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The Anthropologist who disappeared… 1

Months after the Japanese invasion, an unusual encounter took place in the Malayan jungle. It was a meeting of very different minds and cultures that would have unexpected consequences  not only in Malaya during the Emergency war but later in Vietnam. Herbert Deane Noone, always called Pat, was a British anthropologist who had taken a First in Archaeology and Anthropology at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.[1] Pat’s father was the splendidly named Herbert Vander Vord Noone who made enough money in India to retire at forty-four and return to England where he lived a somewhat peripatetic life with his family. ‘HV’ was inordinately ambitious for his children. Pat and his bother Richard, who was ten years younger, grew up in Dymchurch on the Kent coast and across the channel in Saint-Jean-de-Luz in the Basque country of south-west France.  Pat, his brother recalled, was ‘blessed’. He had inherited his mother’s blue eyes and fair colouring; he excelled at sports; he passed any exam effortlessly; he was supremely confident and assured. After coming down from Cambridge in 1930, he was offered a job by the Perak State Museum in Taiping as a field ethnographer and readily accepted. At the time, Taiping was a […]
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