Horn - David

I have recently come across your website and have found it really very interesting indeed, as I have fond memories of my all too short time as a ‘Chota Sahib’.

My father had been a Tea Planter in Ceylon since 1930 and finally retired in March 1964. I had so enjoyed going round the estate with him as a young ‘sprout’ and when returning to Ceylon at 18 for a final holiday with my mother and sisters, the wish to look for a job as a Tea Planter crystallised.

I was fortunate to be offered a job in Assam by James Warren & Co but was initially sent to work with a Tea Brokers in Mincing Lane to get a further understanding of the Tea Industry as I was not able to go out here until I was 21 or so. Since I knew the life, I was able to go out at just under 20.

I joined The Jorehaut Tea Company in mid 1964 and was sent initially to Murmuria but having caught Bacillary Dysentery and Glandular Fever at about the same time somewhere before going to or at Murmuria, I was relatively soon sent to Cinnamara next door for  much closer medical supervision by Dr Richardson, to my great relief as I had been expected to work through it by the Assamese Manager!  Extremely hard going mid season with very long days.

I really enjoyed my time at Cinnamara, first in the Tea Fields and then into the factory for the 1965 season enjoying the competition with my friend Duncan Du Pre Moore now on Murmuria, as we vied for best prices. He had moved from an estate managed by John Ham? But as you are more than well aware it was becoming more and more obvious that we were less and less welcome so I made the decision to leave early to try and commence my new life anew. Difficult as it turned out not least because I had lost the life I loved but more so for lifetime emerging health issues, but that is another long story.   

I left in mid June 1966, sadly.

My two sons wanted me to write up the Family Memoirs from our time in Ceylon and also my own time in Assam.  I have completed them both as text, except I have very few photos of my time in Assam as quite a few rolls of film went missing, stolen by house staff. It had not been possible to develop them in India and I should have posted them but found that option erratic as some went missing on route if I remember correctly.

Do you have any news of G T E ‘Dick’ Ellingham and Cethin Davies both from Cinnamara?  Strangely I saw Cethin briefly on the Bakerloo Line in London for a Very short chat due to pressing needs elsewhere for both a few years later.

Also Frank Mulvey from Numalighar Estate and Jocelyn Rigby? from an estate up north who kindly took on my lovely Labrador Retriever ‘Husky’ I sadly had to leave behind. I did hear she had settled well and I did meet both quite both a bit later briefly but lost touch due to long term illness developing.

I was sad to hear of the death of Dick Clifford whom was a nice encouraging Manager I never really  got to know well in my short time as a Chota Sahib. Though he was helpful as my Assamese language Tutor/Examiner.

Some Names of young Assistants from other companies  I remember are Mike Bowerbank and John Hinton both keen Motorbikers, and Atta Khan and Ashok Kumar, all from nearby estates whom Duncan and I got on well with.

I would be most grateful to hear from you when you have the time. 

Thank you so much for enabling us to walk down memory lane  and for our families to be able  get a deeper and wider understanding of our times.