"SUSAN" (1926) MYSTERY SOLVED
(by Lyall Payne and Steve Tillotson, September 2015)
1. Reference Margaret Niblock
On page 121 of Margaret Niblocks book "The Afghan Hound A Definitive Study" there is a photograph (shown above) . The caption on this photograph is - "Mrs Amps' Ch Sirdar of Ghazni with his daughter Susan (foreground), illustrating the difference in type".
Susan has wrongly been referred to as "Susan Of Ghazni" and her owner/breeder details also incorrectly stated as Mary Amps. No such name was ever registered with The Kennel Club and it seems that Susan is a call name, not a registered name. We also need to pay attention to Margaret's words "illustrating the difference in type". The signifigance of those words will shortly become apparent.
2. Reference Eta Pauptit
We recently discovered a letter written in 1967 by Eta Pauptit (Van De Orange Menege, Netherlands) which provides further information about Susan and this has enabled us to recognise her identity. Here is the relevent extract from Eta's letter.
"Ch Sirdar is shown with his daughter Susan. The snap was taken in 1925 and both were not old at the time. Sirdar is the dog in the back and in the foreground is the daughter (a crossing of types, her dam was a Bell-Murray). Sirdar's daughter Susan has a typical bitch head, but it showed the dis-harmony of the cross of the two different strains. The foreface is too long for her skull".
3. Research and analysis by Lyall and Steve
Eta's reference to the snap being taken in 1925 is an error. Whether Eta mis-remembered the date, in fairness Eta was recalling information 40 years after the event, and she was out by one year, or perhaps, when the letter was printed a publishing typo occured. The correct date is 1926 and we have substantiated this. Lyall's research and analysis of the arrival date of the Ghazni's and the length of time and dates that some Ghazni hounds spent in quarantine confirms the year must be 1926. This date and Eta's reference to a Bell Murray dam are the keys in ascertaining Susan's identity.
Lyall's research informs us that some of the Ghazni's arrived in April 1925 and spent 12 months in quarantine. In her writings, Mary would twice make reference to the length of stay her dogs had in quarantine.
Next, we examined the dates of Mary’s published letters in which she makes reference to her dogs in quarantine.
“My hounds have been in England for fifteen months now without loss of feather.” Our Dogs, 30 July 1926.
“After 17 months - 12 of which were spent in quarantine unfortunately - with one exception, due to illness, my hounds carry better coats than they ever had.” Our Dogs, 17 September 1926.
Both these statements confirm our view that the first Ghazni imports arrived in April 1925. Previous writers have all accepted that the Ghazni dogs arrived in 1925, though none to date have been this definitive.
4. Identity confirmed by Lyall and Steve
Sirdar arrived in April 1925 and spent 12mths in quarantine as explained above, and you can see that there is no way Sirdar sired anything in 1925, That's why we believe Eta simply got that date wrong or it is a 1925/6 typo introduced at the time the letter was published.
However we do find a litter sired by Sirdar in 1926 x a Bell Murray bitch - this is our girl -
(Note: It is possible that Balu and Bulbul may be misspellings of the Bell-Murray owned sire and dam Bhaloo and Bhulbhul, but we have left it as per registration records in the abscence of evidence to the contrary)
Mrs C Clifford mated her Nushki (bred by Miss Jean C Manson by Balu x Bulbul) to Sirdar and the litter (Sirdar’s first in the UK – and probably his first ever breeding) and pups were born 8/8/1926. The litter included males Wazir of Kabul and Zarden of Kabul and Wisten of Kabul and Gaida.
(Note that no affix ‘of Kabul’ for Gaida and no affix ’of Ghazni’ was added to Gaida's officially registered name. Key point is this, Gaida’s owner. Mrs Jessica M Thatcher is Mary Amps' sister Jessica M Law. Gaida was the only Afghan hound registered to Mrs Jessica M Thatcher. Ownership was transferred from Mrs Jessica M Thatcher to Mrs Jessica M Thatcher and Mary Amps and recorded in the BRS for November 1927. It was only after the newspaper war between Mary and Major Graham Bell Murray that Mary actually put her name on Gaida, (a Ghazni/BM cross). Our belief is that Mary wanted to keep this breeding off the radar at that present time (1926) and hence Susan was registered under the name of Mrs Jessica M Thatcher as a 'registration of convenience'. It seems most likely that Mary originally had plans to incorporate Gaida in her future breeding program, but events such as the furious public media debate she triggered with Major Graham Bell Murray eliminated that prospect, because it would have beeen inconsistent with Marys publicly stated views on correctness and purity of type etc.However it could just have been something less machiavelian and more innocent of motive, such as simply a gift of a pet Afghan hound to her sister. However, Susan was significant enough to cause Eta Pauptit to write about her 40 years later..
At the time, Mary was planning to return to Afghanistan, she did not build up her kennel rather she reduced, dispersed and got others involved. (Roshni went to her sister Catherine Law , Sirdar and Zarifa went to Ivy Bradshaw (Wahsdarb), Mustavfi to Marianne Cooper (De Flandre) etc. So Mary wasn’t taking on more dogs or puppies. But she was controlling everything in the Ghazni camp, and six months later (Feb 1927) she returned to the east. It was after her departure the first Ghazni litters were born in England.
Gaida is the cross (first Sirdar offspring) that Eta refers to. Once Mary returned again there were now many daughters of Sirdar that were of all Ghazni lineage. Mary therefore had plenty of choices of Ghazni bitches to use and Gaida was no longer required in her breeding plans. This changed situation also obviated the difficulty mentioned above of Mary moving forward via a bitch of Ghazni and Bell Murray breeding and the reactions that would have aroused. After all she was promoting the correctness of Ghazni and highlighting the failings of the Bell Murray so she could hardly begin herself with a bitch whose breeding combined the two.
So, we are quite confident, based on all the evidence above, that 'Susan' is in fact 'Gaida', bred by Mrs C Clifford, and co owned by Mary Amps in conjunction with her sister Mrs Jessica M Thatcher (nee Jessica Monica Law).
Ghazni Afghan Hounds Section. Steve Tillotson 2013
Lieut-Colonel L.W. Amps and Mrs Mary Amps By Steve Tillotson and Lyall Payne Nov 2013
Lt. Amps and Mary Amps "Nice Buddha; nice set of wheels" By Llewellyn Morgan (Oxford, England Sep 2013
The Hound In Afghanistan, Mary Amps, 1932
The Land Of The Afghan Hound, Mary Amps, 1930
Mrs Amps and her famous Afghan Hounds By Phyllis Robson 1930
Robert Leighton on Mrs Amps Ghazni 1926
Afghan Hounds In India, Steve Tillotson, 2012
Afghan Controversy What is the correct type? Amps and Bell Murray
Bill Hall Meeting/Interview with Major-Genl Amps 1970's
Susan (Sirdar of Ghazni daughter)- Identity Revealed. Lyall Payne and Steve Tillotson Sept 2015
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