British teacher in India to trace roots

A history teacher from England is on a visit here to trace the roots of his grandfather.

By Nilotpal Bhattacharjee in Silchar
  • Published 2.08.15
Alan Palmer at Women's College, Silchar, on Saturday. Picture by Nilotpal Bhattacharjee

Silchar, Aug. 1: A history teacher from England is on a visit here to trace the roots of his grandfather.

Alan Palmer, assistant head teacher at Challney High School for Girls at Luton, Bedfordshire, is looking for clues that can reveal information about his grandfather from his maternal side, Private Ernest Green, a soldier in the British army who died during World War II.

Green's last posting was at Lalaghat, 15km from Hailakandi town, from where he was flown to Burma to liberate it from the Japanese occupation. He died at Henu in Burma (now Myanmar) on March 21/22 in 1944 while fighting against Japanese soldiers.

"Probably 10 years ago, my mother asked me to try to find out the story of her father who was sadly killed in World War II and whom she had last seen when she was just three years old. She had no memory of her father. My research has showed that he came to Lalaghat here. So I came here to find where Lalaghat was and to get a feel and idea of the place where my grandfather was posted," Palmer told The Telegraph here today.

He said his grandfather was a soldier in the Staffordshire regiment of the British army. "He voluntarily used to train the territorial army in Britain as well," he added.

Palmer said at that time jungle warfare training was given to the soldiers at Lalaghat from where his grandfather left for Burma either on March 5 or March 6 in a glider.

Palmer visited Lalaghat yesterday and talked to the local people there.

"I met a gentleman yesterday who said that his father had told him there was a temporary camp for British soldiers during World War II. I have not found any physical evidence there, but learnt of the earlier existence of a British camp," he told this correspondent when asked if his visit to Lalaghat was fruitful.

He said he would continue his research to gather more information about his grandfather.

Palmer was accompanied by Siddhartha Nandi Purkayastha, who hails from here and teaches English in the same school where Palmer teaches history.

Palmer today delivered a lectureon Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Quest for Self-Identity at Women's College here. He also threw light on the role played by women in English society in different centuries.