May 21 2013

A Correspondent and friend of the Bensons has sent in some photos scanned from the pages of their photo album. James and Betty  met on board a P&O ship, ‘Arcadia’ bound for India and Australia-James for India and Betty for Australia. Some years later they were married in the Dibrugarh Church in Assam and they now live in  Australia.

 James and Betty Benson:


James Benson joined the  Jhanzie Company, a sister Company of the Jokai Company, in 1951. He spent most of his time on Ramkong, the outgarden of Seleng TE. And on Chalkoa, the outgarden of Bokel, as well as a short time on Mancotta but longer spells on Daisajan and Jamirah. While at Jamirah they spent every Sunday on the Brahmaputra with Frank St.John Christie and his daughter Jean. Frank was manager of Jamirah and his other daughter is the beautiful and famous actress, Julie.   The Jhanzie Company was divided into Upper and Lower Jhanzie  and colleagues and friends of James and Betty were Jimmy and Charlotte MacNee of Seleng TE. Jimmy was the younger brother of Patrick - Mr Steed of ‘Avengers’ fame.

The Millers of Borpatra, Robin and Isobel, were also good friends as were many in the Jhanzie and Jokai Companies.


James and Betty left Assam in 1966, lived in Mackay for some time and then spent a number of years on Gela Gela Cocoa Plantation locate just outside Rabaul in the East New Britain Province of Papua New Guinea. They now live at Boat Harbour, a picturesque seaside town at Nelson Bay in New South Wales.


James’s father, James William Herbert Benson was born in Shinrone in County Tipperary and he went to India in 1913 as a Teacher. He was based in Bangalore but when the war came he enlisted in the Indian Army and  he served from 1914 till the end of the Second World War. He initially served in the NW Frontier and was later posted to East Africa in 1915 in charge of reinforcements.He retired, with the rank of Lt Colonel, to County Wexford .

James was born in Bournemouth and went to Canford School in Dorset.

Betty was born Melbourne.

They  were married in the ‘new’ church at Dibrugarh on 10.8.57- it was the second wedding to be conducted in this church-the first being that of Peter and Anne Barr from Sealkotee T.E. Chabua.

Some of the people shown in the photos.

The Allens –Keyhung TE

Peter Bottomley-Nalani TE

The Bowdlers-Dikom TE

The Clarksons-Daisajan

Bob Davidson-Nalani and who was Best Man at the wedding

The Gemmells-Suptd of the Bokel group.

Joe Lys- Manage Bokel TE.

The Robinsons-Sessa TE

The Roulstons-Lengrai TE

The Cavers-Tom and Nan ,Bazaloni TE

The Cooks,-John was retrenched from River Steam Navigation and joined McNeills at Barboorah TE


Canford School has a very interesting background and has many associated stories-the finding and subsequent auction of a lost Assyrian stone-the Layard family-King Assunsirpal-ruins of Nimrud.

John o’ Gaunt’s kitchen (1221) still is part of the School building.

A Photo taken by James Parents at Srinagarin 1928

A Photo Taken in 1985 of the same scene

Approaching Aden

At Mancotta Bara Bungalow

At the Taj Mahal Bombay

Betty At Taj Bombay

Chris, Joy, Jane and Hugh

Coronation Bridge River Teesta

Jack Bowden

James With MG

MG Midget

Mini Rail at Daisanjan

Port Said Gullly Gully Men

The Wedding Group

Timonah Bungalow

 Wedding Group on Mancotta Lawn