Donald Morgan in India 1946

Donald Cecil Morgan a Warrant Officer in the British Intelligence Corp set sail from England for India on 29 Dec 1945, aged 23.

Donald Morgan, 1946

Donald Morgan, 1946

He had been called up and spent an initial period at Bletchley Park from October 1943 to October 1945 and was to spend the next ten months in India where tensions were high as it embarked on the road to Independence and eventual Partition.

His diary indicates he passed through Gibraltar on 1 January 1946, Port Said on 6 January, Aden 11 January, Bombay 18 January  and reached Karachi on 20 January.

He had his first driving lesson on 29 Jan 1946. His provisional driving licence was issued on 6 Feb 1946 – however his time in India was marked by long and complicated train journeys.

Although some of the physical conditions appear to have been very tough, especially to someone not used to the heat and sparsity of water, there were clearly a host of new experiences in a totally different world. The photo album is compiled more like a holiday album than active military service. It is not clear whose camera it was but photos appear to coincide with periods of leave.

Most of his time was spent on being trained and training. He also mentions loads of pointless typing.

He moved to Delhi on 8 Apr 1946, leaving Karachi on 6 Apr and passing through Lahore on 7 Apr. He notes in one of his letters that Delhi was distant from any of the ‘troubles’ as the population was full of civil servants and ‘europeanized’ people.

His photos show he visited Nainital Lake and Agra which was presumably accomplished on leave from the Delhi headquarters.

On 13 Aug 1946 he travelled to Poona arriving there in 15 Aug, via Agra and Bhopal. In Poona he attended a number of courses at a College there. He returned to Delhi on 30 Aug 1946.

On his birthday on 21 Sep 1946 he was granted permission to return to England early. His father was ill and there was urgent business to attend to.

He spent a few days at the British Transit camp at Deolali (the setting for the BBC series ‘It aint half hot mum” and origin of the phrase ‘go doolally’) arriving on 26 Sep 1946 and then to Bombay on 7 Oct 1946 where he boarded the SS Cameronia. The conditions on the boat were very poor and overcrowded but everyone was keen to go home. The hold was used as quarters for some 250 WO’s most of them returning home after three years (43 group)

He arrived back in Glasgow on 29 Oct and took a train to his HQ at Aldershot and then to the offices of Morgan Back and Co in London by 31 Oct 1946

Surviving Documents

  • Diaries of Donald Morgan 1945 and 1946
  • Photo Album (fully annotated)
  • Five Letters to his father dated 4 Sep 1946, 21 Sep 1946, 29 Sep 1946, 5 Oct 1946 and 16 Oct 1946
  • Four Letters from father dated 25 Jan 1946, 8 Mar 1946, 6 May 1946 and 23 Aug 1946
  • Letter from Mr Noorullali dated 19 Dec 1946 from Ghazipur  (indian Colleague)
Last updated on November 22, 2017 by JJ Morgan

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