Disembarking from the SS Bendigo in Colombo on April 4, 1936, the twenty-four-year-old Mark Anthony Lyster Bracegirdle became the exception proving the rule posited by the contemporary British writer P.M. Smythe, about those who ventured out to the colonies. “Europeans,” Smythe wrote, were “encouraged to assume that the meanest white man, the private soldier or the engine-driver, ranks above any native; he becomes a gentleman when he steps ashore”. The exotically-named Bracegirdle, the son of a well-born English suffragette and a rich but absent father, was following the footsteps of thousands of Britons (mainly Scots and Englishmen, but also several…
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