Frank Baines (1915-1987) Able Seaman, Chindit Officer, Hindu monk, businessman, journalist, writer, film extra, prisoner, long-distance cyclist - there were many sides to Frank Baines. Indeed perhaps Frank himself never quite knew who he was, nor where he belonged. He only discovered his real name when he was a teenager. He was gay at a time when homosexuality was still against the law. Banished from a childhood paradise in Cornwall following the death of his father, the distinguished architect Sir Frank Baines, Frank roamed the world for many years seeking to regain that Shangri La. The quest took him on the high seas to Australia and South America, and then to the army in India and behind enemy lines into Burma, where he went to war with the Chindits and fell in love with his Gurkha orderly. After the war he settled in a Hindu monastery in the Himalayan foothills, but, restless as ever, he moved to steamy Calcutta. Here he became a businessman, repairing tea chests, and embarked on his writing career, starting out as a journalist and columnist on The Statesman, one of India's most prominent daily newspapers.
Frank returned to England in the mid-1950s and became a successful author. Frank left in the narrative of his quite extraordinary life and reveals a far more complex and far more accomplished man than anyone ever suspected. It contains a lot of new material and previously unpublished work by Frank and, most important of all, it coincides with the posthumous publication of the account of his service with the Chindits, fighting the Japanese behind enemy lines in Burma in one of the Brigades attached to General Orde Wingate's guerrilla army. Frank's life is strongly rooted in Cornwall, Essex, Warwickshire, India and Burma - each location is a touchstone.