By Laurence Fleming, Mark Tully
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Additional info for Last Children of the Raj: Volume II
At the end of the nine-month-long term at Victoria all the boys collaborated to make a huge decoration for the school train: it was applied to the front of the hill railway engine, and transferred to the grown-up engine at Siliguri. There was a prizegiving. I had won several books as prizes, which were given away by my father – which was a little embarrassing for both of us, but he did not seem to mind. IAN MICHAEL O’LEARY On 10 February 1940 our ship docked at Calcutta. We had come out in a large convoy escorted by two naval destroyers, and we even had a small naval gun mounted on the stern of our ship.
I am the only one with an English nanny. She sits on the rug, visibly uncomfortable, her considerable bulk constrained in her tight European dress. The Burmese women, in their comfortably relaxed blouses and sarongs, sit with practised ease and elegance, the European children clustered around their knees. STAR STAUNTON I returned home to a different world. Britain was at war. My father had rejoined his regiment. My step-mother came back in nurses’ uniform, working full time in the Indian Military Hospital.
We bought lychees from the vendors at the stations, and after a while in the ice tub they were gorgeously cold to eat. It was a long journey through southern India to 34 LAST CHILDREN OF THE RAJ Cawnpore, but it was all colour, noise, sight and smells. My father spoke both Hindi and Urdu fluently, so we had a very jolly and interesting time. But at the end of it, to be all together in our own home was unbelievable. So was breakfast on the verandah, with cereal served in a silver dish by our khitmagar!