A Pathan Company, by HM Close
A Pathan Company, by HM Close
A Pathan Company, by HM Close
A Pathan Company, by HM Close
A Pathan Company, by HM Close
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A Pathan Company, by HM Close

A Pathan Company, by HM Close

Book published by the National Book Foundation (Islamabad, Pakistan) in 1997, 318 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket (N8276PE)

From the prologue: This is a story of army life in wartime, partly in a theatre of minor operations... The North-West Frontier of what is now Pakistan is largely barren. Pressure upon the soil leads many young men to leave home, seeking employment, and their martial traditions give them a special fondness for the army. When, therefore, after the summer of 1940, the armed forces in India were rapidly expanded, recruiting officers on the Frontier had little difficulty in collecting as many young peasants as they wanted and packing them off to the various regiments that enlisted Pathans. Among these officers were some who represented, not the Indian Army, but the Ruler of the State of Bhopal. They offered inferior prospects. And yet for a number of the village boys who accepted them there followed a speedy turn for the better. The Ruler placed one of his units, the Bhopal Sultania Infantry, at the disposal of the Crown for war service. At the end of 1940 it sailed for the Middle East.

With this began a process by which the battalion became, for all practical purposes, a regular unit of the Indian Army. Three Indian Army Officers were posted to it, the commanding officer being one such from the start. A number of pre-war state officers left it, replaced by properly trained younger men. For pay and welfare and organisation the Indian Army practices, in nearly all respects, where they had not existed before, were adopted. The battalion, then, became an integral part of the army. Yet the higher command was unwilling to put any state unit into active operations until specifically assured of its proficiency. It thus happened that the Bhopal Infantry, which came to be a very good battalion indeed, was only ordered into contact with the enemy in the closing stage of the war.

Among the Indian Army officers posted to the battalion was myself. Joining up in Delhi in the summer of 1940, I went to the Middle East at the end of that year to my regiment, the first battalion of the Rajputana Rifles. I served with them for the four months of their Eritrean campaign, leading up to Keren, and then for another four months, which included the operation known as “Battleaxe”, with Headquarters, 11th Indian Infantry Brigade, in the Western Desert. In the autumn of 1941 I was posted to the Bhopal Infantry, who were then guarding prisoners of war beside the Suez Canal. Soon the battalion moved to Khartoum. It stayed there for a short time, training, returning again for a few weeks to the Canal, and then, in the Spring of 1942, crossed to Cyprus.
The contents include:

Part I : Cyprus
Part II : Egypt, Cyrenaica, The Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt
Part III : The Aegean
1. Cyprus
2. Western Cyprus
3. The Eastern Mediterranean
4. The South-Eastern Aegean
5. The Island of Simi
6. The Island of Piscopi (Telos)

The condition of the book is generally good. The dust jacket has several minor scuffs and blemishes, and creasing and wear along the edges and corners, and the book has been bumped in the bottom left hand corner, causing wear and creasing in that area. The spine is intact, and all pages are intact, unblemished and tightly bound. Please note, as is usual for books published in India and Pakistan, the paper used is considerably thinner and of poorer quality than we are used to.