Colonel Alfred Fell

Alf Fell was born in Karachi in 1897 and educated at Framlingham College in Suffolk.  He served in the ranks of the Artists Rifles in 1915-16 before being granted a Territorial Commission in the Prince of Wales’s Own West Yorkshire Regiment, serving with them in France in 1916-17.  He transferred to the Indian Army in 1917, joining the 3rd Battalion of the 2nd Goorkhas in October that year, shortly afterwards becoming Quartermaster.

In 1920 he was sent as Training Officer to the Resident’s Escort in Kathmandu where he also distributed pensions and war gratuities.  He returned to the 2nd Battalion in April 1921, serving with it on the North-West Frontier and undertaking recruiting duties in Gorakhpur.  From 1926-29 he was Assistant Commandant and Adjutant of the Lushai Hills Battalion of the Assam Military Police.  He returned to be a company commander in the 2nd Battalion in Dehra Dun and Malakand before being appointed Commandant of the 1st Assam Rifles from 1933 to 1938.  He was on leave in early 1939, pending his next appointment.

When war broke out he joined the 1st Battalion at Fort Sandeman on the North-West Frontier.  He was briefly Cipher Officer in Quetta and Second-in-Command of the 1st Battalion before being appointed to command the Regimental Centre in April 1941, a post he held until September 1945.  His remarkable contribution to the Regiment during this time involved not only managing all Regimental affairs while the five 2nd Goorkha battalions were deployed on operations, but keeping those battalions supplied with well-trained recruits and battle casualty replacements.  His last appointment was as Permanent President of the Special Indian National Army (Japanese) Courts Martial in Delhi.

He retired from the Army in 1947 and worked as Secretary of the Belgrave Hospital in London and later at the Children’s Hospital in Great Ormond Street.   He died on 18 November 1987.  A typescript of his autobiography is in the Gurkha Museum.

He married Mavis Donald at Ambala in 1926.  They had two sons and one daughter (who married Major Francis Cobb, also of the 2nd Goorkhas).

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