Veteran Stories:
John Liss

Army

  • While serving with the United Nations Military Observer group for India and Pakistan, Major John Liss was able to play a round of golf on his off-time. This score card was obtained from the Srinagar course of the Kashmir Golf Club in 1971.

    While serving with the United Nations Military Observer group for India and Pakistan, Major John Liss was able to play a round of golf on his off-time. This score card was obtained from the Srinagar course of the Kashmir Golf Club in 1971.
  • Major John Liss (left) and local Indian Official sit outside his accomodations while serving with the United Nations Military Observer missions in October of 1971. Courtesy of John Liss.

    Major John Liss (left) and local Indian Official sit outside his accomodations while serving with the United Nations Military Observer missions in October of 1971. Courtesy of John Liss.
  • This map of the region of Kashmir indicates the Cease Fire Line (CFL) which the United Nations patrolled between India and Pakistan. Now termed the Line of Control, the line has not changed since 1947 and three wars have been fought for its' control.

    This map of the region of Kashmir indicates the Cease Fire Line (CFL) which the United Nations patrolled between India and Pakistan. Now termed the Line of Control, the line has not changed since 1947 and three wars have been fought for its' control.
  • John Liss received the United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) plaque from fellow members for his service of one year (January 1971-1972) upon his departure from the mission. Courtesy of John Liss.

    John Liss received the United Nations Military Observer Group India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) plaque from fellow members for his service of one year (January 1971-1972) upon his departure from the mission. Courtesy of John Liss.
  • 'Condition for Secure Peace', The Pakistan Times, Thursday, December 16, 1971. Obtained by Major John Liss while stationed on his UN mission to the region, the commentary refers to the defense of East Pakistan by General Niazi from the Indian forces.

    'Condition for Secure Peace', The Pakistan Times, Thursday, December 16, 1971. Obtained by Major John Liss while stationed on his UN mission to the region, the commentary refers to the defense of East Pakistan by General Niazi from the Indian forces.
  • 'Fight Till Enemy is Destroyed' headline warning of "dark days ahead for India" and the "super defences in East Pakistan", which required a cease-fire and pullout of forces as imperatives for the United Nations. Sunday, December 12th,1971.

    'Fight Till Enemy is Destroyed' headline warning of "dark days ahead for India" and the "super defences in East Pakistan", which required a cease-fire and pullout of forces as imperatives for the United Nations. Sunday, December 12th,1971.
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

Transcript

My name is John Liss. I was a member of the Canadian Forces from 1954 to 1991, and in December of 1970 until December of '71, I was a member of the United Nations in Kashmir. It was the United Nations Military Observer Group, India and Pakistan. So, for a year I was a peacekeeper with that group. And each day, or almost each day, I kept a diary, or sent a letter home to my wife and family. And my wife, unbeknownst to me, kept every letter, and I've kept them in chronological order. So, I'm going to quote from this letter that I sent on the 10th of August, 1971.

"Back to the trip. It will be a bloody miracle if I don't die of cholera, gangrene, or just plain dysentery before I leave this place. The food handling facilities are just non-existent when you go out to the pickets. Cleanliness is not a virtue of the Indian soldier, either. They're hospitable people, though. Yesterday I think I must have had at least fifteen cups of tea, at least three plates of chips, boiled eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, and all sorts of batter-covered little doo-dads. Then they wonder why I don't eat any lunch or dinner. At each picket, they give tea or coffee, or some sort of snack. When you visit five or six pickets, you see what I mean. Since food is all they can provide, you have to eat it. There is usually a circle of Indian troops standing around, watching. So, you cannot leave anything, because if you do, they are disappointed. Dishes are washed (?) by rinsing them with water, and rubbing with a hand. All the food, of course, is cooked in ghee, and it is oily, and often you can see big greasy fingerprints over the food. I know now why I have to go to hospital for three days on return to Canada to be de-bugged.

Follow us