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Gurton, Alfred
Diary of Alfred Gurton during a trip to India.
Physical Description:
1 volume (152 pages) : illustrations ; 21 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
In Process DS413.G87 D53 1918
Yale Center for British Art, Friends of British Art Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Bound in black cloth.
Manuscript diary and herbarium compiled by Alfred Gurton, of the 3rd Garrison Battalion, the Bedford Regiment. On the front pastedown, Gurton informally describes the volume as a "Diary of a Trip to India." Gurton writes in graphite throughout, on the lined pages of an exercise book. The text is interspersed with about 15 pages of preserved leaves and flowers of plants mounted in the form of a herbarium. Most specimens are unlabelled, although a couple of sheets give their origin in the Nilgiri Hills in southern India.
Gurton's journey from England to Delhi began on 27 January 1918, taking him across the Channel on the SS Viper, through war-torn France and Italy before embarking on the P & O liner Malwa to Bombay. Lively and observant throughout, Gurton describes his travels in detail. He arrives off Bombay in March 1918 about two thirds of the way through the diary, describing how the Malwa followed buoys through a minefield into the port. Soon after he takes the Baroda and Central India Railway to Delhi, observing that "the natives live in wretched hovels and keep a lot of goats - curious lop-eared and harmless animals of all colours." Gurton found himself quartered luxuriously at Delhi fort, feasting on rissoles and excited to spot (and sketch) a hoopoe. There are the usual inspections and physical drill including "a big dose of knee raising," but Gurton is thrilled to escape the fort and inspect the city. Gurton also finds time to attend Sunday service at St James's Church with a congregation of soldiers and "a fair sprinkling of white women looking very fair and fresh in their light summer frocks. A number of half caste and Indian women were also present." The diary closes before the regiment continued to Burma later in the year; Gurton notes: "continued in another book."
Subject Terms:
Botanical specimens -- Collection and preservation.
Flowers -- Collection and preservation.
Great Britain. Army.
Gurton, Alfred -- Diaries.
India -- Description and travel.
Pressed flower pictures.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Regimental histories -- India.
IIIF Manifest:

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