Cal­low’s ac­quain­tances


Dur­ing the 1940s robert Cal­low met and even fought with sig­nif­i­cant his­tor­i­cal fig­ures, in­clud­ing sev­eral who had a great im­pact on 20th-cen­tury asian his­tory

adrian Car­ton de wiart

(1880-1963) Car­ton de wiart, an eye-patch wear­ing, one-handed, bel­gian-born bri­tish army of­fi­cer, per­son­ally se­lected Cal­low for com­mando ser­vice. Car­ton de wiart fought in three ma­jor con­flicts across six decades and won a victoria Cross dur­ing the bat­tle of the somme. al­though he was wounded eight times in world war I alone, he once said that “war was in my blood”.

Chi­ang Kai-shek

(1887-1975) Chi­ang was the pow­er­ful head of the na­tion­al­ist gov­ern­ment of China from 1928-49, who re­uni­fied the coun­try in the in­ter-war pe­riod as well as os­ten­si­bly lead­ing it through world war II. how­ever, Chi­ang was de­feated dur­ing the Com­mu­nist revo­lu­tion be­tween 1946-49. Chi­ang fled with the rem­nants of his gov­ern­ment and founded the state of tai­wan, which is still of­fi­cially known as the ‘repub­lic of China’.

Chin Peng

(1924-2013) an eth­ni­cally Chi­nese, malayan com­mu­nist guer­rilla leader, Chin fought with the bri­tish dur­ing world war II and sub­se­quently against them dur­ing the malayan emer­gency. the bri­tish man­aged to de­feat him and he fled to thai­land, al­though he later waged another un­suc­cess­ful cam­paign against in­de­pen­dent malaysia. through­out all this he led the malayan Com­mu­nist Party from 1947-89.

wil­liam slim

(1891-1970) as the com­man­der of the bri­tish 14th army, slim turned back an at­tempted Ja­panese in­va­sion of In­dia be­fore de­feat­ing its ar­mies in burma. Cal­low re­mem­bered him as a “sol­dier’s sol­dier who didn’t call a ‘spade a spade’ but a ‘bloody shovel’!”

Zhou En­lai

(1898-1976) the first premier of the Peo­ple’s repub­lic of China played a ma­jor role in the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist revo­lu­tion and was sec­ond only to mao Ze­dong in im­por­tance be­tween 1949-76. un­like mao, Zhou was renowned for his charm and diplo­matic skills, which most fa­mously bore fruit in the his­toric meet­ing be­tween mao and amer­i­can Pres­i­dent richard nixon in 1972.

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