At the beginning of First World War the CPRC were mobilized on 3rd Sep 1914. The regiment then mustered a force for the front consisting of 8 officers and 229 other ranks commanded by Major John Hall – Brown. The contingent left port said, Egypt on 27th October 1914 on the Worcestershire, and was deployed in defense of the Suez Canal at Khubri and Port Tewfik with the company attached to the first battalion, wellington regiment the following month. In December the unit was transferred to the Australia New Zealand army corps (ANZAC) and in April 1915 was dispatched for active service at what would may known as ANZAC cove (“Z” Beach) on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Only about 100 members were left to the fight on Gallipoli after so many had been transferred to officer training Unit. Bean’s official history and the ANZAC war diary in fact refer to approximately 160 fine young Englishmen been attached to Australian and New Zealand corps in early April 1915 at Mena camp. No doubt these figures could be further refined from the attached details. Whilst the CPRC usually receive their fair share of praise there are exceptions. Australians officer Bill Perry referred to them uncharitably when he wrote they think they are the good. No doubt he had observed there refined ways.
In the third week of April the CPRC sailed for Lemnos Island on the Minnewaska to wait for landing orders. The Tea Leaves as they were quickly nick named by the Australian landed on the Ari Burnu Beachhead at Gallipoli between 25th April and 1st May 1915. One unnamed planter wrote to a friend in Melbourne and described the pluck and dash of the 9th battalion during the landing. The writer was evacuated three days later with two bullets in his side.
As early as 28th April 1915, with Australians such as those of the 3rd battalion forward areas much depleted in numbers and according the War Diary nervous apprehensive the Tea Leaves and some 3rd Brigade men were sent forward to the ground with a staff officer to restore confidence.
Soon after the CPRC Men got in to position a sharp attack was made on 3rd battalion which was repelled. With many tea leaves crack shots, from their pre war days, they soon found favour as snipers and there was always work.to be done in establishing trenches, filling sand bags, laying entanglements and water carrying. Despite their sophisticated manners they never shirked their duty, no matter how arduous.
Generally the CPRC men performed, operational duties as guards to ANZAC headquarters staff, including the general officer commanding ANZAC, Lieutenant General William Birdwood, who remarked, I have an excellent guard of Ceylon Planters who are such a nice lot of fellows. Birdwood has especially requested the CPRC to be his unofficial bodyguard whilst in Egypt and enjoyed the company of at least one of their number whenever acumen of both the officers and men, most were put forward for a commission before the Gallipoli landing. After all their working days in Ceylon had been largely consumed with the acquisition and management of a labour force often with accompanying ethnic and other tensions. The only man that Birdwood did not manage to persuade to accept a commission was the Sergeant Cook. Years later when travelling through the east, Birdwood was the house guest of the same man who in peace time had reverted to hos comfortable status of tea planter of a large and very successful estate.
CPRC Losses in Gallipoli were light – at least three killed. However perusal of the attached biographical roll reveals that many were to fall later with other units all campaign areas- and mainly after having been commissioned. The Ceylon Observer of 27th August 1915bfor examples refers to Henry Russell. He was formerly the manager of Mahaousa Estate, Madukelle and later Coolbawn, Nawalapitiya. He left with the CPRC Contingent for Egypt as a Rifleman in the 2nd platoon. After a period he was sent like so many of his peers to the Office Training Corps in Cairo and subsequently given a temporary commission with a British Infantry regiment.
The Ceylon observer article goes on to say that 52 of the contingent members were similarly commissioned on 19th April 1915. Research herein reveals that scores of others were commissioned elsewhere as well. Many apparently choose to serve with regiments which had garrisoned Ceylon, such as the Gordon Highlanders, Warwickshire regiment and the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Dozens of CPRC men were also decorated for gallantry like Robert Benzie with two awards of the Distinguished Service Order while Bill Hannin was recommend for the Victoria Cross. As for Henry Russell, originally he had been a member of the Madukelle and Dolosbage detachments of the CPRC before war was declared. Henry was killed on Gallipoli with the Worcestershire Regiment. The same article refers to Captain Brett who was also killed on Gallipoli, in this case while serving with the Lincolnshire Regiment. Although he is listed herein he does not appear to have been a CPRC contingent member.
James Devane appears to have been a CPRC member before the war whilst working in Ceylon with the Civil Service. His Medal Index Card indicated that he was detached from the CPRC Galle company to the 98th Punjabi Regiment and served in France and Flanders. In 1915 he was returned to Ceylon as a Special Commissioner and finally left the army as an invalid in January 1918.
Following the evacuation in Gallipoli the Tea Leaves stayed at their post with General Birdwood until only about 10 were left. But duty rosters, absences due to sickness or other service reasons made it increasingly difficult for them to keep up with their duties. By mid-1916, with the ANZACs flooding into France and Flanders the CPRC relinquished their, role of bodyguard to General Birdwood. Too many had left on promotion or been taken ill, wounded or killed and the group was no longer a viable force. Not least among the vacancies in the group was Major Hall-Brown who was sent to rejoin and Indian regiment whilst the next senior man, Captain Galbraith was killed in a vehicle accident near Mena whilst swerving to avoid a local Arab. Birdwood was particularly sorry to the last of his bodyguard departed before they left he shook hands warmly with each man.
About the Author:
Lieutenant Colonel Neil C SMITH, AM, Retd
born Neil Smith served 24 years in the Australian Regular Army including a tour
of duty in
He is a graduate
of the Royal Military College of Science in
As a passionate military
history researcher, Neil has 23 years experience in
Neil has been a cruise presenter, Master of Ceremonies for various military commemorative activities, provided expert commentary on ABC TV coverage of the Melbourne ANZAC Day March for 17 years, has written and appeared in TV documentaries and written a series of articles and blog posts for FindMyPast and Inside History magazine.
In his spare time, he is a member of the Military Historical Society, the 8th Battalion Association, the Returned Service League, the Order of Australia Association, the Royal Australian Regiment Association and is a committed jogger.
Neil’s contact details:
Tel: 03-59715565 or 0411143041
E Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site: mostlyunsung.com.
The Sri Lankan food culture is vibrantly influenced by its ethnic diversity. Being a multiracial country, Sri Lanka is indeed blessed with unlimited choices when it comes to tempting one’s taste buds. One will find a cultural gathering of Sri Lanka can be extremely colourful and tasteful due to these unlimited choices. When talking about Great Sri Lankan Recipes, there are many. However there are few all-time favourites by almost every Sri Lankan irrespective of their culture, social background, religion or ethnicity. Amongst them, we picked below two in our week blog.
This is a famous dish locally and internationally. Appam/Hoppers are a type of food mainly in Indian and Sri Lankan cuisine. It is known as ‘Appa’ in sinhala. It is eaten most frequently for breakfast or dinner. These plain hoppers made from fermented rice flour which is crispy and bowl shaped. They are fairly neutral in taste and mostly served with some spicy condiment such as ‘Katta Sambol’. This is a long term cooking method & is one of the slow food recipes in the world. In tradition, plain black tea after Plain appa and “kata sambol” is very famous evening short eats habit in Sri Lanka.
Egg hoopers are also famous in the city, it’s same as the plain hopper but an egg is broken into the pancake as it cooks. Not very famous but “ Pani Appa” (hopers with treacle) is also a member of hoppers family.
These crispy hoppers usually are sold in the roadside shops and even in the famous restaurants across Sri Lanka. If you take a long drive around the island you will happen to see small shops selling these hoppers in different varieties.
Kottu or Kottu Roti is Sri Lanka’s hamburger and one of the best loved Great Sri Lankan Recipe. This aromatic and tasty dish which is believed to be invented by tea estate workers in the central hills are now a nation-wide delicacy. Kottu roti is a street food which has quickly became a very popular street food across the country. While there are many popular Sri Lankan dishes that have its origins in South India, this meal is one of the rare Sri Lankan meals that has become popular and localized in South India. If you walk around Colombo in the evenings, you are bound to hear a kottu vendor at some point or other. The noisy clang of the double cleavers that the kottu maker wields on a large roti pan and the smell and sight of the roti/ paratha and vegetables being chopped and cooked right in front of you. When you place an order, the kottu chef will fry and chop the roti with a selection of ingredients you choose. The result is a tasty mixture of salty pieces of fried dough, lightly spiced and extremely comforting. Kottu is served with spicy curry sauce, which you can either use as a dip or pour over your entire plate.
Some of the most skilled kottu chefs compose their own unique songs, singing while they rhythmically clank their spatula and knives against the metal frying surface, slicing the roti with each clank.
As most of the CPRC men were commissioned there is wealth of information to be found in surviving officer dossiers held by The National Archives in London. Many details herein have been extracted from these records which must be consulted hard copy. More readily available are the Medal Index Cards which can be accessed in digital format on the internet. The Australian War Memorial have now digitized the relevant War Diaries for World War One and although the CPRC have no War diary in either the UK or Australia, ANZAC and other war diaries do provide glimpses of the work of the CPRC from time to time.
The men of the CPRC were educated and patriotic. All has volunteered as part time soldiers before the war so they were interested in matters military. Little wonder they flocked to the depot when the call for mobilization went out. Little wonder they drew high praise from Birdwood and on some occasions were befriended by him. Their courage and enthusiasm was unquestionable although more than one or two left the service with bad marks against their name. it is pleasing to find that at least four of their number were Australian or had strong Australian connections – Bill McCulloch , Clarence Dawson, Henry Hopwood and Francis Troupe. Most were born and educated in Great Britain and after enjoying fine middle class upbringings and education made their way to Ceylon to manage the plantations of the Small Colonial country. Some went further a field to India, Africa and elsewhere. The longevity and influence of the Ceylon Planters Association is testimony to the esprit de corps and camaraderie of these men.
Lt Col, CBE, MC, VD: CPRC, (formerly Royal Dublin Fusiliers). Born 3 Dec 77, Banagher, Kings County, Educated Belvedere College, Dublin & Clongowes wood College, Sallins, County Kildare, Ireland. Occupation: Ireland. Engineer with Messers Davidson & Co, Colombo, Ceylon. Moved to Ceylon 1905, with a Belfast firm. Joined CPRC as Tpr, Sgt 1914. To CPRC Overseas contingent Sep 14. Served in Egypt Oct 14 to Mar 15. Participated in defence of Suez against Turks Feb 15. Landed with ANZACS in Gallipoli 25 Apr 15, Sgt in charge of CPRC, bodyguard for Gen Birdwood. 2nd Lt 1 Bn R Dub Fus 20 July 15. Served at Cape Helles, Gallipoli. WIA Suvla Bay 7 Aug 15. Served Caucasus Sep 16. Served in Palestine Sep 17. A/Capt 26 Mar 18. Served in France Aug 18. Awarded MC for action at Le Cateau 17 Oct 18 vide LG of 4 Oct 19. Later OBE. Recommended for VC. Discharged 1919. Later
Davidson & Co tea dryer still in use in southern Sri Lanka 2016.
Records of the CPRC are scant.
According to its Onetime commanding officer, (CO), Colonel Thomas Y Wright, VD,
MBE (1904 -1912) the CPRC sustained overall losses of 80 killed and 99 wounded
in the First World War. And extract from Lucas’s The Empire at war provides casualty figures for all Ceylonese that
Europeans: 1573 served in overseas theatres with 285 killed and 355 wounded.
Ceylonese: 609 served overseas with 35 killed, 13 drowned (on the villa de la Ciotat, torpedoed in the Mediterranean on 24 December 1915) and 82 wounded.
The Hills of paradise by S N Breckenridge includes a rare photograph of the CPRC Contingent marching through Kandy en route for the war. Similarly Ceylon in my time 1889 – 1949 by Boer War veteran Colonel Wright includes quite a few photographs of the CPRC in the Boer War period. Some historical material is also to be found in The Planters Association of Ceylon 1854 – 1954 by unknown authors. This work was compiled to pay tribute to the many of the Association who for over 100 years had helped to establish and maintain the tradition of service which had contributed so much to the agricultural and economic development of Ceylon. Many of their number had served with the CPRC in World War One.
Uniquely Ceylon was the only British Colony to award a medallion for war service in World War One. It read:
Presented by the governor of Ceylon to those who voluntarily gave their services overseas in the Great War of 1914 – 1919.
Called the Ceylon Volunteer Service Medal it was not designed to be worn so created little interest even though it was named on the reverse thus: D E Smith, P J Rollason and so on. Only 450 of this medal are said to have been produced. Doubtless the readily identifiable hat and collar badge of the CPRC is also rare. It is based on a bronze badge with tree tea plant leaves above the motto and the corps name in full. Shoulder titles are simply CPRC.
From their new depot at Galle Buck the CPRC was mobilized once more when World War Two started in 1939. Although primarily deployed for home service defense in Ceylon the CPRC was a fine source for office reinforcements, providing an estimated 700 volunteers to be commissioned as officers in the British Army and British Indian Army. Between August 1940, and July 1942, the CPRC dispatched six contingents amounting to 172 soldiers as officer reinforcements to the Officer Training School at Belgaum India.
Ceylon having gained independence from Britain The Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps was disbanded on 11th April 1949 along with the Ceylon Defense Force. These events in turn led to the formation of the Ceylon Army and from 1972, the Sri Lankan Army. The CPRC had an annual dinner until the late sixties when most European planters left. In 1984 on request of planters in the highlands, the Sri Lanka Rifle Corps was created, based on the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps. Two battalions were raised in Pallekele and Neuchatel Estate Neboda.The Rifle Corps has since then been deployed both in the central highlands and other parts of Sri Lanka due to the recent Civil War, with its numbers coming from the highlands and the plantations.
With the Centenary of World War One upon us and thoughts of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli sharpened, it is timely to reflect on the Tea Leaves of the CPRC. They were the other ANZACs from Ceylon who rightfully deserve a place in the legends established on the beached of Gallipoli by the men of Australia and New Zealand.
Our thanks go out to Lt Col Neil Smith for allowing us to share his work. We look forward to seeing him in London this year. – Dananjaya.
Like most, you are probably starting the New Year with the usual business plans, career goals, but how about your health? What are your health goals for 2016?
Living a healthy lifestyle is paramount to me along with my career and business goals.
PMD will start this New Year as a proud exhibitor at Hotelympia 2016, which is UK’s largest foodservice and hospitality event. This is going to be a big event for PMD and for me as our first challenge for 2016. The PMD team is working very hard presently to make this event a success.
The Hotelympia show is from the 29th to the 3rd of March. To kick things of the organizers are have set up a 10K run on Sunday the 28th. The route sees the participants run around London’s beautiful docklands area.
PMD will be lacing up and joining in the hustle alongside other exhibitors. For us as a team, the best part of being involved is that the race is for a great cause. All proceeds from the race go to “The Spring Board Charity” who helps young, disadvantaged and unemployed people improve their prospects. You can learn more about Spring Board here: (www.springboard.uk.net)
As part of our training schedule we are sipping on some of the healthiest Teas in our collection. My personal favorite before a run in the morning is our Planters Green that has a fresh, sweet and reinvigorating taste. Why not try it for yourself here www.pmdtea.com and subscribe to the PMD Blog on You Tube to see our progress
Have a good weak ahead!
Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The first day of the New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February. In 2016, the first day of Chinese New Year falls on Monday, February 8th.
Each year is assigned one of 12 Zodiac signs with an associated animal, and 2016 will be the year of the Monkey, the 9th animal in the 12 year cycle. The Chinese believe that each sign has associated characteristics, with people born under the Monkey sign believed to be especially sociable, enthusiastic and intelligent; however they can be quick to anger and even jealous on occasion. Monkeys often make great leaders!
Certain foods and beverages are eaten during the festival (especially at the New Year’s Eve dinner) because of their symbolic meanings, based on their names or appearances. Tea is a very popular beverage especially at this time of year. Tea has a deeper rooting in china as it has been drunk for millennia.
Chinese New Year sees the giving of gift to loved ones. Tea is a popular gift for people to present because a time to offer tea with well-wishes give an opportunity to make deeper connections.
We wish all our Chinese customers a happy and prosperous New Year.
To learn the history of Tea in China click here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/home-tea-dananjaya-silva