Category Archives: World War II and Ceylon

An Ostrich-Horseman as Robber ….Medindie, South Australia

Stephen Corby, in TRAVEL, 23 July 2021, where the title runs thus “Statue stands and delivers a curious tale”

Standing beside Lake Albert in Meningie, South Australia, is a statue of an emu wearing a saddle, with little footrests to encourage visitors to climb aboard. It’s a bizarre tribute to the wildest, bearded-boy bushranger you’ve never heard of, John Francis Peggotty. A man who allegedly never grew larger than a seven year old, Peggotty is said to have terrorised the Coorong in the late 1800s, robbing and occasionally murdering people while riding a getaway ostrich; he was often shirtless and draped in stolen jewellery.

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Filed under Australian culture, australian media, cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, landscape wondrous, life stories, taking the piss, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, wild life, World War II and Ceylon

Force 136 in British Ceylon during World War II and the Film “Bridge on the River Kwai”

Tony Donaldson

I read the piece entitled “Travails in Filming “The Bridge on the River Kwai” … and The Locations” a few days ago and found it very interesting. I like this stuff about films in Ceylon in the 1950s and 60s so keep posting relevant material. It’s a topic worth exploring more.

William Holden & Chandran Rutnam during the shooting of the Film

Another location used in the Bridge on the River Kwai film was the Riverdale Bungalow. There is a scene in which “Shears” (played by William Holden) is walking through the Botanical Gardens during a Force 136 training operation and gets caught up in it when he is attacked and thrown to the ground. The training officer apologizes and leads him on to a path to meet his Force 136 contact, and this scene cuts to a path at the top of a ridge looking down to the Mahaweli River and we see Shears walking into the Riverdale Bungalow for a meeting, which of course is not in the Botanical Gardens. The bungalow is still there today in pretty much the same condition as it was in the film and when it was used by Force 136 during WW2. The scene in which Shears is with the girl on the beach was filmed at the Mt Lavinia Hotel which was also a Force 136 site in WW2.

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Filed under accountability, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, governance, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, landscape wondrous, life stories, military strategy, photography, politIcal discourse, security, self-reflexivity, the imaginary and the real, transport and communications, trauma, unusual people, war reportage, world events & processes, World War II and Ceylon

Anecdotal Tit Bits: Making “The Bridge on the River Kwai”

Michael Roberts

ONE: The Theme Tune and George Siegertsz

The mainline tale about the production process in Ceylon in the composition of the outstanding film The Bridge on the River Kwai – a film based on an actual wartime commando operation involving the destruction of a bridge being built with POW labour by the Japanese war machine in Thailand – can be read at https://thuppahis.com/2021/08/02/kitulgala-and-the-classic-movie-bridge-on-the-river-kwai/

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Filed under art & allure bewitching, British colonialism, centre-periphery relations, heritage, historical interpretation, island economy, landscape wondrous, life stories, meditations, performance, photography, self-reflexivity, sri lankan society, the imaginary and the real, travelogue, unusual people, world events & processes, World War II and Ceylon

Lord Soulbury, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Peradeniya University

This striking and rare photograph from 20th April 1954 shows Lord Soulbury leading the young Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their way to inaugurate the formal opening of the University of Peradeniya at its “Senate Building” — whereupon Prince Philip displayed acumen in deploying the original words –“more open than usual” when verbally administering the opening. What apt words!

This Pix has been sent to me by Gerald Peiris.

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Aimée  Jonklaas Williams: RAF Pilot in Wartime …. and a Remarkable Life

R.T. conveying a Vale from “City Dweller” …. [it is now revealed that “R.T.” is Roger Thiedeman of Melbourne

In July this year [2000], Aimée  Jonklaas Williams, a woman of Ceylonese birth, died in Spain, just short of her 81st birthday. Her ashes were interred in an English village on July 20. Early in August, in another Sri Lankan newspaper, a close friend using the pseudonym “City Dweller” wrote a moving tribute in celebration of the life of this remarkable woman.

 

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January 6, 2021 · 3:05 pm