The speed with which Army personnel were moved from one station to another during the 1939-45 War is illustrated by the account of his many transfers. A course at the Small Arms School, Pachmari, Central Provinces preceded six months in Staff College at Ouetta which was followed by a brief appointment to Ahmadnagar on the Deccan Plateau. From there he was sent to the General Staff at Army Headquarters, Delhi in the summer of 1941. He describes the delights of life in Simla with his wife and family, whence the entire Government of India moved for the hot weather months.
Shortly after their return to Delhi he was ordered to Quetta and shortly after that to Dibrugarh, Assam, a journey of seven days. The date was April 1942: the Japanese were threatening the eastern borders of India. Hudson’s job was to help with the settlement of refugees, Indian and Chinese. A brief stint in Peshawar followed.
At the end of 1944 he was sent to Italy, north of Florence, to take command of the 3rd Battalion of the Mahratta Light Infantry, 10th Indian Division. He gives a graphic description of his War in Italy; tales of bravery of the Mahratta soldiers, their terrible injuries and losses, and finally, after VE Day, the fortunes of the battalion during its seven months’ stay in post-War Italy.
After his return to India and to his family he was posted again to Army Headquarters in Delhi as Assistant Adjutant General, dealing with the repatriation of British officers and their families.
Home leave for himself and his family followed (his first since 1936). During this time he was asked, in a letter signed by Mountbatten, to return to India to help in making smooth the transfer of power.
His return to Delhi took place shortly after the celebration of Independence Day (15 August 1947) in both new countries. The unnatural quiet seemed to him, as it proved to be, the calm before the storm. He describes atrocities on both sides of the border, and particularly in Delhi and Lahore.
Colonel Hudson favoured Indian Independence and saw that partition and the creation of Pakistan was inevitable, but he deplored the way in which the actual transfer was carried out, resulting in so much carnage. ‘The ultimate tragedy … was haste. All safety standards were sacrificed on the altar of expediency.’ 350pp.