Reggie Phillimore, a Founder Member and Life Member of the Himalayan Club, died in Gulmarg, Kashmir, on 30th October, 1964, at the age of eighty-five. Born on 19th June, 1879, the son of Admiral H. B. Phillimore, he was a Queen's Scholar of Westminster, passed through the ' Shop' at Woolwich into the Royal Engineers in June, 1898, and elected for service in India in September, 1900. After serving with the Madras Sappers and Miners in Malakand and Swat he joined the Survey of India in June, 1903. Most of his service before World War I was spent in geographical surveys on the frontiers of Burma and in Assam.

Reverting to military duties as a Captain in September, 1914, he raised and trained in England an R.E. Company of 'Kitchener's Army', took it to France and later to Salonica, where he was largely instrumental in improving the inaccurate maps on the Vardar front, in helping the Royal Artillery with their long-range artillery targets and in developing their sound-ranging and flash- spotting techniques. For his war services he was promoted to Brevet Lieut.-Colonel, awarded the D.S.O., and was mentioned four times in despatches.

After the war he declined the offer of a staff appointment. His heart was in the Survey of India, which had been depleted by casualties, and he returned to work in Assam and Bengal before becoming Director of the Burma Circle in 1924. He then acted as Director of the Eastern and Northern Circles at Shillong and Mussoorie respectively before being appointed Director of the Frontier Circle from 1928 to 1930, when he assumed charge of map publication in Calcutta and for nearly a year acted as Surveyor-General of India. It was during these five or six years that I came to know him well, and we always remained close friends.

As will be seen, he had great experience of Himalayan and frontier mapping in all its varied aspects, and though never a mountain climber in the Alpine sense, he was a tireless traveller among the hills and an exacting inspector of the work of his subordinates ; there was little he did not know about mountain surveys. It was natural therefore that when the Himalayan Club was formed in 1928 while he was Director of the Frontier Circle we should receive from him his enthusiastic support as a Founder Member as well as that of the Surveyor-General, Sir Edward Tandy.

Before retiring in 1934, Phillimore was stationed in Dehra Dun as Director of the Geodetic Branch of the Survey of India, which had succeeded the Great Trigonometrical Survey. This was the scientific department which in the nineteenth century had been famous under Lambton and Sir George Everest for the whole trigonometrical framework of geographical work in India. To one of Phillimore's wide technical knowledge and enthusiasm, the old historical files, then stored in the Clock Tower at the branch headquarters, became of absorbing interest and he began to sort and sift the correspondence and detailed history of the early adventurers and surveyors since the days of Clive and Warren Hastings. He also began, as Librarian to this Club, to form the nucleus of our library.

On retirement at the age of fifty-five he and his wife decided to remain in India. It was now that he planned his great work, The Historical Records of the Survey of India, which occupied him during the remaining thirty years of his life, broken only during World War II, when he reverted first to military duty in Simla and later to the Survey of India in Delhi. For the first three volumes alone he studied no fewer than seven hundred volumes of manuscript letters and reports and had them indexed and deposited among the State archives in India. He collected information at the India Office Library, the British Museum, and from records in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. He delved into genealogies and family histories, discovered descendants of the old adventurers and was able to make use of much long-forgotten material. The result was a series of five volumes of outstanding historical interest, factually exact but lightened by a human insight into the virtues and frailties of the actors in this period of Indian history. The last volume, V, which completed the history to 1861, was published in the year of his death. The various chapters dealing with the early penetration of Nepal and the Himalaya will appeal most to his friends in the Himalayan Club, as will his account of the early triangulations of Kashmir and of the high peaks.

Phillimore was happy in his service career and during his retirement in a rapidly changing India among the people with whom he had worked. Spending his time between Dehra Dun and Kashmir he remained a fount of knowledge on Himalayan matters, from which many of our members benefited. He was also an invaluable link between friends in India and Britain, and retained the esteem of many of his old Indian colleagues after 1947. On his sudden death in Gulmarg, the Indian Army spontaneously honoured him with a funeral with full military honours and undertook all arrangements for it. An escort of fifty soldiers carried his coffin to the grave-side in Srinagar where the Last Post was sounded.

Kenneth Mason



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Edward Oswald Shebbeare, who died suddenly at his home near Banbury in August, 1964, was a Founder Member of the Himalayan Club. He was Assistant Editor of the Journal from 1930-1933, Vice-President from 1933-1934 and a member of the Committee from 1936-1938.

He was educated at Charterhouse and joined the Indian Forest Service in 1906. During his 32 years of service, most of which was spent in Bengal, he contributed greatly to forestry in India and when he retired as Senior Conservator of Forests, Bengal, in 1938, his name had become a byword. From India he went to Malaya as Chief Game Warden, he was a Prisoner of War in Singapore from 1942-1945 and then went back to being Game Warden until his retirement to England in 1947.

He won for himself a permanent place in the annals of Himalayan mountaineering during the twenties and thirties as Transport Officer to the 1924 and 1933 Everest Expeditions and the German Expeditions to Kangchenjunga in 1929 and 1931.

V. S. Risoe

E. St. J. Birnie writes:

I first met him in 1929 in Darjeeling when he was assisting Dr. Paul Bauer in the Bavarian attempts on Kangchenjunga and was fortunate enough to be in the same expedition with him when the Tibetan Government again, after a long period of nine years, gave permission for Mr. Hugh Ruttledge to lead an Expedition to Mount Everest in 1933.

Dealing with the rough mountain men of Tibet, who supplied us with our yaks and donkeys, was a task which needed immense patience and good humour. Any sign of irritation could be disastrous. Shebbeare surmounted all these difficulties with ease. His sense of humour captivated these tough hillmen and ensured the safe passage of the Expedition to the Base Camp.

No man could have been a greater asset to an expedition and his kindly manner made him loved by all his companions whether they were the Sherpa or Bhutia ‘Tigers' of Everest or his fellow climbers.

His task was, of course, that of Transport Officer but he was capable of anything. In spite of this, it was with some surprise that Smythe, Shipton and I saw him climbing alone towards the top of the North Col of Everest on June 3rd, the day we were forced to descend from the higher camps. 4 What are you up to?’ we asked. He waved and plodded slowly on, reached the Col, had his tea and a pipe, looked at the magnificent panorama of mountain scenery, and returned safely down those precipitous ice slopes, achieving an ambition of years !

The North Col is 23,000 feet in height and this was a superb effort for a man of 49 years of age.

Dr. Raymond Greene writes :

No one who marched across Tibet with Shebby in 1933 will ever forget his perpetual good temper, complete imperturbability and remarkable knowledge of natural history. His control over the porters was complete and unquestioned and invariably friendly. They loved him as a father. Though already too old to go high on Everest, he was the toughest member of the party. Physical discomfort was not withstood: it was ignored. I don't think he ever felt uncomfortable. He had a wonderful sense of humour which, although always kindly, delighted in ‘deblimping’ It is said that on one journey to India in a P. & O. liner, in which in those days social customs were as strict as in any vessel of the Royal Navy or any Royal Court, Shebby appeared at dinner in a khaki shirt and shorts and a pair of gym shoes. Summoned before the captain next morning he unsmilingly apologized. That evening he was the first down to dinner, clad in tails, white waistcoat and white tie. It was only when, having arrived first, he left first, that the other passengers realized that he was still wearing shorts and gym shoes. The captain gave in.

He seemed to those who continued to see him after the last war that he had been unchanged by his terrible experiences as a prisoner of war in Japanese hands. One would have expected that to so free a spirit confinement only would have been intolerable. Yet he was still calm, humorous and unperturbed. He drifted quietly into old age and, still mentally and physically well, literally fell asleep in his own garden chair.

Dr. K. Biswas, Editor, Himalayan Journal, writes:

I came in contact with E. O. Shebbeare during the early part of my tenure of service in the then Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, along with the late Captain Kingdon Ward. My acquaintance with him ripened into great intimacy for our common interest in the study of the flora of Bengal with special relation to the vegetation of the Terai and Duars and the plants of Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas. In fact, in his publication of the floristic studies of the then undivided Bengal I had the privilege of identifying many of the plants collected by him and furnishing him with necessary information on their systematic aspect during the preparation of his comprehensive forest flora of Bengal. This is a valuable contribution towards our knowledge of Bengal plants written by him after the publication of the book on ‘Bengal Plants' by Sir David Prain in 1901-3. He was not only a botanist of a high order but equally a good ornithologist and naturalist.

I am in full agreement with what has been stated above about his character and personality by Mr. Birnie and Dr. Greene. His was a character by itself-fearless but amiable, enduring all who came in contact with him, simple due to his constant association with natural surroundings of the forest. Once he told me a little story which proved his great courage. He was strolling on a February day in the fog near Sukna forest. He climbed up the side of the road emerging out of the tall grasses and landed himself face to face with a huge tiger sitting on the road only 5/6 feet away. He was as composed as ever and stood still. The tiger stood up, watched his old friend, as he used to say, and moved away wagging his tail.

In Shebbeare's demise Bengal has lost an experienced forest officer who set up a tradition in the forest service by his pioneering work in those days in the development of forestry, not only in Bengal but in India also.



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General Wilson died at Cape Town in 1965, aged 83. He was a founder-member of the Club, 1928, and an original member, 1927, of the Mountain Club of India which amalgamated with the Club in 1929. He took a deep interest in the Club's affairs and was Vice-President in 1929-30 and again in 1938, and President in 1939-40. His services to mountaineering were recognized by Honorary Membership of the Club in 1962.

Wilson was educated at Wellington and Sandhurst and was commissioned in 1901. He was transferred to the Indian Army in 1904 and was at the Staff College, Quetta, when war broke out in 1914. He served with great distinction in the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force from 1916 to 1918, being awarded the D.S.O., M.C. and Ctoix de Guerre, and mentioned ' five times in despatches.

After the war he held a senior staff appointment in U. P. District Headquarters and later was Commander of the Manzai Brigade, Waziristan, from 1926 to 1930. He became Commandant of the Staff College, Quetta, in 1931 and G.O.C. of Rawalpindi District in 1934. After a short spell as Secretary to the Military Department of the India Office he became Adjutant-General in 1937 and held this appointment until he retired in 1941. He subsequently joined the Union Defence Force in South Africa and served on the staff of Cape Command throughout the remainder of the war.

Lt.-General Sir Harold Williams

Sir Roger Wilson spent much of his life in India. I did not know him at all well, but one incident in his climbing experiences seems to me of great interest. He was perhaps the first person seriously to reconnoitre a route on Mount Kailas in Tibet.

In 1926, with the famous Everest porter of early days, Satan, he approached the southern flank of Kailas, and ascended to the Col between the main mass of the mountain and the well-defined rock gendarme which has some resemblance to a sitting figure and is associated in mythology with the god Hanuman. The Col, but unfortunately not the gendarme, is easily seen in the photograph in the Alpine Journal, Vol. 66, p. 333, about one inch from the left-hand edge of the photo—the gendarme is just out of sight on the left. In Wilson's sketch-map of Kailas, in A.J., Vol. 40, p. 26, the gendarme is indicated by ' G’, and he thought it might be possible to reach the position marked ' H' by a short though not simple climb. On a later page, however (p. 27), Wilson expresses the view that it would be better to join the ridge HF on his plan, and this I think is in agreement with a view I expressed in 1945 (A.J., Vol. 55, p. 317), since I am of the opinion that I was on the ridge that Wilson calls HF. Subject to correction, I fancy that the highest point of this ridge may have been the peak named by Swami Pranavananda, Exploration in Tibet (Calcutta University Press, 1950), p. 17 (and cp. Map No. 3), as Neten-yelak- jung. Certainly, I remember one could look down upon the row of chortens known as Serdung-Chuksum (Pranavananda's Kailas- Manasarovar, pp. 14-15).

The ridge I was on certainly seemed to merge eventually into the snows of the East (more correctly, I think, South-east) ridge of Kailas, and this latter ridge would appear to be the best, if not the only feasible, route up Kailas. Wilson had realized this, and indeed quotes his Sherpa's remark, ' We can climb that'. They had no time to try it, nor were they equipped to do so, any more than I was myself in 1945. In a conversation I had with Swami Pranavananda (who must be the greatest living expert on this mountain) I gathered that he considered the South-east ridge might more simply be reached from a pass on the eastern flank of Kailas ; this, tentatively, I take to be the Khando-Sanglam La shown in his Map No. 3 already mentioned. Presumably, one day Kailas will be climbed ; it is difficult to believe that either the Northern or the Southern faces can be climbed direct; General Wilson, from what one might call Hanuman Col, said (as indeed one can see from my photo in A J., Vol. 66, p. 333, or from the fine photo by Mr. Salim Ali of Bombay, reproduced in Swami Pranavananda's book, Kailas-Manasarovar, Plate 76), the mountain rises almost perpendicularly above the Col, so the South-west ridge seems an unlikely route. Whether the North-west ridge is possible, I could not say; on the day I was on the western side, by Nyanri Gompa, the whole mountain was covered in mist and rain. If the North-west route is considered, there are photos of it by Ruttledge (A.J., Vol. 40, p. 27), by Heim and Gannser, The Throne of the Gods, Plate 128, and in Pranavananda's Kailas- Manasarovar, Plate 82. To me, the eastern route seems preferable ; it will certainly be a great moment for the first climbers of Kailas, when they reach the summit; let us hope that they do so with the awe and reverence that so majestic a mountain deserves.

T. S. Blakeney

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