A century long love story
A century long love story
Olive and Valentine
Olive and Valentine
The time has arrived
The time has arrived
Dates in Basra
Dates in Basra
The Battle of Qurna
The Battle of Qurna
Zena
Zena
The Anniversary
The Anniversary
Fever
Fever
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
Bearing the cross
Bearing the cross
Food
Food
Battle of Ctesiphon
Battle of Ctesiphon
Bombay Christmas
Bombay Christmas
Killed in action
Killed in action
Did he ever see my picture?
Did he ever see my picture?
Brave soldier of Empire
Brave soldier of Empire
In sorry and in sympathy
In sorry and in sympathy
The links that bind
The links that bind
When circumstances part
When circumstances part
Olive
Olive
Destiny's child
Destiny's child
Jack Valentine
Jack Valentine
Postscript
Postscript
A century long love story
A century long love story 0 0 1 124 711 Shaheen Hughes Communications 5 1 834 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} This year marks the centenary of my great grandfather’s death in 1915, on active service in the First World War. He left his beautiful young wife Olive with three small children, the youngest of whom was my grandmother Zena, born on his 30th birthday, the last of his life. They never met. This love story is but one of millions extinguished during the Great War, and has been kept alive in its telling across the generations. It is a reminder that love is the story that survives us, the grand narrative that transcends our death. To honour this special 100 year anniversary of Valentine’s death and Zena’s birth, I am sharing their story, compiled from his letters from the front line, Zena’s memoirs, family stories and a great empathy for the many wives, mothers and daughters who lost their love to the battlegrounds of war.
Olive and Valentine
Olive and Valentine 0 0 1 211 1203 Shaheen Hughes Communications 10 2 1412 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} It was the dawn of the 20th century and Bombay under the rule of the British Raj was a far cry indeed from the Bombay of today, a city with wide-open spaces, gardens and trees and clean fresh air.  The small village of Khotachiwadi was a stronghold of the East Indian community, a small population initially converted to Catholicism by the Portuguese, and subsequently heavily influenced by the traditions brought to India by the East India Company, adopting Portuguese, British and Jesuit customs, language, dress and food.  Among its residents were two prominent families, the Fernandez and the Rowes.  Leo Bernard Fernandez and his wife, known as Mai (Portuguese for mother), had six children, the youngest of whom was Joseph Valentine.  He studied medicine and after graduating joined the Indian Medical Department of the British Army as Assistant Surgeon with the Norfolk Regiment.Next door to the Fernandez bungalow lived William Francis Rowe, the descendant of two Dutch sailors who sailed to India and settled in Bombay, marrying two sisters of Portuguese descent and beginning the Rowe family dynasty.  William Rowe owned a large sprawling house affectionately named ‘Keepsake’.  His first wife was Isidora Esperance, the daughter of an eminent East Indian family whose forebears were from the Philippines.  They had seven children before she died young, including my Great Grandmother Olive Rowe. 0 0 1 50 289 Shaheen Hughes Communications 2 1 338 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Born in 1890, Olive Rowe grew up to be one of the “belles of Girgaum”.  She had many admirers but the one who captured her heart was the boy next door, the handsome young medic Dr Joseph Valentine Fernandez.  On 1 May 1911, they were married in the old Portuguese church of St Teresa’s by His Grace Herman Jurgens, Archbishop of Bombay.  0 0 1 77 441 Shaheen Hughes Communications 3 1 517 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Valentine had joined the 6th (Poona) Division of the British Indian Army, and after they married they began the life of a young military family, following Valentine’s postings and beginning their own family with a healthy son and daughter.“My own reminisces date from the time I was born of humble parentage to Olive and Valentine Fernandez, in a little village called Khotachiwadi, Girgaum, a small pocket in one of Bombay’s numerous localities.  My older siblings were Gladys and Mervyn.  It was the year 1915.”
The time has arrived
The time has arrived 0 0 1 385 2198 Shaheen Hughes Communications 18 5 2578 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} When the First World War began, the 6th (Poona Division) of the 2nd Norfolk Regiment was designated as part of Indian Expeditionary Force D to fight the Mesopotamian Campaign mounted by the British Army. The campaign was designed primarily to protect the assets of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which had been contracted to supply the British navy with oil.  With the theatre of war so far away, the news was unexpected, and sudden. 3 November 1914My own dearest darling Olive,The time has arrived when I must break the news to you, which I hope you will take in good light.  I do not know whether I will be able to see you in Bombay, but I hope to do so before I leave.  The order has come unexpectedly… and we leave at about 4 or 6am on Thursday.  The whole brigade is moving including two native regiments.  According to the general opinion, they think we go either to Egypt or Persia on account of the present situation as regards Turkey.May God bless you and preserve you, believe me I am yours ever loving, Daddy Valentine“It must have been a wrench for my mother, who had just conceived her third child.  Hurriedly, her bags and belongings were packed and she returned to Keepsake, to her father’s house and her own people.” “My parents corresponded with each other as much as was possible under the circumstances, on postcards, scraps of paper, mostly in pencil, but the post was very erratic.  In this way my father learned how the pregnancy was going.  When he received the news of my birth on 22 January 1915, he must have been overjoyed, because it coincided with his own birthday.   He longed to see his new daughter, named Zena after a famous actress of the era.”13 November 1914 (At sea)My very own dearest darling Olive,You will be glad to hear of our safe voyage and arrival at our destination.  I did feel the parting and can hardly get over the effects.  I have not been seasick though I thought I would, as this is the first voyage out in my life.  With fondest love and sweetest kisses, Yours ever loving,Valentine
Dates in Basra
Dates in Basra 0 0 1 207 1186 Shaheen Hughes Communications 9 2 1391 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Valentine arrived in the ancient land of Mesopotamia just after the British began their first naval offensive, at the Fortress of Fao on the Persian Gulf.  Here the Indian Expeditionary Force met 350 Ottoman troops armed with four guns, but despite the opposition, the offensive was a success.From Fao the British Army travelled north into the country’s heart along the Shatt-al-Arab, a river that flows into the Persian Gulf from the Tigris and Euphrates.  By boat, the troops were able to move inland to Basra. The British Army occupied the town of Basra on 22 November, an important industrial centre from which to further secure their position in the region.1 December 1914 (Basra)My very own dearest darling Olive,We are having an easy time but the dampness of the place and cold weather has caused some ailments among the troops.  I have made friends with some of the people here and they are very good to me.  Occasionally I dine with them and invariably they give me nice fruit and dates.  Unfortunately, I am unable to send you any.With fondest love and sweetest kisses to self, Gladys and Mervyn, Yours ever loving,ValentineWhen the British occupied Basra, the Ottoman troops fled further up the Tigris River to a small town called Qurna, which lay at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates.  The British forces followed them, and on 3 December 1914, they attacked.
The Battle of Qurna
The Battle of Qurna 0 0 1 378 2159 Shaheen Hughes Communications 17 5 2532 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} The Royal Navy fired from their boats on the Euphrates, while the troops attempted to cross the Tigris.  It took three days and a number of reinforcements to take Qurna, which they did by crossing the river to the north of the town, effectively cutting off the Ottomans from further retreat.  On 9 December, the Ottoman force surrendered, and the British took 42 offices and 989 soldiers into captivity.  The British Indian forces lost 27 soldiers and 2 sailors, leaving 242 wounded.13 December 1914 (Camp Qurna)My very own dearest darling Olive,We have been very unfortunate as not to spend Xmas together, but our wish is there and may Divine Providence allow you and the children and us to spend many more.  After writing to you we had orders to move ahead as the enemy was getting together.  The force that was sent was small - we arrived there on Sunday and all day they were firing shells, but very erratic and the boat was not hit in the least.  On Monday morning we moved on to attack and did not come into action till about 10.30am.  This time I was not exposed to so much shellfire as in the last battle, as the Ambulances were not near so the shells were going over us.  We were near rifle fire and had a few casualties, who were attended to by the MD himself.  After we took the village I attended to a few wounded Turks and Arabs, then the ambulances came.I had to go further into the woods to get some more wounded but only found one of ours.  We retired at night tired and wet, as I had to wade through the water.  At night a few shells were fired… but did not come near us.  Then I dressed some more wounded Turks and Arabs.Next morning the regiment went out and collected a number of wounded who were inflicted with shrapnel fire from our guns, the trenches were simply full of dead and wounded at 300 to 400.Two regiments crossed the river Tigris and there I had a narrow escape.  There was myself, the orderly, stretcher-bearers sitting together when a shell came from behind us and buried itself into the earth without hurting us.  The second fell a little further among the other native troops but the same way.  We returned into the wood.  The next day I was sent back to look after some sick...  On Saturday the 12th we embarked … To join the regiment there, the place was in ruins the enemy surrendered … 1 German, nearly 1000 Turks and about 12 guns.  The others were in full retreat.  We are in Qurna, which is just at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates.  Yours ever loving,Valentine
Zena
Zena 0 0 1 283 1617 Shaheen Hughes Communications 13 3 1897 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} 25 January 1915My darling Valentine,Well dear I sent you a card and parcel in anticipation of your birthday but as it turns out I have the news you have been waiting for, and darling won’t it make you so happy.Our daughter was born on the evening of your special day after two days of some pain and discomfort.  I am lucky that Mai came to be with me and there were quite some people waiting for the good news.  The baby has thick black hair just like you and as with the others I suspect it will not fall out.  I have taken the liberty of choosing her name and I hope you will not find it frivolous.  You know how fond I am of the actress Zena Dare from the magazines the girls’ bring home, her beautiful pictures and how proud we are that she has gone to France to nurse.  I could think of no stronger name than Zena to give our child and I hope you will not think it unsuitable.I am thankful that Mabel and Milly and the girls are with me to help with Gladys and Mervyn and keep them occupied while I nurse our new daughter.  I pray for a fast recovery and hope to be up and about soon.I do hope this news will arrive without delay and that it will give you some comfort to know that everything is all right at home.I am worried by your description of the battle and pray you are safe and out of harms way.Your loving wife forever,OliveOn 12 April, the Ottomans mounted their own offensive against the British, by attacking their camp at Shaiba with a force of 4,000 troops and around 14,000 Arabs.  The British counterattacked, leading to an eventual Ottoman loss of around 2,400 men who were killed, wounded or taken prisoner.  This unexpected victory restored British confidence, and orders were given to continue the advance of forces up the Tigris River to Kut-al-Amara, and on to Baghdad.  The forces fought a series of small but successful skirmishes along the way.
The Anniversary
The Anniversary 0 0 1 201 1151 Shaheen Hughes Communications 9 2 1350 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} 29 APRIL 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,On the first will be our fourth anniversary of the wedding.  How I wish I could wish the day personally. I have nothing to give you for a present.May god spare us to see the children well and happy and bring them up in the fear of God.  I pray every day to be spared as the children are young and innocent and if anything does happen to me, what is the future going to be God forbid.  Yours ever loving,Valentine5 MAY 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,In my last letter I told you that I was at the field ambulance at Qurna and that I was quite well.  After that I had another go of it, and now I have been transferred to the base at the general hospital. Here they found it to be malaria.  I am feeling myself again except a bit weak.  I am now taking Quinine.  We left Qurna on the 3rd by boat and arrived here in the evening.  Quite a lot of us are suffering from fever.  The weather is getting very trying the heat is getting worse by the day.  I daresay by now you have heard of our achievement here.  The attack on the 31st proved a success… I will give you accounts later.  Now I hope my writing about myself will not worry you all if not – I will not write anything to you in future; this is just because I don’t like to keep it away from you.Yours ever loving, Valentine
Fever
Fever 0 0 1 477 2720 Shaheen Hughes Communications 22 6 3191 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} 9 MAY 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,Since my last letter on Friday I hope by this you are yourself again and have no fever.  I expect you have dispensed my prescription and continued to take the medicine.  I am sorry to find you were deprived of your weekend for enjoyment but never mind one has to look to health first… I am glad baby is improving as well for her size I think she is doing excellent.  I hope she continues to keep in good health and not be troublesome.  I suppose she has taken after you.  Mervyn will soon complete two years on Friday; I am pleased to see he eats like a boy.  When you send his photo, catch him with his ‘no good’ smile… and what about your photo?We cannot now write any war news as our letters have to be censored.  I have not so far given you any news except what you have read in the paper and my safety.Yours ever lovingValentine20 May 1915My darling Valentine,I am left exhausted by the fever that seems to have taken hold and will not leave us.  It has begun to rain and the heat will not abate.  We are all sick, but the children have it worst of all.  Mervyn’s temperature rages and I do not know what to do. As I place a cold compress on his warm forehead, I imagine placing it on your own, but of course I cannot provide you this small comfort.   Zena is growing quickly but the constant feeding and carrying and worry for Mervyn have left me feeling quite unable to look after myself or the children sometimes.  The girls are on hand to help and Mai is close at hand, but they are busy and they do not understand the depth of my anxiety and fear, for the children, and for you.I want this war to end so you can come home to us again, I pray for this each and every day and the children do the same.  Please look after yourself and keep yourself dry and well.  I have sent another parcel of clothes to you and trust they will arrive safely.Your loving wife forever,Olive21 MAY 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,I am indeed very sorry to hear of the trials and hardships you are undergoing and trust Divine Providence will soon relieve you of all your troubles.  I do wish the war would come to an end soon so that I could at least come and relieve you in some way and that you would get some rest.  Darling I can just realize your worries and pity you and hope you will bear the cross patiently.  All this is now beginning to worry me and I hope my mind will be relieved when I hear good news of you and the children.  I can’t understand what fever Mervyn has contracted, I hope not Malaria.  Has he any signs of bronchitis?  I hope you have cropped his hair, as he will not feel the heat as much.  As soon as his fever comes down, try and take the children for a change to Bandra or Khandalla.  You will also have to continue the Vibrona otherwise you will soon be getting sick again as you say you are still weak.  It is very strange how you don’t get my letters.  I write regularly darling and can assure you that I write almost four letters a week unless they get delayed in the censor’s office.With fondest love, sweetest kisses to self, Glady, Mervyn and Zena. Yours ever loving, Valentine
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden 0 0 1 780 4449 Shaheen Hughes Communications 37 10 5219 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} 25 MAY 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,The troops are arriving here daily.  We hope to see the aeroplanes soon as they have arrived and won’t it surprise the Turks. In one of the bags I have sent you will find the different types of cartridges used at the Battle of Shaiba and a ball from one of their shells.This spot is supposed to be the Garden of Eden.  If you buy the history of the war (invasion of Chaldea) you will see all the pictures of Basra and an account of the place.Yours ever loving,Valentine1 June 1915My darling Valentine,I bumped into Mr Rodriguez at the Post Office and mentioned the books you have been recommending I read.  He invited me to the bookshop and showed me quite a few books about ancient Mesopotamia.  He gave me a map to keep and I find myself tracing on it the path of the River Tigris with my fingers, wondering where you are; is this really where you are, this far away and strange land?  It looks to my quite scattered mind like Mesopotamia is shaped very much like a heart, a beautiful place with rivers like arteries carrying you into its centre.You are near the Garden of Eden you say, but I cannot believe this place that I imagine reflects the hardship you have to endure on these hot and humid days. I do find it hard to imagine what the days are like for you, though you describe them to me in some detail.It continues to be unbearably hot here too, and I have cut the children’s hair and my own to suit the weather.  Our fevers come and go, and my worry for yours and your safety does not allow me good recovery.I pray every day for your safe return and that we meet again soon in good health and happiness.  Your loving wife forever,Olive2 JUNE 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,You will be surprised to get a letter from me in this mail as things have happened quite unexpectedly.  In my last I told you that I was leaving on Friday the 29th; we arrived at Qurna on Saturday.  I suddenly got an attack of fever, going up high so that I had to be carried away from the boat and taken to the field ambulance.  The affair had to take place on Monday, but as the saying goes… man proposes god disposes, is true and I am sure the Sacred Heart of Jesus has well destined that I should not be in action this time as we have to move under difficulties.  By this you should know that I am all right and well and no need to worry.  I have not gone back to Basra but intend going back when everything is more settled.  Vincent Gomes may come to know that I got away this time but I can assure you that I did not fake it.  It was providential. … I do hope dearie by this you have been relieved for your troubles and Mervyn on the way to recovery.  Don’t worry yourself over me and if I had not to write to you, you would be anxious.  So far our troops have done well and are advancing further… so I will have a holiday when I get back to the regiment.Yours ever lovingValentineConditions for the British forces in Mesopotamia were horrifying.  They endured high temperatures and regular flooding, flies, rats and mosquitoes were rife.  The medical corps were understaffed and the levels of sickness extreme.  Wounded and sick men often had to spend weeks travelling on boats up and down the Tigris to the field hospitals.Despite his malaria, and the shocking conditions in which he had to survive, Valentine’s letters to Olive are so full of concern about his own family, and the childhood sicknesses that were plaguing them.  He regularly offered medical advice, sent prescriptions and sought favour from the local pharmacy so they could be filled with no payment. 
Bearing the cross
Bearing the cross12 June 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,I am indeed so sorry to find you are troubled with illness and the worry of the children but we must bear our cross patiently.  Won’t I be glad when this wretched war is over to think that we will start our home again.  All I hope now is that Divine Providence keeps your dear self, the children and me in good health till we meet but how long is it going to be no one knows, the sooner the better.I expect everybody tries to help you and how shall we ever return the thanks.  Poor Mabel and Milly must be busy with school.Yesterday past makes two years from our return from our posting. Who could for a moment think of our separation?  I regret the day we left the place, but now I am not so sorry, as I might have been transferred to another station, my time being up in the division - I might have been now in France.  I am quite content being here, though the last battle has made an impression on me.Yours ever loving,Valentine29 June 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,Well dearie you hardly know how pleased I feel when I get letters it makes my desperation so different and all the time till the arrival of the next mail I think of all the events I have read.  Besides I don’t get letters from everyone else… I am glad to find you enjoying the rest as all meant towards your health.  I daresay the anxiety and worry of the children and intense heat of the weather played on your consternation.  I hope by this you have regained your health and become strong… Yours ever loving,Valentine
Food
Food 0 0 1 455 2594 Shaheen Hughes Communications 21 6 3043 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} 31 July 1915My darling Valentine,If my letters mean as much to you as yours to me I can only imagine your emotion on their receipt.  The house here is full of people and the noise of the children and I can hardly find a quiet space to sit, but I have never felt so alone as without you.The fevers that have plagued us are slowly passing though the heat and monsoon rain continues to be a drain on all.  The children are eating well again and I cannot help but see your face in Mervyn’s as he eats.  Mervyn is just like you, and he loves his vindaloo, no matter how hot we make it.We are spending the rainy season cooking, and between my kitchen and Mai’s, we are making all of your favourite food in the misplaced hope that the smell of our cooking will entice you through our doors.We made a big batch of eggplant pickle that we are bottling up to send you.  We are parceling up what we can, and we are hopeful that you will receive it and think of us at home.Your loving wife forever,Olive3 October 1915My dear mother, I have not received the parcel you so kindly sent but I expect it will arrive when things are more settled down.  If it is not trouble to you please send me some bottled fish, lime pickle and … we do miss these delicacies in this outlandish place.Your son ever loving,Valentine5 October 1915My very own dearest lovie Olive, You will be glad to hear that I am safe and well and trust the same attends you and the children.  It will be some time now that the post will be regular and don’t let this delay worry you.  The weather is nice and pleasant though chill at night; you might want to send out my warm underwear, drawers, gloves, sweater and balaclava and fountain pen and I don’t want anything more.  Yours ever loving,Valentine7 November 1915My very own dearest darling Olive,Yesterday made the anniversary of the 1st battle in the Persian Gulf.  We must thank god that he blessed me and preserved me in good health.  In a few days I hope everything will go well with us and may we see each other again.  We will I presume undergo a few hardships but the end shall be a peaceful one.  I pray every day for one purpose and hope you do the same.  Don’t be worried if you don’t get a letter for some time as this is on the way to Baghdad.  I shall try and write postcards as much as possible. I sent in anticipation a Xmas Card to all near and dear so that they wont have any cause to grumble and trust the same will reach them safely. Wishing you all in anticipation a merry Xmas – don’t forget to pray for our safety and speedy return.  May the New Year bring in good tidings and may it be a peaceful one.  Kiss the children for me.  I intended sending you a Xmas present but as I have not yet received my pay and allowances I am unable to do so.  I am sending for a brooch of the Norfolk Regiment (Rule Britannia) from England.  I will now close with fondest love and sweet loving and enduring kisses to dearest self, Gladys, Mervyn and Zena.  Yours ever loving,Valentine
Battle of Ctesiphon
Battle of Ctesiphon 0 0 1 287 1637 Shaheen Hughes Communications 13 3 1921 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} On 22 November, with the town of Kut-al-Amara under its occupation, the British forces advanced further on towards Baghdad.  The turning point of their campaign took place at Ctesiphon, a town on the banks of the Tigris around 20 miles south of Baghdad.The ancient city of Ctesiphon was one of the great cities of Mesopotamia, and the capital of the Parthian Empire, which existed from 247 BC to 224 AD.  The Emperor Trajan first captured Ctesiphon in 116 AD, though his successor Hadrian returned it a year later during a peace settlement.  The Romans would capture it four more times during the next 150 years. Ctesiphon was claimed to be the largest city in the world between 570 AD and the time of its fall to Muslim conquerors in 637 AD.  By the 8th century the city’s strategic importance had diminished and it was falling into ruins.  It is still believed to be the basis for one of the cities of One Thousand and One Nights.On a cloudless day in 1915, the British forces engaged in fierce combat with their Ottoman enemies, fighting alongside the spirits of the hundreds of thousands of romans and invaders who had engaged in battle on this bloody ground in Mesopotamia’s dark heart over two thousand years.The Battle of Ctesiphon saw five days of slaughter and ended with a stalemate as both forces retreated.  The Indian Expeditionary Force lost 40 per cent, or around 4,600 troops at Ctesiphon.  A British soldier is later to have remarked that the troops could not easily pronounce the name Ctesiphon, and called it “Pistupon” instead.In a fateful move that would alter the course of the British campaign, the Ottoman Commander watched his enemy retreat and decided to cancel his own, pursuing the tired and depleted British force back to Kut-al-Amara.  By 3 December 2015, the Ottomans had surrounded Kut, sending their forces south to block further British troops from coming to their aid up river.
Bombay Christmas
Bombay Christmas 0 0 1 282 1608 Shaheen Hughes Communications 13 3 1887 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Back home in far away Bombay, the year 1915 was coming to a close without incident, and my Nana thrived under the care of many surrogate mothers including her maiden aunts Mabel, Ethel and Milly.  Her diaries describe in careful detail life in the family room, a spacious area of the house set aside for the use and privacy of the ‘women-folk’, where they could follow quiet pursuits, household chores and exchange ideas and endless gossip without intrusion.“The family room occupied the rear of the house adjacent to the kitchen.  It was sparsely furnished, but holding pride of place was a large Jhoola (swing) made of teakwood, strong enough to hold at least five or six people.  It served a million purposes, and if only it could speak what tales it could tell of at least three generations that used it day in and day out.For me, the Jhoola played a major role in my early years.  It was a haven for laughter and tears, sleep and solace, a place where I learnt the 3 ‘R’s and lisped my first prayers.  I still recall my greatest delight – sitting with the grown ups and making kulkuls, and being allowed to lick the spoon after the Christmas Cake had been stirred.With Christmas round the corner, preparations were in full swing, and the family room the pivot on which our world turned.  The East Indians are noted for their prowess in sweets and confectionery, and at Christmas time the treasured, carefully guarded recipes were brought out, the ingredients for the specialties bought well in advance.  The air was redolent with the fragrance of spices, almonds and dry fruits, and freshly baked cakes.In the adjacent kitchen, vessels of Sorpatel and Vindaloo bubbled on the fire, giving out tantalizing odours.  Loops of masala sausages and strings of white onions festooned the blackened ceilings, giving the kitchen a festive look. The house sparkled from top to toe. 
Killed in action
Killed in action 0 0 1 211 1206 Shaheen Hughes Communications 10 2 1415 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} It was the 20th of December 1915, a momentous day as it eventually turned out to be.  Khotachiwadi was a beehive of activity and the sight of the Postman was welcome, as he came laden with his bag of Christmas mail.He reached the Fernandez residence but delivered his letter next door. The message was addressed to the next-of-kin, Mrs Olive Fernandez, and opened by Valentine’s family.Army Headquarters IndiaAdjutant General’s BranchSimla, 20-12-15Post copy of telegram.  Forwarded in confirmation.238/4 (A.G.10-C) Killed in action first December Assistant Surgeon J.V. Fernandez Indian Subordinate Medical Department attached Norfolks AAA Mesopotamia.2. One letter of condolence forwarded herewith.Sgd.: E.G. Durand.Lieutenant for Adjutant General in India.Casualties, Simla.Assistant Surgeon Joseph Valentine Fernandez was mortally wounded in the Battle of Ctesiphon.  Carried by the stretcher-bearers with whom he had worked for the last year, he was moved with the forces retreating to Kut-al-Amara.  He lay, gazing up at the sky of this alien land and Garden of Eden.  He saw his son Mervyn smile, and the curls that had grown out of his daughter Gladys’s hair.  He tried to imagine the face of his new daughter Zena, whom he had never met.  He formed the words of the last letter he would need to write, in his mind.  “My very own dearest darling Olive…”, he thought, and closed his eyes.
Did he ever see my picture?
Did he ever see my picture? 0 0 1 181 1037 Shaheen Hughes Communications 8 2 1216 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} “There was great consternation and grief and confusion when the telegram was received by my Uncles and my Grandmother Mai.  Grandfather Rowe was hurriedly summoned and informed of the tragedy.  My poor mother was in blissful ignorance, so until a decision was reached as to when and how to break the news, everyone was compelled to appear normal.  My mother had already posted, much in advance, a picture portrait of Glady, Mervyn and myself to my father.  It was her Christmas and birthday present combined, sent with so much love and feeling.  It would be his first glimpse of his youngest daughter Zena, born on his last birthday.There is no way of knowing the course of events that followed but I presume they could not defer the fatal news for long, and eventually Olive was informed that her Valentine had been killed in action on 1 December 1915.I can only imagine how devastated and shattered she must have been, to know that she would never see her beloved Valentine ever again, to know that he was buried in an unknown grave across the seas, and that her children were fatherless.We will never know whether my father received the last picture of his three children. The secret is with him only.”
Brave soldier of Empire
Brave soldier of Empire 0 0 1 305 1739 Shaheen Hughes Communications 14 4 2040 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Days after Valentine’s death, the British completed their retreat to Kut-al-Amara, followed closely by the Ottoman force.  The Ottoman surrounded the town on 7 December, beginning a siege that would last for months.  They successfully defended at least three attempts at rescue, and effectively cut the town off from food and other supplies.Starving and near death, the British finally surrendered Kut five months later, at the end of April 1916.  The Ottomans captured just over 10,000 surviving troops, who they marched to Anatolia.  Their suffering continued, and over 4000 men died in captivity.The British learned much from the Battle of Ctesiphon and the Seige of Kut-al-Amara.  Their confidence was much diminished; and they realized the inherent weakness of their supply lines up river into Mesopotamia.Although they corrected many of these mistakes and regrouped to advance once again on Baghdad later in the campaign, so much damage had already been done.  The period during which Valentine died saw over 11000 people killed in battle, many thousands dying from wounds and sickness, over 13000 missing and taken prisoner and more than 50000 wounded.“A pall of gloom lay over Khotachiwadi.  Every family mourned with us as the news of Valentine’s tragic death spread far and wide.  A hero’s death in a foreign land.”Dr Joseph Valentine Fernandez was mentioned twice in despatches during and following his active service.  On 1 March 1915, Lt General Sir AA Barrett acknowledges his “gallant and distinguished service in the field.  I have it on command from His Majesty the King to record His Majesty’s high appreciation of the services rendered.”  Olive had this on good authority, the letter sent to her by Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for War.On 1 January 1916, Valentine was mentioned in a second dispatch from General Sir John Nixon, published in the London Gazette.  Once again, he is acknowledged “for gallant and distinguished service in the field”, no doubt for his actions in the Battle of Ctesiphon.
In sorry and in sympathy
In sorry and in sympathy 0 0 1 69 399 Shaheen Hughes Communications 3 1 467 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Around this time, Olive received her last letter from the First World War, a missive from Queen Mary to the war widows of India.  “In sorry and sympathy my thoughts fly across the seas to my sisters in India that beautiful land which I have visited twice and love so much and love so well.  I send you this to do honour to a very brave soldier of the Empire who died for you and for us in the glorious fight for truth and freedom against tyranny and broken faith.”
The links that bind
The links that bind 0 0 1 51 291 Shaheen Hughes Communications 2 1 341 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Nana’s diaries continue to describe the sad aftermath of Valentine’s death.  She writes of Olive’s spirit and strength of character, gradually picking up the threads of life and to think about the future; a new life for her and her children.  She also wrote and later spoke frequently of the loss she felt at having never known her father. 
When circumstances part
When circumstances part 0 0 1 280 1597 Shaheen Hughes Communications 13 3 1874 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} In the aftermath of the First World War, it took the British Government some time to settle the monetary dues of the war widow and dependents of those who were killed in battle.  Eventually, the Government declared free education for the children of war widows, in first class boarding or day schools.  They paid full board and lodging, school tuition fees, text and exercise books, stationery and ‘any other requirements by way of doctors, dentistry and illnesses’.  “This was indeed the best solution. Not only would we get the best education in an exclusive Convent, we would be under constant supervision, looked after, body and soul, and be well-equipped to face a brave new world after we left school.  Most important of all, my mother would have peace of mind, and be free of financial stress.”Olive sent her two daughters to St Joseph’s Convent, a school run by a Belgian Order of Nuns, in Bandra, and in close proximity to her own grandmother’s house.  With her children taken care of, she took up her own career in nursing and midwifery.“December 1919 saw a flurry of activity in the house – a lot of shopping, and sewing and packing of trunks.  I hadn’t a clue, and was led to believe that Gladys and I were going on a holiday to Bandra to visit my Great Grandmother, Mrs Rosemary Esperance, who lived in solitary splendor in a tiny little dolls house on Pali Hill Road, just across the way from St Andrews Church.  It broke my mother, and my grandmother Mai’s heart to see me go, as I was still the baby.  I was four years old.”Nana describes the convent as a prestigious institution filled with the daughters of wealthy people who could afford the best schooling for their children.  While it catered for the middle-class and poor, the latter were trained to work in the convent’s kitchens, laundries and gardens.  It was a lonely period of her life.
Olive
Olive 0 0 1 44 257 Shaheen Hughes Communications 2 1 300 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} While I don’t think she ever got over the sudden removal from the small village and large family in which she grew up, Nana herself became one of the strongest people I ever knew.  Her mother Olive never fully recovered from her broken heart, and died at the relatively early age of 50, in 1940.   
Destiny's child
Destiny's child 0 0 1 146 836 Shaheen Hughes Communications 6 1 981 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Zena married a handsome Goan sailor named Claude De Souza in 1943, and had a successful career as an editor for Macmillan Publishing in Bombay.Nana’s beautiful, mosaic tiled flat in Colaba, the heart of old Bombay was an enchanting place.  She raised her two children there, my father Clint and my aunt and godmother Claudette, and we continued to live with her when I was born.  Her love of tradition and her passion for food was legendary, and I think it was her way of recreating the early years during which she loved and lost so much.Most mornings in her household began with a long discussion about the day’s menu, followed by a trip to the market.  On hot days, lunch was served before long siestas, and I remember her favourite meals clearly – hot chicken curry, mince cutlets, fiery pickles, fragrant rices.  She had a beautifully carved wooden cabinet or ‘meatsafe’ filled with biscuits and sweets – cake with marzipan icing and my absolute favourite, marzipan fruit.
Jack Valentine
Jack Valentine 0 0 1 106 606 Shaheen Hughes Communications 5 1 711 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-ansi-language:EN-US;} Valentine’s letters were found in storage many years after his death, and were eventually passed down to me for safekeeping in 2004.  We had been trying for our first baby when I first read them 10 years ago, and conceived almost immediately thereafter.  I knew instinctively that we were having a boy, and that his name would be Jack Valentine.  We took Jack to Bombay to meet Zena just before her death.   Although she was by then losing her speech, she was able to tell us through her tears how very happy she was that she had finally met her Valentine, and how very much she loved him. In this small way and by this small deed we learnt that at the very end love can indeed trump death, lest we forget. 
Postscript
Postscript Valentine was one of more than 1 million Indian troops to enlist and serve in the First World War with the British Army.  Their contribution and sacrifice to the war is largely underplayed in contemporary war history, both British and Indian.I don't know the reasons behind Valentine going to war, but I am sure he had every intention of fighting for the peace and freedom of the empire in which he lived.  From my reading about the Mesopotamian campaign, I wish I could believe that to be the case.  I fear instead he died only, and ironically, to protect the economic interests of the British Government, and the oil reserves needed to maintain the naval supremacy that had once bought them the prize of India. 100 years later, the soil of modern day Iraq in which his body lies, rich in blood and oil, is still not at peace.   
info
prev / next