Norman Esslemont - Singlo Tea Company 1940

The Military History of Norman Esslemont was sent to me by Bill Esslemont who in turn had received it from his Melbourne cousins.

Bill Esslemont lives in Cairns, in North Queensland.

Norman's time in tea could be added to his Military background and qualifies him for our 'Planters of the Past' section.

Norman served in the Northern Bengal Mounted Rifles Auxiliary Force between 1939-1941 and was also listed as a tea planter.

He worked as an assistant manager at the Binnaguri Tea Garden (part of the Teliapara Division) with the Singlo Tea Company in 1940.

He joined The North Staffordshire Regiment in Calcutta as a Private on 24 Apr 1941.

Between June and August 1941 he attended a three-month course at the Officers Training School in Belgaum.

Between 5 Aug-25 Nov 1941, he completed a Technical Course at the Cadet Officers Signal Training Centre in Mhow.

On 26 Nov 1941, he was appointed to the Emergency Commission, Royal Corps of Signals as 2nd Lieutenant.

On 5 Dec 1941, he joined the Kohat District Signals in Kohat, India (now Pakistan).

On 6 May 1942, he proceeded to Calcutta on special duty and is mentioned in Geoffrey Tyson's Forgotten Frontier in connection with the Ledo Road Project and the evacuation of refugees from Burma.

On 18 Nov 1945, he was released from army service in India under Class B by the I.T.A.

On 10 Dec 1945, he was working in the Motor Tea Garden in Bundapani and was a Private as part of the Eastern Squadron.

He later was transferred to the Singlo Tea Company's Napuk TE in the Sonari District where, after some years, became Manager.

When he left India in the early 60's, he went to Aberdeen, Scotland, before later moving to the Seychelles where he started a successful car rental business. He lived there for many years but tragically, when he was 76, he died in a horrific road accident.




Alan Lane (UK) writes -


I was interested in Norman Esslemont’s ‘Military History’ especially about his time at the Royal Signals Training School at Mhow in India.

My uncle, who had been with the Seaforth Highlanders in Delhi and Simla in 1937 attended the same school after transferring to the Royal Signals.

On completion of his time at Mhow, he was selected for officer training at the Staff College at Quetta, Baluchistan. On being commissioned in the Royal Signals specialising in ciphers, he was then part of the second Chindits sent to Northern Burma.

He along with the remnants were pulled out, given R&R for a short while, then back to Burma with the main force. He told me of some of his experiences at Warazup, Sumprabum and Fort Hertz.

It was quite possible that he may have met Norman at some time. Unfortunately it is much too late to ask as my uncle died of a brain tumour in 1971.

Norman Esslemont Military History