Collection of British Pathe Newsreels on Afghanistan|
From the 1924 Forbes-Leith expedition
(By Steve Tillotson, May 2014)
Natives walking a path along the Khyber Pass between Afghanistan and India. in the early 1900's
This page is part of the section dedicated to Afghanistan (the country). We spend a lot of time researching the dogs and people behind them, but could perhaps spend more time researching and understanding the country from which our hounds originate. On this page we provide links to some British Pathe Newsreel movies, taken in Afghanistan in the early 20th century and which portray the country, the people and the topology of the country as it was a century ago. Little has changed since.. The newsreels were produced by a camerman accompanying the Forbes-Leith expedition which attempted to drive from Engloand to India via Afghanistan in 1924. We also have a brief report from the expedition written by Forbes-Leith and published in the press..
1. Afghanistan Scenes 1910-1919
Description, Afghanistan. 1910-1919
Opens with shots of men; camels; etc. on road which passes house at angle. Next; 2 Western men mount horses in front of important large white house; they ride away; pass near camera. Afghans and British play field hockey; scenic mountain BG. Shot from high place; pan over large city of old; low buildings with snow-capped mountains in distance. Next; Afghan Army drill; officers review troops in courtyard- -ancient buildings. Interior: man in coat and fez type hat stands in room; in corner a small table with white cloth; books (maybe the Koran?); and a pole with long banner. Pan a row of small X-shaped stands hold more books. Pile of rocks (?) in FG; workers stand nearby; machine like steam-roller in BG. Workers pounding rocks with hand tools. Minerals? Landscape. Livestock grazing at dusk; mountains silhouetted in BG. Scenic mountains. Walled encampment at foot of mountains. Pan up to fort on top of cliff. Busy market in city; trays hanging from awning of stands; men & veiled women shopping.
Pan over Nomadic tribe in desert. Their dark tents in BG; a few women and children in FG. Closer shot tent, with camel beside it. Group of men & boys of various ages pose for cam. Next; shots of a very primitive looking ferry boat taking truck across river; shots of it landing; Someone on shore pulling the ferry in to dock. Truck drives up hill. Next; looking up a street w/ white buildings on left; park on rt. Focal pt. is a domed building built over the street w. big arch in middle of it. Shot of several men posing.Good shot of market stall selling metalwork crafts- -in front are a bunch of objects which look like hookas (a type of pipe). Merchant poses with children.
Keywords added April 2011: Good desert shots, empty desert land, sand dunes, barren land.
2. Afghanistan 1910-1920
Description, Scenes in Afghanistan.
Pan across hills, MS plains with buildings in middle, pan to mountains in background. Various shots of a hockey match underway. MS group of men stood by car, one walks forwards towards camera. Pan across mountains. MS people outside building. MS castle (?), people walk about in front. MS man shaving another one with cut-throat razor by a wall. Various shots men making flat bread, they put it in to stone oven in floor. MS man sorting through wool. MS another man picking through wool. MS another man with piece of hide (?).
MS people riding through town on horses some with rifles. MS man. MS car driving out with trailer attached, it has 'Nairn Transport' on side. MS as Western man stands in car park and waves. MS as car pulling trailer emerges from garage into the car park. Various shots street scenes in city; many pedestrians on narrow street with many small shops, minarets in background. MS old woman walking through tunnel of arches. Wide shot mosque. Pan to cemetery. MS group of Afghan Muslim people in front of wall. MS as sword swallower poses with group doing his stunt for camera.
Next; a great shot of ruins of some large structure with broken wall and huge arch, could be a big stadium or coliseum of some sort. LS 3 people on top of arch; another comes walking across the wall about 5 storeys high. Fun shot of the 4 daredevils dancing on top of the arch; they are joined by a 5th who triumphantly waves his head-dress; then other people dance (jumping up and down) on ground. MS person playing music on wind instrument; type of flute. MS mountains. MS plain; with few trees and low building. Afghan agriculture, MS two men working in field under cloudy skies, another man walks behind plough pulled by oxen. MS pan on craftsmen making bowls; etc. by chipping and planing. Pan to others working on various bowls. MS boy turning wheel (spinning?).
3. On The Afghan Border, 1934
Description, Full title reads: "On The Afghan Border - Air-Marshal Sir John Steel inspects the Bomber Squadron R.A.F. at Risalpur." - India
Air Marshal Sir John Steel inspects the line of planes at the Royal Air Force (RAF) base, Risalpur, India. Formation of planes flying over Khyber Pass - problem bordering area between India and Afghanistan. Several shots of the planes in the air
4. In The Danger Zone 1934
Description, Full title reads: "In The Danger Zone - Further pictures from our Cameraman in India." - Khyber Pass, India.
Long shot of the landscape of bordering territory between India and Afghanistan - Khyber Pass. This is one part of the Empire where we are constantly at war - says voiceover. Two Indian guards of the hill. Indian guard with a gun closely watching the border.
Troops on horseback being inspected - special frontier force, elite troops, mostly Indian solders. Commander in Chief of the border troops Field Marshal Sir Philip Chatwood (sp?) watching march past. He salutes as the troop march past. More shots of the troops marching past.
5. "Lure of the East" 1924
Description, FOUR REELS of cuts exist for the documentary "Lure of the East" which traces an expedition by car from Leeds to India in 1924 led by Major Forbes-Leith. It is very difficult to identify the locations featured in this material. Shots do not seem to be in any kind of order. Further research will be undertaken. This is a very interesting and revealing set of newsreels. We are down at ground level, alongside the intrepid expedition explorers travelling the difficult and dangerous terrain of Afghanistan
REEL 1 of the cuts features the following: street scenes, landscapes, the inner tube of a tyre being taken out, stone carvings, Felix II driving across rocky terrain, village scenes, mother and child feeding pigeons, market scenes, dock scenes, high angle shot of a city beside the sea, customs check (?), Felix II being driven along a promenade, a train arriving at an Indian station,
01:27:23 - Venice, village scenes, panning shot of large city from high angle, our travellers drinking beer in Venice (?), a broken down Felix being towed, interior of a grand building, Felix being driven along rough terrain, countryside scenes, men climbing out of an aeroplane, water from a stream being poured into Felix's radiator.
01:32:03 - cotton being picked from branches by a family group, air to air shots of aeroplanes flying in formation, Forbes Leith and Turkish man at salt flats (?), ancient archway, rocky terrain, villages, towns, locals gathered to greet the travellers - lots of children, travelling shots through villages.
01:35:47 - group of men on horseback, unidentified woman in furs shakes hands with two of our travellers, Felix being lifted on to a boat, Douglas Fairbanks chatting to our party, quayside as our party leaves, larking around with fish on the quayside, Felix parked in Italian street, trams, harbour, women washing clothes in the street at a communal washing place, man getting a shoe shine, city scenes, market scenes, harbour scenes, Venice, city scenes, castle, archways, children chat to our travellers.
REEL 2 of the cuts features the following: Felix II driving on a railway line, men moving sand with shovels as camels walk behind them. Soldiers on horseback - nationality unknown - possibly Persian. Landscapes, locals, soldiers on the march (Persian army?), marching band, our travellers being met by His Highness Kawam-ul-Molk in a garden (Turkey?).
01:44:40 - desert landscape, local people, our travellers taking tea and smoking with Kawam-ul-Molk - see next paragraph - (he smokes a hookah - our men just smoke cigarettes!), large unidentified temple (could be Mosque at Adrianople), street scenes, trams, soldiers admiring Felix mascot (who is looking a little worse for wear), desert landscape, camels in the road, ancient ruins.
01:47:34 intertitle reads: "Built around 700 B.C. and destroyed by Alexander the Great at the whim of Thais, the Courtesan, it still gives us a faint idea of the wonderful state of civilization of Persia two thousand years ago." (some of these cuts must have actually been part of the finished film). Iran - ruins. The Commander of the Garrison turns out the troops to meet our travellers. Persian army is modelled on the Russian style we are informed. Various shots of the army on parade. "Incidentally, the British Consul here has just a guard of "Hodsons Horse" as smart a set of Indian troopers as one would wish to meet". Shots of troopers on horseback. "We also met His Highness the Kawam-ul-Molk. Head of the five great tribes of the Khamseh. Worth probably about £400,000 a year he can raise an army of 20,000 men in twenty-four hours." Our men sit and smoke with the Kawam-ul-Molk.
01:51:44 Reel 2 of the cuts (continued): intertitle reads: "And another hundred miles from Shiraz we had another nervous moment (remembering our previous experience with the Bedouins)". High angle shot of a man in white running across a desert landscape with large number of men on horseback chasing after him. "We were thankful to find, however, that these were decidedly more friendly, and the Chief, especially, seemed very pleased indeed to offer us hospitality." Chief on horseback arrives and shakes hands with Forbes-Leith. Men stand around holding guns as the two chat. "The tents of these nomadic tribes are made of goat-hair and camp can be struck in five minutes." Shot missing.
01:53:05 - "The meal - an endless assortment of foods. (Fingers were invented before knives and forks so the latter were dispensed with)." Nice shots of flat bread being laid down on a blanket and our travellers sitting down to eat with their hosts. "As a special favour, we were allowed to film two of the Chief's wives - and the son and heir" shot missing. "After the wonderful hospitality we encountered, we were really sorry to leave, but they gave us a great send off - " Men on horseback are gathered and point their guns into the air. Large number of men on horseback are seen lined up next to Felix II. A shy and beautiful local woman smiles at the camera.
01:55:01 - treacherous road, village scenes, woman on horseback (surely in England somewhere), men tinkering with aircraft door (seems out of place here).
01:56:10 Reel 2 of the cuts (continued): street scene. Intertitle reads: "We visited too, the remains of the old Seven Walled Palace of Xerxes, where pilgrims still deposit offerings on the feet of an ancient lion shrine". L/S of our party and an unidentified woman standing beside a rock which resembles a lion. "After a few days in Hamadam (where Redknap had the bad luck to strike a second dose of malaria), we got on the move again and reached Kasvin." Shots of Kasvin / Qazvin in Persia / Iran.
01:57:19 "Outside the town threshing the crop was in full swing - in precisely the same primitive way that sufficed five thousand years ago" (shot missing). A group of locals bid the explorers farewell as Felix drives off from Dalbandin (?). Intertitle reads "Near Mushki, five miles from the Afghan frontier, we had the inevitable struggle, but gradually nearing Quetta, the road was improving." Felix moves slowly over rough ground. Intertitle refers to "The pebbles on our beach", then we see local men moving boulders from Felix's path. Caravan of 4 camels walks past. Felix struggles over rocky ground and crosses a stream.
01:59:06 "Thirty miles from Quetta we were met by another car, and followed the great Military road -". Travelling shot of the other car following behind. Locals with camels by side of the dusty road. One small camel trots along the road behind us.
02:00:12 Intertitle says the explorers first see Quetta; very light general view of the road as we move slowly along - Quetta is probably seen in the far distance but very difficult to make out. Felix drives along a road and up to the Military quarters. Forbes Leith and another man get out and walk off. Locals and soldiers crowd around Felix. Some of them subject the Felix mascot to some manhandling. Intertitle: "And here our 5 1/2 months journey of 8,500 miles - 3,000 of it over roadless country and desert - was ended - the trail had been blazed." The explorers pose with a small group of people, including two women, beside Felix. Final intertitle: "And so, friends, goodbye!".
REEL 32 of cuts. Titles as per start of actual film - "Pathe presents: "The Lure of the East -The film-record of the Forbes-Leith ...." (Rest of title obscured by timecode. To be checked.).
Intertitle reads: "Our next stage lay across 1,300 miles of inhospitable salt land and desert, with very few desirable friends to expect en route. (The first village we passes consisted of isolated fortified round-houses - an ominous sign.)". L/S of Felix parked beside a stone tower or fortress in a barren region, mountains in background. Intertitle refers to Lake Niriz (Iran) as being 6,000 feet above sea level, 65 miles long and no life in its intensely salt water. We see Felix parked in barren land, with several small huts dotted about. Forbes-Leith (?) looks at the salt bed of the lake with a local. The explorers travel through the dangerous Niriz Pass. Intertitle says the group helped a Persian here who had been beaten and robbed.
01:02:20 Felix and crew travel over the great Salt Swamp, "hard-baked at this time of year". Here, Felix was "able to purr along at 50 miles an hour". Intertitle informs that 5 days after leaving a tribal camp (at Niriz?) the team reached the last big city in Persia, Kerman (shot seems to be missing). Local farmer with sheep by side of road.
01:03:28 Flashframe intertitle mentions arriving at Belgrade; top shot panning over city of Belgrade. Relatively modern concrete buildings and houses and river on one side. Street scenes in main street of Belgrade (flashframe intertitle says it "contained the only decent piece of road in Belgrade"). Two young boys walk along in tracking shot.
Women examine eggs closely in a marketplace. Cattle pull a cart along beside tram. Explorers chat outside a large palace or building. Flashframe intertitle says the group were privileged in obtaining a picture of the famous Royal staircase (location not specified - Belgrade?). We see the ornate and ancient oak stairway. Flashframe intertitle says "There is no speed limit in Belgrade..." - explorers' car travels along a bumpy cobbled street. Title reads "End of Part 1.
01:06:05 Point of view shot as we travel along streets in a town. Horse drawn tram goes by, man leads donkey along. Location unidentified. An old man with a long beard gibbers away then puts his foot behind his head while standing up. Forbes-Leith (?) shows a still camera to a local man. People walk through a gate - at a frontier?
01:06:58 Unidentified woman plays tennis with two of the explorers. Local woman cooks flatbread over a fire in the street. Farmers and cattle plough field. Quick shot of map showing route from London to Brussels. Intertitles instruct: "Insert Library shot of Brussels / Frankfurt". Shots of men and women in swimwear larking about in a lake. Intertitle tells of the journey through the Asadabad Pass; L/Ss of Felix travelling up the steep incline and reaching the top. Intertitle reads "End of Part 5".
01:08:54 Panning shot showing group of western men and women sitting in a garden at tables. Servants in white stand around - could be India? Men look at a large aeroplane starting up and taxiing. Soldiers line up at an aerodrome.
Intertitle talks of reaching the Turkish capital. Animated map shows the route from Constantinople through Turkey to Damascus in Syria, to Baghdad in Iraq, on to Tehran, Shiraz and Kerman in Persia (Iran), then to Quetta in India.
01:10:20 Intertitle talks of the difficulty in getting necessary papers and permits in Turkey, then setting off over the Bosporus. Misty L/S of boats in the harbour. Travelling shot moving through the Bosporus strait, past villages around Istanbul (Constantinople). Felix and crew disembark from the ferry at Scutari, "striking the ancient Road to Baghdad near Iskmid". Felix is driven through flooded road. Intertitle refers to bad quality of the road and the mosquitoes the crew tried "unavailingly to smoke out". Explorers poke a fire at their camp. Locals with horses pass Felix parked on a narrow mountain road.
Note: On actual film of reel 3, there follows seven newsreel stories from the 1920s / 1930s that have been tacked on the end of these cuts. These have been catalogued separately - see records for details.
REEL 4 of cuts opens with intertitles: "The Barracks, built somewhat on Russian lines, in front of which the fatal attack on Major Imbrie took place - The Authorities here were most nervous for our safety and insisted on an armed escort accompanying us anywhere we went." Outside a building Armed soldiers get into the car with Forbes-Leith (location unknown). A western woman pets the Felix mascot on the explorers' car. She takes out her compact and powders her nose, then does the same to Felix.
01:19:29 Intertitle says it was only by the help of a local Said that they managed to take any pictures at all here (location unspecified), for the natives are most fanatical and dangerous. Forbes-Leith shakes hands with the Said. Intertitle refers to shrine of the Sister of the Ninth Imam (shot seems to be missing).
01:20:13 Felix drives across scrubland, past the black (charred) bones of a dead animal. Locals on a cart drawn by four horses pass Felix on the dirt road. Intertitle refers to Ispahan being the great capital of Persia in olden times (shot missing). Felix is then seen climbing up another steep incline, being towed by locals. Intertitle mentions "the lawless Sirvand Pass" (shot missing). Intertitle refers to "More sand - we had 900 miles of it - and life was a constant struggle. (Redknap said he never wanted to see any more sand - not even in an egg-boiler.)". Local men tow Felix through level sand. Intertitle says the men had walked 30 miles from the nearest village to help. The men run along pushing Felix. Forbes-Leith and local man syphon water into the radiator. Felix travels along desert scrubland and over rocky roads (helped by locals).
Caravan of camels resting in the desert. Men attend to camels and goods they are carrying. L/S of the explorers setting up camp nearby.
01:24:17 Intertitle says after 10 days struggle they struck the military railway, built during the war from the Indian frontier. Felix drives across desertland to the railway line (?). Intertitle: "We were now in Baluchistan, original home of tribal trouble on our Indian north-west frontier, and following the lines we made for Ware-Char - (In passing we would mention that we did about 250 miles [on the railway] sleepers.)". We see Felix setting off along the railway line. Indian man runs behind. More footage of Felix driving along, straddling the rail track - looks like a pretty bumpy ride.
01:25:46 Intertitle refers to the stations on the lines being steel forts as the Afghan frontier hills and hill tribes are about ten miles away. Felix approaches locals men sitting on the tracks beside a building. Forbes-Leith leans out of the car and issues instructions (looks like "clear off"). Intertitle refers to the explorers being met by friends from the fortified post of Dalbandin, and cheered with the news that there had been a raid the previous night. Shot of people in middle-east town queuing for ice-cream at a stall and water at a fountain.
01:27:03 Felix approaches a flooded part of a country road while one of the men wades in ahead to test the depth. Nice shot of the party under a canopy having a cigarette and a cup of tea (?). In a town, local men sit on the ground outside basic building. One of the explorers sits on a wheel axis and smokes his pipe. Brief travelling shot of boats in a harbour as we move over the water (Bosporus?).
The explorers work with pickaxes to clear rubble from Felix's path on a mountain road. Local man stands watching.
01:27:49 Title reads: "The Lure of the East. The film-record of the Forbes-Leith Expedition by [obscured by timecode on vhs copy] - 4" - film was presumably shown in serial form in cinemas. Intertitle reads: "The chief dangers are the sand storms and the terrific day heat (175 degrees in the sun - there isn't any shade.)". Very light M/S of Felix travelling across the desert. Intertitle decides to "draw a veil across this part of the trip", saying the next day they were thankful to meet some of the big transport cars en route for Baghdad. Two cars are parked on a desert road, seen from behind; one is probably Felix. Men stand around. As cars approach they wave at the drivers.
01:29:10 Intertitle tells "It was here also we met two British travellers - one a lady - who incidentally was the first to cross this Syrian desert in an independent car." The party pack up their gear that was set up between the two cars. One man pours some water into the hands of a woman in a white dress and she splashes it on her face. Wroe drinks his washing ration. Intertitles inform us the group were approaching Baghdad and saw the great Tomb of the Sheik Omar in the distance; on the way they passed the remnants of one of the huge base camps, built by us during the war (shots missing, unfortunately!).
01:30:29 Intertitle says "On to Kermanshah - sometimes known as the City of Seven Gates - a city of some 30,000 people". M/S of Felix travelling along a mountain road with valley in the background. Brief shot of Felix driving through Kermanshah; children run alongside; people carry trunks on their backs. Intertitle tells of the strange industry here of snow gatherers who sell frozen snow from the mountains in the city market (shot missing). Intertitle mentions the unique bread of Persia and we see a funny sequence where a bread seller taking a large, flat piece of bread from a wall and giving it to one of the explorers. He wraps it around his waist like a cummerbund then takes a chunk of the bread and eats it. The vendor seems amused, but is perhaps a little anxious as to whether he will see any money for it! The man rolls the bread up, puts it under his arm like a towel and strolls off.
01:31:53 title says Tak-i-Bustan was the next objective, where they paused at an old Roman reservoir and reputed tomb of Chrosoes (shot missing). We see the Felix car travelling along a barren stretch of land in a valley, surrounded by mountains. Intertitle mentions the gilt on the carvings (on tomb of Chrosoes?) is still visible after 1,800 years (shot missing). Intertitle mentions an almost sheer 800-feet cliff, which the local boys regularly climb (flashframe of someone climbing the cliff). Intertitle refers to Bisitun, 27 miles further on, where they observed more carvings on the cliff face by Darius (shot missing).
5.5 EXPEDITION REPORT
We also found a report published in the press about the Forbes-Leith expedition featured in the Pathe newsreels above. Here is that report-
The Western Mail December 18 1924
LONDON TO QUETTA.
EXPERIENCES IN PERSIA.
(By Major F. A. C. Forbes-Leith, Leader of Expedition.) Teheran.
(Photographs under escort)
"We had a hard climb from Asadabad over the Pass of the same name. When we reached the top, nearly 9,000 ft. up, it was certainly worth the effort. We had a clear view of over 40 miles of plain where the track curled away like a thin piece of cotton into the distance. Thanks to the efforts of the British dur ing the occupation, the pass is in good condition, and we carried our full load with the greatest ease, although the gradient is 1 in 4 in may places.
Two hours' run brought us to the wooded slopes of Mt. Alvand (14.000 ft.) with the Hamadan delightfully situated at the foot. As we approached the city it was hard to believe that we were not in an English lane with green hedges and orchards heavy with every kind of fruit. Peaches here cost 2 1/2 d. for 8 lbs., and grapes, apples and pears are still cheaper.
I have lived at Hamadan for several years, and I have had a distinctly pleas- ant sensation of coming home. On our arrival we were welcomed warmly by my old friends. To sit down to a comfort- able meal in real English house was a great treat.
The climate is perfect here, and can be likened to Switzerland, never too hot in summer and cold enough for winter sports in winter. It is the ancient Eck- batana, where Xerxes built his wonderful seven-wallcd palace, the remains of which can still be seen. It also contains
the tomb of the prophetess Esther and Mordecai. Alexander the Great made it a stopping place on his great march to India.
The following morning we proceeded to the centre of the city with cinema camera and my own camera, and separated to find some good copy. I was just getting to work at the village bakery, when a lieutenant of police came up and re- quested me to accompany him to the Police H.Q. Here I was interrogated by a very pompous captain, who told me that I must not photograph without per mission of the Governor.
After a long pow-wow, during which I agreed with everything he said and smiled at his frowns, the captain sent a messenger to that exalted gentleman. In half an hour we received a reply that we might take photos we wished other than mosques, providing we took an officer of
police, and a soldier with us; so under escort, we were obliged to work.
(Truth About Major Imbrie)
Since the unfortunate murder of Major Imbrie, the United States Consul, the authorities have been very nervous of a recurrence and the sight of a camera makes them unhappy. I do not think as yet that the real story of this murder has been told. As I
was given the true tale by a prominent British resident, I will repeat it.
There is in Persia a religious sect called Bahai, the followers of Abdul Bahar, the first Bab, which is growing considerably, and of which the Mollahs, or priests, of Islam have a great fear. The faith is simple. The theory is, in short, that every creed in existence is
following the one Almighty God, through different prophets. Bahaism seeks to join all these believers, whether Mussul- man, Christian, Hindu or Brahmin, in brotherly love, to follow God as they will, abolishing all religious prejudice, with the view of a united world in the future. They have shaken the power of the Mol- lahs considerably in many parts of Persia, and also have a growing following in the United States.
A few weeks ago following considerable agitation and attacks on Bahais, the police and gendarmerie in the whole of Persia had orders not to interfere, in any cases of attacks on Bahais by Mohammedans.
To strengthen this feeling, there was a miracle at a certain fountain and thous- ands visited the shrine daily. Major Imbrie and a Mr. Seymour visited the shrine to take photos and were asked to leave. This they did, but after two minutes several women in the crowd fainted. A saed (or descendant of the Prophet) called to the crowd that the photographers were Bahais and had poisoned the water, wheron the mob fol- lowed the carriage. A man on a motor cycle stopped the carriage outside the Cossack barracks in the central square.
There Mr. Seymour was pulled into the barrack square and nearly beaten to death with rifles by police and soldiers. The mob, including police, also nearly killed Major Imbrie, although he defend- ed himself gallantly. They were finally rescued and taken to the police hospital, where the crowd finally broke in. Dig ging up the tiles from the floor, they finished the helpless Imbrie. It is good to relate, however, that the Prime Minister, Sardar Sopah Reza Khan, has taken strong action, and now there are seven people under sentence of death, including the Saed and a boy of 14.
(An Ancient Thresher)..
To resume our journey. We left Hamadan at ll a.m. on our third day with regret, and pushed on in perfect weather to Kasvin, but in an hour thun- per clouds gathered. Although we raced them for four hours, they beat us, and we were in the thick of a cloudburst at 4 p.m.
We struggled on to the foot of Aveh Pass, but were obliged to give up. We stayed the night in the filthy wreck of what was once a British military hospital.
We moved at 6 a.m., crossed the pass, and arrived at Ab-i-garm at 8 a.m. Ab-i garm means hot water, and takes its name from the fact that it is full of hot mineral springs. We had postponed our morning ablutions until arriving here, and had a fine natural hot bath in a hole in the rock into which the water was bubbling.
From Ab-i-garm we ran through 50 miles of wonderful fertile plain, brown with wheat and barley, only resting to take photos of the crude Persian method of dealing with the harvest. The thresher is particularly crude, and consists of what looks like six small cartwheel on one axle minus the rims, surmounted by a tiny seat and pulled by two bullocks. The man who feeds the machine lays corn in a circle. The wheels are driven over and over again until the straw is broken up and the ears are separated from the grain. Then on the first windy day they throw the straw and corn up in the air. The straw, being lighter, blows away from the heap and the corn falls to the ground, where the women lift it to remove earth and stones. A good thresher would do in two days
what it takes these primitive people two months to accomplish.
At 1 p.m. we arrived at Kasvin, where we only stopped for a few minutes. This is almost a Russianised city. It was one of the chief Russian settlements before the war. There is a very fine main street called the Shah Boulevard, bound- ed at the west end by the palace of Abbas the Third, who is supposed to have planted the great trees that line it.
The chief industry of Kasvin seems to be begging; we stopped in thc boule- vard to buy a few cigarettes, and fool- ishly passed the change to a blind girl. In two minutes we were surrounded by scores of the halt, the lame and the blind. It was impossible to keep them off. We only escaped by starting up and scattcring the filthy crowd, who followed us for a considerable distance.
We left for our final 90 miles at 2 p.m.. After six hours of uninteresting road, we rolled over the moat through the ramparts into the fine, wide, tree- lined roads of Teheran, the capital.
I took a note from the British Legation to the military governor. When we started our run round to photograph, Felix (our car) was well escorted. We took a captain of gendarmarie, a ser geant of police and a Cossack all armed to the teeth. We were given a pass to the palace containing in the museum the wonderful Peacock Throne and many priceless carpets and art treasures. It is amusing to see an almost priceless collection of precious stones in the throne and a 7s. 6d. alarm clock near by. painting by a world famous artist is on the wall an beneath it a piece of trumpery china.
We obtained an interview with the Crown Prince of Persia who is the Re gent. He was extremely interested in our trip and asked many questions, and cook a great delight in posing for the first time to the cinema. Rumour has it that he may soon be Shah of Persia.
Then our bad luck started; Redknap felt queer, and was soon down and out with a temperature of 103 and severe mararia . For several days I had grave fears of his ability to proceed. However, he picked up, and was thoroughly fit again much sooner than we expected.
We were preparing to leave when poor Allan Wroe went down with a far worse bump than ever, and unfortunately with a fever that is extremely hard to diag- nose. We hoped against hope that it would respond to treatment, but on the eighth
day a doctor ordered his removal to the American hospital and put his foot down firmly against any further hardship for Wroe, even if he became convalescent quickly. It is with the greatest regret, that we leave him here. He will be badly missed by us both, but we hope to join hands again in Bombay in a few weeks.
We are off now across the great salt deserts and hope within about a for- night to cross the Indian frontier at Duzdab, where a further 500 miles of desert lie between us and our destinantion. We have already covered over 77,OOO miles.
Steve Tillotson May 2014
A Brief Sketch Of Afghanistan/Pakistan/India History by Steve Tillotson,
Nice Buddha; nice set of wheels. Photo's of Major, Mrs Amps Tourist trip to Bamiya, Afghanistan, 1929
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