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Kelly’s 12 Christmas Days – No 3 Chitral, NW Frontier 1900

December 14, 2016

Christmas Day 1900 would definitely have been a White Christmas for Thomas Kelly

He was now a captain and doctor in the Indian Medical Service, having arrived in India at the beginning of 1897. On Christmas Day 1900 he was serving as senior medical officer with the Chitral Field Force, based high up in the notorious mountain passes between Afghanistan and India (now Pakistan), including the Khyber Pass. He was attached to the 2nd Regiment, Central India Horse, an Indian regiment, and had already mastered Urdu and Hindi.

On the North West Frontier he experienced at first hand the indiscriminate, sudden attacks that rebel tribesmen launched on British and Indian forces and lived with the constant threat of sniper fire, especially when travelling on horseback between the two mountain bases Drosh and Chitral, a day’s journey. Even medical officers were armed on the North West Frontier and Kelly frequently slept with his pistol under his pillow.

One bonus of a posting in such a remote region was the access to local game and as a fine horseman and frequent hunter there is no doubt the Kelly would have helped ensure a hearty meal for the handful of British officers at Chitral on Christmas Day 1900.

The Kelly story is told in Fighting for the Empire.

Follow his remarkable life through 12 Christmas Days.

Next: No 4 – Tibet, 1903

Previous: No 2 – Queen’s College, Galway 1890

From → Publishing

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