1943 to 1947 includes 5 years of my school life in Simla. (Two years in Preparatory School in Chota Simla). Now an Octogenarian does sum up many years ago.Strangely enough its indelible imprint on my life leave clusters of fond memories. Born a Christian of British parentage out in India I have always classed myself as Anglo-Indian.However, after leaving India in 1956, on an Indian passport to go work for an American company in Iraq. I must begin to tell you the intrigue encounters of my national status. With the name Stringer, introduction to the many ex-pats was an amendment of the first degree to explain my clear English speaking accent. Explaining my schooling up in the foothills of the Himalayas was at Bishop Cotton School, English founded educated discipline.But in terror yet hilarious when Iraqi king & government was deposed by Col. Abdul Karim Kasim 1958 and I was detained at an internal checkpoint. The bumbling guards could not make out from my documents if I was “Hollandee or Hindi.”
Moving on to London December 1958, the Cockney element could not tolerate my spoken English, by far, was clearer & well understood. How come life in old India was easier & better and the sun always shined! Stone the crows what more could I say?
I seriously began to integrate me with England because of my family British background. Before career reassignments to Libya & Iran, I applied for a British passport and was denied. Aware of my salary scale undervalued regardless of my well-advanced engineering skills drilling for groundwater. I had to suffer, to teach drilling practice to other well-paid company fellows. Laughable to listen to some Americans sheer stupidly to ask if I was a US ‘Injun’. Including their wives, more so, taken with my quaint English accent coming from the East.
All throughout my working life and on holiday, countries around the Mediterranean I was forever accepted as local and treated with hospitable kindness. I say with pride my School motto “Overcome evil with Good” brought me safely where I am today. You must be proud of dear Patina too.
Peter Stringer Lefroy
An Old Schoolboy
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