One of a few surviving pieces of family silver carrying the griffin and the Saracen's head.
This late-addition chapter was put in to balance the amount of Evie-reading-Tom chapters in Major Tom's War and is also set in or near the trenches at Authuile.
The average length of stay on the trenches before relief was usually five days but the Indian Cavalry seem to have stayed for much longer periods, up to three weeks.
Both Harnam Singh and Evie recommend that Tom seek out a priest and he finds his way to the Chaplain Griffin. Griffin (a replacement name for the real man as I have blackened his character somewhat) allows me to shed light on the thorny issue of sexuality in the trenches. There were no women easily to hand. The Indian 'other ranks' had no leave - how could they return to India, it would just never have been feasible. I hope that I do not come across as at all homophobic in Major Tom's War as nothing could be further from the case. I just wanted to illustrate the pressures and temptations of life on an all-male Front under extreme pressure.
Fact and Fiction
We really do have silver cutlery carrying a Griffin and a Saracen's head, and Tom did have a gold bee button he used as a seal.
The real Griffin is mentioned as someone Tom does not particularly warm to for no specific reason. His role within the plot of Major Tom's War is entirely fictional and of my making.
Much as I would love Harnam Singh to have sung Onward Christian Soldiers in the style of a raga that too is an embellishment of my own. I confess that there may be the faintest and most embarrassing echo from my childhood of 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum's 'Land of Hope and Glory' theme tune, responsible for so many misconceptions about the Indian subcontinent in people of my age.