Recording from Anne De Courcy’s talk, ‘The Fishing Fleet: Husband Hunting in the Raj’ for CVHF, Thursday 27th June 2013.
When the British Empire was at its height in the mid-nineteenth century, legions of ambitious young men were sent out from England to rule it. With the beginning of steam travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, a new breed of Englishwoman, anxious to find an eligible husband after failing to find one at home, followed them. Most discovered a social whirl of parties, picnics and gymkhanas with men in the Raj outnumbering women four to one. But once married off, life often changed dramatically for these women of the Fishing Fleet: whisked off to a remote outpost with few other Europeans for company and with disease rife, they found it a far cry from the social whirlwind of their first arrival. This is the story of these women and it is one of courage, desperation, hope and a great deal of humour.