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Remembered Today:

Tracing my grandfather's grandfather


Seilenkhup kom

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Interesting that she required so much ballast Ken, but I suppose that would be the case for freighters designed for bulk storage of consumables like coal.

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2 hours ago, kenf48 said:

I think "passenger" in the Hindu Times article is a bit of a misdirection as the pictures show it was usually four bearers to a stretcher with approximately 400 casualties on board (and given the relatively small number of nurses )105 "stretcher" bearers seems about the right ratio. There would be a 'crew' of medical men and , probably much smaller crew and officers steering the ship. It seems more likely from the description the medical contingent were described by the journalist/editor as 'passengers'.

.......... entirely possible Ken .......and I'm not even sure if this is an English article or a translation from Hindi so something could be lost in translation.

Must admit I still read "As passengers to Basra, the following were taken on board at Bombay:- 105 Stretcher Bearers, 5 British Hospital Orderlies,....."  meaning medical troops in transit Bombay to Basra rather than actual HS MADRAS medical staff.  All quite within the Geneva Convention rules.

I'm also not too sure about the ratio 4:1 being applicable to either embarkation and disembarkation or whilst seagoing. 

What is absent from viewing the subject through the UK telescope is that the numbers of Indian medical staff on board but they would certainly have well outnumbered Europeans and been well in line with similar establishments. The nitty-gritty detail is at Seilenkhup kom's end.  

Here's one of the the more senior ..... Dr. Mohamed Hussein.

Dr Mahomed Hussein.jpg

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On 01/07/2022 at 18:33, TullochArd said:

A fascinating thread and many thanks to Seilenkhup kom for starting it. 

The TANDA's military career as HS MADRAS (interestingly most contemporary sources seem to use HS rather than HMHS) was exactly as HS states - she was a hospital ship through and through.  As such, all those on board were employed in a non-combatant function and my understanding is that all her voyages were East Africa/Mesopotamia related.

The HS MADRAS project was apparently a component of the wider Madras War Fund effort and represented a significant community event from August to November 1914. I would suspect that, censorship permitting, the story was well newsworthy and therefore featured in many local newspapers. If I had the relevant linguistic nowse I would try my luck there in the hope there was some broad reference to the crew/staffing/units on board. I tried and I couldn't find any English versions but did come across the attached page from a contemporary personal photo album of John Sinclair, First Lord Pentland and Governor of Madras 1912-1919 (sarmaya.in) which confirms that HS MADRAS, and thus Seilenkhup kom's Gt. Gt. Grandfather, did indeed leave Madras Harbour on November 17th.  But we already know that.  However, importantly, it goes on to further confirm the voyage was to East Africa (handwritten text top right) and is therefore 100% not related to Indian Expeditionary Force A ........ as also pointed out by kenf48.

Below and for general interest (to me at least) is a stamp relating to the 'HS MADRAS' Madras War Fund project.

Seilenkhup kom ..... is there any significance in the "Pu." that precedes "Vangkai Kuki" in your Gt. Gt. Grandfather's photo?

Madras_War_Fund_Subscribers_visit_HMHS_Madras_14_Nov_14.jpg

Madras War Fund.jpg

Ty for such great information. "Pu" Refers to grandfather amongst kukis. So the label on the photo was added later. 

I wish I could get a better photo, probably will take some time. The family of mine who had this photos hanging on their walls are not much aware of sending a clearer picture from the framed photo. So I think I have to go again later this year and get the photo enhanced and send it across here. 

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I apologize for not being much of a help here since I have little to no information to share other than the story passed down to me like a family's hairloom. No body in the family know much about what and where our great great grandfathers went. No body asked or enquired. No body knew how and why and when he even joined. What he did there, when he returned. Thing is our side of india is way way lesser developed then most part of india, think aborigines of papua new Guinea... ***. We don't even know much of our own history other than passed down by word of mouth let alone the feats of pu vangkai kuki... That would akin to someone like elon musk amongst the aborigines of papua new Guinea.

Perhaps, there could be another reason why his story was hushed up or he intentionally kept mum about it, "the kuki rebellion 1917-1919 in manipur". It was his tribe that had rebelled against the British and it could be quite suicidal to be a kuki or a family member, employed by the British during his times. 

Nevertheless, it's been very informative here and I hope you all will tolerate me for my very little to no information. I'd still try to get more information and share whenever I can. 

Pu vangkai kuki is great great grandfather from my wifes side. Now from my side, we have Mr. Teba Karoung, who landed at France with the 22nd manipur labour corps 1917, one of the reason why the kukis rebelled against the british, in that they didn't want to be recruited in the labour corp. It would be interesting to know where where this labour corp landed in France. Mr. Teba Karoung came back alive, formed a political party, lost, became a baptist preacher in Manipur. Would be fascinating what what his group did in france, he was very well versed in English prior to his recruitment, all thanks to Mr William Pittigrew, the missionary, who was highly instrumental in Teba's recruitment in the Labour corp. 

Besides these great grandfathers, my own grandfather (fathers father) pu sonjachung Karoung served in the British army (a radio operator) most probably assam-regiment, during the second World War, their unit got de-mob after the war. He and his friends never got their dues. Most probably, he was just rather too busy trying to survive in the far flung areas of manipur than knocking the gates of the British Empire for his dues, the British who now is an ocean away and india just being a new country had too less a time for soldiers who were de-mob by the British. 

Ty all

Edited by Seilenkhup kom
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5 minutes ago, Seilenkhup kom said:

Nevertheless, it's been very informative here and I hope you all will tolerate me for my very little to no information. I'd still try to get more information and share whenever I can.

It is a fascinating subject and I hope you persist with your search and can keep us updated.

Charlie

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Thank you for explaining the background to your family situation, and how difficult it is for you to learn more.  If you are able to get a better photograph, it will be interesting to see it here in the Great War forum.  From his dress (uniform and equipment) I personally am convinced that the Army Bearer Corps is the most likely unit, and it would have been most unfair for your forebear to be persecuted for serving the British Empire, as his role in the hospital ship would have been to look after Indian Army Sepoys and Sowars, and not European troops.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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14 hours ago, Seilenkhup kom said:

 Now from my side, we have Mr. Teba Karoung, who landed at France with the 22nd manipur labour corps 1917, one of the reason why the kukis rebelled against the british, in that they didn't want to be recruited in the labour corp. It would be interesting to know where where this labour corp landed in France.

The evidence I've found is all second-hand, I'm afraid I don't know any primary sources - though they may well exist. According to this Facebook post, the Manipur Labour Corps disembarked at Taranto in Italy, and travelled on by train to Marseilles; however, I'm not sure how accurate this account is. There is a brief summary of the MLC's journey as far as Taranto here, but it doesn't specify how they continued their journey to Marseilles. Good luck with your research.

Cheers, Pat

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On 04/07/2022 at 19:32, Seilenkhup kom said:

Now from my side, we have Mr. Teba Karoung, who landed at France with the 22nd manipur labour corps 1917, one of the reason why the kukis rebelled against the british, in that they didn't want to be recruited in the labour corp. It would be interesting to know where where this labour corp landed in France. Mr. Teba Karoung came back alive, formed a political party, lost, became a baptist preacher in Manipur. Would be fascinating what what his group did in france, he was very well versed in English prior to his recruitment, all thanks to Mr William Pittigrew, the missionary, who was highly instrumental in Teba's recruitment in the Labour corp. 

The following article (2017) consolidates some interesting detail and appears to be an earlier source of the Facebook (2021) article that Pat Atkins has kindly identified in his post. 

100 years on, a tribute to the Northeast India labour corps who fought the White War (dailyo.in)

Your relative is mentioned by name and identified as an interpreter.  It reads "For this, 2,000 men were recruited as "Labour Corps" within the "22nd Manipur Labour Corps", and among them were 750 Kukis, 750 Tangkhuls, and 500 mixture of tribes from Mao-Senapati areas, and they were led by Interpreters and Assistant Interpreters like Kanrei Shaiza, Porom Singh, Ruichumhao Rungsung, Teba Kurong and Thomsong Ngulhoa" 

An arguably more academic appraisal is at:

North East India and the First World War – The Centre for Hidden Histories: Community, Commemoration and the First World War (hiddenhistorieswwi.ac.uk)

Again Teba Kurong is named ....... "Teba Kurong led the Kom contigent....." 

As with any Labour Corp account facts rarely match regarding sub units and specific detail.  This is further complicated by the fact the ILC deployed to France based on ethnic contingents and was soon re-organised on the 4 companies of 500 men orbat with a more defined command and support structure.  

 

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