A Soldier’s Story – From the Khyber Pass to the Jungles of Burma – the Memoir of a British Officer in the Indian Army 1933-1947.
By John Archibald Hislop, Edited & with an Introduction by Penny Kocher
Paperback, 276 pages, 44 photos 14 maps
This is not an account of famous battles, but a record of what everyday life was like for an officer in the Indian Army. This memoir allows you to get to know a way of life that has gone for good. Anecdotes, often amusing, reveal the personal detail of his life of derring-do which, in some ways, is a real ‘boys own’ adventure.
The attention to detail, the honesty of the work (even to the author’s own detriment) and the vivid writing make this an outstanding military memoir. The style is easy and conversational with the slang of the period. The vignettes are vivid. Things which the participants took for granted are explained: how Church Parade in India was (ever since the events of that May Sunday in 1857 at Meerut) with full weapons including rifles and bayonets, how to relieve oneself on the field of battle, how promotion worked (or didn’t), arrangements for the partition of the Indian Army after Independence, etc.
There is less material readily available on the Indian Army in the 1930s to ‘40s than on earlier periods, so it is good to have a lively, intelligent and informative account. Those whose ancestors were involved in these events will wish to have a copy of this excellent book. [Taken from review in Journal 26 – Autumn 2011 of The Families in British India Society]
This is an extremely vivid, detailed and historically useful narrative. It is a good, if not easy read and the editor has evaded many of the pitfalls of the less adept (checking with primary source material, for example). If you have an interest in the Indian Army this is a must-have. [Taken from review by The Society of Friends of the National Army Museum]
This is a thought-provoking and occasionally disturbing account of the service of a British officer of the Indian Army between 1933 and 1947. Not originally intended for publication, its appearance now may be a contentious issue for some, but it delivers precisely what its title indicates – a soldier’s story. That it does so ‘warts and all’ is a refreshing departure from some of the more edited versions of regimental history that we are used to, though it does not make for comfortable reading. Yet, for all that some connected with the Jat Regiment will undoubtedly regret its appearance, one message that comes through strongly is the love John Hislop had for his regiment and his soldiers. [Taken from Review in Durbar, the journal of the Indian Military Historical Society]
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