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John Martin Fearne

Discussion in 'WWII Era Obituaries (non-military service)' started by GRW, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "John Martin Fearn was one of the last of the Indian Civil Service elite, the “heaven-born” 800 or 900 men who at any one time governed 250 million people in British imperial India.

    War, shipwreck, earthquake, and swirling dust were his lot, but his greatest trial was the call upon him of his superior, the eccentric Sir Penderel Moon, Deputy Commissioner at Amritsar, to play the piano to Moon’s recital of classical German Lieder.
    In his probationary year in 1939 at Worcester College, Oxford, Fearn had learned the Urdu language, the Indian Penal Code and horsemanship, but the musical instrument to which he was led in Moon’s well-appointed bungalow two years later defeated him.
    The son of a house-furnishing businessman from Wormit, Dundee, he was educated at Dundee High School and won a scholarship to St Andrews University, where he took a First in Economics and History, graduating MA. He won his job by doing well in a stiff competitive examination and set off from Britain for Bombay in September 1940, only for his steamer, the SS City of Simla, to be torpedoed a few hours out of Gourock, off the west coast of Scotland, by U-boat U-138.
    The ship stayed afloat for some time, lights blazing, before sinking, and most of the passengers were taken to Londonderry in Northern Ireland, with three lives lost. Within weeks Fearn continued the 14,000-mile journey – not, as in peace time, through the Suez Canal, but all the way round the Cape of Good Hope, just as in the 18th century his East India Company predecessors had been obliged to do."

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