Quite some time ago now I became mildly fascinated by the Russo Japanese war of 1905 and how it all fitted into the various debacles in Korea resulting in the Korean war, not to mention the ongoing Russo Japanese fencing match over Manchuria and the Soviet Far east both during and after the post revolutionary civil war.
At the same time I’ve maintained an interest in British colonialism in India and SE Asia.
To that end, I’ve been reading To Lhassa at Last an account by Powell Millington – a fairly low down officer in the British Army in India – of the 1903/4 British invasion of Tibet
The book itself is pretty lightweight, although an engaging read, but there’s one slightly curious passage discussing his requisitioning of supplies from monasteries in which he imagines a Japanese officer during an invasion of England in the 2000’s “requests” supplies from an Oxford College.
The clue to this lies in the book’s original publication date – 1905 – just after the Russo Japanese war, which did not go well for the Russians, and was one of the contributory causes to the discontent that fueled the 1905 revolution in Russia.
Perhaps Millington’s little fantasy was early evidence of the dawning realisation among the British military that the Japanese might be significant foes in the future …