What draws many readers to the obituary pages on first opening the newspaper is less a morbid preoccupation with death than a natural human curiosity about the lives of others. The Daily Telegraph is credited with having transformed this formerly dry official genre by commissioning obituaries enlivened, as it were, by good writing, informal anecdotes and personal recollections. In this latest themed collection, its Chief Obituary Writer, David Twiston Davies, has selected ninety-two obituaries published in the newspaper over the last twenty years of those whose lives shaped and were shaped by the British Empire and Commonwealth.
The subjects of these obituaries span the former colonies and the Commonwealth, and range from those who devoted their lives to upholding the Empire to those who dedicated their lives to bringing about its demise. They include doughty colonial servants, intrepid Englishwomen abroad, traders and chancers, adventurers and