Geoffrey Langlands

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Geoffrey Douglas Langlands
Nickname(s) Major Langlands of Pakistan
Born (1917-10-21) 21 October 1917 (age 100)
West Sculcoates, England, United Kingdom
Allegiance Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
British Raj Red Ensign.svg British Indian Empire
Pakistan Dominion of Pakistan
Service/branch  British Army
 British Indian Army
 Pakistan Army
Years of service 1939–1953
Rank Major
Battles/wars World War II
Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Awards Sitara-e-Pakistan
Crescent of Excellence Hilal-e-Imtiaz.png Hilal-i-Imtiaz
UK Order St-Michael St-George ribbon.svg Order of St Michael and St George
Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png Order of the British Empire
Other work Headmaster Aitchison College
Principal Cadet College Razmak
Principal Langlands School and College

Geoffrey Douglas Langlands CMG, MBE, HI, SPk (born 21 October 1917) is a retired British Major, and a retired teacher and educator living in Pakistan since the partition of the British Indian Empire in 1947.[1][2][3][4][5] He also served the British Indian Army and Pakistani Army as part of his service tenure.

Early life[edit]

Langlands was born 21 October 1917, in Hull, England, to a father employed in an Anglo-American company and a mother who was a classical folkdance instructor. His father died 27 October 1918, due to the 1918 flu pandemic that killed millions worldwide. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Langlands moved with the children to her parents' home in Bristol.

In 1930, Langlands' mother died due to cancer after which Langlands and his siblings lived under the care of their grandfather. The following year on 24 December, Langlands grandfather died leaving children with no other relatives. His older brother received a scholarship to an orphan school in Bristol, and a family friend helped secure positions for the other children.[6][7][8]


Military career[edit]

In July 1935, Langlands completed his A Level education and began his teaching career in London, the following year at age 18. In September 1936, he had been a mathematics and science teacher to second grade students in a school in Croydon.[8] When World War II began in 1939, Langlands joined the British Army as an enlisted soldier. In 1942, Langlands became a commando and took part in the Dieppe Raid[6]

In January 1944, Langlands arrived in British India as an army volunteer on a troop carrier and worked three years as part of the selection board for officers training in Bangalore. Rising to the acting rank of troop sergeant major, he received an emergency commission in the British Indian Army as a second lieutenant on 3 September 1944.[9] During partition of the sub-continent in 1947 when India and Pakistan became independent nations, Langlands decided to move to Pakistan and was transferred to Rawalpindi where he joined Pakistan Army.[10][11]

Teaching career[edit]

For approximately six years, Langlands worked as an instructor for the Pakistani Army which was young at that time. Upon the completion of the contract with Pakistan Army, British Army troops began to leave the country. Ayub Khan, then President of Pakistan, asked Langlands to stay and work in Pakistan. Langlands was offered a teaching job in Aitchison College in Lahore which he accepted and as an English and mathematics teacher. During his 25-year teaching career at Aitchison College, Langlands first became house master of Kelly House in senior school and was later promoted to head master of the prep school. In 1979, then Chief Minister of Northwest Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) offered the post of principal to Langlands in Cadet College Razmak in North Waziristan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Langlands joined the Cadet college and served from April 1979 to September 1989.

In late 1989, Langlands took charge of the first private school in Chitral, Sayurj Public School, which was later renamed Langlands School and College in his honour. The school, founded in September 1988 by local Deputy Commissioner Javed Majeed, grew steadily under his leadership. Langlands served the school for twenty five years and after suffering a stroke in 2008, took retirement from the school at the age of 94 in September 2012.[12] In June 2015, Langlands regain control of the school after having retired succeeding London-based Carey Schofield who took care of the school for two years as principal. Apparently, Langlands was not happy at the way the school was being run under Schofield thus he swiftly retook control of the school when Schofield was visiting London. To make sure of the takeover, the Pakistani residence visa of Schofield was allegedly cancelled by Pakistani authorities, preventing her from returning.[13][14]

By 2015 Langlands was upset that his successor, Carey Schofield from London, had reported to the Governors that the school was in a shocking state, with very poor staff conduct and attendance and very low discipline. Despite his age Geoffrey Langlands managed to act furtively behind the backs of the Governors, and tricked the Minister of the Interior, his old pupil, into cancelling Schofield's visa. Pretending to be the owner and founder of the school he returned to Chitral and mounted a ‘coup’, to the horror of local people. However, after angry protests from Governors, teachers, pupils and parents, leading to questions being asked in the Senate, the Government of Pakistan restored Schofield’s visa.[15][16][17] He turned 100 in October 2017.[18]


  • Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE; 1982)
  • Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG; 2010)
  • Hilal-e-Imtiaz (HI; 2011) (Sitara-i-Imtiaz: 1987)
  • Sitara-i-Pakistan (SPk, 2004)


See also[edit]

Maureen P. Lines, British social worker who was known for her work on the Kalasha people.


  1. ^ Walsh, Declan (10 August 2009). "He has been kidnapped and taken tea with princesses: a British major's life teaching in the Hindu Kush". The Guardian. Manchester. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Walsh, Declan (8 June 2012). "Briton There at Pakistan's Birth Stays at 94, a Living Textbook". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 December 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ Hasan, Masood (24 November 2013). "Chitral's patron saint". The News International. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "TWS to honour Langtands services". Pakistan Observer. 9 January 2014. Archived from the original on 9 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Meet the 92 year-old teacher finally calling it a day". BBC News. 6 May 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Shaukat, Aroosa (22 December 2013). "Major Langlands: The blue-eyed boy". The Express Tribune. Pakistan. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Agha, Saira (9 January 2014). "Third World Solidarity to honour Major Langlands, hold press conference". Daily Times. Pakistan. Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 9 December 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Raha, Sonali (25 February 2003). "Bound by duty". Gulf News. Dubai. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  9. ^ "No. 36821". The London Gazette. 1 December 1944. p. 5523. 
  10. ^ Tweedie, Neil (30 March 2013). "Goodbye to Major Geoffrey Langlands of the Hindu Kush". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Crilly, Rob (20 October 2010). "Former major, 93, honoured for 60 years teaching in tribal Pakistan". The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Driscoll, Margarette (17 June 2012). "Class, say hello to Miss Chips of the Hindu Kush". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 29 December 2014. (Subscription required (help)). 
  13. ^ "Geoffrey Langlands regains control of Chitral school". Express Tribune. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "Power struggle at leading private school in Pakistan". Telegraph. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  15. ^ "Throwing a prestigious institution into a downward spin". Retrieved 2017-10-28. 
  16. ^ "Unseemly controversy - Daily Times". Daily Times. 2015-07-24. Retrieved 2017-10-28. 
  17. ^ "BoG member terms DC Chitral's claim ridiculous". Retrieved 2017-10-28. 
  18. ^ Staff (2017-10-22). "Langlands turns 100". Dawn. Retrieved 2017-11-01. 
  19. ^ "Major Langland, made for awards". 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015. 

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