Young Briton traces grandfather's roots to City

Young Briton traces grandfather's roots to City

There is a fascinating tale behind Elena May Martin’s visit to Bengaluru. The young woman from Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom has come to the City, not as a tourist, but in an attempt to reconstruct memories of days long past.

Elena’s great grandfather, Arthur Henry Martin, served in the sixth Hampshire Battery Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Forces) in Bournemouth, England. He was sent to India in the early 1920s and worked in Secunderabad, Mumbai, and several other places, before being posted to Bengaluru, where he lived and worked for several years.

In Bengaluru, his job was to take care of horses and work at a veterinary hospital located near Castle Street, off Brigade Road. He also lived on the same street. Arthur is believed to have worked for Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV.

Speaking about her visit to Bengaluru, Elena said, “My father, Tim Martin, found out that I would be staying in Hyderabad for a few months to work on a project. Then, he told me about my great grandfather, Arthur Henry Martin, who once lived in Bengaluru.

This caught my attention, as someone from our lineage had already visited this part of the world in the early 1920s. My father helped me in getting the address of the place where Arthur lived. It was found that he was a resident of Castle Street and was looking after horses in a stable owned by one C T David.”

Tim Martin, in an email to Deccan Herald, stated, “My father, Norman Martin, had developed an interest in his family history. Indeed, it wasn’t until my father turned 70 that he discovered that his father, Arthur Henry Martin, had six brothers and sisters, of whom he was the eldest. My father told me before his death that it was a lasting regret of his that he had not asked his father any questions about his early life except for knowing that he had been in India.”

When Tim heard that his daughter would visit India, he passed on the information to Elena, who was enthralled and made sure to travel to Bengaluru and visit the places where Arthur had stayed and worked.

When asked how she felt upon visiting these places, she exclaimed that the feeling was surreal. “If my grandfather, who died recently, had known about this visit, he would have been excited and appreciated it. I went around Castle Street and found the place where the stables once stood. But now, there is a house which is being renovated. I could imagine how Arthur would have moved around the area with his horses. It feels nice to come to a place where your people lived once upon a time.”

“Now, I can go back home and tell people that I visited Bengaluru where my great grandfather once lived and I am proud to do so. Also, this City makes you come back as it is so vibrant,” added Elena.

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