Meet the speakers
Chair: Sqn Ldr (Rtd) Rana Chhina MBE
Squadron Leader Rana T.S. Chhina served in the Indian Air Force as a helicopter pilot. He is a recipient of the Macgregor Medal for best military reconnaissance in 1986. Chhina is currently Secretary and Editor of the United Service Institution of India Centre for Military History and Conflict Research and Vice President of the Indian Military Historical Society, UK. He was responsible for spearheading the joint USI-MEA ‘India and the Great War’ centenary commemoration project.
The author of a number of books, Chhina was a member of the IAF Aerospace Museum Apex Steering Committee and the Government of India’s Archival Advisory Board. He is on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal of the British Commission for Military History. He was appointed an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2016 and an Officer of the Belgian Order of Leopold in 2018 for his contribution towards strengthening Indo-UK and Indo-Belgian bilateral ties, respectively.
Pratap Chhetri is a civil servant working on media and public communication for the Government of Mizoram. Since 2014, he has been researching the various Labour Corps from North East India who served as a part of the Indian Labour Corps in France in 1917/18 and also the unknown facets of Gurkha participation in the Great War. His Gurkha relatives served in both the Wars as soldiers, in the Western Front in WWI and in the Burma Campaign in WWII.
Adil Rana Chhina
Adil Rana Chhina has previously worked for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and United Service Institution of India, Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research. His research interests include the British Indian Army during the First and Second World Wars and Allied and Japanese propaganda during the Second World War. He completed his MA in War, Media and Society at the University of Kent, UK
Catriona Child is the daughter of Ursula Graham Bower, the pioneer anthropologist who became the only woman to hold a de facto combat command in the British Army during WWII.
In 1942, because of her rapport with the local people, Bower was recruited by V-Force to mount an intelligence operation in the hills west of Imphal. She and her assistant Namkiabuing led a band of 150 Naga and Kuki scouts across 800 square miles (2,100 km2) of mountainous jungle in search of Japanese patrols.
After World War II, Bower received a postgraduate diploma in anthropology from the University of London.
A freelance writer and editor, Child is Associate Director of The Kohima Institute and is now documenting the traditions and folklore of the Zeme Nagas.
Bhanu Gahlot is a Chevening scholar pursuing her masters at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester. Her research interests include the study of material culture and oral history of South Asia.
She has experience working on a number of cultural, research and community engagement projects. Her longest association has been with the ‘India and the Great War’ Centenary Commemoration project spearheaded by the USI-Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research.
Dr Peter Johnston
Dr Peter Johnston is Head of Collections Research and Academic Access at the National Army Museum. As the Museum’s senior military historian, Peter is responsible for managing and curating exhibitions, developing research strategies, working with partners in academia and the Army, and supporting the museum’s public programme.
Peter’s specialisms range across British military history from 1815 to the present day, but he has a particular interest in, and has published on, the First and Second World Wars, the post-1945 British Army, the lives of U.K. veterans and military culture, and propaganda in times of conflict.
Dr Robert Lyman
Dr Robert Lyman is an elected fellow of the Royal Historical Society. The primary focus of his research is the British and Commonwealth armies in the Second World War, where he has published extensively on the Pacific and Far East, North Africa and North West Europe. He spent 20 years in the British Army and His book Slim, Master of War continues to be listed as a ‘must read’ for officer cadets at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
He is currently writing a new account of the Burma campaign to be published in 2022, arguing that this campaign served as a key validation for a newly independent India.
Mingma Lhamu Pakhrin
Mingma Lhamu Pakhrin is a PhD scholar at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi, India. Taking the case of Darjeeling, she studies the colonial frontier districts in the Eastern Himalayas and its overarching networks in the Trans-Himalayas.
She worked as a Project Manager at the Centre for Armed Forces Historical Research, United Service Institution of India, New Delhi, and assisted with the India Remembers Project. In 2017, she became the recipient of the Inlaks Research Studentship at the King’s India Institute, King’s College London.
Sir Mark Tully
Sir Mark Tully, KBE, is the former Bureau Chief of BBC, New Delhi, a position he held for 20 years. Since leaving this position he has worked as a freelance journalist and broadcaster based in New Delhi, guest presenting shows such as Great Railway Journeys and Something Understood (BBC) and has authored nine books, including Raj to Rajiv: 40 Years of Indian Independence.
Born in Calcutta, India, Sir Mark is fluent in both English and Hindi and is a patron of Child in Need India. He has received many awards in both India and the UK, for his work covering momentous occasions in India including insurgencies, elections and Operation Blue Star. The awards include the Padma Shri Award and Padma Bhushan Award from the President of India for his integrity whilst writing and reporting on India for a world audience.
Musician: Ahsan Ali
The Last Post will be performed by Ahsan Ali, one of India’s finest young Sarangi players. This is a bowed string instrument used in classical music in the subcontinent. Ahsan is a Peninsula Studios artist since 2011. He has established his reputation within India and internationally, collaborating with various ensembles that perform across the globe.