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Long Shadows of Yesterday

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Long Shadows of Yesterday

India and the Middle East Seen from the Perspective of a Young British Officer from 1945 – 1949
  • by Cyril J.M. Branson
    • Merriam Press Military Memoir Series
      • First Edition 2016
      • 344 6x9-inch pages
      • 94 photos
      • 1 map
Late 1945, the movement for independence in India was coming to a head. In Palestine, the conflict between the majority Arab population and the ever-increasing Jewish settlements was intensifying. The political situation in Egypt was deteriorating; in Greece, the government was facing a civil war; and in Trans-Jordan, King Abdullah was trying to save his throne. British influence (the old Raj and previous political leverage) in these areas was declining fast and the vestiges of “Empire” were fading rapidly.

During the period of 1945-1949, I served as an army officer in India and a number of Middle-East countries. This provided me the opportunity to see, at first hand, some of the miseries inflicted on hundreds of thousands of people as a result of bad decisions made by politicians sitting comfortably in their offices in Westminster and Washington, D.C., whose major concerns seemed to have been guided mainly by the patronizing party politics and nationalistic arbitrary needs.

In each of the countries Branson served, the local situation varied necessitating a different set of behavioral rules. Though this caused preliminary problems, it also provided a welcome change to what would otherwise have become routine work. He felt compelled to recount his experiences that took place during a seminal period. But to write such an account posed a number of problems. In the first place, the incidents occurred almost 70 years ago and to recall one’s thoughts at that time without re-course to retrospect is almost impossible. In the second place, he was very young and his views were based on first impressions (some of which were later proved false.) Given these problems, he decided to write a number of short sketches of what life was like for a young officer serving in India and the Middle East during those turbulent times. To give the picture some background, he included his earlier training period in England that led to a commission in the Indian Army.

Contents

Prologue
Chapter 1: My Early Days
Chapter 2: Basic Training, England
Chapter 3: Passage to India
Chapter 4: Kalyan Center and the Officers Training School, Bangalore, India
Chapter 5: To the Himalayas, 1946
Chapter 6: The 7th Gurkha Rifle Regiment
Chapter 7: Egypt
Chapter 8: Palestine and Trans-Jordan
Chapter 9: Greece
Chapter 10: The Royal Sussex Regiment, England

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