Colour Sergeant Edward Teer of the Somerset Light Infantry was first Published in 1904. This is a rare account of the siege of Jellalabad by a British veteran from the First Anglo Afghan War and so has been reprinted by Silk Road Books and Photos. Teer was the first sentry to spot the arrival of Dr Brydon at the walls of Jellalabad. This memoir unlike other works, explains exactly why the officers accompanying Brydon never succeeded in escaping to Jellalabad with their lives: “When Dr Brydon came round he told us that three other officers started with him from Sarkhabv, but that he had parted company with them about eight miles from Jellalabad. Had they not been encumbered with Cabul women that they intended to bring to Jellalabad, they might have reached us, as well as the Doctor.” The book provides more interesting material on the relations between Afghan women and British occupation forces and writes in particular of: “Dr Barnes...he was married to an Afghan girl, one of the most beautiful girls ever seen.” Teer recounts his interesting experience with a grape seller at Futehabad: “While here I bought some grapes from an Afghan, to whom I tendered a Queen’s rupee; but the man followed me about refusing the rupee, saying in his language that he wanted Afghan money. I was much amused afterwards to learn that this was Major Pottinger, a very clever Intelligence Officer in disguise as an Afghan. How he must have laughed to himself!” Teer comes across as a good man who defies orders during an offensive to take no prisoners and prevents a fellow soldier, from shooting an unarmed elderly Afghan man. One can only wonder what Teer would make of Britain’s current ill advised military adventure in Afghanistan.
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