Memoirs Books latest autobiography is written by William McDowell who was born on the 21 September 1911, in Rawalpindi, then British India but today Pakistan.
His father William Alexander had been born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1888 and had served with the Black Watch regiment in the Boer War and later in India. In 1908, he married Alice Maud Bell in Quetta, Baluchistan in the North West Frontier Province.
His father had been demobilized in India and had joined the North Western Railway as a fireman/driver in the Punjab, but was later recalled to the Black Watch when war broke out in 1914. He was travelling by train from Rawalpindi to Karachi en route to the troop ship, which would take him to the war front when he contracted ptomaine poisoning. He died and was buried in the Presbyterian cemetery at Kotri, Sind
Williams' story tells of his boyhood in India and Ireland, his stepfathers kidnap by the IRA. His eventual return to work in India and how he rose through the ranks to join the diplomatic service. In the process he lost his leg shooting pigeons, was kidnapped by tribesmen, survived a dramatic plane crash and was offered the freedom of the harem by his friend the Maharaja of Patiala.
He was sent in to the high passes of the Himalayas to find which route Russian refugees from the revolution were coming through, was snowed in by bad weather for 3 months and only survived by eating a hibernating black bear that was sharing the cave he was using
He was in India during the time of partition and witnessed first hand the atrocities of both the Muslim and Hindu populations. He then spent the next 27 years in the diplomatic service with spells in Nigeria during the height of the civil war there, Ceylon, Argentina, Turkey and finally in Holland.