This article was forwarded to David Thomas by Dr Barry Hannigan, late RAMC, who served in Nepal.

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Land of the brave journal 104

Extract from an email sent by John Cross to David Thomas on 11 February 2024:

My news is that my ninth ‘Operation’ book is about to be published and that, plus the eight earlier ones, are being made into a TV series by ‘108 Media’ with a 90-year copyright. The script writers will take a minimum of two years to produce a filmable script. Buddhiman is the copyright holder and has received his first payment of $3000. He immediately ordered two parties, the Lamjung Society and the Dura society, who work on zodiacal ages as for them I became 100 on 31 December 2023.

I managed my 36th lecture since 2002 to the recruits, 336 this year. Standing up for two hours with a break in the middle was tiring. I talk without notes and, with them all so happy having been enlisted (one day earlier) had lots of laughs. That makes 5654 army men and 2301 Continent men, totalling 7955.

January 15th saw the opening session at the sports complex in Pokhara for an international (including Nigeria) 4-day sports meeting. I had been responsible for classes 8, 9 abd10 boys and girls basket ball for the past twenty hears and so I was presented with a Certificate of Commendation for services to Nepalese Sports and Games (lavish in what it has on it ) by the relevant Minister. After the text on the certificate had been read out the Minister gave it to me. I was asked to speak for three to four minutes and I got four laughs and four hand claps from the audience which must have been well over a thousand. I had never heard over a thousand people laughing before so it was a new experience for me.

After obligatory references to the organising committee’s chairman, the Chief Guest, the Special Guest, those called to sit on the dais, organisers, players and journalists, I thanked the minister for presenting me with the certificate and said ‘there is a Nepali proverb that says there is gold in Ceylon but my ears are unadorned. By being given this certificate it is worth more than gold in both ears’ for which I earned my first laugh.

I was kindly spoken to by the new Western GOC and the ex-IGP of the Armed Police Force whom I had first met when he was a schoolboy in east Nepal and had taught him the story of the rhododendron and the alder; it was at a basket ball match in Pokhara when we next met, over 40 years later. He was the Chief Guest. We spoke and I realised I knew his grandfather who was a Subedar in 2/10 GR in Italy with an MC. The IGP was dumbfounded and before I spoke he came, stood in front of me and announced to all in hearing distance ‘he knew my grandfather.’

Otherwise, apart from lecturing the new officer linguists, as I have done since 1998, my next appointment is being interviewed by Disney World on ‘Pole to Pole’, a feature film on how animals and people suffer and survive hardship – as you will have done if you have managed to read this far.

Just to knock the nail really out of sight, my morning routine is a 7-mile walk (100 times round my house with two sticks, dog and ball; I am not allowed out on my own), followed by a cold shower.