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Category Archives: Indian Medical Service

8 December 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

UNION-CASTLE LINE
S.S. “GRANTULLY CASTLE”

[Incorrectly dated Nov 8th, presumably Dec 8th].

My dear Mother.

Here I am yer see in Bombay on board a transport. I believe we are coming to England, Brighton or the New Forest or somewhere. I dunno’ if this’ll get home before I do, I expect so anyhow. Crowds on board, Hospitals, Regiments, Rats, Ladies, & Stewards.

I’m a Lieut in the I.M.S! [Indian Medical Service] hot stuff in uniform, at present more “hot” than “stuff”.

I daresay Topher is anxious to get back & fight but I imagine from there they have to pay their own passages. I should say stop where he is, there will be plenty of vacancies out in the Argentine nowadays.

I got a letter from you today. Just luck as I got some mail sent to the Taj Mahal Hotel here. They would not tell us where we were going, so I could give no addresses & had all my letters sent home again. I hope I shan’t be very ill on this ship! We’ll probably be a long time getting home.

Well best love to all

yr loving son

Richard.


The Taj Mahal Palace is still one of the most prestigious hotels in Mumbai. According to Wikipedia, it had been built some 12 years before in 1902. It is situated on the waterfront, next to the Gateway of India, itself built only three years before in 1911. In 2008, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was one of the targets of co-ordinated terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

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22 November 1914 – Richard to Gertrude

Nedon’s Hotel

Lahore.

24th Sunday after Trinity.

Dear Mother.

I expect I’ll be busy this week so I will write now. I am on my way to Quetta to report myself! Luckily I reported myself in Calcutta too & they told me of another man going up, so we are going up together. Rather nice. We’ve already had 3 nights in the train from Calcutta & have got one more.

It’s awfully cold here & tonight I am having a fire in my room. A bit different to when Ben was here I expect. I see today a brother officer of Ted’s was wounded, so I am afraid you must be a bit anxious. I think I shall get a lieutenant’s commission in the I.M.S., but I shall not know for certain till I am in Quetta.

I hope you did’nt have a fit when you got my cable, but it’s a waste of time to go on writing.

This should arrive about Christmas so I hope you all have a happy one. Wonder where I shall be!

Well best love to all

ever your loving son

Richard.


Gertrude, a life-long christian and the widow of a clergyman, would know exactly which was the 24th Sunday after Trinity, the date of which changes each year because it’s related to the date of Easter.

I can’t find any reference to Nedon’s Hotel in Lahore, but given Richard’s preference for the finer things in life, it seems likely he was staying at the Nedous Hotel. In between the wars, the Nedous was to have an unexpected association with T E Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia.

The I.M.S. was the Indian Medical Service. Richard spoke at least one and possibly several Indian languages, and as a doctor it made sense for him to put his skills to service in this way.

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