☰ Captain Arthur David Linklater (1870-1951)
My leave which had been postponed in 1921 and 1922 was promised on Dhunjibhoy's return to India in November 1922, and his instructions to me before he left for home in April 1922 were for me to be ready to go on leave on his return in November.
Shortly before his return I sold my trap and pony and made some other arrangements in case it would be necessary for me to leave almost immediately on his return. He arrived at Bombay on November llth 1922,and as nothing had been said about the leave I asked him about it on November 17th. I was emphatically told it was quite impossible for me to get it as he might be going home at any time himself, I was also reminded at the same time that I was getting a “very big pay” and that “Majors were glad to drive taxis in England and Captains were on the streets starving.” Knowing that things were bad at home I said nothing more about my leave.
A few days later he informed me that I would have to take up residence at Bomanji Hall Mazagon. This is one of his fully furnished houses which he does not make use of in Bombay. At one tine he resided in this house but now lives in a marble house named Marble Villa on Warden Road. He was paying me a house allowance of Rs 300 a month over and above my salary, so it seemed to me to be a reasonable thing for him to wish so that he would he saving my house allowance and at the same time having his house at Mazagon occupied and looked after, and I accordingly agreed to this without demur.
At this time I think there is little doubt that he intended putting these orders into execution, but two things were coming about. One was the giving up of the Port Trust Dry dock contract which he had held for over thirty years, and the other was that the “Company” that is the Calcutta Agents of the British India Steam Navigation Company were determined to cut down his rates for coal labour, general labour and bazaar by 50 per cent, as we were still working on war figures. Another thing was that his sister's son had been some little time in the business and he was beginning to take a strong liking for him.
He told me and told numerous others that he had been advised, by some one of importance at home that it would be necessary for him to give up the dry dock work as it would be detrimental to his prospect of getting a Peerage.
Towards the end of November the various arrangements with the Port Trust were completed and it was decided that we would hand over to them on February 1st 1923, and that they would do the docking of vessels departmentally.
On December 1st the European Assistants in the dry dock got two months notice, and were discharged from the service without a penny compensation on January 1st 1923. One was left stranded in Bombay and the shipwright was sent home 2nd class P. & 0. on February 3rd. This was a man who had been taken from an excellent job in a home ship-yard on a three years contract, and was discharged with one year still to go, and he went home out of employment.
At this same time Wadia the senior shipwright and a man who had been with Dhunjibhoy many years was paid off at a moments notice after he had been told that he was to be put in charge of the business, and his discharge was brought about only because Wadia requested a months leave as he had not had any leave during his service.
But to return to my own affairs About the 10th of December seeing that a period of change was coming about I interviewed Dhunjibhoy and his solicitor and told them that I would think nothing more about my leave that year, and they were very glad to have this assurance, and Dhunjibhoy said he would at once start getting Bomanji Hall ready for me by having it pained as it had not been painted for years. This he almost at once started to do and they were still painting the house when I left India on March 16th.
It was arranged about this time that during Dhunjibhoy's next absence Wadia and myself would jointly sign the cheques, but that Wadia would be in charge.
About the 15th of December Lady Bomanji rang me up at the labour office at 6/30 A.M. and said Sir Dhunjibhoy wished to see me at his office at Mazagon at 7. When I saw him he said he did not wish to go away leaving the clause in my contract about one months notice, in case I should give him notice when he was away and that he would have it altered so that I must give him six months notice and he give me three months notice. I thought the difference here unfair, but said nothing except that I was willing to have the clause altered as he desired.