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"CONCENTRATION CAMP _ DEOLALI"


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#1 linden

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 06:52 PM

I have the WW1 service record for my grandfather until he was commissioned . His record from 1917 until 1920 has disappeared , so I was advised to contact the British Library . They were able to tell me that , in October 1919 , he was at the "concentration camp in Deolali" . They seemed to suggest he might have been in charge (I think he was a temporary Captain at the ime) . The family were with him at this period .
When I asked about the "concentration camp" I was told that they could have been holding all sorts of international POW's in Deolali .
(It may explain why he spent WW2 at various POW camps) .
I don't think I've seen any discussion of WW1 POW's being sent to India . Does anyone have any comment/information ?

#2 Chris_Baker

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:18 PM

It is more likely to mean a place where British/Indian Army units were brought together.

#3 Patrick ODwyer

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:22 PM

concentration camp in Deolali

There was a convalescent camp at Deolali as it was a place for ill soldiers (who went 'doolalli')

#4 linden

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:36 PM

Has anyone ever heard of POW's being sent to India ?
Yes , I had always thought it unfortunate that they had to choose Deolali !

#5 Patrick ODwyer

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 07:48 PM

QUOTE (linden @ Dec 2 2008, 08:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Has anyone ever heard of POW's being sent to India ?
Yes , I had always thought it unfortunate that they had to choose Deolali !



I haven't heard of POWs in India in Great War but not impossible, there was a campaign in the North West Frontier.

I think the expression 'Doolalli' actually came from the name Deolali

#6 centurion

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 08:14 PM

I'm not sure where I saw it but I think that some prisoners that had a politcal connection were sent to Deolali. These would include some of the rebels from South Africa.

#7 mhifle

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 01:52 AM

Hi,
There was a barracks and military hospital at Deolali, on the railway north east of Bombay. Time expired men had been held at Deolali while waiting for a troopship home.
I think the practice of holding men at Deolali was abolished just before or during the war, and then men went straight to ports for embarkation.

The hospital was the last leg in the evacuation of men in India whose nerves had given way, and the nervous tics of the patients gave rise to the expression 'doolally tap'.

This was from 'Sahib' by Richard Holmes.

Regards Mark



#8 Capt_Starlight

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 07:01 AM

I would think along the same lines as others here.

It was a point for concentrating drafts going into or out of India (or to/from the NW Provices) or where component units concentrated to become part of a larger formation or from distant parts. Were complete divisions kept concentrated in India (except on the frontiers) or were they apportioned as garrisons of Battalion and Brigade strength ?

#9 bushfighter

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 08:32 AM

Linden

Initially enemy Prisoners of War from the East African Campaign fronts were escorted to India to be held in a POW Camp at Ahmednagar.

The civilians of Germany and other enemy nations were treated as Internees and also escorted to a seperate Internment Camp in India. This may well have been at Deolali.

Harry

#10 centurion

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:42 AM

QUOTE (mhifle @ Dec 3 2008, 01:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hi,
There was a barracks and military hospital at Deolali, on the railway north east of Bombay. Time expired men had been held at Deolali while waiting for a troopship home.
I think the practice of holding men at Deolali was abolished just before or during the war, and then men went straight to ports for embarkation.

The hospital was the last leg in the evacuation of men in India whose nerves had given way, and the nervous tics of the patients gave rise to the expression 'doolally tap'.

This was from 'Sahib' by Richard Holmes.

Regards Mark


I think the term doolally definitely pre dates WW1. The Long Trail has the phrase Doolally as meaning mad and originating from a sanatorium called Deoali in Bombay. Tap apparently means a fever in Hindustani so that, for example, sunstroke in Salonika was referred to as Balkan Tap. I've seen elsewhere that in pre 1914 India Doolally tap meant sunstroke

#11 pmaasz

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 11:27 AM

Somewhere in the interesting book "Pick up your Parrots and Monkeys - The life of a boy soldier in India" by William Pennington there is a description of Doollali. From memory, soldiers who wanted to escape the hardship of service in India used to feign madness, and were sent to Doollali. Sorry, but at 415 pages the book is too long to search for the reference!

Patrick ODwyer: I too am interested in 20th Hussars because they fought alongside Oxfordshire Hussars at Rifle Wood and elsewhere. I have the short history by Major Darling (the intro by Chetwode begins 'My Dear Darling' !!) So if you have any snippets of history that I might be interested in please let me know, and I will do the same for you.

Apologies for this being off post.

#12 Patrick ODwyer

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 11:33 AM

So if you have any snippets of history that I might be interested in please let me know

I can't say I have much on the QOOH - I'll have a srummage through my notes though.

#13 pmaasz

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 12:36 PM

Thanks Patrick.

You might be interested to know that there is now a memorial close by Rifle Wood that was erected by the veterans of the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. It has three descriptive plaques, one of which commemorates the other units that fought there. The Oxfordshire Yeomanry Trust were able to have their own plaque on the memorial pillar remembering the QOOH men who died. The memorial was dedicated in 2004 and we have had follow-up ceremonies on or as near as practicable to April 1st in 2005 and 2008. I have often thought it would be good to invite 20th Hussars and 3rd Hussars representatives, but have not followed this up.

#14 pmaasz

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:36 PM

I just flicked through the book I mentioned above and came across the reference to Deolali:

"Deolali, a hill resort a hundred miles or so from Bombay [en route to Meerut] was the first stage. It was an agreeable place to serve, and well known throughout the British Army in India as the place to acquire the 'Deolali Tap' - that is, to go stark, raving mad, crazy, berserk, demented or simply 'puggled' [drunk], faked or otherwise. It was the dream and design of many a soldier to get there, as it was often the prelude to being diagnosed as 'mental, and thus becoming eligible to catch the next boat home."

#15 David Filsell

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 04:24 PM

Madness - or those who were considered to suffer from it by my mother - was always known as dodalally - same source of course!

#16 linden

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 05:14 PM

Thank you all .
Yesterday I had a letter from the British Library .
"One of my colleagues who works with the India Office Records confirmed that the concentration camp was most likely a holding/detention centre for prisoners of war ...
I discovered from some entries , on the Access to Archives data base , www.a2a.org.uk , that state that Deolali was a holding area for officers before they were re-assigned to another military posting."
My grandfather's time in India keeps on throwing up mysteries - I do wish I could find his records !

Is there any reference to "Doolally tap" in Kipling ?

#17 Dogan Sahin

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 07:44 PM

QUOTE (linden @ Dec 2 2008, 06:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have the WW1 service record for my grandfather until he was commissioned . His record from 1917 until 1920 has disappeared , so I was advised to contact the British Library . They were able to tell me that , in October 1919 , he was at the "concentration camp in Deolali" . They seemed to suggest he might have been in charge (I think he was a temporary Captain at the ime) . The family were with him at this period .
When I asked about the "concentration camp" I was told that they could have been holding all sorts of international POW's in Deolali .
(It may explain why he spent WW2 at various POW camps) .
I don't think I've seen any discussion of WW1 POW's being sent to India . Does anyone have any comment/information ?



Hi,
Somewheer in this site, and other records I remember reading that there were some 500 Turkish POWs in Delolai at some point. There is a book written by a Turkish officer about his time in camp. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of book. I believe Bob Lembke would better advise you on how to contact Mr. Tosun Saral, another history fan, who may provide you with further information (Bob has known Tosun more than I do smile.gif).( Thanks Bob smile.gif)

#18 centurion

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 07:49 PM

QUOTE (pmaasz @ Dec 3 2008, 03:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just flicked through the book I mentioned above and came across the reference to Deolali:

"Deolali, a hill resort a hundred miles or so from Bombay [en route to Meerut] was the first stage. It was an agreeable place to serve, and well known throughout the British Army in India as the place to acquire the 'Deolali Tap' - that is, to go stark, raving mad, crazy, berserk, demented or simply 'puggled' [drunk], faked or otherwise. It was the dream and design of many a soldier to get there, as it was often the prelude to being diagnosed as 'mental, and thus becoming eligible to catch the next boat home."



I think there is a confusion here with Deoali which was a sanatorium closer to Bombay where those with a psychological or presumed psychological problem would be sent. The hill stations were where people went to avoid getting sun stroke. The Indian Oil Industry's HQ used to be at one of them - Dehra Dun - when I visited it still felt like a Victorean sea side resort but without the sea. Deolali would have been very similar as was Simla

#19 Paul Nixon

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 07:52 PM

Frank Richards has a lot to say about Deolali and the Deolali tap in Old Soldier Sahib. Basically, regular time-expired soldiers kicking their heels (often for some length of time) whilst waiting for the boat back home.

#20 linden

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 10:45 AM

SYNCHRONICITY !
I was speaking to a friend from FIBIS (Families In British India) and she started to tell me about a great grandfather who was a German national , married , and working in India . When WW1 began he was interned in a "concentration camp" ! She didn't think it was in Deolali , but there must have been quite a few of them .
Interestingly , this man may well have been from Alsace so his German status would have been a bit confused anyway .

#21 ddycher

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 02:18 PM

Following work on the special battalions covered elsewhere in the India Forum. Service records show men being sent to the "Brit. Conc. Camp" at Deolali" awaiting embarkation for demobilisation in the UK.

Regards
Dave

#22 Maureene

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:28 AM

The main function of Deolali was as a transit camp for troops who had just arrived in Bombay , or who were waiting for ships at Bomaby to take them out out of India. I think the term "Brit. Conc. Camp" refers to what we would call a transit camp.

However, there were also some Turkish Prisoners of War at Deolali during World War 1. There were also other locations of POW Camps in India during the war, and often they were in buildings located in Army cantonments.


The FIBIS Fibiwiki has a page called "POW Camps in India" and also a page called "Deolali"
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php?title=POW_Camps_in_India

http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php?title=Deolali


Cheers
Maureen


#23 dorothy hopkins

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 06:48 PM

I was born in Deolali in June 1945, we arrived in England in Nov 1945. My father was a British soldier (K.O.R.R) serving in Sri Lanka where he met and married my mother in 1944. I think I must have been born in a Military Hospital in Deolali which could be now known as The Contonement Camp. How do I go about finding out any information on the above such as why were we there at that time and exactly where I was born? I obtained his Army records a few years ago and was amazed to learn of how many countries he had served and how long a service he had, he was also awarded medals which have been mislaid. I am planning to go back to Deolali and would be grateful for any help.
Regards Dorothy

#24 seaJane

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 09:03 PM

If anyone has any source definitely printed or created before 1925 that mentions "doolally" or "doolally tap", then the Oxford English dictionary will be pleased to know, as its earliest citation dates to 1925, "in: E. Fraser & J. Gibbons Soldier & Sailor Words 75 Deolali tap (otherwise doolally tap), mad, off one's head. Old Army."

(Frank Richards' book was published in 1936).

#25 Pjhp

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 08:17 PM

I was born in Deolali in June 1945, we arrived in England in Nov 1945. My father was a British soldier (K.O.R.R) serving in Sri Lanka where he met and married my mother in 1944. I think I must have been born in a Military Hospital in Deolali which could be now known as The Contonement Camp. How do I go about finding out any information on the above such as why were we there at that time and exactly where I was born? I obtained his Army records a few years ago and was amazed to learn of how many countries he had served and how long a service he had, he was also awarded medals which have been mislaid. I am planning to go back to Deolali and would be grateful for any help.
Regards Dorothy


My father was posted to Homeward Bound Trooping Depot (HBTD) Deolali as Chaplain on 28/6/45 so may have baptised you. If your father had been overseas for 4 years or more, he would have been repatriated on PYTHON, a code name for such servicemen.
best wishes
Philip



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