If you’re in Kashmir, can romance be far behind? Every summer droves of American troops stationed in India in the 1940s were sent vale-wards for some compulsory R&R, “as a protective measure against malaria”. Lovaria was a harmless side effect.

Life magazine went on a date with two lovebirds, Lieutenant Vaden Carney of Fort Worth, Texas, test pilot at a US air depot, and London girl Pamela Rumbold, a WVS hostess at the Srinagar Club and ‘the most beautiful girl in Kashmir’. Carney had stationed himself in a houseboat on the Jhelum with two of his buddies (tariff: a princely $3 per day, “including food and servants”).

Shikaras, with names like ‘Mae West’ and ‘Love Comes to You’, all with “best spring seats”, could be hired for as little as a dollar a day. The shikara doing exemplary service here is named ‘Careless Rapture’. Life’s caption for the image: “rhythm of the paddles is like the beat of boogie woogie”.

This was one of Life staff photographer William Vandivert’s cheerier subjects. Just two years later, he was one of the first photographers to capture the burned-out bunker in Berlin where Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun spent their last hours.

Leave a Reply