Day 13: Clifford Melville Carr Smith

This post is part of the Anglo-Indian Project Holiday Season series 2017

IMAG1282Clifford Melville Carr Smith first appeared in the Anglo-Indian Project through his marriage record to Edith Aileen Hassett. He was born on 30 August 1919, in SaharanporeUttar PradeshBengal, to parents Clifford Melville and Emma Violet Smith

On 19 April 1942 at Presbytery Catholic Mission, Ranchi, Bengal, Clifford married Edith Aileen Hassett. One of the more intriguing relationships discovered. 

Edith was 16 years older than Clifford, although the the marriage record indicates that it was only 11 years (consistent with other records found), Edith lied about her age (stating 34 instead of the correct, 39 years old). 


The couple divorced on 4 December 1956. The divorce certificate stated that the marriage “be dissolved by reason that since the celebration thereof the said Respondent [Clifford Melville Carr Smith] had been guilty of adultery.” 

Reference to Clifford is made in a letter sent from India to England in 1963. It was written by Helen, a 14 year old niece of Leonard Havelock Hassett and Gemrose Hassett, to her Aunty Elaine Cynthia Wheeler. The letter also makes reference to ‘nana’, Edith Aileen Hassett and her second husband, Clifford Melville Carr Smith.

My birthday is on the 30th of August “Sad but true” – your Daddys death anniversary and 420’s birthday as uncle calls him, that is Nana’s second husband Clifford Smith (shit as Uncle says).

Clifford is referred to as ‘420’. This is used in India to refer to a confidence trickster. Set out in section 420 of the Indian Penal Code:

Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code covers offences relating to cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, and leads to punishments of fines and/or jail terms of up to 7 years.

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