April 22, 2010

A Letter from Alfred Gabb

ALFRED D. F. GABB grew up in Kirkee near Poona, and received his schooling in Barnes High School, Deolali, in India. In 1947, the year of India's independence, Alfred returned to England where he qualified as a Chartered Civil Engineer -- more details may be found on the following page:
http://www.barnesschool.net/barnes_html/biographies/AlfredGabb%20.html
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Raj enthusiasts as well as railfans in India will be pleased to know that Mr Gabb has authored a book called ANGLO-INDIAN LEGACY, full details of which are contained in Alfred's letter to me which I received a week ago. The book contains some reference to the railways of India, so I had to write to him! Here's his reply:
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13 April 2010
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Dear Ravindra,
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Thank you for your e mail. My self published book was titled 1600-1947 ANGLO-INDIAN LEGACY - A BRIEF GUIDE TO BRITISH RAJ INDIA HISTORY, NATIONALITY, EDUCATION, RAILWAYS & IRRIGATION (2000), by Alfred D.F. (George) Gabb CEng, MICE, Chartered Civil Engineer. (ISBN 0 948333 89 8). It is now out of print. Apart from official copies in the British Library, London, and the libraries of Oxford & Cambridge universities and the national libraries of Scotland, Ireland & Wales, the only copies for sale may only be available from second hand book shops in Britain, or elsewhere. When published it cost £8 plus postage from myself. But they will now cost a bit more. Try Amazon or other search second hand book stores on the internet. The section of my book about the railways, is only a 10 page appendix describing the construction and running of the railways by the British in India, between 1853 and 1947.
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I am flattered that you wish me to write an article for your blog on life on the railways during the British Raj. I regret do not have anything suitable. But it may interest you to know that many of my forbears gave their lives at an early age working for the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. My paternal grand father and great grandfather were recruited direct from Britain and died within a few years. The former, a Foreman Fitter in the Railway Workshops in Bhusaval, died of small pox, aged 34 years, and the latter a Foreman Boilersmith there, died of a stroke aged 48 years. My paternal grandmother's brothers, who were second generation Irishmen born in India, included an Igatpuri Station Master and two Engine Drivers, who died in their thirties and forties and a Guard, who reached the grand age of 58 years ! As an infant boy in India in the 1930s I recollect playing at steam engines in my garden in Khadki, Maharashtra, crying “kusasatimotorsutikundalati kusasutimotorsutikundalati”.
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Your blog looks promising and I wish you every good fortune in its continuing expansion.
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Regards
Alfred