. Somehow, we kept in touch and had small gatherings in our homes. The gatherings have grown to a much larger group. We had 96 people at the reunion on 2nd September in Croydon. It was a huge success and it was special because for the first time there were three old boys from Australia. Darrel Fitzpatrick from Sydney (born in Dhanbad India), Jeff Blaquiere from Perth WA, and Johnny Walker from Melbourne, (born Calcutta). The old boys from Canada and US had to cancel their plans at the last minute. Barbara Young née Feegrade and her husband Roland also from Khargpur, were there and had downloaded pictures of the concert group and the Sunday school photo from your Website! Roland went to St. Patrick's in Asansol. His father was a District Engineer in KGP. We spent a lot of time looking at all the boys and girls in the photo and wondered where they are now, and what happened to them.
Barbara said that you and Stephen have started something that has now reached all over the world! She was thrilled to read all that you have shown on the Website. Barbara was in the 3rd, 4th and 5th Standards with me and we did recall others. Marina Gaudine, Marlene Halyburton, Vasco Campos, Marie Francis, Noel Van Haften, Raymond Cecil, Leonora Haudin, George Pascal, Harold Mee and several others that I cannot think of right now! Harold and Gerald Mee's cousin MargaretTherwell née Mee, was also present at the reunion and saw the photo. She lived in Calcutta and often visited her cousins in Kharagpur. Margaret was delighted to see a picture of her cousins and reminded us that the brothers also had an older sister called Barbara Mee! Barbara (Feegrade) Young, has a sister called Grace and an older brother, called Frank who was in the same class with my stepsister, Thelma Hughes. Frank was very good in Art. Tiddly Stoker, was also very good in art. Miss Fernandes trained them. I do remember a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and a painting of our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, with the crown of thorns. I cannot remember who painted what, but they were painted for an exhibition. The paintings were displayed in the school for all of us to look at and we gazed in awe of their talent. I am sure there will be others who will remember this.
Barbara stayed on and did the Senior Cambridge Examination in Kharagpur. She was Head Girl during the last year. It was a joy to see Paul Upshon at the Reunion. He was born in KGP, and an old boy from St Michael's. He is the youngest son of John Upshon the High Jumper from Kharagpur. He helped us set up the tables and chairs in the Hall. Norman Bowman from Kharagpur, was also there with his wife Arlene née Vallaly from Calcutta. There was some confusion because Norman also claimed that he lived in Block 333 at the same time as the Hogermeer family! We both agreed that our families were neighbours! We came to the conclusion that the two houses joined together were given just one number. We remembered Dorothy Cox, the Ince Family, Adrian Swinhoe, Barbara, Pam, Desmond and Brian Jenkins, the Burkes, Butlers and Pintos and Davies, all in 3rd Avenue.
Thank you for all that you and Stephen are doing. Jennifer and I send our love.
Date: September 20, 2006
How we do enjoy receiving your letters - so newsy and well-written - keep them coming! Stephen is in the process of scanning some photos - yours among them - and blowing them up a bit for easier viewing. I will return them as soon as he has finished. Thank you, it is such a help in keeping the website interesting.
We were so happy to hear that your Reunion went off as well as it did, and that the photos which were posted to my website played a small part in adding to the fun and conversation - although from the sound of it, you didn't need much help! It's such a good idea to keep in touch with each other, and perpetuate good memories. I have heard so many negative things with regard to some of the other Reunions which have taken place in recent years, that, by contrast, it makes a welcome change to hear pleasant accounts such as yours.
The photographs are probably going to cause a few more puzzled frowns as people try to identify more familiar faces, and of course, this just adds to the excitement of it all.
Oh! How I do remember those songs you mentioned - Ella Fitzgerald - what an artist, a true jazz singer - and "My Happiness" and "Do you think I ought to know" amongst so many of her prize hits. Did your mother sing with the band or was she an instrumentalist?
I'd love to hear from Barbara sometime, and I do remember her brother Frankie well, also his wife, Marion née Ince. Wish she'd write, too. I also recall him being good at art, as was "Tiddley."
I seem to remember Miss Fernandez having one of her own charcoal drawings of the Passion of the Saviour being displayed in her sitting room, on the wall facing the entrance, adjacent to the piano - do you recall? She was such a good artist, really a clever "all-rounder" but very short-tempered: one had to be so careful not to offend her. But, I mentioned in a previous letter that I was privileged to catch a glimpse of her "other side," and very sensitive she was, too. She had great respect for my parents, and visited often, always very friendly with a good sense of humour, and somehow, my mother's dry wit kept her thoroughly amused. She was certainly one of the great teachers in that school. Miss Netto was another - a pure mathematician, and very patient when she recognized that one really strove to understand the subject. But no patience at all for anyone who pretended to understand, and really didn't! I found her very gentle and kind, though others thought her a bit of a tyrant - and Heaven knows she needed all her patience with me!!
The standard used to be very good under Eccleston, and later under Kidd's administration, but slipped badly under later leaderships. I suppose there were many reasons for this, not least of all lack of funds among other factors. But it's a far cry from the school we used to know - though I simply loved my school in England and the educational standard was far superior to that of the KGP School. My school at Maida Vale, London, appointed me Head-Girl for the last two years of my education there, and I wouldn't have missed the experience for the world. Had we stayed on in India, my parents would have sent us to one of the Hill schools, I am sure, probably my mother's old school at "All Saints" in Naini Tal, which had been the "family" school for all the girls in the Green and Meade families in her generation, as "Sherwood" had once been for the boys in both families. But, my father had decided that it was expedient to leave India as soon as it could be arranged, and there have been no regrets in this matter.
Regarding Block 333... You are quite right, there were semi-detached quarters, and they were designated by block numbers separated by an A & B quarter. We lived at 302A for some years before we moved to 408,Wynne Ave. The Naugs (Lionel and Hilda, and son, John) lived next door in the B quarter, and very good neighbours they were, too.
Speaking of the Naugs, I spoke to John the other day - what a pleasant conversation that was, as we recalled old memories, and caught up on current family news. I hope that he will follow up with a few words for my website. I appreciate you telling me that he lived in Sarnia, consequently it was not difficult to trace him - there were only two "Naug" families living in Sarnia!
So many of the names you mentioned will "ring bells" and may prompt some more responses. I am getting letters from people who lived in KGP until quite recently, and they are welcome too, but I'm not sure how well known they may be - so many of our contemporaries had left India by then, and our era was so vastly different from the Kharagpur of today. But I was very pleased to hear from the Secretary of the Union Baptist Church, and I wish that the other two churches would follow suit - how balanced it would be.
Do write again soon, Derrick, and please give our kind thoughts to Jennifer, and love to you both-
To: Sandra Jeffery née Melder
Date: September 20, 2006
Just a word of welcome to my website, and I do thank you for your encouraging remarks, which all helps to keep us going! You said on September 18:
Hello. My name is Sandra Jeffery; my maiden name was Melder. My father was Joseph Stanley Melder and my mother is Zena Ann Melder née Ricketts. My dad was a mail driver, with the BNR railways, he now has passed away since 1/9/1999, we came to Melbourne on the 4/7/69, we left India in 1969, and always lived in Melbourne. We lived in Kharagpur, on 3rd avenue, and also on 4th avenue. I went to the Railway School, and the convent. I have two brothers Tony and Bryan Melder. The three of us went to India in 2001, and we have some snaps of good old KGP. I love reading your newsletter. Keep up the good work. Hope to hear from you. Sandra Jeffery
As you can see, from the size of my website, former residents from Kharagpur are very interested in hearing news of each other and re-uniting after all these years. One has to remember that it is some 50-odd years since we all "dispersed" and the interest still lingers on, which says something, doesn't it.
Now, we didn't all know each other intimately, but there were so many friendships forged during those years, and we were all community-minded - there was a good deal of esprit de corps - and I would like to think that this is what carried us through in all aspects of our lives. Of course there were gossips - such people are always to be found in small communities like ours - but I do not think that they were taken seriously. Indeed there was a good deal of the "live and let live" attitude, and no notice was really taken of trouble-makers! People "stuck together" and bonds were forged during the war years, particularly, when we were threatened by Japanese invasion and later, by the "Freedom" movement, led by militant Sikhs, and again later, by the Hindhu-Moslem riots which followed Independence.
You do not say when you "appeared on the scene" but I gather it was much later on - probably on the cusp of all the drama which took place during my own lifetime. Our parents protected us from the knowledge of current trends, and it was only much later that we became aware of the dangers which had lurked around us all.
I should like to know more about you, and the Kharagpur of your generation. It is always interesting to follow up on the history of our "little" town (as it was then), although I have to say that it is difficult to visualize it in its present-day development. But try, anyway, and I am sure you will have many interested readers.
Your offer of accompanying photographs is a kind and helpful one, and I look forward to receiving them. As I often point out to my readers, I reserve the right to edit, and sometimes, I am obliged to omit parts of letters and photos which may cause distress to others - but I am sure that you understand this.
Do keep in touch, and we look forward to hearing from you again.
With kind regards,
Corinne Baxter née Crampton.