Obituaries N-Z Backup

This alphabetical list has been created to assist in finding the obituaries of old friends who have passed on.

Just click on the name and it will take you to the description.

Bill Addison Eulogy
Marjorie Baker
Bruno Banerjee
Harry Beattie
Jean Isobel Beven
Manjula Bhuyan
John Bleaden
Peter Bottomley
SGB (Gusl) Brown
Alastair Bruce
Kenneth Moubray Burnett
Cathy's list April 2004

Cathy's list april 2005
Cathy's list Dec 2005
David Catmur
Nan Cavers
Mihir Chaudhuri
Dr Arthur Cheshire
Sandy Cleland
Dick Clifford
Pauline Coomber
Ron Cooper
Sandy Cowe
Jean Dodwell
Pam Drake
Dr Ken Dunlop
Roy Eastment
David Farnham


Maureen Furst
J.P.F Furst
Mandy Gee-Smythe
Kennethena (Kenny) Gibb
Michael Griffiths
Tim Graves
Robey Grover
Joan Halnan
Duncan Hay
 Johnny Hay
Adrian Herd
Maureen Holl
Ken Home
Ken Hutchison
Norman Jackson

Ramesh Jaitly
James J.E. Knight

Peter Leggat
Debashis Mahatao
Joyce Maltby
Ken Matthews
John (Jock) McKean
H.N. (Jaggi) Mehra
Dr Charles Merchant
Eva Monro
Christina Moon
Gerry Morehead
Ann Morrison
Bill Morrison
Reverend John Nelson


Pauline Nicholson
Anna Panter
Don Papworth
Sir Michael Parsons

Barbara Pearson

Derek Pearson

Tony Pickford

Sajjid Rahman

Jeshi Rikhye
Ronald E. Russell
Ann Scallon Eulogy

Chris Shapland
Peter Shortt
Baljit Singh Shergill
Basil Simpson

Gordon Simpson

Billy Arjan Singh
PJ. 'Smudge' Smith
John Soward
Peter J. Stone
Jim Storrier
James L.C.Strang
Matt Stuart2
Freddie Stroud
Robert Struthers
Ralph (Oliver) Twist
Sukumar Sengupta
Tanima Sengupta
Sunny Warner

Ron Weir
Mo Wheatcroft

Liz Wild
Frank Wilson
Kay Woollett




 February 19 2011
We are indebted to Satish Dhali for writing this very informative letter to tell us about the passing and funeral service of his old Boss Frank Wilson


Frank Wilson, whom I served under for twelve years at Maijan Estate passed away on 7 November, 2010 in Delhi after a brief illness.  His funeral/last rites were performed on 9 November,2010 in Hindu tradition in accordance with his ‘Wish-List' left behind on a written note before he was admitted to the hospital.

All this was done in consultation with his brother T.R. Wilson who lives in ESCRICK, YORK U.K. (Tel No. : 01904728300) together with all necessary formalities completed in the office of the British High Commissioner, New Delhi.  Almost 60-70 planters with their wives were present for the funeral  held at the Electric Crematorium, Dayanand Ghat, Lodi Road, Jangpura, New Delhi 110 014 and I was asked to perform the last rites.

The remaining ashes, as per his wish, some of which were sprinkled in the WAR Cemetery, Delhi and the rest immersed in the Holy Jamuna River at Nigamboth Ghat, Delhi.

The memorial service was conducted on Sunday, 21 November, 2010 at C K Uppal's (worked under Frank) residence in Gurgaon.  A large gathering of planters with their families attended the service conducted by Eric Ram, Sr. Planter from Assam Frontier Company.  As, Frank would have liked it, the ceremony was followed with some drinks and snacks. Frank retained his cheerfulness and faith in life till the very end.

I joined Tea Plantation under Frank Wilson way back in 1965 and would not have ever imagined that in 2010 I would be asked to perform his last rites - a  moment unforgettable.


February 15 2011

Gordon F. Simpson

It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing of our good friend Gordon Simpson this morning. To his widow Yfke we send our condolences--

 FUNERAL DETAILS  for those who plan to attend.  

Wednesday 23 February - 1.35 pm - West Chapel, Aberdeen Crematorium.    Family flowers only.

All friends welcome to attend.  Thereafter tea and refreshments at the Fourmile House, Old Skene Road, Kingswells, Aberdeen AB15 8QA 

January 6 2011

Ramesh Jaitly

We are advised by Rajiv Jaitly that his Dad Ramesh  passed away in Delhi on the 18th December. We have offered our condolences to his family. Rajiv has kindly prepared a description of his father's life and hope to receive more about Ramesh's life

He was a man of many parts:  Soldier, Tea Planter, Pilot, Advocate, Lecturer, Columnist to name a few.   What most people will miss about him I suspect will be his endless store of stories about people and events.  He seemed to know just about anyone with a tea connection and his work brought him into contact with tea planters in a way that few others had occasion to and often at risk to him personally from violence because of labour unrest.  He had a phenomenal ability to recollect faces and events that would put most to shame.  There was nothing quite like settling down with a good whisky and listening to him recount the old days in recent times :

Tea Planter:
He was well known in North East India for his industrial relations work with plantation labour and he was greatly respected by the labour force who referred to him as the "Hakim Sahib" (the judge). 
Personnel Manager McLeod Russel (India) Ltd 1981-1986
Personnel Manager Jokai (Assam) Tea Co Ltd 1973-1981
Secretary & Labour Adviser Indian Tea Association 1961-1969 -( he was responsible for evacuating the planters and families from the North Bank during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962 with Geoffery Allan)
Personnel Officer The Badlipar Tea Co Ltd 1957-1961 - he had some hair raising stories about the language riots during which I was born.

Commissioned into the Indian Territorial Army in 1952 remaining a reservist till 1968 with the Assam Regiment.  "Called up" in the aftermath of the Chinese invasion of India in 1962 serving till 1964.  Served as Officer Commanding Troops, in an operation to aid the civil power to control civil unrest and incipient violence during the agitation to form the independent state of Meghalaya (rank of Captain/Acting Major); Somewhere amongst his papers there is supposed to be one of the last surviving copies of the songbook of the Assam Valley Light Horse.
Member of the Indian Army Preliminary Selection Boards for recruitment of Emergency Commissioned Officers;

Advocate - The High Court of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Mizoram, Manipur & Tripura
Called to the bar of the Gauhati High Court serving 7 states in East India specialising in industrial and plantation disputes  - 1987

Over 200 hours flying civilian mono piston engined aircraft - used to love his stories about how they used the golf fairways in the planters clubs as runways and trying to beat the weather.

Lecturer in labour studies/industrial law at the Assam Institute of Management

Occasional columnist for the Assam Tribune newspaper and Sentinel newspaper in Assam - there is a great story which I think the Aberdeen local press published - when Dad and Mr Crabb dealt with the purported suicide of a tea factory babu.

M.A., LL.B.  University of Lucknow, India
Senior Cambridge Examination (First Class) Cambridge Overseas Examinations Syndicate - La Martiniere College, Lucknow India 

 December17 2010
Kenneth George Pearson

Paddy Pearson tells us that her husband of 48 years, Kenneth George Pearson, late of Assam Frontier and the Argentine, died on 13th December 2010, aged 95.   More in due course

December 4 2010


Bill Beattie tells the Editor that he had just heard from Terry Luscombe (Assam Co.) that Basil died in Spain last March.

" I knew him well during my time and occasionally afterwards in London. Basil left Assam and worked In PNG for many years. When we lived in Townsville he was always first on the phone at Hogmanay...his voice drowned by the "Pipes" and laughter! Am sure that the survivors from both countries will remember him."   

February 10 2011
Dadu Quader

Gives his memories of his old friend and colleague
Basil Simpson

My wife and I are greatly saddened by the news of Basil Simpson's demise. I was Basil's colleague and contemporary in the Assam Company in the late 50s. He took over from me as  Mistry Sahib (Factory Assistant) at Atkhel (Gelakey) factory in 1959 and made the best teas in the Company for the 1959 season. I had moved to Lakmijan to start up its first ever CTC manufacture upon conversion from the Orthodox process and worked to get to the top of the Company league. I couldn't !! Basil's Atkhel factory came first and Lakmijan came a close second. He was great to work with. My wife and I pray for his eternal peace, Amen.  Our heartfelt condolences go to his family.

Sincerely yours, Dadu Quader.

August 21 2010
Jimmie Bain tells us that sadly Tanima Sengupta the wife of the late "Senny" Sengupta of Rungamuttee T E Dooars has passed away on the 19th of this month. Both Senny and Tanina were well known and respected and we offer our condolences to the family from the Tea Community

July 25 2010 

Derek Pearson

Jimmie Bain tells us that Derek Pearson died earlier this year.
Derek was a regular soldier in the Indian Army prior to joining James Finlay in 1948, he ended his army career as a major in command of the Dalai Lama's bodyguard in Lhasa.
After serving in Assam on Latakoojan, Hattigor and Lamabari estates he moved to Calcutta as V.A. in 1953 before being recalled to the Glasgow office in 1969,he retired in 1985.
Many  Finlay planters will remember he and Sheena's hospitality when visiting Calcutta and Glasgow.

July 16 2010


Maryanne Russell Thapa tells us that her  younger brother, Ronald Edgley Russell  (Ronnie, s/o of late George Edgley Russell) Aged 52, suddenly passed away on Friday 16th July 2010 at Hatfield, Hertfordshire England. 
We offer our condolences to Maryanne and her family

JULY 16 2010


Debashis Mahatao, an Assistant Manager at Chengmari Tea Estate in Nagrakata, Jalpaiguri, a District of the Dooars died on July 12, 2010, as the result of being swept away by a flash flood that surged down a rivulet flowing through the garden. To his family we offer our condolences.

June 15 2010

Col Kenneth Moubray Burnett, OBE, TD

Bura Railway POW, respected military leader, family man and passionate gardener

Colonel Kenneth Burnett OBE TD tea planter, soldier, farmer
Born5 February 1916 in Aberdeen
Died 21 March 2010 in San Rafael Argentina

    From childhood dogged with sadness and ill health Moubray Burnett went on to survive the harshness and cruelty of the infamous Burma Railway and to live a fulfilled life. He died in Argentina aged 94 at the home of his daughter , Victoria Stuart, where he spent his last 17 years.
    His father on home leave from the First World War, found his recently born young son in a neglected state and brought him back to his own mother to be brought up. Moubray's parents separating and, in time divorcing.

    On his grandmother's death, his aunt and uncle were made his guardians and he was brought up at Barra Castle and Straloch House in Aberdeenshire. His schooling at Dragon School, Ashdown House and Glenalmond was interrupted by long spells of illness. After studying agriculture at the Kent Farm Institute , he went to Assam in India to be a Tea Planter in 1938. At the outbreak of war he sailed to Singapore to join up with the 2nd Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders having earlier joined their TA Regiment before leaving for India. Commissioned as a Lieutenant, he rose to Captain.

    At the fall of Singapore in1941 he spent three and a half brutal years as a prisoner of war of the Japanese, working on the notorious Burma Railway.

After the war he married Mary, the sister of his friend Donald Cartright from agriculture college and went back to India until Indian Independence in1947.

    The young couple returned to farm briefly in Sussex  before returning to Aberdeenshire to farm near Newmachar. After farming they lived for a time near Kemnay and therafter Newmachar.

    While farming, Burnett rejoined the Gordon Highlanders TA Regiment and finished his Gordon's service as Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion in 1964

    He was promoted to Colonel in152 Highland Brigade TA and finally assumed the rank of Acting Brigadier.

    On leaving the TA he was appointed Cadet Commandant of the Gordon Highlanders Cadet Battalion of the Army Cadet force.

    Burnett was subsequently made Honorary Colonel of both the 3rd Battalion 51st Highland Volunteers and the Gordon Highlanders Cadet Battalion. He was awarded the OBE in 1977.

    Burnett was an inspiring leader who was highly regarded by all ranks. He was a member of the Scottish Far East Prisoner of War Association and was also actively involved with the Old Meldrum branch of the British Legion.

    When his wife Mary died in 1993 Burnett moved out to stay with his daughter Vicki and her family and it was then that a new episode of his life began.

    He was always a proud family man of great charm, and a passionate gardener right up to his final months, having created a magnificent garden at the Stuarts' fruit farm.

    Burnet is survived by his sons Nigel and Sandy, and his daughter, Victoria, and grandchildren and great grandchildren in Scotland, Australia and Argentina

June 14 2010

Jimmie Bain has kindly forwarded the obituary for Senny Sen-Gupta written by Saroj Mehera

Jimmie tells us that Senny was well known in the planting community and he feels  sure it would be of interest to those who knew him. His wife Tanima does not keep good health but was in fine spirits when I saw her in Calcutta last year


b. 23.05.1925.  d. 13.08.2008.

In James Finlay/Tata-Finlay/Tata Tea, Sukumar Sengupta was known to his colleagues as Senny although, in good Bengali fashion, his nickname was Dhruba. He started his tea planting career as an Assistant at Powai T.E. in Upper Assam in 1951, where I started, two years earlier, in 1949. We shared a bungalow until the end of 1952, when I was transferred to Kakajan T.E. At Powai, Senny and I had lots of other planter friends -  R.K. Baruah, Anwar Minallah, Stan Allen, Aquil Ahmed, "Major" Vic Casabon, M.K. "Jhuntoo" Chaudhuri, in the Panitola and Doom Dooma areas and we would often party and picnic together

Some of the memories I have of Senny during those two years involved him and his motor car, a Ford Prefect. He was not the best of drivers, nor mechanically minded, which resulted in we other Assistants having a lot of innocent fun at his expense! While parking his car at the Digboi Club, Senny backed into a wire fence and entangled his rear bumper. A few manouevres would have freed it but we persuaded him that he should dismantle the bumper; this took him two hours! On another occasion, he complained that the car bounced a lot. Agreeing to remedy this, in his absence, we filled his boot with sand-bags and he drove off, happily bounceless, to return later with the complaint that the car moved very sluggishly! He was not very mindful of what was ahead of him on the road and, on the bridge over the Dehing near Margherita, he blissfully drove over a drunk sleeping it off, without harming the man and, when his passenger yelled out, he promptly stopped and reversed over the inebriate, again with no harm! Senny retired as Manager of Rungamuttee T.E. in the Dooars in 1980


 April 26 2010
Jimmie Bain tells us that his old friend Norman Jackson passed away on April 11 2010


It is with great sadness I have to record the death at the week-end of of Norman Jackson,. He was a friend and colleague and much respected planter, probably one of the oldest,having joined James Finlay in 1934, Serving first in Darjeeling before moving to the Dooars then Assam before retiring in 1966, Norman"s family had a long association with tea, his uncle William Jackson was a pioneering inventor of tea machinery including the well known Jackson Roller. He was also the last surviving member of The West Bengal Mounted Rifles,he still had his induction papers and was proud of being listed as Trooper Jackson. At the outbreak of war he volunteered for the R.A.F. trained as a flight engineer in Ambala and flew in antiquated Hawker Hart Bi-planes. He would have been 98 on his birthday and put his longevity down to a planters life. 

April 18 2010

Jimmy Knight



A letter from his children Jo, Guy and Nick

Darling Dad,

You were truly a big part in all our lives.  Big in every way - a big bloke with a big appetite, a big thirst, a big voice and, above all, a big heart.  Your presence filled the room and you were impossible to ignore.  Everyone affectionately remembers Jimmy Knight - once met never forgotten.
And, Dad, admit it, you loved being the centre of attention and here you are today still doing just that! 
Like us all, you were not perfect but your imperfections contributed to the whole - a character full of life, love and laughter that rubbed off on everyone around you.  And, of course, your love for Mum and for us, your children, our better halves, and your seven grandchildren was so strong it was almost visible.
Talking of love for your children, we must record that you never changed a nappy in your life.  Remember when Jo woke up in the night and would not settle, you asked Mum, "What's wrong with the bloody baby?"  Doctor Spock?  We think not!
You joined the Army and were posted in France.  Lucky Jim you were not, as you were evacuated from Dunkirk amongst the mortars, the machine gunning, the dead and the dying.   From that day on you felt you were living on borrowed time and determined to live life to the full.  And that you did! 
A barefaced lie - namely that you were a fluent Urdu speaker - started your adventure in India which, including your time in the Army and then tea, tallied over 30 years.  You married Mum in India and mastered many local dialects.  Your linguistic skills were to prepare you later for life in Wales, where you developed the ability to speak English with a Welsh accent just like a native Pakistani.
After the war, with paintbrush in hand and wearing a beret, a striped shirt and a string of onions you headed for France... because people in England laughed at your dress sense.  An artist's life in post-war France was tough and you worked hard selling and renovating paintings to put food and wine on your table.  Your paintings are very special to us today, displayed as they are in the homes of family and friends. 
In recent years, we have enjoyed sharing your obvious pleasure in reviewing your sketches, particularly your running commentary which contained endless variations of:  "I like this one, it's bloody good"... We've always admired your modesty.
Your time in India in the Mountain Gunners in World War II left you with a disability - here we are talking about your deafness not your poor mimicry of a Welsh accent.  You have been hard of hearing all the time we have known you.  You'd fall asleep with the TV at full blast and wake up when we turned it off to say, "Oi, I was watching that!"  But what we particularly loved was the way in which you took the mick out of yourself.  When we would mouth words to make you think you had suddenly gone stone deaf, you would quickly cotton on and mouth words back. 
Your fun attitude carried on into recent years when it became difficult for you to articulate your wishes.  You could tell by our eyes when we struggled to understand you - remember when you said to Guy after one such ramble "Am I talking bollocks?"  When Guy replied, "Yes, Dad, complete bollocks", your reaction was to laugh your head off.  And, of course, as you struggled to communicate in the past few weeks, it was natural that the last surviving, intelligible words were "bloody hell" - what else could they have been?
Our letter to you would not be complete without some mention of your culinary exploits.  If we are honest, like Nick here and all blokes who do the cooking, you rated yourself highly.  Your love of the kitchen was fuelled by the twin joys of food-tasting and proximity to an alcoholic drink.  Of course, physically you looked the part, too.  Will the food will be any good if the chef has the physique of a racing snake?  You were more rounded than that and let's just say you were full of the joys of cooking.
We remember fondly one Christmas Day.  Rousing yourself at your usual 5am, the oven went on and the massive turkey was shoulder-squeezed into the oven.  Oh, how adoringly you checked its progress every ten minutes, oh, how lovingly you basted the monster and oh, how many glasses of pink gin you quaffed.  And, when the sun was in decline and you announced dinner was nearly ready, you were surprised when the absence of vegetables and potatoes was pointed out.  And you were annoyed when your suggestion of frozen peas and boiled potatoes was rejected.  Ripping off your butcher's apron and grabbing your bottle of gin, you stormed out of the kitchen, muttering obscenities under your breath.  Thus, unwittingly, you became the role model for today's celebrity chefs.
And another thing, boy were you clumsy and accident-prone.  Remember the pottery class where your creation exploded in the kiln, destroying everyone else's works of art?  Remember also when you told a chap, whom you had only just met, that you couldn't stand social workers only to discover that he was in fact a social worker?  And of course - THE CLASSIC - accidentally pushing Mum's chin into monkey poo! 
Dad, we will miss your daftness, your rib-cracking hugs, your vice-like grip and your roaring laugh.  And we will forever cherish so many wonderful and funny memories of you. 
We are not here today to say goodbye, as we will see you again.  We will see you again in things that we do, in certain facial expressions, in a reflection in the mirror, in the way we walk and talk, and in the way we live our lives.  You live on through your family and that thought brings us incredible comfort. 
Au Revoir, our darling Dad.   With all our fondest love forever,

Jo, Guy and Nick

Salaams from an old friend'          Mike Courtney     
A  FAREWELL to JIM KNIGHT,  a friend of old

Kathy and I first came to know Jim and Wendy in 1966, some 44 years ago, in Assam, N E India where Jim was a Tea Planter.  Since then, our two families have enjoyed a lasting friendship, sharing many happy times and holidays in Assam, Hong Kong, Provence and elsewhere.          Jim's sense of fun was always a stimulus to enjoyment!
As most of you know, the planters' lifestyle in Assam for socialising and recreation centred on house parties and gatherings in planters' clubs.   Jim, being of a gregarious nature and a keen sportsman, relished the frequent after-sports and other gatherings and the need for rehydration - read refreshment sessions -  in the clubs enjoyed by so many planter families.   Having a lively personality, humorus and ever- generous, he was both popular and always the life and soul of any party - wherever and whenever!
What of Jim's life.   He was a man of many parts.    As a soldier: he was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940; later, he joined the Indian Army and served in N W India in the famed Khyber Pass region bordering Afghanistan;  then, he served in Burma where he earned a gallantry medal for bravery against the Japanese  - until recently, this was unknown even to his family as he never spoke of it;   post-war, he was briefly an Artist in the South of France but retained his artistic skills as a hobby for the rest of his life.
In 1948 he joined the Tea Industry in Assam and rose to become a senior Tea Garden Manager and sometimes Superintendent of his Tea Company.   Using his man-management skills, he was respected for his successful management of the various, larger tea estates where he served.  
Above all, Jim was a family man, a wonderful husband and father, always full of fun and a friend to all.   Sadly, he has left us all for a better place.   But he has left us with a fond memory of a very dear, merry gentleman.  Jim, old friend, in saying farewell to you, we thank for your friendship and good cheer.   
Our condolences to Wendy, his loving and caring wife, his three wonderfully supportive children and seven grandchildren.

Click here to see more pictures of Jim Knight and his family.  This is an Adobe Acrobat file so wait a bit for it to load.

‘That Man'   Read by Digby Hembry

That man is a success who has lived well and laughed often, and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; Who has left the world better than he found it; Who has never lacked appreciation of the earth's beauty, or failed to express it;Who has always looked for the best in others, and gave the best he had, Whose life was an inspiration, Whose memory is benediction.

                              - JIM KNIGHT ----

1918 Born 8th November 1918 (3 days before the end of the First World War) He was the youngest of 5 children (Bob, Frank, Dick, Helen and Jim). Bob was the best friend of Stanley and Violet Baker 1929 Bob and Jim, aged 11, visited hospital to see Stanley and Violet's new-born baby,Wendy. 1933 Whilst on a school trip, met Mussolini in his office. 1940 Joined the Territorial Army, was posted to France and later evacuated from Dunkirk.
1942 Interviewed for officer rank by Montgomery. Fought in North-West frontier and Burma. Awarded the Burma Star, a medal for gallantry and the highest award from the Gurkhas, a solid silver kukri knife, for destroying a Japanesemachine-gun post. Attained rank of Major.
1946 -1947 Lived and worked as an artist on the Côte d'Azur, South of France.
1948 Became a Tea Planter for Macleods, then James Warren Tea Company, in Assam, India.
1952 Courted Wendy (by now aged 22 and wearing a nurse's uniform!) and proposed to her. Returned to Assam and sent her a telegram, with a one-way boat ticket to Bombay.
1953 Jim and Wendy married in Calcutta, India. Honeymoon in Darjeeling.
1956 - 1960 Births of 3 children Jo, Guy and Nick.
1974 Returned to UK after over 30 years in India.
1974 Moved to Stafford Coach House, Cowbridge, South Wales. Worked for the Red Cross.
1975 Set up his own business as a stocktaker for pubs and clubs, and local artist.
1979 - 1984 Marriages of Guy/Cate, Jo/Steve and Nick/Sandra.
1980 - 1991 Births of 7 grandchildren (Paul, Mark, Louisa, Rebecca, Ben, Adam and Natasha).
1981 Moved to Willowcroft, St Mary Church.
1993 - 1996 Helped Wendy to care for her parents, Stan and Vi.
1999 Trip to Vancouver for 80th birthday. Went canoeing and youth hostelling in the Rockies!
2002 Moved to Westfield, East Sussex, near Assam friends, Mike and Kathy Courtney.
2010 Passed away peacefully on 27th March 2010, aged 91, in Conquest Hospital, Hastings.

May he Rest In Peace

Duncan Hay

March 23 2010
Dawn, Duncan Hay's daughter created a special Eulogy for her father and it is shown below

March 1 2010


We are most grateful to Robin Gregory for forwarding this appreciation of Duncan when he left Assam Extract of an article from "The Monthly Review' written by the late Harry Beattie OBE on Duncan's retirement from tea.

There cannot be one member of the community in Assam, on both banks of the Brahmaputra, who does not know or has not heard of Duncan Hay. His fame was mainly as an elephant hunter, but he had many other attributes, some of which were known to many, but the greatest of all was his friendliness; nothing was too much trouble when help was needed.

So for many reasons, Duncan will be missed and so too will his wife Jill. They left Assam in the middle of December for England. It is not known where they propose to settle or what they intend to do, but whatever it is they have numerous well-wishers in Assam.

For all Duncan's excellence as a shot, he never dispatched an elephant unless it was a proclaimed rogue or a raider of crops. Shortly before he left he was summoned to the North Bank and, answering a call for assistance most promptly as usual, he shot three elephants which were creating depredation, bringing his total up to fifty.

It was most interesting talking to Duncan of his experience. He told me of the unique occasion when he saw an elephant burial ceremony, by moonlight, as they paid their last respects to one of their own kind. He said it was a thrilling and deeply moving sight and that he couldn't imagine any other type of animal doing this.

There are few, perhaps very few, of us with the type of courage required to face a charging beast, the size of an elephant. That Duncan could do this filled me with the greatest admiration, but honest man that he is, he confessed that on occasions he had moments of extreme anxiety and also that when a huge animal crashed to the ground he was always left with a deep sense of regret.

Duncan came to tea in 1951 to the Dibrugarh District. In 1952 he was transferred to the North Bank where he promptly established a number of "firsts". The first motor-cycle, the first planter, and possibly the first person, to catch ten double-figure Mahseer, using a yellow plug on a moonlight night between 9.30pm and 2am. He was mauled by a leopard in full view of his dismayed wife, just before lunch time. He was stitched up in time for lunch and was back at work at 2 o'clock, watching over his labour force with a rifle in his hand in the event of further attacks.

Duncan was good at most things he tried. Between his hunting and fishing pursuits he decided to tackle golf. He aimed a mighty blow at the ball and landed right on his back. It was then he realized that being born in the same year as Arnold Palmer didn't give him any advantage. Typically he persisted, and year before last carried away the Lakhimpur Championship and this was by no means his only trophy.

To hark back again to Duncan's elephant shooting, he was an Honorary Forest Officer to the Government of Assam for the last ten years and was granted a Government Elephant Control Licence in 1957. In controlling rogues he was helpful to many, but the esteem in which he was held by the Government authorities was helpful to our community as a whole. I said earlier that a lot of people would miss Duncan and Jill and that we wished them well. When, therefore, they read this article I trust that they will take it upon themselves to write, now and again, and let us know how they are faring in the United Kingdom."

February 19 2010


Matt Stuart lost the fight against cancer April 2 2009--he had wonderful care at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and subsequently at the Hospice. Christine, Matt's widow organised  a fundraising function in his memory and the sum of  £5045.76 was presented to the hospital

Christine's letter tells it all

Hello Virginia et all!

 Just a quick message to let you all know that Lucy and I handed over the cheque to the PSSU ward at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge on Monday this week.  (February 15 2010)

As you will see from the attached photograph, we managed to reach our target of £5000, indeed just a little over that, so we were pleased that this was achieved.

The unit, which does such great work caring for people like Matt needing treatment to make life more comfortable during their illness, rarely gets any money raised for them, so they are delighted that such a substantial amount has come their way.

 The staff in the photo knew him well, particularly Fiona, who is standing on the right, behind Lucy wearing the fob watch which Matt gave her as a  little present to show her how much he appreciated her special skill, care, love and super sense of humour throughout all the procedures that had to be done. She thinks of him every morning when she pins it on to her uniform.

Matt would have been amazed and touched that the 'Sunset Song' concert would have been organised on his behalf, and grateful thanks for making this happen are due to Lucy, who put an enormous amount of care, time and energy into planning an unforgetable evening for us all. As well as raising the money, it was a great success as a social  event, with around 300 friends and family coming to enjoy the words and music as well raising a glass or two to his memory!  He would have thoroughly approved!

 I would also like to thank you all for your support for both this fund-raising effort and for your care and friendship over the past months.

Love and warmest wishes from,

Christine xxx

February 8 2010

Pam Drake

Nicky Kenning (nee Dunlop) tells us of the sad death of Pam Drake--she gad been ill for some time . Her daughter Sue Wright, told Nicky that the funeral will be held on Monday 15th Februaryin Black Heath South London
Pam was the widow of JB Drake who was based for many years at Balijan North TE (Warrens) and he was also known as Donald, except by Pam who called him Tim Nicky has kindly said that if anyone requires more information her telephone number is 01629 583897

 Billy Arjan

January 1 2010Billy Arjan Singh
We have been informed of the sad passing on January 1 2010 of Billy Arjan Singh by Phil Davis of the "Save the tigers" web site who said:

He will always be an icon and inspiration to wildlife lovers, especially with introducing Tara the TIGRESS back into the wild and protecting Tigers. Please raise awareness and Save the Tigers by visiting:

Also Aline Dobbie wrote 
Billy Arjan Singh was a fine man of total dedication long before it became fashionable to have such a cause.  His two books with Guy Montfort On the Brink and Back from the Brink inspired me in the 1970s; my love of The Tiger goes back to my birth and childhood in India and the fact that my parents were friends of the late great Jim Corbett.  I only met him as a 'bump' in my Mother's tummy but his words in the 1940s were prescient and we owe Billy and his like a great debt for their sometimes lonely work.  I have put the intimation on and also on my blog on

December 29 2009

Pauline Coomber

Sadly, Pauline Coomber widow of the late Reg Coomber, died this morning December 29 2009. Aged 89 ---
when we have more details we will advise

December 14 2009


We now have the funeral arrangements thanks to Alan Lane, Sanjay Guha, and Julia Bennet -please see letter below from William Gorman Chairman of the UK Tea Council

Friday, 11 December 2009

To:       UKTC - All Members

  Dear UKTC Members

Peter Leggatt  MBE

I am sure that many of our colleagues will now have heard the very sad news of the death of Peter Leggatt, Peter was an enormously influential figure within the tea industry and his passion, commitment and support took him to be chairman of the Tea Council for many years and also chairman of the Tea Trade Dinner, he will be sadly missed.  

I have received the following information regarding Peter's funeral.  The funeral will take place at Mortlake Crematorium on Wednesday 16 December at 3.30 p.m.  All friends are welcome to attend.  The Family will be retiring after the service for private reflection but there will be a Memorial Service in the spring at a date to be arranged.

There will be family flowers only with, should you wish, donations in Peter's memory to Leonard Cheshire.  Cheques should be made payable to "Leonard Cheshire Disability" and marked on the back "for International work only".  These should be sent c/o the Funeral Directors as follows

Chelsea Funeral Directors, 260B Fulham Road, London SW10 9EL tel: 020 7352 000

In addition, there is a book of remembrance at Times on-line which can be accessed at;

Yours sincerely

William Gorman

  Executive Chairman

United Kingdom Tea Council

December 7 2009


It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Anna Panter on Thursday December 3rd 2009.  Anna was the wife of David Panter and the daughter of the late Ghusal and Doreen Brown-To David and the family we offer our sincere condolences.

The Funeral will be held at St Mary's Church,
Tarrant Rushton, 
Nr Blandford Dorset at 12 Noon 
on Wednesday 16th December

Below is from Today's Daily Telegraph kindly supplied by Peter Bartlett


Peter Leggat

December 5 2009
Peter Leggat died on November 28 2009

This is an attempt to tell readers who Peter Leggat was and we have borrowed part of an article in the The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal
Editor from which we quote some:

Tea & Coffee Trade Journal spoke to Peter Leggatt MBE, who held a number of senior positions in the Group, at the head office of Camellia Plc and Lawrie Group Plc at Wrotham Place in Kent, U.K. Peter Leggatt was director of Camellia Plc, chairman of Lawrie Plantation Services Ltd, and director of Linton Park Plc. He was basically chairman of all their companies in India and Bangladesh. "Camellia remains the apex company controlling around 80% of Linton, 100% of Lawrie, and through either Lawrie or Linton we control 74% of Goodricke, 100% of Bangladesh, and so on. We like as a company to have control of the companies we operate," explained Leggatt. Leggatt was also a committee member of various organizations since the Lawrie Group offers their support to various causes which include: Help Tibet, European Schools in India Improvement Association (chairman), King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (Council Member), The Leonard Cheshire Foundation International, Britain-Nepal Chamber of Commerce (vice chairman), The Britain-Nepal Society (chairman), and Sir Percival Griffiths' Tea Planters
Trust (Trustee)

Peter Leggatt's links with India went back to his childhood through the novels of Kipling and stories his father told him about the Raj, elephants and tigers. He first came to India in 1963. "I have been connected with tea for 44 years," he says. "I joined Inchcape plc in 1959. Of those 44 years, I spent 20 living between India, Thailand and Bangladesh. I was not directly connected with tea production in Bangkok. I was connected with tea marketing. Whereas in India and in Bangladesh I was very much associated with tea production."

He joined the Camellia/Lawrie Group in 1988 and was based in London but made regular visits to India, Bangladesh and Nepal He said he went out to India Bangladesh and Nepal four or five times each year and said he thoroughly enjoyed it

 He will be sadly missed

December 1 2009


With sadness Stephen Farnham tells us that his brother David Farnham passed away on November 6 2009 in Dibrugarh Assam. David arrived in Assam in 1954 and was employed as a tea Planter by various UK Companies. However from 1981 until 1999 he was manager of Shyamguri Estate in the Tezpur area, owned by the Chatterjee family of Calcutta who Trade as the  Luxmi Tea Co. The present Director being Mr. Dipankar Chatterjee whom my brother new and assisted in his training in the industry.

David retired in 1999, but sadly his wife Fagni died in 2003. David had been very ill for the past year and was latterly diagnosed with Cancer of the Mouth, however, his overall medical problems finally became too much.

He was buried in a small Anglican Church in the  Dibrugarh district, the funeral was attended by his three sons Mark, William and Geoffrey and the Manager of a garden in the Luxmi chain.

Some may remember his story being told by Stephen McClarence a Times of England Travel Writer visiting Assam and writing about the State and that David was the last European Tea Planter still employed in Assam

We send our condolences to his family .

November 4 2009
Manjula Bhuyan

Jasbir Randhawa of Gurgaon NCR tells us  that Manjula wife of the late Dulal Barua  of Magors passed away at Huddersfield in the UK on November 3 2009
Manjula was married a year ago to her old friend and classmate, Dr. Dibakar Bhuyan (aka Badol) in the UK.

She was diagnosed with cancer about 2 months ago, and the end came rapidly in spite of surgery.

Manjula's cousin, Porie Saikia-Eapen has opened a Facebook link for messages of condolence:

Dr. Dibakar Bhuyan may be contacted at:
36 Platnam Grove
Birkby, HD22RH, UK Office Phone: +44 148 4531006 Email: 

 October 11 2009

  Kennethena (Kenny) Gibb

July 18, 1926 - Sept. 20, 2009

Kennethena Mary Gibb, 83, passed away Sunday Sept 20.
She is survived by sons, Donald Gibb and Charles Gibb; daughter, Mary Ellen Millbranth; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Her funeral service was held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. In accordance with her wishes Kenny was cremated and her remains inurned at Good Shepherd Catholic Church Columbarium in Huntsville, Alabama.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested memorial donations to AMA Foundation of Nepal, P.O. Box 7075, 1831 Solano Ave., Berkeley, CA 94707, (A home for orphans and needy children).

The following Eulogy was presented at her funeral service, by her stepson Charles Gibb 

   Eulogy for Kenny Gibb - 
            September 23, 2009

Thank you all for coming today to share in this celebration of a
remarkable life and a remarkable woman.  Kenny was born in Forrest Scotland in 1926. Her mother Johana was from County Waterford in Ireland. Her father Donald MacKenzie was from
Scotland. He managed a tea plantation in the Dooars, near Darjeeling in north east India . Soon after she was born they returned to India where she remembers riding about the plantation on elephant back. At this early age, she learned to speak Hindi.

When she reached school age her mother then took Kenny and her brother Donald on the arduous 6 week boat trip from India to England where she attended boarding school nine months a year.

At age *10*? (We aren't sure when...) her father died while on a tiger hunt of a burst appendix. Her mother continued to live in north eastern India. Kenny went to a boarding School in France for her later education and acquired her third language. Just last month she surprised a French speaking caregiver by speaking to him in fluent French.

In 1940 (?) she was back in India when they had to flee the advance of the Japanese invasion as it moved toward India. They found their way safely to England and at age 16/17? shecompleted her schooling and joined the Red Cross and was assigned among other places to Africa. She was proud of being the youngest nurse in the British Red Cross during the war. She recently told a nurse from Africa who was caring for her that there were many offers for her hand in marriage in Africa and she
found out what she was worth in cows. After the war she returned to Calcutta with her mother where she was employed, but we are not sure of her job.(?)

In 1953 Queen Elizabeth was being crowned and she invited the Royalty from all over the world to attend. The small isolated Kingdom of Nepal was just opening up to the world and through mutual contacts they learned of Kenny and her background and invited her to escort them to the coronation as a social secretary helping them understand protocol and customs. When they returned they asked her to join them in Nepal.

This was the first defining event of Kenny's life. And she spent the next thirteen years in Nepal as the 2^nd Prince and Princess's private secretary. Nepal, in those days, was very much like a medieval country. It was an absolute monarchy and there were only a few places with electricity, no paved roads, in fact no road into the country. A muddy airfield brought in visitors and supplies on DC3's and everything else came over the mountains on the backs of coolies. But a road was soon completed from India, a better airport built and the world came flooding in.

Kenny quickly became a favorite of the royal family and the prime
ministers or Ranas who ran the country. Just as quickly she launched into helping the people of Nepal. She worked as a volunteer nurse in the newly formed hospital. She was never afraid to work with people with dreadful diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis and small pox. She organized relief projects and women's aid projects. She was an accomplished knitter and trained and organized the local women to knit garments for the poor, sick and needy.

The social life was heady. The Nepalese alone seemed to have a holiday every other day. There were continuous parties. As Nepal had just opened up and was an exotic destination, many celebrities came to visit which always was occasion for another party. There were non-stop receptions, cocktails parties, dances, dinners; casual and formal. There were soirées into the mountains for picnics and mountain climbing trips. Kenny actually climbed to the Everest base camp.

She accompanied the royal family on many trips to southern Nepal, the famous jungles of the Terai to hunt Tiger, leopards and rhino from elephant back. She had many exotic adventures including wounded Tigers attacking their elephants and crazed elephants running amok.

She tells the story of being in a dugout canoe on the Rapti river in
southern Nepal hunting crocodiles when her boat capsized in a rapids. The others made it to shore but she was swept into a whirl pool. Unable to escape the power of the whirl pool she was saying her Hail Mary's when a boat appeared from nowhere; clinging to it she was pulled to shore. After she recovered they went to find the boatman but he had disappeared and despite major efforts they never located him.

Kenny was an avid Tennis player in Nepal. She played constantly and was by all accounts a first class tennis player. She was a close friend of the royal family. Having known him as a child, she boasted that she was the only person in the world allowed to call King Birendra by his first name. On several trips to Nepal with her, we were honored to have most of the Royal family including the King and Queen at parties in her honor. And, she did in fact call the King by his first name which no one else in his family would have dared to do. But, Kenny treated everyone she cared about the same.

She was fluent in Ghurkali or Nepalese her fourth language. On a trip over there, we were walking through the bazaar when some children made a comment about her she didn't like assuming she couldn't understand. She gave them heck in fluent Nepalese and the look of the shock on their faces was priceless. But then they and everyone around collapsed in hysterics.

Han Suyen the author of "Love is a many splendored thing", arrived in Nepal in 1955. She later wrote a supposed fiction book, "The Mountain is Young", really a thinly veiled documentary of her time in Katmandu. In this book Kenny appears was mentioned as the "Buxom Scottish Lass".

Into this environment my father arrived in 1955 with his wife, son
Charles Jr. (me), and daughter Mary Ellen. He was with the State
Department, the U.S. Foreign Service, assigned to Nepal. My mother tragically died there of an illness in 1957.

In 1960 we returned to the US and Kenny came with us. They were married. Dad was reassigned to Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1961 much to their happy surprise (and mine) my brother Donald arrived on the scene. I kid him about changing his diapers. He tells me a few more years and he will be changing mine. This was the other defining event of Kenny's life. She lived for her son Donald.

In 1962 they returned to the US and lived in Silver Spring Maryland where they had a busy social life, heavily involved in the Nepal - America Society. Donald and I were talking to one friend of hers yesterday and she talked of how our parents had helped change and broaden their life by introducing them to a parade of interesting people from all over the world that came to visit with them. Kenny became an American citizen. Something she was very proud of. And, although she was a citizen of the world and proud of her British heritage, she was also a proud and patriotic Yank.

In 1967 Dad retired and they moved to Pensacola, FL. There they continued an active social life and pursued my father's hobby of collecting and raising orchids which Kenny assisted and supported. They were active in the British/American society. They traveled, going back to Nepal, and to visit other exotic locations and friends around the world.

Kenny was a great supporter of my brother Donald's swimming career and there was probably no greater supporter of his teams when he swam and later when he coached. She would always be seen madly knitting caps for the swim team to keep their shaved heads warm. And she was at every meet she could make cheering them on, even when she had to use a wheel chair.

After my father's Death in 1981 she set forth to learn many of the
skills she had never had to acquire cooking and driving. She never quite got the hang of those. Kenny is the only person I have ever heard of that has run over a Nun (who was not badly hurt). Yes, it's true. Leaving Church one day Kenny pulled over to give a Nun a ride and ....ran over her. That was the last time she drove.

She eventually settled here in Huntsville where my sister and I live, as I was retired and better able to care for her. Here she had a happy life with her cat and friends in her condo for eight years.
Soon after my father's death Kenny was diagnosed with a brain tumor. When it was removed they also had to take her pituitary gland. As a result she was on heavy steroids and many other replacement hormones and medicines. Eventually this took a toll on her and she developed severe arthritis eventually losing all membranes/cartilage in her lower joints. This of course left her crippled and in severe pain. She also suffered from diabetes and other complications from thesurgery/medicines. These problems restricted her more and more to her home but she never complained.

This church (Holy Spirit) and her religion where very important to Kenny and brought her great comfort as the complications of her former brain tumor and age relentlessly took their toll.

Increasingly crippled, Kenny moved with her beloved cat Blackie to Hearthstone assisted living. This became her home and despite the occasional gripe she was very happy there. The excellent staff took very good care of her as she bravely endured the increasingly excruciating pain of her afflictions. With great courage she endured the pain of
transferring to a wheel chair and other necessities. A recent fall and injury seemed to overwhelm her. With the kind help of Hearthstones management we were able to bring her back from the hospital to Hearthstone which she said was "home". We were touched by the love and
tenderness shown to her by the staff at Hearthstone. In one of her lucid moments she told me she was very tired and ready to go. She quickly declined and Sunday after 83 years of a rich, exciting, exotic life she peacefully succumbed in her sleep.

Like many really interesting people, Kenny was a person of strong character and great contrasts. She had what she referred to as a wicked Irish temper, but also a warm Irish heart. She had the Scottish frugality but was generous to a fault. She loved people but also needed privacy. She watched and read world news incessantly but loved sports
and her good literature (gossip rags), She could be intimidating if crossed but was most often warm and kind. She was a protector of the innocent but she did not suffer fools or the abusive lightly. You did not need to wonder where you stood with Kenny as she was very direct and
forceful. At the same time she cared strongly for people and was a sensitive and helping friend. She loved to laugh and did so with abandon and that laugh will echo forever in our hearts.

Our notices of her death went out to states all over the country and Countries all over the world. In calling her friends, many talked of how Kenny had enriched their life and of her kindness to them, and what an interesting "character" she was. Many fellow residents at Hearthstone
have told of us how her great smile, raucous laughter and buoyant personality brightened their lives. And, many of the staff cried at her passing.

I believe that love is about putting others first. Many people across the world are better off for her unselfish care, kindness and generosity...her love. And this, in the end, is perhaps the best legacy anyone can have.

She was a good friend, a loving mother. We will miss her.

(I realized when writing this how little we knew of the details of Kenny's life. It is a great shame that we didn't get her to dictate her memoirs. We talked about it, but never seemed to get around to it. What a loss. So, there may be some inaccuracies but I think it is generally correct. 
Charles Gibb (Jr).)

September 10 2009

Tim Graves

Vic Pearson tells us :Some sad news as another koi hai bites the dust. Tim Graves passed away on the 7th. He had been battling parkinsons which was slowly getting him down and passed away due to pneumonia.  His funeral will be held on the 17th at Roleystone anglican church.

September 9 2009

Adrian Herd

Regretfully we now pass on the very sad news that Adrian Herd passed away 26th August 2009..  Adrian had a long stay in hospital and a brave battle against his illness, but he was brought home a few days before his passing and had all his family around him when he slipped away.
There was a Church Service at 3.0 pm on Friday the 4th September in Embleton 
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Liz, son Adrian and daughters Kerry and Clare and their families.    Adrian will be sorely missed by all his many friends.

The Herd's address is: Nyasa, Dunstan Village, Craster, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 3SX 


September 7 2009

John (Jock ) McKean

Dave Lamont has advised us of the following:
John ( Jock) MacKean passed away in his sleep, his birthday, yesterday,  September 2 2009 I don't know how many of you guys knew Jock---he was a MacNeill and Barry's man--------- a good engineer and a Gentleman. He loved reminiscing about his Assam days any time we went up to see him and Mabel  He died at home having just been sent home from The Gold Coast Hospital the previous day

August 19 2009

Peter Shortt

These are the memories of his father, Peter Shortt,  kindly written for us by Peter's son Nigel Shortt.  The memorial service to celebrate Peter's life was held on August 18 2009

-------------------------------------------------------- I wanted to share with you a few memories and thoughts regarding Peter Shortt, father, grandfather, husband and dear friend who sadly died at the age of 77 on July 17th 2009 after falling ill with cancer. Here are a few of the things that were mentioned to me about my father:   "He really does mark the passing of a generation"   "I trust your pa's truly engaging character and great charm stand out as guiding heirlooms for the next generation or two"   "His interest in how things worked, especially people and his ability to enthuse others in a great learning experience was admirable and unique"   "A true English gentleman of a bygone era and he certainly made his mark"   Dad mentioned the koi-hai website to me almost 12 months ago and I spent hours looking through all the various articles searching for memories of the time I spent in India as a child. If there is one regret I have, it is that I did not sit down with Dad and ask him to remind me of my childhood days in India. My recollection of those days are very patchy, so please excuse the random snapshots, but I do remember that we had some wonderful times !   Dad managed the Langharjan Tea Estate and worked for the Jorehaut Tea Company having joined them in 1956 - a year before I was born. He met Rosemary my dear mother, out there in Assam and from then began my memories of a childhood spent between boarding school in the UK and holidays out in India. I remember at the age of seven, the excitement of flying out to Calcutta with BOAC as it was then and being a member of the Junior Jet Club and getting my free tin of sweets. My sister Belinda and I were given special treatment by the air hostesses as we were travelling alone ! Dad would fly down to meet us and I remember staying at the Grand Hotel for a night and seeing my first belly dancer at an evening show at the hotel before we flew back up north the next day !   I can picture days in Langharjan spent as a child experiencing everything from learning how to plant rice, to riding around the garden in a marvellous homemade train made I think from an old cultivator engine ! I remember endless acres of tea bushes and the smell of tea being processed in the factory. I remember Dad's love of horses and his tall polo boots immaculately polished and polo hat. I can picture swimming galas and film shows and Dad running a club shop and all of us making so many friends.   Above all I remember our trips on the river in a houseboat made from an old army boat I think ! There was a speedboat too and the adults including my mother waterskied on the river. I recall that I was terrified of the huge whirlpools as our boat went over them and having visions of being sucked down into the depths. I can still picture the picnics on the sandbanks or rather these were more of a feast of curries and other wonderful dishes.   Peter often talked about revisiting Assam and I would have been first in the queue to join him as an opportunity to reminisce would be too good to miss. After Rosemary passed away in 2001, Peter did eventually have the opportunity to enjoy companionship again when he met Barbara who he married a few years later. Sadly her time with Peter was abruptly cut short when he was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and died so soon afterwards.   Dad - I thank you for all those wonderful memories !   Nigel Shortt. **************************

July 21 2009 
Peter Shortt
Thanks to Gogi Bajaj we learn that  that Peter Shortt passed away, very peacefully, in the afternoon of Friday 17th July.
He had very aggressive prostate cancer, which took his life away in seven weeks from diagnosis. He died at home, his wife Barbara was with him and he had no pain.
To Barbara we extend our sincere condolences

July 9 2009

Alastair Bruce

Sadly we have to report the passing in June of Alastair Bruce of Aberdeen and the Walter Goodricke Company . We send our condolences to his widow Helen

July 1 2009

Sir Michael Parson

Thanks to Shantanu Chatterjee--commonly known as   ' Chat ' in the tea districts! we have the news from an Indian Newspaper of the passing of Sir Michael Parson. the notice said 

          " Sir Michael Parson died on the 19th. of April aged 93, in Aldeburgh. He was the Chairman of Macneill and Barry.  He was resident of Calcutta for many years."             Old planters would remember him.          ******************************************
We now have to thank Michael Graystone who has delved into his memory and produced an excellent obituary of his old 'Boss' and friend   Sir Michael Parson--  Thank you Michael


Sir Michael Parsons, who died on April 2009, aged 93, spent 34 years in India. He was Managing Director of Macneill & Barry, later to be Macneill & Magor, a large Managing Agency in Calcutta whose parent company was the Inchcape Company . After leaving India he joined the Board of Inchcape in London rising to the position of Deputy Chairman, second only to the Earl of Inchcape.

In 1968, Sir Michael was elected to the Associated Chambers of Commerce which was founded in 1853 and to which Sir Michael's grandfather was Secretary from 1897-1907, an early connection to India. He was also President of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce. Representing business interests took him into contact with the highest echelons of Central and West Bengal governments. On leaving he gained his well-deserved knighthood.

Sir Michael was born in 1915. His father entered the House of Lords as Bishop of Hereford, his mother was a qualified doctor. After school he studied medicine but decided not to pursue this profession. In 1935 he signed on as a supernumerary ordinary seaman on the cargo ship, the S.S.Tekoa which was subsequently sunk with a loss of all hands in the early years of the Second World War after putting up a gallant fight with her 4 inch gun against an armed raider. 
Sir Michael left the ship in New Zealand to travel the world before joining Barry & Co. in 1937, one of the smaller managing agents in Calcutta, owning just 9 Tea Estates and 2 jute mills. Here Sir Michael received his first taste of life ‘up-country'. On the outbreak of war he was commissioned into the Indian Army. He had no preference but thought he would like to serve with the men from the mountains. He was posted to 2nd. Battalion, The Royal Garhwal Rifles which was sent to Malaya as part of the 8th. Indian Infantry Brigade. He as promoted to major and was taken prisoner at the fall of Singapore. He was to survive three years of brutality and deprivation on the Burma Siam Railway (River Kwai). On liberation Sir Michael, elected to rejoin Barry & Co. After a period of recuperation during which time he met and married Molly and returned to India . Posted to the jute mills to liaise with other Barry& Co. units and the Calcutta Office, thus starting his long association with 2 Fairlie Place, Calcutta.
In 1949, Barry & Co. amalgamated with Macneill & Co., with it's myriad of companies to form Macneill & Barry, then wholly owned by the the Inchcape family. Thus Sir Michael started to move up the ladder. He was heavily engaged in the diversification of the jute mills necessitating much overseas travel. 
In 1957 Sir Michael became a director of M & B. and among his responsibilities was the Joint Steamer Companies. Tragically for these splendid companies which had done so much for India over 150 years, tensions between India and Pakistan had progressively weakened them. Prolonged strike of the Indian fleet in Pakistan water brought them to their knees. In a stroke of genius, Sir Michel was able to sell the fleets to the respective governments. The sum extracted from the Transport Ministry in New Delhi was £1 which more than paid for itself in the years that followed when millions were lost by the new owners. As they had been wholly owned by the recently floated Inchcape & Co., the sale in all probability saved the new company. During these negotiations he met up with some of India's leading businessmen including JRD.Tata, GD.Birla and the Nizam's family, all of them were to prove fruitful in the future.

In 1963 Sir Michael succeeded Sir Hugh Mackay -Tallack as Managing Director and moved into 22 Camac Street and in 1964 married Inagh Frewen.

In 1966, Inchcape & Co. doubled in size with the merger with the Borneo Company and he was heavily involved with this expansion further east to Singapore , Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan..

In 1970 Sir Michael was asked to takeover the Australian business which was suffering major problems. Two years later he was invited to join the Inchcape Board in London on successfully completing his assignment. He and Lady Inagh left Australia with a flourish, returning aboard the ‘ Oriana'

Sir Michael became Managing Director and then to Deputy Chairman of Inchcape at a very interesting and productive time when many good companies , largely eastern biased, were acquired. He was Chairman of the Assam Company founded in the 1840's, India's oldest tea company. He was Director of the Commonwealth Development Finance Corporation from 1973 - 1980. He was Chairman of the Commonwealth Chambers of Commerce and an advisor on India to the British Overseas Trade Board. He was justly proud to be President of The Royal Garhwal Rifles Officer Association for many years. His outside interests included involvement with the United World Colleges together with Gordonstoun, the Outward Bound movement and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. UWC was Kurt Hahn foundation and one of his convictions was that if you believe in something, you must not just think or talk about it but you must act. Clearly a belief Sir Michael endorsed and followed throughout his career.

On retirement they moved to Tall Trees in Aldeburgh settling into the community. Being a keen and very good golfer and in his early and late 80's was able to shoot his age. He was elected Captain of the Aldeburgh Golf Club , a position he held for some years. He was also stalwart of the Oriental Club being both Chairman and Trustee and it was something very close to his heart. His long life spanned from pre-war India, post - Independence and gradual development to the financial powerhouse it is now. He played no small part in it's progress particularly when he was President of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce. He was blessed with the rare talent of having ease of recall and memory of events and people of long ago. This talent enabled him to write his easy to read autobiography ‘Room to swing a cat'. This title owes its conception from a chance description from Harry Beattie of the size of the captain;s cabin aboard a river steamer.

Sir Michael is survived by his second wife, Lady Inagh.

June 25 2009

  R.N.Grover (Robey)

We have to thank C.S. Bedi (Gulu Bedi) a colleague of Robey's for this appreciation

                                                R.N.Grover (Robey)


We are extremely sad to inform you of the very sad passing away of Robey Grover on the 21st May 2009, after a very brief illness. He was 70.
Robey, the quintessential gentleman that he was joined his Maker with a minimum of fuss. In his passing away, his family has lost a loving husband and father, his friends and the Indian Tea Industry, a role model an a mentor.

Robey joined tea with Jardine Henderson Ltd, after Masters in Economics in 1962 at Rydak Tea Estate in the Dooars. He married Kiran in1965 and with time moved up in the
planting hierarchy. His two children, daughter Aparna and son Rathin were born in 1970 and 1974.

Having worked in Tezpore Gogra and Hunwal Tea Estates in Assam he got his billet in 1973 at Baradighi Tea Estate in the Dooars.and was made Superintendent in 1978.
In1982 he moved to the Corporate Office in Calcutta, eventually taking over as Managing Director, Rydak Syndicate Limited and later as Chairman, Jardine Henderson Limited. He retired in 1999 and both Kiran and he decided to settle down in Calcutta.

Robey combined the finest qualities of a human being, with acumen, that saw him rise to head his company and command great respect amongst his peers. He was also a dispenser of caring advice to all who sought it. A thorough gentleman, impeccably turned out, a quiet smile, a gentle demeanour and a firm handshake, He will be sorely missed.



a dear friend of both Robey and Kiran  Roshni Tankariwalla. wrote this poem 



June 25 2009

Baljit Singh Shergill
(Universally known as Bally)

Jasbir "Timmy" Randhawa, through the good offices of Gowri Mohanakrishnan tells us:

I am most sorry to inform you all that Baljit Singh Shergill (universally known as "Bally") passed away at Chandigarh on 23rd June 2009. I was informed today of Bally's passing away by Saeed Kidwai, and by Kuljit Singh; and subsequently spoke to Bally's sister, and to Bally's son.

The "Bhog" will be held at the Sector 11 Gurdwara in Chandigarh on Thursday, 2nd July 2009 between 11.30 a.m. and 1.00 p.m., and will be followed by lunch at the Gurdwara.

Bally had studied at the Doon School, and had a long innings as a Tea Planter with James Finlay & Co./Tata-Finlay Ltd. in the Dooars and in Assam. He was Manager of Nowera Nuddy T.E. in the Dooars, and Lamabari T.E. in Assam. Bally had settled down in Chandigarh on retirement, but some years ago he had moved to Mussoorie. I understand that he subsequently sold his house in Mussoorie and moved back to Chandigarh a little over 3 years ago, to live with his sister. In Chandigarh he apparently suffered a fall and broke his hip about 3 years ago, and was bedridden since then, as the hip was not healing. During this period he did not maintain contact with his old Planter friends.
Bally will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

His sister, Raja (Mrs. Raghujit Singh) may be contacted at:
House No. 128, Sector 10 A
Chandigarh 160 010
Phone: (0172) 2740528

Bally's son, Manek's contact details:
Manekjit Singh Shergill 
B-20, Malcha Marg
New Delhi 110 011
Mobile: 98188-79075
Phones: (011) 26111407, 41680160

June 24 2009

Jeshi Rikhye

We have just learned of the sad passing on June 20 of Jeshi Rickhye, he retired from Williamson Magors as a Director some years ago. He was ITA chairman whilst with Williamson Magors. He was President of the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club. To his wife Swarn and his daughter Neelam, and son Raman, we send our condolences.

June 24 2009

Mandy Gee-Smythe

We are sad to learn of Mandy Gee-Smythe's passing recently,  to her family we offer our condolences. Mandy was the daughter of the late Jimmy and Terry Gee-Smythe ABITA in Jorhat.

May 9 2009

P. W. "Smudge" Smith

Peter Bartlett tells the Editor that sadly he has to report the passing of  P.W. 'Smudge' Smith on 7th May 2009 at Midhurst,  West Sussex. To his family we send our condolences

A Tribute to Smudge Smith from his friends

On  7th May 2009, Peter ‘Smudge' Smith peacefully passed away at his home at Midhurst. To many of us Smudge was the last of  the true ‘KoiHais'. He  will be sorely missed-but he will never  be forgotten.

After the war as a young  ex Hurricane pilot, he made his way to India in 1948 and after reading the lie of the land, he finally settled on Tea Planting  as a suitable career..His choice was good .  He loved the work, the land,  it's people and  his tea planter colleagues. Most of all he loved the Rivers of the North East of Assam; the Kundil, Lohit, Subansiri and the mighty Brahmaputra.

Even in retirement, Smudge arranged  an  open house at Cowdray Park where  planter friends and their families could gather. Reminiscing, in good  surrounds, informality and great camaraderie was the order of the day  Smudge was the kind and considerate host and loved and respected by all.

Smudge had scheduled the next reunion for the 25th July 2009. He had left written instructions that in the event of his passing, that the gathering should go ahead, without him . There will no doubt be much laughter-and some tears and he will be there in spirit.

It is hoped that Smudges many stories and his wealth of  photographs will soon be collated and posted on the koi-hai site so that many more will be able to share the experiences of a wonderful ,wonderful man.

July 6 2009
Mirandah Stephenson tells Peter Bartlett that "We planted a Rose for him called the " Tea Planter"--it is budding now  - what is interesting is it has grown a really long and odd shaped spur--he always had to be different !

and here it is !!


May 8 2009
We are indebted to Alan Wood for creating this eulogy for us all to enjoy-Thank you Alan

EULOGY -by Alan Wood


Jawans of the Assam Regiment stood with Reverse Arms while the Last Post was sounded at the cremation of Peter Furst at the Assam Regimental Centre, Happy Valley, Shillong, on 26th February 2009. The ex Officer of the Assam Regiment had converted to Buddhism and he
was cremated  in accordance to his wishes. The funeral pyre was lit by his old friend Lt Col R.B.J. Snaize (Retd)

Peter Furst was an Austrian who left his native country, on the last train from Vienna, when the Nazis occupied Austria. He enrolled in the British Army, was shipped out to India when Japanese Forces, on their sweeping conquests of south East Asia were knocking on the doors of  British India.

In 1941 War Office realized the importance of raising the Assam Regiment. Peter was seconded to the Regiment to train the Officers, recruited mainly from the erstwhile province of undivided Assam.
The battalion he served in was moved to Margherita/Ledo, HQ of South East Asia Command under the American General, 'Vinegar' Joe Stillwell. 

With refugees pouring in from Burma, intelligence expected a Japanese attack in this remotest corner of India. Peter was charmed by the terrain, especially the tea estates, and expressed a desire to return someday. In the endless tales that Peter narrated he mentioned of the time when the young recruits from Assam were taught to drive; one drove into the swimming pool of Digboi Club! Peter saw action in the Arakan Front and returned to England at the cessation of WW II.

 He remained with the British Army, was posted to Palestine where   wounded in a mine field he lost an eye. On release he trained in tea engineering in UK and followed his dream of returning to Margherita where the tea estates had captivated him. He joined the Makum Namdang Tea Co and ended his tea career as Superintendent, the last ex-patriate of the Company. On retirement he remained in Assam as a tea consultant and advisor to Tocklai before finally settling in Shillong.
Peter, an authority on tea and knowledgeable on many subjects, was fondly referred to as Prof.
He was married to Maureen who passed away in 2006.

Here are three photographs of Peter's funeral

Peter passed away on the morning of 25th Feb 2009

April 27 2009


Peter Bartlett tell the Editor that sadly he has to report the very recent passing of Mo Wheatcroft  of Zaloni Tea Estate in the Tingri district of Assam. To his family we send our condolences

The following is from the local Leamington Spa paper

Maurice 'Moe' 5th January 1933 - 13th April 2009
Died peacefully at home after a long illness borne
with great dignity and courage.
Devoted and loving husband to Mary, dearly loved father to Jo and Marianne, father-in-law to Goran and David, loving grandad to Elly, Libby, Tico and Eloise.
Desperately missed but always in our thoughts. The funeral service will take place at South Chapel,
Oakley Wood Crematorium at 2.15pm on Thursday, 23rd April. Family flowers only please, but donations to Macmillan Cancer Support c/o John Taylor Funeral Service,
1-3, Russell Terrace,Leamington Spa
CV31 1EZ.

April 27 2009


We have to report the sad passing of Jean Dodwell wife of Kim to whom we send our condolences

April 22, 2009

Matt Stuart

Matt Stuart died on April 2, 2009. 
Click here to view the Celebration of Life of Matt Stuart.  The service is Thursday April 23, 2009.    This is a copy of the program of his service.  He will be missed.

March 13 2009

Ken Home

Sadly we have to report the  passing of  Ken Home on Saturday March 7 2009--to his wife Deanne we send our condolences-- 
The funeral is on Thursday 19th March at 2pm at Duffield Church.  Derbyshire old friends are welcome
April 22 2009

We thanks Ken's old friend Clive Roberson for this appreciation of Ken's life

Ken went to India in 1952 and joined Tea as a planter with a company called Macleod Russell in UK and Jardine Henderson in India. He served four years in the Dooars, a district in West Bengal, and after his first furlough he was posted to an estate called Monabarie in Assam in 1956.  I had joined Tea in late 1955 and was posted to the same Monabarie.  And so it was that Ken and I met.  For the next few years Ken and I shared many things.

Monabarie was one of the biggest estates in the world with 1000 hectares under tea, a resident population of 10,000 and the supporting infrastructure.  This included the factory and workshop with an annual production of 2.5 million Kgs, 2500 houses, a fully equipped hospital, a school upto secondary level, a farm, various ancillary crops like rice and bamboo and a fleet of vehicles. There was a team of nine managerial and medical staff.  Ken managed a division of some 500 acres and assisted the engineer in the factory; I did something similar. This team became great friends and those that are left still keep in touch.

Our work load and responsibility was very high, and so was our social life. All the team were married except Ken and me, so we became a pair.  We shared a bungalow, the cook book, the servants, often my car, a dog, trips to the club and certainly all invitations to parties.  One thing we did not share was Ken's pipe, albeit on the odd occasion when we did share a room, the first sound and smell was Ken lighting up and the last was Ken knocking out his pipe. 

Ken was stocky, fair skinned, bespectacled and ruddy featured, so it was not easy for him to endure the often extreme Indian weather conditions.  But enjoy he did.  He played most games, tennis vigorously, golf cunningly with a reverse putting grip long before it was fashionable, rugby determinedly (representing Assam in the All India tournament), fishing keenly, but swim he could not; nevertheless he played a fair game of water polo, albeit in goal and only in the shallow end. We shared a skiing holiday and learnt to ski but Ken gave up when in Kitzbhul he unwisely chose the direct route instead of traversing down the valley.  His acceleration was phenomenal but the crash disastrous, thankfully not damaging, other than to Ken's pride.

We both left Monabarie in 1958 and then enjoyed a UK furlough. Ken visited my parents' home and I visited his.  Ken was very proud of his parents; my memory is of an incredibly bright, kindly mother and an irascible father.  During the furlough we toured Ireland, went on a skiing holiday in Austria and visited Caroline and her mother on the Isle of Wight. Both of us did another tour in India on separate estates and then enjoyed a furlough in late 1963. 

Like Ken's pipe, we did not share girl friends.  However, in late 1963 we did have a double blind date.  I thought it went very well, and indeed was slightly envious of Ken with his very beautiful girl.  When I asked him how it was for him, he said somewhat dismissively "Oh, she was too smart and anyway she had a ladder in her stocking!".    That did not augur well for the next double date.  My girl friend was Sue Andrews, a tea planter's daughter, and her friend was Deane.  As they say, the rest is history. Ken married Deane and I married the first date, Yvonne.

Ken and Deane returned to Assam whilst I returned to the Dooars with Yvonne. Deane had Andrew in Calcutta and when Deane was pregnant with Carrie, India devalued the rupee.  The consequences were drastic for the tea industry and nearly all Europeans were made redundant.  Ken by this time was the manager of Bhatpara estate in the Dooars and I was to take over from him. So once again we shared an event, albeit a most unhappy one. He was to leave the job and the country he loved.

Thereafter our paths parted, but with both my late wife and with Caroline we always kept in touch and visited Ken and Deane in Duffield.  Most of you here know Ken and Deane much closer than us, indeed a large group of people surrounded them with friendship and, from where we were, they seemed the ideal family.  Ken and Deane loved their family and their family loved them.  Andrew and Carrie gave them seven grand children and in the latter years it was the care and the interest in their development that kept Ken always upbeat, often in spite of his own setbacks. But the old adage remains true; behind every good man is a better woman.  Deane was always there.  Her support, care, cooking and love for Ken were unstinting.

All that I have expressed is merely to say that I have been privileged to know Ken and to have shared part of my life with him and his family.  He was a kind, straight, stoic and good man who had a long life that we can celebrate. I will miss him.

February 28 2009

James L.C. Strang

Cethin Davies has kindly advised us that Jimmy Strang died in hospital on Wed 25th Feb. That's all that is known so far.

Ron Strang Jimmy's son has passed on the following information about the service to celebrate the life of James Strang as follows

Memorial Mass, celebrating the life of James Strang who passed away on 24th Feb 2009, husband of Beatrix and father of Ronald and Christian. Memorial Mass to take place Friday 6th March 2009 3:00 pm 
St Joseph's Catholic Church, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire.   All Welcome. No Flowers. Donations to Alzheimer's Society.

Jimmy was the ex WW11 RAF pilot who served in tea and wrote the great collection of three books 
A Damn Fool Career consisting of 1/ Events in the Womb of Time 
2/ Paradise and Back and 3/ Best Laid Schemes & Mountains 
We extend to Trixie his wife and family our sincere condolences
March 7 2009
The Editor received the following note of condolence and deep respect for Jimmy from Jagdish Singh Jamwall who agreed to allow us to show it here on the Obituary page

Sir,  We were really grieved to hear about the sad demise of Jimmey Strang and we would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to Trixie , Ronald , Christian. I had the privilege and honour of working for him in the North Bank - Assam. He was the most upright, considerate, and finest gentleman I have known. My wife Krishna and I pray to Almighty to give peace to his soul snd courage to his family to bear this great loss.
From Jagdish Singh Jamwall -- Worked for Jokai India Ltd. 1962 to 1990

March 9 2009
The Editor received the following note of condolence and deep respect for Jimmy from Ajay Mehra who asked us to show it here on the Obituary page

Subject: My Condolences for Mr.J.L.C.Stang

Dear Sir,
               I worked as an Asst. Manager at Doolahat from 1965 to 1971,under the Superindency of Mr.Strang.Whilst I learnt a lot from him,I observed that he was among the finest of gentlemen, I have ever met in mylife. Of upright character and values he was a great man, and I consider myself very lucky to have been working for him as a young man.
              My condolences to Trixy and the family on their bereavement. I felt very sorry when I learnt that Jimmy was unwell for a few years. I was left wondering why bad things happen to good men.
             I have seen Jimmy walk on his hands to the tennis court, after parking his car, at the North Lakhimpur Club. Heard him recite a poem he had composed,at the time of his Farewell, on being promoted to join the London board. Received a hand written letter from him, while he was staying at the Taj Mahal hotel, in Mumbai, which said that he had arrived in India in 1948, and was leaving the country , on retirement from tea, having completed his ordeal with the buraucracy.  He named his house Subansiri, and taught his children:"whiter the bread, sooner you are dead" .I had the finest of puddings at his bungalow, and also an Austrian dish!!!
          When we all look back at our tenures in tea, it makes us feel nostaligic,at those wonderful days and those wonderful men.

          Jimmy Strang was undoubtedly one of the finest Planters and an excellent Bara Sahab. My association with him is my treasure.

         May god rest his soul in peace, and we all remember Trixy very fondly. She played excellent tennis for the mixed doubles, and when she was far Away from the ball, she was quick to call out "YOURS", for partner to do his best to reach out and reply the shot!!!
       AJAY MEHRA.

February 25 2009

Peter Furst

From Alan Wood 
Just a short note to let you know that Peter Furst , ex Makum & Namdang Tea Co,  passed away this morning, 25th Feb.  in his house in Upper Shillong.  His old regiment, The Assam Regiment, will do the honours and cremate him in Happy Valley tomorrow. Peter had become a Buddhist and wanted to be cremated.
With best regards.

John Soward

We are sad to report that John died on January 19th 2009 and his funeral is at Porchester Crematorium on Thursday 29th January 2009 at 1.45 pm. Pat has asked that rather than flowers she would ask for donations to the British Heart Foundation--the undertakers are Carrells, 4Tower Hall Road Havant PO9 1AN

December 21 2008

We are very grateful to Alan Lane and his father for the following:
We report the passing of two well known Macneill & Barry gentlemen of Tea --
Sandy Cowe and
Ron Cooper

Sandy Cowe passed away in November 2008 and Ron Cooper passed away in June 2008

Our sincere Thanks to Alan Lane and his father John Lane for their help with the following descriptions;

Sandy Cowe: According to my father, Sandy joined Macneill & Barry around 1949 / 1950 and was initially at Dilkoosh TE as Assistant Manager when my father was at Dewan (Tarrapore Tea Co). Sandy and Dorothy were in Cachar for a while before they were transferred to the Macneill & Barry gardens in the Dooars. Subsequent to that Sandy was then transferred to Assam, but at which gardens I do not know, until I met him and Dorothy at Greenwood in 1964. At the time of the "exodus" of planters in 1966, Sandy was kept on and was made Superintendent of the Macneill & Barry gardens that were based in Upper Assam - namely Rungagora, Thanai, Oaklands, Dinjan, Digulturrung and Baghjan. Sandy had the old Nagaghoolie TE burra bungalow demolished and reconsctructed on the banks of the Dhubri River at Rungagora TE. Sadly this bungalow has been consumed by that river and no longer exists.
Sandy and Dorothy were a very hospitable and kind couple and always made me feel welcome whenever I passed by any of the gardens that they were on. I think that Sandy eventually retired from Assam tea around 1970 / 73.

Ron Cooper:  Dad said that Ron Cooper joined tea much the same time as Sandy Cowe in Cachar - 1949 / 1950. Dad thinks that Ron's first garden was Majagram TE, as he went fishing a couple of times up the Dehungi River with my father and Bob Docking . We have no "record" of Ron's service excepting that as you have stated that he was Manager at Digulturrung TE in 1964, and was then transferred to Maijan TE in 1965. Ron was at Maijan until the 1966 exodus. After Ron returned to the UK he joined Ross Frozen Foods in Hull until his retirement. Ron's wife Joan passed away a couple years ago before Ron.

October 8 2008

The Reverend John Nelson

The following tribute to John Nelson came from  the minute of  the Church of Scotland , St Andrew's High Parish,  Musselburgh on May 1 2008 the presbytery of Lothian,

Tribute to The Reverend John Nelson

The Revd John Nelson  died on 9 April 2008 and, Presbytery standing, the Clerk gave 
an obituary memorial, composed by the Revd J. R. Wells, to him as follows:

Born in Glasgow on 29 March 1915, John Nelson was a graduate of that city's university twice over, graduating MA (Hons) and BD (Hons with distinction in Systematic Theology, with specialist papers on Islam).  That particular interest in Islam was to be formative in shaping John's ministry.  During his theological studies John had expressed an interest in working in China but other influential members of the Foreign Mission Committee at the Church Offices pigeon-holed the energies and enthusiasm of this eager and active young man for work in India because of his specialist knowledge of Islam.  Planned Postgraduate studies with the contemporary Swiss theologian Emil Brunner never got out of the blocks due to the outbreak of the second world war.  Instead, John remained in Glasgow and completed his training for ministry by serving a probationary period as Locum at Glasgow: King's Park.  A year serving with the Church of Scotland Huts and Canteens enabled John to apply for ordination; the Presbytery of Glasgow agreed to that, and ordained him as a chaplain to HM forces on 9 December 1941.  John served with the Royal Air Force seeing service in the Far East; he was demobbed in 1946.  Offering his services for the mission field John was sent to Selly Oak College, Birmingham to undertake relevant studies to further enable him for work in India.  It was here that John met Anne Gibson.  A meeting of minds and a strengthening friendship led to their marriage on the penultimate day of 1947 in Sialkot, Pakistan (which had become an independent state 4 ½  months earlier).  Anne accompanied John in his foreign postings in Gujrat, Pakistan and Assam, India.  Their children John and Tom were born in Pakistan and Mary in India.

John was a man who could engage with people and could gain the confidence of those he worked with.  He sought to uphold the dignity and justice of both Christians and Muslims in the newly-formed yet brittle country that was Pakistan .  Tensions were often high and John's skills in mediation were honed and to the fore.  However, it was not these tensions that saw John and Anne leave Gujrat; more practically, John, providing financial assistance for his parents and sister as well as his own growing family, needed to obtain a posting that provided a consistent income.  In 1952, John took up a post as chaplain to tea planters and pickers in Assam.  Seven years later a similar concern for family, this time the education of his children, brought John back to Scotland to work as Scottish Secretary of the United Society for Christian Literature, now the charity known as Feed the Minds.  Having seen Communist propaganda literature at first hand, John was keen that Christians abroad should have clear, informative and educative materials about the Christian faith.  John put his talents and energies into the work of the Society and became a well known figure throughout the presbyteries of the Church of Scotland as he worked as a teacher and diplomat furthering the Society's aims.  During the early years settling into this post, John and Anne completed their family with the birth of David, their third son.

John Nelson was to see further work overseas when a call to be minister to St. Andrew's Church in Calcutta was sustained the overseas Council who appointed him to the post on 10 May 1970.  Three years later, with St. Andrew's Church now part of the Church of North India, John and Anne returned to Scotland.  John accepting a call to the charge of Crawford with Wanlockhead and Leadhills in the Presbytery of Lanark to which he was inducted on 15 November 1973.   The warmth, engagement, pastoral availability and care that had been exercised in the mission field was to be the gain of these parishes for the next seven years.  John demitted the charge and retired on 31 December 1980.

Passionate about learning and education, John kept up his reading and was noted for following any New Testament passage being studied in the original Greek text. The enquiring mind and erudite raconteur that was typically John Nelson was by a stroke dealt a cruel blow. Communication had been, all in all, the life of John Nelson.  His belief and his encouragement of others to see all worship as a thanksgiving of gods good gifts became a diminished exercise as his powers of speech were affected and with years his body became less able.

That, however, did not stop John trying, in his inimitable way he had the liveliest eyebrows when trying to convey enthusiasm, excitement or point of view in discussion !
Many gathered for John's funeral at Mortonhall Crematorium on 16 April. The Main Chapel was all but full, not bad for a man of 93.  We gathered to give thanks for a life well lived in the service of Christ and in the feeding and freeing minds from duller things ; these had been John's interests and passionate concerns in his life and ministry.  We gathered also to support Anne , John (jnr) Mary and David (Tom was unable to travel from Australia), in their loss of a husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather.  As a worshipping and thankful gathering on that sunny afternoon we were aware too that an uncle, cousin, colleague, neighbour, and friend to many had taken his leave of us - but had left us with many good and treasured memories of how to live life well and hold with integrity our Christian faith. The Moderator led Presbytery in prayer remembering the life of Mr Nelson.

October 1 2008

Peter Seymour-Eyles

Sadly we have been informed by Claire Morris daughter of Peter and Margaret Seymour-Eyles that her father died on September 2 2008. I feel sure that everyone who knew Peter will join me in sending our condolences to his family

Claire also mentioned that "We as a family have many warm and happy memories of our time in Assam, and wish all the planters currently there and their families every joy and happiness for the future. It was special and I am sure continues to be a very unique place and experience.

Peter was a subscriber to the Camellia magazine and Claire advised that he very much enjoyed it and indeed had his most recent copy in hospital with him

Eva Monro (1911  to   2008 )

widow of Jimmy Monro ex Superintendent of Maijan

Eva passed away peacefully in Wyvis Nursing Home in Dingwall in the North of Scotland on 4 March.  Her husband Jimmy of MacNeill and Barry had died in 1977 after a relatively short retirement in Perth.  Jimmy had been 35 years in tea, ending as Superintendent at Maijan and just before retirement served as chairman of Zone 1, A.B.I.T.A from 1958 to 1963.

Eva enjoyed a very full and active life and it was only in the last few years that her health let her down.  She maintained a large garden well past her 90th birthday and displayed a great number of practical skills such as cooking, knitting and sewing apart from the garden.  Indeed a nephew considered her curries as unrivalled.

As her nephew said she seemed indestructible and it was only in the last 2 to 3 years after she had fallen and broke her leg that the resulting uncertainty made her cautious.  Sadly she broke the same leg again and this required amputation but she still persevered on and lived a further 18 months without complaint but by this time memory loss was increasing.

Her sharpness of mind in all matters from politics to pop music are sorely missed and she leaves a memory of caring, generosity and good humour to all those that knew her.  She is survived by her two sons and four grandchildren.

August 24 2008

Christina Moon

It is with sadness that we report the passing of Christina Moon beloved wife of Terry on Thursday August 7th 2008. The funeral was at St Pauls Church Landkey and there was  a tremendous turn out to say farewell to her. Our condolences go to Terry her soul mate for all the years  

August 21 2008

John Bleaden  

Cynthia Comyn tells us that she is very sad to have tell us that John Bleaden of the Assam Group and of Gillanders Company died in Southampton on Sunday 17th August.  His funeral will be on Friday 12 September at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, 346 Portswood Road, Southampton SO17 3SB (tel 023 8055 5470) probably at about 12.noon.   If members wish to attend, would they please let Dr William Price know on : .

July  5 2008


Simon Maltby, advised Larry Brown that his Mum, Joyce, passed away on the 10/10/07 at the age of 93- a good innings..Joyce was the wife of the late J.E.MALTBY, (JIM),who was Superintendent of the Makum(Assam) Namdang Tea Company, 1959-1964.

June 26 2008

Sajjid Rahman

We are advised by Ajit Saikia  that veteran Tea Planter Sajjid Rahman (aged 87) of the erstwhile Jorehaut Tea Company Ltd, passed away last night after a brief illness. To his family we extend our condolences

March 21 2008

Marjorie Baker

We are advised by Babs Johnson that Marjorie Baker wife of Roger Baker passed away in December 2007, and we offer condolences to 
to Roger and her family 

March 7 2008

Ann Morrison

Fiona, daughter of the late Bill Morrison and Ann Morrison  tells us;

"Sadly my mother Ann, passed away in hospital on mothers day 2/3/08 aged 81. She enjoyed life to the full and was a true gentlewoman."

We extend to Fiona our sincere sympathy at her sad loss

September 6, 2007

Barbara Pearson (1933 - 2007)

Barbara , wife of Sandy peacefully passed away after a long illness on 1st August 2007.

Barbara met Sandy on the Anchor Line boat, the Celicia, in 1957, whilst sailing to India to join her father who was working on the Durgapur Steel Plants. Sandy was returning to Chatlapore Tea Estate after six months leave. They married a year later in Dacca.. They spent the next 12 years in East Pakistan and India. Their eldest son John was born in Calcutta in 1962 but shortly after they were evacuated due to the Chinese incursion. However they soon returned and after the birth of their second son Keith they moved to East Pakistan in 1970, but were evacuated again due to the onset of the Bangladesh war.

Though working in tea was not always easy they always supported each other and made many life long friends, had lots of great times and shared many happy memories.

On moving back to the UK Barbara and Sandy settled in her native Leeds, Yorkshire

Barbara leaves behind her husband Sandy, 2 sons and 4 grandchildren and is greatly missed

August 13, 2007


Tony Pickford sadly has died on Sunday 12th August in the UK following complications to a medical procedure. Tony fell ill a few weeks ago and after diagnosis left India and went to England where a new laser treatment was to be given. The Surgeon declared the operation a success but Tony, shortly thereafter, died at home from an infection that was picked up at the hospital. News about Tony's illness and the treatment, and progress was carefully monitored by Dee Stanley, a good friend of Tony and Bridget, and she kept some of Tony's other good friends aware of what was happening. Dee's sadness and shock was registered in her last email and this is felt by us all.

Tony has left us a wealth of stories and memories and it is good to know that these will live on in the koi-hai website and in the pages of the Camellia.
Tony, you will be greatly missed by all who have known you.

Tony Pickford -----a life in planting-----a life indeed.
An appreciation of Tony's life by Dee Stanley

I first met Tony and Bridget at Tiger Hill cemetery Coonoor in the Nilgiri hills of South India in January 2001.....He had been suggested to me as the man who could help track down the Rowcrofts graves in that cemetery....over the years we became friends and during his Summer leave to the UK he would stay with me and Jim and I would likewise stay with them in their bungalow within Wellington Cantonment whilst I was doing my bit for BACSA in the cemeteries around.... Bacsa is the British ass for cemeteries South Asia..... Tony was the son of a down to earth practical farmer in Oxfordshire... Leave from boarding school invariably meant , No Holiday at all as Dad
said..I dont pay to feed idle Tony and his brothers were set to hoeing, sowing, weeding, milking and muckspreading.....illnesses were treated with Horse liniments and vinegar and brown paper with good dollop of goose grease......National Service saw Tony as a
Second Lieutenant in the Oxford and Buckingshire Regiment and during his service he met, as a friend, another young sub who had a Father on the board of a Tea growing set up...Gardens in Assam....Tony went before the Board for interview wearing his ceremonials..sword and all...and the Board, consisting of Admirals and Colonels, Retd....said..Why, just the calibre of man we are looking for..and he got the job before opening his mouth..clothes
maketh the man........His stories of life on the Assam and NE.Frontier and his experiences as the Chinese invaded are already in the Public arena..He married an highly educated Indian Lady, the Daughter of a High Court Judge..whose Sisters were all high flyers.....and they had
a good marriage.....on one occassion they were in the UK for some time and she had employment in Oxford University in , I believe, a Phsycological department.....Tony and his wife returned to India... and later she died from an illness..sadly they had no children.... Bridget was Matron or Sister of the home that Tonies Mother had gone into..and on his leave he was informed that , A lady in the Home was
very keen on India.....some of us are!!! Tony courted Bridget and the rest came naturally..They had a lovely home in Wellington with a tea garden just opposite a little brook outside their front door....Eucalyptus trees in the garden and a little dog..a real country cottage.... Tony was popular at various clubs in the area.....and liked a glass
of grog..rum and water..outside of Long John Silver he was the only person I ever met who drank the mixture....He spoke his mind and was afraid of no one....a character, who once he knew you and you were his friend, then nothing would stand in his way to prevent him helping you if you needed it....The world will be a sadder place without him
and I shall miss him terribly...I have cried and now I shall cry no more as he would tell me to shut up..
Dee ...

 June 12 2007

    S.G.B.(Gusl) Brown

This eulogy was kindly supplied by his son Stephen 

It was written and presented by David Panter, Gusl's son-in-law

Firstly may I on behalf of Anna and Stephen  say thank you to so many of you for coming a long way to be here to celebrate the life of Gibbs as he was known in the family, Bruno to so many others, Boom Boom to his grandhildren and Gusl Sahib from one end of Assam to the other. We have had some very kind letters and generous tributes to him from those who would have liked to have been here, but unable to do so, particularly old friends from India.

I think the turn out for the service, which far exceeds ones expectations is a tribute in itself and is a measure of the man. Dying at the age of 92 you have largely outlived your contemporaries although I do see a number of his generation here today-a splendid effort and the family are grateful. May I also extend a welcome to those who made his life in Broughton so happy over so many years. Very particularly I would like to mention Mrs. J the backbone of the household looking after Doreen and Bruno for nigh on 40 years, you and your family have been good friends to us all. Pat you and Fred , a most accomplished man applying his DIY whenever needed, whilst you Pat did most of the caring for Mr. and Mrs. Brown, whilst being to me, the best cook in Hampshire.

It is however the contribution made by Norma which deserves the most fulsome praise. You have looked after Bruno or Mr. Brown as you insisted on calling him, with such love and affection that he was able to retain his dignity even when at his weakest and often under circumstances that others would have said were impossible . You engaged extra professional help and made it all happen .

On behalf of Anna and Stephen our thanks to you and the team of helpers .

Of course a father cannot be replaced and certainly not Bruno. He was essentially a family man, loving his wife, his dogs, his children and his grandchildren in that order, but if I am wrong , I apologise! Nothing more did he enjoy than having visits  by his granchildren  and just being with the family, in spite of being affected by the stroke some 12 years ago. But then he was awlways an excellent listener. This quality he may have acquired during the war when he left planting to join the Sirmoor Rifles part of the Brigade of Gurkhas. He was sadly caught in Singapore - captured and interned where he was made to work on the Burma railway. This is a part of his life of which he seldom spoke but it may have given him the resoucefulness for which he became renowned. You had to be tough to survive - one story he did tell : and that was during a cholera epidemic, when he was detailed to carry bodies of the dead to the mortuary pit for burning,  with another officer, returning having dealt with this they found an old chinaman lying beside the road -so, sadly realising that their job was not complete, they picked him put him on the stretcher , when he suddenly woke up recognised his predicament and ran off shouting "I no dead, I no dead.l"

He returned to England in 1945 weighing 6 stone and he quickly forgot the days of Changi and went off in pursuit of Doreen  to whom he was blissfully married for more than 50 years. They returned to India and Assam in 1946 and from then onwards kept open house. Whilst Bruno settled into a most distinguished career within the tea industry where he was regarded as a 'guru'. He was of course an excellent sportsman, a keen polo player, a good shot a consistent cricketer and as I know to my cost a most effective golfer even when I tried to level the playing field by tampering with the handicaps.

His business life was of course in the plantations and it was in the blood, his father having planted in Ceylon. He went out to India in 1936 with an agricultural degree from Wye. He became first research and scientific officer to the Jorehaut Tea Company, which when I went out to tea was the most prestigious company in Assam. They made the best tea, they had the best field and factory research and they played the best polo, and they employed the nicest people. Bruno was the burra sahib. He ran the company, the club. and the district, he and Doreen kept the best table!  he was rewarded for all that he did with an O.B.E. for services to the industry and to the British Community in Assam.

He retired from all the splendour of a large house and plenty of servants , in fact a house with its own cricket field , 3 tennis courts and a billiard room in 1969 and thereafter made Broughton his home- serving on the District and Parish councils as well as being distinguished as the best mower of the churchyard! Here in Broughton Bruno and Doreen settled again keeping open house, playing golf, going shooting, riding, and playing bridge. Also maintaining a lovely garden in retirement in fact there was never a dull moment. Throughout his life Bruno did not appreciate pomposity or anything that was not down to earth. He was no respector of titles but he was the man whom people turned to in a crisis and this was tested in 1962 when the chinese came over the border into Assam . He was the one that organised the evacuation of British families, and ensured the security and the feeding of the labour during this difficult time.

Finally Bruno was well known for his sense of humour. You will all have your own individual memories of this but I always think tof the time that he took Anna and me to a french restraunt behind the Oriental Club. We ordered, with Bruno deciding on Steak; whilst"Petit Pois pas frais" were on the menu Just as the waiter was leaving he added "oh I think I will have some of your stale peas please"

nobody can take away our memories of him He will be greatly missed and therefore to you Stephen and you Anna I express the sympathy of us all in your loss. but may I also couple this with the belief that you were both extremely fortunate in having two such wonderful parents. 
Gusl died on April 11 2007

February 11 2007

Gerry Morehead

Sadly we have to report the passing of Gerry Morehead at the age of 78 in Shillong on 3rd February 2007. Gerry was an Engineer with Gillanders and served in both Assam and Dooars. His last posting was in the Dooars at Indong TE with Archie Mills as Manager.
Gerry's wife Babs predeceased him some years ago and to his two sons and three daughters we extend our sincere condolences

February 6 2007

Joan Halnan

An appreciation from Derek Perry

It is with deep sadness that I heard today that Joan Halnan passed away in hospital at Sheffield on the 5th February 2007.  To Gerry, daughter Jenny and son Clive and their families we extend our heartfelt condolences at their loss of a beloved wife and mother.   In 1948, Joan flew out from LanIcashire to marry Gerry at Calcutta.  Gerry was at that time an assistant with Andrew Yules', on Choonabutti Tea Estate in the Dooars.  In 1955 I was posted to Khowang where Gerry was Manager.  Here the Halnans and I became firm friends.  Two years later we were reunited again as Manager and senior assistant at Banarhat Tea Estate in the Dooars.  I will always remember Joan as a lovely Burra Memshiab, a generous and hospitable lady.  During a visit to the UK in 2003, I was privileged to spend a great heap of quality time with the Halnans and their family at their homes in Sheffield.  Though Joan was poorly but brave, she still had a touch of her wicked sense of humour.  She will be missed.  Derek  

February 4 2007


Sadly we have to report the passing of David Catmur on January 28 2007, below is the note the Editor received from Larry Brown who tells me they both served with the Namdang Tea Company-- I have left the notes unedited as I believe that this is the best way to celebrate David's life by recording the respect he was held in by many, many friends around the world

In addition to what is recorded below there is a link to a wonderful  appreciation in the CUSO magazine in Canada please click to read

Note to the Editor from Larry Brown
Dear David: I have attached an email from David Catmur's family. You will recollect that in the previous emails he sent, he indicated that the cancer was getting stronger just as he was getting weaker. David was with the Namdang Tea Company from about 1950 to 1959-He became the Head of CUSO (the Canadian Volunteers Abroad organization.) He was erudite with a razor sharp mind and with a great  sense of humour.

Note from David's wife and family to Larry
Dear Larry Brown,
I have the sad duty to report that David died on Sunday, January 28 in the early minutes of that fateful day.
I am linking you below to the obituary that is now in the Ottawa Citizen. Please sign the guest book if you wish.
David had loads of stories about his years as a tea planter in India. He so loved India and his experiences there. 
 I will be looking for photos, I believe that he scanned a few with his daughter Allison just recently.  We will follow this up.
Thank you, Larry, for providing David with interesting stories and diversions at such a critical time in his life.
From his wife Denise Labelle, and daughters Allison and Emma.

Below the Editor has copied the Obituary from the Ottawa Citizen paper for your convenience but please feel free to go to the site and sign the visitor's book

David Catmur  

CATMUR, David Maxwell MacLennan Born in Abingdon, England, the son of Barry Gunn Catmur and Davida MacLennan, died at 72 years on Sunday January 28th, 2007 of pancreatic cancer at home with his loved ones by his side in Aylmer, Quebec. His family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to his many friends for their Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist prayers and good wishes communicated to him from around the world. David was a born humanitarian, who loved life and dedicated himself and his work to others. He will be missed by his family and his sausage dog Edna. His family extends special thanks to the nurses and doctor from the CLSC in Aylmer for their excellent care and support. In lieu of flowers, David wished to be remembered through donations to: Save a Family Plan Canada, P.O. Box 3622, London, ON N6A 4L4; (519) 672-1115;

Published in the Ottawa Citizen from 2/1/2007 - 2/3/2007.


February 1 2007

Dr Arthur Chesshire

On January 18 we reported the sad passing of Dr Arthur Chesshire. We are indebted to David Kincaid  who located the Vicar and  managed to obtain a copy of the address that  Dr. David Maurice, Vicar of St. George's Church, Preshute, Marlborough, paid to Arthur. We appreciate Dr David Maurice sharing his funeral address with us

Funeral address for Arthur Cheshire  
We are here today to thinks thanks for the life of Arthur.  It is a sad day for Daphne and all the family and that he will be much missed as a devoted husband, father and grandfather.  I'm afraid that I have no personal knowledge of Arthur but from what I have been told I think I can imagine what he was like.

Born the only child of his parents, it seems that his early life probably was somewhat lonely and may have contributed to his somewhat reserved nature.  He was born in Canada, had his early childhood in the UK, but lived in Argentina, where his father worked for a time, from the age of 12-16.  In 1938 he started in medical school but after the outbreak of war he gave up his training and joined the RAF where he trained as pilot flying bombers - particularly the Wellington - and the transport plane the Dakota. The family are uncertain whether he saw active service - perhaps this says something about his reserved nature that he doesn't appear to have talked much about these years - but what is clear is that he must have been an accomplished pilot as he became a flying instructor training bomber pilots. This meant that he was stationed for a time in Canada where many UK pilots received their training.  He left the RAF in 1948 and returned to medical school in Newcastle and qualified in 1950.  It was during his medical training that he met and fell in love with a fellow medic, Daphne. After they married they wanted to see more of the world and settled in India where they worked as medical officers to some tea plantations.  During that time Sarah and Robert were born.  In 1963 they returned to this country, and Arthur rejoined the RAF - this time as a medical officer - and Daphne acquired a GP job in Gloucestershire.  Arthur's job initially involved short term placements overseas which involved leaving Daphne and the family in the UK but travel was something Arthur enjoyed.  He then trained as an anaesthetist and it was in this capacity that he served the remainder of his time in the RAF until his retirement. 

The picture that I have been given of Arthur was that he was an "absolute gentleman" - very courteous - but also rather reserved so perhaps rather difficult to get to know well.  Nonetheless he had a great sense of humour which endeared him to his family and friends.  He had a keen interest in flying and all things mechanical, and was a keen reader - particularly biography, history and science.  And he enjoyed travel.  For a time he and Daphne had a house in the Dordogne which they enjoyed spending holidays at about 3 times a year.  Although not particularly accomplished as a sportsman, he enjoyed golf, tennis and sailing.  But one thing is clear; that he and Daphne enjoyed a strong and mutually supportive marriage for over 50 years. And that partnership has had some times of great testing.  In 1986, their second child Robert, when apparently in good health, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart condition.  For parents to lose an offspring is always particularly difficult and must have affected him deeply.  And then some years ago Daphne was seriously ill and he travelled every day to see her when she was in Oxford and London for treatment and this was reciprocated by Daphne in the devoted care that she gave him during his final illness.

So now this great partnership has come to an end.  It is not going to be an easy for Daphne and she I am sure would value our prayers and support.  The hymns that she has chosen, and also the readings we have heard, articulate the faith and hope that she has.  The first hymn speaks of the ending of the day, but the darkness can also be applied to the darkness that comes with bereavement at the end of a life.  But the Christian faith dares to believe that although this life does pass away that there is another world in which there is a dawn which leads to another day, and that although the "earth's proud empires pass away", God's "kingdom stands and grows for ever." 

And that hope is based, not as Richard Dawkin's would have us believe, on a delusion, but on what we have just sung in the last hymn.  That is that Jesus Christ has come to us, was born as one of us, and having died on Calvary rose from the dead to set us free.  His conquering of death is what gives us the hope that death is not the end, but a transition to a better world in the closer presence of God.

The reading we had from Isaiah paints a picture of something of what that world will be like, where there is the reconciliation of all that has been at enmity, where the wolf shall live with the lamb, a place where all will be filled with the knowledge of God. And as Jesus said in the reading we have had from Johns' gospel, just before his own death, there is plenty of room in that place where he was going ahead of his disciples to prepare a place for them, in his Father's house which has many dwelling-places.

But for those who are left behind, it is not easy, but as Psalm 23 reminds us - even though we walk through the valley of the darkest valley - we can know the presence of the good shepherd walking with us tending to us.  So let us pray for Daphne and the rest of the family and all those who are mourning the passing of Arthur - that they may know the presence and comfort of Jesus, the good shepherd in the days ahead.

29 January 2007 

Maureen Holl

We are advised that Maureen Holl wife of Martin died on january 10 2007 in Melbourne,  Australia after a long illness. Martin was with the Andrew Yule Company in The Dooars. We extend to Martin our sincere condolences

29 January 2007

Don Papworth

Robin Gregory has advised us that Don Papworth passed away peacefully of heart failure in Shillong and was laid to rest today 29 January 2007. Our sympathy goes to his relatives

January 23 2007

Bill Addison 

18 July 1931 -29 December 2006


  Dad was born 18 July 1931 in Coimbatore, Southern India, the second son for Alexander and Lillian Addison. His father Alexander was the plantation manager of the Atchencoil Estate, Travancore and his  mother Lillian a school teacher having travelled from their native Scotland in the 1920's. Alexander, Lillian and their two boys Alexander (Sandy) and Dad lived in Southern India for a short  while till moving to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1933 where Alexander took up the position of  manager of the Kinellan tea plantation.
       Upon the death of their father in 1936, the family relocated to Glenlivet in Scotland.

     At this point I think it's best that we stop the more formal part of the eulogy - as we all know Dad  and formality were never the closest of friends. So if you'll indulge me I'll just talk about the man I knew. Dad always spoke with great fondness of his time growing up in the villages of the glens. But it wasn't all plain sailing for Dad as he would always relate whenever we'd come home complaining  about school "You've got it easy - I had to go to a one teacher school - where my mum was the teacher - and I definitely wasn't her favourite student"

     He often spoke of the many adventures he and his brother Sandy had, from sledding down snow  covered brays in their kilts, careering into the snow drifts at the end - an experience Dad always  said was not to be missed.

     Dad and Sandy spent holidays and weekends at many of the farms their Uncles and cousins  worked - it was here that Dad grew to love the great Clydesdales that pulled the ploughs and  worked the fields. This affection was life long, as Kemma and I can testify to as we were dragged  along to many farm days on the Darling Downs to watch these great animals at work. He made many friends, most of whom he was still in regular contact with, particularly his cousin  Netta, who he still phoned weekly to catch up on the going ons in the glens and amongst the family.

     Now given the fact the glens Dad grew up in were home to many of the finest Scotch Whisky  Distilleries it's very easy to see where Dad's fondness and knowledge of a good dram comes from.  His passion continued to the end, on Boxing Day he was taking some of his medicine, with only water of course. Dad survived primary school - just-and then went on to attend Keith Grammar, where his older  brother Sandy was already studying. There are many tales of his antics - though Dad always claimed that his brother Sandy was the brains behind the operation - the Addison boys, their cousins and friends were certainly a handful. He always spoke of his time at Keith Grammar with fondness, and a few years ago it gave him  much joy to be re-united with a couple of his old school friends, John and George Cooper who had  emigrated to Melbourne many years before.

       At the age of 21 Dad had completed his apprenticeship as a Marine Engineer, when he was  approached by Warren Brothers and asked if he'd like to return to India as a tea planter in North  Eastern State of Assam. Dad being Dad, he leapt at the chance - he'd always wanted to got back to India and this was his dream job. Dad spent his time in India learning his trade as a tea planter, enjoying life to the fullest and  building life long friendships. Work hard; play hard was their motto, with their downtime filled with fishing and hunting adventures across the North East of India.

     It was during these days as a bachelor in India that Dad honed his skills as a fisherman, with many  hours spent on the Brahmaputra River and her many tributaries. Not for dad a simple trip down to  the river banks - fishing trips in India were serious business - no cooking on camp fires, cooks &  full field kitchens were the order of the day, bearers to carry the tents and assorted equipment and  even more importantly the essentials - beer and single malts. The fish never had a chance. His many adventures were related to us by a range of reputable sources -some can be told in  public, others for the reputations of those involved can only be related in private.

       One of his more memorable escapades centres on his role in the defense of the Doom Dooma Tea  Planters Club during the Chinese invasion of North East India in 1961. Dad and his fellow planters, upon hearing of the invasion quickly decided that the club was of  "strategic importance" and had to be defended. So once family and non-essential personal had  been evacuated by the RAF, Dad and his colleagues proceeded to take up positions at the Club. After a solid hour of filling sand bags, digging a slit trench on the pristine tennis court grass etc they retired to the bar to keep up their fluids. This is where they stayed for 2 days waiting for the Chinese to arrive. Fortunately for the Chinese  the UN had brokered a cease-fire - saving them the problem of tackling the club. Unfortunately for  Dad and his colleagues the non-arrival of the Chinese meant they now had to pay for their drinks  and to pay for the repairs to the club caused by their defensive works, which was quite an amount  of money.

       Now its time to turn to the Family part of Dad's life. Dad and Mum were engaged in 1964. Mum  then sailed to India where they were married at the Margherita Church, Doom Dooma on 5th  January 1965. They soon settled into married life, building enduring friendships and soon after starting a family. Their first child was soon born, George on the 26th May 1966. Soon more changes occurred for the Addison's -the Indian Tea industry was facing changing  times, with the European planters being eased out in place of the local Indian trained staff - so in  1967 the family relocated to Malawi in Africa where a daughter Kerim was born on 26 November  1967. From there they traveled via Scotland to New Guinea, in 1969 where Dad took up a position as the  manager of the Wahawah coffee plantation in Mt Hagen. They lived in Mt Hagen till April 1971 when they relocated to Brisbane when Kerim and I were old enough to go to school

       The 70's, 80's and 90's were years where Dad proved himself as great father, always willing to listen to our stories and often to provide even more outlandish versions of his own adventures as a child. Memories of these days are still strong, summer holidays were spent in Noosa, camping or on trips up the Queensland coast. Dad was always thinking of ensuring a decent level of comfort on these  trips. So Dad constructed a custom camping trailer, fitted out with all mod cons. As usual most of  the fittings seemed to bear the stamp of QR or Westinghouse Track and Engineering-Dad always  contended that they were waste or spoiled and he was putting them to good use.

Sunday's were always Dad's cooking days - afternoons were spent concocting curries, the hotter  the better and always enough food to last a couple of days or too feed our friends when they dropped in. The years also saw a constant stream of overseas visitors, friends and relatives entertained at the  family home-usually in the pergola Dad built next to the house.

Hogmanay was always celebrated in style, followed by Burns Suppers and any other occasion worthy of a party.  Dad was always at his happiest with a house full of people and made sure they enjoyed  themselves. Dad retired from working at Bradken Foundry in 1994.

  Retirement was a new concept for Dad and definitely not something to be eased into gracefully nor quietly. He bought a sports car, a red Capri soft top, took overseas holidays to Scotland, India and Sri  Lanka and settled into his new role as the "Inspector of Decker Park". His days were spent walking the dogs, Barney and Bess and later Randolph around Decker Park, always willing to provide useful advice to the Council workers who maintained the park on the best  way for them to do their job. He took up flying in ultra lights and indulging in tandem skydiving - I suspect more for the fear it put  in the family's collective heart than for anything else. He was also always on call to help staff the Australian Labor Party information stalls outside the  ANZ Bank in Sandgate, along with his colleagues providing useful advice to everyone who  passed-often whether they wanted it or not. His skills as an envelope stuffer were put to good use by his daughter in-law Amanda at the local Ward Office and when asked he would allow his picture to be used in any election publications required. He always felt that the Labor Party need his  "Mature Sensible Gentleman with dog" look to get the message across. Grandkids loomed large in his later years. Dad accepted his new role as a doting Granddad with gusto.

       Dad revelled in the opportunity to shop for really noisy toys for the grand children, he always felt a  child needed stimulation to learn properly and develop the proper skills. Days were now also devoted to introducing his granddaughters to his beloved local institutions-  the Full Moon, the Brighton and Belvedere Hotels. Here Dad would indulge his grandchildren, encouraging the consumption of ice cream, chocolates and chips with much gusto. In 2005 we all travelled to Scotland for Christmas and New Years Eve. Establishing himself in  Portknockie he spent many hours catching up with relatives and friends, showing us the many  places we had heard about from him. He relished the opportunity to show off his granddaughters and was mightily chuffed when people  said they could see his personality in them. I'm not too sure if Kerim and Martin were so pleased  though - the thought of having to put up with 2 little Bill's is certainly daunting to say the least.

      Advancing years didn't really slow him down, he was in the early stages of planning another  overseas trip, working out what to do for Hogmanay and thinking of which gadget he'd buy from the  next Innovations Catalogue We had the joy of spending Boxing Day with him, where as usual he spent the day cooking the  Turkey, mashed neeps and tatties, clapshot and the famous scurly were all produced with gusto. Presents were given out and as usual Dad and Kerim and Amanda indulged in a dram or two. It was typical of Dad's ability to spring a surprise that for the first time ever he did something  quietly, passing away peacefully in his sleep on Friday 29th December 2006.

      As his brother Sandy said - Dad would always do it his way - or has he said, "Himself will do it!" Dad we'll miss you, words can't really say what needs to be said so we thought we'd have a little slide show, something Dad's always loved, to finish up with.

Jan 16 2006

Harry Beattie

Below is the obituary, printed in the local Crieff newspaper, of Harry Beattie who died on Wednesday 20th. December 2006. after a long illness He will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Jessie & Bob Simpson Ex Dirai Tea Company kindly sent it to the Editor  and said that they had received it from Retta, Harry's widow whilst on a recent visit to Crieff--We tank them for taking the trouble  to share the obituary and we send our condolences to Retta. Jessie and Bob also mentioned that Harry's stories at the Annual Inchcape lunches at the Invercarse Hotel in Dundee were legendary for humour and wit  

January 5 2007

Through a communication mix up, this letter of appreciation from Rick Beven 
is only now being posted. Our sincere apologies to Jim and sons Rick and Tim for the inordinate delay. Editor

 Jean Isobel Beven

December 30 2006

December 19 2006

Sunny Warner

Sunny Warner, whom many of you knew well,  died on 1st September 2006, and her nephew Matthew Mackay presented a lovely review of her life at the funeral. Excerpts of this remembrance are included below:

I should like to start my "appreciation of Auntie" by reading you a letter she wrote some months before she died:

To my family

Thank you for all the love and caring you have shown me, and for all the happiness I have had from you. I am so proud of all of you & as I've told you - Jane, Sue, & Andrew - so would your parents have been. You, Martin, know how your mother feels, and I know your father would have been so proud of you, too.

I feel really privileged to have had quite a large part in your lives, and having no children of my own, I feel you have more than made up for that -- in fact, probably a good deal more trouble free! I have had so much fun out of it & thanks again.

         With my love


I saw Auntie for the last time a few days before she died. I held her hand and said to her: "We had fun, didn't we?". Having reflected hard over the last few days in preparation for today, I believe that this approach to life - essentially enjoying it to the full - really epitomises how this much-loved & wonderfully talented person would want us to remember her_ Of course, she knew her share of tragedy, but as I was talking to Esme - perhaps her dearest & certainly her longest-standing friend - earlier this week, she talked of her fantastic memories of the time when she, Sunny & Brend all shared a flat together. Of that time the recurring memory Esme has is of how much they laughed together.

It is of course daunting to try to summarise in a few minutes all her life. Moreover, the youngest of her nephews, I am acutely aware that my experience of Auntie does not remotely cover her entire life, and so I am very grateful to all of those who have given me insight ,& facts about her life. What I do not propose to do is to act as Auntie's biographer today, but in the space of a few short minutes indeed try to sum up what she meant to so many of us. Indeed, one of the delights of Auntie was that she had close friends all across the world. As I undertook the sad task of sending notice of her death to all her friends, I realised that I was sending so many letters to Australia, the United States, Canada & India as well as a huge number in the UK.

I think when I was young and stayed with Uncle Nick & Auntie Sunny, I was somewhat afraid of her -- very fond of her certainly, but slightly wary. I would be invited to stay at Hughes Hill from quite an early age and indeed would always go with enthusiasm, but I know Auntie was to me as Aunt Agatha to Bertie Wooster. Indeed I always used to refer to her with my friends as my "PG Wodehousian" aunt. recall when I was about 1 I and of course at that age obsessed with cars, Auntie Sunny & Uncle Nick took me to Brighton to look at the Pavilion. Auntie was telling me all about King George and the associated history, and as she was speaking, a a car - an Aston Martin I think it was - drove passed.. In all innocence I said to her: "Actually, l have to admit that I am more interested in the Aston Martin that just drove passed". Of course, this brought a severe reprimand from dear Auntie about how rude & ungrateful this was. I noticed at the time that Uncle Nick had turned away and was not paying attention. Looking back, I realise now that Uncle Nick had turned away to hide the fact that he was howling with laughter! I think he would have been in as much trouble as I was, had he been caught laughing!

I must admit that it was really in 1986 - quite a few years later, of course - that I realised how much fun Auntie could be and saw perhaps the real person than the rather fierce facade had hidden from the child. I was living in Mexico at the time, and after Uncle Nick had died, Auntie said to me: "I will come to see you. We will go round Mexico. You organise the trip and I will pay for it". That was too good an invitation to refuse for an impoverished student. We had an unforgettable 2 weeks as we toured the country. I think it was at that time that we started to get to know each other properly as adults, and the shared memories of that time - laughter all the time, as Fame told us - were wonderful for both of us. I recall in particular two boat trips we took for the day from a couple of different coastal resorts. On the first, there was a tremendous "pretend" pirate, who menaced everyone & really was in character. There is a great picture of his attacking both Auntie & me which I will treasure for ever. On the second, there was another pirate doing the same thing. However, he was pale imitation of the first and did not seem to enjoy his work at all. Auntie & I both agreed afterwards how limp he had been compared with the first, and spent the next few days laughing about how feeble he had been.

As I say, I really see that time as when Auntie & I grew close. However, the kindness and generosity of spirit which is known to all of you manifested itself throughout her life. Many years ago, when Barry's first wife Christine died, Auntie spent a lot of time helping her much-loved brother to look after Jane, Sue & Andrew, helping them to come to terms with the loss of their mother. Jane recalled the other day that Auntie of course did a lot of cooking. However, there was a problem with her puddings, in that they always tasted of creosote. This naturally made Auntie quite cross - and we know that could be a fearsome sight - until they discovered the source of the problem It was subsequently discovered that someone had used her wooden cooking spoon for stirring creosote. I am sure that mistake was not repeated by the unfortunate individual concerned!
That generosity of spirit was extended to so many people. - friends across the world She & Uncle Nick acted as surrogate parents to David, Tim & Andrew Proudmen as they each spent a year at school in England. Bruce, Neil & Nicolette Dunlop developed a similar close relationship with Sunny & Nick during many holidays spent with them.

The accomplishments that Auntie managed through her life are so numerous that it is impossible to make reference to them all.

Perhaps her first love was music, dance & stage. She was a very accomplished actress, appearing in the Cambridge footlights and also working in rep for some time. Esme told me that she was actually a very talented ballerina until she "outgrew" that occupation. In later years she was, of course, an active member of the Billingshurst Choral Society.

Whilst in Cambridge she was secretary to a Nobel prize-winning scientist at the LeMond labs. I have few details of this save to say that it must have been a very demanding position and would take considerable talent to fulfil successfully

She spent several years-in the US making very good friends in the process. I recall her telling me of the time when she took a typing test in Los Angeles and, through uncharacteristic nerves, started with her fingers on the wrong keys which meant that she typed absolute gibberish She was given another chance and I believe got the job! I again personally benefited from Auntie's ability to make such good friends as on my first trip to New York I stayed with the Kings, very old friends of hers

She was a keen & good amateur tennis player, and a gifted artist. She & Uncle Nick would really enjoy painting together and took art classes. Of course, in their life in Assam together she became a strong bridge player (she introduced both me & Jane to the game) and a really good photographer. I remember as a young boy spending many fascinating hours watching slides from her time in Assam and asking question after question about her life there.

She was secretary of Billingshurst Parish Council for many years, and a deserved reputation for being highly efficient & organised. That reputation was perhaps belied by the piles of papers that would accumulate on her dining room table. As her main financial advisor over the last few years, I did my best to sort her affairs into some form of order, but I am afraid it was something of an uphill struggle!

She became a highly qualified and sympathetic counsellor. Perhaps her interest started with her work at the Citizens Advice Bureau, but it soon developed and flourished and she became a much-loved counsellor for CRUSE, the bereavement group

Auntie had a deep love of animals and was a successful breeder of black Labradors. We all remember Cinders, Juno & Kala - three generations o the sarne black Labrador family - with such affection. She was an active supporter of the World Wildlife fun and the RSPB. Her love of animals extended to bees as well. So much so that I can remember being stung by several at Hughes Hill. However, she was very successful as a bee-keeper and her honey won many prizes. I would like to share with you the kind e­mail I received last week from Mr Roger Patterson - President of the West Sussex Bee-keepers Association (Wisborough Green branch). I believe this sums up both the skill & diligence Auntie brought to every task she undertook and indeed the affection she inspired in all who knew her.

"Sunny joined the Wisborough Green Beekeepers Association and within a short time was elected Hon Sec, a position she held for 16 years. She was so good that we couldn't get anybody to follow her in case they were seen as inferior! On her retirement from beekeeping we made her a Life Member. She was also a Chairman of West Sussex Beekeepers Association, and in appreciation of her contribution she was made a Life Vice President, one of only four to have been elected"

Auntie had so many dear friends it is difficult for me to mention them all I hope therefore that you will allow me to mention just four who made such a difference to Auntie's life. First, Shirley White, of whom Sunny was so fond, and who did so much to support Sunny in recent times. Equally, Mike & Colly Akers - it is impossible to imagine two more kind, devoted or generous people. I would particularly like to thank Shirley, Mike & Colly for everything they did for Auntie to support her & make her life as comfortable as possible in her last months( but of course moreover for the love & friendship they all shared for so many years. Finally, I would like to mention Esme. I know she was devastated not to be able to be with 114. today, but she did send Jane, Sue, Andy & me a letter which she asked me to share with you, and I am very pleased to do so:

In her last months. Sunny worked with Belinda Tilley on a project to record the details of her life. She recorded onto tape & Belinda faithfully transcribed what she said. Sadly, Sunny was only able to record up to the mid-50s before she died, but we have asked Belinda to continue the transcription exercise so that we can have a record of life in as much detail as possible.

The transcript to date is fascinating, detailing Sunny's early life. The humour & sense of fun comes through in every paragraph, as does her complete honesty & direct approach. The tape opens:

"My earliest memory was being on the side of a hill or it might have been at the top and I think it might have been Table Mountain in South Africa. .. We were in South Africa because my brother Barry had been very ill the previo winter with bronchial pneumonia and had only just survived and they said he shouldn't spend another winter in England. Judging by the current perishing) cold weather I don't think anybody should spend the winter in England ".

The entire document is filled with such memories told with such a fine sense of fun. Of course I cannot read it all today, but I will share one other moment with you w certainly made me laugh. Sunny is talking about her early school-days and Miss Shepherd, her Latin teacher:

"I think Miss Shepherd must have been quite clever but she wasn't very good at teaching, at least she wasn't very good at teaching Latin to me because I never managed to do very well. I always seemed to end up with a clause that I couldn't fit anywhere into the sentence".

We should give thanks for such a wonderful life. Auntie would have wanted us to laugh and enjoy the love & friendship we shared. To that end, I do hope you will be able to join us in the village hall after the service. She would be most aggrieved if you did not - after all, she kind enough to make sure she paid for it, and in her inimitable fashion, she would absolutely insist everyone laughed and had a good time That is how she would want to be remembered, and that is certainly how I will remember her.

November 9 2006

Ann Scallon

An Eulogy for Ann Scallon by her son Robert

My mother was born in Darjeeling in India on July 15th 1920, the middle child of Irene and Percy Briscoe, a tea planter and big game hunter from the Dooars. Ann had a sister Bettine and a younger brother Tom. She was educated at Talbot Heath and Dorchester School for Girls in Bournemouth, before going on to Cheltenham Ladies College. A talented sportswoman, she was in the first team at hockey, tennis and cricket, where she opened the bowling for the college.

When war broke out, Ann was training to be a physiotherapist at a college in Denmark. A second year student with short, curly fair hair, she was known as something of a clown who could imitate anybody from Bob Hope to Gracie Fields. After the Germans invaded Demark she found herself unable to return home. With the help of the local Resistance and forged ID cards, she and a fellow student boarded a ship from which they jumped into the freezing waters of the Skaggerack (sp?) Canal and swam to safety in Sweden. The incident was widely reported in the national and local Press, but in her usual modest way Ann didn't talk about it much. She eventually returned to England with the assistance of the RAF.

After the war, Ann returned to India as part of what was known as the Fishing Fleet of young ladies looking for husbands. There she met Holly, a tea planter's assistant who'd served in India with the RAF during the war. They were married in Shillong on September 3rd 1949 and had two children, Robert and Patricia. And indeed some of my most vivid memories of my mother date back to her years as a young memsahib in India, where life seemed to be an endless whirl of parties, fishing and camping trips, evenings at the club and tennis, at which Ann excelled.

Not that life was always easy. Ann disliked the heat, wasn't keen on the Bridge parties that were a feature of being a planter's wife, and the separation from her children in boarding schools 6,000 miles away. Her job was to run the house and organise the servants. On one particularly hot morning I remember her instructing the gardeners to mulch around the bushes and shrubs to prevent them drying out. When she came out to inspect what they'd done she discovered they'd also mulched around the metal tennis posts. On another occasion after a run-in with the cook, she sat down to lunch to find extra chillies had been added to the soup.

During a period of home leave, she was asked to present the prizes at my Prep School, Chelmsford Hall here in Eastbourne. It was NOT one of those things you could say ‘No' to. I remember her on stage, dressed very self-consciously in a pill-box hat and powder blue suit, clearly wishing she was somewhere else.

Ann was not one for the limelight. She'd be more comfortable in the stalls of the local cinema, having studied the reviews of the latest films in the Telegraph. It was the same with books for Ann's other great passion was reading. She would assiduously follow the reviews in the paper, then place an order with the Library for the latest biography or novel of a favourite author.

In the kitchen Ann would be the first to admit she was no Delia Smith. Liver and bacon, cauliflower cheese and cottage pie were three of her signature dishes. As term-time approached I knew my cake tin for school would contain a Victoria Sponge - it was always chocolate or vanilla - and some of her excellent rock cakes.

After a quarter of a century in India, Ann returned to England with Holly and they began a new life in Eastbourne, which largely revolved around the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club. As a lady member, Ann was part of the team which won the Division 3 Sussex Club Championship in 1980. She continued to play until her eyesight deteriorated to the point where she could no longer go on.

Holly was a constant source of strength to Ann and she relied on him almost totally. Their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1999 was celebrated by family and friends from three continents, with the Best Man at their wedding sending a congratulatory message from his home in Sydney - the first contact they'd with him for many years. I think some of you may have shared that occasion with them.

Over the last few years I spoke to my mother regularly on the phone from Australia, whether it be about politics or sport or comparing notes about the latest films we'd seen or books we'd read. It became difficult towards the end and I could hear the frustration in her voice.

But that's not the Ann I'll remember. What I'll remember was her fun-loving nature, how spirited, unpretentious and down-to-earth she was, her wicked sense of humour and her willingness to give things a go.

November 6 2006

Kay Woollett

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Kay Woollett - widow of the late Leslie Woollett formerly with the Assam Company in Assam  Kay died on 15th July 2006 after a long struggle against breast cancer. Her daughter Ann said that her mother had been in continual pain for many months and is at last at peace.

October 13 2006

Chris Shapland

Peter Bartlett very kindly forwarded this cutting from  the Daily Telegraph of October 3 2006 recording the sad passing of Chris Shapland 
our sympathy goes to Elizabeth his dear wife

SHAPLAND--Christopher James  Griffiths of Yarlington, Somerset. Died suddenly at home 
on 29 September 2006. Devoted husband to Elizabeth, loving father to George, Hugo, Trudi,
Roger, Thomas and Eric and dear Grandpa to Victoria, Sophie, Chin Yang, Harry, Tristan and 
Matilda. A wonderful, kind and generous man who will be sorely missed. Funeral at St Mary 
the Virgin Church, Yarlington on Saturday 7 October 2006 at 12 noon. A Memorial Service 
in Kent  will be announced..
Chris was with James Warrens in Doom Dooma in the 1950s/1960s--Apologies Chris was never in Malawi

September 24 2006


Bill Charlier tells us:

W.E.Dowsing (Bill) died today in Australia where he had been living since he left tea  in the late sixties. He joined The Assam company in late 1947 after serving in the Army during war in Burma. He spent most of his tea years on Assam Co gardens in the Nazira district.,he was a keen polo and cricket player.

Bill Charlier also mentioned that "Bill was a great friend and  had visited him in Australia a number of  times and we always had a bottle and threw the cork away !"

September 1, 2006

Sunny Warner It is with sadness that we have to report that Sunny Warner passed away peacefully in the Midhurst Cottage Hospital after a gallant fight on September 1 2006.  Sunny was the widow of the late Nicholas Warner, past Superintendent of the James Warren Companies in Assam. The funeral service will be held on September 14th at 3pm in the Parish Church of Wisborough Green, West Sussex

August 18, 2006

Robert Struthers

We learned from Derek Perry that Robert Struthers, 73,  passed away on Friday 18th August 2006 at 11.50 am.  To read of his friendship with Derek Perry please click here.

March 18th 2006

Maureen Furst

We are told by Bob Powell Jones that Maureen Furst, of Shillong passed away yesterday & that she will be cremated on Monday 20th March 2006 with the Budhist rituals. We send our condolences to her husband Peter.

Eulogy for Maureen Furst through the good   auspices of Danny Pariat
Maureen Furst, nee Maureen Imelda Verill, passed away on 17th March 2006 in Shillong at 87 years of age.  She was born, brought up and studied in the UK.  She had three children from a previous marriage, one of whom is deceased, and the other two are happily settled in Australia.
Peter met Maureen at one of the company parties in Margherita sometime in the early 50s, and they were married in 1955 when Peter was an assistant at Namdang.  Peter remembers his wife as a gentle, loving person who was helpful to everyone and was a good wife and mother.  Maureen was involved with the Koi Hai booklet from its early days.
Peter and Maureen left Assam in the mid-70s upon his retirement and settled in Shillong.  Maureen took an active part in the social life of the town until she became unwell and eventually bedridden some years back.
Maureen had taken up Buddism and was cremated according to Buddist rites on March 19, 2006.  May her soul rest in peace.   

February 8 2006

Dick Clifford

We are indebted to Dick Clifford's nephew Colin Campbell-Meiklejohn for allowing us to publish the eulogy he prepared and read at Dick's funeral in November 2005--Thank you Colin

Richard Nigel (Dick) Clifford:

An Address given by his nephew Colin Campbell-Meiklejohn

Richard Nigel Clifford, second son and fourth child of William Henry Clifford and Dorothy Vernon Hunt; was born on the 9th February, 1921. He was the fifth generation of wandering Irishmen who followed their fortune and helped sustain part of the British Empire in India. I can see him standing now at the church door greeting us all with a quick "come in old boy". He would have been looking forward to having a tremendous party with you, all his friends. Thank you all for coming to say farewell to a grand old man.  

a photograph of Dick Clifford taken not long before he died in November 2005

Dick was one of a dwindling band of people born late into a British Empire which, like his generation, has all but passed away. Born in Cawnpore, Dick grew up with those great values of self - discipline, service, practicality and hard work, -- also a little of what is termed the "luck of the Irish", tempered with a sense of fun which never deserted him. I can remember my visits to Hereford, when looking forward to a drink with him, we could never break that sense of propriety and presume that the ritual bottle would be broached before the sun was truly over the yard arm. This was no earlier than 6 pm in Hereford. My son Daniel (part of the new generation), commented a little while ago that it was amazing there were still people around who called a radio a wireless. His voyage through life started typically enough in boarding school at St Joseph's College in Naini Tal, returning to the manor house home for holidays 3 months a year, or while his parents worked in different places shooting tigers or looking after the Maharaja's family, he used a succession of holiday homes somewhere else on the Plains of India, or the Andaman Islands with his sisters.

The Second World War intervened. Dick joined the Army, with the Dorset Regiment in 1939. Attending Sandhurst soon after, and a year later being commissioned into the same Indian Army regiment as his brother Rex. - The 1st Punjab Regiment. The turmoil of war saw Dick in action on the NW Frontier District and other parts of India, also in the Egyptian desert. There was a humorous incident there when their battalion was sent to relieve another. Dick stranded the jeep he was driving, in a sand dune and was rescued by the very same people they had been sent to relieve, and coincidentally, by none other than his own brother Rex. It was a short lived reunion, and the only time Dick saw any of his family for the rest of the war. He left the Battalion just before the Battle of Alamein, without seeing many shots fired in anger.

It was a year after VE day that Major Clifford was demobbed. The life that Dick was following now was set on a straight course. A long passage was just beginning. After returning to civilian life, having met a few tea planters along the way, (and seeming like a good idea at the time), he returned to Assam as a tea planter for the Jorehaut Tea Company. Life as a tea planter in North east India had its ups and downs. The work was hard and a manager had to be very innovative and resourceful. Dick proved to have been a very practical manager also. The plantations were a complicated business in season. Out of season was good too, providing a healthy social life. He bought a horse and joined the polo club, playing the game for 20 years, becoming an excellent horseman, winning trophies along the way. A little of father rubbed off on his son.  Later, his son Richard who rode often with him and his stepmother Mary in Hereford, the other side of the Lugg meadows, tells of a time when he fell off his mount.

"One day I fell off as we were cantering across the fields and Dad reined in, and cantered back to me as I lay on the ground. His first words were, "You must catch the horse and get straight back on. You can never call yourself a rider unless you have fallen off at least six times." When at Drama school, I used to exercise Polo ponies in Richmond Park in the early misty mornings I am certain I followed Dad's advice.- Possibly for the first and only time in my life!"

Duck shooting, with his pair of guns given to him at Chilbolton Downs, was also one of his favourite pursuits. In 1950 after a few years in tea, Dick married Pamela Mary Alice Lester. She was an important love in his life, the first, and she had a stabilising effect. She kept the ship sailing straight for some time, raising their two children, Sarah and Richard, who are here today. In 1970, after retiring from tea with a pension, "hardly enough to cover the cost of his whisky," Dick sailed off on a new course, eventually mooring the ship in Hereford in 1972 with Dr. Mary Fredericka Richardson, FRCS, whom he first met in India; an Oxford Rowing blue and a successful surgeon in this lovely city. Having retired from tea planting, due to the various dictates of the Indian Government, Dick returned to management, this time it was the big house, while Mary continued with her medicine. It was at this time Dick and Mary developed an all consuming hobby of tracking down the Clifford family roots. It all began with a titbit of information which Mary received from one of her friends that the Cliffords had settled around Hereford after the Norman Conquest.  The research of the first seven years inspired Dick to inaugurate the Clifford Society in 1981, before the age of internet and computers. It took an enormous amount of meticulous research and the dedication of long hours for the best part of 20 years. The work which took them all over England, with a lot of visits to Wexford, resulted in many people, including myself, being caught up in a world of exciting British and Irish history, gaining a sense of family from as far back as a thousand years. The work that was accomplished has been filed for future would - be Clifford genealogists in the Hereford library, a fitting location as this is where the British side of the family found their heritage. Sadly Mary passed away in 1993. Shortly afterwards, Dick's ship anchored at the Vinery, just up the road, with Gillian Rosamond Wilson. They both enjoyed his last ten years together sharing travel to distant shores, and an active social life with his new family and friends. Gillian was a good strong anchor, and proof that the luck of the Irish still prevailed. She was instrumental in Dick resuming another favourite pastime playing bridge. He was an avid player while in Assam, but had shelved the activity since leaving India. Together they made a good team, both at the bridge table and away from it.

We his family, and friends, who enjoyed all his fun and humour, admired and loved him; particularly those who watched over him during these last sad days must now rejoice that Dick is somewhere- just around the corner.


December 6 2005

Alexander ('Sandy') Cleland 
1918  to  2005

We have to thank Derek Perry for this excellent "obit" of Sandy 
Thankyou Derek
I heard today with great sadness of the passing of Alexander ('Sandy') Cleland 1918 to 2005. He passed away on the week end from Cancer of the liver.   My association with the Cleland family goes back to my childhood in Haflong.  
His father, a Cachar planter was Manager at Isabheel T E, would visit Haflong on local leave with Sandy's mother.  Both became firm friends with my parents during the period my father was there as SDO North Cachar hills and later until all that generation had passed away.  At the time during those war years, Sandy was away raising the Assam Regiment in which he served with distinction ith his brother, Donald, during the siege of Kohima. The Regiment held firm against the onslaught of the Japanese hordes.  The Regiment took its  toll of casualties, as Sandy describes in a letter to me, " the 1st Battalion Assam 
Regiment had three regular Sandhurst officers, the rest of us were Tea Planters, Macfarlane, Davis, Cleland, Askew, Brown, Munro, Parker, Cooksey.  
Brown was killed at Kohima and so was the other Brown (Tea Planter) and James Askew my friend of those days, he died in my brothers arms at Kohima as well."   I was to meet Sandy and his wife Mary at the Naharkatia Club in 1960, he was the then Manager at Namsang T E a division of the Jhanzie Tea Association of Balmer Lawries.  We instantly became friends, he struck me then and still is to my mind one of those rare species of humans, who are every inch an example of natures true gentlemen.  He had this great gift of understanding all people of 
whatever race or colour and his love and loyalty to his wife, Mary, was beyond question, despite some trying circumstances outside their control during their early years of marriage.   Unfortunately our association lapsed following my departure from Assam in 1962.  
Later I heard through an unreliable grapevine that Sandy had drowned in a fishing mishap in the waters of the Dehing river.    About the year 1999, I began subscribing to the Indiaman Magazine and there to my delight, among Letters to the editor, the name Sandy Cleland sprang up.  
So here was Sandy alive and well, it did not take long to re establish our friendship, which with our mutual parents and other family connections go back a long way.  He also explained that the victim of that fishing accident was the unfortunate Michael Crow.   Yesterday I sat down and wrote a note to Sandy in a Christmas card and with my Best wishes I promised to toast the New Year, in his honour, with several "Chota Pegs."  This morning I received an e-mail message from Paul Rowlands, the Editor of The Indiaman that he had received word from the Cleland family, that Sandy was no more.  Tonight,  I will bring forward my promise of that "New Year" toast.   In his later years Sandy took to writing prose which he had published in a collection 
he titled "In Sunlight And In Shadow".  Some years ago he sent me a complimentary copy.  I think it appropriate that I copy one particular very moving poem.   THE GREEN HILLS OF CACHAR   Born on a plantation in the green hills of Cachar The son of a cobbler, one Rohidas chamar, A low caste Hindu, untouchable Harijan, Broom of India, sweeper of Hindustan.   He should have followed in his father's trade As indeed the old man bade, But instead of bleaching skins and hide, He went and saw the manager, and was told to ride:   Pillion on the buggy's luggage rack, Perched up behind the Sahib's back, Whene'r he went out by horse and carriage, To inspect the tea he had to manage.   In this way he earned his trust tenfold, And became a valued member of the household Whilst still a youthful boy, Beloved of his children and respected employ.   He served the family true and well For forty years or more to dwell, Despite severe affliction of a poisonous leg sore Which remained unhealed, open and raw.   The manager in his old age retired on a pension, And bought a country house to reside in, And with him went Rohidas, faithful to the last. To see to his master and look after his repast.       The old Scotsman died in '55     And on his grave his wife Alison had written:   'Tea garden shrine at eventide Breathing a sense of peace Bushes are pews on either side Where worship does not cease. In golden glow the traced tree Is natures stainless glass Portraying to all those who see Nothing to those who pass.'   As Das mourned the death of his friend The leg became more troublesome and would not mend Till the poison spread and welled up inside To place a dart in his heart; he passed away that night.   We buried him across the road From where his master lay, And on his grave we wrote these words And this is what they say:-   'Beauty, strength, youth are flowers But fading seen, Duty,faith, love are roots, And evergreen. Goddess allow this aged man his right, To be your headsmen now,that was your knight.   Finally, in a form of epilogue to his collection of poems, Sandy records his epitaph 
to his wife Mary Cleland 15.9.1923 - 28.12.1995   In loving memory of my beloved Mary   We have traversed the world together, For half a century or more. Today they will lay you in your Final resting place; for ever. Tomorrow I will lie beside you And we will be lonesome no more   Sandy and Mary     Rest with each other in love, forever.   Derek Perry

This is the list from Cathie Campbell's newsletter of December 2005 of Koi Hai directory members who are no longer with us We offer our condolences to friends and families
 Page 4 -Peter Bottomley has died;
Page 5 -Dr. Ted Burrows has died;
Page 5 Nan Cavers has died;
Page 6 -Shurhonou Clayton has died;
Page 7 -Sandy Dick died some time ago,
Page 7 Peter Dolph has died;
Page l0 George Duncan has died;

Page 10 Mike Griffiths has died; Merle Hannay has died;
Page 14 -Ken Matthews has died;
Page 15 -Pauline Nicholson has died; Peggy Morris has died;
Page 19 R.J.(Steve) Stevenson has died; Freddie Stroud has died; James Storrie has died;
Page 21 -Elizabeth Wild has died. , ..

and after the letter was issued Cathie has learned (page 5) that
 Alf Cheetham has died.

It is reported that ;
Sybil Dodds, Peggy McEvoy, Grace Duncan, and Margaret Rae died some time ago

Page 3 Gil and Jane Marshall have both died;

Although not a member I have been asked to let you know that Gaffer( Douglas) Haywood has died.

Cathie Campbell wishes to send her condolences to the families of the many people who have died.
 November 8 2005

Peter Bottomley

Wendy Knight has advised us of the death on June 20 2005 of Peter from Cancer. We send our condolences to his wife Diana

November 4 2005
Pauline Nicholson

We have been advised by Barbara Lyness's daughter Sue of the sad passing of Pauline Nicholson wife of the late Nick Nicholson from cancer in late October.We extend our condolences to her family.

October 29 2005
Holly Scallon has kindly advised me of the passing of 

Ken Matthews

Ken Matthews died on 13th October 2005 aged 92.
During the war he served in Burma and helped to destroy the last remaining River Steamers on the Irrawaddy following the Japanese invasion.
He escaped back to India and after the war became the Steamer Agent at Tezpur. 
After his retirement he helped in the setting up of the Eastbourne Assam Reunion and for a number of years was joint organiser with Horace Reed.
He is survived by his wife Kathleen and son Peter.

October 22nd 2005

Bill Morrison

Fiona Campbell (Nee Morrison) tells us of the sad 
passing of her father
William Fairfield Morrison(Bill) 1920-2005 Bill served at Singlo, Gillanders, and King William House
A former manager at Sessa then Visiting Agent at Borjuli.
A dedicated sportsman who enjoyed both golf and Polo
Bill was a  loyal,and dedicated gentleman who sadly
   succumbed to cancer on 10/10/05

October 11 2005

Mihir Chaudhuri

Ali Zaman tells us ---Old timers will remember Mihir Chaudhari, pilot cum assistant of Magors.  Mihir who was perfectly fit had a stroke on the 25th, went in to a coma and passed away on the 28th.His prayer meeting last Sat, 7th. was well attended. Requested to speak for the planters Ali  created this eulogy --and we thank Ali for sharing

MIHIR CHAUDHURI born 11/03/32 died 28/09/05

 Regardless of the place where a planter settles, after retirement, his heart always remains in the plantations and so it was with Mihir. It is in this connection that Gita has requested me to say a few words on the life Mihir loved, the Assam tea life. Mihir was no stranger to the wilds of Assam as his father being in the forest service, retiring as Chief Conservator of Forests, West Bengal, imbibed in Mihir, from a young age, the love for the jungle.. Being adventurous Mihir looked for  more  and decided to become a  pilot, wanting  thrills on the ground as well as the air. He loved life and lived it to the full and when he regaled you with his tales  there was never a dull moment.He never missed an opportunity to speak to me in Assamese, a language he spoke well, and on occasions when the evening built up and one relaxed he used his colloquial Assamese expressions on non Assamese friends.

Mihir joined Williamson Magor and Co in 1956 as a pilot cum assistant. In those days when the pilot had no flying duty he worked in the factory as the mistri sahib.When Gita first heard the term mistri sahib she thought that her fiancée was some kol kobjar mistri.(handy man)

 In those days the company planes were flown to Calcutta for servicing.. In one of these visits, in 1959, Mihir married and flew his bride straight to the bungalow. Gita and Mihir flew from Calcutta to Pertabghur in six hours with one touch down in Bagdogra. Their Pertabghur home, pilot sahib ka bungalow, became a favourite place for planters and other visitors, mainly for the food that Gita catered to and the dry throats which Mihir quenched. Time went by and Bidhan and Neela came into the world. As we see them today Mihir and Gita did a wonderful job in teaching them the values and finer points of life.

Mihir's skill as a pilot were displayed in 62 in the wake of the Chinese aggression. Assam was virtually cut off from the rest of India and communication within the state hardly functioned.  Mihir arose to the occasion, flying continuously with company executives, flying out wages, instructions and orders across the length and breath of Assam to the far flung estates to restore confidence and morale.

On the ground he was in demand to take care off rogue elephants, tigers and leopards that had turned man eaters.When the time came to preserve vanishing species like the Pigmy Hog he was instrumental in ensuring their survival.He was appointed as a honarary forest officicial.

Mihir gave up flying in the mid 60's and became a full fledged planter. In 1969 he was promoted and made a Manager.He was a no nonsense man,  termed by the workers as a 'kara bara sahib' but being firm and fair he was  respected by them. Along with his firmness he displayed the  planters humour.

Once two auditors visited him and as auditors are they quizzed Mihir on their findings, ranging from the shortage of six screws. As the factory assistant, a Naga was on short leave, the Manager's task of answering the queries was not smooth. 

Tojo Imlong, the factory assistant, a leading politician in Nagaland today , returned and reported to Mihir, facing the auditors. Tojo was introduced as a Naga head hunter and Mihir, with a wink, queried about his leave. Tojo gave a gory description of his  hunt for heads and how he was behind the target for the year.. Mihir got up and told Tojo to drop the auditors to the bungalow once they had finished their work.. The two were up like a shot saying that they had nothing more to query on and accompanied their host to the bara bungalow.

On another occasion two Calcutta visitors seeing the various game trophies, displayed in the bungalow, requested Mihir to show them some wild life.Always an obliging host the visitors were taken to the edge of the forest where a rogue tusker had been reported.. Leaving the visitors in the car Mihir wandered off to the forest camp, at a distance, to enquire after the elephant  Being winter the foresters had a roaring fire going in the camp where Mihir made himself comfortable and sent a forest guard  to bring the two guests in the car.The guard came running back to inform  that the rogue elephant was shaking the car with the guests petrified inside.One can go on with the tales of Mihir.

Mihir you are gone from us but you will always be remembered be it as a caring husband, a wonderful father and father in law, a loveable grand father to the three grand children, and to all the others here, especially from the planting community, as a  man who enjoyed life and shared his laughter with friends. 

Peter L. Dolph  

Peter' son Simon very kindly gave me some very fine information about the passing of his father Peter, and I am quoting it below as well as the Eulogy Simon gave at the funeral at Derby Cathedral--We extend our deepest sympathy to Freda and her family----David , Editor
Peter died on the 19th of June of heart failure. He had been unwell for many months. Despite having to give up golf some years ago, his love of reading, watching sport on TV and his evening 'chota pegs' meant he was  generally in good spirits. He was 80 and had had a good innings.  His funeral was held at Derby Cathedral on the 28th of June. It was a wonderful service with all the ceremony and pomp that the church can muster on these occasions with two Bishops on hand and a wealth of clergy and church administrative staff. Clearly, after 18 years as Diocesan Secretary for Derbyshire, and even though he retired in 1990, father was well liked and respected given this turnout and many spoke warmly of him. You may remember he was a keen fan of jazz and we left the cathedral to the sounds of Louis Armstrong. Afterwards the family repaired to the Lion Hotel in Belper for a buffet lunch. This proved a success as the family, so rarely able to get together, sat around chatting and catching up. Present were mother and her children - myself, Quentin and Melissa plus my sons Michael and Joshua, Quentin's daughters Sophie and Lucy and Melissa's son Leigh. Also present was Peter's sister Claire and her children, most of whom visited with us at some point in Assam.
I read the Eulogy at his service  Clearly some of it is personalised to my view of him. One thing I failed to mention in it, as pointed out to me by some of his golfing chums after the service, was his extremely dry sense of humour!

First of all I would like to thank you all for coming to this Thanksgiving Service for my father Peter. I know some of you have come a long way and we appreciate you being here. I would also like to thank Reverend Canon Geoffey Marshall for agreeing to take the service and travelling from Wrexham to do so.
Most of us here will have known Peter in some capacity and what I would like to do during the next few minutes is talk a little bit about him and what he meant to me and my family.
This beautiful cathedral was a special place for Peter. As you know he was Diocesan Secretary of Derbyshire for many years - from 1974 to 1990. As such he devoted these years to addressing as best he could the financial and administration issues facing the Diocese, and I believe discharged his duties with his customary patience, courtesy and efficiency.
Peter was born in Bristol and initially attended a prep school in Sussex before arriving at St John's School, Leatherhead in Surrey - a school for the sons of clergyman. He was a good student and a fine sportsman excelling at hockey, cricket, tennis and golf which he played as often as he could to a good standard until relatively recently. Whilst I'm sure he was a model pupil he succeeded in getting me into trouble on my second day at St John's. One of the clear school rules was no carving of names in the fine Victorian brickwork that abounded at the school. So, you can imagine my surprise when I was called into see my House Master on my second day and asked why I had broken this rule so soon and that this merited a punishment. I was as surprised as he was and asked where this had taken place. ‘In the outside lavatories' came the reply. I remarked that I didn't even now where these were. Whereupon, I was frogmarched down there and shown the offending brick which had the name DOLPH deeply carved in it. I pointed out that the carving of the name did not look fresh. The House Master had to agree but wondered how it had got there. My father I replied. ‘Aah' came the reply. So I duly escaped punishment.

On leaving school in 1942 he joined the 7th Battalion of the 11th Brigade of the Sikh regiment of the Indian Army and saw active service in the Middle East. Thus was born his love of India. Fluent in Hindi he had the opportunity to become a tea planter and for some 20 years managed large tea estates in Assam. As his children, we were born and brought up there and despite the ever present threat of disease and natural hazards like ants that had a vicious bite and a variety of poisonous snakes had a magical time playing in the surrounding tea gardens and jungle. Despite the work pressures Daddy faced he always found time to take us out in his jeep around the plantation and explain to us the finer points of successfully growing and harvesting tea. With no television to watch, radio to listen to or PCs to play with, hard for today's children to imagine, Daddy played cards with us in the evening, indeed we became pretty good players of Whist at a young age, indulge in pillow fights and test us on our times table before we fell asleep! 
India got into the veins of all of us in the family and many were the evenings when we would sit over dinner here in Derbyshire and persuade Daddy to recount tales of life on the tea gardens. These invariably revolved around tigers, hunting mad elephants, tackling poisonous snakes that came into the house and renegade local brigands armed to the teeth turning up on the steps of the verandah late at night intent on some mischief. As with everything in his life Daddy dealt with them courteously but firmly. His sheer size and a shotgun under his arm no doubt helping to win the argument!

In 1970 we returned to this country and so began Peter's second vocation with the Church here in Derbyshire.Of his many qualities I would like to single out just a few. The first was his size, which I alluded to a moment ago. At just a shade under 6 foot 6 inches he was a big man, not just physically but in the quiet presence he carried with him. So much so that early on in my adult life taking a girlfriend home for dinner to meet him for the first time was always quite an ordeal for them. Sitting at the head of the table, his massive presence was quite intimidating. After one or two penetrating questions, by which time whichever girlfriend it was had become distinctly nervous, he would relax and exert the tremendous charm he had to win them over. He had the same affect on his grandchildren and I remember when one of them, whilst quite young, looking up and  remarking to me as he went by "Grandpa's big isn't he? But then Grandpas are like that". To which I could only reply yes.
But Peter was not only physically big, he was a big man in every respect. He was a man of infinite patience, kindness, courtesy and caring. He was unflappable. He made time for everyone he dealt with and I have no doubt that many of the good decisions many of us in our family came to make in our lives were as a direct result of his common sense and advice.  
On looking through Peter's papers last week I came across a testimonial written by his  Colonel on his demobilisation in 1947 and it sums up better than I can, the kind of man he was:
"Peter has shown himself extremely competent at everything he has touched. Whenever he has been given a job he could be trusted to use maximum initiative, ingenuity and energy on sound lines. Reliability and sound judgement are developed in him to a remarkably high degree. Independent in thought, hard working and very easy to get on with, he is an asset I am loth to lose"
Well, we are loth to lose him too. Daddy in you we have lost a fine man, a good father, grand father and uncle and a dear friend, and we thank God for your life.  
God bless you Daddy, you will always be in our thoughts.

July 26 2005
Holly Scallon has kindly advised me of the passing of 

 Freddie Stroud

Freddie Stroud passed away in a nursing home in Hereford on 1st July following a long illness. After war service with the 1st Punjab Regiment he came to Tea in 1947 and was a popular and always cheerful member of the Tea Community both in Assam and the Dooars. During the last years of his career in Tea he became Dooars Visiting Agent for Jardine Henderson based at Chuapara T.E.  Freddie was also the proud holder of the OBE. Freddie's wife died many years ago - there were no children and so far as I know his only surviving family member is his brother.

Freddie's Obituary was published in the Burma Star Association and Don Papworth kindly passed it on to the Editor and it reads as follows;

"Major F.H.Stroud OBE; 1st Punjab Regiment, Romney Marsh.".
 Romney Marsh is, of course, his BSA branch and a lovely place it is - I used to live in Hythe home of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and what was the Small Arms School.

May 29 2005
Liz Wild
It is with sadness that we report the passing of Liz Wild wife of Denys Wild on Sunday May 29 2005. The funeral is private but there was a memorial service in Wareham Dorset on Monday June 6th at 2.30 

May 28 2005

Nan Cavers

We have been told that Nan Cavers widow of Tom Cavers died recently and we extend our sympathy to her family

 May 17 2005

Michael  Griffiths

Hugh Griffiths tells us that his father:     Michael Griffiths passed away on 26 April 2005 aged 82 after a long battle with vascular dementia caused by strokes and cancer, which he bore with typical stoicism, dignity and bravery. He was born in 1922 in Weston Super Mare and attended Taunton School as a boarder while his parents were working in Nigeria. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he joined the Indian Army and was commissioned into the 1st Punjabi Regiment, in which he attained the rank of Major and became a parachutist. He saw fierce fighting with the 4th Indian Division in North Africa, Sicily and Italy but survived to join the Indian Tea Industry in 1948 - working at first for Jardines, then McLeod Russel, then Williamson Magor. He was based in the Dooars at first, and then in Assam, where he became VA. He served on various gardens including Addabarrie - Balipara (where he was VA), Monabari (where he was Manager), and Jainti. On retiring from Tea, he settled in Taunton, Somerset, where he worked for Debenhams Finance Limited for ten years. Michael was a tall, very strong, man who had a quiet, modest, nature and who was an extremely caring person who always saw the best in people - and whose wartime experiences led him to highly value old fashioned qualities of loyalty, determination and honesty. He is survived by his wife Sheila, his two sons Hugh (Royal Air Force Aviator) and Matthew (Engineer for Rolls Royce Aero Engines), his brother Tony and his sister Judith. He was a lovely man with a great sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye who will be hugely missed by all those that knew him.   If anyone has any anecdotes or stories about my father I would be delighted to hear from them (   I attach a picture of my father taken in Sidmouth in Summer 2003, just before he became seriously ill.   

May 7 2005

Jim Storrier

 Jim Vickers tells us with great sadness that  Jimmie STORRIER's daughter has just phoned to say her Dad had died today (MON 9 MAY 05).   His death was not entirely unexpected.  Jim who was an old friend of Jimmie's goes on to say " As my next door neighbour in tea his friendship and counsel was much valued and continued to be so to the end  Sadly, I (Jim Vickers) am not equal to the task of writing a eulogy.   I knew all three Storrier brothers: two were in tea in East Pakistan and the other one in Special Branch (Cameron Highlands where BOH TE is situated).   Jimmie was employed by Duncan Brothers on ALLYNUGGER TE which was nearby the PTA establishment.   I understand he went out East with Donald MacKENZIE where their paths separated.   One of my fondest memories was a visit to DUNDEE for high tea with the family which his mother had organised  a dram or two in the front room & first round from the banquet table (finest linen, cutlery & crockery)   return to front room and a repeat performance of the first round of feasting.
Jimmie will be missed

Cathy's Koi Hai Directory  April 2005

It is with sadness that we record the passing of some of our friends and extend to their families and friends our condolences

Joan Gagley Peggy Gibbs
J.W.N.Baldock Madge Jackson
Dr George Bell Archie Mills
Marjorie Christie Kitty Munro
Stella Coutts Mary Palmer
Aubrey Dawkins Douglas Romans
Peggy Pitt-Davies Jean Beven
Peter Burkitt Bess Haggart
Jean Johnstone Phyl Dudgeon
Barbara Jordan James Hardman
Harry Passy  

February 20th 2005

Jean Beven  passed away on February 12th 2005, 
and. Larry Brown has kindly sent a letter of appreciation 
about Jean and his memories of her 

I knew Jean and Jimmy Beven in the early sixties when
we were all at Namdang Tea Estate in Margherita.
Jean was a Nurse at the AOC Hospital in Digboi. They
were both very kind to me,a very new Assistant,just
out from the UK. I was looked after and was invited
often to their Bungalow for a good feed. Jean was very
patient,understanding and easy to talk to.
I vividly remember Jean and Jimmy presenting me with a
little beribboned puppy for my Birthday and this and
other many acts of kindness over the years were
greatly appreciated and fondly remembered.
When I joined a different Company we lost contact and
it was only a few months back that we were once again
back in touch. A number of phone calls have since been
exchanged, reminiscing about the early days and what
had happened to us in the intervening years.
On learning of Jean's demise I was very sad and links
with the past are gone.
My sincere condolences go to Jimmy and the family,as
Jean rests in peace.     Larry.

February 15th 2005
The editor has received the following note from the Eastern Daily
 Press through the kindness of Alan Lane

"BEVEN - Jean Isobel (nee Filshill) S.R.N., S.R.M., passed away on February 12th, at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, aged 76 years. Beloved wife of James, mother of Richard and Tim, and grandmother of Jack and Amy. Funeral service to be held at Holy Innocents Church, Foulsham, (Norfolk) on Monday 21st February at 11 a.m. Family flowers only, but donations, if desired, for the The 
Mellawaffal Medical Project, South India, may be sent to Hendry & Sons, Funeral Directors, Foulsham, Norfolk, United Kingdom please"   Jim's home address, in case anyone would wish to send a written messageto him, is: The Grey House, 25 Station Road, Foulsham, 
Norfolk NR20 5RD, United Kingdom.

 January 29 2005

H.N. (Jaggi) Mehra

24th August 1931 to 19th April 2004

H.N. Mehra better known as Jaggi Mehra in Tea passed away peacefully in Chandigarh on 19th April 2004 after braving strokes, which affected his right side and then the last one, which left him unable to swallow.

Jaggi joined "James Finlay" in June 1953 as an Assistant on Dam Dim T.E. in the Dooars. In 1962 he went to Assam and eventually retired from Hattigor in July 1986. He was a legend in Tea, with all the humorous anecdotes associated with him. His family and friends will miss him always.

His family received many touching letters of condolences. One of Jaggi's close friends T.F. Moon wrote "It is now fifty years since I first met Jaggi and got caught up with his infectious enthusiasm and zest for life. I always envied his drive and optimism. Many of my contemporaries in Tea have faded into the mists with the passing of time but so much of the time spent with Jaggi remains as fresh in my mind as if they had only happened yesterday."

Saroj Mehera wrote about Jaggi "He was a most human person. Serious when needed, jovial when relaxed and being one of a rare breed, his like will not be seen again."

December 1 2004
Ronald (Ron) Weir

The Editor, with sadness, has been advised by Liz Weir that her husband Ron Weir passed away peacefully on 14th November, 2004, in Invercargill, New Zealand, after a long fight against cancer.

Ron was an estate manager with Chulsa Tea Company in the Dooars until he relocated to New Zealand where he began a second career in commercial real estate and owned a real estate franchise until his first battle with cancer forced him into retirement.

Liz Weir wishes her e-mail address published on-line in the Directory so that his many friends from Dooars days can contact her and their two sons. The address is -

Dr Kenneth Dunlop

We thank Bruce and Neil  Dunlop, son's of the late Dr Kenneth Dunlop for allowing us to show the Eulogy they created for their late father 

September 2004
Eulogy to Kenneth John Dunlop 
23-12-1916  to  7-9-2004

Read at his funeral in Wisborough Green , Sussex , 16th Sept. 2004 read by his son  K Neil B Dunlop,

Thank you all for being here and sharing in the sorrow of this parting and in the celebration of the life of a truly remarkable man.  A man for whose life, I, and the family, in every way have cause to rejoice.

Dad was a remarkable man whose charm, warmth and determination influenced all who met him.  Loving and generous, but knowing his own mind, he dispensed his wisdom tactfully and in small doses.  We will miss him greatly.

Born at the height of the Edwardian Raj in India as the third of 6 children he was the eldest son.  John Dunlop his father was the Burra Sahib (that is senior partner) of Love Lock and Lewis a firm of accountants in Calcutta .    In that age of steam, with travel taking months, all the children went home to school in the UK , bar Mike, the youngest.  In the holidays unable to return to their parents, they all foregathered at Hydney House, Dad's school near Hastings , where the proprietors Mr and Mrs Maltby gently took care of them, along with their much loved nurse Middleton.

All this changed at the age of 11 when his father died suddenly of a stroke.  All the children left their schools and life was upside down for a while.  Enter ‘Grandad' Hamilton , soon to be known simply as ‘Dad' or ‘Poopdeck Pappy' in teasing moments.  He was a loving stepfather and brought back security to a desperate situation but Daddy had learnt a lifelong lesson; you need to stand on your own two feet and you'd better make sure that they are up to it!  He always taught us that "no one owes you a living".

Dad did well at the Edinburgh Academy both on and off the sports field.  Muscular prowess on the rugby field and actions in defence of his younger twin brothers meant that you did not tangle with the Dunlop brothers more than once. Well, not unless you had a good dentist.  Dad was always athletic as well as good looking and sport was a major theme.  He was very proud to be scrum half in an Old Academicals team that included several Scottish Internationals.  Later in India , Dad and Mum accumulated so many cups for tennis and golf that, rather than extend the mantelpiece, they had them melted down into a very senior tea service.

Qualifying in medicine in 1939 and bored by the ‘phoney war' Dad volunteered to return to India in 1940.  He served throughout the Burma campaign both retreating from and advancing back into Burma .  The war was so awful that Dad did not speak of it for 30 or more years.  One warm moment stands out, though.  Dad was in a shady mango grove when a very scruffy officer approached and, to his astonishment, greeted him as Kenneth.  Dad finally realized that it was his brother George whom the family thought to have been killed in Hong Kong .  The good news was quickly signalled back to Grandad in Edinburgh !  Happily all three brothers survived into old age, despite being at the heart of combat.

So manifest were his abilities and leadership qualities that he was promoted to Colonel before his 28th birthday.  In a reference Brigadier MacAleavey said of him:  

 "Later again he commanded a Field Ambulance very successfully under arduous conditions that called for tenacity of purpose and unflagging energy of mind and body... Colonel Dunlop possesses a cheerful and pleasing personality, tact and charm of manner and was well liked by both his brother officers and those who served under him... I have no hesitation in recommending him for any appointment which requires zeal, energy and ability."

After the War, forswearing the comfort of a safe career as a respiratory physician in Edinburgh he followed the lead of a friend, Bruce Young, and went back to India and Assam .  60,000 people now depended on his ability to plan, organise and deliver their healthcare.  Later his hospital group expanded to include 200,000 people.  In addition he chaired the regional committee of the BMA, wrote scientific papers and engaged in research.  His mind never rested and he always looked to the future, never back.  There was no time for self indulgence as he worked with his customary energy and determination.  Popular, as ever, with patients, staff and friends, he was also a source of expert advice and a skilled diagnostician.

Dad was especially proud that after many years of campaigning he managed to lift the status of his locally recruited assistant doctors up to managerial level.   It was a position that he had always felt they deserved, yet had been denied.

In Assam you could not just be a physician but needed to develop new skills on the job.  I recall a tale where, faced with a dying patient with a skull fracture, inactivity was not an option. Dad went to the library, took Bailey and Loves Short Practice of Surgery off the shelf, asked Dr Mazumda to assist and hold the book open at the appropriate page.  He then proceeded to lift off the offending bone fragments. None of the three involved had ever done this before but the patient woke up as the last fragment was removed and, despite a bit of a headache, lived to tell the tale.

India was Dad's life and he loved the twenty three years he spent in Assam . On the day of his arrival there, he bought a boat and a Johnson outboard.  He was never without a boat in Assam again.  Weekends were spent on the river, fishing, shooting, partying, and enjoying the open space and isolation of the Bhramaputra in the winter and the jungles of the Dibru in the summer.  Twice a week, evenings were spent at the Club playing tennis, swimming, meeting and chatting with all those friends who meant so much and are so affectionately remembered.

Music was never a family strong point.  However he had one favourite record by Paul Robeson whose words go ‘One enchanted evening, I will meet a someone, across a crowded room....'.  On just such an evening Dad met our Mother.  She was in India visiting our Uncle Nicholas and Dad saw her across the room and stated to a friend "That is the woman I am going to marry". Well he wasted no time, and they were engaged within three weeks and married in 1950.  Never was such a good decision made in haste. Mummy remained his constant companion, counsel, best friend and devoted wife until her death in 1999. It is a great comfort to know that they will now be together again.

Dad enjoyed the challenging, exciting, adventurous life in India where earthquakes, floods, wars, riots and epidemics added spice as the Raj faded.  Daddy enjoyed challenge, as well as being ready to challenge others.  He would never have swapped all this for a predictable life in Britain .

On retirement from India in 1971 the idea of running someone else's health service did not appeal, so he joined the Factory Inspectorate and helped establish a new service.  Then followed 8 years with the Foreign Office;   here his robust international perspective and accumulated wisdom and experience fitted in well and he enjoyed rushing about the globe from Vienna to Vietnam .

The last 30 odd years at Isca, here in Wisborough Green, saw him in Mum's home area; keeping in touch with the old Koi Hais from India as well as making many new friends.  The more clement Sussex climate suited him better than his native Edinburgh and he kept up with national and international politics.  Discussions about politics, which some called arguments, were a continual source of pleasure. 

He was very surprised when Mum passed on before him and he had, at last, to learn to cope with the domestic side of life but it was only in this last year that his failing health and a disinclination to cook moved him to Rose Court in Chichester. There he lived an independent and full life, still able to indulge in the second love of his life, chocolate, and near enough to one of us to have his Cumberland Pie brought in.  More importantly he could provide a Chota Peg to us on a frequent basis.

Dad left us last week quietly and without distress. He had spent a good summer staying with all the family in turn and I think I can say was content to go.  Do not mourn his loss but celebrate his remarkable life.  As one of his grandchildren remarked it was "a gentle full stop to a good last chapter of a very exciting story".

July 2004

Roy Eastment   29.11.1925 - 23.07.2004

Roy joined tea in 1948 after quite a distinguished career in the 5th Royal Ghurkas, where he was perhaps the youngest commissioner officer from the IMA and then the youngest major in his regiment where he served in the Burma Campaign.

Roy joined McLeod Russell in1948 and was posted to Gingia with Jardine Henderson, followed by a brief spell at Tingamera (seed garden).  He then served on all the Jardine's gardens on the North bank Assam until he retired in 1986, perhaps the last European resident tea planter in NE India. Interestingly, he was at Tarajulie during the 1952 earthquake.  Roy was married to Caroline in 1955 at Tezpur by Padre Wylde.  They had two children. Roy was the Manager of Halem, Nya Gogra, Tezpur and Gogra before becoming the manager of Monabarie with 1000 hectares under tea.  From Monabarie he was promoted to Visiting Agent and became a director of the McLeod Russell India Group.

During his planting career Roy was involved with the ABITA.  Notably he was the Zone 3 Chairman during the 1962 Chinese invasion and supervised the evacuation of the planting community as ordered by the Military.  He was one of the first planters to return thereafter and helped to keep the Industry running during those difficult times. Roy later became the ABITA Vice Chairman but declined the Chairmanship due to company duties.

Roy was a good sportsman playing football, cricket, tennis, golf and a little fishing.  His application was rarely forceful, but thoughtful.  And perhaps that reflected his persona.  He was a quiet, organised, very private person, except perhaps when he had had a jar or two, who never boasted but was honest and very loyal.  His loyalty to the company demanded that his management team worked hard for the company, and they in turn were responsible for their employees.  Probably Roy was most proud of his son Mike and daughter Diana, about whose intelligence he might just have boasted, and the Monabarie High School into which he put extraordinary effort.

Roy could have a wicked sense of humour as exampled but two days before he died, in hospital of cancer.  A nurse came to the bedside and said,
"Roy, I am going to ask you a few questions to check your memory"
"That should not take long" said Roy
"Count from 1 to 20 backwards", Roy did
"What is your date of birth?"  Roy struggled but got it right
"Roy, what year is it?" 
"1986, no 92".  It was too much
"Roy, what did you do as a job?
"Not a lot" was the prompt answer

All this time he had had his eyes closed, but he then raised an eyebrow, opened one eye and saw me standing at the end of the bed "Same as him actually, but he did even less!"                                           
  Clive Roberson

May 2004

The editor is indebted to Digby Hembry and Ken Baber for 
the following appreciation of Peter's life

Peter J. Stone

Peter J Stone died tragically on 4th May 2004 at the Assam Reunion in Eastbourne aged 75.  Peter joined tea in 1950 and served with the Empire/Gillanders Group at Sonari, Doars and latterly at Thakabari District on the North Bank, where he was held in high esteem professionally and socially.  

On leaving tea he carved out another successful career in Human Resources with firstly Fords and then with Thomson Newspaper Group and latterly with the oil exploration industry based in Aberdeen.  In the years prior to his retirement he acted as a respected Consultant to numerous oil exploration companies mainly located around N.E.Scotland.

  Peter was always very cheerful, pragmatic and an excellent counsellor without seeking reward.  He will be sadly missed by all his many friends and we should not count the years, but count the memories.  He leaves a loving wife Bea and two adoring sons Kevin and Clive (who were both born in Assam) and their fine families whom he worshipped.

Cathy's Koi Hai Directory  April 2004

It is with sadness that we record the passing of some of our friends and extend to their families and friends our condolences

UK SECTION  December 2003
Michael Baxter-Brown Page 4
Morland Campbell 5
Agnes Harkness 10
Johnny Hay 11
Jimmy Lyness 13
Jock MacRae 14
Dick Tully 20

The page numbers on the right hand side of the screen give the page numbers of the deceased as recorded in the Jubilee issue of the  Koi Hai Directory

Ken Hutchison

With sadness we have to report that Ken Hutchison, husband of Pam died on 11th March 2004. He had been suffering from cancer for some time. Ken served in the 6/8th Gurkhas and reached the rank of Major prior to becoming an ITA Labour Adviser in N.E.India. He served with Darjeeling ITA, then to Jorhat and finally to Tezpur. He left India in 1975
Mike Courtney remembers him as charming, friendly, very conscientious in his work and a gentleman in the true sense as well as being a man of integrity. He was also a keen golfer who had many friends and was respected by the many planters on the North Bank whom he assisted in his years as Adviser at Tezpur
We extend our sincere condolences to his widow Pam

This is taken from the Lakeland Ledger of Florida report by Rhonda Gentle of March 11 2004

Dr Charles Merchant,  Medical Missionary  

Founder Tezpur Mission Hospital

During the years Dr Charles Merchant served as a medical missionary in general surgery , he treated patients with maladies including malaria, tuberculosis, and tiger bites. The retired physician, medical missionary and founder of Baptist Christian Hospital in Tezpur , Assam India ,  died of colon cancer on Wednesday March 10 2004 at his home. He was 79.

He was born in Minneapolis on May 22 1924 . He had a life changing experience while attending the school of engineering at the University of Minnesota .

"There was a medical missionary from China who was on the campus and spoke to a group of young men. He spoke of Isaih 6:8 then I heard a voice of the lord saying, whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said , here I am . Send me"

He received his degree in medicine from the University of Minnesota and a degree in tropical medicine in Calcutta India . He built the Baptist Christian Hospital in Tezpur in 1949, operating the hospital until 1960, when he and his family returned to the United States

"Over 15 years of missionary work put him contact with people of all walks of life, including tribal headhunters, the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa" said his daughter, Tara Rust of Goodlettsville Tenn.

" More than once, if a patient he was operating on needed blood, he would stop and donate the blood himself" Rust said.  She also recalled the time when the roof of the surgical block blew off while her father performed a procedure. "Through harsh condition he persevered" she said

He was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a Navy Reserve Veteran

Ralph Twist (Oliver)

Ralph passed away on 2nd Jan '04 and was buried in the village cemetery in Upper Shillong . He was well liked in the village and the funeral was well attended. The only european planters left in Shillong who attended the service in the house on the day of the funeral were Peter Furst, and Don Papwood   George & Diana Richmond took care of all the details and are in touch with Ralph's younger brother in England .

Ralph's date of birth was 3rd.March,1917 at South Newington , Oxfordshire. UK. His father was a well known land agent in those days. At the age of 19, he joined Messrs.Charles Hope &Co, Tea Brokers of Mincing Lane, to learn the tea trade. At the age of 20, in January, 1938 , he came out to Assam and joined Tinkong T.E. as an assistant. He then volunteered for service with the Indian Army in June 1940.and trained at the O.T.S. Belgaum. Commissioned to the Central Horse in 1940.1941 seconded to the 47th.Cavalry in Poona . And then with the Assam Rifles at Lokra in May 1942. Served on the Manipur/Burma road and on airfields under the supervision of the I.T.A. He was discharged from the army in October 1945 with the rank of Captain.

He then returned to Andrew Yule as Banarhat. From there he did stints as an assistant and acting manager on several estates under Yule. Some of them being Singtom, Ananda, Karbala ,  Konikor  Dalim  Khowang Mim Etc.etc.

He resigned from Yule in 1965 and joined J.Warren as an senior assistant at Thowra, acted at Deohall, manager at Dekhari. Retrenched in 1967 due to devaluation. Joined a prop garden in 1967 residing then at Bokahola. In 1969 left and joined P.Chaterjee at Urrunabund in Cachar as manager. Retired in the mid seventies from Cachar and settled in Shillong till his death. He was a keen shikari and angler. His shooting buddies were Jerry Eastmure, Peter Rex, David Shiner, John Batten, and Jock Lees. He spent  half his leave in the jungle and half in the UK  

Derek Perry writes
It is ironic that Ralph Twist also known as 'Oliver' should follow the demise of Johnny Hay so soon. Both were Andrew Yule men, the one followed the other as Chota Sahibs at Khowang Tea Estate, Moran District.

In 1955, I was privileged to serve as his temporary assistant at Hoograjulie Tea Estate for a period of about 6 to 8 weeks when he was struck down by a mysterious affliction that produced a high temperature during the day but subsided to normal in the evenings. This was good as he was my only source of social contact during that period. The monsoon at its height had severed the tenuous link wit the local Planters Club and Tezpur was about 30 miles south on a tortuous bone shaking "kutcha" road.

Oliver was a fine host and great raconteur, his isolation at Hoograjulie did not deter him from keeping a sumptuous table aided by his excellent Chinese cook He had a sharp wit and his fund of stories were endless. Those monsoon drenched evenings were memorable for his kindness, wit and entertainment.
In closing these recollections of Ralph Twist, I don't think it would be remiss of me to tell one of his stories that has indelibly stuck in my mind these many years. For readers of the Koi-hai site it is particularly apt.

The story is told after a few pegs at a point in the evening when the glasses are low and in need of topping and timing is everything in the telling.
A young assistant comes to tea just before the war but leaves to serve his country. He has the misfortune to loose his right arm in battle. He recovers and returns to tea one arm missing. In the course of time he falls for an attractive Calcutta girl. She comes up to his estate and they are married at the Club. On the wedding night the groom encounters some difficulty consummating the marriage. With his only arm wrapped around his beloved he whispers in her ear for her assistance with "putting it in". No she says she can't do it. This goes on for a little while, till eventually in frustration the groom says in a strong loud voice.

"If you won't do it, I shall have to get help, KOI HAI !!!!!!

Ralph told this story with perfect timing and aplomb. On cue his Bearer arrives. "Ha Sahib ?  Ralph in his most sonorous voice,  "Whisky, pani  liao"

And if you think about it, also a case of Oliver asking for more !

Good on you Ralph Twist, always the gentleman. Rest In Peace.

Bill Charlier tells us of the passing of his good friend Bruno Banerjee

  Bruno Banerjee

S.N. Banerjee, Bruno to his friends, died in Kolcutta on the twentieth of November, 2003. He came to tea in 1952 after leaving the army as a Major, and who had been greatly involved at the time of partition. He was first in Jorhat District at Amluki and Tyroon Tea Estates.

In the late fifties he came to Moran District and was first manager of Teloijan and then Ouphalia Tea Estates. In his latter years he founded the Moran School for Blind Children, which today, flourishes. In his book LESSONS OF LIFE, he gives a detailed outline of his life.

In his latter years he lived in Kolcutta and was greatly involved with the founding of the Planters Association of Kolcutta.

He was a great and trusted friend.

 Johnny Hay

 Bill Charlier tells us of the loss of his very special friend

John Fardel Hay generally known as Johnny Hay died on 10th November in hospital in England were he had been ill for sometime.
           Johnny had been Superintendent of The Moran Tea Company for many years and had the majority of his time in Tea in the Moran District.   During the last war Johnny was in The R.A.F as a fighter pilot and served in North Africa for most of  his service

Derek Perry added the following: 

Johnny Hay was originally recruited by Andrew Yule before moving on to the Moran Tea co.  He was my predecessor at Khowang by two Assistants before me.  While serving at Khowang he was badly mauled by a leopard ( I can't remember the circumstances ) but he owed his life to his driver who sprang into action like a Dervish attacking the leopard with a dhao. The drivers presence of mind diverted the leopards attention giving Johnny time to crawl away from his attacker.  It was a touch and go situation for Johnny with a long period of convalesce before he was back on his feet.