Conisborough’s V.C. – Life on the Afghan Frontier.

December 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times December 9, 1927

Conisborough’s V.C.
Life on the Afghan Frontier.

Conisborough people will be interested to have news of their V.C. Sgt. Laurence Calvert, at present serving with the 2nd K.O.Y.L.I. on the- North-West Frontier. Writing from Peshawar to Mr. Jesse Hill, Sergt. Calvert announces that he is now married and has a little daughter.

The duties at Peshawar, he says, are exacting, because it is so near the frontier of the wily old Pathan.

“You know,” he writes, “they are born thieves, and their one ambition in life is to steal a British rifle,’ which means that we have to be extra careful round about this district. You can guess what it is like when I tell you that the whole-of the cantonment is surrounded with barbed wire, a distance of about 15 miles, and is patrolled and watched all night. If we are out on duty at night; our rifles are chained to .our bodies to prevent them being snatched from us.

We are only nine miles from the famous Khyber Pass, the route to Afghanistan and Persia, and it is a wonderful sight to see the long trains of camels come down (as many as 600 camels in a train) ‘all loaded with merchandise for the markets of Peshawar, from whence they are sent all over the world.. This happens twice a Week, the only days the pass is open. I have been up the pass twice, once only for a day, and the other time for a week. It is very wild country, and one wonders how the natives ‘manage to live up in that kind of country, it is so barren. They even have to depend on us for their water supply, as we have a pipe line running all the way up the pass, and pumping stations at intervals to supply the troops garrisoned up there

We have five regiments of infantry and two pack batteries of artillery up there to guard the pass and keep the natives quiet. Only one of these is an English regiment (at present the Rifle Brigade), the remainder are Gurkas and Rajputs, both very loyal classes of natives to the old Union Jack, and as they are born hill men fighting in this kind of country comes naturally to them.

We have had a rather warm, summer; the temperature reached 120 degrees in July for about a week, but since the rains it keeps round about 105, which isn’t so: bad when one gets used to it. At night it always cools down a little, and the fans and punkahs assist to keep one cool and get a sleep.

One good thing about myself is, I don’t lose my appetite during the hot weather, and it helps. So many people can’t eat, and they are the people that go down.’