Archive / Papers / Close Papers


Given by Mr. H.M. Close.

TS entitled: A Pathan Company. Written 1945-46: shortened and revised 1963-64.


Recruitment from N.W.F.P. to the battalion of the Bhopal Infantry: Mr. Close posted to the Battalion in 1941. Battalion posted to Cyprus, Spring 1942.

Part I. Cyprus.

Battalion settles in S.W. corner at Paphos. B Company entirely Pathan, commanded by Close. Area pastoral. Description of pleasant easy life: Army exercises – abilities of various individuals. Camp life. Descriptions of countryside. Individual Commanders. Discipline. Subjective reflections on the idyllic conditions of army life there.

May 6, 1942, leave for Egypt.

Part II. Egypt, Cyrenaica, the Lebanon, Palestine.

Quassassin – desert – of Nile delta. Changes in battalion life, discipline, promotion etc.; Sent to Cyrenaica to round up Greek mutineers.; Description of surrounding Greek mutineers’ camp; Discourse on life of the company as good in itself; Difference between life of Pathans within the Company and in their villages. Reasons for this; Mountain Welfare Training School outside Tripoli; The Company acts as demonstrators in street fighting; Battalion makes up part of Force 281 attempting to recapture Dodecanese Is. Attempt called off; Eventually battalion sent to recapture Simi.

Part III. The Aegean.

Battalion moves and lands on Simi. No fighting. Daily life. Practice exercises. Portraits of individual soldiers. Series of postponements of landing on Piscopi deeply disappointing. Eventual action against the enemy described.


After leave, returns to Bhopal and is in charge. Goes to visit members of his platoon in their homes on the Frontier. Returns to command the company and tries to get demobilisation for the men, but is not successful in this; Continues and extends education classes; Returns to Rajputana Rifles Centre at Delhi; Demobilised; Makes second tour of Frontier.