Life in Burma
In 1919 the newly married
Gladys Emily Knight
set sail for a new life in Rangoon where her daughter Olive was born in June 1920. Her husband
Alfred Robert was older by about 20 years and was
through his work as a marine engineer. He spoke five
languages, among them Arabic. He had been severely injured during the Great War
when his ship was sunk by a German torpedo. After spending several days in a
freezing lifeboat he was picked up and eventually found himself in Greenwichs
Dreadnought Hospital where he narrowly avoided having his leg amputated. Following that he
worked in Woolwich Arsenal
but after the Armistice employment was hard to find and he decided to seek work in Burma. In Rangoon the
living conditions were not ideal and neither was the work situation. He took up
various jobs as an engineer both on land in the rice mills, oil fields and
saw mills and also on board ships plying the Irrawaddy and the local coastal waters. Both he and his son
Leslie spent their last weeks in Burma in hospital suffering from
life-threatening typhoid and once they recovered in 1930 he decided to return to
England with his family due both to those health worries and the scarcity of work and died in 1933.
Left : Leslie. Centre :
Olive; and together with their ayah (Right).
Leslie and Olive in the family garden and finally a studio portrait taken in Rangoon.