A Very Old Story

Dear All

My name is D(Dick). F.Q. Bas Backer.

After some searching,I found this website and decided I would send you my story.
I am now 76 years old.

On the 29th of December 1945, together with my parents and my sister, I arrived in Shimla. My father had been appointed to the Netherlands consulate general in Shimla.
In March 1946 I became a pupil at the prep school. The headmaster was Mr. Bruce.
In 1947  I moved to the main school. Rivaz was my house and the dormitory was in the headmaster’s house. During my stay in School I spent a great deal of the time in hospital due to several bouts of dysentery. This was mainly due to the fact that, via London , we came straight from occupied Holland. Because of the change of environment, climate and of course the food  I soon became ill and that often interrupted my stay at school. Nevertheless Shimla has had an enduring influence on the rest of my life.  I remember the early morning when the moslem students were transported to Pakistan. On the first of December my sister and I travelled by train via Kalka to Delhi to join our parents. My father was now secretary at the Netherlands Embassy in Delhi and on the 14th of April 1948 my sister and I returned to the Netherlands.

Ten years ago I returned to BCS. I was shown around by the geography teacher and introduced to the headmaster. Saw my classroom, the dining hall and the chapel (where I was christened).

I have included a rather vague photograph  of Rivaz house in 1948. The housemaster was Mr. Papworth. I expect that most of the persons on the photograph are no more, but there might just be one who can recognise himself. You will find me on the top row, fifth from the left.


Best regards,
D.F.Q. Bas Backer.
Emerson/Rivaz 1946/47

7 thoughts on “A Very Old Story

  1. Editor Post author

    Col. R [Wendy] Dewan says he has a copy of this photo, and that DC Anand, Kirschner II, H Dhawan and himself were there. Waiting Wendy to list them by their positions in the picture.

  2. Paddy Singh

    Please mail me Dick’s contact details in the Netherlands, as I visit there quiet often due to groups coming from there to India through me.

    1. Uday Singh Jubbal.

      My two first cousins,Anup Singh(Roll no.554.)and Arun Singh(Roll No.555.)joined BCS in Ibbetson House in 1954.The elder brother passed out in 1960 & the younger brother finished his schooling in 1963.They were from the Bharatpur in Rajasthan,a Princely State in British India.Arun was a three time MLA from Deegh in Bharatpur District till his death in 2006………………

  3. Vijay Khurana

    There will be a few persons from Mr Backer’s time in the UK and who just might remember him. I think Peter Stringer would be from about the same time. It would be worthwhile checking with the OCA (UK).

    It is actually quite remarkable for Mr Dick Backer to take the effort and inform us of his old story. It is a short story and a lot of us would like to know more about him. Would he be kind to please inform us of the life he led. It would be interesting to say the least.

    Would it be possible to get his coordinates? That would be a good way to start and discover what BCS was like during his time.

    We look forward to more inputs from him and would actually be quite delighted to hear from him !!

  4. Vijay Khurana

    Lovely memory. I am sure there will be guys who will recognise some of their Rivaz house mates. I am looking for a house photograph of Lefroy for the year 1946-7 to locate my cousin A C Chopra.

    Like Joe Joshi, I, too, joined, School in March 1954. However, the first three nights in Simla I spent with three girls in their room at St Bede’s. My aunt was a student there and I did not realise my luck until many years later !! Some things just strike you much, much later. Alas !!

    If Mr Bas Backer has any more photographs from that time, then we would be delighted to see them. My thanks to him for sharing a lovely and old memory!

  5. Joe Joshi

    Amazing story… I too remember my first day in BCS (March 1954).
    Hope D.F.Q. Bas Backer can connect with some of his old schoolmates.
    Joe Joshi
    R 1954-63

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