NOSTALGIA: Maharaja’s record breaking shoot

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This old picture belonged to David Jefferis, manager of Jays Marine in Chichester, who sent it to the Observer, where it was printed in 1983.

Way back in the early 1920s, if you were a Maharaja in search of a record, it was a ‘sure fire thing’ - 2,136 birds were killed in five hours’ shooting by seven guns by the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh.

Mr Jeffris’ grandfather, Mr George Wakefield, is pictured fourth from the left. He was at the time a senior government officer for the State of Kashmir. He was a friend of the Maharaja who was a keen shot and organized the shoot in search of a record. A small army of loaders and reteievers helped.

Mr Jeffries said: “They were all wildfowl, not specially bred, and the shoot took place ath the Maharaja’s private gheel, or lake. I do not know whether the record still stands but it would certainly be difficlut to beat today - in fact it is the sort of thing that only a Maharaja could do.”

‘Grandfather’ Wakefield wrote a book of recollections of 50 years in India, in which the photograph was published. He recalled it took two and a half ton lorries to carry away the game, none of which was waster, being distributed among friends, the hospitals and the army. Two of Mr Wakefield’s sons, retired colonels from the Indian Army, lived in Chichester.

A huge print of the photograph was made for Mr Jefferis to disp-lay in the new gun department he was planning at the St Martins Street chandlery and sports shop.

The photograph was originally printed under the title ‘How’s that for a quacking bag?’.

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