Major General Sir Charles Dalton

Researched and compiled by Rodney G. Dalton

The below article was found on the Internet. It is about a Major General Sir Charles Dalton and his wife, Lady Daphne Dalton:

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Major General Sir Charles Dalton served in India as Commander Royal Artillery 26th Indian Division, Burma; Brigadier General Staff XXXIII Indian Corps, Burma, 1944 - 1945;

Commander Royal Artillery 14th Indian Division, Burma, 1949 - 1951;

Commanding Officer 8th Anti-Aircraft Brigade, 1951 - 1954;

Services Relations Adviser to United Kingdom High Commissioner Control Commission for Germany, 1954 - 1957;

Director of Manpower Planning, War Office, 1957;

Retired.

Full name: Sir Charles James George Dalton. He was born on 28 Feb 1902 in The Hutts, Grewelthrope, Yorkshire, England. He was the son of James Cecil Dalton and Mary Caroline Barker.

Major General Sir Charles Dalton was from a long line of Yorkshire Military family.

Source of the below article is: http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/exhibits/india/intvw5.htm.

 

The Passage to India

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The British dominions in India took shape gradually. In the very early years of the 17th century British merchants of the East India Company set out to trade with the fabulous Mughal empire. As that empire declined, the British took political and military control of Indian territory, defeating the French and various Indian rulers to become the dominant power. Britain ruled India through the East India Company until after the terrible rebellion of 1857-58, when India came to be ruled directly by the British crown. 

As the British presence in India grew, Britons increasingly went to India to run businesses and as administrators, soldiers, and missionaries. By the 19th century and into the 20th a life in India became a regular existence for many English men and women. Their personal motives were various: to make money, to find excitement, to improve their status, to maintain family tradition, and -- as a grand ideal of imperial service formed in Victorian times -- to serve their own nation and India itself. In many ways their personal motives are a microcosm of the reasons European nations and their societies sought imperial expansion. 

Sometimes generations of the same family went to India. Some were born there, others recruited out of university or public school to join the police or the civil or the education or forest service. Whatever their backgrounds, those who went found themselves on a journey to a world very different from what they knew in the British Isles. Their literal passage on a steamship -- from cool England, through Gibraltar and across the increasingly foreign Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal (symbolic divider of West from East), into the sun-scorched Red Sea and steamy Indian Ocean to a land full of new sounds, sights, and smells -- was more than a mere trip but a rite of transition which often made a powerful impression

Life in the Bungalows

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Recollections of English domestic life in India present a picture of an existence both contented and full of difficulties, both luxurious and Spartan. Britons generally occupied commodious bungalows (the word itself comes from Indian terminology meaning something from Bengal and referred to a particular house type originally from that province) and commonly employed numerous servants to run the household.

Yet even into the 1940s the house would not have electricity, running water, refrigeration; it would have been open enough for insects, rats, snakes and--in remote areas--even wild animals to invade. Moves to new postings were frequent and thus life was unsettled. It was thought important to send children home to England for schooling, so that family members were separated. There were likely few other Europeans nearby, so that people--especially wives with no official work, possibly no children at home, and only a mˇnage of servants to interact with all day--might feel very isolated. Indeed, women who found outside interests--whether their husbands' work, local charitable pursuits, or the outdoor life--were thought to be happiest. 

Running Your Little Empire

Those who went to India remembered it as a place of hard work and recalled sometimes resenting British popular stereotypes of them as having lives of leisure--waited on by servants, spending time in posh clubs, attending balls, riding to hounds. They saw the work of empire as demanding, difficult, and at times dangerous. Numerically "thin on the ground," they often assumed great responsibilities and administered vast territories or supervised numerous underlings. 

The Indian Civil Service (or ICS) provided the men who governed India. Graduates of British universities who had passed an examination and interviews and then undertaken a year of training in England, most eventually worked as district officers, virtual rulers of the several hundred districts which were basic administrative units. Assisted by perhaps a few other Europeans as well as Indian officials and clerks, they might render legal decisions, determine land tenure, oversee local police, recommend public works projects, provide famine relief when necessary, even hunt leopards or tigers which menaced villagers. Their power and prestige were such that they were jokingly called "the heaven born" and likened to the Brahmans who stood at the top of the Indian caste system. 

Other men assumed administrative positions in such organizations as the Forest Service, which cared for great jungle preserves; the Education Service, which ran schools; the Survey of India, which mapped the subcontinent; the state-owned railways; the Police; and the Political Service (made up of already-experienced officers from the ICS or the Army), which dealt with the Indian princes who ruled large portions of India under British oversight (they also staffed British consulates in parts of China and Persia and helped administer the sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf). Others joined commercial enterprises, such as the great trading houses of Calcutta and tea, coffee or jute plantations. 

The military life also took many to India. India, in fact, had two large armies. The British Army posted a big part of its strength to India. But there was also the largely separate Indian Army, with British officers and Indian soldiers. Stationed in far-flung cantonments, Army officers worked in support of the civil administrators in maintaining control and engaged in the intermittent warfare which broke out in such areas as the Northwest Frontier, where potentially rebellious tribesmen kept the region unsettled. 

Official India was virtually all male, but wives would often play major roles in their husbands' work, touring with them, ministering to local needs, and discovering local problems. Women might also lead more independent lives in mission work or in healing professions. 

Imperial Diversions: The Club, the Hills, the Field

Britons who spoke of their pasts in India remembered the need for diversions from what they saw as everyday lives of hard work and often difficult conditions. Indeed these diversions--especially the abundance of field sports--were seen as among the joys of a life in India.

An Englishman in India could maintain horses whose upkeep in England would have been prohibitively expensive. Thus he could have plenty of recreational or competitive horseback riding. And the plenitude of wild game provided the shooting beloved by the English upper classes, but in India people could enjoy it without the need for private estates or trout streams.

In the hot season, when an intense sun baked the Indian plains, "the Hills" offered another kind of diversion, the relief of cool weather at high altitudes. From the early 19th century the British developed "hill stations," towns they could go up to when heat enveloped the rest of India. In fact, whole governments moved to the Hills in the hot months. Simla in the Himalayas became the official summer capital of British India when the Viceroy and much of the bureaucracy came up from Calcutta or New Delhi. With temporarily concentrated European populations, the hill stations were noted for gay, leisurely life, though working husbands customarily came for only short periods while their wives might spend the whole season.

Closer to home, the club offered a respite from daily routine. Virtually wherever in India a few Britons lived, a club evolved. It might have only a modest bar, a tennis court, perhaps a reading room, but it was an important institution as a central gathering place. The admission or exclusion of Indians as members or guests became a difficult issue in Indo-British relations as time went on. 

Never the Twain? Indo-British Relations

The nature of relations between the British and Indians changed over time, as did British attitudes toward India and Indians. In earlier days some Britons assimilated readily to Oriental ways of life or even intermarried with Indians. Particularly after the traumatic uprising of 1857-58, however, relations were often strained, as conventional ideas about European racial superiority became more prominent and as Victorian notions of morality and evangelical movements to convert the world to a particular kind of Christianity became influential. By the latter part of the 19th century, for example, the idea of a "respectable" English person marrying an Indian was virtually unthinkable. Of course, the very fact that the British were by definition a ruling elite and Indians -- however rich or important -- a subject people often strained relations. This could exacerbate cultural misunderstandings, a situation which is the focus of E.M. Forster's great anti-imperial novel, A Passage to India.

Those who remembered their time in India were aware that the Indo-British relationship was often problematic. They felt, for example, that a certain need to be impartial outsiders in the administration of Indian matters sometimes made them seem aloof. Yet they insisted that they frequently had cordial relations with Indians and were in close contact with many aspects of Indian life and society. They spoke Indian languages and, if touring a district, might interact with no one but Indians for weeks or months at a time. As time went on there was also increasing emphasis on Indianization of the various British services, so that more Indians came to have responsible positions that made them officially equal or even superior to Englishmen in the administrative systems. 

No More India to Go to: Departure and Connections

The process by which Britain disengaged from political control of India was a long and arduous one. Though reaction against British rule was periodic, Indian nationalism evolved in the latter half of the 19th century, a process stimulated by the creation of the Congress Movement (actually founded by an Englishman) in 1885, as Indians increasingly opposed being ruled by a foreign power. The march to Independence involved protracted political maneuvering, various reforms, visiting British delegations, much debate and discussion, repressions, mass demonstrations, and -- in some places -- riots and terrorism. Mohandas K. Gandhi emerged as the guiding force of the independence movement. The Second World War weakened the power of the British Empire and a post-war Labour government in London undermined the dedication to empire. The decision was made by the British government to prepare for the independence of India, though two separate nations emerged -- Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan -- as did violence between religious groups.

Most of the British in India returned home to retirement or new lives. Some "stayed on" in various capacities, but the old system which had sent Britons to India as colonial rulers had ended forever and with it a unique mode of life. Those who spoke of this end spoke of it with a mixture of regret, good will, recognition of the inevitable, and pleasure in on-going ties to the new nations. 

Beyond personal ties, however, were the cultural ones which had grown up over the course of more than two centuries. India obtained the English language -- indeed, created a distinct version of English -- a factor which had a profound influence upon the writing and literature of the subcontinent. The English language, on the other hand, borrowed numerous words from Indian languages (pajama, jungle, coolie, bungalow, kabob). More importantly, the Indian connection gave English literature a milieu dissected and projected by numerous British writers -- Kipling, Forster, Paul Scott, George Orwell, Rumer Godden. British landscape artists -- Edward Lear, Sir Charles D'Oyly, William and Thomas Daniell -- were attracted to India to create vivid images that introduced Europeans to the physical shape -- both natural and cultural -- of the great subcontinent. The tradition of Indian miniature painting adapted itself to a British market. European style buildings sprouted all over India, while British architects adapted Indian styles for use both in India and Britain. British dominance brought about many changes in Indian life, while the Indian connection made a lasting impact upon British popular culture. Indeed, India became ingrained in British consciousness -- as an image, as a place where friends or family members lived, as a symbol of British power. Since the Second World War, there has been a mass influx of Indians and Pakistanis into Britain -- a development enabled by former imperial connections -- so that today, perhaps ironically, many more people from the subcontinent live in England than Britons ever lived in India. In many ways these Asians are now transforming British life. 

Some Photos from the Web Page:

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A typical English military couple

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English officer with his men

 

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Tea plantation bungalow; 1930s.

 

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Women in dandi, sedan chairs used to carry European travelers through the Hills

 

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Socializing with Indian princes was a high point of life in India

 

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Somewhere in India

 

 

Interviews with Sir Charles Dalton and his wife Lady Dalton:

The British dominions in India took shape gradually. In the very early years of the 17th century British merchants of the East India Company set out to trade with the fabulous Mughal empire. As that empire declined, the British took political and military control of Indian territory, defeating the French and various Indian rulers to become the dominant power. Britain ruled India through the East India Company until after the terrible rebellion of 1857-58, when India came to be ruled directly by the British crown.

As the British presence in India grew, Britons increasingly went to India to run businesses and as administrators, soldiers, and missionaries. By the 19th century and into the 20th a life in India became a regular existence for many English men and women. Their personal motives were various: to make money, to find excitement, to improve their status, to maintain family tradition, and -- as a grand ideal of imperial service formed in Victorian times -- to serve their own nation and India itself. In many ways their personal motives are a microcosm of the reasons European nations and their societies sought imperial expansion.

Sometimes generations of the same family went to India. Some were born there, others recruited out of university or public school to join the police or the civil or the education or forest service. Whatever their backgrounds, those who went found themselves on a journey to a world very different from what they knew in the British Isles. Their literal passage on a steamship -- from cool England, through Gibraltar and across the increasingly foreign Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal (symbolic divider of West from East), into the sun-scorched Red Sea and steamy Indian Ocean to a land full of new sounds, sights, and smells -- was more than a mere trip but a rite of transition which often made a powerful impression.

Those who went to India remembered it as a place of hard work and recalled sometimes resenting British popular stereotypes of them as having lives of leisure--waited on by servants, spending time in posh clubs, attending balls, riding to hounds. They saw the work of empire as demanding, difficult, and at times dangerous. Numerically "thin on the ground," they often assumed great responsibilities and administered vast territories or supervised numerous underlings.

The Indian Civil Service provided the men who governed India. Graduates of British universities who had passed an examination and interviews and then undertaken a year of training in England, most eventually worked as district officers, virtual rulers of the several hundred districts which were basic administrative units. Assisted by perhaps a few other Europeans as well as Indian officials and clerks, they might render legal decisions, determine land tenure, oversee local police, recommend public works projects, provide famine relief when necessary, even hunt leopards or tigers which menaced villagers. Their power and prestige were such that they were jokingly called "the heaven born" and likened to the Brahmans who stood at the top of the Indian caste system.

Other men assumed administrative positions in such organizations as the Forest Service, which cared for great jungle preserves; the Education Service, which ran schools; the Survey of India, which mapped the subcontinent; the state-owned railways; the Police; and the Political Service (made up of already-experienced officers from the ICS or the Army), which dealt with the Indian princes who ruled large portions of India under British oversight (they also staffed British consulates in parts of China and Persia and helped administer the sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf). Others joined commercial enterprises, such as the great trading houses of Calcutta and tea, coffee or jute plantations.

The military life also took many to India. India, in fact, had two large armies. The British Army posted a big part of its strength to India. But there was also the largely separate Indian Army, with British officers and Indian soldiers. Stationed in far-flung cantonments, Army officers worked in support of the civil administrators in maintaining control and engaged in the intermittent warfare which broke out in such areas as the Northwest Frontier, where potentially rebellious tribesmen kept the region unsettled.

Official India was virtually all male, but wives would often play major roles in their husbands' work, touring with them, ministering to local needs, and discovering local problems. Women might also lead more independent lives in mission work or in healing professions.

Major-General Sir Charles Dalton:

It was inevitable that someone commissioned into the Royal Artillery would go abroad. You didn't necessarily go to India. I'm guessing now, but I should think perhaps half the foreign stations would be India, and the other half would be places like Gibraltar, Malta, Singapore, Hong Kong, West Indies -- places where we had garrisons and artillery elements. But most people welcomed this idea of going to India, particularly the bachelors, because it was always looked upon as a haven for sport. And perhaps more important, it was recognized that in India you got a really viable command of troops. You were full establishment, whereas in England in peacetime you were always being cut down. The government was always economizing, reducing. You didn't have as many men as you ought to. You didn't have as many horses as you ought to. You couldn't turn out a full battery of guns, you could only turn out four out of six. Whereas the Indian Army and the British Army in India had to be kept at full strength, because at any moment they might be called to active service on the Frontier.

So the moment you went to India, you joined a live show. Everything was right up to establishment, and if anybody was to be short, they could be short in England, but not in India. And so anybody who was at all keen on his job or his profession looked forward to going to India, to be able to have a real man's job -- as well as knowing that it was a wonderful place for the impecunious subaltern to enjoy sport very much more cheaply than he could at home -- shooting, fishing, pigsticking. And also it was a good social life, and it was great fun, and everybody loved it. Worked hard, played hard.

Major-General Sir Charles Dalton:

The British soldiers led a much more sophisticated life in India than they did at home. They were more important people and in fact the British soldier in India was quite a personality. In England of course a British soldier cleans all his own boots and buttons. Spit and polish everything. But there he didn't. It was infra dig for a soldier to do all these menial things. He was a fighting man and he had a menial chap in the shape of an Indian bearer who he shared probably and paid some pittance to. In fact he even used to get shaved in bed in the morning before he woke up. The barber used to come round the barrack room with an ordinary open razor -- most of the chaps in the same room mucked in and they paid him. And he would come round and by the time the soldier woke up, he was shaved. He jumped straight out of bed, put his clothes on, jumped on his horse and away he went, quite likely having had somebody else to get his horse cleaned and saddled for him. So for a time the British soldiers thought this was wonderful, but it palled after a bit because there were no girls, no white women. Although they took up with some of the Indians, this was very much discouraged, and not a lot of them did, I don't think. They got reasonable leave, but they got bored. They played hockey and cricket, but they missed the sort of life the soldier leads in a military station in England. His ideal station is a place like Aldershot, which is absolutely full of soldiers, and women, and shops, and cinema. They didn't get much of that in India.

Lady Daphne Dalton:

The Nizam of Byderabad was the richest man in the world -- but incredibly mean. He was a very, very funny little man. Very autocratic. And if you went there to dinner -- he used to have dinner parties every few months or so -- and he never used to have proper domestic arrangements, in a way. He lived very simply himself, so if he had a dinner party, he used to put the thing out to tender, and you'd get a very indifferent meal served by rather poorish looking servants, not dressed in proper beautiful clothes, as most of the others would be. And the Nizam would be sitting in the middle of the table, flanked by his most important guests. And the wine used to go round. If it went round more than once, or at the very most twice, you'd see the Nizam gesture. You weren't allowed to do any more.

He had a very enormous harem, reputedly about three hundred, including daughters and things. And they weren't allowed to come to dinner. But after dinner, when the ladies retired into a sort of drawing room, about three of these miserable daughters used to be produced to mingle with the guests. And we used to feel so sorry for these girls, because they were frightfully badly dressed -- in cotton saris and cotton stockings. Flat, black strap shoes and black stockings and cotton saris. And here was this man who, if he put half of his money on the world market, there would have been a crisis.

And every year they had to have this parade. It was rather like feudal England, where somebody had to provide a certain number of troops. And my stepfather, being adviser to the state forces, every year this parade had to be held. And it was quite amusing because in fact it was a fairly lighthearted affair in a way, because most of the things that were produced weren't really able to go to war. They were probably all scratched up from nowhere much. You had camel carts and camels pulling guns, and all sorts of very antiquated affairs. A few trained troops, proper ones, but the main body of it was very feudal, and going back many years -- elephants and camels pulling things along, and a rabble of sort of supposedly soldiers. Because you had to produce x number of able bodied fighters, as it were. And in order to do this, you didn't probably keep them under arms all the year round. You just got them on parade one day a year -- except for a small nucleus of well-trained state forces. But this parade was quite an eye opener, all rattling along in the dust.

Lady Dalton:

They'd come around to your house and produce all these carpets and lay them out and you'd sort of pick out the ones you liked and then you'd start haggling. They'd start off and you'd offer them half and you'd never get quite together. They'd say, "Why don't you keep it for a few days," and lay it down on the floor, very trusting. Off they'd go and a few days later they'd come back and you'd start haggling all over again. Eventually you'd come to some sort of an agreement.

Major-General Sir Charles Dalton:

When we first went out to India we had hand operated fans known as punkahs. And the boy whose job it was to work these was called the punkah wallah. And his job was to pull this curtain; it was hanging from the roof -- it would go the width of the room -- and it was made of cloth. It was on a framework, and by pulling the rope and letting it go, pulling it and letting it go, you automatically disturbed the air. All houses of any sort of note would have this and they had the punkah wallah. He occasionally went to sleep and had to be roused by the sahib, waking up with a start and sweating, and the chap would hastily wake up and pull his punkah.

Lady Daphne Dalton:

When we were in this place in Rajputana, Nasirabad, it was extremely hot. And although we had electric fans -- the bungalow was quite modern -- we couldn't really keep cool in the daytime. What we had was, the back doors opened -- they were like French windows, right down to the ground. And fixed up against the outside of these doors were two screens made of a special sort of grass, woven like a blind, which was let down right across the doors. And then you employed a little boy with a can of water, and he sat on the verandah and his job was to splash water on these grass mats hung over the doors, and the wind blew through these and cooled the room down degrees really. They were known as cuscus tatties. Every now and then in the middle of the very hottest part of the day, suddenly one would get terribly, terribly hot and stuffy and you'd realize the little boy had dropped off and was no longer throwing water over these things. So you'd give a loud shout, or rattle something, and he'd start off again. It was quite a nice smell, a sort of a hay kind of smell, which was rather pleasant, and it also made things much, much cooler.

The other thing that one had, of course, was scorpions -- plenty of those -- and praying mantis and the rather attractive little lizard things that run up and down -- geckos. Quite useful -- they used to catch flies. They were quite nice. In those old bungalows in Meerut, when I first went to Meerut, most of the bungalows had these sort of thatched roofs, and they had these sheets. Instead of having a ceiling, you had a white sheet to fit the ceiling, and all sorts of creepy crawlies. You'd be sitting there and you'd suddenly see something between the sheet and the roof, the ceiling, running along the top. Probably something quite not dangerous at all. But it kept the creepy crawlies from actually dropping through the thatch on to the floor.

Lady Daphne Dalton:

Another interesting thing was the domestic side of life -- the daily seeing your cook sort of thing. He did all the shopping -- the meat, the fish, the chicken, the vegetables, the fruit -- out of the bazaar, where he went every day, probably on his bicycle, to do the shopping. And then he'd come back and produce his account book, which you would go through and then you would order what you wanted for lunch, or dinner, or whatever it was. And then if there was something special he would go and get it. And quite likely your bearer, who was the head servant, would be present at this session, in the dining room usually, and the cook would come in, all very clean and smart, and the bearer would be at your elbow -- supposedly be on your side. Then you'd have a polite argument with the cook -- that he'd spent too much money buying a chicken or whatever. So then you'd chop off a few pieces or whatever, knowing full well that the same price would be back the next day in some other guise. So it was a sort of good natured kind of wrangle. Then you'd order your meals. Most of the cooks spoke enough English to understand what you wanted. But the remarkable thing was that most of them would never have touched any of your food. So that when you said, "Well, that pudding wanted a bit more sugar," or "The meat wanted some more salt," or whatever you said about it, they wouldn't have a clue as to what it ought to taste like, because they would never taste it. So it was really quite remarkable, because some of the cooking was really high class. Very, very good indeed. As good as anything you'd expect to meet in a good hotel in England.

Then after your arrangement with the cook, you'd go and inspect the kitchen, and the sort of cook's boy, who'd be the kitchen maid in this country, he'd be on parade as well, all very clean and tidy. And you'd inspect all the cooking pots -- turn them all upside down and look inside and everything. And then you'd walk out and say, "Thank you very much," and that would be that for that day.

Sir Charles Dalton:

We found one of the best things about life in India was the dhobi -- the washing arrangements. One got hot of course and dirty and one wore a different set of clothes every day -- white drill or khaki drill or whatever uniform -- it was all drill, and washable. Except in the cold weather when you had a very light sort of gabardine serge jacket and trousers. But the rest of it was all washable, and all your other clothes and underclothes and sports clothes and things were all washable and were washed every day. And you didn't have to have very many, because you always got them back the same day. It was very destructive to buttons and things, because their method of washing things in the East was walloping them on stones in the river, or the equivalent in their godowns. But it was fairly effective, and beautifully ironed, and literally it was the same day service, and not too expensive. And if you were an important person you used to keep your own tame dhobi -- who did nothing else. It was rather like you kept a cook.

We were always advised before people went out not to have a lot of expensive uniforms made for them in London at a London tailor, but to have one good example of each thing they wanted and use that as a pattern and have everything else made on the spot. I think that's true of most Oriental places -- they know what's wanted in the country better and at a fraction of the price.

Lady Dalton:

If you wanted any sewing done you had a durzi who used to come and sit on your verandah all day and literally sit on the floor and make anything you wanted copied. He even went as far -- this is the story anyway -- they copied the patch in somebody's trousers. They were wonderful. They used to wear no shoes and when they were threading their cotton they would put the cotton through their toes.

Sir Charles Dalton:

The man who worked the leather was of very low caste. You know the caste system in India was very important to them. And you were either high caste or all sorts of levels. And the lowest man of all was the sweeper -- the man who emptied the buckets from the house. He was untouchable. He swept the floor as well. But one of the lowest above him was the man who worked in leather, because leather came from the cow. And the cow was sacred, and shouldn't really be killed. And why the fact that it was sacred meant the man who worked in its hides was low caste I'm not quite sure. But it was so. They very strictly kept to their caste system.

Lady Dalton:

A lot of very low class people were got at by missionaries and made into Christians, but were very much considered to be not very much good -- by anybody. But sweepers, very, very low class, were converted to be Christians, and they thought in their simple way that because they became Christians they would get a lift up out of their very low caste. But in fact I don't think it really worked terribly well.

We had one quite funny thing in Kotagiri, where I had a sweeper -- a woman. And I was going to have a little sort of party and I had some nuts, cashew nuts or peanuts or something, which had to be roasted. I gave all these orders and everything and went out of the kitchen. Then quite by chance I happened to walk round back of the house later and there I found the sweeper with her dustpan, which was used pretty well for most things, I suppose -- the floors to say the least of it. There were my nuts all being rattled around in this thing previous to coming to the table. I nearly had a stroke.

Sir Charles Dalton:

The thing I remember about parties, in a more civilized place, say in Delhi, where you were having a quite a big dinner party, and you would ask people from different houses, different bungalows in the station -- you'd ask the station commander and so on. And you'd all meet, and you'd all go in to dinner, and suddenly one of these people who were your guests would recognize their own silver -- or their own plates. And nobody ever asked anything. There was a sort of freemasonry amongst the servants. And if the sahib -- the Dalton sahib -- hadn't got enough knives or forks for the numbers involved, he would just go round and say, "Your sahib's coming to dinner tonight. May I have four forks?" And it was taken for granted. Nobody ever lost anything. They were returned tomorrow morning. And you certainly found yourself eating off your own plates.

Lady Dalton:

There was a tremendous sort of camaraderie, really, among the servants and everything.

Sir Charles Dalton:

When we first went out to India we were given the name of a man -- Mohammed something -- who was a very good bearer and was free. So we wrote out ahead and said we would engage him. And in due course he was on the quay at Bombay, and told us the ropes. We'd never been to India before, and he knew we had a baby, and everything was organized very well. We went up country to Nasirabad. He stayed with us for about three or four months -- perhaps it was six months -- and one day he said he must go home. He lived right away up in Kashmir, and it took a long time to get there and he wanted leave. And he never came back. And we discovered he had gone back to his old master. He'd never meant to stay with us. He belonged to somebody else, but he hadn't let on to us. We always slightly had it in for the other chap. We thought he knew, probably all the time. When he came home on leave he probably said to Mohammed, "Now, don't forget, you're my bearer, and I expect to find you at Bombay whenever I come back." He quite likely was being paid by the other chap -- a retaining fee.

Sir Charles Dalton:

This extraordinary bush telegraph. How did they know that you or I or anybody else was coming back from leave? It was a wonderful piece of intelligence. If you are in India and you come home on leave, without doing anything about it, you'll find your bearer on the quayside in Bombay. Nobody knows quite how this works, but it happens.

Lady Daphne Dalton:

Life in a cantonment for a young girl was very gay. Because you were quite probably the only unmarried female about the place. There might have been one or two others, but really very few compared with the amount of men, officers. There were four or five regiments, you see. Quite a lot of the officers of course were married, but the young ones weren't, the subalterns weren't. So you really had a very, very social life. And these Weeks -- Polo Weeks and things that you went to -- you made friends all over the place. And you were asked to stay, just as you would in England. You know, you go and stay in a house party. And there was riding and dancing and polo. A regiment would probably be the host, in a particular cantonment, and lay on all sorts of entertainment for their guests. One Week we went to we had a progressive dinner, in which you had your courses in different houses in the cantonment and you had to get between one and then the next the best way you could -- soup in one bungalow, and the fish in the next, and the meat in the next. But it was all really good light-hearted fun really.

And then there were people like the governors of the provinces, who usually had house parties for various functions. Dances or shooting, or whatever. There was a lot of social life, which was great fun. I was a quite good rider, and that in itself produced quite a lot of extra sport in the sense that you were asked to ride ponies for people or you were asked to ride in a show or go out hunting or whatever. The shooting was a lot of fun at the weekends.

Lady Daphne Dalton:

The Viceregal Ball was -- in the winter -- held at Viceroy's House and it was quite a fantastic thing. The Indian princes wore their most beautiful clothes and jewels by the ton. Quite fantastic. The colors! All the officers were in uniform mess kits, some red coats, some yellow. Fantastic color in this wonderful setting. The bodyguards lined the stairs up to the ballroom. The Viceroy's ADC's wore dark blue tailcoats with pale blue facings, so you knew straight away who the ADC's were.

Major-General Sir Charles Dalton:

Another thing that I remember very well when I first went to India was the extraordinary feeling before the monsoon broke. About the first of April was the beginning of the hot weather and it got hotter and hotter from then until about the middle of June when the monsoon broke. And you got very bad tempered and very irritable in this hot weather. And then you smelt the rain on the wind. You got news that it had arrived someplace in the south of India and you counted the hours almost. One day you went out and you smelt this thing. You get it sometimes in this country after a long drought, where the ground gets wet and you get quite a distinctive smell out of the wet ground. And this was absolutely wonderful. And your compound, the area outside your bungalow, which was arid, dry, dusty, and absolutely yellow, nothing living at all -- within a few days, literally days, we had let the grazing of our compound to a local farmer for a few rupees. The grass was growing, and you could almost see it growing, in what had been sand, apparently sand, after this tremendous drenching that it had had. And then for about six weeks or two months life was quite pleasant. The rains were very, very heavy to start with, but they gradually let up and then you had a gradual return to the hot weather again. But it was the most wonderful feeling at the first onset of the monsoon rain.

Sir Charles Dalton:

We used to go out into the countryside, nominally to shoot snipe, and the odd duck. And one place in Rajputana, from Nasirabad, we shot these florican, which were sort of bustards. They weren't very good shooting. They jumped up and down in the undergrowth. They literally jumped up and then they ran. They didn't fly much. And one day, just after the rains, the bag was three cobra, and one florican. So I hastily sent back to England for my leather gaitors, which I had worn as a young officer. I had never thought to take these things out, but walking after these florican, if you weren't wide awake, you were suddenly confronted by a cobra, who sort of sat up like that and looked at you, great big brute. And I thought it would be wise to have something covering my legs. I don't think many people were actually bitten, because there wasn't enough undergrowth at that time. But they came out of the ground with the rain.

We had one nasty incident later on. It was in Delhi, right in the city, in our bathroom. In those bungalows in those days you didn't have a fixed bath like we have here with water that you turned on. You had a little hovel in the back of the house with an open tin tub in it. And the bhisti, the water carrier, his job was to bring the water from the well in the compound and empty it into the bath, and bring some more water, hot water, from where he'd been heating it on a little coal or paraffin stove, and make your bath. He came into the bathroom from the outside door and then shut the door and shouted, and you came in from your house from the other door into the bathroom and had your bath. And my wife got into the bath one day, having done this process, and suddenly saw a krait, a very small and very deadly snake. It was behind the door, wasn't it?

Lady Dalton:

Yes, between me and my bedroom, so I had a problem. Because I was completely stripped, I had nothing on. And it was rather difficult to get the bhisti to come back and kill the snake, with me sitting in the bath all wet -- and naked! However, eventually, I shouted and screamed for help, and the thing slithered away -- enough for me to get out of the bath and go into my bedroom. And I then got the man to come, and he managed to kill it.

Sir Charles Dalton:

They used to come up through the little drain hole from the mud floor of the bathroom and get in that way. And one was always told to look out for the danger of them being curled round the electric light switches on the veranda. You came in, you'd been out somewhere, the club or something, and you came in to turn the switch on, and it had been known that the krait would be curled round the switch. They're really deadly.

At one stage we had a mongoose, because they're absolutely dead knots on snakes. And if you had a mongoose in your garden or in the house, they're so quick and they go for snakes immediately. And a lot of people kept mongeese for this purpose. Actually, I believe the plural of mongoose is mongooses. Anyway, they're delightful animals.

Lady Daphne Dalton:

This bungalow that my stepfather had as his CO's quarter was the bungalow which the Ellis family had lived in -- Ellis had been a commanding officer in Kohat as well, previously -- and the tribesmen from the hills had come down into Kohat. Nobody quite knew how they got in, because there was a wire fence all the way round the cantonment, and the gates to go in and out of. But anyway they did get in. And they kidnapped the daughter, Miss Ellis, having murdered Mrs. Ellis. And they took the girl off into the hills and kept her for a certain time. But in fact this was recorded in a program on the wireless recently. I heard it. And eventually a brave woman, who I think was a missionary or something similar, went with a small expedition to track down this girl and they got her back eventually, unharmed.

But this bungalow that we were living in was the one that she'd been kidnapped from. And in fact, it wasn't surprising that you could do that and not get heard at all. It was rather a creepy sort of bungalow, because a servant would come into the room, and you'd find him standing behind your chair, and you hadn't heard him come in at all -- partly because of the matting on the floor. And they wore no shoes of course, only their bare feet. And the walls were so thick that it completely deadened any sound at all. Well, it was a little bit of a creepy house in a way. Not so much that you knew what had happened in it. But it was this business that you couldn't hear anything in it. And it had very, very wide verandas so that the rooms were a bit dark. No windows really, just doors. But it was a creepy sort of house.

But we had a lot of interesting things. We used to go over to Peshawar, which was the nearest big place. And in order to go there, I think partly due to this kidnapping business, and a certain amount of unrest on the Frontier, you never could go over without somebody in the car with a rifle. You couldn't go unattended. In my case, it could have been a young officer accompanying us if we went over to do some shopping or something. Or my stepfather with a gun. But you couldn't go alone.

Sir Charles Dalton:

One of the things that we missed out on, in my time, was the fact that we had absolutely no intercourse with the Indians, except the servants. At the very top level, we did meet one or two Indian princes. But nowhere else. The Army and the Civil Service were completely in a world apart. We were British and they were Indians and never the twain shall meet. This was the sort of feeling. And I'm sure that this was wrong and that, if one were doing it again, I think one would take a lot of trouble to get to know Indians.

Lady Dalton:

But then you see that was different to my experience in Kohat, because my stepfather was commanding an Indian regiment. And therefore you had a lot of social contact with the Indian officers--and their wives. All the wives were in purdah in those days of course and were never seen uncovered, as it were. They wore these completely covered over white things, right down to the ground, with little peepholes for their eyes. And my mother used to entertain the officers' wives to tea in the bungalow. And they all arrived all covered over in these white burhkas, they were called. And then they'd take them off, as soon as there was no man. A servant didn't matter, but they couldn't be seen by somebody of their own class. So then they took off these white burkhas, and they then would be quite ordinary, and beautifully dressed. Lovely saris and everything. Some of them couldn't speak English, but you managed somehow to talk to them. My mother spoke reasonable Hindustani, and I got to the stage where I could fumble along. But of course, like in a lot of languages, the language you use to your servants, you don't use the same language to speak to higher class people. So I got in a bit of a muddle over that. They were very nice, they didn't worry. Some of them were absolutely beautiful. Very, very fair skins, because they were north country people.

When my stepfather finished commanding the regiment in Kohat, he was given quite an important post, in Hyderabad, as adviser to the Nizam's state forces. And there you really lived entirely in an Indian environment. Your main social life was with Indians, who were extremely hospitable. Hyderabad was a Hindu state, but it was ruled by Mohammedans of very high class, and they were very rich. They lived in considerable state. They were highly educated, most of them. They spoke beautiful English and that sort of thing. And you went to their houses to play tennis, and have dinner, and that sort of thing. I suppose they were almost like landed gentry in this country. They had large estates where they got most of their money from, and some of them owned factories, or were doctors, and that class of person.

We were invited to go and spend the weekend to shoot crocodiles by the Pir of Makhud. The crocodiles lie out on the banks sunning themselves. We floated along in this boat and the idea was to shoot the crocodiles before they got into the water, but they're fairly difficult to shoot. We stayed the weekend at his place, and we had this tremendous dinner given for us by this man, the Pir of Makhud, who was a sort of local squire sort of chap. And he thought he was going to do us jolly well. So we all went in to this supper after having spent the day on the boat, and we sat down on the floor and we were given a delicious Indian meal--rice, and all sorts of stuff, so we did ourselves quite well. Then there was a pause, and suddenly a whole English meal appeared, including roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and, topping it all, Christmas pudding!

And the heat! It was hot weather. It was March, which was very hot. March in Makhud was summer, probably in the eighties. And when we were confronted with this second meal, ending up with Christmas pudding, we nearly passed out. We really did. It was absolutely horrifying! And we sort of choked down as much as we possibly could, because they would have taken it as a great offense if we hadn't eaten something. We nearly died. Had terrible indigestion all night.

Major-General Sir Charles Dalton:

One of the other impressions that I have of India generally is travel, train travel -- the distances were enormous. And any considerable journey was done by train, which was quite an undertaking. You never got anywhere in one day. The trains were very slow, and they were all organized so that you would sleep in them. Even a journey from Bombay to Nasirabad, we had to spend the night in the train. And one used to reckon journeys instead of saying, as in this country, "How long does it take to get to London?" "Oh, it's three and a half hours on the train," there you'd say, "It's two nights." That was the way you reckoned it.

And so far as we were concerned, there were three classes of travel in India -- there was first class travel, second class travel, and then third. Well, we, as British officers, were not allowed to travel any way other than first class, because when we were traveling on duty, our fares were paid for us, but if we were traveling otherwise, the officers had to go first class because the British soldiers went second class. And under no circumstances could one go third class, which was one hundred percent Indian, and very hard sort of seats and probably more or less open wagons, people hanging on all over.

It was quite a performance. We had these bedding rolls, sort of valises or bedding rolls, in which you had your blankets, and such other things as you needed for the night -- separate from the rest of your luggage, which was generally very considerable, bulky. You always had your own bearer, your personal servant, who went with you, and it was his job to put your bedding roll in the compartment, and when the time came to go to bed in the evening, he would come in. He traveled in a little separate compartment at the end of the carriage, with other bearers. That was their hidey hole. And he would come in at a convenient stop, about, say, eight o'clock in the evening, and he would put down the bed, which was folded up against the wall. He would put the bed down, undo the bedding roll, make it all ready for the sahib to get into bed. And the same thing would happen in reverse in the morning. You would never do it for yourself, of course, this would be quite unthinkable.

And your method of keeping cool, in those days, was by buckets of ice, which you started off with, had them put into your carriage at the beginning, where you started from, and then renewed, probably every day. And this did keep the temperature reasonable. Then we didn't have restaurant cars on the trains. They stopped so often that you got out and you telegraphed or telephoned ahead for a meal to be prepared for you at the restaurant on the station, and you got out of the train and went into the thing and ate it. And then you got back into the train and went on. And I suppose this was partly why it took so long! But it was quite a sort of ritual.

And the stations were the most extraordinary places. It seemed as though the whole world and his wife was camping on the station, sleeping on it. You tripped over bodies -- any station, particularly a big one like Delhi, the terminus -- everybody shouting, a large number of vendors, of sweets and all sorts of things to eat, and drinks, cold drinks. And one got used to the sort of station cries: "Hindu pani! Musselman pani!" meaning that if you were a Hindu, you could only drink water from the water carrier who was the Hindu man -- it would be sacrilege if you drank it from the other man, and vice versa.

Lady Daphne Dalton:

When we first went out there was no air conditioning on the trains, and the dust was absolutely fantastic. The filth -- you were completely covered. You had three windows on the trains -- a blue glass one (for when the weather was very hot and the glare was terrific), you had an ordinary glass one, and then you had a sort of wire mesh one. They were all sandwiched up and you could choose which one you would have. The mesh was really for when it was so hot you couldn't breathe. The blue glass was for when it was very sunny, which it usually was, except at night. And the dirt was just indescribable. You ate dust and grit from the moment you left till the moment you got there.

You were traveling through desert most of the way, except where it was irrigated. It was all arid plains. The carriages were wide and no corridors of course, from a safety point of view, so nobody could get in to you. You never had an Indian traveling in your carriage. You reserved your carriage entirely for yourself, or for your family or whatever you were. And your servant would come every time you stopped at a station. He'd come around and say "Are you OK? Do you want anything?" or get you some more ice, or generally look after you. There was a servants' compartment at the end of your coach, but he had to get out and come to your window to communicate with you.

Major-General Sir Charles Dalton:

What a lot of English people used to do, at Christmas time in particular, would be go away with their families and take a block of jungle from the Forest Department. There was a rest house and it was a lovely holiday. Completely different from either the military cantonment or the garrison town. We spent all day out walking or looking at things in the jungle, and the flowers and the trees. And perhaps if one got information -- you had an shikari, a professional hunter, to advise you -- and if he brought in information that there were tiger or panther in the area, you would then make a plan to go and sit up late at night in what was called a machan, which was an elevated platform in a tree, camouflaged. And underneath the tree and a little way away from it would be tied up some unfortunate goat which you bought from the local village and, sure enough, at one o'clock in the morning, along came the tiger. And it would either kill the goat, or be just about to kill the goat, when you would shoot it. Even if you didn't get a shot, it was very exciting, sitting up there, waiting, and being absolutely still. The slightest movement, of course, would have betrayed your presence and he would never have come.

Lady Daphne Dalton:

We had a pack of drag hounds out there which were looked after by one of the regiments. Instead of running after a live animal, they run after a scent which is laid on ahead, by somebody with a -- aniseed it usually is -- who goes on a route which is defined beforehand, dragging the smelly bag along. They usually go on a horse ahead, and then the hounds pick up the scent and run after it. And then we used to go over to Peshawar occasionally to hunt there, where they hunted jackal. They didn't hunt drag, they hunted proper -- a live animal -- which was more fun. But you got up very, very early, where you'd meet perhaps at six, just as the sun was rising. Extremely cold, really, icy cold in the winter. And gradually the sun would get up and it would be reasonably warm.

End

OBITUARY For Major General Sir Charles Dalton

As reported in the Ripon Gazette 13-1-1989.

Major general Sir Charles Dalton, Former High Sheriff of Yorkshire who lived in Grewelthorpe has died age 86. [Born 1903].

Major General Sir Charles Dalton who lived at The Hutts. He was High Sheriff in 1972. He was awarded the OBE in 1941, the CBE in 1954 and made Companion of the Bath in 1954. He was knighted in 1967.

Educated at Aysgarth school, Cheltenham College and the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich. he was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in 1921.

After service in Egypt and India he went to Staff College at Camberley. He commanded several divisions in India and Burma then after the war spent a period at the War Office.

For ten years he was Director General of the Zoological Society of London.

Sir Charles who spent over 20 years as church warden for St. JamesÕs Church in Grewelthorpe leaves a widow Daphne and two daughters.

Newspaper articles about Major General Sir Charles Dalton:

Ripon Gazette Feb. 1989; Report of Annual dinner at Hackfall Inn, Grewelthorpe. 65 members & guests attended. President Maj. Gen. Peter Bradley called for 1 min. silence for past President Sir Charles Dalton. Lady Dalton was guest at dinner.

Ripon Gazette 28 June 1928; The Grewelthorpe ex-servicemenÕs Assoc. held their 4th Annual outing to the Lake District. Going thro. Wensleydale after an early start with 32 members & friends leaving at 6 a.m. Breakfast was taken at The White Horse Hotel Hawes. After tea at White Hart, Penrith visit made to Lowther Castle ,seat of Lord Lonsdale. This was arranged by Maj. Gen. Dalton and was much appreciated.

9th Febuary 1928; Ripon Gazette. At the Sunday morning service at St. JamesÕs Church Grewelthorpe, the ex-servicemen of Grewelthorpe attended under General Dalton to honour the memory of Earl Haig. All wore medals and poppies. The latter supplied by General Dalton. The preacher was Colonel Gethin.

17th December 1931; Ripon Gazette. The Annual meeting of the British Legion was held at the school on Friday evening.

Committee as follows:-

President. Charles Dalton. R.A.

Vice Presidents. John Dalton, R.A. W.J owett, F.D. Moore.

11th October 1945; Report in Ripon Gazette The AGM of the British Legion was held last Friday when election of officers was as follows:- President. Brig. Charles Dalton. There were a number of vice presidents which included Brig.J. Dalton. Chairman. P. Ashby. Hon Sec. W. Morley. Hon Treas. R. Stelling. It was decided to have a whist drive on 1st Wed. each month.

Ripon Gazette 10th October 1946; British Legion meeting. The British Legion annual meeting was held on Tuesday last week. Rev. W. A. R. Goss. presided and assured the branch of the support of the church. The Chairman gave a report on the years activities and moved a vote of thanks to the secretary and other officers. The Treasurer submitted a satisfactory financial statement. Results of elections were as follows. President. Brig. C. Dalton. Chairman. P. Ashby. Vice Chairman. H. Hall. Hon Sec. W. Morley. Hon Treasurer J. Buck. Plus 5 vice presidents. A church parade is to be held on Nov.10th 1946 at 10-30 a.m.