The accident on Panjtarni has deprived the Himalayan Club of two keen and active mountaineers.
Charles Felix Stoehr was born on the 13th January 1886. After being educated at Repton and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, where he was an Under Officer, he was commissioned in the Corps of Royal Engineers at the age of eighteen. He came to India early in his career, and served in the Military Works Services, and later in the 3rd Bombay Sappers and Miners. While with the latter corps he took part in the Mishmi operations in 1912.
When war broke out in 1914 he was in England on leave, and on his return to the East was posted to Aden. Shortly afterwards his wife was drowned on her way out to join him, when the Persia was torpedoed. When the Turks had been driven back from Aden, Stoehr returned to India and raised again the 19th Field Company (Bombay Sappers and Miners) which had been broken up to find drafts for other units. He took his company to Mesopotamia, where it joined the 15 th Division on the Euphrates. He was twice wounded. After the war was over, this company went to north-west Persia, and Stoehr became C.R.E. to 'Norperforce'. It was a time when the prodigality of war finance was allowed to run riot in the free atmosphere of peace. Stoehr steadfastly set his face against waste, regardless of public opinion. His single-minded honesty about government expenditure shone brightly in a rather irresponsible world.
Though handicapped by lack of books and other means of study in this out-of-the-way district, he worked successfully for the Staff College, and obtained a vacancy at Quetta. After leaving the Staff College Stoehr served in Waziristan, where he was mentioned in dispatches and received the O.B.E. For a short time he held a Staff appointment at the War Office; this was followed by another in Malaya, after which he was appointed C.R.E. at Delhi. He was on leave from Delhi when he was killed on 12th August 1932.
Stoehr's chief hobbies were climbing and ski-ing. He was a born climber, who had improved his form by careful study. Though he could get but little practice, his courage, agility, and neatness of action, especially on rock, could not fail to impress his fellow mountaineers. But he never vaunted his skill or thrust himself into the lead unasked. His powers of endurance were very great, and he never seemed to suffer from 'off-days'. He took his ski-ing seriously and would do a 'course' of racing to improve his style, just as a keen rider to hounds schools his hunter at the beginning of the season. An indication of his ability at ski-ing was given by his fine performance in the gruelling 'Inferno' race at Murren in 1929.
The mountains which formed his favourite playground have now demanded his life. He was involved in an avalanche near Panjtarni, Kashmir, while climbing with Lieutenant D. McK. Burn. His widow (his second wife), three children, and his mother were in England at the time of his death, and the greatest sympathy is felt for them.
Felix Stoehr died a keen soldier and a fine mountaineer. Let this be remembered of him, that there was only one man in the world who was allowed to tell off his subordinates, and that was Stoehr himself. May all commanders be as loyal to their subordinates as he was.
Donald Burn, who lost his life in the accident on Panjtarni with Lieut.-Colonel Stoehr, was born on the 5th September 1902. He won a scholarship at Wellington College, and became a college prefect before he left, in 1920, to enter the 'Shop'. He passed out of Woolwich third, winning the prize for Science, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on the 31st August 1922. He was promoted to Lieutenant two years later and came back to India in 1925.
On the 17th December 1926 he joined the Survey of India at Dehra Dun and afterwards served with both Frontier Survey Companies at Quetta and Rawalpindi. At that time the company at Rawalpindi had both a summer and a winter field season, so that Burn spent most of his time in camp on the frontier. In the summers of 1928 and 1929 he was triangulating and inspecting surveyors in Chitral, where he carried out some difficult mountain surveys in the Tirich Mir Group. In 1929, with Major Dutton and Captains Culverwell and Coldstream, he made a reconnaissance of Istor-o- nal (24,271 feet), a northern outlier of Tirich Mir, and climbed to a height of about 20,200 feet on its western arete.1 Towards the end of (lie year Donald Burn served under me for a short time at Rawalpindi, where I had an opportunity of following out some of his climbs .md surveys on his map. There is little doubt that had he remained in the Survey of India, he would have become one of our most capable mountain surveyors, for he was devoted to the work.
1 See Himalayan Journal, vol. ii, p. 68.
Soon afterwards he was transferred to Dehra Dun, and, to the regret of all who knew him well in the Department and appreciated his work, he was compelled to leave the Survey of India on his marriage. He joined the Military Engineer Services and was Garrison Engineer at Meerut at the time of his death.
Donald Burn was a first-class revolver shot, a good oarsman, and a keen and energetic mountain surveyor. The Survey of India was the poorer when he left. The sympathy of his brother officers will be extended to his widow.
Prime Minister and Marshal of Nepal
Maharaja Sir Bhim Shamsher, who died on the 1st September 1932 at the age of sixty-seven, had been Prime Minister and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Nepal for only three years, but he came to that office equipped in a remarkable degree. For over twenty-eight years previously he had been Commander-in-Chief and Chief Officer of the state administration during the rule of his brother, Sir Chandra Shamsher, and few rulers can have had an apprenticeship so complete to the task they had to discharge. Although Sir Bhim was already an old man when he became Prime Minister, his period of office, brief though it was, was marked by constant consideration for the welfare and advance of his people, and his name will be long remembered by all who had the privilege of his friendship. In many ways the very antithesis of his more famous brother, Sir Bhim was yet a forceful personality; but it was perhaps the extreme kindliness of his nature that was his most outstanding characteristic. No matter, if it had to do with his subjects, was too trivial for his personal consideration, and it was this perhaps that led him to be regarded with a quite special veneration by the people of Nepal. The Maharaja is succeeded by his last surviving brother, Sir Judha Shamsher Jung Bahadur Rana, k.c.i.e. He, too, has had much administrative experience, and for the last three years has been Commander- in-chief of the Nepalese army. Unlike the late Maharaja he has travelled much, and on one occasion visited Europe in company with Sir Chandra Shamsher.
C. J. Morris