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Photographs - Pakistan - Bridge Building in Khajuri Plains
Pakistan, 1930. Jane Evelyn Jane Fairfax was born in 1880 at Warter, Yorkshire, England, the daughter of Charles Henry Wilson, 1st Baron Nunburnholme, and Florence Jane Helen Wellesley. Jane's father held the office of Member of Parliament (Liberal M.P.) for Kingston-upon-Hull between 1874 and 1885, and then between 1885 and 1905. He was also Justice of the Peace (J.P.) and Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) for the East Riding of Yorkshire. He was created 1st Baron Nunburnholme, of the City of Kingston upon Hull on 16 January 1906. She was married on 6 July 1899 at St. George Hanover Square, London, England. Her husband, Guy Thomas Fairfax (1870-1934) was born at Nunappleton on 3 April 1870, the son of Lt.-Col. Thomas-Ferdinand Fairfax of the Grenadier Guards (1839-1884), and the grandson of Thomas Fairfax of Steeton and Newton Kyme, York, JP and DL (1804-1875). They descent from the lineage of Rear Admiral Robert Fairfax 1665/66-1725), former MP and Lord Mayor of York, who resided at the original Manor House at Bilbrough built in 1670 for him and which was destroyed by a fire in 1832. The admiral's grandfather was Sir William Fairfax (1609-1644), an officer in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War, and knighted by Charles I. Joan and Guy are known to have had one child, Gavin Thomas Fairfax, who was born in 1902 at Bilbrough, Yorkshire, England, and whom became a practising solicitor. Joan's diary, however, reveals that they had another child, perhaps born in 1900, as Joan is taking care of 'Baby' throughout the volume. Also in 1902, construction of their expansive residence, Bilbrough Manor, was completed. Situated on the same Fairfax property as Rear Admiral Robert Fairfax had his manor built three centuries earlier. Bilbrough Manor, which was built in 1901-1902 for Guy Thomas Fairfax (and his wife Joan), is now a Grade II listed building. Described as a two storey Country House, it is made of brick with rough cast render and ashlar dressings, plain tile roofs and 13 chimney stacks. The east front has a central round headed niche with stone seat and a raised step. The north entrance front has a 4 gabled front with a 2 storey porch and an arched opening with the coat of arms to the Fairfax family. The interior retains many original features, including panelling, fireplaces, and the staircase with square newels and turned balusters. The present house was rebuilt on the site of a decaying Elizabethan mansion. Some details from the original house, principally the coats of arms, were incorporated in the present house. The most prominent belongs to the Fairfax family who have been associated with Bilbrough since 1556. The most famous of the family was the 3rd Lord, "Black Tom" Fairfax who created the Parliamentarian new Model Army and was in command when it defeated Charles 1. Later however he opposed Cromwell's worst excesses and was instrumental in the restoration to the throne of Charles II. In 1997 Bilbrough Manor was separated into three houses, and the principal part with most of the land was quite recently sold for well over £1,250,000. The village of Bilbrough and the surrounding Parish has an area of 1,390 acres and was in fact mostly the property of the Fairfax family from the 14th century onwards. Thomas Fairfax, parliamentary commander-in-chief during the English Civil War, is buried in a tomb inside the Fairfax Chapel within the village church, beside his wife Anne, daughter of Lord Vere, Baron of Tilbury. Contemporary to the Afridi Rebellion and the Red Shirt Rebellion (1930-1931), the present volume of original photographs provides a rare visual chronicle of a notable undertaking by the Royal Engineers (RE), developing bridges and water supply in a geographically and politically hostile region then known as the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of colonial British India, the objective being permanent occupation of the Khajuri Plain. This photographic work features firsthand snapshot views of the Bara Bridge under construction, as well as views of Bara camp, and the Bara River reservoir, this project being captured in 34 views. Also being erected for "defenses" according to the photographer's caption, three views show pillboxes (dug-in guard posts with firing holes) being built at both ends of the Mazarai [Mazaraipal] Bridge. [The 'Inglis' patterned Bara Bridge in the Peshawar District, North West Frontier, was constructed across the Bara River in 1930 by No. 4 Field Company, King George's Own Bengal Sappers and Miners. It was named after its inventor, Lieutenant later Professor Sir, Charles Inglis (1875-1952). The specifications required that it be capable of carrying infantry in fours or 10-ton steam rollers, one at a time. Work began on 29 October 1930 and the bridge was open for traffic on 23 November. From the era of the Raj, the town of Bara, located in Bara Tehsil in Khyber Agency, has also held a fort, and supplied water to Peshawar.] Three brigade size camps were established during the North West Frontier operations of 1930-1931, at Bara Fort, Karawal and Mirikhel, all of which are represented here. Devising methods for water supply for military camp settlements was, needless to say, an imperative endeavour. The arduous and innovative undertakings are well illustrated here, showing man-made reservoirs and immense steel holding tanks, pipe being laid across arid terrain, manual transportation of water, temporary dams, and finally, pumping station sites being selected and equipment erected. The men had a scant few lorries at their disposal, as well as horse-drawn carts to do the job. The photographs show the means of obtaining and preserving water for Karawal Camp situated at the base of Karawal Hill, Matannai Camp [near Mattani village], Jula Talao Camp, Narai Khwar Camp most likely situated along the stream by the same name, and Miri Khel Camp at the Bara River gorge. Miri Khel being an important camp, 14 photographs show works being performed here, mainly for water supply and usage. These vivid images show the installation of a boiler at the pumping station, a tank reservoir being assembled, laying the main pipe, the completed water point and bath house, as well as a simple footbridge and cliffside protected paths in the area. Other views include the Ilm Gudr pumping station and its victaulic pipe line leading to Karawal, a military post at Shamghakhai, the Mazarai Post (captioned with dates in Jamuary 1930), a "piquet", or small a small temporary military post closer to the enemy than the main formation, being erected at Karawal Camp (also captioned with dates in January 1930), simple rock walls serving as defense and boundaries, wooden tent frames and chappars (thatched or netted roofs) being made at Fort Salop and Star River Camp, rugged frontier roads, mule tracks, and mountain passes. [After the second Afghan War (1878-1880), the British had occupied the whole Khyber Pass and established a piquet system to safeguard their passage through it. Fort Salop was named after the King's Shropshire Light Infantry.] These photographs are contemporary to the Red Shirt and Afridi Rebellions on the North-West Frontier of India, which took place between 23 April 1930 and 22 March 1931. Photographs show some construction for battle strategy and defense; and a few of the captions make reference to the 'enemy'. While the Afridi uprising was a traditional Frontier tribal revolt, the Red Shirt Rebellion was essentially political in nature, inspired by the Indian Independence movement unfolding in the rest of British India. As such, it was a first for the Frontier region. During the North West Frontier operations of 1930-1931, Major-General Sir Coleridge commanded the Peshawar District including Bara Fort. [General Sir John Francis Stanhope Duke Coleridge, GCB CMG DSO (1878-1951), a senior British Indian Army officer, went on to be Military Secretary to the India Office.] The caption to one of the two loose photographs sums up the state of Indo-Anglo relations in the province, and the Royal Engineers' objectives at the time, "... a view of the 2nd Indian Infantry Brigade Camp at Karawal, on the Khajurai Plain... four miles from the river, therefore the Sappers & Miners had to put a pipe line in to supply the camp. The open trench can be seen... a group of canvas tanks containing drinking water. At the foot of the hill in the background are the enemies caves, not visible of course." The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army. It is highly regarded throughout the military, and especially the Army. Much of the British colonial era infrastructure of India, of which elements survive today, was created by engineers of the three presidencies' armies and the Royal Engineers. The British army arrived in Peshawar in 1849 and ended Sikh rule in the area between the Suleiman Mountains and the Indus. The British annexed Peshawar and other frontier districts as part of the newly annexed province of the Punjab and thus the expansion of the British power over the vast areas of Sub-Continent came close to Khyber. The British first came into contact with Khyber Pass during the first Afghan War when one unit of their army advanced on Afghanistan by this route. After the second Afghan War (1878-80), the British occupied the whole Pass and established a piquet system to safeguard passage through it. The Khyber valley saw a great deal of fighting during the second Afghan War in 1878. The Afridis seized the Pass in 1897 and there was a general uprising of Khyber tribes against the British. The British then organized the Tirah Expedition to subdue the tribe and bring them firmly under their control. It was after this campaign that the famous Khyber Rifles were organized. During the third Afghan war (1919), Khyber valley again witnessed a good deal of fighting. According to the British, it was here that they met their equal, men who fought against them until the last day of their rule. The Pashtun tribes were never completely subjugated and were treated with respect and allowed considerable independence in the internal affairs of the tribes. The Khajuri Plain is a vast tract of country starting from Bara Fort up to Karawal in the West, at the foot of the Tirah hills. The Plain is roughly bounded by Jamrud, Kacha Garhi and Besai ridges in the north, Spina Thana (Airnal Chabutra) on Peshawar-Kohat Road in the south, Sheikhan and Bara Fort in the east and Karawal and Ghund Ghar in the west. In 1861, the Afridi clans agreed to share joint responsibility with the British, in maintaining order in the area. However, in the following years, many battles were fought and many agreements made between the two, as the British sought to dominate the area. Between 1849 and 1947 the military history of the Frontier consisted of a succession of punitive expeditions against offending Pashtun (or Pathan) tribes, punctuated by three wars against Afghanistan. In April 1930, the British army opened fire on the 'Red Shirts' in Qissa Khawani Bazaar, Peshawar. Many fell martyred. In May 1930 another conflict began for the control of Peshawar. General Coleridge launched occupation operations in full earnest for the occupation of the Khajuri Plain, constructing roads and establishing of permanent military posts at Fort Salop and other places. The incessant fighting for decades stirred Mahatma Gandhi to take up the Khajuri Plain issue during his talks with Lord Irwin. During the North West Frontier operations of 1930-1931, three brigade size camps were established at Bara Fort, Karawal and Mirikhel. The area was sparsely populated due to the lack of water, apart from the British troops who occupied most of the Khajuri Plain in the 1930s. Marking the limit of the Sikh and British controlled areas, Bara Fort sat on the eastern fringe of the Khajuri Plain. The occupation of Khajuri by the British took a permanent shape and it continued to exist till the partition in 1947. As a whole, the plain would remain barren until the 1970s when a large irrigation project changed the area to open commerce. An Indian General Service Medal, 'North West Frontier Campaign 1930-31' was issued to British forces who were involved in the suppression of a rising among the Afridi tribes beyond the border in 1930, and in that of the so-called Red Shirt Rebellion, after the occupation of Khajuri Plain. . Very Good.
      [Bookseller: Voyager Press Rare Books & Manuscripts, ]
Last Found On: 2016-10-08           Check availability:      Biblio    


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