Maj Gen WDA Lentaigne was President till the 28th April 1955. He stressed that the Club was primarily designed to foster sport and that too amateur sport. If the members kept this aim of the Club, it would continue to prosper and be a happy meeting place for all – civilian, military, Indian or European, Conservative or Radical. It was adherence to this aim that had brought the Club from strength to strength since India’s independence and the departure of the great majority of its old members to the United Kingdom. During his tenure Gen Lentaigne proposed that the bathrooms be painted white with aluminium paint and then enamel paint as an experiment. He awarded the night watchman an award of Rs 10 for detecting a burglary on the night of 15/16 Nov. Gen Lentaigne died soon after his return to England and a condolence meeting was held on the 29th July, 1955 presided ovet by Mr PS M Mojyneux.
On the 31st March 1959 a theft took place. A bottle of whisky and some golf balls were missing from the Gents’ room. It was decided that the door of the gents’ room leading towards the office be kept permanently closed. No servant, except the room boy was allowed to enter and there was to be no loitering in the passages. On the 20th April 1959 an Electric Toaster was purchased from M/s Walker & Greig for complaints were being received by members of the Committee that the toast made on the wood fire had been ‘burned’. A rule was also passed during this time that visitors staying in the Club Quarters could have only one dog with them – as their barking disturbed the neighbours and the dogs could ruin Club furnishings. In July 1959, complaints were being received of the bad sherry being served and Messrs Phipson & Co., agreed to reimburse the Club to the extent of half the cost of the bottle of sherry.
On the 23rd November 1959, Maj Gen SHFJ Manekshaw took over as the President of the Club. At one of the Genera! Body meetings it was suggested that since the Club’s insignia was an ‘Ibex’ head – they should have Club ties with the Ibex on a dark green background, which is the Club colour. A firm in Calcutta was detailed to fabricate this.
The Club gave the following pictures to the DSSC to be displayed in the Syndicate Rooms of the Staff College: –
- (a) A portrait of Lord Kitchener.
- (b) An autographed picture of Lord Curzon.
- (c) A picture of the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.
In 1969 when Mr M S Parikh was the President of the Club, Col Rowcroft, one of the old Members bequeathed to the Wellington Gymkhana Club two club quarters built during 1968 with finances loaned by him. He did not intend to claim either principal or interest in respect of this loan when leaving India. The Club Committee showed their appreciation by calling this block the ‘Rowcroft Suites’. On the night of the 16th August 1969 heavy floods damaged the Club – 6 Golf bridges were damaged, Quarters 1, 2 & 3 were flooded, the sheep pen destroyed, and 12 sheep were washed away. The Golf greens and Tennis Courts were also rendered unfit for play. The total loss incurred was Rs 10,000/-.
The Club progressed under the Presidentship of Maj Gen A M Sethna from 1975 to 1977. Many Golf tournaments and Tennis tournaments took place and the Staff College Ladies Club was allowed to have a fete on the premises of the Club.
In January 1977 Mr VK Rajaram donated a rolling silver cup for Golf to be known as the Woodbriar Cup. This was to be competed for on the Wellington Gymkhana Club Golf Course. Rallis India took up the maintenance of one green on the Golf Course. The salient features of the year 1977-78 were that the Club was on a better footing and money was spent in purchasing a Deep Freeze, a lawn mower, a pump set and pipes for the irrigation of the Golf green, the electric wiring was changed, flooring re – done, three tennis courts re – laid and a new layout for the gardens prepared. The Annual Mounted Gymkhana, the UPASI Sports Meet, the Hunt Ball and a wedding reception for 2, 000 people were held. Many company parties and 38 DSSC Syndicate parties were held.
In 1979 under the Presidentship of Maj Gen Mohindar Singh, Mrs Rani Kuttaiah was accorded permission to conduct Dance Classes in the Card Room of the Club for the duration of the DSSC Course. Sippy Film Productions were granted permission to shoot their film ‘Kalyana Raman’ on the Club grounds for a payment of Rs. 10, 000 /- for seven days.
In 1980-81 Golf and Tennis were very popular. Cricket was also well patronised – Occupancy of the cottages was good and the Club premises gained popularity for film shootings. The club won three prizes in the Horticulture Competition of the District.
At the General Body Meeting of the Club in June 1982, an amendment was proposed under the Presidentship of Lt Gen K Balaram. It was proposed that by 1986 the strength of the student officers at the DSSC would increase from 300 to 400 and ultimately to 500. With the current strength of 300 the facilities of the Club were inadequate. As such, something had to be done to increase the facilities. Construction of a first floor ‘inter – alia’ was a necessity. Gen Balaram approached the Service Headquarters for help but they required guarantee to safeguard the utilisation of their Services funds. In 1983 each bearer of the Club was given a new set of uniforms. This consisted of a charcoal grey coat with green piping and a pair of white terry-cot trousers. This was to be worn on special occasions with turbans tied in the same way as worn by the Military Police. In 1984 under the Presidentship of Lt Gen K Mahipat Sinhji, a VCR was bought for the Club