British colonial official served in Ceylon, 1937-1947, East Africa, 1948-1951 and Hong Kong, 1951-1966
REEL 1: Background in GB, 1915-1937: family and education. Recollections of period as officer in Colonial Administrative Service, Ceylon, 1937-1939: entry into service; role and composition of Administrative Service; question of effects of independence, 1948; duties; learning languages; question of racial divisions in Ceylon; contrast between Tamils and Singalese; question of British administration not using 'divide and rule' tactics; moves towards independence; lack of Japanese pre-war intelligence gathering in Ceylon; role visiting villages; attending executions. Outbreak of war, 3/9/1939: remote nature of conflict. Aspects of period as Colonial Officer, Ceylon, 1939-1941: local Ceylon defence organisation; membership of Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps and Ceylon Mounted Rifles; basic nature of training; opinion of usefulness of training. Recollections of period as Assistant Private Secretary to Governor, Columbo, Ceylon, 1941-1942: panic caused by Japanese air raid, Easter Day, 1942.
REEL 2 Continues: air raid near Governor's residence Queen's House; lack of British troops; duties and role; opinion of Governor Sir Andrew Caldecott; reaction to orders not to join armed services; British insistance on keeping to office hours; history of colonisation of Ceylon; arrival of refugees from Malaya and Dutch East Indies; reaction of General Wavell to leaving Dutch to invading Japanese; opinion of General Wavell; opinion of Lord Louis Mountbatten; meeting between Mountbatten and US General Stirwell; opinion of General Stirwell.
REEL 3 Continues: attitude towards Japanese of naval officers from Prince of Wales and Repluse; low point of morale after sinking of British ships; question of Japanese being able to take over Ceylon in 1942; reaction of Governor to appointment of Admiral Layton as Commander-in-Chief Ceylon; story relating to naval officer throwing election ballot papers into Columbo harbour, 1945; situation in Ceylon, 1944-1945; opinion of Admiral Somerville; case of indescretion by Somerville; role decoding cables from London; use of one time pads; lack of esponiage on island; story of naval officer charged with desertion after breakdown; impressions of General Alexander after fall of Burma; opinion of Dutch Admiral Helfrich; handling Government papers; responsiblity for running Queen's House.
REEL 4 Continues: Aspects of Major General HRH Duke of Gloucester visits to Ceylon: arrival of duke Queen's House; impressions of Duke's staff; incident of Duke inspecting guard of honour; lack of interest shown by Duke regarding Ceylon's defences; impressions of Duke's role; story of Duke's first departure from island; incident illustrating Govenor's wife opinion of Duke; opinion of Duchess. Leaving Ceylon, 1947: effect of Ceylon's independence on Tamils in civil service. Aspects of period with East Africa High Commission in Kenya, 1947-1951: appointment as Clerk to East African Central Assembly; organisation of East African civil service; start of unrest in Kenya; incident of head messenger for administering an illegal oath; question of High Commission officials losing touch with local Kenyan populace; nature of illegal oaths. Aspects of period with Hong Kong Administrative Service in Hong Kong, 1952-1966: lack of contact with Chinese mainland; Chinese attempt to make propaganda of British official travelling through China; incident were British naval craft attacked by Chinese Navy; internment of off-duty naval ratings by Chinese.