This collection consists mainly of Chisman's films, the majority of which were taken during his time in the RAF in India. In addition there are six photograph albums, documenting the Chisman's life in India together with aerial photographs of landscapes and cities in India. The sequence documenting Quetta both before and after the great earthquake of 1935 are of particular interest. There are also some colour transparencies from India and newscuttings collected by Chisman covering events in India, the Far East and the UK.
Air Commodore Leonard de Ville Chisman's military career began in 1917, when he joined the Royal Naval Air Service. During the First World War he saw action in the Mediterranean, serving in Malta, Alexandria and Taranto; in 1919 he was mentioned in despatches for distinguished service, and was subsequently decorated with two Italian medals, the Croce di Guerra and the Libyan medal. In 1922 he became an RAF armament specialist, before being transferred to India where he commanded Army Co-operation Squadrons in Peshawar and on the North-West Frontier. He was later decorated with a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross), awarded for gallantry for operations in Waziristan during the period 17 January-15 September 1937.
Leonard (Chissy) Chisman married Aldyth Rosamund (Doodles) Harris on 20 February 1928. She was the sister of Stafford Harris who was also serving with the RAF in India.
Photography was a long term hobby of his, and the films in his collection, dating from the 1930s, reflect both his service in the RAF and his private life. Chisman also played piano in a group, with his brother-in-law on drums, called the 'The Prairie Oysters'.
He retired in July 1952 and died on 20 January 1974.
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