British Empire & Commonwealth Museum recognises the importance
of publishing unique histories on the British Empire, especially in
previously unresearched and unpublished areas.
in a Bottle
The PoW who buried his life story in a jar
Robert Quintus Browne joined the Indian Forest Service in 1922
as an entry- level Officer, but by the time he volunteered to
serve in the war he had progressed through many roles and districts
to that of Working Plans Officer for the whole of the Madras
Presidency. This account of the years he and his wife spent
in the Forest Service documents a vital but largely neglected
role in our history, with a touching humanity and fascinating
depth of detail.
Quintus' regiment was captured by the Japanese in 1942 and he
was forced to work among those who constructed the bridge over
the River Kwai. It was during this period that he wrote these
memoirs on scraps of paper with stolen pencil stubs, and buried
each chapter in a graveyard that he tended.
After the Japanese surrender, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission
was able to recover almost all of the manuscript and it was
then returned to the Quintus family. After dedicated transcription
by his daughter, Chloe, a virtually complete reconstruction
of the book, and the original sheets, were eventually given
to the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum to be published.
TITLE: MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
AUTHOR: ROBERT 'QUINTUS' BROWNE
PUBLICATION DATE: July 2004
It Only Yesterday?
'The Last Generation of Nigeria's Turawa'
Was it Only
Yesterday? bridges the gap between the perceptions and the realities
of the last generation of British colonial rule in Northern
The book is a collective memoir, representative of all who worked
in Northern Nigeria in the period after World War Two to independence
in 1960, and of those who stayed on after independence, and
it takes the military coup of January 15th 1966 as the cut-off
Features contributions from: surveyors, agriculturalists, vets,
foresters, teachers, doctors, engineers, administrators, military
and police officers, miners, missionaries and more besides;
this is a remarkable collaboration that furnishes the reader
with the most complete first-hand account of the last generation
of colonial rule in Nigeria that has yet been published.
TITLE: WAS IT ONLY YESTERDAY?
AUTHOR: A. TREVOR CLARK
PUBLICATION DATE: JULY 2002
History of the Northern Rhodesia Police
Wright's history is the first comprehensive account of this
unique colonial force, from its roots in the last decade of
the nineteenth century and suppression of the Slave Trade, to
the birth of the Republic of Zambia in the shadow of the Lumpa
rebellion of 1964.
Until 1932 the police were Northern Rhodesia's first line of
defence, and the book covers the NRP's service in the East African
Campaign of 1914-1918 with much new detail. It shows how, despite
wars and recession, this was achieved. Wright gives accounts
of criminal investigations and civil disturbances after 1932,
and explains the different but equally crucial role that the
force played in these tumultuous years.
This history should be read by those interested in Colonial
Administration and the military history of the British Empire
in Africa as well as those with direct experience of having
lived and worked in what has now become Zambia.
TITLE: THE HISTORY OF THE NORTHERN RHODESIA
AUTHOR: COL. T. B. WRIGHT
PUBLICATION DATE: 14th Decemeber 2001
PRICE: £18.00 (Plus £3.50 Postage
and Packaging [U.K.])
Echoes: A Catalogue of Oral History Holdings of the British Empire
& Commonwealth Museum
catalogue lists all the interviews to date collected by the
museum's Oral History Archive. It covers a vast range of views,
opinions, anecdotes and experience from people who lived and
worked in the former Empire and Commonwealth.
Stories from administrators, nurses, foresters, agriculturalists,
geologists, explorers, colonial wives... stories about childhood,
about war, about life in isolated and hostile areas of the globe.
Tiger hunts, parties, justice and injustice all play a part
in the remarkable stories of the people who shaped the Commonwealth.
Also included in Voices and Echoes is a listing of holdings
in the Sharma archive, a collection ofvideo and audio tapes
from film-maker Partap Sharma. Featuring footage and interviews
from Indian Nationalists, it is an extraordinary addition to
an archive which is leadin the way in its field.
Note: this is not a collection of transcriptions, merely synopses,
but would prove invaluable if you are planning a trip to the
museum archives or exhibitions, regularly use oral history for
research or teaching or if you simply want to know what the
remarkable insights are that at your disposal as a general reader
TITLE: VOICES AND ECHOES (2ND EDITION)
COMPILED BY: MARY INGOLDBY
PUBLICATION DATE: NOVEMBER 1999
FIRST EDITION PUBLISHED: 1998
ISBN: 0 9530174 1 0
PRICE: FREE (Plus £3.50 Postage &
Life in the Wilds of Central India
entitled "Work and Sport in the Wilds of Central India";
this is a remarkable insight into the world of an Edwardian
colonial forestry officer in one of the remotest parts of India.
Born to one of the domiciled British families of late-Victorian
India, John Daniel St Joseph went to school at Naini Tal and
it was there that he decided to dedicate his life to the conservation
and management of the forests of Central India.
In 1891, at the age of 18, St Joseph was despatched by the Forestry
Service to Badnur. The solace that he found there sparked his
fondness for the jungles which then developed into a 23 year
career, only ending in 1914 due to ill health.
St Joseph was on good terms with everyone he encountered, particularly
the Bhils, Gonds and Korkus: the native peoples of his region,
who saw him as a wise and fair companion whose judgement was
trusted on countless occasions.
More than a century after he embarked on his fascinating career,
St Joseph's writings have been published by his daughter-in-law,
Daphne St Joseph, as a tribute to his life and work, and as
a primary source of evidence of a way of life long gone.
The book will be of interest not only to all lovers of India
but also those involved in the scholarship or practice of many
subjects just as pertinent today as when St Joseph wrote of
them: forest and wildlife conservation, anthropology and the
rights of tribals, damming, alternative medicines and hunting.
TITLE: LIFE IN THE WILDS OF CENTRAL INDIA (HARDBACK
AUTHOR: J. D. ST JOSEPH
PUBLICATION DATE: 1ST JULY 2001
ISBN: 0 9530174 3 5
PRICE: £18.00 (Plus £3.50 Postage
a background of the Forest Service in India as the provider
of teak for the early navies of Europe to modern market needs,
the author has collected accounts from a number of Forest Families
who served in different provinces and added her own reminiscences
and those of her parents, Donald and Diana Currie.
This personal mosaic of the Forest Service gives a seldom recorded
glimpse of the way of life of this small, dedicated band of
men and women, often very lonely and spartan, yet with many
compensations and providing one of the most lasting legacies
of British administration in the sub-continent.
The author, Mary McDonald Currie, was born in India and brought
up as a child of the Forest, as the photographs on the cover
and frontispiece so graphically illustrate. She spent the war
years in Australia as a schoolgirl and then went on to Cambridge
to read Natural Sciences.
This book will be of interest to anyone with a passion for the
Indian sub-continent, as well as the scholar or student in history,
forestry or conservation. An ideal accompaniment to Life in
the Wilds of Central India, a much earlier account of this group
of unique individuals.
TITLE: FOREST FAMILIES (2ND EDITION)
AUTHOR: MARY McDONALD CURRIE
PUBLICATION DATE: OCTOBER 2000
ISBN: 0 953017 4 27
SALE PRICE: £4.00 (Plus £3.50 Postage
Panorama of India
- especially those from England - fell in love with India over
a century and a half ago. The early pioneers humped their huge
wooden cameras aroung the sub-continent and made richly toned
sepia prints from giant negatives. The Victorian patina of those
prints somehow still feels right for the subject matter - where
else on earth can one sense so strongly what it must have been
like to be alive in the nineteenth century?
Noel Chanan, who trained as a photographer before pursuing a
career as a documentary film-maker, follows his predecessors
example by taking many black and white pictures. Even more remarkable
are his colour images, depicting his five journeys to India
between 1994 and 1999. Colin Ford, the writer of the introduction
best describes the moments that Chanan captures:
visitor to India is above all overwhelmed by its smells and
colours... photography has not yet learned to communicate
smells, [but] it can nowadays capture all the colours of the
This book accompanied the Panorama of India exhibition at the
British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in September 2000, and
now that the exhibition has moved on, this accompanying booklet
provides a last chance to enjoy Chanan's inspirational exhibition.
TITLE: PANORAMA OF INDIA
PHOTOGRAPHER: NOEL CHANAN
PUBLICATION DATE: AUGUST 2000
ISBN: 0 9530174 1 9
SALE PRICE: £1.50 (Lightweight booklet
- P& P FREE)
Weariness: The Memoir of a Generalist in Public Service in Four
book details the career of the author Sam Richardson spanning
across four continents in countries such as Sudan, Northern
Nigeria, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
As a district Commissioner in the Sudan Political Service, an
Arab Sheik of the nomand Kabbabish tribe impressed upon him
that in the Service of Government there is No Weariness. hence
the title of this memoir, which tells us what effective public
administration was about before the advent of computers and
TITLE: NO WEARINESS
PUBLICATION DATE: 2001
ISBN: 0 9541145 1 5
SALE PRICE: £7.45, also available in
hardback. (Plus £3.50 + P + P)
Guardian Angel encompasses a panorama of richly textured experience.
This is a true story; and it is especially interesting when
set against the historical context of the last forty years in
certain countries which many of us still regard as remote. Apart
from relating a delightful love story, as well as experiences
with a strong human interest, the author narrates what was done
in Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Somali Republic)
to overcome the scourge of the catastrophically ravenous desert
Subsequently, after a 'Ugandan Interlude' during the traumatic
years of Idi Amin, we accompany the author to canada and learn
of the historic mission of the International Civil Aviation
his final chapter the author explains, from an insider's perspective,
some of the practical problems faced by the countries of the
Third World in achieving real development; his views are based
on many years of direct experience at the working level.
TITLE:THE GUARDIAN ANGEL
ISBN: 1 85863 906 9
SALE PRICE: £3.50 (Plus £3.50 P
tells the story of how Bristol played a part in the infamous
transportation of prisoners to the penal colony at Botany Bay,
Drawing on fourteen years research into the subject, the author,
John Mackeson, a lawyer with a special interest in civil liberty-provides
a full account of how Australia was chosen as the new penal
colony, and examines life there for the 120 convicts from Bristol
TITLE: BRISTOL TRANSPORTED
PUBLICATION DATE: 1987
948265 86 8
SALE PRICE: £2.95 (Plus £3.50 P
Register of Titles of the Units of the H.E.I.C and East Indian
Armies, 1666 - 1947
Kempton's original motivation for producing this work arose
from a fairly simple desire to have a readily available and
easily understood progression of the titles of the various Cavalry
and Infantry Regiments of the Indian Army as they existed after
the 1922 re-organisation.
Whilst many lists exist, none were entirely without fragmentation
and discontinuity, and as Kemptons undertaking progressed, it
seemed only logical to extend it to other areas of the H.E.I.C.
and Indian Armies.
The end result is the only comprehensive listing of every unit
which was raised between 1666 and August 1947, and while it
is impossible to give an exact raising date for the majority
of the regiments, particularly those formed during the two world
wars, Kempton's painstaking researched has defined many dates
which have remained open to question.
An awesome resource for the reader of Indian military history,
the Register of Titles would be an invaluable addition to the
bookshelves of historians, scholars, students, libraries and
the self-taught private reader.
TITLE: A REGISTER OF TITLES OF THE UNITS OF
THE H.E.I.C. & INDIAN ARMIES, 1666-1947
AUTHOR: CHRIS KEMPTON
PUBLICATION DATE: FEBRUARY 1997
ISBN: 0 9530174 0 0
SALE PRICE: £5.00 (plus £3.50 Postage & Packaging)
Internment of Western Civilians under the Japanese 1941- 1945
Patchwork of Internment
Bernice Archer, University of Essex, UK
Archer's comparative study of the experiences of ther Western
civilians interned by the Japanese in mixed family camps and
sexually segregated camps in the Far East, combines a wide variety
of conventional and unconventional source material, including
contemporary War, Foreign and Colonial Office papers, diaries,
letters, camp newspapers and artifacts and post-war medical,
engineering and educational reports, biographies, autobiographies,
memoirs and over fifty oral interviews with ex-internees.
using contemporary personal accounts, the shock of the Japanese
victories and the devastating experience of capture are highlighted.
This book also covers wider issues such as the role of women
in war, gender and war, colonial culture, oral history and war
1. The prelude to war
2. The Men's Response to Internment
3. The Women's Response to Internment
4. The Children's Response to Internment
Appendix: Notes on the Oral History: Method Interviews and Correspondents
About the author
Archer became a mature student in her late forties. A BA Hons
in Humanities at the University of the West of England led to
a PhD at the University of Essex and the subsequent writing
of this book. In 2001 she researched and curated the first ever
exhibition totally related to civillian internment in the Far
East. It included many artefacts never previously seen by the
public and was held at the British Empire & Commonwealth
further information about any of the above titles please contact the
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