Cyril had been serving in the British Army in India from March 1920, based in Fyzabad. Most of his letters were destroyed but Granny Elaine (his wife) saved a batch of letters he sent home in 1922, a year before she met him and they got engaged. (See Cyril & Elaine Hooke - Marriage)

These letters provide a great insight into life in India for a young and single British officer. They reveal his fondness for his family and the wonderful power of letter-writing in maintaining family communication in the days before the internet, emails or even phonecalls.

The letters also provide us with nuggets of fascinating social history of this era, post WW1, and in the context of an India moving inexorably towards independence but still very much dependent on and subserviant to the British Empire.

There are seeming contradictions in his letters, on the one hand bemoaning poor pay and very hard work and writing that he really didn't want to stay long on India, certainly not more than ten years, whilst on the other telling family how fit he was and how much he was enjoying life in India!

He wrote about the sadness at the loss of a beloved dog which he had trained from birth and about leadership - the challenge of just how strict to be and how to get the best out of your men.

He also wrote about his football team which he was training to take part in Shimla, the Durand Football Tournament, the oldest existing football tournament in Asia and the thrid oldest in the world. I think the photo below must be this team.

Here is a link which will take you to a pdf document containing all Cyril's 1922 letters which have been saved and transcribed 100 years later in 2022.


40th Battery RFA 1922 

 Cyril & Elaine Hooke - Marriage