Author Topic: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List  (Read 3729 times)

Offline whitehound

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cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« on: Tuesday 08 February 11 16:38 GMT (UK) »
About thirty years ago my mother did some research at the India Office in London.  We have her notes on her findings but unfortunately neither she nor I can read her handwriting reliably, and since I live in Scotland and am poorer than dirt I can't afford to go to London to re-check the records to find out what they really say.  Also, even the bits we're sure we can read are very cryptic and I don't know what they all mean.

The entry in question concerns my grandfather Bertram Rae, who I know was first an Assistant District Superintendent of Police, then a District Superintendent.  He was in the Army in Burma Reserve of Officers, and family memory is that he served behind Japanese lines on some kind of secret guerilla mission.

The entry from my mother's notes is:

India Office and Burma Office List, 1947 supplement:  (OIR 354.5)
Bertram Denis Langford Rae, Indian Police (District Superintendant), served as Asst. District Superintendant, Burma 12/12/1924.  Offg (?) District Superintendant May 1933, confd Feb 1939.  Civ. aff. Serv. to October 1945.  District Superintendant 1946.

The bits I'm not sure if I'm reading right, and don't know what they mean even if I am, are "Offg", "confd" and "Civ. aff. Serv.", although I would guess that "confd" is "confirmed".  Does anybody have any suggestions as to what the other bits mean?

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Offline deebel

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Re: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 08 February 11 16:54 GMT (UK) »
Could Offing be "Acting" as the position is subsequently confd  "confirmed"
Could Civ aff serv be Colonial Office Service until Oct 1945

deebel

This post is a natural hand made product. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws.

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Offline whitehound

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Re: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 08 February 11 17:25 GMT (UK) »
I suppose it *could* be - her handwriting's abysmal.  I'll have to find her notebook and have another squint at it.  Thanks.

What would "Colonial Office Service" be, as distinct from being in the Indian Police or in relation to being in the ABRO?  There are tens of thousands of references to the Colonial Office Service on the net but I haven't found one which actually explains what it really means.

Offline Hackstaple

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Re: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 08 February 11 17:48 GMT (UK) »
Civil Affairs Service is what it means. Normally upcountry liaison possibly with some magistrate duties.
Southern or Southan [Hereford , Monmouthshire & Glos], Jenkins, Meredith and Morgan [Monmouthshire and Glos.], Murrill, Damary, Damry, Ray, Lawrence [all Middx. & London], Nethway from Kenn or Yatton. Also Riley and Lyons in South Africa and Riley from St. Helena.
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Online ShaunJ

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Re: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 08 February 11 18:18 GMT (UK) »
This is from Google Books (the 1947 list):

 ".....AE, Bertram Langford Denis, Indian Police (dist. supt.) (b. 28th Sept., 1903). Joined the service as asst. dist. supt., Burma, 12th Dec, 1924 ; offg. dist. supt., May, 1933 ; confd., Feb., 1939 ; civ. aff. serv. to Oct., 1945-........"

"Offg" could be Officiating
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Offline whitehound

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Re: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 08 February 11 18:32 GMT (UK) »
Marvellous!  Thanks to both - I didn't know Google Books had it, I tried to find an online copy and couldn't.

"Upcountry liaison" would make sense - he was mixed race and his son, my father, was used as a translator and negotiator, as well as being a senior official during the Malayan Emergency.

And my mum's writing isn't at bad as we thought - it really *does* say "offg" and "civ. aff. serv."

"Officiating" would presumably amount to the same thing as "acting"?  If he was merely "offg", would he have been being paid as a District Super, or only as an Acting District Super?

[My grandmother dumped their son, my father, on her sister in Scotland at a tender age, then salved her conscience by sending him to a very expensive public school.  But since she had no income and her family were mostly farm labourers, the fees must have come out of Bertram's salary - I'm trying to work out how onerous this would have been.]

Offline Hackstaple

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Re: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 08 February 11 19:42 GMT (UK) »
The Colonial Service worked in pretty much the same way everywhere. There were police, magistrates, political officers. Some times in a far outpost the incumbent would do a bit of each. Good linguistic skills were normal.

I am not sure whether officiating district superintendents would receive the full pay. Perhaps it was a bit like the army where a man had a substantive  [permanent] rank and often had the acting title of a higher rank, accompanied always by that pay. A brevet rank on the other hand might give a captain a major's crown but not the pay - it would only make him first amongst equals.

Many colonial officers had significant opportunities for personal enrichment through perfectly legitimate trade.

Back to ranks - in colonial police forces all European officers had a starting rank. Some were para military like the British South African Police where "white" men were rapidly made sergeants and the lower ranks were local men. In some the starting point was Assistant Superintendent - virtually a sergeant and the next step was Superintendent - the equivalent of a police Inspector.

I am only offering that information from my own personal contact with the BSAP and the police of the old Bechuanaland Protectorate.
Southern or Southan [Hereford , Monmouthshire & Glos], Jenkins, Meredith and Morgan [Monmouthshire and Glos.], Murrill, Damary, Damry, Ray, Lawrence [all Middx. & London], Nethway from Kenn or Yatton. Also Riley and Lyons in South Africa and Riley from St. Helena.
Any census information included in this post is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline whitehound

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Re: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« Reply #7 on: Tuesday 08 February 11 21:44 GMT (UK) »
Mm, yes, I know about acting ranks - my great grandfather George Shirran, Bertram's father in law, was a substantive Colour Sergeant in The Black Watch, but Acting Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant.  I didn't know that was what a brevet rank was though!

I wonder whether there's a forum for Raj issues, who might know whether an "officiating" rank is acting or brevet?

One of Bertram's cousins was Chief Inspector of Police in Calcutta - presumably that's a higher rank than District Superintendent?

Offline Hackstaple

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Re: cryptic notes in the India Office and Burma Office List
« Reply #8 on: Tuesday 08 February 11 22:16 GMT (UK) »
I explained badly. A brevet rank was conferred on a commissioned officer for the purposes of a particular mission or campaign. At the end of that he would normally revert to his permanent rank.

Your George Shirran wore a crown and 3 stripes on his sleeve as a Colour Sergeant or Staff Sergeant. An RQMS is a post, not a rank, and it is for NCOs who hold the rank of Staff Sergeant anyway.

Chief Inspector in Calcutta would be a high rank. Perhaps he was THE Chief Inspector or perhaps they used ranks the same as our own police in which case he would be a commissioned officer [an Inspector of Police is effectively a warrant officer] about the equivalent of a Lieuteanant.
Southern or Southan [Hereford , Monmouthshire & Glos], Jenkins, Meredith and Morgan [Monmouthshire and Glos.], Murrill, Damary, Damry, Ray, Lawrence [all Middx. & London], Nethway from Kenn or Yatton. Also Riley and Lyons in South Africa and Riley from St. Helena.
Any census information included in this post is Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk