This collection of 8 films was taken by Brigadier Cecil Leonard Basil (Bulger) Duke (1896-1962). He was a military man who served in India for much of his career. Most of the films cover his time in India during the 1930s, and reflect his interests ie the training of soldiers for the Indian Army. At that point, he was Superintendent of Instruction, then Commandant of the Bengal Sappers Training Battalion at Roorkee in Northern India. Men are shown constructing bridges, undergoing physical training, at sporting events. There is also footage of countryside and the locality. One film reflects Duke’s time in the UK just before the outbreak of WW2, and a short film (not yet digitised) has footage taken in Kenya in 1953.
Brigadier Cecil Leonard Basil (Bulger) Duke was born on 27 November 1896. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and the RMA Woolwich and commissioned into the Royal Engineers on 22 April 1915. After serving in France in WW1, he was posted to India, and from 1922 to 1928, he commanded the 4th Field Company, KGO Bengal Sappers & Miners. This company was engaged on road and bridge building in Waziristan and the construction of training camps near Peshawar in Northern India.
'Bulger' Duke then spent several years in the UK including time at the Staff College in Camberley. In 1934 he returned to India where he was appointed Superintendent of Instruction to the Bengal Sappers at Roorkee, later promoted to Commandant of the Sappers Training Battalion.
During WW2 Duke was made a Brigadier and given command of the 53rd Infantry Brigade. He was captured during the defence of Singapore and from 1942 to 1945 was imprisoned by the Japanese. Following his release in 1946, he served in Burma, then Kenya where he was Commander at Mombasa Sub-Area, where the large Mackinnon Road construction works were being carried out. Following his retirement in August 1952, he spent the rest of his life in Kenya living near Thomson's Falls. He died on 4 November 1962.
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