A couple of years ago I looked at a postcard of British infantry accommodation at Mhow here. Today we are back at the cantonment to look at another postcard, this time of the ‘Battery Barracks’:
These barracks had been built for the Royal Horse Artillery and other artillery units that were stationed at this base. There were also stables for the horses needed to pull the guns and in the 1880s a gunner of the Royal Artillery, Clifford Keates, was dispatched to Mhow and he left us this evocative description of arriving at the cantonment:
We took up our camp and left the pretty scenery, and when about one mile before entering Mhow, we pulled ourselves together, rubbed down our horses, dusted our appointments and put ourselves in a condition to be criticised by the different troops lying here, and just before entering the station we were met by Colonel Scott, the Commanding Officer, and his Staff. They welcomed us very heartily, giving us great praise for the condition of our cattle and appearences in general, and after complimenting me in the manner in which I had done my work they rode off to see about finding room for us and our horses.
After pegging out the ground for the battery camp, we rode up to the Horse Artillery stables, where good-hearted men waited to take the work of unharnessing and grooming out of our hands, while we were hurried off to the dining hall to have a good feed provided by the R.H.A. Mr. Oldham, of course, skidaddles to the Officer’s Mess, giving me instructions to meet him in the District Office at 10.30 with all my duplicate reports, warrants and receipts.
We all spent a very jolly day, for we had many old friends at Mhow, some of whom had visited us in Neemuch.
I will give a brief description of the District Station of Mhow. It is the headquarters of the district, and contains one regiment of Infantry (Middlesex), one regiment of cavalry (18th Hussars), one R.H. Battery, one heavy battery and one elephant battery…
Oddly this postcard, although produced in India and depicting an Indian army base, was not posted there but back in the UK, as can be seen by the British stamp on the rear:
The message on the back shows it was sent to someone called Betty by a member of the 9th Hussars at Retford Barracks, heading north to Edinburgh in September 1925:
One has to wonder if the sender was back from India and bought the postcard there, or just borrowed the card off a fellow soldier who had brought it back with him…