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    In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg


      After her visit to the witch of the woods to get some medicine for her Mum who still had bouts of fatigue from her last encounter with the flu, the little Maryechka went back home as instructed.

      She found her home empty. Her parents were busy in the fields, as the time of harvest was near, and much remained to be done to prepare, and workers were limited.

      She left the pouch of dried herbs in the cabinet, and wondered if she should study. The schools were closed for early holidays, and they didn’t really bother with giving them much homework. She could see the teachers’ minds were worried with other things.

      Unlike other children of her age, she wasn’t interested in all the activities online, phone-stuff. The other gen-alpha kids didn’t even bother mocking her “IRL”, glued to their screens while she instead enjoyed looking at the clear blue sky. For all she knew they didn’t even realize they were living in the same world. Now, they were probably over-stressed looking at all the news on replay.
      For Maryechka, the war felt far away, even if you could see some of its impacts, with people moving about the nearby town.

      Looking as it was still early in the day, and she had plenty more time left before having to prepare for dinner, she thought it’d be nice to go and visit her grand-parent and their friends at the old people’s home. They always had nice stale biscuits to share, and they told the strangest stories all the time.

      It was just a 15 min walk from the farm, so she’d be there and back in no time.


      In reply to: The Sexy Wooden Leg


        When she’d heard of the miracle happening at the Flovlinden Tree, Egna initially shrugged it off as another conman’s attempt at fooling the crowds.

        “No, it’s real, my Auntie saw it.”

        “Stop fretting” she’d told the little girl, as she was carefully removing the lice from her hair. “This is just someone’s idea of a smart joke. Don’t get fooled, you’re smarter than this.”

        She sure wasn’t responsible for that one. If that were a true miracle, she would have known. The little calf next week being resuscitated after being dead a few minutes, well, that was her. Shame nobody was even there to notice. Most of the best miracles go about this way anyway.

        So, after having lived close to a millennia in relatively rock solid health and with surprisingly unaging looks, Egna had thought she’d seen it all; at least last time the tree started to ooze sacred oil, it didn’t last for too long, people’s greed starting to sell it stopped it right in its tracks.

        But maybe there was more to it this time. Egna’d often wondered why God had let her live that long. She was a useful instrument to Her for sure, but living in secrecy, claiming no ownership, most miracles were just facts of life. She somehow failed to see the point, even after 957 years of existence.

        The little girl had left to go back to her nearby town. This side of the country was still quite safe from all the craziness. Egna knew well most of the branches of the ancestral trees leading to that particular little leaf. This one had probably no idea she shared a common ancestor with President Voldomeer, but Egna remembered the fellow. He was a clogmaker in the turn of the 18th century, as was his father before. That was until a rather unexpected turn of events precipitated him to a different path as his brother.

        She had a book full of these records, as she’d tracked the lives of many, to keep them alive, and maybe remind people they all share so much in common. That is, if people were able to remember more than 2 generations before them.

        “Well, that’s set.” she said to herself and to Her as She’s always listening “I’ll go and see for myself.”
        her trusty old musty cloak at the door seemed to have been begging for the journey.


          The Hollands of Barton under Needwood


          Samuel Warren of Stapenhill married Catherine Holland of Barton under Needwood in 1795.

          I joined a Barton under Needwood History group and found an incredible amount of information on the Holland family, but first I wanted to make absolutely sure that our Catherine Holland was one of them as there were also Hollands in Newhall. Not only that, on the marriage licence it says that Catherine Holland was from Bretby Park Gate, Stapenhill.

          Then I noticed that one of the witnesses on Samuel’s brother Williams marriage to Ann Holland in 1796 was John Hair. Hannah Hair was the wife of Thomas Holland, and they were the Barton under Needwood parents of Catherine. Catherine was born in 1775, and Ann was born in 1767.

          The 1851 census clinched it: Catherine Warren 74 years old, widow and formerly a farmers wife, was living in the household of her son John Warren, and her place of birth is listed as Barton under Needwood. In 1841 Catherine was a 64 year old widow, her husband Samuel having died in 1837, and she was living with her son Samuel, a farmer. The 1841 census did not list place of birth, however. Catherine died on 31 March 1861 and does not appear on the 1861 census.

          Once I had established that our Catherine Holland was from Barton under Needwood, I had another look at the information available on the Barton under Needwood History group, compiled by local historian Steve Gardner.

          Catherine’s parents were Thomas Holland 1737-1828 and Hannah Hair 1739-1822.

          Steve Gardner had posted a long list of the dates, marriages and children of the Holland family. The earliest entries in parish registers were Thomae Holland 1562-1626 and his wife Eunica Edwardes 1565-1632. They married on 10th July 1582. They were born, married and died in Barton under Needwood. They were direct ancestors of Catherine Holland, and as such my direct ancestors too.

          The known history of the Holland family in Barton under Needwood goes back to Richard De Holland. (Thanks once again to Steve Gardner of the Barton under Needwood History group for this information.)

          “Richard de Holland was the first member of the Holland family to become resident in Barton under Needwood (in about 1312) having been granted lands by the Earl of Lancaster (for whom Richard served as Stud and Stock Keeper of the Peak District) The Holland family stemmed from Upholland in Lancashire and had many family connections working for the Earl of Lancaster, who was one of the biggest Barons in England. Lancaster had his own army and lived at Tutbury Castle, from where he ruled over most of the Midlands area. The Earl of Lancaster was one of the main players in the ‘Barons Rebellion’ and the ensuing Battle of Burton Bridge in 1322. Richard de Holland was very much involved in the proceedings which had so angered Englands King. Holland narrowly escaped with his life, unlike the Earl who was executed.
          From the arrival of that first Holland family member, the Hollands were a mainstay family in the community, and were in Barton under Needwood for over 600 years.”

          Continuing with various items of information regarding the Hollands, thanks to Steve Gardner’s Barton under Needwood history pages:

          “PART 6 (Final Part)
          Some mentions of The Manor of Barton in the Ancient Staffordshire Rolls:
          1330. A Grant was made to Herbert de Ferrars, at le Newland in the Manor of Barton.
          1378. The Inquisitio bonorum – Johannis Holand — an interesting Inventory of his goods and their value and his debts.
          1380. View of Frankpledge ; the Jury found that Richard Holland was feloniously murdered by his wife Joan and Thomas Graunger, who fled. The goods of the deceased were valued at iiij/. iijj. xid. ; one-third went to the dead man, one-third to his son, one- third to the Lord for the wife’s share. Compare 1 H. V. Indictments. (1413.)
          That Thomas Graunger of Barton smyth and Joan the wife of Richard de Holond of Barton on the Feast of St. John the Baptist 10 H. II. (1387) had traitorously killed and murdered at night, at Barton, Richard, the husband of the said Joan. (m. 22.)
          The names of various members of the Holland family appear constantly among the listed Jurors on the manorial records printed below : —
          1539. Richard Holland and Richard Holland the younger are on the Muster Roll of Barton
          1583. Thomas Holland and Unica his wife are living at Barton.
          1663-4. Visitations. — Barton under Needword. Disclaimers. William Holland, Senior, William Holland, Junior.
          1609. Richard Holland, Clerk and Alice, his wife.
          1663-4. Disclaimers at the Visitation. William Holland, Senior, William Holland, Junior.”

          I was able to find considerably more information on the Hollands in the book “Some Records of the Holland Family (The Hollands of Barton under Needwood, Staffordshire, and the Hollands in History)” by William Richard Holland. Luckily the full text of this book can be found online.

          William Richard Holland (Died 1915) An early local Historian and author of the book:

          William Richard Holland


          ‘Holland House’ taken from the Gardens (sadly demolished in the early 60’s):

          Holland House


          Excerpt from the book:

          “The charter, dated 1314, granting Richard rights and privileges in Needwood Forest, reads as follows:

          “Thomas Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, high-steward of England, to whom all these present shall come, greeting: Know ye, that we have given, &c., to Richard Holland of Barton, and his heirs, housboot, heyboot, and fireboot, and common of pasture, in our forest of Needwood, for all his beasts, as well in places fenced as lying open, with 40 hogs, quit of pawnage in our said forest at all times in the year (except hogs only in fence month). All which premises we will warrant, &c. to the said Richard and his heirs against all people for ever”

          “The terms “housboot” “heyboot” and “fireboot” meant that Richard and his heirs were to have the privilege of taking from the Forest, wood needed for house repair and building, hedging material for the repairing of fences, and what was needful for purposes of fuel.”

          Further excerpts from the book:

          “It may here be mentioned that during the renovation of Barton Church, when the stone pillars were being stripped of the plaster which covered them, “William Holland 1617” was found roughly carved on a pillar near to the belfry gallery, obviously the work of a not too devout member of the family, who, seated in the gallery of that time, occupied himself thus during the service. The inscription can still be seen.”

          “The earliest mention of a Holland of Upholland occurs in the reign of John in a Final Concord, made at the Lancashire Assizes, dated November 5th, 1202, in which Uchtred de Chryche, who seems to have had some right in the manor of Upholland, releases his right in fourteen oxgangs* of land to Matthew de Holland, in consideration of the sum of six marks of silver. Thus was planted the Holland Tree, all the early information of which is found in The Victoria County History of Lancaster.

          As time went on, the family acquired more land, and with this, increased position. Thus, in the reign of Edward I, a Robert de Holland, son of Thurstan, son of Robert, became possessed of the manor of Orrell adjoining Upholland and of the lordship of Hale in the parish of Childwall, and, through marriage with Elizabeth de Samlesbury (co-heiress of Sir Wm. de Samlesbury of Samlesbury, Hall, near to Preston), of the moiety of that manor….

          * An oxgang signified the amount of land that could be ploughed by one ox in one day”

          “This Robert de Holland, son of Thurstan, received Knighthood in the reign of Edward I, as did also his brother William, ancestor of that branch of the family which later migrated to Cheshire. Belonging to this branch are such noteworthy personages as Mrs. Gaskell, the talented authoress, her mother being a Holland of this branch, Sir Henry Holland, Physician to Queen Victoria, and his two sons, the first Viscount Knutsford, and Canon Francis Holland ; Sir Henry’s grandson (the present Lord Knutsford), Canon Scott Holland, etc. Captain Frederick Holland, R.N., late of Ashbourne Hall, Derbyshire, may also be mentioned here.*”

          Thanks to the Barton under Needwood history group for the following:

          WALES END FARM:
          In 1509 it was owned and occupied by Mr Johannes Holland De Wallass end who was a well to do Yeoman Farmer (the origin of the areas name – Wales End).  Part of the building dates to 1490 making it probably the oldest building still standing in the Village:

          Wales End Farm


          I found records for all of the Holland’s listed on the Barton under Needwood History group and added them to my ancestry tree. The earliest will I found was for Eunica Edwardes, then Eunica Holland, who died in 1632.

          A page from the 1632 will and inventory of Eunica (Unice) Holland:

          Unice Holland


          I’d been reading about “pedigree collapse” just before I found out her maiden name of Edwardes. Edwards is my own maiden name.

          “In genealogy, pedigree collapse describes how reproduction between two individuals who knowingly or unknowingly share an ancestor causes the family tree of their offspring to be smaller than it would otherwise be.
          Without pedigree collapse, a person’s ancestor tree is a binary tree, formed by the person, the parents, grandparents, and so on. However, the number of individuals in such a tree grows exponentially and will eventually become impossibly high. For example, a single individual alive today would, over 30 generations going back to the High Middle Ages, have roughly a billion ancestors, more than the total world population at the time. This apparent paradox occurs because the individuals in the binary tree are not distinct: instead, a single individual may occupy multiple places in the binary tree. This typically happens when the parents of an ancestor are cousins (sometimes unbeknownst to themselves). For example, the offspring of two first cousins has at most only six great-grandparents instead of the normal eight. This reduction in the number of ancestors is pedigree collapse. It collapses the binary tree into a directed acyclic graph with two different, directed paths starting from the ancestor who in the binary tree would occupy two places.” via wikipedia

          There is nothing to suggest, however, that Eunica’s family were related to my fathers family, and the only evidence so far in my tree of pedigree collapse are the marriages of Orgill cousins, where two sets of grandparents are repeated.

          A list of Holland ancestors:

          Catherine Holland 1775-1861
          her parents:
          Thomas Holland 1737-1828   Hannah Hair 1739-1832
          Thomas’s parents:
          William Holland 1696-1756   Susannah Whiteing 1715-1752
          William’s parents:
          William Holland 1665-    Elizabeth Higgs 1675-1720
          William’s parents:
          Thomas Holland 1634-1681   Katherine Owen 1634-1728
          Thomas’s parents:
          Thomas Holland 1606-1680   Margaret Belcher 1608-1664
          Thomas’s parents:
          Thomas Holland 1562-1626   Eunice Edwardes 1565- 1632


            Lincolnshire Families


            Thanks to the 1851 census, we know that William Eaton was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire. He was baptised on 29 November 1768 at St Wulfram’s church; his father was William Eaton and his mother Elizabeth.

            St Wulfram’s in Grantham painted by JMW Turner in 1797:

            St Wulframs


            I found a marriage for a William Eaton and Elizabeth Rose in the city of Lincoln in 1761, but it seemed unlikely as they were both of that parish, and with no discernable links to either Grantham or Nottingham.

            But there were two marriages registered for William Eaton and Elizabeth Rose: one in Lincoln in 1761 and one in Hawkesworth Nottinghamshire in 1767, the year before William junior was baptised in Grantham. Hawkesworth is between Grantham and Nottingham, and this seemed much more likely.

            Elizabeth’s name is spelled Rose on her marriage records, but spelled Rouse on her baptism. It’s not unusual for spelling variations to occur, as the majority of people were illiterate and whoever was recording the event wrote what it sounded like.

            Elizabeth Rouse was baptised on 26th December 1746 in Gunby St Nicholas (there is another Gunby in Lincolnshire), a short distance from Grantham. Her father was Richard Rouse; her mother Cave Pindar. Cave is a curious name and I wondered if it had been mistranscribed, but it appears to be correct and clearly says Cave on several records.

            Richard Rouse married Cave Pindar 21 July 1744 in South Witham, not far from Grantham.

            Richard was born in 1716 in North Witham. His father was William Rouse; his mothers name was Jane.

            Cave Pindar was born in 1719 in Gunby St Nicholas, near Grantham. Her father was William Pindar, but sadly her mothers name is not recorded in the parish baptism register. However a marriage was registered between William Pindar and Elizabeth Holmes in Gunby St Nicholas in October 1712.

            William Pindar buried a daughter Cave on 2 April 1719 and baptised a daughter Cave on 6 Oct 1719:

            Cave Pindar


            Elizabeth Holmes was baptised in Gunby St Nicholas on 6th December 1691. Her father was John Holmes; her mother Margaret Hod.

            Margaret Hod would have been born circa 1650 to 1670 and I haven’t yet found a baptism record for her. According to several other public trees on an ancestry website, she was born in 1654 in Essenheim, Germany. This was surprising! According to these trees, her father was Johannes Hod (Blodt|Hoth) (1609–1677) and her mother was Maria Appolonia Witters (1620–1656).

            I did not think it very likely that a young woman born in Germany would appear in Gunby St Nicholas in the late 1600’s, and did a search for Hod’s in and around Grantham. Indeed there were Hod’s living in the area as far back as the 1500’s, (a Robert Hod was baptised in Grantham in 1552), and no doubt before, but the parish records only go so far back. I think it’s much more likely that her parents were local, and that the page with her baptism recorded on the registers is missing.

            Of the many reasons why parish registers or some of the pages would be destroyed or lost, this is another possibility. Lincolnshire is on the east coast of England:

            “All of England suffered from a “monster” storm in November of 1703 that killed a reported 8,000 people. Seaside villages suffered greatly and their church and civil records may have been lost.”

            A Margeret Hod, widow, died in Gunby St Nicholas in 1691, the same year that Elizabeth Holmes was born. Elizabeth’s mother was Margaret Hod. Perhaps the widow who died was Margaret Hod’s mother? I did wonder if Margaret Hod had died shortly after her daughter’s birth, and that her husband had died sometime between the conception and birth of his child. The Black Death or Plague swept through Lincolnshire in 1680 through 1690; such an eventually would be possible. But Margaret’s name would have been registered as Holmes, not Hod.

            Cave Pindar’s father William was born in Swinstead, Lincolnshire, also near to Grantham, on the 28th December, 1690, and he died in Gunby St Nicholas in 1756. William’s father is recorded as Thomas Pinder; his mother Elizabeth.

            GUNBY: The village name derives from a “farmstead or village of a man called Gunni”, from the Old Scandinavian person name, and ‘by’, a farmstead, village or settlement.
            Gunby Grade II listed Anglican church is dedicated to St Nicholas. Of 15th-century origin, it was rebuilt by Richard Coad in 1869, although the Perpendicular tower remained.

            Gunby St Nicholas


              Jane Eaton

              The Nottingham Girl


              Jane Eaton 1809-1879

              Francis Purdy, the Beggarlea Bulldog and Methodist Minister, married Jane Eaton in 1837 in Nottingham. Jane was his second wife.

              Jane Eaton, photo says “Grandma Purdy” on the back:

              Jane Eaton


              Jane is described as a “Nottingham girl” in a book excerpt sent to me by Jim Giles, a relation who shares the same 3x great grandparents, Francis and Jane Purdy.

              Jane Eaton NottinghamJane Eaton 2


              Elizabeth, Francis Purdy’s first wife, died suddenly at chapel in 1836, leaving nine children.

              On Christmas day the following year Francis married Jane Eaton at St Peters church in Nottingham. Jane married a Methodist Minister, and didn’t realize she married the bare knuckle fighter she’d seen when she was fourteen until he undressed and she saw his scars.

              jane eaton 3


              William Eaton 1767-1851

              On the marriage certificate Jane’s father was William Eaton, occupation gardener. Francis’s father was William Purdy, engineer.

              On the 1841 census living in Sollory’s Yard, Nottingham St Mary, William Eaton was a 70 year old gardener. It doesn’t say which county he was born in but indicates that it was not Nottinghamshire. Living with him were Mary Eaton, milliner, age 35, Mary Eaton, milliner, 15, and Elizabeth Rhodes age 35, a sempstress (another word for seamstress). The three women were born in Nottinghamshire.

              But who was Elizabeth Rhodes?

              Elizabeth Eaton was Jane’s older sister, born in 1797 in Nottingham. She married William Rhodes, a private in the 5th Dragoon Guards, in Leeds in October 1815.

              I looked for Elizabeth Rhodes on the 1851 census, which stated that she was a widow. I was also trying to determine which William Eaton death was the right one, and found William Eaton was still living with Elizabeth in 1851 at Pilcher Gate in Nottingham, but his name had been entered backwards: Eaton William. I would not have found him on the 1851 census had I searched for Eaton as a last name.

              Pilcher Gate gets its strange name from pilchers or fur dealers and was once a very narrow thoroughfare. At the lower end stood a pub called The Windmill – frequented by the notorious robber and murderer Charlie Peace.

              This was a lucky find indeed, because William’s place of birth was listed as Grantham, Lincolnshire. There were a couple of other William Eaton’s born at the same time, both near to Nottingham. It was tricky to work out which was the right one, but as it turned out, neither of them were.

              William Eaton Grantham


              Now we had Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire border straddlers, so the search moved to the Lincolnshire records.
              But first, what of the two Mary Eatons living with William?

              William and his wife Mary had a daughter Mary in 1799 who died in 1801, and another daughter Mary Ann born in 1803. (It was common to name children after a previous infant who had died.)  It seems that Mary Ann didn’t marry but had a daughter Mary Eaton born in 1822.

              William and his wife Mary also had a son Richard Eaton born in 1801 in Nottingham.

              Who was William Eaton’s wife Mary?

              There are two possibilities: Mary Cresswell and a marriage in Nottingham in 1797, or Mary Dewey and a marriage at Grantham in 1795. If it’s Mary Cresswell, the first child Elizabeth would have been born just four or five months after the wedding. (This was far from unusual). However, no births in Grantham, or in Nottingham, were recorded for William and Mary in between 1795 and 1797.

              We don’t know why William moved from Grantham to Nottingham or when he moved there. According to Dearden’s 1834 Nottingham directory, William Eaton was a “Gardener and Seedsman”.

              gardener and seedsan William Eaton

              There was another William Eaton selling turnip seeds in the same part of Nottingham. At first I thought it must be the same William, but apparently not, as that William Eaton is recorded as a victualler, born in Ruddington. The turnip seeds were advertised in 1847 as being obtainable from William Eaton at the Reindeer Inn, Wheeler Gate. Perhaps he was related.

              William lived in the Lace Market part of Nottingham.   I wondered where a gardener would be working in that part of the city.  According to CreativeQuarter website, “in addition to the trades and housing (sometimes under the same roof), there were a number of splendid mansions being built with extensive gardens and orchards. Sadly, these no longer exist as they were gradually demolished to make way for commerce…..The area around St Mary’s continued to develop as an elegant residential district during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with buildings … being built for nobility and rich merchants.”

              William Eaton died in Nottingham in September 1851, thankfully after the census was taken recording his place of birth.


                Leicestershire Blacksmiths

                The Orgill’s of Measham led me further into Leicestershire as I traveled back in time.

                I also realized I had uncovered a direct line of women and their mothers going back ten generations:

                myself, Tracy Edwards 1957-
                my mother Gillian Marshall 1933-
                my grandmother Florence Warren 1906-1988
                her mother and my great grandmother Florence Gretton 1881-1927
                her mother Sarah Orgill 1840-1910
                her mother Elizabeth Orgill 1803-1876
                her mother Sarah Boss 1783-1847
                her mother Elizabeth Page 1749-
                her mother Mary Potter 1719-1780
                and her mother and my 7x great grandmother Mary 1680-

                You could say it leads us to the very heart of England, as these Leicestershire villages are as far from the coast as it’s possible to be. There are countless other maternal lines to follow, of course, but only one of mothers of mothers, and ours takes us to Leicestershire.

                The blacksmiths

                Sarah Boss was the daughter of Michael Boss 1755-1807, a blacksmith in Measham, and Elizabeth Page of nearby Hartshorn, just over the county border in Derbyshire.

                An earlier Michael Boss, a blacksmith of Measham, died in 1772, and in his will he left the possession of the blacksmiths shop and all the working tools and a third of the household furniture to Michael, who he named as his nephew. He left his house in Appleby Magna to his wife Grace, and five pounds to his mother Jane Boss. As none of Michael and Grace’s children are mentioned in the will, perhaps it can be assumed that they were childless.

                The will of Michael Boss, 1772, Measham:

                Michael Boss 1772 will


                Michael Boss the uncle was born in Appleby Magna in 1724. His parents were Michael Boss of Nelson in the Thistles and Jane Peircivall of Appleby Magna, who were married in nearby Mancetter in 1720.

                Information worth noting on the Appleby Magna website:

                In 1752 the calendar in England was changed from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, as a result 11 days were famously “lost”. But for the recording of Church Registers another very significant change also took place, the start of the year was moved from March 25th to our more familiar January 1st.
                Before 1752 the 1st day of each new year was March 25th, Lady Day (a significant date in the Christian calendar). The year number which we all now use for calculating ages didn’t change until March 25th. So, for example, the day after March 24th 1750 was March 25th 1751, and January 1743 followed December 1743.
                This March to March recording can be seen very clearly in the Appleby Registers before 1752. Between 1752 and 1768 there appears slightly confused recording, so dates should be carefully checked. After 1768 the recording is more fully by the modern calendar year.

                Michael Boss the uncle married Grace Cuthbert.  I haven’t yet found the birth or parents of Grace, but a blacksmith by the name of Edward Cuthbert is mentioned on an Appleby Magna history website:

                An Eighteenth Century Blacksmith’s Shop in Little Appleby
                by Alan Roberts

                Cuthberts inventory

                The inventory of Edward Cuthbert provides interesting information about the household possessions and living arrangements of an eighteenth century blacksmith. Edward Cuthbert (als. Cutboard) settled in Appleby after the Restoration to join the handful of blacksmiths already established in the parish, including the Wathews who were prominent horse traders. The blacksmiths may have all worked together in the same shop at one time. Edward and his wife Sarah recorded the baptisms of several of their children in the parish register. Somewhat sadly three of the boys named after their father all died either in infancy or as young children. Edward’s inventory which was drawn up in 1732, by which time he was probably a widower and his children had left home, suggests that they once occupied a comfortable two-storey house in Little Appleby with an attached workshop, well equipped with all the tools for repairing farm carts, ploughs and other implements, for shoeing horses and for general ironmongery. 

                Edward Cuthbert born circa 1660, married Joane Tuvenet in 1684 in Swepston cum Snarestone , and died in Appleby in 1732. Tuvenet is a French name and suggests a Huguenot connection, but this isn’t our family, and indeed this Edward Cuthbert is not likely to be Grace’s father anyway.

                Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page appear to have married twice: once in 1776, and once in 1779. Both of the documents exist and appear correct. Both marriages were by licence. They both mention Michael is a blacksmith.

                Their first daughter, Elizabeth, was baptized in February 1777, just nine months after the first wedding. It’s not known when she was born, however, and it’s possible that the marriage was a hasty one. But why marry again three years later?

                But Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page did not marry twice.

                Elizabeth Page from Smisby was born in 1752 and married Michael Boss on the 5th of May 1776 in Measham. On the marriage licence allegations and bonds, Michael is a bachelor.

                Baby Elizabeth was baptised in Measham on the 9th February 1777. Mother Elizabeth died on the 18th February 1777, also in Measham.

                In 1779 Michael Boss married another Elizabeth Page! She was born in 1749 in Hartshorn, and Michael is a widower on the marriage licence allegations and bonds.

                Hartshorn and Smisby are neighbouring villages, hence the confusion.  But a closer look at the documents available revealed the clues.  Both Elizabeth Pages were literate, and indeed their signatures on the marriage registers are different:

                Marriage of Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page of Smisby in 1776:

                Elizabeth Page 1776


                Marriage of Michael Boss and Elizabeth Page of Harsthorn in 1779:

                Elizabeth Page 1779


                Not only did Michael Boss marry two women both called Elizabeth Page but he had an unusual start in life as well. His uncle Michael Boss left him the blacksmith business and a third of his furniture. This was all in the will. But which of Uncle Michaels brothers was nephew Michaels father?

                The only Michael Boss born at the right time was in 1750 in Edingale, Staffordshire, about eight miles from Appleby Magna. His parents were Thomas Boss and Ann Parker, married in Edingale in 1747.  Thomas died in August 1750, and his son Michael was baptised in the December, posthumus son of Thomas and his widow Ann. Both entries are on the same page of the register.

                1750 posthumus


                Ann Boss, the young widow, married again. But perhaps Michael and his brother went to live with their childless uncle and aunt, Michael Boss and Grace Cuthbert.

                The great grandfather of Michael Boss (the Measham blacksmith born in 1850) was also Michael Boss, probably born in the 1660s. He died in Newton Regis in Warwickshire in 1724, four years after his son (also Michael Boss born 1693) married Jane Peircivall.  The entry on the parish register states that Michael Boss was buried ye 13th Affadavit made.

                I had not seen affadavit made on a parish register before, and this relates to the The Burying in Woollen Acts 1666–80.  According to Wikipedia:

                 “Acts of the Parliament of England which required the dead, except plague victims and the destitute, to be buried in pure English woollen shrouds to the exclusion of any foreign textiles.  It was a requirement that an affidavit be sworn in front of a Justice of the Peace (usually by a relative of the deceased), confirming burial in wool, with the punishment of a £5 fee for noncompliance. Burial entries in parish registers were marked with the word “affidavit” or its equivalent to confirm that affidavit had been sworn; it would be marked “naked” for those too poor to afford the woollen shroud.  The legislation was in force until 1814, but was generally ignored after 1770.”

                Michael Boss buried 1724 “Affadavit made”:

                Michael Boss affadavit 1724




                Elizabeth Page‘s father was William Page 1717-1783, a wheelwright in Hartshorn.  (The father of the first wife Elizabeth was also William Page, but he was a husbandman in Smisby born in 1714. William Page, the father of the second wife, was born in Nailstone, Leicestershire, in 1717. His place of residence on his marriage to Mary Potter was spelled Nelson.)

                Her mother was Mary Potter 1719- of nearby Coleorton.  Mary’s father, Richard Potter 1677-1731, was a blacksmith in Coleorton.

                A page of the will of Richard Potter 1731:

                Richard Potter 1731


                Richard Potter states: “I will and order that my son Thomas Potter shall after my decease have one shilling paid to him and no more.”  As he left £50 to each of his daughters, one can’t help but wonder what Thomas did to displease his father.

                Richard stipulated that his son Thomas should have one shilling paid to him and not more, for several good considerations, and left “the house and ground lying in the parish of Whittwick in a place called the Long Lane to my wife Mary Potter to dispose of as she shall think proper.”

                His son Richard inherited the blacksmith business:  “I will and order that my son Richard Potter shall live and be with his mother and serve her duly and truly in the business of a blacksmith, and obey and serve her in all lawful commands six years after my decease, and then I give to him and his heirs…. my house and grounds Coulson House in the Liberty of Thringstone”

                Richard wanted his son John to be a blacksmith too: “I will and order that my wife bring up my son John Potter at home with her and teach or cause him to be taught the trade of a blacksmith and that he shall serve her duly and truly seven years after my decease after the manner of an apprentice and at the death of his mother I give him that house and shop and building and the ground belonging to it which I now dwell in to him and his heirs forever.”

                To his daughters Margrett and Mary Potter, upon their reaching the age of one and twenty, or the day after their marriage, he leaves £50 each. All the rest of his goods are left to his loving wife Mary.


                An inventory of the belongings of Richard Potter, 1731:

                Richard Potter inventory


                Richard Potters father was also named Richard Potter 1649-1719, and he too was a blacksmith.

                Richard Potter of Coleorton in the county of Leicester, blacksmith, stated in his will:  “I give to my son and daughter Thomas and Sarah Potter the possession of my house and grounds.”

                He leaves ten pounds each to his daughters Jane and Alice, to his son Francis he gives five pounds, and five shillings to his son Richard. Sons Joseph and William also receive five shillings each. To his daughter Mary, wife of Edward Burton, and her daughter Elizabeth, he gives five shillings each. The rest of his good, chattels and wordly substance he leaves equally between his son and daugter Thomas and Sarah. As there is no mention of his wife, it’s assumed that she predeceased him.

                The will of Richard Potter, 1719:

                Richard Potter 1719


                Richard Potter’s (1649-1719) parents were William Potter and Alse Huldin, both born in the early 1600s.  They were married in 1646 at Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire.  The name Huldin appears to originate in Finland.

                William Potter was a blacksmith. In the 1659 parish registers of Breedon on the Hill, William Potter of Breedon blacksmith buryed the 14th July.


                  Matthew Orgill and His Family


                  Matthew Orgill 1828-1907 was the Orgill brother who went to Australia, but returned to Measham.  Matthew married Mary Orgill in Measham in October 1856, having returned from Victoria, Australia in May of that year.

                  Although Matthew was the first Orgill brother to go to Australia, he was the last one I found, and that was somewhat by accident, while perusing “Orgill” and “Measham” in a newspaper archives search.  I chanced on Matthew’s obituary in the Nuneaton Observer, Friday 14 June 1907:


                  ‘Sunset and Evening Star And one clear call for me.”

                  It is with very deep regret that we have to announce the death of Mr. Matthew Orgill, late of Measham, who passed peacefully away at his residence in Manor Court Road, Nuneaton, in the early hours of yesterday morning. Mr. Orgill, who was in his eightieth year, was a man with a striking history, and was a very fine specimen of our best English manhood. In early life be emigrated to South Africa—sailing in the “Hebrides” on 4th February. 1850—and was one of the first settlers at the Cape; afterwards he went on to Australia at the time of the Gold Rush, and ultimately came home to his native England and settled down in Measham, in Leicestershire, where he carried on a successful business for the long period of half-a-century.

                  He was full of reminiscences of life in the Colonies in the early days, and an hour or two in his company was an education itself. On the occasion of the recall of Sir Harry Smith from the Governorship of Natal (for refusing to be a party to the slaying of the wives and children in connection with the Kaffir War), Mr. Orgill was appointed to superintend the arrangements for the farewell demonstration. It was one of his boasts that he made the first missionary cart used in South Africa, which is in use to this day—a monument to the character of his work; while it is an interesting fact to note that among Mr. Orgill’s papers there is the original ground-plan of the city of Durban before a single house was built.

                  In Africa Mr. Orgill came in contact with the great missionary, David Livingstone, and between the two men there was a striking resemblance in character and a deep and lasting friendship. Mr. Orgill could give a most graphic description of the wreck of the “Birkenhead,” having been in the vicinity at the time when the ill-fated vessel went down. He played a most prominent part on the occasion of the famous wreck of the emigrant ship, “Minerva.” when, in conjunction with some half-a-dozen others, and at the eminent risk of their own lives, they rescued more than 100 of the unfortunate passengers. He was afterwards presented with an interesting relic as a memento of that thrilling experience, being a copper bolt from the vessel on which was inscribed the following words: “Relic of the ship Minerva, wrecked off Bluff Point, Port Natal. 8.A.. about 2 a.m.. Friday, July 5, 1850.”

                  Mr. Orgill was followed to the Colonies by no fewer than six of his brothers, all of whom did well, and one of whom married a niece (brother’s daughter) of the late Mr. William Ewart Gladstone.

                  On settling down in Measham his kindly and considerate disposition soon won for him a unique place in the hearts of all the people, by whom he was greatly beloved. He was a man of sterling worth and integrity. Upright and honourable in all his dealings, he led a Christian life that was a pattern to all with whom he came in contact, and of him it could truly he said that he wore the white flower of a blameless life.

                  He was a member of the Baptist Church, and although beyond much active service since settling down in Nuneaton less than two years ago he leaves behind him a record in Christian service attained by few. In politics he was a Radical of the old school. A great reader, he studied all the questions of the day, and could back up every belief he held by sound and fearless argument. The South African – war was a great grief to him. He knew the Boers from personal experience, and although he suffered at the time of the war for his outspoken condemnation, he had the satisfaction of living to see the people of England fully recognising their awful blunder. To give anything like an adequate idea of Mr. Orgill’s history would take up a great amount of space, and besides much of it has been written and commented on before; suffice it to say that it was strenuous, interesting, and eventful, and yet all through his hands remained unspotted and his heart was pure.

                  He is survived by three daughters, and was father-in-law to Mr. J. S. Massey. St Kilda. Manor Court Road, to whom deep and loving sympathy is extended in their sore bereavement by a wide circle of friends. The funeral is arranged to leave for Measham on Monday at twelve noon.


                  “To give anything like an adequate idea of Mr. Orgill’s history would take up a great amount of space, and besides much of it has been written and commented on before…”

                  I had another look in the newspaper archives and found a number of articles mentioning him, including an intriguing excerpt in an article about local history published in the Burton Observer and Chronicle 8 August 1963:

                  on an upstairs window pane he scratched with his diamond ring “Matthew Orgill, 1st July, 1858”

                  Matthew Orgill windowMatthew orgill window 2


                  I asked on a Measham facebook group if anyone knew the location of the house mentioned in the article and someone kindly responded. This is the same building, seen from either side:

                  Measham Wharf


                  Coincidentally, I had already found this wonderful photograph of the same building, taken in 1910 ~ three years after Matthew’s death.

                  Old Measham wharf


                  But what to make of the inscription in the window?

                  Matthew and Mary married in October 1856, and their first child (according to the records I’d found thus far) was a daughter Mary born in 1860.  I had a look for a Matthew Orgill birth registered in 1858, the date Matthew had etched on the window, and found a death for a Matthew Orgill in 1859.  Assuming I would find the birth of Matthew Orgill registered on the first of July 1958, to match the etching in the window, the corresponding birth was in July 1857!

                  Matthew and Mary had four children. Matthew, Mary, Clara and Hannah.  Hannah Proudman Orgill married Joseph Stanton Massey.  The Orgill name continues with their son Stanley Orgill Massey 1900-1979, who was a doctor and surgeon.  Two of Stanley’s four sons were doctors, Paul Mackintosh Orgill Massey 1929-2009, and Michael Joseph Orgill Massey 1932-1989.


                  Mary Orgill 1827-1894, Matthews wife, was an Orgill too.

                  And this is where the Orgill branch of the tree gets complicated.

                  Mary’s father was Henry Orgill born in 1805 and her mother was Hannah Proudman born in 1805.
                  Henry Orgill’s father was Matthew Orgill born in 1769 and his mother was Frances Finch born in 1771.

                  Mary’s husband Matthews parents are Matthew Orgill born in 1798 and Elizabeth Orgill born in 1803.

                  Another Orgill Orgill marriage!

                  Matthews parents,  Matthew and Elizabeth, have the same grandparents as each other, Matthew Orgill born in 1736 and Ann Proudman born in 1735.

                  But Matthews grandparents are none other than Matthew Orgill born in 1769 and Frances Finch born in 1771 ~ the same grandparents as his wife Mary!


                    To Australia


                    Charles Herbert Gretton 1876-1954

                    Charles Gretton, my great grandmothers youngest brother, arrived in Sydney Australia on 12 February 1912, having set sail on 5 January 1912 from London. His occupation on the passenger list was stockman, and he was traveling alone.  Later that year, in October, his wife and two sons sailed out to join him.

                    Gretton 1912 passenger


                    Charles was born in Swadlincote.  He married Mary Anne Illsley, a local girl from nearby Church Gresley, in 1898. Their first son, Leslie Charles Bloemfontein Gretton, was born in 1900 in Church Gresley, and their second son, George Herbert Gretton, was born in 1910 in Swadlincote.  In 1901 Charles was a colliery worker, and on the 1911 census, his occupation was a sanitary ware packer.

                    Charles and Mary Anne had two more sons, both born in Footscray:  Frank Orgill Gretton in 1914, and Arthur Ernest Gretton in 1920.

                    On the Australian 1914 electoral rolls, Charles and Mary Ann were living at 72 Moreland Street, Footscray, and in 1919 at 134 Cowper Street, Footscray, and Charles was a labourer.  In 1924, Charles was a sub foreman, living at 3, Ryan Street E, Footscray, Australia.  On a later electoral register, Charles was a foreman.  Footscray is a suburb of Melbourne, and developed into an industrial zone in the second half of the nineteenth century.

                    Charles died in Victoria in 1954 at the age of 77. His wife Mary Ann died in 1958.

                    Gretton obit 1954


                    Charles and Mary Ann Gretton:

                    Charles and Mary Ann Gretton


                    Leslie Charles Bloemfontein Gretton 1900-1955

                    Leslie was an electrician.   He married Ethel Christine Halliday, born in 1900 in Footscray, in 1927.  They had four children: Tom, Claire, Nancy and Frank. By 1943 they were living in Yallourn.  Yallourn, Victoria was a company town in Victoria, Australia built between the 1920s and 1950s to house employees of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, who operated the nearby Yallourn Power Station complex. However, expansion of the adjacent open-cut brown coal mine led to the closure and removal of the town in the 1980s.

                    On the 1954 electoral registers, daughter Claire Elizabeth Gretton, occupation teacher, was living at the same address as Leslie and Ethel.

                    Leslie died in Yallourn in 1955, and Ethel nine years later in 1964, also in Yallourn.


                    George Herbert Gretton 1910-1970

                    George married Florence May Hall in 1934 in Victoria, Australia.  In 1942 George was listed on the electoral roll as a grocer, likewise in 1949. In 1963 his occupation was a process worker, and in 1968 in Flinders, a horticultural advisor.

                    George died in Lang Lang, not far from Melbourne, in 1970.


                    Frank Orgill Gretton 1914-

                    Arthur Ernest Gretton 1920-



                    John Orgill 1835-1911

                    John Orgill was Charles Herbert Gretton’s uncle.  He emigrated to Australia in 1865, and married Elizabeth Mary Gladstone 1845-1926 in Victoria in 1870. Their first child was born in December that year, in Dandenong. They had seven children, and their three sons all have the middle name Gladstone.

                    John Orgill was a councillor for the Shire of Dandenong in 1873, and between 1876 and 1879.

                    John Orgill:

                    John Orgill


                    John Orgill obituary in the South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 21 December 1911:

                    John Orgill obit



                    John’s wife Elizabeth Orgill, a teacher and a “a public spirited lady” according to newspaper articles, opened a hydropathic hospital in Dandenong called Gladstone House.

                    Elizabeth Gladstone Orgill:

                    Elizabeth Gladstone Orgill


                    On the Old Dandenong website:

                    Gladstone House hydropathic hospital on the corner of Langhorne and Foster streets (153 Foster Street) Dandenong opened in 1896, working on the theory of water therapy, no medicine or operations. Her husband passed away in 1911 at 77, around similar time Dr Barclay Thompson obtained control of the practice. Mrs Orgill remaining on in some capacity.

                    Elizabeth Mary Orgill (nee Gladstone) operated Gladstone House until at least 1911, along with another hydropathic hospital (Birthwood) on Cheltenham road. She was the daughter of William Gladstone (Nephew of William Ewart Gladstone, UK prime minister in 1874).

                    Around 1912 Dr A. E. Taylor took over the location from Dr. Barclay Thompson. Mrs Orgill was still working here but no longer controlled the practice, having given it up to Barclay. Taylor served as medical officer for the Shire for before his death in 1939. After Taylor’s death Dr. T. C. Reeves bought his practice in 1939, later that year being appointed medical officer,

                    Gladstone Road in Dandenong is named after her family, who owned and occupied a farming paddock in the area on former Police Paddock ground, the Police reserve having earlier been reduced back to Stud Road.

                    Hydropathy (now known as Hydrotherapy) and also called water cure, is a part of medicine and alternative medicine, in particular of naturopathy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy, that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment.

                    Gladstone House, Dandenong:

                    Gladstone House



                    John’s brother Robert Orgill 1830-1915 also emigrated to Australia. I met (online) his great great grand daughter Lidya Orgill via the Old Dandenong facebook group.

                    John’s other brother Thomas Orgill 1833-1908 also emigrated to the same part of Australia.

                    Thomas Orgill:

                    Thomas Orgill


                    One of Thomas Orgills sons was George Albert Orgill 1880-1949:

                    George Albert Orgill


                    A letter was published in The South Bourke & Mornington Journal (Richmond, Victoria, Australia) on 17 Jun 1915, to Tom Orgill, Emerald Hill (South Melbourne) from hospital by his brother George Albert Orgill (4th Pioneers) describing landing of Covering Party prior to dawn invasion of Gallipoli:

                    George Albert Orgill letter


                    Another brother Henry Orgill 1837-1916 was born in Measham and died in Dandenong, Australia. Henry was a bricklayer living in Measham on the 1861 census. Also living with his widowed mother Elizabeth at that address was his sister Sarah and her husband Richard Gretton, the baker (my great great grandparents). In October of that year he sailed to Melbourne.  His occupation was bricklayer on his death records in 1916.

                    Two of Henry’s sons, Arthur Garfield Orgill born 1888 and Ernest Alfred Orgill born 1880 were killed in action in 1917 and buried in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France. Another son, Frederick Stanley Orgill, died in 1897 at the age of seven.

                    A fifth brother, William Orgill 1842-   sailed from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1861, at 19 years of age. Four years later in 1865 he sailed from Victoria, Australia to New Zealand.


                    I assumed I had found all of the Orgill brothers who went to Australia, and resumed research on the Orgills in Measham, in England. A search in the British Newspaper Archives for Orgills in Measham revealed yet another Orgill brother who had gone to Australia.

                    Matthew Orgill 1828-1907 went to South Africa and to Australia, but returned to Measham.

                    The Orgill brothers had two sisters. One was my great great great grandmother Sarah, and the other was Hannah.  Hannah married Francis Hart in Measham. One of her sons, John Orgill Hart 1862-1909, was born in Measham.  On the 1881 census he was a 19 year old carpenters apprentice.  Two years later in 1883 he was listed as a joiner on the passenger list of the ship Illawarra, bound for Australia.   His occupation at the time of his death in Dandenong in 1909 was contractor.

                    An additional coincidental note about Dandenong: my step daughter Emily’s Australian partner is from Dandenong.




                    Charles Housley 1823-1856

                    Charles Housley emigrated to Australia in 1851, the same year that his brother George emigrated to USA.  Charles is mentioned in the Narrative on the Letters by Barbara Housley, and appears in the Housley Letters chapters.



                    George “Mike” Rushby 1933-

                    Mike moved to Australia from South Africa. His story is a separate chapter.


                      The Measham Thatchers

                      Orgills, Finches and Wards

                      Measham is a large village in north west Leicestershire, England, near the Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire boundaries. Our family has a penchant for border straddling, and the Orgill’s of Measham take this a step further living on the boundaries of four counties.  Historically it was in an exclave of Derbyshire absorbed into Leicestershire in 1897, so once again we have two sets of county records to search.


                      Richard Gretton, the baker of Swadlincote and my great grandmother Florence Nightingale Grettons’ father, married Sarah Orgill (1840-1910) in 1861.

                      (Incidentally, Florence Nightingale Warren nee Gretton’s first child Hildred born in 1900 had the middle name Orgill. Florence’s brother John Orgill Gretton emigrated to USA.)

                      When they first married, they lived with Sarah’s widowed mother Elizabeth in Measham.  Elizabeth Orgill is listed on the 1861 census as a farmer of two acres.

                      Sarah Orgill’s father Matthew Orgill (1798-1859) was a thatcher, as was his father Matthew Orgill (1771-1852).

                      Matthew Orgill the elder left his property to his son Henry:

                      Matthew Orgills will


                      Sarah’s mother Elizabeth (1803-1876) was also an Orgill before her marriage to Matthew.

                      According to Pigot & Co’s Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, in Measham in 1835 Elizabeth Orgill was a straw bonnet maker, an ideal occupation for a thatchers wife.

                      Matthew Orgill, thatcher, is listed in White’s directory in 1857, and other Orgill’s are mentioned in Measham:

                      Mary Orgill, straw hat maker; Henry Orgill, grocer; Daniel Orgill, painter; another Matthew Orgill is a coal merchant and wheelwright. Likewise a number of Orgill’s are listed in the directories for Measham in the subsequent years, as farmers, plumbers, painters, grocers, thatchers, wheelwrights, coal merchants and straw bonnet makers.


                      Matthew and Elizabeth Orgill, Measham Baptist church:

                      Orgill grave


                      According to a history of thatching, for every six or seven thatchers appearing in the 1851 census there are now less than one.  Another interesting fact in the history of thatched roofs (via thatchinginfo dot com):

                      The Watling Street Divide…
                      The biggest dividing line of all, that between the angular thatching of the Northern and Eastern traditions and the rounded Southern style, still roughly follows a very ancient line; the northern section of the old Roman road of Watling Street, the modern A5. Seemingly of little significance today; this was once the border between two peoples. Agreed in the peace treaty, between the Saxon King Alfred and Guthrum, the Danish Viking leader; over eleven centuries ago.
                      After making their peace, various Viking armies settled down, to the north and east of the old road; firstly, in what was known as The Danelaw and later in Norse kingdoms, based in York. They quickly formed a class of farmers and peasants. Although the Saxon kings soon regained this area; these people stayed put. Their influence is still seen, for example, in the widespread use of boarded gable ends, so common in Danish thatching.
                      Over time, the Southern and Northern traditions have slipped across the old road, by a few miles either way. But even today, travelling across the old highway will often bring the differing thatching traditions quickly into view.

                      Pear Tree Cottage, Bosworth Road, Measham. 1900.  Matthew Orgill was a thatcher living on Bosworth road.

                      Bosworth road



                      Matthew the elder married Frances Finch 1771-1848, also of Measham.  On the 1851 census Matthew is an 80 year old thatcher living with his daughter Mary and her husband Samuel Piner, a coal miner.

                      Henry Finch 1743- and Mary Dennis 1749- , both of Measham, were Frances parents.  Henry’s father was also Henry Finch, born in 1707 in Measham, and he married Frances Ward, also born in 1707, and also from Measham.



                      The ancient boundary between the kingdom of Mercia and the Danelaw

                      I didn’t find much information on the history of Measham, but I did find a great deal of ancient history on the nearby village of Appleby Magna, two miles away.  The parish records indicate that the Ward and Finch branches of our family date back to the 1500’s in the village, and we can assume that the ancient history of the neighbouring village would be relevant to our history.

                      There is evidence of human settlement in Appleby from the early Neolithic period, 6,000 years ago, and there are also Iron Age and Bronze Age sites in the vicinity.  There is evidence of further activity within the village during the Roman period, including evidence of a villa or farm and a temple.  Appleby is near three known Roman roads: Watling Street, 10 miles south of the village; Bath Lane, 5 miles north of the village; and Salt Street, which forms the parish’s south boundary.

                      But it is the Scandinavian invasions that are particularly intriguing, with regard to my 58% Scandinavian DNA (and virtually 100% Midlands England ancestry). Repton is 13 miles from Measham. In the early 10th century Chilcote, Measham and Willesley were part of the royal Derbyshire estate of Repton.

                      The arrival of Scandinavian invaders in the second half of the ninth century caused widespread havoc throughout northern England. By the AD 870s the Danish army was occupying Mercia and it spent the winter of 873-74 at Repton, the headquarters of the Mercian kings. The events are recorded in detail in the Peterborough manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles…

                      Although the Danes held power for only 40 years, a strong, even subversive, Danish element remained in the population for many years to come. 

                      A Scandinavian influence may also be detected among the field names of the parish. Although many fields have relatively modern names, some clearly have elements which reach back to the time of Danish incursion and control.

                      The Borders:

                      The name ‘aeppel byg’ is given in the will of Wulfic Spot of AD 1004……………..The decision at Domesday to include this land in Derbyshire, as one of Burton Abbey’s Derbyshire manors, resulted in the division of the village of Appleby Magna between the counties of Leicester and Derby for the next 800 years

                      Richard Dunmore’s Appleby Magma website.

                      This division of Appleby between Leicestershire and Derbyshire persisted from Domesday until 1897, when the recently created county councils (1889) simplified the administration of many villages in this area by a radical realignment of the boundary:



                      I would appear that our family not only straddle county borders, but straddle ancient kingdom borders as well.  This particular branch of the family (we assume, given the absence of written records that far back) were living on the edge of the Danelaw and a strong element of the Danes survives to this day in my DNA.



                        William Housley the Elder


                        William Housley of Kidsley Grange Farm in Smalley, Derbyshire, was born in 1781 in Selston,  just over the county border in Nottinghamshire.  His father was also called William Housley, and he was born in Selston in 1735.  It would appear from the records that William the father married late in life and only had one son (unless of course other records are missing or have not yet been found).  Never the less, William Housley of Kidsley was the eldest son, or eldest surviving son, evident from the legal document written in 1816 regarding William the fathers’ estate.

                        William Housley died in Smalley in 1815, intestate.  William the son claims that “he is the natural and lawful son of the said deceased and the person entitled to letters of administration of his goods and personal estate”.

                        Derby the 16th day of April 1816:

                        William Housley intestateWilliam Housley intestate 2


                        I transcribed three pages of this document, which was mostly repeated legal jargon. It appears that William Housley the elder died intestate, but that William the younger claimed that he was the sole heir.  £1200 is mentioned to be held until the following year until such time that there is certainty than no will was found and so on. On the last page “no more than £600” is mentioned and I can’t quite make out why both figures are mentioned!  However, either would have been a considerable sum in 1816.

                        I also found a land tax register in William Housley’s the elders name in Smalley (as William the son would have been too young at the time, in 1798).  William the elder was an occupant of one of his properties, and paid tax on two others, with other occupants named, so presumably he owned three properties in Smalley.

                        The only likely marriage for William Housley was in Selston. William Housley married Elizabeth Woodhead in 1777. It was a miracle that I found it, because the transcription on the website said 1797, which would have been too late to be ours, as William the son was born in 1781, but for some reason I checked the image and found that it was clearly 1777, listed between entries for 1776 and 1778. (I reported the transcription error.)  There were no other William Housley marriages recorded during the right time frame in Selston or in the vicinity.

                        I found a birth registered for William the elder in Selston in 1735.  Notwithstanding there may be pages of the register missing or illegible, in the absence of any other baptism registration, we must assume this is our William, in which case he married rather late in his 40s.  It would seem he didn’t have a previous wife, as William the younger claims to be the sole heir to his fathers estate.  I haven’t found any other children registered to the couple, which is also unusual, and the only death I can find for an Elizabeth Housley prior to 1815 (as William the elder was a widower when he died) is in Selston in 1812.  I’m not convinced that this is the death of William’s wife, however, as they were living in Smalley ~ at least, they were living in Smalley in 1798, according to the tax register, and William was living in Smalley when he died in 1815.


                          “AND NOW ABOUT EMMA”

                          and a mystery about George


                          I had overlooked this interesting part of Barbara Housley’s “Narrative on the Letters” initially, perhaps because I was more focused on finding Samuel Housley.  But when I did eventually notice, I wondered how I had missed it!  In this particularly interesting letter excerpt from Joseph, Barbara has not put the date of the letter ~ unusually, because she did with all of the others.  However I dated the letter to later than 1867, because Joseph mentions his wife, and they married in 1867. This is important, because there are two Emma Housleys. Joseph had a sister Emma, born in 1836, two years before Joseph was born.  At first glance, one would assume that a reference to Emma in the letters would mean his sister, but Emma the sister was married in Derby in 1858, and by 1869 had four children.

                          But there was another Emma Housley, born in 1851.


                          From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:

                          “AND NOW ABOUT EMMA”

                          A MYSTERY

                          A very mysterious comment is contained in a letter from Joseph:

                          “And now about Emma.  I have only seen her once and she came to me to get your address but I did not feel at liberty to give it to her until I had wrote to you but however she got it from someone.  I think it was in this way.  I was so pleased to hear from you in the first place and with John’s family coming to see me I let them read one or two of your letters thinking they would like to hear of you and I expect it was Will that noticed your address and gave it to her.  She came up to our house one day when I was at work to know if I had heard from you but I had not heard from you since I saw her myself and then she called again after that and my wife showed her your boys’ portraits thinking no harm in doing so.”

                          At this point Joseph interrupted himself to thank them for sending the portraits.  The next sentence is:

                          “Your son JOHN I have never seen to know him but I hear he is rather wild,” followed by: “EMMA has been living out service but don’t know where she is now.”

                          Since Joseph had just been talking about the portraits of George’s three sons, one of whom is John Eley, this could be a reference to things George has written in despair about a teen age son–but could Emma be a first wife and John their son?  Or could Emma and John both be the children of a first wife?

                          Elsewhere, Joseph wrote, “AMY ELEY died 14 years ago. (circa 1858)  She left a son and a daughter.”

                          An Amey Eley and a George Housley were married on April 1, 1849 in Duffield which is about as far west of Smalley as Heanor is East.  She was the daughter of John, a framework knitter, and Sarah Eley.  George’s father is listed as William, a farmer.  Amey was described as “of full age” and made her mark on the marriage document.

                          Anne wrote in August 1854:  JOHN ELEY is living at Derby Station so must take the first opportunity to get the receipt.” Was John Eley Housley named for him?

                          (John Eley Housley is George Housley’s son in USA, with his second wife, Sarah.)


                          George Housley married Amey Eley in 1849 in Duffield.  George’s father on the register is William Housley, farmer.  Amey Eley’s father is John Eley, framework knitter.

                          George Housley Amey Eley


                          On the 1851 census, George Housley and his wife Amey Housley are living with her parents in Heanor, John Eley, a framework knitter, and his wife Rebecca.  Also on the census are Charles J Housley, born in 1849 in Heanor, and Emma Housley, three months old at the time of the census, born in 1851.  George’s birth place is listed as Smalley.

                          1851 George Housley



                          On the 31st of July 1851 George Housley arrives in New York. In 1854 George Housley marries Sarah Ann Hill in USA.


                          On the 1861 census in Heanor, Rebecca Eley was a widow, her husband John having died in 1852, and she had three grandchildren living with her: Charles J Housley aged 12, Emma Housley, 10, and mysteriously a William Housley aged 5!  Amey Housley, the childrens mother,  died in 1858.

                          Housley Eley 1861


                          Back to the mysterious comment in Joseph’s letter.  Joseph couldn’t have been speaking of his sister Emma.  She was married with children by the time Joseph wrote that letter, so was not just out of service, and Joseph would have known where she was.   There is no reason to suppose that the sister Emma was trying unsuccessfully to find George’s addresss: she had been sending him letters for years.   Joseph must have been referring to George’s daughter Emma.

                          Joseph comments to George “Your son John…is rather wild.” followed by the remark about Emma’s whereabouts.  Could Charles John Housley have used his middle name of John instead of Charles?

                          As for the child William born five years after George left for USA, despite his name of Housley, which was his mothers married name, we can assume that he was not a Housley ~ not George’s child, anyway. It is not clear who his father was, as Amey did not remarry.

                          A further excerpt from Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:

                          Certainly there was some mystery in George’s life. George apparently wanted his whereabouts kept secret. Anne wrote: “People are at a loss to know where you are. The general idea is you are with Charles. We don’t satisfy them.” In that same letter Anne wrote: “I know you could not help thinking of us very often although you neglected writing…and no doubt would feel grieved for the trouble you at times caused (our mother). She freely forgives all.” Near the end of the letter, Anne added: “Mother sends her love to you and hopes you will write and if you want to tell her anything you don’t want all to see you must write it on a piece of loose paper and put it inside the letter.”

                          In a letter to George from his sister Emma:

                          Emma wrote in 1855, “We write in love to your wife and yourself and you must write soon and tell us whether there is a little nephew or niece and what you call them.”

                          In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “We want to see dear Sarah Ann and the dear little boy. We were much pleased with the “bit of news” you sent.” The bit of news was the birth of John Eley Housley, January 11, 1855. Emma concluded her letter “Give our very kindest love to dear sister and dearest Johnnie.”

                          It would seem that George Housley named his first son with his second wife after his first wife’s father ~ while he was married to both of them.


                          Emma Housley



                          In 1871 Emma was 20 years old and “in service” living as a lodger in West Hallam, not far from Heanor.  As she didn’t appear on a 1881 census, I looked for a marriage, but the only one that seemed right in every other way had Emma Housley’s father registered as Ralph Wibberly!

                          Who was Ralph Wibberly?  A family friend or neighbour, perhaps, someone who had been a father figure?  The first Ralph Wibberly I found was a blind wood cutter living in Derby. He had a son also called Ralph Wibberly. I did not think Ralph Wibberly would be a very common name, but I was wrong.

                          I then found a Ralph Wibberly living in Heanor, with a son also named Ralph Wibberly. A Ralph Wibberly married an Emma Salt from Heanor. In 1874, a 36 year old Ralph Wibberly (born in 1838) was on trial in Derby for inflicting grevious bodily harm on William Fretwell of Heanor. His occupation is “platelayer” (a person employed in laying and maintaining railway track.) The jury found him not guilty.

                          In 1851 a 23 year old Ralph Wibberly (born in 1828) was a prisoner in Derby Gaol. However, Ralph Wibberly, a 50 year old labourer born in 1801 and his son Ralph Wibberly, aged 13 and born in 1838, are living in Belper on the 1851 census. Perhaps the son was the same Ralph Wibberly who was found not guilty of GBH in 1874. This appears to be the one who married Emma Salt, as his wife on the 1871 census is called Emma, and his occupation is “Midland Company Railway labourer”.

                          Which was the Ralph Wibberly that Emma chose to name as her father on the marriage register? We may never know, but perhaps we can assume it was Ralph Wibberly born in 1801.  It is unlikely to be the blind wood cutter from Derby; more likely to be the local Ralph Wibberly.  Maybe his son Ralph, who we know was involved in a fight in 1874, was a friend of Emma’s brother Charles John, who was described by Joseph as a “wild one”, although Ralph was 11 years older than Charles John.

                          Emma Housley married James Slater on Christmas day in Heanor in 1873.  Their first child, a daughter, was called Amy. Emma’s mother was Amy Eley. James Slater was a colliery brakesman (employed to work the steam-engine, or other machinery used in raising the coal from the mine.)

                          It occurred to me to wonder if Emma Housley (George’s daughter) knew Elizabeth, Mary Anne and Catherine (Samuel’s daughters). They were cousins, lived in the vicinity, and they had in common with each other having been deserted by their fathers who were brothers. Emma was born two years after Catherine. Catherine was living with John Benniston, a framework knitter in Heanor, from 1851 to 1861. Emma was living with her grandfather John Ely, a framework knitter in Heanor. In 1861, George Purdy was also living in Heanor. He was listed on the census as a 13 year old coal miner! George Purdy and Catherine Housley married in 1866 in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire ~ just over the county border. Emma’s first child Amy was born in Heanor, but the next two children, Eliza and Lilly, were born in Eastwood, in 1878 and 1880. Catherine and George’s fifth child, my great grandmother Mary Ann Gilman Purdy, was born in Eastwood in 1880, the same year as Lilly Slater.

                          By 1881 Emma and James Slater were living in Woodlinkin, Codnor and Loscoe, close to Heanor and Eastwood, on the Derbyshire side of the border. On each census up to 1911 their address on the census is Woodlinkin. Emma and James had nine children: six girls and 3 boys, the last, Alfred Frederick, born in 1901.

                          Emma and James lived three doors up from the Thorn Tree pub in Woodlinkin, Codnor:



                          Emma Slater died in 1935 at the age of 84.


                          LOVING MEMORY OF
                          EMMA SLATER
                          (OF WOODLINKIN)
                          WHO DIED
                          SEPT 12th 1935
                          AGED 84 YEARS
                          AT REST

                          Crosshill Cemetery, Codnor, Amber Valley Borough, Derbyshire, England:

                          Emma Slater


                          Charles John Housley



                            The Housley Letters
                            THE NEIGHBORHOOD


                            From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:

                            In July 1872, Joseph wrote to George who had been gone for 21 years: “You would not know Heanor now. It has got such a large place. They have got a town hall built where Charles’ stone yard was.”

                            Then Joseph took George on a tour from Smalley to Heanor pointing out all the changes:

                            Smalley MapSmalley Farms


                            “Now we commence at Firby Brook. There is no public house there. It is turned into a market gardener’s place. Morley smithy stands as it did. You would know Chris Shepperd that used to keep the farm opposite. He is dead and the farm is got into other hands.”  (In 1851, Chris Shepherd, age 39, and his widowed mother, Mary, had a farm of 114 acres. Charles Carrington, age 14, worked for them as a “cow boy.” In 1851 Hollingsworths also lived at Morely smithy.) “The Rose and Crown stands and Antony Kerry keeps that yet.”  (In 1851, the census listed Kerry as a mason, builder, victicular, and farmer. He lived with his wife and four sons and numerous servants.) “They have pulled down Samuel Kerry’s farm house down and built him one in another place. Now we come to the Bell that was but they have pulled the old one down and made Isaac Potters House into the new Bell.” (In 1851, The Bell was run by Ann Weston, a widow.)

                            Smalley Roundhouse:

                            Smalley Roundhouse


                            “The old Round House is standing yet but they have took the machine away. The Public House at the top end is kept by Mrs. Turton. I don’t know who she was before she married. Now we get to old Tom Oldknow. The old house is pulled down and a new one is put up but it is gone out of the family altogether. Now Jack is living at Stanley. He married Ann that used to live at Barbers at Smalley. That finishes Smalley. Now for Taghill. The old Jolly Collier is standing yet and a man of the name of Remmington keeps the new one opposite. Jack Foulkes son Jack used to keep that but has left just lately. There is the Nottingham House, Nags Head, Cross Keys and then the Red Lion but houses built on both sides all the way down Taghill. Then we get to the town hall that is built on the ground that Charles’ Stone Yard used to be. There is Joseph Watson’s shop standing yet in the old place. The King of Prussia, the White Lion and Hanks that is the Public House. You see there are more than there used to be. The Magistrate sits at the Town Hall and tries cases there every fortnight.”



                              The Housley Letters

                              The Carringtons

                              Carrington Farm, Smalley:

                              Carrington Farm


                              Ellen Carrington was born in 1795. Her father William Carrington 1755-1833 was from Smalley. Her mother Mary Malkin 1765-1838 was from Ellastone, in Staffordshire.  Ellastone is on the Derbyshire border and very close to Ashboure, where Ellen married William Housley.


                              From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:

                              Ellen’s family was evidently rather prominant in Smalley. Two Carringtons (John and William) served on the Parish Council in 1794. Parish records are full of Carrington marriages and christenings.

                              The letters refer to a variety of “uncles” who were probably Ellen’s brothers, but could be her uncles. These include:


                              Probably the youngest Uncle, and certainly the most significant, is Richard. He was a trustee for some of the property which needed to be settled following Ellen’s death. Anne wrote in 1854 that Uncle Richard “has got a new house built” and his daughters are “fine dashing young ladies–the belles of Smalley.” Then she added, “Aunt looks as old as my mother.”

                              Richard was born somewhere between 1808 and 1812. Since Richard was a contemporary of the older Housley children, “Aunt,” who was three years younger, should not look so old!

                              Richard Carrington and Harriet Faulkner were married in Repton in 1833. A daughter Elizabeth was baptised March 24, 1834. In July 1872, Joseph wrote: Elizabeth is married too and a large family and is living in Uncle Thomas’s house for he is dead.” Elizabeth married Ayres (Eyres) Clayton of Lascoe. His occupation was listed as joiner and shopkeeper. They were married before 1864 since Elizabeth Clayton witnessed her sister’s marriage. Their children in April 1871 were Selina (1863), Agnes Maria (1866) and Elizabeth Ann (1868). A fourth daughter, Alice Augusta, was born in 1872 or 1873, probably by July 1872 to fit Joseph’s description “large family”! A son Charles Richard was born in 1880.

                              An Elizabeth Ann Clayton married John Arthur Woodhouse on May 12, 1913. He was a carpenter. His father was a miner. Elizabeth Ann’s father, Ayres, was also a carpenter. John Arthur’s age was given as 25. Elizabeth Ann’s age was given as 33 or 38. However, if she was born in 1868, her age would be 45. Possibly this is another case of a child being named for a deceased sibling. If she were 38 and born in 1875, she would fill the gap between Alice Augusta and Charles Richard.

                              Selina Clayton, who would have been 18, is not listed in the household in 1881. She died on June 11, 1914 at age 51. Agnes Maria Clayton died at the age of 25 and was buried March 31, 1891. Charles Richard died at the age of 5 and was buried on February 4, 1886. A Charles James Clayton, 18 months, was buried June 8, 1889 in Heanor.

                              Richard Carrington’s second daughter, Selina, born in 1837, married Walker Martin (b.1835) on February 11, 1864 and they were living at Kidsley Park Farm in 1872, according to a letter from Joseph, and, according to the census, were still there in 1881. This 100 acre farm was formerly the home of Daniel Smith and his daughter Elizabeth Davy Barber. Selina and Walker had at least five children: Elizabeth Ann (1865), Harriet Georgianna (1866/7), Alice Marian (September 6, 1868), Philip Richard (1870), and Walker (1873). In December 1972, Joseph mentioned the death of Philip Walker, a farmer of Prospect Farm, Shipley. This was probably Walker Martin’s grandfather, since Walker was born in Shipley. The stock was to be sold the following Monday, but his daughter (Walker’s mother?) died the next day. Walker’s father was named Thomas. An Annie Georgianna Martin age 13 of Shipley died in April of 1859.

                              Selina Martin died on October 29, 1906 but her estate was not settled until November 14, 1910. Her gross estate was worth L223.56. Her son Walker and her daughter Harriet Georgiana were her trustees and executers. Walker was to get Selina’s half of Richard’s farm. Harriet Georgiana and Alice Marian were to be allowed to live with him. Philip Richard received L25. Elizabeth Ann was already married to someone named Smith.

                              Richard and Harriet may also have had a son George. In 1851 a Harriet Carrington and her three year old son George were living with her step-father John Benniston in Heanor. John may have been recently widowed and needed her help. Or, the Carrington home may have been inadequate since Anne reported a new one was built by 1854. Selina’s second daughter’s name testifies to the presence of a “George” in the family! Could the death of this son account for the haggard appearance Anne described when she wrote: “Aunt looks as old as my mother?”
                              Harriet was buried May 19, 1866. She was 55 when she died.

                              In 1881, Georgianna then 14, was living with her grandfather and his niece, Zilpah Cooper, age 38–who lived with Richard on his 63 acre farm as early as 1871. A Zilpah, daughter of William and Elizabeth, was christened October 1843. Her brother, William Walter, was christened in 1846 and married Anna Maria Saint in 1873. There are four Selina Coopers–one had a son William Thomas Bartrun Cooper christened in 1864; another had a son William Cooper christened in 1873.

                              Our Zilpah was born in Bretley 1843. She died at age 49 and was buried on September 24, 1892. In her will, which was witnessed by Selina Martin, Zilpah’s sister, Frances Elizabeth Cleave, wife of Horatio Cleave of Leicester is mentioned. James Eley and Francis Darwin Huish (Richard’s soliciter) were executers.

                              Richard died June 10, 1892, and was buried on June 13. He was 85. As might be expected, Richard’s will was complicated. Harriet Georgiana Martin and Zilpah Cooper were to share his farm. If neither wanted to live there it was to go to Georgiana’s cousin Selina Clayton. However, Zilpah died soon after Richard. Originally, he left his piano, parlor and best bedroom furniture to his daughter Elizabeth Clayton. Then he revoked everything but the piano. He arranged for the payment of £150 which he owed. Later he added a codicil explaining that the debt was paid but he had borrowed £200 from someone else to do it!

                              Richard left a good deal of property including: The house and garden in Smalley occupied by Eyres Clayton with four messuages and gardens adjoining and large garden below and three messuages at the south end of the row with the frame work knitters shop and garden adjoining; a dwelling house used as a public house with a close of land; a small cottage and garden and four cottages and shop and gardens.



                              In August 1854, Anne wrote “Uncle Thomas is about as usual.” A Thomas Carrington married a Priscilla Walker in 1810.

                              Their children were baptised in August 1830 at the same time as the Housley children who at that time ranged in age from 3 to 17. The oldest of Thomas and Priscilla’s children, Henry, was probably at least 17 as he was married by 1836. Their youngest son, William Thomas, born 1830, may have been Mary Ellen Weston’s beau. However, the only Richard whose christening is recorded (1820), was the son of Thomas and Lucy. In 1872 Joseph reported that Richard’s daughter Elizabeth was married and living in Uncle Thomas’s house. In 1851, Alfred Smith lived in house 25, Foulks lived in 26, Thomas and Priscilla lived in 27, Bennetts lived in 28, Allard lived in 29 and Day lived in 30. Thomas and Priscilla do not appear in 1861. In 1871 Elizabeth Ann and Ayres Clayton lived in House 54. None of the families listed as neighbors in 1851 remained. However, Joseph Carrington, who lived in house 19 in 1851, lived in house 51 in 1871.



                              In August 1854, Anne wrote: “Uncle John is with Will and Frank has been home in a comfortable place in Cotmanhay.” Although John and William are two of the most popular Carrington names, only two John’s have sons named William. John and Rachel Buxton Carrington had a son William christened in 1788. At the time of the letters this John would have been over 100 years old. Their son John and his wife Ann had a son William who was born in 1805. However, this William age 46 was living with his widowed mother in 1851. A Robert Carrington and his wife Ann had a son John born 1n 1805. He would be the right age to be a brother to Francis Carrington discussed below. This John was living with his widowed mother in 1851 and was unmarried. There are no known Williams in this family grouping. A William Carrington of undiscovered parentage was born in 1821. It is also possible that the Will in question was Anne’s brother Will Housley.

                              –Two Francis Carringtons appear in the 1841 census both of them aged 35. One is living with Richard and Harriet Carrington. The other is living next door to Samuel and Ellen Carrington Kerry (the trustee for “father’s will”!). The next name in this sequence is John Carrington age 15 who does not seem to live with anyone! but may be part of the Kerry household.

                              FRANK (see above)

                              While Anne did not preface her mention of the name Frank with an “Uncle,” Joseph referred to Uncle Frank and James Carrington in the same sentence. A James Carrington was born in 1814 and had a wife Sarah. He worked as a framework knitter. James may have been a son of William and Anne Carrington. He lived near Richard according to the 1861 census. Other children of William and Anne are Hannah (1811), William (1815), John (1816), and Ann (1818). An Ann Carrington married a Frank Buxton in 1819. This might be “Uncle Frank.”

                              An Ellen Carrington was born to John and Rachel Carrington in 1785. On October 25, 1809, a Samuel Kerry married an Ellen Carrington. However this Samuel Kerry is not the trustee involved in settling Ellen’s estate. John Carrington died July 1815.

                              William and Mary Carrington:

                              William Carrington


                                The Housley Letters

                                FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS

                                from Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters:


                                George apparently asked about old friends and acquaintances and the family did their best to answer although Joseph wrote in 1873: “There is very few of your old cronies that I know of knocking about.”

                                In Anne’s first letter she wrote about a conversation which Robert had with EMMA LYON before his death and added “It (his death) was a great trouble to Lyons.” In her second letter Anne wrote: “Emma Lyon is to be married September 5. I am going the Friday before if all is well. There is every prospect of her being comfortable. MRS. L. always asks after you.” In 1855 Emma wrote: “Emma Lyon now Mrs. Woolhouse has got a fine boy and a pretty fuss is made with him. They call him ALFRED LYON WOOLHOUSE.”

                                (Interesting to note that Elizabeth Housley, the eldest daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth, was living with a Lyon family in Derby in 1861, after she left Belper workhouse.  The Emma listed on the census in 1861 was 10 years old, and so can not be the Emma Lyon mentioned here, but it’s possible, indeed likely, that Peter Lyon the baker was related to the Lyon’s who were friends of the Housley’s.  The mention of a sea captain in the Lyon family begs the question did Elizabeth Housley meet her husband, George William Stafford, a seaman, through some Lyon connections, but to date this remains a mystery.)

                                Elizabeth Housley living with Peter Lyon and family in Derby St Peters in 1861:

                                Lyon 1861 census


                                A Henrietta Lyon was married in 1860. Her father was Matthew, a Navy Captain. The 1857 Derby Directory listed a Richard Woolhouse, plumber, glazier, and gas fitter on St. Peter’s Street. Robert lived in St. Peter’s parish at the time of his death. An Alfred Lyon, son of Alfred and Jemima Lyon 93 Friargate, Derby was baptised on December 4, 1877. An Allen Hewley Lyon, born February 1, 1879 was baptised June 17 1879.


                                Anne wrote in August 1854: “KERRY was married three weeks since to ELIZABETH EATON. He has left Smith some time.” Perhaps this was the same person referred to by Joseph:BILL KERRY, the blacksmith for DANIEL SMITH, is working for John Fletcher lace manufacturer.” According to the 1841 census, Elizabeth age 12, was the oldest daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Eaton. She would certainly have been of marriagable age in 1854. A William Kerry, age 14, was listed as a blacksmith’s apprentice in the 1851 census; but another William Kerry who was 29 in 1851 was already working for Daniel Smith as a blacksmith. REBECCA EATON was listed in the 1851 census as a widow serving as a nurse in the John Housley household. The 1881 census lists the family of William Kerry, blacksmith, as Jane, 19; William 13; Anne, 7; and Joseph, 4. Elizabeth is not mentioned but Bill is not listed as a widower.

                                Anne also wrote in 1854 that she had not seen or heard anything of DICK HANSON for two years. Joseph wrote that he did not know Old BETTY HANSON’S son. A Richard Hanson, age 24 in 1851, lived with a family named Moore. His occupation was listed as “journeyman knitter.” An Elizabeth Hanson listed as 24 in 1851 could hardly be “Old Betty.” Emma wrote in June 1856 that JOE OLDKNOW age 27 had married Mrs. Gribble’s servant age 17.

                                Anne wrote that JOHN SPENCER had not been since father died.” The only John Spencer in Smalley in 1841 was four years old. He would have been 11 at the time of William Housley’s death. Certainly, the two could have been friends, but perhaps young John was named for his grandfather who was a crony of William’s living in a locality not included in the Smalley census.

                                TAILOR ALLEN had lost his wife and was still living in the old house in 1872. JACK WHITE had died very suddenly, and DR. BODEN had died also. Dr. Boden’s first name was Robert. He was 53 in 1851, and was probably the Robert, son of Richard and Jane, who was christened in Morely in 1797. By 1861, he had married Catherine, a native of Smalley, who was at least 14 years his junior–18 according to the 1871 census!

                                Among the family’s dearest friends were JOSEPH AND ELIZABETH DAVY, who were married some time after 1841. Mrs. Davy was born in 1812 and her husband in 1805. In 1841, the Kidsley Park farm household included DANIEL SMITH 72, Elizabeth 29 and 5 year old Hannah Smith. In 1851, Mr. Davy’s brother William and 10 year old Emma Davy were visiting from London. Joseph reported the death of both Davy brothers in 1872; Joseph apparently died first.

                                Mrs. Davy’s father, was a well known Quaker. In 1856, Emma wrote: “Mr. Smith is very hearty and looks much the same.” He died in December 1863 at the age of 94. George Fox, the founder of the Quakers visited Kidsley Park in 1650 and 1654.

                                Mr. Davy died in 1863, but in 1854 Anne wrote how ill he had been for two years. “For two last winters we never thought he would live. He is now able to go out a little on the pony.” In March 1856, his wife wrote, “My husband is in poor health and fell.” Later in 1856, Emma wrote, “Mr. Davy is living which is a great wonder. Mrs. Davy is very delicate but as good a friend as ever.”

                                In The Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 15 May 1863:

                                Davy Death


                                Whenever the girls sent greetings from Mrs. Davy they used her Quaker speech pattern of “thee and thy.”  Mrs. Davy wrote to George on March 21 1856 sending some gifts from his sisters and a portrait of their mother–“Emma is away yet and A is so much worse.” Mrs. Davy concluded: “With best wishes for thy health and prosperity in this world and the next I am thy sincere friend.”

                                Mrs. Davy later remarried. Her new husband was W.T. BARBER. The 1861 census lists William Barber, 35, Bachelor of Arts, Cambridge, living with his 82 year old widowed mother on an 135 acre farm with three servants. One of these may have been the Ann who, according to Joseph, married Jack Oldknow. By 1871 the farm, now occupied by William, 47 and Elizabeth, 57, had grown to 189 acres. Meanwhile, Kidsley Park Farm became the home of the Housleys’ cousin Selina Carrington and her husband Walker Martin. Both Barbers were still living in 1881.

                                Mrs. Davy was described in Kerry’s History of Smalley as “an accomplished and exemplary lady.” A piece of her poetry “Farewell to Kidsley Park” was published in the history. It was probably written when Elizabeth moved to the Barber farm. Emma sent one of her poems to George. It was supposed to be about their house. “We have sent you a piece of poetry that Mrs. Davy composed about our ‘Old House.’ I am sure you will like it though you may not understand all the allusions she makes use of as well as we do.”

                                Kiddsley Park Farm, Smalley, in 1898.  (note that the Housley’s lived at Kiddsley Grange Farm, and the Davy’s at neighbouring Kiddsley Park Farm)

                                Kiddsley Park Farm


                                Emma was not sure if George wanted to hear the local gossip (“I don’t know whether such little particulars will interest you”), but shared it anyway. In November 1855: “We have let the house to Mr. Gribble. I dare say you know who he married, Matilda Else. They came from Lincoln here in March. Mrs. Gribble gets drunk nearly every day and there are such goings on it is really shameful. So you may be sure we have not very pleasant neighbors but we have very little to do with them.”

                                John Else and his wife Hannah and their children John and Harriet (who were born in Smalley) lived in Tag Hill in 1851. With them lived a granddaughter Matilda Gribble age 3 who was born in Lincoln. A Matilda, daughter of John and Hannah, was christened in 1815. (A Sam Else died when he fell down the steps of a bar in 1855.)


                                  The Housley Letters 

                                  From Barbara Housley’s Narrative on the Letters.


                                  William Housley (1781-1848) and Ellen Carrington were married on May 30, 1814 at St. Oswald’s church in Ashbourne. William died in 1848 at the age of 67 of “disease of lungs and general debility”. Ellen died in 1872.

                                  Marriage of William Housley and Ellen Carrington in Ashbourne in 1814:

                                  William and Ellen Marriage


                                  Parish records show three children for William and his first wife, Mary, Ellens’ sister, who were married December 29, 1806: Mary Ann, christened in 1808 and mentioned frequently in the letters; Elizabeth, christened in 1810, but never mentioned in any letters; and William, born in 1812, probably referred to as Will in the letters. Mary died in 1813.

                                  William and Ellen had ten children: John, Samuel, Edward, Anne, Charles, George, Joseph, Robert, Emma, and Joseph. The first Joseph died at the age of four, and the last son was also named Joseph. Anne never married, Charles emigrated to Australia in 1851, and George to USA, also in 1851. The letters are to George, from his sisters and brothers in England.

                                  The following are excerpts of those letters, including excerpts of Barbara Housley’s “Narrative on Historic Letters”. They are grouped according to who they refer to, rather than chronological order.


                                  ELLEN HOUSLEY 1795-1872

                                  Joseph wrote that when Emma was married, Ellen “broke up the comfortable home and the things went to Derby and she went to live with them but Derby didn’t agree with her so she left again leaving her things behind and came to live with John in the new house where she died.” Ellen was listed with John’s household in the 1871 census.
                                  In May 1872, the Ilkeston Pioneer carried this notice: “Mr. Hopkins will sell by auction on Saturday next the eleventh of May 1872 the whole of the useful furniture, sewing machine, etc. nearly new on the premises of the late Mrs. Housley at Smalley near Heanor in the county of Derby. Sale at one o’clock in the afternoon.”

                                  Ellen’s family was evidently rather prominant in Smalley. Two Carringtons (John and William) served on the Parish Council in 1794. Parish records are full of Carrington marriages and christenings; census records confirm many of the family groupings.

                                  In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “Mother looks as well as ever and was told by a lady the other day that she looked handsome.” Later she wrote: “Mother is as stout as ever although she sometimes complains of not being able to do as she used to.”


                                  Mary’s children:

                                  MARY ANN HOUSLEY  1808-1878

                                  There were hard feelings between Mary Ann and Ellen and her children. Anne wrote: “If you remember we were not very friendly when you left. They never came and nothing was too bad for Mary Ann to say of Mother and me, but when Robert died Mother sent for her to the funeral but she did not think well to come so we took no more notice. She would not allow her children to come either.”

                                  Mary Ann was unlucky in love! In Anne’s second letter she wrote: “William Carrington is paying Mary Ann great attention. He is living in London but they write to each other….We expect it will be a match.” Apparantly the courtship was stormy for in 1855, Emma wrote: “Mary Ann’s wedding with William Carrington has dropped through after she had prepared everything, dresses and all for the occassion.” Then in 1856, Emma wrote: “William Carrington and Mary Ann are separated. They wore him out with their nonsense.” Whether they ever married is unclear. Joseph wrote in 1872: “Mary Ann was married but her husband has left her. She is in very poor health. She has one daughter and they are living with their mother at Smalley.”

                                  Regarding William Carrington, Emma supplied this bit of news: “His sister, Mrs. Lily, has eloped with a married man. Is she not a nice person!”


                                  WILLIAM HOUSLEY JR. 1812-1890

                                  According to a letter from Anne, Will’s two sons and daughter were sent to learn dancing so they would be “fit for any society.” Will’s wife was Dorothy Palfry. They were married in Denby on October 20, 1836 when Will was 24. According to the 1851 census, Will and Dorothy had three sons: Alfred 14, Edwin 12, and William 10. All three boys were born in Denby.

                                  In his letter of May 30, 1872, after just bemoaning that all of his brothers and sisters are gone except Sam and John, Joseph added: “Will is living still.” In another 1872 letter Joseph wrote, “Will is living at Heanor yet and carrying on his cattle dealing.” The 1871 census listed Will, 59, and his son William, 30, of Lascoe Road, Heanor, as cattle dealers.


                                  Ellen’s children:

                                  JOHN HOUSLEY  1815-1893

                                  John married Sarah Baggally in Morely in 1838. They had at least six children. Elizabeth (born 2 May 1838) was “out service” in 1854. In her “third year out,Elizabeth was described by Anne as “a very nice steady girl but quite a woman in appearance.” One of her positions was with a Mrs. Frearson in Heanor. Emma wrote in 1856: Elizabeth is still at Mrs. Frearson. She is such a fine stout girl you would not know her.” Joseph wrote in 1872 that Elizabeth was in service with Mrs. Eliza Sitwell at Derby. (About 1850, Miss Eliza Wilmot-Sitwell provided for a small porch with a handsome Norman doorway at the west end of the St. John the Baptist parish church in Smalley.)

                                  According to Elizabeth’s birth certificate and the 1841 census, John was a butcher. By 1851, the household included a nurse and a servant, and John was listed as a “victular.” Anne wrote in February 1854, John has left the Public House a year and a half ago. He is living where Plumbs (Ann Plumb witnessed William’s death certificate with her mark) did and Thomas Allen has the land. He has been working at James Eley’s all winter.” In 1861, Ellen lived with John and Sarah and the three boys.

                                  John sold his share in the inheritance from their mother and disappeared after her death. (He died in Doncaster, Yorkshire, in 1893.) At that time Charles, the youngest would have been 21. Indeed, Joseph wrote in July 1872: John’s children are all grown up”.

                                  In May 1872, Joseph wrote: “For what do you think, John has sold his share and he has acted very bad since his wife died and at the same time he sold all his furniture. You may guess I have never seen him but once since poor mother’s funeral and he is gone now no one knows where.”

                                  In February 1874 Joseph wrote: “You want to know what made John go away. Well, I will give you one reason. I think I told you that when his wife died he persuaded me to leave Derby and come to live with him. Well so we did and dear Harriet to keep his house. Well he insulted my wife and offered things to her that was not proper and my dear wife had the power to resist his unmanly conduct. I did not think he could of served me such a dirty trick so that is one thing dear brother. He could not look me in the face when we met. Then after we left him he got a woman in the house and I suppose they lived as man and wife. She caught the small pox and died and there he was by himself like some wild man. Well dear brother I could not go to him again after he had served me and mine as he had and I believe he was greatly in debt too so that he sold his share out of the property and when he received the money at Belper he went away and has never been seen by any of us since but I have heard of him being at Sheffield enquiring for Sam Caldwell. You will remember him. He worked in the Nag’s Head yard but I have heard nothing no more of him.”

                                  A mention of a John Housley of Heanor in the Nottinghma Journal 1875.  I don’t know for sure if the John mentioned here is the brother John who Joseph describes above as behaving improperly to his wife. John Housley had a son Joseph, born in 1840, and John’s wife Sarah died in 1870.

                                  John Housley


                                  In 1876, the solicitor wrote to George: “Have you heard of John Housley? He is entitled to Robert’s share and I want him to claim it.”


                                  SAMUEL HOUSLEY 1816-

                                  Sam married Elizabeth Brookes of Sutton Coldfield, and they had three daughters: Elizabeth, Mary Anne and Catherine.  Elizabeth his wife died in 1849, a few months after Samuel’s father William died in 1848. The particular circumstances relating to these individuals have been discussed in previous chapters; the following are letter excerpts relating to them.

                                  Death of William Housley 15 Dec 1848, and Elizabeth Housley 5 April 1849, Smalley:

                                  Housley Deaths


                                  Joseph wrote in December 1872: “I saw one of Sam’s daughters, the youngest Kate, you would remember her a baby I dare say. She is very comfortably married.”

                                  In the same letter (December 15, 1872), Joseph wrote:  “I think we have now found all out now that is concerned in the matter for there was only Sam that we did not know his whereabouts but I was informed a week ago that he is dead–died about three years ago in Birmingham Union. Poor Sam. He ought to have come to a better end than that….His daughter and her husband went to Brimingham and also to Sutton Coldfield that is where he married his wife from and found out his wife’s brother. It appears he has been there and at Birmingham ever since he went away but ever fond of drink.”

                                  (Sam, however, was still alive in 1871, living as a lodger at the George and Dragon Inn, Henley in Arden. And no trace of Sam has been found since. It would appear that Sam did not want to be found.)


                                  EDWARD HOUSLEY 1819-1843

                                  Edward died before George left for USA in 1851, and as such there is no mention of him in the letters.


                                  ANNE HOUSLEY 1821-1856

                                  Anne wrote two letters to her brother George between February 1854 and her death in 1856. Apparently she suffered from a lung disease for she wrote: “I can say you will be surprised I am still living and better but still cough and spit a deal. Can do nothing but sit and sew.” According to the 1851 census, Anne, then 29, was a seamstress. Their friend, Mrs. Davy, wrote in March 1856: “This I send in a box to my Brother….The pincushion cover and pen wiper are Anne’s work–are for thy wife. She would have made it up had she been able.” Anne was not living at home at the time of the 1841 census. She would have been 19 or 20 and perhaps was “out service.”

                                  In her second letter Anne wrote: “It is a great trouble now for me to write…as the body weakens so does the mind often. I have been very weak all summer. That I continue is a wonder to all and to spit so much although much better than when you left home.” She also wrote: “You know I had a desire for America years ago. Were I in health and strength, it would be the land of my adoption.”

                                  In November 1855, Emma wrote, “Anne has been very ill all summer and has not been able to write or do anything.” Their neighbor Mrs. Davy wrote on March 21, 1856: “I fear Anne will not be long without a change.” In a black-edged letter the following June, Emma wrote: “I need not tell you how happy she was and how calmly and peacefully she died. She only kept in bed two days.”

                                  Certainly Anne was a woman of deep faith and strong religious convictions. When she wrote that they were hoping to hear of Charles’ success on the gold fields she added: “But I would rather hear of him having sought and found the Pearl of great price than all the gold Australia can produce, (For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul?).” Then she asked George: “I should like to learn how it was you were first led to seek pardon and a savior. I do feel truly rejoiced to hear you have been led to seek and find this Pearl through the workings of the Holy Spirit and I do pray that He who has begun this good work in each of us may fulfill it and carry it on even unto the end and I can never doubt the willingness of Jesus who laid down his life for us. He who said whoever that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.”

                                  Anne’s will was probated October 14, 1856. Mr. William Davy of Kidsley Park appeared for the family. Her estate was valued at under £20. Emma was to receive fancy needlework, a four post bedstead, feather bed and bedding, a mahogany chest of drawers, plates, linen and china. Emma was also to receive Anne’s writing desk. There was a condition that Ellen would have use of these items until her death.

                                  The money that Anne was to receive from her grandfather, William Carrington, and her father, William Housley was to be distributed one third to Joseph, one third to Emma, and one third to be divided between her four neices: John’s daughter Elizabeth, 18, and Sam’s daughters Elizabeth, 10, Mary Ann, 9 and Catharine, age 7 to be paid by the trustees as they think “most useful and proper.” Emma Lyon and Elizabeth Davy were the witnesses.

                                  The Carrington Farm:

                                  Carringtons Farm


                                  CHARLES HOUSLEY 1823-1855

                                  Charles went to Australia in 1851, and was last heard from in January 1853. According to the solicitor, who wrote to George on June 3, 1874, Charles had received advances on the settlement of their parent’s estate. “Your promissory note with the two signed by your brother Charles for 20 pounds he received from his father and 20 pounds he received from his mother are now in the possession of the court.”

                                  Charles and George were probably quite close friends. Anne wrote in 1854: “Charles inquired very particularly in both his letters after you.”

                                  According to Anne, Charles and a friend married two sisters. He and his father-in-law had a farm where they had 130 cows and 60 pigs. Whatever the trade he learned in England, he never worked at it once he reached Australia. While it does not seem that Charles went to Australia because gold had been discovered there, he was soon caught up in “gold fever”. Anne wrote: “I dare say you have heard of the immense gold fields of Australia discovered about the time he went. Thousands have since then emigrated to Australia, both high and low. Such accounts we heard in the papers of people amassing fortunes we could not believe. I asked him when I wrote if it was true. He said this was no exaggeration for people were making their fortune daily and he intended going to the diggings in six weeks for he could stay away no longer so that we are hoping to hear of his success if he is alive.”

                                  In March 1856, Mrs. Davy wrote: “I am sorry to tell thee they have had a letter from Charles’s wife giving account of Charles’s death of 6 months consumption at the Victoria diggings. He has left 2 children a boy and a girl William and Ellen.” In June of the same year in a black edged letter, Emma wrote: “I think Mrs. Davy mentioned Charles’s death in her note. His wife wrote to us. They have two children Helen and William. Poor dear little things. How much I should like to see them all. She writes very affectionately.”

                                  In December 1872, Joseph wrote: “I’m told that Charles two daughters has wrote to Smalley post office making inquiries about his share….” In January 1876, the solicitor wrote: “Charles Housley’s children have claimed their father’s share.”


                                  GEORGE HOUSLEY 1824-1877

                                  George emigrated to the United states in 1851, arriving in July. The solicitor Abraham John Flint referred in a letter to a 15-pound advance which was made to George on June 9, 1851. This certainly was connected to his journey. George settled along the Delaware River in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The letters from the solicitor were addressed to: Lahaska Post Office, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

                                  George married Sarah Ann Hill on May 6, 1854 in Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In her first letter (February 1854), Anne wrote: “We want to know who and what is this Miss Hill you name in your letter. What age is she? Send us all the particulars but I would advise you not to get married until you have sufficient to make a comfortable home.”

                                  Upon learning of George’s marriage, Anne wrote: “I hope dear brother you may be happy with your wife….I hope you will be as a son to her parents. Mother unites with me in kind love to you both and to your father and mother with best wishes for your health and happiness.” In 1872 (December) Joseph wrote: “I am sorry to hear that sister’s father is so ill. It is what we must all come to some time and hope we shall meet where there is no more trouble.”

                                  Emma wrote in 1855, “We write in love to your wife and yourself and you must write soon and tell us whether there is a little nephew or niece and what you call them.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote: “We want to see dear Sarah Ann and the dear little boy. We were much pleased with the “bit of news” you sent.” The bit of news was the birth of John Eley Housley, January 11, 1855. Emma concluded her letter “Give our very kindest love to dear sister and dearest Johnnie.”

                                  In September 1872, Joseph wrote, “I was very sorry to hear that John your oldest had met with such a sad accident but I hope he is got alright again by this time.” In the same letter, Joseph asked: “Now I want to know what sort of a town you are living in or village. How far is it from New York? Now send me all particulars if you please.”

                                  In March 1873 Harriet asked Sarah Ann: “And will you please send me all the news at the place and what it is like for it seems to me that it is a wild place but you must tell me what it is like….”.  The question of whether she was referring to Bucks County, Pennsylvania or some other place is raised in Joseph’s letter of the same week.
                                  On March 17, 1873, Joseph wrote: “I was surprised to hear that you had gone so far away west. Now dear brother what ever are you doing there so far away from home and family–looking out for something better I suppose.”

                                  The solicitor wrote on May 23, 1874: “Lately I have not written because I was not certain of your address and because I doubted I had much interesting news to tell you.” Later, Joseph wrote concerning the problems settling the estate, “You see dear brother there is only me here on our side and I cannot do much. I wish you were here to help me a bit and if you think of going for another summer trip this turn you might as well run over here.”

                                  Apparently, George had indicated he might return to England for a visit in 1856. Emma wrote concerning the portrait of their mother which had been sent to George: “I hope you like mother’s portrait. I did not see it but I suppose it was not quite perfect about the eyes….Joseph and I intend having ours taken for you when you come over….Do come over before very long.”

                                  In March 1873, Joseph wrote: “You ask me what I think of you coming to England. I think as you have given the trustee power to sign for you I think you could do no good but I should like to see you once again for all that. I can’t say whether there would be anything amiss if you did come as you say it would be throwing good money after bad.”

                                  On June 10, 1875, the solicitor wrote: “I have been expecting to hear from you for some time past. Please let me hear what you are doing and where you are living and how I must send you your money.” George’s big news at that time was that on May 3, 1875, he had become a naturalized citizen “renouncing and abjuring all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, potentate, state and sovereignity whatsoever, and particularly to Victoria Queen of Great Britain of whom he was before a subject.”


                                  ROBERT HOUSLEY 1832-1851

                                  In 1854, Anne wrote: “Poor Robert. He died in August after you left he broke a blood vessel in the lung.”
                                  From Joseph’s first letter we learn that Robert was 19 when he died: “Dear brother there have been a great many changes in the family since you left us. All is gone except myself and John and Sam–we have heard nothing of him since he left. Robert died first when he was 19 years of age. Then Anne and Charles too died in Australia and then a number of years elapsed before anyone else. Then John lost his wife, then Emma, and last poor dear mother died last January on the 11th.”

                                  Anne described Robert’s death in this way: “He had thrown up blood many times before in the spring but the last attack weakened him that he only lived a fortnight after. He died at Derby. Mother was with him. Although he suffered much he never uttered a murmur or regret and always a smile on his face for everyone that saw him. He will be regretted by all that knew him”.

                                  Robert died a resident of St. Peter’s Parish, Derby, but was buried in Smalley on August 16, 1851.
                                  Apparently Robert was apprenticed to be a joiner for, according to Anne, Joseph took his place: “Joseph wanted to be a joiner. We thought we could do no better than let him take Robert’s place which he did the October after and is there still.”

                                  In 1876, the solicitor wrote to George: “Have you heard of John Housley? He is entitled to Robert’s share and I want him to claim it.”


                                  EMMA HOUSLEY 1836-1871

                                  Emma was not mentioned in Anne’s first letter. In the second, Anne wrote that Emma was living at Spondon with two ladies in her “third situation,” and added, “She is grown a bouncing woman.” Anne described her sister well. Emma wrote in her first letter (November 12, 1855): “I must tell you that I am just 21 and we had my pudding last Sunday. I wish I could send you a piece.”

                                  From Emma’s letters we learn that she was living in Derby from May until November 1855 with Mr. Haywood, an iron merchant. She explained, “He has failed and I have been obliged to leave,” adding, “I expect going to a new situation very soon. It is at Belper.” In 1851 records, William Haywood, age 22, was listed as an iron foundry worker. In the 1857 Derby Directory, James and George were listed as iron and brass founders and ironmongers with an address at 9 Market Place, Derby.

                                  In June 1856, Emma wrote from “The Cedars, Ashbourne Road” where she was working for Mr. Handysides.
                                  While she was working for Mr. Handysides, Emma wrote: “Mother is thinking of coming to live at Derby. That will be nice for Joseph and I.”

                                  Friargate and Ashbourne Road were located in St. Werburgh’s Parish. (In fact, St. Werburgh’s vicarage was at 185 Surrey Street. This clue led to the discovery of the record of Emma’s marriage on May 6, 1858, to Edwin Welch Harvey, son of Samuel Harvey in St. Werburgh’s.)

                                  In 1872, Joseph wrote: “Our sister Emma, she died at Derby at her own home for she was married. She has left two young children behind. The husband was the son of the man that I went apprentice to and has caused a great deal of trouble to our family and I believe hastened poor Mother’s death….”.   Joseph added that he believed Emma’s “complaint” was consumption and that she was sick a good bit. Joseph wrote: “Mother was living with John when I came home (from Ascension Island around 1867? or to Smalley from Derby around 1870?) for when Emma was married she broke up the comfortable home and the things went to Derby and she went to live with them but Derby did not agree with her so she had to leave it again but left all her things there.”

                                  Emma Housley and Edwin Welch Harvey wedding, 1858:

                                  Emma Housley wedding


                                  JOSEPH HOUSLEY 1838-1893

                                  We first hear of Joseph in a letter from Anne to George in 1854. “Joseph wanted to be a joiner. We thought we could do no better than let him take Robert’s place which he did the October after (probably 1851) and is there still. He is grown as tall as you I think quite a man.” Emma concurred in her first letter: “He is quite a man in his appearance and quite as tall as you.”

                                  From Emma we learn in 1855: “Joseph has left Mr. Harvey. He had not work to employ him. So mother thought he had better leave his indenture and be at liberty at once than wait for Harvey to be a bankrupt. He has got a very good place of work now and is very steady.” In June of 1856, Emma wrote “Joseph and I intend to have our portraits taken for you when you come over….Mother is thinking of coming to Derby. That will be nice for Joseph and I. Joseph is very hearty I am happy to say.”

                                  According to Joseph’s letters, he was married to Harriet Ballard. Joseph described their miraculous reunion in this way: “I must tell you that I have been abroad myself to the Island of Ascension. (Elsewhere he wrote that he was on the island when the American civil war broke out). I went as a Royal Marine and worked at my trade and saved a bit of money–enough to buy my discharge and enough to get married with but while I was out on the island who should I meet with there but my dear wife’s sister. (On two occasions Joseph and Harriet sent George the name and address of Harriet’s sister, Mrs. Brooks, in Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania, but it is not clear whether this was the same sister.) She was lady’s maid to the captain’s wife. Though I had never seen her before we got to know each other somehow so from that me and my wife recommenced our correspondence and you may be sure I wanted to get home to her. But as soon as I did get home that is to England I was not long before I was married and I have not regretted yet for we are very comfortable as well as circumstances will allow for I am only a journeyman joiner.”

                                  Proudly, Joseph wrote: “My little family consists of three nice children–John, Joseph and Susy Annie.” On her birth certificate, Susy Ann’s birthdate is listed as 1871. Parish records list a Lucy Annie christened in 1873. The boys were born in Derby, John in 1868 and Joseph in 1869. In his second letter, Joseph repeated: “I have got three nice children, a good wife and I often think is more than I have deserved.” On August 6, 1873, Joseph and Harriet wrote: “We both thank you dear sister for the pieces of money you sent for the children. I don’t know as I have ever see any before.” Joseph ended another letter: “Now I must close with our kindest love to you all and kisses from the children.”

                                  In Harriet’s letter to Sarah Ann (March 19, 1873), she promised: “I will send you myself and as soon as the weather gets warm as I can take the children to Derby, I will have them taken and send them, but it is too cold yet for we have had a very cold winter and a great deal of rain.” At this time, the children were all under 6 and the baby was not yet two.

                                  In March 1873 Joseph wrote: “I have been working down at Heanor gate there is a joiner shop there where Kings used to live I have been working there this winter and part of last summer but the wages is very low but it is near home that is one comfort.” (Heanor Gate is about 1/4 mile from Kidsley Grange. There was a school and industrial park there in 1988.) At this time Joseph and his family were living in “the big house–in Old Betty Hanson’s house.” The address in the 1871 census was Smalley Lane.

                                  A glimpse into Joseph’s personality is revealed by this remark to George in an 1872 letter: “Many thanks for your portrait and will send ours when we can get them taken for I never had but one taken and that was in my old clothes and dear Harriet is not willing to part with that. I tell her she ought to be satisfied with the original.”

                                  On one occasion Joseph and Harriet both sent seeds. (Marks are still visible on the paper.) Joseph sent “the best cow cabbage seed in the country–Robinson Champion,” and Harriet sent red cabbage–Shaw’s Improved Red. Possibly cow cabbage was also known as ox cabbage: “I hope you will have some good cabbages for the Ox cabbage takes all the prizes here. I suppose you will be taking the prizes out there with them.” Joseph wrote that he would put the name of the seeds by each “but I should think that will not matter. You will tell the difference when they come up.”

                                  George apparently would have liked Joseph to come to him as early as 1854. Anne wrote: “As to his coming to you that must be left for the present.” In 1872, Joseph wrote: “I have been thinking of making a move from here for some time before I heard from you for it is living from hand to mouth and never certain of a job long either.” Joseph then made plans to come to the United States in the spring of 1873. “For I intend all being well leaving England in the spring. Many thanks for your kind offer but I hope we shall be able to get a comfortable place before we have been out long.” Joseph promised to bring some things George wanted and asked: “What sort of things would be the best to bring out there for I don’t want to bring a lot that is useless.” Joseph’s plans are confirmed in a letter from the solicitor May 23, 1874: “I trust you are prospering and in good health. Joseph seems desirous of coming out to you when this is settled.”

                                  George must have been reminiscing about gooseberries (Heanor has an annual gooseberry show–one was held July 28, 1872) and Joseph promised to bring cuttings when they came: “Dear Brother, I could not get the gooseberries for they was all gathered when I received your letter but we shall be able to get some seed out the first chance and I shall try to bring some cuttings out along.” In the same letter that he sent the cabbage seeds Joseph wrote: “I have got some gooseberries drying this year for you. They are very fine ones but I have only four as yet but I was promised some more when they were ripe.” In another letter Joseph sent gooseberry seeds and wrote their names: Victoria, Gharibaldi and Globe.

                                  In September 1872 Joseph wrote; “My wife is anxious to come. I hope it will suit her health for she is not over strong.” Elsewhere Joseph wrote that Harriet was “middling sometimes. She is subject to sick headaches. It knocks her up completely when they come on.” In December 1872 Joseph wrote, “Now dear brother about us coming to America you know we shall have to wait until this affair is settled and if it is not settled and thrown into Chancery I’m afraid we shall have to stay in England for I shall never be able to save money enough to bring me out and my family but I hope of better things.”

                                  On July 19, 1875 Abraham Flint (the solicitor) wrote: “Joseph Housley has removed from Smalley and is working on some new foundry buildings at Little Chester near Derby. He lives at a village called Little Eaton near Derby. If you address your letter to him as Joseph Housley, carpenter, Little Eaton near Derby that will no doubt find him.”

                                  George did not save any letters from Joseph after 1874, hopefully he did reach him at Little Eaton. Joseph and his family are not listed in either Little Eaton or Derby on the 1881 census.

                                  In his last letter (February 11, 1874), Joseph sounded very discouraged and wrote that Harriet’s parents were very poorly and both had been “in bed for a long time.” In addition, Harriet and the children had been ill.
                                  The move to Little Eaton may indicate that Joseph received his settlement because in August, 1873, he wrote: “I think this is bad news enough and bad luck too, but I have had little else since I came to live at Kiddsley cottages but perhaps it is all for the best if one could only think so. I have begun to think there will be no chance for us coming over to you for I am afraid there will not be so much left as will bring us out without it is settled very shortly but I don’t intend leaving this house until it is settled either one way or the other. “

                                  Joseph Housley and the Kiddsley cottages:

                                  Joseph Housley


                                    From Tanganyika with Love

                                    continued part 9

                                    With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                    Lyamungu 3rd January 1945

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    We had a novel Christmas this year. We decided to avoid the expense of
                                    entertaining and being entertained at Lyamungu, and went off to spend Christmas
                                    camping in a forest on the Western slopes of Kilimanjaro. George decided to combine
                                    business with pleasure and in this way we were able to use Government transport.
                                    We set out the day before Christmas day and drove along the road which skirts
                                    the slopes of Kilimanjaro and first visited a beautiful farm where Philip Teare, the ex
                                    Game Warden, and his wife Mary are staying. We had afternoon tea with them and then
                                    drove on in to the natural forest above the estate and pitched our tent beside a small
                                    clear mountain stream. We decorated the tent with paper streamers and a few small
                                    balloons and John found a small tree of the traditional shape which we decorated where
                                    it stood with tinsel and small ornaments.

                                    We put our beer, cool drinks for the children and bottles of fresh milk from Simba
                                    Estate, in the stream and on Christmas morning they were as cold as if they had been in
                                    the refrigerator all night. There were not many presents for the children, there never are,
                                    but they do not seem to mind and are well satisfied with a couple of balloons apiece,
                                    sweets, tin whistles and a book each.

                                    George entertain the children before breakfast. He can make a magical thing out
                                    of the most ordinary balloon. The children watched entranced as he drew on his pipe
                                    and then blew the smoke into the balloon. He then pinched the neck of the balloon
                                    between thumb and forefinger and released the smoke in little puffs. Occasionally the
                                    balloon ejected a perfect smoke ring and the forest rang with shouts of “Do it again
                                    Daddy.” Another trick was to blow up the balloon to maximum size and then twist the
                                    neck tightly before releasing. Before subsiding the balloon darted about in a crazy
                                    fashion causing great hilarity. Such fun, at the cost of a few pence.

                                    After breakfast George went off to fish for trout. John and Jim decided that they
                                    also wished to fish so we made rods out of sticks and string and bent pins and they
                                    fished happily, but of course quite unsuccessfully, for hours. Both of course fell into the
                                    stream and got soaked, but I was prepared for this, and the little stream was so shallow
                                    that they could not come to any harm. Henry played happily in the sand and I had a
                                    most peaceful morning.

                                    Hamisi roasted a chicken in a pot over the camp fire and the jelly set beautifully in the
                                    stream. So we had grilled trout and chicken for our Christmas dinner. I had of course
                                    taken an iced cake for the occasion and, all in all, it was a very successful Christmas day.
                                    On Boxing day we drove down to the plains where George was to investigate a
                                    report of game poaching near the Ngassari Furrow. This is a very long ditch which has
                                    been dug by the Government for watering the Masai stock in the area. It is also used by
                                    game and we saw herds of zebra and wildebeest, and some Grant’s Gazelle and
                                    giraffe, all comparatively tame. At one point a small herd of zebra raced beside the lorry
                                    apparently enjoying the fun of a gallop. They were all sleek and fat and looked wild and
                                    beautiful in action.

                                    We camped a considerable distance from the water but this precaution did not
                                    save us from the mosquitoes which launched a vicious attack on us after sunset, so that
                                    we took to our beds unusually early. They were on the job again when we got up at
                                    sunrise so I was very glad when we were once more on our way home.

                                    “I like Christmas safari. Much nicer that silly old party,” said John. I agree but I think
                                    it is time that our children learned to play happily with others. There are no other young
                                    children at Lyamungu though there are two older boys and a girl who go to boarding
                                    school in Nairobi.

                                    On New Years Day two Army Officers from the military camp at Moshi, came for
                                    tea and to talk game hunting with George. I think they rather enjoy visiting a home and
                                    seeing children and pets around.


                                    Lyamungu 14 May 1945

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    So the war in Europe is over at last. It is such marvellous news that I can hardly
                                    believe it. To think that as soon as George can get leave we will go to England and
                                    bring Ann and George home with us to Tanganyika. When we know when this leave can
                                    be arranged we will want Kate to join us here as of course she must go with us to
                                    England to meet George’s family. She has become so much a part of your lives that I
                                    know it will be a wrench for you to give her up but I know that you will all be happy to
                                    think that soon our family will be reunited.

                                    The V.E. celebrations passed off quietly here. We all went to Moshi to see the
                                    Victory Parade of the King’s African Rifles and in the evening we went to a celebration
                                    dinner at the Game Warden’s house. Besides ourselves the Moores had invited the
                                    Commanding Officer from Moshi and a junior officer. We had a very good dinner and
                                    many toasts including one to Mrs Moore’s brother, Oliver Milton who is fighting in Burma
                                    and has recently been awarded the Military Cross.

                                    There was also a celebration party for the children in the grounds of the Moshi
                                    Club. Such a spread! I think John and Jim sampled everything. We mothers were
                                    having our tea separately and a friend laughingly told me to turn around and have a look.
                                    I did, and saw the long tea tables now deserted by all the children but my two sons who
                                    were still eating steadily, and finding the party more exciting than the game of Musical
                                    Bumps into which all the other children had entered with enthusiasm.

                                    There was also an extremely good puppet show put on by the Italian prisoners
                                    of war from the camp at Moshi. They had made all the puppets which included well
                                    loved characters like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Babes in the Wood as
                                    well as more sophisticated ones like an irritable pianist and a would be prima donna. The
                                    most popular puppets with the children were a native askari and his family – a very
                                    happy little scene. I have never before seen a puppet show and was as entranced as
                                    the children. It is amazing what clever manipulation and lighting can do. I believe that the
                                    Italians mean to take their puppets to Nairobi and am glad to think that there, they will
                                    have larger audiences to appreciate their art.

                                    George has just come in, and I paused in my writing to ask him for the hundredth
                                    time when he thinks we will get leave. He says I must be patient because it may be a
                                    year before our turn comes. Shipping will be disorganised for months to come and we
                                    cannot expect priority simply because we have been separated so long from our
                                    children. The same situation applies to scores of other Government Officials.
                                    I have decided to write the story of my childhood in South Africa and about our
                                    life together in Tanganyika up to the time Ann and George left the country. I know you
                                    will have told Kate these stories, but Ann and George were so very little when they left
                                    home that I fear that they cannot remember much.

                                    My Mother-in-law will have told them about their father but she can tell them little
                                    about me. I shall send them one chapter of my story each month in the hope that they
                                    may be interested and not feel that I am a stranger when at last we meet again.


                                    Lyamungu 19th September 1945

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    In a months time we will be saying good-bye to Lyamungu. George is to be
                                    transferred to Mbeya and I am delighted, not only as I look upon Mbeya as home, but
                                    because there is now a primary school there which John can attend. I feel he will make
                                    much better progress in his lessons when he realises that all children of his age attend
                                    school. At present he is putting up a strong resistance to learning to read and spell, but
                                    he writes very neatly, does his sums accurately and shows a real talent for drawing. If
                                    only he had the will to learn I feel he would do very well.

                                    Jim now just four, is too young for lessons but too intelligent to be interested in
                                    the ayah’s attempts at entertainment. Yes I’ve had to engage a native girl to look after
                                    Henry from 9 am to 12.30 when I supervise John’s Correspondence Course. She is
                                    clean and amiable, but like most African women she has no initiative at all when it comes
                                    to entertaining children. Most African men and youths are good at this.

                                    I don’t regret our stay at Lyamungu. It is a beautiful spot and the change to the
                                    cooler climate after the heat of Morogoro has been good for all the children. John is still
                                    tall for his age but not so thin as he was and much less pale. He is a handsome little lad
                                    with his large brown eyes in striking contrast to his fair hair. He is wary of strangers but
                                    very observant and quite uncanny in the way he sums up people. He seldom gets up
                                    to mischief but I have a feeling he eggs Jim on. Not that Jim needs egging.

                                    Jim has an absolute flair for mischief but it is all done in such an artless manner that
                                    it is not easy to punish him. He is a very sturdy child with a cap of almost black silky hair,
                                    eyes brown, like mine, and a large mouth which is quick to smile and show most beautiful
                                    white and even teeth. He is most popular with all the native servants and the Game
                                    Scouts. The servants call Jim, ‘Bwana Tembo’ (Mr Elephant) because of his sturdy

                                    Henry, now nearly two years old, is quite different from the other two in
                                    appearance. He is fair complexioned and fair haired like Ann and Kate, with large, black
                                    lashed, light grey eyes. He is a good child, not so merry as Jim was at his age, nor as
                                    shy as John was. He seldom cries, does not care to be cuddled and is independent and
                                    strong willed. The servants call Henry, ‘Bwana Ndizi’ (Mr Banana) because he has an
                                    inexhaustible appetite for this fruit. Fortunately they are very inexpensive here. We buy
                                    an entire bunch which hangs from a beam on the back verandah, and pluck off the
                                    bananas as they ripen. This way there is no waste and the fruit never gets bruised as it
                                    does in greengrocers shops in South Africa. Our three boys make a delightful and
                                    interesting trio and I do wish you could see them for yourselves.

                                    We are delighted with the really beautiful photograph of Kate. She is an
                                    extraordinarily pretty child and looks so happy and healthy and a great credit to you.
                                    Now that we will be living in Mbeya with a school on the doorstep I hope that we will
                                    soon be able to arrange for her return home.


                                    c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 30th October 1945

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    How nice to be able to write c/o Game Dept. Mbeya at the head of my letters.
                                    We arrived here safely after a rather tiresome journey and are installed in a tiny house on
                                    the edge of the township.

                                    We left Lyamungu early on the morning of the 22nd. Most of our goods had
                                    been packed on the big Ford lorry the previous evening, but there were the usual
                                    delays and farewells. Of our servants, only the cook, Hamisi, accompanied us to
                                    Mbeya. Japhet, Tovelo and the ayah had to be paid off and largesse handed out.
                                    Tovelo’s granny had come, bringing a gift of bananas, and she also brought her little
                                    granddaughter to present a bunch of flowers. The child’s little scolded behind is now
                                    completely healed. Gifts had to be found for them too.

                                    At last we were all aboard and what a squash it was! Our few pieces of furniture
                                    and packing cases and trunks, the cook, his wife, the driver and the turney boy, who
                                    were to take the truck back to Lyamungu, and all their bits and pieces, bunches of
                                    bananas and Fanny the dog were all crammed into the body of the lorry. George, the
                                    children and I were jammed together in the cab. Before we left George looked
                                    dubiously at the tyres which were very worn and said gloomily that he thought it most
                                    unlikely that we would make our destination, Dodoma.

                                    Too true! Shortly after midday, near Kwakachinja, we blew a back tyre and there
                                    was a tedious delay in the heat whilst the wheel was changed. We were now without a
                                    spare tyre and George said that he would not risk taking the Ford further than Babati,
                                    which is less than half way to Dodoma. He drove very slowly and cautiously to Babati
                                    where he arranged with Sher Mohammed, an Indian trader, for a lorry to take us to
                                    Dodoma the next morning.

                                    It had been our intention to spend the night at the furnished Government
                                    Resthouse at Babati but when we got there we found that it was already occupied by
                                    several District Officers who had assembled for a conference. So, feeling rather
                                    disgruntled, we all piled back into the lorry and drove on to a place called Bereku where
                                    we spent an uncomfortable night in a tumbledown hut.

                                    Before dawn next morning Sher Mohammed’s lorry drove up, and there was a
                                    scramble to dress by the light of a storm lamp. The lorry was a very dilapidated one and
                                    there was already a native woman passenger in the cab. I felt so tired after an almost
                                    sleepless night that I decided to sit between the driver and this woman with the sleeping
                                    Henry on my knee. It was as well I did, because I soon found myself dosing off and
                                    drooping over towards the woman. Had she not been there I might easily have fallen
                                    out as the battered cab had no door. However I was alert enough when daylight came
                                    and changed places with the woman to our mutual relief. She was now able to converse
                                    with the African driver and I was able to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air!
                                    George, John and Jim were less comfortable. They sat in the lorry behind the
                                    cab hemmed in by packing cases. As the lorry was an open one the sun beat down
                                    unmercifully upon them until George, ever resourceful, moved a table to the front of the
                                    truck. The two boys crouched under this and so got shelter from the sun but they still had
                                    to endure the dust. Fanny complicated things by getting car sick and with one thing and
                                    another we were all jolly glad to get to Dodoma.

                                    We spent the night at the Dodoma Hotel and after hot baths, a good meal and a
                                    good nights rest we cheerfully boarded a bus of the Tanganyika Bus Service next
                                    morning to continue our journey to Mbeya. The rest of the journey was uneventful. We slept two nights on the road, the first at Iringa Hotel and the second at Chimala. We
                                    reached Mbeya on the 27th.

                                    I was rather taken aback when I first saw the little house which has been allocated
                                    to us. I had become accustomed to the spacious houses we had in Morogoro and
                                    Lyamungu. However though the house is tiny it is secluded and has a long garden
                                    sloping down to the road in front and another long strip sloping up behind. The front
                                    garden is shaded by several large cypress and eucalyptus trees but the garden behind
                                    the house has no shade and consists mainly of humpy beds planted with hundreds of
                                    carnations sadly in need of debudding. I believe that the previous Game Ranger’s wife
                                    cultivated the carnations and, by selling them, raised money for War Funds.
                                    Like our own first home, this little house is built of sun dried brick. Its original
                                    owners were Germans. It is now rented to the Government by the Custodian of Enemy
                                    Property, and George has his office in another ex German house.

                                    This afternoon we drove to the school to arrange about enrolling John there. The
                                    school is about four miles out of town. It was built by the German settlers in the late
                                    1930’s and they were justifiably proud of it. It consists of a great assembly hall and
                                    classrooms in one block and there are several attractive single storied dormitories. This
                                    school was taken over by the Government when the Germans were interned on the
                                    outbreak of war and many improvements have been made to the original buildings. The
                                    school certainly looks very attractive now with its grassed playing fields and its lawns and
                                    bright flower beds.

                                    The Union Jack flies from a tall flagpole in front of the Hall and all traces of the
                                    schools German origin have been firmly erased. We met the Headmaster, Mr
                                    Wallington, and his wife and some members of the staff. The school is co-educational
                                    and caters for children from the age of seven to standard six. The leaving age is elastic
                                    owing to the fact that many Tanganyika children started school very late because of lack
                                    of educational facilities in this country.

                                    The married members of the staff have their own cottages in the grounds. The
                                    Matrons have quarters attached to the dormitories for which they are responsible. I felt
                                    most enthusiastic about the school until I discovered that the Headmaster is adamant
                                    upon one subject. He utterly refuses to take any day pupils at the school. So now our
                                    poor reserved Johnny will have to adjust himself to boarding school life.
                                    We have arranged that he will start school on November 5th and I shall be very
                                    busy trying to assemble his school uniform at short notice. The clothing list is sensible.
                                    Boys wear khaki shirts and shorts on weekdays with knitted scarlet jerseys when the
                                    weather is cold. On Sundays they wear grey flannel shorts and blazers with the silver
                                    and scarlet school tie.

                                    Mbeya looks dusty, brown and dry after the lush evergreen vegetation of
                                    Lyamungu, but I prefer this drier climate and there are still mountains to please the eye.
                                    In fact the lower slopes of Lolesa Mountain rise at the upper end of our garden.


                                    c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 21st November 1945

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    We’re quite settled in now and I have got the little house fixed up to my
                                    satisfaction. I have engaged a rather uncouth looking houseboy but he is strong and
                                    capable and now that I am not tied down in the mornings by John’s lessons I am able to
                                    go out occasionally in the mornings and take Jim and Henry to play with other children.
                                    They do not show any great enthusiasm but are not shy by nature as John is.
                                    I have had a good deal of heartache over putting John to boarding school. It
                                    would have been different had he been used to the company of children outside his
                                    own family, or if he had even known one child there. However he seems to be adjusting
                                    himself to the life, though slowly. At least he looks well and tidy and I am quite sure that
                                    he is well looked after.

                                    I must confess that when the time came for John to go to school I simply did not
                                    have the courage to take him and he went alone with George, looking so smart in his
                                    new uniform – but his little face so bleak. The next day, Sunday, was visiting day but the
                                    Headmaster suggested that we should give John time to settle down and not visit him
                                    until Wednesday.

                                    When we drove up to the school I spied John on the far side of the field walking
                                    all alone. Instead of running up with glad greetings, as I had expected, he came almost
                                    reluctently and had little to say. I asked him to show me his dormitory and classroom and
                                    he did so politely as though I were a stranger. At last he volunteered some information.
                                    “Mummy,” he said in an awed voice, Do you know on the night I came here they burnt a
                                    man! They had a big fire and they burnt him.” After a blank moment the penny dropped.
                                    Of course John had started school and November the fifth but it had never entered my
                                    head to tell him about that infamous character, Guy Fawkes!

                                    I asked John’s Matron how he had settled down. “Well”, she said thoughtfully,
                                    John is very good and has not cried as many of the juniors do when they first come
                                    here, but he seems to keep to himself all the time.” I went home very discouraged but
                                    on the Sunday John came running up with another lad of about his own age.” This is my
                                    friend Marks,” he announced proudly. I could have hugged Marks.

                                    Mbeya is very different from the small settlement we knew in the early 1930’s.
                                    Gone are all the colourful characters from the Lupa diggings for the alluvial claims are all
                                    worked out now, gone also are our old friends the Menzies from the Pub and also most
                                    of the Government Officials we used to know. Mbeya has lost its character of a frontier
                                    township and has become almost suburban.

                                    The social life revolves around two places, the Club and the school. The Club
                                    which started out as a little two roomed building, has been expanded and the golf
                                    course improved. There are also tennis courts and a good library considering the size of
                                    the community. There are frequent parties and dances, though most of the club revenue
                                    comes from Bar profits. The parties are relatively sober affairs compared with the parties
                                    of the 1930’s.

                                    The school provides entertainment of another kind. Both Mr and Mrs Wallington
                                    are good amateur actors and I am told that they run an Amateur Dramatic Society. Every
                                    Wednesday afternoon there is a hockey match at the school. Mbeya town versus a
                                    mixed team of staff and scholars. The match attracts almost the whole European
                                    population of Mbeya. Some go to play hockey, others to watch, and others to snatch
                                    the opportunity to visit their children. I shall have to try to arrange a lift to school when
                                    George is away on safari.

                                    I have now met most of the local women and gladly renewed an old friendship
                                    with Sheilagh Waring whom I knew two years ago at Morogoro. Sheilagh and I have
                                    much in common, the same disregard for the trappings of civilisation, the same sense of
                                    the ludicrous, and children. She has eight to our six and she has also been cut off by the
                                    war from two of her children. Sheilagh looks too young and pretty to be the mother of so
                                    large a family and is, in fact, several years younger than I am. her husband, Donald, is a
                                    large quiet man who, as far as I can judge takes life seriously.

                                    Our next door neighbours are the Bank Manager and his wife, a very pleasant
                                    couple though we seldom meet. I have however had correspondence with the Bank
                                    Manager. Early on Saturday afternoon their houseboy brought a note. It informed me
                                    that my son was disturbing his rest by precipitating a heart attack. Was I aware that my
                                    son was about 30 feet up in a tree and balanced on a twig? I ran out and,sure enough,
                                    there was Jim, right at the top of the tallest eucalyptus tree. It would be the one with the
                                    mound of stones at the bottom! You should have heard me fluting in my most
                                    wheedling voice. “Sweets, Jimmy, come down slowly dear, I’ve some nice sweets for

                                    I’ll bet that little story makes you smile. I remember how often you have told me
                                    how, as a child, I used to make your hearts turn over because I had no fear of heights
                                    and how I used to say, “But that is silly, I won’t fall.” I know now only too well, how you
                                    must have felt.


                                    c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 14th January 1946

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    I hope that by now you have my telegram to say that Kate got home safely
                                    yesterday. It was wonderful to have her back and what a beautiful child she is! Kate
                                    seems to have enjoyed the train journey with Miss Craig, in spite of the tears she tells
                                    me she shed when she said good-bye to you. She also seems to have felt quite at
                                    home with the Hopleys at Salisbury. She flew from Salisbury in a small Dove aircraft
                                    and they had a smooth passage though Kate was a little airsick.

                                    I was so excited about her home coming! This house is so tiny that I had to turn
                                    out the little store room to make a bedroom for her. With a fresh coat of whitewash and
                                    pretty sprigged curtains and matching bedspread, borrowed from Sheilagh Waring, the
                                    tiny room looks most attractive. I had also iced a cake, made ice-cream and jelly and
                                    bought crackers for the table so that Kate’s home coming tea could be a proper little

                                    I was pleased with my preparations and then, a few hours before the plane was
                                    due, my crowned front tooth dropped out, peg and all! When my houseboy wants to
                                    describe something very tatty, he calls it “Second-hand Kabisa.” Kabisa meaning
                                    absolutely. That is an apt description of how I looked and felt. I decided to try some
                                    emergency dentistry. I think you know our nearest dentist is at Dar es Salaam five
                                    hundred miles away.

                                    First I carefully dried the tooth and with a match stick covered the peg and base
                                    with Durofix. I then took the infants rubber bulb enema, sucked up some heat from a
                                    candle flame and pumped it into the cavity before filling that with Durofix. Then hopefully
                                    I stuck the tooth in its former position and held it in place for several minutes. No good. I
                                    sent the houseboy to a shop for Scotine and tried the whole process again. No good

                                    When George came home for lunch I appealed to him for advice. He jokingly
                                    suggested that a maize seed jammed into the space would probably work, but when
                                    he saw that I really was upset he produced some chewing gum and suggested that I
                                    should try that . I did and that worked long enough for my first smile anyway.
                                    George and the three boys went to meet Kate but I remained at home to
                                    welcome her there. I was afraid that after all this time away Kate might be reluctant to
                                    rejoin the family but she threw her arms around me and said “Oh Mummy,” We both
                                    shed a few tears and then we both felt fine.

                                    How gay Kate is, and what an infectious laugh she has! The boys follow her
                                    around in admiration. John in fact asked me, “Is Kate a Princess?” When I said
                                    “Goodness no, Johnny, she’s your sister,” he explained himself by saying, “Well, she
                                    has such golden hair.” Kate was less complementary. When I tucked her in bed last night
                                    she said, “Mummy, I didn’t expect my little brothers to be so yellow!” All three boys
                                    have been taking a course of Atebrin, an anti-malarial drug which tinges skin and eyeballs

                                    So now our tiny house is bursting at its seams and how good it feels to have one
                                    more child under our roof. We are booked to sail for England in May and when we return
                                    we will have Ann and George home too. Then I shall feel really content.


                                    c/o Game Dept. Mbeya. 2nd March 1946

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    My life just now is uneventful but very busy. I am sewing hard and knitting fast to
                                    try to get together some warm clothes for our leave in England. This is not a simple
                                    matter because woollen materials are in short supply and very expensive, and now that
                                    we have boarding school fees to pay for both Kate and John we have to budget very
                                    carefully indeed.

                                    Kate seems happy at school. She makes friends easily and seems to enjoy
                                    communal life. John also seems reconciled to school now that Kate is there. He no
                                    longer feels that he is the only exile in the family. He seems to rub along with the other
                                    boys of his age and has a couple of close friends. Although Mbeya School is coeducational
                                    the smaller boys and girls keep strictly apart. It is considered extremely
                                    cissy to play with girls.

                                    The local children are allowed to go home on Sundays after church and may bring
                                    friends home with them for the day. Both John and Kate do this and Sunday is a very
                                    busy day for me. The children come home in their Sunday best but bring play clothes to
                                    change into. There is always a scramble to get them to bath and change again in time to
                                    deliver them to the school by 6 o’clock.

                                    When George is home we go out to the school for the morning service. This is
                                    taken by the Headmaster Mr Wallington, and is very enjoyable. There is an excellent
                                    school choir to lead the singing. The service is the Church of England one, but is
                                    attended by children of all denominations, except the Roman Catholics. I don’t think that
                                    more than half the children are British. A large proportion are Greeks, some as old as
                                    sixteen, and about the same number are Afrikaners. There are Poles and non-Nazi
                                    Germans, Swiss and a few American children.

                                    All instruction is through the medium of English and it is amazing how soon all the
                                    foreign children learn to chatter in English. George has been told that we will return to
                                    Mbeya after our leave and for that I am very thankful as it means that we will still be living
                                    near at hand when Jim and Henry start school. Because many of these children have to
                                    travel many hundreds of miles to come to school, – Mbeya is a two day journey from the
                                    railhead, – the school year is divided into two instead of the usual three terms. This
                                    means that many of these children do not see their parents for months at a time. I think
                                    this is a very sad state of affairs especially for the seven and eight year olds but the
                                    Matrons assure me , that many children who live on isolated farms and stations are quite
                                    reluctant to go home because they miss the companionship and the games and
                                    entertainment that the school offers.

                                    My only complaint about the life here is that I see far too little of George. He is
                                    kept extremely busy on this range and is hardly at home except for a few days at the
                                    months end when he has to be at his office to check up on the pay vouchers and the
                                    issue of ammunition to the Scouts. George’s Range takes in the whole of the Southern
                                    Province and the Southern half of the Western Province and extends to the border with
                                    Northern Rhodesia and right across to Lake Tanganyika. This vast area is patrolled by
                                    only 40 Game Scouts because the Department is at present badly under staffed, due
                                    partly to the still acute shortage of rifles, but even more so to the extraordinary reluctance
                                    which the Government shows to allocate adequate funds for the efficient running of the

                                    The Game Scouts must see that the Game Laws are enforced, protect native
                                    crops from raiding elephant, hippo and other game animals. Report disease amongst game and deal with stock raiding lions. By constantly going on safari and checking on
                                    their work, George makes sure the range is run to his satisfaction. Most of the Game
                                    Scouts are fine fellows but, considering they receive only meagre pay for dangerous
                                    and exacting work, it is not surprising that occasionally a Scout is tempted into accepting
                                    a bribe not to report a serious infringement of the Game Laws and there is, of course,
                                    always the temptation to sell ivory illicitly to unscrupulous Indian and Arab traders.
                                    Apart from supervising the running of the Range, George has two major jobs.
                                    One is to supervise the running of the Game Free Area along the Rhodesia –
                                    Tanganyika border, and the other to hunt down the man-eating lions which for years have
                                    terrorised the Njombe District killing hundreds of Africans. Yes I know ‘hundreds’ sounds
                                    fantastic, but this is perfectly true and one day, when the job is done and the official
                                    report published I shall send it to you to prove it!

                                    I hate to think of the Game Free Area and so does George. All the game from
                                    buffalo to tiny duiker has been shot out in a wide belt extending nearly two hundred
                                    miles along the Northern Rhodesia -Tanganyika border. There are three Europeans in
                                    widely spaced camps who supervise this slaughter by African Game Guards. This
                                    horrible measure is considered necessary by the Veterinary Departments of
                                    Tanganyika, Rhodesia and South Africa, to prevent the cattle disease of Rinderpest
                                    from spreading South.

                                    When George is home however, we do relax and have fun. On the Saturday
                                    before the school term started we took Kate and the boys up to the top fishing camp in
                                    the Mporoto Mountains for her first attempt at trout fishing. There are three of these
                                    camps built by the Mbeya Trout Association on the rivers which were first stocked with
                                    the trout hatched on our farm at Mchewe. Of the three, the top camp is our favourite. The
                                    scenery there is most glorious and reminds me strongly of the rivers of the Western
                                    Cape which I so loved in my childhood.

                                    The river, the Kawira, flows from the Rungwe Mountain through a narrow valley
                                    with hills rising steeply on either side. The water runs swiftly over smooth stones and
                                    sometimes only a foot or two below the level of the banks. It is sparkling and shallow,
                                    but in places the water is deep and dark and the banks high. I had a busy day keeping
                                    an eye on the boys, especially Jim, who twice climbed out on branches which overhung
                                    deep water. “Mummy, I was only looking for trout!”

                                    How those kids enjoyed the freedom of the camp after the comparative
                                    restrictions of town. So did Fanny, she raced about on the hills like a mad dog chasing
                                    imaginary rabbits and having the time of her life. To escape the noise and commotion
                                    George had gone far upstream to fish and returned in the late afternoon with three good
                                    sized trout and four smaller ones. Kate proudly showed George the two she had caught
                                    with the assistance or our cook Hamisi. I fear they were caught in a rather unorthodox
                                    manner but this I kept a secret from George who is a stickler for the orthodox in trout


                                    Jacksdale England 24th June 1946

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    Here we are all together at last in England. You cannot imagine how wonderful it
                                    feels to have the whole Rushby family reunited. I find myself counting heads. Ann,
                                    George, Kate, John, Jim, and Henry. All present and well. We had a very pleasant trip
                                    on the old British India Ship Mantola. She was crowded with East Africans going home
                                    for the first time since the war, many like us, eagerly looking forward to a reunion with their
                                    children whom they had not seen for years. There was a great air of anticipation and
                                    good humour but a little anxiety too.

                                    “I do hope our children will be glad to see us,” said one, and went on to tell me
                                    about a Doctor from Dar es Salaam who, after years of separation from his son had
                                    recently gone to visit him at his school. The Doctor had alighted at the railway station
                                    where he had arranged to meet his son. A tall youth approached him and said, very
                                    politely, “Excuse me sir. Are you my Father?” Others told me of children who had
                                    become so attached to their relatives in England that they gave their parents a very cool
                                    reception. I began to feel apprehensive about Ann and George but fortunately had no
                                    time to mope.

                                    Oh, that washing and ironing for six! I shall remember for ever that steamy little
                                    laundry in the heat of the Red Sea and queuing up for the ironing and the feeling of guilt
                                    at the size of my bundle. We met many old friends amongst the passengers, and made
                                    some new ones, so the voyage was a pleasant one, We did however have our
                                    anxious moments.

                                    John was the first to disappear and we had an anxious search for him. He was
                                    quite surprised that we had been concerned. “I was just talking to my friend Chinky
                                    Chinaman in his workshop.” Could John have called him that? Then, when I returned to
                                    the cabin from dinner one night I found Henry swigging Owbridge’s Lung Tonic. He had
                                    drunk half the bottle neat and the label said ‘five drops in water’. Luckily it did not harm

                                    Jim of course was forever risking his neck. George had forbidden him to climb on
                                    the railings but he was forever doing things which no one had thought of forbidding him
                                    to do, like hanging from the overhead pipes on the deck or standing on the sill of a
                                    window and looking down at the well deck far below. An Officer found him doing this and
                                    gave me the scolding.

                                    Another day he climbed up on a derrick used for hoisting cargo. George,
                                    oblivious to this was sitting on the hatch cover with other passengers reading a book. I
                                    was in the wash house aft on the same deck when Kate rushed in and said, “Mummy
                                    come and see Jim.” Before I had time to more than gape, the butcher noticed Jim and
                                    rushed out knife in hand. “Get down from there”, he bellowed. Jim got, and with such
                                    speed that he caught the leg or his shorts on a projecting piece of metal. The cotton
                                    ripped across the seam from leg to leg and Jim stood there for a humiliating moment in a
                                    sort of revealing little kilt enduring the smiles of the passengers who had looked up from
                                    their books at the butcher’s shout.

                                    That incident cured Jim of his urge to climb on the ship but he managed to give
                                    us one more fright. He was lost off Dover. People from whom we enquired said, “Yes
                                    we saw your little boy. He was by the railings watching that big aircraft carrier.” Now Jim,
                                    though mischievous , is very obedient. It was not until George and I had conducted an
                                    exhaustive search above and below decks that I really became anxious. Could he have
                                    fallen overboard? Jim was returned to us by an unamused Officer. He had been found
                                    in one of the lifeboats on the deck forbidden to children.

                                    Our ship passed Dover after dark and it was an unforgettable sight. Dover Castle
                                    and the cliffs were floodlit for the Victory Celebrations. One of the men passengers sat
                                    down at the piano and played ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’, and people sang and a few
                                    wept. The Mantola docked at Tilbury early next morning in a steady drizzle.
                                    There was a dockers strike on and it took literally hours for all the luggage to be
                                    put ashore. The ships stewards simply locked the public rooms and went off leaving the
                                    passengers shivering on the docks. Eventually damp and bedraggled, we arrived at St
                                    Pancras Station and were given a warm welcome by George’s sister Cath and her
                                    husband Reg Pears, who had come all the way from Nottingham to meet us.
                                    As we had to spend an hour in London before our train left for Nottingham,
                                    George suggested that Cath and I should take the children somewhere for a meal. So
                                    off we set in the cold drizzle, the boys and I without coats and laden with sundry
                                    packages, including a hand woven native basket full of shoes. We must have looked like
                                    a bunch of refugees as we stood in the hall of The Kings Cross Station Hotel because a
                                    supercilious waiter in tails looked us up and down and said, “I’m afraid not Madam”, in
                                    answer to my enquiry whether the hotel could provide lunch for six.
                                    Anyway who cares! We had lunch instead at an ABC tea room — horrible
                                    sausage and a mound or rather sloppy mashed potatoes, but very good ice-cream.
                                    After the train journey in a very grimy third class coach, through an incredibly green and
                                    beautiful countryside, we eventually reached Nottingham and took a bus to Jacksdale,
                                    where George’s mother and sisters live in large detached houses side by side.
                                    Ann and George were at the bus stop waiting for us, and thank God, submitted
                                    to my kiss as though we had been parted for weeks instead of eight years. Even now
                                    that we are together again my heart aches to think of all those missed years. They have
                                    not changed much and I would have picked them out of a crowd, but Ann, once thin and
                                    pale, is now very rosy and blooming. She still has her pretty soft plaits and her eyes are
                                    still a clear calm blue. Young George is very striking looking with sparkling brown eyes, a
                                    ready, slightly lopsided smile, and charming manners.

                                    Mother, and George’s elder sister, Lottie Giles, welcomed us at the door with the
                                    cheering news that our tea was ready. Ann showed us the way to mother’s lovely lilac
                                    tiled bathroom for a wash before tea. Before I had even turned the tap, Jim had hung
                                    form the glass towel rail and it lay in three pieces on the floor. There have since been
                                    similar tragedies. I can see that life in civilisation is not without snags.

                                    I am most grateful that Ann and George have accepted us so naturally and
                                    affectionately. Ann said candidly, “Mummy, it’s a good thing that you had Aunt Cath with
                                    you when you arrived because, honestly, I wouldn’t have known you.”


                                    Jacksdale England 28th August 1946

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    I am sorry that I have not written for some time but honestly, I don’t know whether
                                    I’m coming or going. Mother handed the top floor of her house to us and the
                                    arrangement was that I should tidy our rooms and do our laundry and Mother would
                                    prepare the meals except for breakfast. It looked easy at first. All the rooms have wall to
                                    wall carpeting and there was a large vacuum cleaner in the box room. I was told a
                                    window cleaner would do the windows.

                                    Well the first time I used the Hoover I nearly died of fright. I pressed the switch
                                    and immediately there was a roar and the bag filled with air to bursting point, or so I
                                    thought. I screamed for Ann and she came at the run. I pointed to the bag and shouted
                                    above the din, “What must I do? It’s going to burst!” Ann looked at me in astonishment
                                    and said, “But Mummy that’s the way it works.” I couldn’t have her thinking me a
                                    complete fool so I switched the current off and explained to Ann how it was that I had
                                    never seen this type of equipment in action. How, in Tanganyika , I had never had a
                                    house with electricity and that, anyway, electric equipment would be superfluous
                                    because floors are of cement which the houseboy polishes by hand, one only has a
                                    few rugs or grass mats on the floor. “But what about Granny’s house in South Africa?’”
                                    she asked, so I explained about your Josephine who threatened to leave if you
                                    bought a Hoover because that would mean that you did not think she kept the house
                                    clean. The sad fact remains that, at fourteen, Ann knows far more about housework than I
                                    do, or rather did! I’m learning fast.

                                    The older children all go to school at different times in the morning. Ann leaves first
                                    by bus to go to her Grammar School at Sutton-in-Ashfield. Shortly afterwards George
                                    catches a bus for Nottingham where he attends the High School. So they have
                                    breakfast in relays, usually scrambled egg made from a revolting dried egg mixture.
                                    Then there are beds to make and washing and ironing to do, so I have little time for
                                    sightseeing, though on a few afternoons George has looked after the younger children
                                    and I have gone on bus tours in Derbyshire. Life is difficult here with all the restrictions on
                                    foodstuffs. We all have ration books so get our fair share but meat, fats and eggs are
                                    scarce and expensive. The weather is very wet. At first I used to hang out the washing
                                    and then rush to bring it in when a shower came. Now I just let it hang.

                                    We have left our imprint upon my Mother-in-law’s house for ever. Henry upset a
                                    bottle of Milk of Magnesia in the middle of the pale fawn bedroom carpet. John, trying to
                                    be helpful and doing some dusting, broke one of the delicate Dresden china candlesticks
                                    which adorn our bedroom mantelpiece.Jim and Henry have wrecked the once
                                    professionally landscaped garden and all the boys together bored a large hole through
                                    Mother’s prized cherry tree. So now Mother has given up and gone off to Bournemouth
                                    for a much needed holiday. Once a week I have the capable help of a cleaning woman,
                                    called for some reason, ‘Mrs Two’, but I have now got all the cooking to do for eight. Mrs
                                    Two is a godsend. She wears, of all things, a print mob cap with a hole in it. Says it
                                    belonged to her Grandmother. Her price is far beyond Rubies to me, not so much
                                    because she does, in a couple of hours, what it takes me all day to do, but because she
                                    sells me boxes of fifty cigarettes. Some non-smoking relative, who works in Players
                                    tobacco factory, passes on his ration to her. Until Mrs Two came to my rescue I had
                                    been starved of cigarettes. Each time I asked for them at the shop the grocer would say,
                                    “Are you registered with us?” Only very rarely would some kindly soul sell me a little
                                    packet of five Woodbines.

                                    England is very beautiful but the sooner we go home to Tanganyika, the better.
                                    On this, George and I and the children agree.


                                    Jacksdale England 20th September 1946

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    Our return passages have now been booked on the Winchester Castle and we
                                    sail from Southampton on October the sixth. I look forward to returning to Tanganyika but
                                    hope to visit England again in a few years time when our children are older and when
                                    rationing is a thing of the past.

                                    I have grown fond of my Sisters-in-law and admire my Mother-in-law very much.
                                    She has a great sense of humour and has entertained me with stories of her very
                                    eventful life, and told me lots of little stories of the children which did not figure in her
                                    letters. One which amused me was about young George. During one of the air raids
                                    early in the war when the sirens were screaming and bombers roaring overhead Mother
                                    made the two children get into the cloak cupboard under the stairs. Young George
                                    seemed quite unconcerned about the planes and the bombs but soon an anxious voice
                                    asked in the dark, “Gran, what will I do if a spider falls on me?” I am afraid that Mother is
                                    going to miss Ann and George very much.

                                    I had a holiday last weekend when Lottie and I went up to London on a spree. It
                                    was a most enjoyable weekend, though very rushed. We placed ourselves in the
                                    hands of Thos. Cook and Sons and saw most of the sights of London and were run off
                                    our feet in the process. As you all know London I shall not describe what I saw but just
                                    to say that, best of all, I enjoyed walking along the Thames embankment in the evening
                                    and the changing of the Guard at Whitehall. On Sunday morning Lottie and I went to
                                    Kew Gardens and in the afternoon walked in Kensington Gardens.

                                    We went to only one show, ‘The Skin of our Teeth’ starring Vivienne Leigh.
                                    Neither of us enjoyed the performance at all and regretted having spent so much on
                                    circle seats. The show was far too highbrow for my taste, a sort of satire on the survival
                                    of the human race. Miss Leigh was unrecognisable in a blond wig and her voice strident.
                                    However the night was not a dead loss as far as entertainment was concerned as we
                                    were later caught up in a tragicomedy at our hotel.

                                    We had booked communicating rooms at the enormous Imperial Hotel in Russell
                                    Square. These rooms were comfortably furnished but very high up, and we had a rather
                                    terrifying and dreary view from the windows of the enclosed courtyard far below. We
                                    had some snacks and a chat in Lottie’s room and then I moved to mine and went to bed.
                                    I had noted earlier that there was a special lock on the outer door of my room so that
                                    when the door was closed from the inside it automatically locked itself.
                                    I was just dropping off to sleep when I heard a hammering which seemed to
                                    come from my wardrobe. I got up, rather fearfully, and opened the wardrobe door and
                                    noted for the first time that the wardrobe was set in an opening in the wall and that the
                                    back of the wardrobe also served as the back of the wardrobe in the room next door. I
                                    quickly shut it again and went to confer with Lottie.

                                    Suddenly a male voice was raised next door in supplication, “Mary Mother of
                                    God, Help me! They’ve locked me in!” and the hammering resumed again, sometimes
                                    on the door, and then again on the back of the wardrobe of the room next door. Lottie
                                    had by this time joined me and together we listened to the prayers and to the
                                    hammering. Then the voice began to threaten, “If you don’t let me out I’ll jump out of the
                                    window.” Great consternation on our side of the wall. I went out into the passage and
                                    called through the door, “You’re not locked in. Come to your door and I’ll tell you how to
                                    open it.” Silence for a moment and then again the prayers followed by a threat. All the
                                    other doors in the corridor remained shut.

                                    Luckily just then a young man and a woman came walking down the corridor and I
                                    explained the situation. The young man hurried off for the night porter who went into the
                                    next door room. In a matter of minutes there was peace next door. When the night
                                    porter came out into the corridor again I asked for an explanation. He said quite casually,
                                    “It’s all right Madam. He’s an Irish Gentleman in Show Business. He gets like this on a
                                    Saturday night when he has had a drop too much. He won’t give any more trouble
                                    now.” And he didn’t. Next morning at breakfast Lottie and I tried to spot the gentleman in
                                    the Show Business, but saw no one who looked like the owner of that charming Irish

                                    George had to go to London on business last Monday and took the older
                                    children with him for a few hours of sight seeing. They returned quite unimpressed.
                                    Everything was too old and dirty and there were far too many people about, but they
                                    had enjoyed riding on the escalators at the tube stations, and all agreed that the highlight
                                    of the trip was, “Dad took us to lunch at the Chicken Inn.”

                                    Now that it is almost time to leave England I am finding the housework less of a
                                    drudgery, Also, as it is school holiday time, Jim and Henry are able to go on walks with
                                    the older children and so use up some of their surplus energy. Cath and I took the
                                    children (except young George who went rabbit shooting with his uncle Reg, and
                                    Henry, who stayed at home with his dad) to the Wakes at Selston, the neighbouring
                                    village. There were the roundabouts and similar contraptions but the side shows had
                                    more appeal for the children. Ann and Kate found a stall where assorted prizes were
                                    spread out on a sloping table. Anyone who could land a penny squarely on one of
                                    these objects was given a similar one as a prize.

                                    I was touched to see that both girls ignored all the targets except a box of fifty
                                    cigarettes which they were determined to win for me. After numerous attempts, Kate
                                    landed her penny successfully and you would have loved to have seen her radiant little


                                    Dar es Salaam 22nd October 1946

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    Back in Tanganyika at last, but not together. We have to stay in Dar es Salaam
                                    until tomorrow when the train leaves for Dodoma. We arrived yesterday morning to find
                                    all the hotels filled with people waiting to board ships for England. Fortunately some
                                    friends came to the rescue and Ann, Kate and John have gone to stay with them. Jim,
                                    Henry and I are sleeping in a screened corner of the lounge of the New Africa Hotel, and
                                    George and young George have beds in the Palm Court of the same hotel.

                                    We travelled out from England in the Winchester Castle under troopship
                                    conditions. We joined her at Southampton after a rather slow train journey from
                                    Nottingham. We arrived after dark and from the station we could see a large ship in the
                                    docks with a floodlit red funnel. “Our ship,” yelled the children in delight, but it was not the
                                    Winchester Castle but the Queen Elizabeth, newly reconditioned.

                                    We had hoped to board our ship that evening but George made enquiries and
                                    found that we would not be allowed on board until noon next day. Without much hope,
                                    we went off to try to get accommodation for eight at a small hotel recommended by the
                                    taxi driver. Luckily for us there was a very motherly woman at the reception desk. She
                                    looked in amusement at the six children and said to me, “Goodness are all these yours,
                                    ducks? Then she called over her shoulder, “Wilf, come and see this lady with lots of
                                    children. We must try to help.” They settled the problem most satisfactorily by turning
                                    two rooms into a dormitory.

                                    In the morning we had time to inspect bomb damage in the dock area of
                                    Southampton. Most of the rubble had been cleared away but there are still numbers of
                                    damaged buildings awaiting demolition. A depressing sight. We saw the Queen Mary
                                    at anchor, still in her drab war time paint, but magnificent nevertheless.
                                    The Winchester Castle was crammed with passengers and many travelled in
                                    acute discomfort. We were luckier than most because the two girls, the three small boys
                                    and I had a stateroom to ourselves and though it was stripped of peacetime comforts,
                                    we had a private bathroom and toilet. The two Georges had bunks in a huge men-only
                                    dormitory somewhere in the bowls of the ship where they had to share communal troop
                                    ship facilities. The food was plentiful but unexciting and one had to queue for afternoon
                                    tea. During the day the decks were crowded and there was squatting room only. The
                                    many children on board got bored.

                                    Port Said provided a break and we were all entertained by the ‘Gully Gully’ man
                                    and his conjuring tricks, and though we had no money to spend at Simon Artz, we did at
                                    least have a chance to stretch our legs. Next day scores of passengers took ill with
                                    sever stomach upsets, whether from food poisoning, or as was rumoured, from bad
                                    water taken on at the Egyptian port, I don’t know. Only the two Georges in our family
                                    were affected and their attacks were comparatively mild.

                                    As we neared the Kenya port of Mombassa, the passengers for Dar es Salaam
                                    were told that they would have to disembark at Mombassa and continue their journey in
                                    a small coaster, the Al Said. The Winchester Castle is too big for the narrow channel
                                    which leads to Dar es Salaam harbour.

                                    From the wharf the Al Said looked beautiful. She was once the private yacht of
                                    the Sultan of Zanzibar and has lovely lines. Our admiration lasted only until we were
                                    shown our cabins. With one voice our children exclaimed, “Gosh they stink!” They did, of
                                    a mixture of rancid oil and sweat and stale urine. The beds were not yet made and the
                                    thin mattresses had ominous stains on them. John, ever fastidious, lifted his mattress and two enormous cockroaches scuttled for cover.

                                    We had a good homely lunch served by two smiling African stewards and
                                    afterwards we sat on deck and that was fine too, though behind ones enjoyment there
                                    was the thought of those stuffy and dirty cabins. That first night nearly everyone,
                                    including George and our older children, slept on deck. Women occupied deck chairs
                                    and men and children slept on the bare decks. Horrifying though the idea was, I decided
                                    that, as Jim had a bad cough, he, Henry and I would sleep in our cabin.

                                    When I announced my intention of sleeping in the cabin one of the passengers
                                    gave me some insecticide spray which I used lavishly, but without avail. The children
                                    slept but I sat up all night with the light on, determined to keep at least their pillows clear
                                    of the cockroaches which scurried about boldly regardless of the light. All the next day
                                    and night we avoided the cabins. The Al Said stopped for some hours at Zanzibar to
                                    offload her deck cargo of live cattle and packing cases from the hold. George and the
                                    elder children went ashore for a walk but I felt too lazy and there was plenty to watch
                                    from deck.

                                    That night I too occupied a deck chair and slept quite comfortably, and next
                                    morning we entered the palm fringed harbour of Dar es Salaam and were home.


                                    Mbeya 1st November 1946

                                    Dearest Family.

                                    Home at last! We are all most happily installed in a real family house about three
                                    miles out of Mbeya and near the school. This house belongs to an elderly German and
                                    has been taken over by the Custodian of Enemy Property and leased to the

                                    The owner, whose name is Shenkel, was not interned but is allowed to occupy a
                                    smaller house on the Estate. I found him in the garden this morning lecturing the children
                                    on what they may do and may not do. I tried to make it quite clear to him that he was not
                                    our landlord, though he clearly thinks otherwise. After he had gone I had to take two
                                    aspirin and lie down to recover my composure! I had been warned that he has this effect
                                    on people.

                                    Mr Shenkel is a short and ugly man, his clothes are stained with food and he
                                    wears steel rimmed glasses tied round his head with a piece of dirty elastic because
                                    one earpiece is missing. He speaks with a thick German accent but his English is fluent
                                    and I believe he is a cultured and clever man. But he is maddening. The children were
                                    more amused than impressed by his exhortations and have happily Christened our
                                    home, ‘Old Shenks’.

                                    The house has very large grounds as the place is really a derelict farm. It suits us
                                    down to the ground. We had no sooner unpacked than George went off on safari after
                                    those maneating lions in the Njombe District. he accounted for one, and a further two
                                    jointly with a Game Scout, before we left for England. But none was shot during the five
                                    months we were away as George’s relief is quite inexperienced in such work. George
                                    thinks that there are still about a dozen maneaters at large. His theory is that a female
                                    maneater moved into the area in 1938 when maneating first started, and brought up her
                                    cubs to be maneaters, and those cubs in turn did the same. The three maneating lions
                                    that have been shot were all in very good condition and not old and maimed as
                                    maneaters usually are.

                                    George anticipates that it will be months before all these lions are accounted for
                                    because they are constantly on the move and cover a very large area. The lions have to
                                    be hunted on foot because they range over broken country covered by bush and fairly
                                    dense thicket.

                                    I did a bit of shooting myself yesterday and impressed our African servants and
                                    the children and myself. What a fluke! Our houseboy came to say that there was a snake
                                    in the garden, the biggest he had ever seen. He said it was too big to kill with a stick and
                                    would I shoot it. I had no gun but a heavy .450 Webley revolver and I took this and
                                    hurried out with the children at my heels.

                                    The snake turned out to be an unusually large puff adder which had just shed its
                                    skin. It looked beautiful in a repulsive way. So flanked by servants and children I took
                                    aim and shot, not hitting the head as I had planned, but breaking the snake’s back with
                                    the heavy bullet. The two native boys then rushed up with sticks and flattened the head.
                                    “Ma you’re a crack shot,” cried the kids in delighted surprise. I hope to rest on my laurels
                                    for a long, long while.

                                    Although there are only a few weeks of school term left the four older children will
                                    start school on Monday. Not only am I pleased with our new home here but also with
                                    the staff I have engaged. Our new houseboy, Reuben, (but renamed Robin by our
                                    children) is not only cheerful and willing but intelligent too, and Jumbe, the wood and
                                    garden boy, is a born clown and a source of great entertainment to the children.

                                    I feel sure that we are all going to be very happy here at ‘Old Shenks!.



                                      From Tanganyika with Love

                                      continued part 8

                                      With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                      Morogoro 20th January 1941

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      It is all arranged for us to go on three months leave to Cape Town next month so
                                      get out your flags. How I shall love showing off Kate and John to you and this time
                                      George will be with us and you’ll be able to get to know him properly. You can’t think
                                      what a comfort it will be to leave all the worries of baggage and tipping to him. We will all
                                      be travelling by ship to Durban and from there to Cape Town by train. I rather dread the
                                      journey because there is a fifth little Rushby on the way and, as always, I am very

                                      Kate has become such a little companion to me that I dread the thought of leaving
                                      her behind with you to start schooling. I miss Ann and George so much now and must
                                      face separation from Kate as well. There does not seem to be any alternative though.
                                      There is a boarding school in Arusha and another has recently been started in Mbeya,
                                      but both places are so far away and I know she would be very unhappy as a boarder at
                                      this stage. Living happily with you and attending a day school might wean her of her
                                      dependance upon me. As soon as this wretched war ends we mean to get Ann and
                                      George back home and Kate too and they can then all go to boarding school together.
                                      If I were a more methodical person I would try to teach Kate myself, but being a
                                      muddler I will have my hands full with Johnny and the new baby. Life passes pleasantly
                                      but quietly here. Much of my time is taken up with entertaining the children and sewing
                                      for them and just waiting for George to come home.

                                      George works so hard on these safaris and this endless elephant hunting to
                                      protect native crops entails so much foot safari, that he has lost a good deal of weight. it
                                      is more than ten years since he had a holiday so he is greatly looking forward to this one.
                                      Four whole months together!

                                      I should like to keep the ayah, Janet, for the new baby, but she says she wants
                                      to return to her home in the Southern Highlands Province and take a job there. She is
                                      unusually efficient and so clean, and the houseboy and cook are quite scared of her. She
                                      bawls at them if the children’s meals are served a few minutes late but she is always
                                      respectful towards me and practically creeps around on tiptoe when George is home.
                                      She has a room next to the outside kitchen. One night thieves broke into the kitchen and
                                      stole a few things, also a canvas chair and mat from the verandah. Ayah heard them, and
                                      grabbing a bit of firewood, she gave chase. Her shouts so alarmed the thieves that they
                                      ran off up the hill jettisoning their loot as they ran. She is a great character.


                                      Morogoro 30th July 1941

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      Safely back in Morogoro after a rather grim voyage from Durban. Our ship was
                                      completely blacked out at night and we had to sleep with warm clothing and life belts
                                      handy and had so many tedious boat drills. It was a nuisance being held up for a whole
                                      month in Durban, because I was so very pregnant when we did embark. In fact George
                                      suggested that I had better hide in the ‘Ladies’ until the ship sailed for fear the Captain
                                      might refuse to take me. It seems that the ship, on which we were originally booked to
                                      travel, was torpedoed somewhere off the Cape.

                                      We have been given a very large house this tour with a mosquito netted
                                      sleeping porch which will be fine for the new baby. The only disadvantage is that the
                                      house is on the very edge of the residential part of Morogoro and Johnny will have to
                                      go quite a distance to find playmates.

                                      I still miss Kate terribly. She is a loving little person. I had prepared for a scene
                                      when we said good-bye but I never expected that she would be the comforter. It
                                      nearly broke my heart when she put her arms around me and said, “I’m so sorry
                                      Mummy, please don’t cry. I’ll be good. Please don’t cry.” I’m afraid it was all very
                                      harrowing for you also. It is a great comfort to hear that she has settled down so happily.
                                      I try not to think consciously of my absent children and remind myself that there are
                                      thousands of mothers in the same boat, but they are always there at the back of my

                                      Mother writes that Ann and George are perfectly happy and well, and that though
                                      German bombers do fly over fairly frequently, they are unlikely to drop their bombs on
                                      a small place like Jacksdale.

                                      George has already left on safari to the Rufiji. There was no replacement for his
                                      job while he was away so he is anxious to get things moving again. Johnny and I are
                                      going to move in with friends until he returns, just in case all the travelling around brings
                                      the new baby on earlier than expected.


                                      Morogoro 26th August 1941

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      Our new son, James Caleb. was born at 3.30 pm yesterday afternoon, with a
                                      minimum of fuss, in the hospital here. The Doctor was out so my friend, Sister Murray,
                                      delivered the baby. The Sister is a Scots girl, very efficient and calm and encouraging,
                                      and an ideal person to have around at such a time.

                                      Everything, this time, went without a hitch and I feel fine and proud of my
                                      bouncing son. He weighs nine pounds and ten ounces and is a big boned fellow with
                                      dark hair and unusually strongly marked eyebrows. His eyes are strong too and already
                                      seem to focus. George is delighted with him and brought Hugh Nelson to see him this
                                      morning. Hugh took one look, and, astonished I suppose by the baby’s apparent
                                      awareness, said, “Gosh, this one has been here before.” The baby’s cot is beside my
                                      bed so I can admire him as much as I please. He has large strong hands and George
                                      reckons he’ll make a good boxer some day.

                                      Another of my early visitors was Mabemba, George’s orderly. He is a very big
                                      African and looks impressive in his Game Scouts uniform. George met him years ago at
                                      Mahenge when he was a young elephant hunter and Mabemba was an Askari in the
                                      Police. Mabemba takes quite a proprietary interest in the family.


                                      Morogoro 25th December 1941

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      Christmas Day today, but not a gay one. I have Johnny in bed with a poisoned
                                      leg so he missed the children’s party at the Club. To make things a little festive I have
                                      put up a little Christmas tree in the children’s room and have hung up streamers and
                                      balloons above the beds. Johnny demands a lot of attention so it is fortunate that little
                                      James is such a very good baby. He sleeps all night until 6 am when his feed is due.
                                      One morning last week I got up as usual to feed him but I felt so dopey that I
                                      thought I’d better have a cold wash first. I went into the bathroom and had a hurried
                                      splash and then grabbed a towel to dry my face. Immediately I felt an agonising pain in
                                      my nose. Reason? There was a scorpion in the towel! In no time at all my nose looked
                                      like a pear and felt burning hot. The baby screamed with frustration whilst I feverishly
                                      bathed my nose and applied this and that in an effort to cool it.

                                      For three days my nose was very red and tender,”A real boozer nose”, said
                                      George. But now, thank goodness, it is back to normal.

                                      Some of the younger marrieds and a couple of bachelors came around,
                                      complete with portable harmonium, to sing carols in the early hours. No sooner had we
                                      settled down again to woo sleep when we were disturbed by shouts and screams from
                                      our nearest neighbour’s house. “Just celebrating Christmas”, grunted George, but we
                                      heard this morning that the neighbour had fallen down his verandah steps and broken his


                                      Morogoro Hospital 30th September 1943

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      Well now we are eight! Our new son, Henry, was born on the night of the 28th.
                                      He is a beautiful baby, weighing ten pounds three and a half ounces. This baby is very
                                      well developed, handsome, and rather superior looking, and not at all amusing to look at
                                      as the other boys were.George was born with a moustache, John had a large nose and
                                      looked like a little old man, and Jim, bless his heart, looked rather like a baby
                                      chimpanzee. Henry is different. One of my visitors said, “Heaven he’ll have to be a
                                      Bishop!” I expect the lawn sleeves of his nightie really gave her that idea, but the baby
                                      does look like ‘Someone’. He is very good and George, John, and Jim are delighted
                                      with him, so is Mabemba.

                                      We have a dear little nurse looking after us. She is very petite and childish
                                      looking. When the baby was born and she brought him for me to see, the nurse asked
                                      his name. I said jokingly, “His name is Benjamin – the last of the family.” She is now very
                                      peeved to discover that his real name is Henry William and persists in calling him
                                      ‘Benjie’.I am longing to get home and into my pleasant rut. I have been away for two
                                      whole weeks and George is managing so well that I shall feel quite expendable if I don’t
                                      get home soon. As our home is a couple of miles from the hospital, I arranged to move
                                      in and stay with the nursing sister on the day the baby was due. There I remained for ten
                                      whole days before the baby was born. Each afternoon George came and took me for a
                                      ride in the bumpy Bedford lorry and the Doctor tried this and that but the baby refused
                                      to be hurried.

                                      On the tenth day I had the offer of a lift and decided to go home for tea and
                                      surprise George. It was a surprise too, because George was entertaining a young
                                      Game Ranger for tea and my arrival, looking like a perambulating big top, must have
                                      been rather embarrassing.Henry was born at the exact moment that celebrations started
                                      in the Township for the end of the Muslim religious festival of Ramadan. As the Doctor
                                      held him up by his ankles, there was the sound of hooters and firecrackers from the town.
                                      The baby has a birthmark in the shape of a crescent moon above his left eyebrow.


                                      Morogoro 26th January 1944

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      We have just heard that we are to be transferred to the Headquarters of the
                                      Game Department at a place called Lyamungu in the Northern Province. George is not
                                      at all pleased because he feels that the new job will entail a good deal of office work and
                                      that his beloved but endless elephant hunting will be considerably curtailed. I am glad of
                                      that and I am looking forward to seeing a new part of Tanganyika and particularly
                                      Kilimanjaro which dominates Lyamungu.

                                      Thank goodness our menagerie is now much smaller. We found a home for the
                                      guinea pigs last December and Susie, our mischievous guinea-fowl, has flown off to find
                                      a mate.Last week I went down to Dar es Salaam for a check up by Doctor John, a
                                      woman doctor, leaving George to cope with the three boys. I was away two nights and
                                      a day and returned early in the morning just as George was giving Henry his six o’clock
                                      bottle. It always amazes me that so very masculine a man can do my chores with no
                                      effort and I have a horrible suspicion that he does them better than I do. I enjoyed the
                                      short break at the coast very much. I stayed with friends and we bathed in the warm sea
                                      and saw a good film.

                                      Now I suppose there will be a round of farewell parties. People in this country
                                      are most kind and hospitable.


                                      Lyamungu 20th March 1944

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      We left Morogoro after the round of farewell parties I had anticipated. The final
                                      one was at the Club on Saturday night. George made a most amusing speech and the
                                      party was a very pleasant occasion though I was rather tired after all the packing.
                                      Several friends gathered to wave us off on Monday morning. We had two lorries
                                      loaded with our goods. I rode in the cab of the first one with Henry on my knee. George
                                      with John and Jim rode in the second one. As there was no room for them in the cab,
                                      they sat on our couch which was placed across the width of the lorry behind the cab. This
                                      seat was not as comfortable as it sounds, because the space behind the couch was
                                      taken up with packing cases which were not lashed in place and these kept moving
                                      forward as the lorry bumped its way over the bad road.

                                      Soon there was hardly any leg room and George had constantly to stand up and
                                      push the second layer of packing cases back to prevent them from toppling over onto
                                      the children and himself. As it is now the rainy season the road was very muddy and
                                      treacherous and the lorries travelled so slowly it was dark by the time we reached
                                      Karogwe from where we were booked to take the train next morning to Moshi.
                                      Next morning we heard that there had been a washaway on the line and that the
                                      train would be delayed for at least twelve hours. I was not feeling well and certainly did
                                      not enjoy my day. Early in the afternoon Jimmy ran into a wall and blackened both his
                                      eyes. What a child! As the day wore on I felt worse and worse and when at last the train
                                      did arrive I simply crawled into my bunk whilst George coped nobly with the luggage
                                      and the children.

                                      We arrived at Moshi at breakfast time and went straight to the Lion Cub Hotel
                                      where I took to my bed with a high temperature. It was, of course, malaria. I always have
                                      my attacks at the most inopportune times. Fortunately George ran into some friends
                                      called Eccles and the wife Mollie came to my room and bathed Henry and prepared his
                                      bottle and fed him. George looked after John and Jim. Next day I felt much better and
                                      we drove out to Lyamungu the day after. There we had tea with the Game Warden and
                                      his wife before moving into our new home nearby.

                                      The Game Warden is Captain Monty Moore VC. He came out to Africa
                                      originally as an Officer in the King’s African Rifles and liked the country so much he left the
                                      Army and joined the Game Department. He was stationed at Banagi in the Serengetti
                                      Game Reserve and is well known for his work with the lions there. He particularly tamed
                                      some of the lions by feeding them so that they would come out into the open and could
                                      readily be photographed by tourists. His wife Audrey, has written a book about their
                                      experiences at Banagi. It is called “Serengetti”

                                      Our cook, Hamisi, soon had a meal ready for us and we all went to bed early.
                                      This is a very pleasant house and I know we will be happy here. I still feel a little shaky
                                      but that is the result of all the quinine I have taken. I expect I shall feel fine in a day or two.


                                      Lyamungu 15th May 1944

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      Well, here we are settled comfortably in our very nice house. The house is
                                      modern and roomy, and there is a large enclosed verandah, which will be a Godsend in
                                      the wet weather as a playroom for the children. The only drawback is that there are so
                                      many windows to be curtained and cleaned. The grounds consist of a very large lawn
                                      and a few beds of roses and shrubs. It is an ideal garden for children, unlike our steeply
                                      terraced garden at Morogoro.

                                      Lyamungu is really the Government Coffee Research Station. It is about sixteen
                                      miles from the town of Moshi which is the centre of the Tanganyika coffee growing
                                      industry. Lyamungu, which means ‘place of God’ is in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro and
                                      we have a beautiful view of Kilimanjaro. Kibo, the more spectacular of the two mountain
                                      peaks, towers above us, looking from this angle, like a giant frosted plum pudding. Often the mountain is veiled by cloud and mist which sometimes comes down to
                                      our level so that visibility is practically nil. George dislikes both mist and mountain but I
                                      like both and so does John. He in fact saw Kibo before I did. On our first day here, the
                                      peak was completely hidden by cloud. In the late afternoon when the children were
                                      playing on the lawn outside I was indoors hanging curtains. I heard John call out, “Oh
                                      Mummy, isn’t it beautiful!” I ran outside and there, above a scarf of cloud, I saw the
                                      showy dome of Kibo with the setting sun shining on it tingeing the snow pink. It was an
                                      unforgettable experience.

                                      As this is the rainy season, the surrounding country side is very lush and green.
                                      Everywhere one sees the rich green of the coffee plantations and the lighter green of
                                      the banana groves. Unfortunately our walks are rather circumscribed. Except for the main road to Moshi, there is nowhere to walk except through the Government coffee
                                      plantation. Paddy, our dog, thinks life is pretty boring as there is no bush here and
                                      nothing to hunt. There are only half a dozen European families here and half of those are
                                      on very distant terms with the other half which makes the station a rather uncomfortable

                                      The coffee expert who runs this station is annoyed because his European staff
                                      has been cut down owing to the war, and three of the vacant houses and some office
                                      buildings have been taken over temporarily by the Game Department. Another house
                                      has been taken over by the head of the Labour Department. However I don’t suppose
                                      the ill feeling will effect us much. We are so used to living in the bush that we are not
                                      socially inclined any way.

                                      Our cook, Hamisi, came with us from Morogoro but I had to engage a new
                                      houseboy and kitchenboy. I first engaged a houseboy who produced a wonderful ‘chit’
                                      in which his previous employer describes him as his “friend and confidant”. I felt rather
                                      dubious about engaging him and how right I was. On his second day with us I produced
                                      some of Henry’s napkins, previously rinsed by me, and asked this boy to wash them.
                                      He looked most offended and told me that it was beneath his dignity to do women’s
                                      work. We parted immediately with mutual relief.

                                      Now I have a good natured fellow named Japhet who, though hard on crockery,
                                      is prepared to do anything and loves playing with the children. He is a local boy, a
                                      member of the Chagga tribe. These Chagga are most intelligent and, on the whole, well
                                      to do as they all have their own small coffee shambas. Japhet tells me that his son is at
                                      the Uganda University College studying medicine.The kitchen boy is a tall youth called
                                      Tovelo, who helps both Hamisi, the cook, and the houseboy and also keeps an eye on
                                      Henry when I am sewing. I still make all the children’s clothes and my own. Life is
                                      pleasant but dull. George promises that he will take the whole family on safari when
                                      Henry is a little older.


                                      Lyamungu 18th July 1944

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      Life drifts quietly by at Lyamungu with each day much like the one before – or
                                      they would be, except that the children provide the sort of excitement that prohibits
                                      boredom. Of the three boys our Jim is the best at this. Last week Jim wandered into the
                                      coffee plantation beside our house and chewed some newly spayed berries. Result?
                                      A high temperature and nasty, bloody diarrhoea, so we had to rush him to the hospital at
                                      Moshi for treatment. however he was well again next day and George went off on safari.
                                      That night there was another crisis. As the nights are now very cold, at this high
                                      altitude, we have a large fire lit in the living room and the boy leaves a pile of logs
                                      beside the hearth so that I can replenish the fire when necessary. Well that night I took
                                      Henry off to bed, leaving John and Jim playing in the living room. When their bedtime
                                      came, I called them without leaving the bedroom. When I had tucked John and Jim into
                                      bed, I sat reading a bedtime story as I always do. Suddenly I saw smoke drifting
                                      through the door, and heard a frightening rumbling noise. Japhet rushed in to say that the
                                      lounge chimney was on fire! Picture me, panic on the inside and sweet smile on the
                                      outside, as I picked Henry up and said to the other two, “There’s nothing to be
                                      frightened about chaps, but get up and come outside for a bit.” Stupid of me to be so
                                      heroic because John and Jim were not at all scared but only too delighted at the chance
                                      of rushing about outside in the dark. The fire to them was just a bit of extra fun.

                                      We hurried out to find one boy already on the roof and the other passing up a
                                      brimming bucket of water. Other boys appeared from nowhere and soon cascades of
                                      water were pouring down the chimney. The result was a mountain of smouldering soot
                                      on the hearth and a pool of black water on the living room floor. However the fire was out
                                      and no serious harm done because all the floors here are cement and another stain on
                                      the old rug will hardly be noticed. As the children reluctantly returned to bed John
                                      remarked smugly, “I told Jim not to put all the wood on the fire at once but he wouldn’t
                                      listen.” I might have guessed!

                                      However it was not Jim but John who gave me the worst turn of all this week. As
                                      a treat I decided to take the boys to the river for a picnic tea. The river is not far from our
                                      house but we had never been there before so I took the kitchen boy, Tovelo, to show
                                      us the way. The path is on the level until one is in sight of the river when the bank slopes
                                      steeply down. I decided that it was too steep for the pram so I stopped to lift Henry out
                                      and carry him. When I looked around I saw John running down the slope towards the
                                      river. The stream is not wide but flows swiftly and I had no idea how deep it was. All I
                                      knew was that it was a trout stream. I called for John, “Stop, wait for me!” but he ran on
                                      and made for a rude pole bridge which spanned the river. He started to cross and then,
                                      to my horror, I saw John slip. There was a splash and he disappeared under the water. I
                                      just dumped the baby on the ground, screamed to the boy to mind him and ran madly
                                      down the slope to the river. Suddenly I saw John’s tight fitting felt hat emerge, then his
                                      eyes and nose. I dashed into the water and found, to my intense relief, that it only
                                      reached up to my shoulders but, thank heaven no further. John’s steady eyes watched
                                      me trustingly as I approached him and carried him safely to the bank. He had been
                                      standing on a rock and had not panicked at all though he had to stand up very straight
                                      and tall to keep his nose out of water. I was too proud of him to scold him for
                                      disobedience and too wet anyway.

                                      I made John undress and put on two spare pullovers and wrapped Henry’s
                                      baby blanket round his waist like a sarong. We made a small fire over which I crouched
                                      with literally chattering teeth whilst Tovelo ran home to fetch a coat for me and dry clothes
                                      for John.


                                      Lyamungu 16th August 1944

                                      Dearest Family,

                                      We have a new bull terrier bitch pup whom we have named Fanny III . So once
                                      more we have a menagerie , the two dogs, two cats Susie and Winnie, and
                                      some pet hens who live in the garage and are a real nuisance.

                                      As John is nearly six I thought it time that he started lessons and wrote off to Dar
                                      es Salaam for the correspondence course. We have had one week of lessons and I am
                                      already in a state of physical and mental exhaustion. John is a most reluctant scholar.
                                      “Why should I learn to read, when you can read to me?” he asks, and “Anyway why
                                      should I read such stupid stuff, ‘Run Rover Run’, and ‘Mother play with baby’ . Who
                                      wants to read about things like that? I don’t.”

                                      He rather likes sums, but the only subject about which he is enthusiastic is
                                      prehistoric history. He laps up information about ‘The Tree Dwellers’, though he is very
                                      sceptical about the existence of such people. “God couldn’t be so silly to make people
                                      so stupid. Fancy living in trees when it is easy to make huts like the natives.” ‘The Tree
                                      Dwellers is a highly imaginative story about a revolting female called Sharptooth and her
                                      offspring called Bodo. I have a very clear mental image of Sharptooth, so it came as a
                                      shock to me and highly amused George when John looked at me reflectively across the
                                      tea table and said, “Mummy I expect Sharptooth looked like you. You have a sharp
                                      tooth too!” I have, my eye teeth are rather sharp, but I hope the resemblance stops

                                      John has an uncomfortably logical mind for a small boy. The other day he was
                                      lying on the lawn staring up at the clouds when he suddenly muttered “I don’t believe it.”
                                      “Believe what?” I asked. “That Jesus is coming on a cloud one day. How can he? The
                                      thick ones always stay high up. What’s he going to do, jump down with a parachute?”
                                      Tovelo, my kitchen boy, announced one evening that his grandmother was in the
                                      kitchen and wished to see me. She was a handsome and sensible Chagga woman who
                                      brought sad news. Her little granddaughter had stumbled backwards into a large cooking
                                      pot of almost boiling maize meal porridge and was ‘ngongwa sana’ (very ill). I grabbed
                                      a large bottle of Picric Acid and a packet of gauze which we keep for these emergencies
                                      and went with her, through coffee shambas and banana groves to her daughter’s house.
                                      Inside the very neat thatched hut the mother sat with the naked child lying face
                                      downwards on her knee. The child’s buttocks and the back of her legs were covered in
                                      huge burst blisters from which a watery pus dripped. It appeared that the accident had
                                      happened on the previous day.

                                      I could see that it was absolutely necessary to clean up the damaged area, and I
                                      suddenly remembered that there was a trained African hospital dresser on the station. I
                                      sent the father to fetch him and whilst the dresser cleaned off the sloughed skin with
                                      forceps and swabs saturated in Picric Acid, I cut the gauze into small squares which I
                                      soaked in the lotion and laid on the cleaned area. I thought the small pieces would be
                                      easier to change especially as the whole of the most tender parts, front and back, were
                                      badly scalded. The child seemed dazed and neither the dresser nor I thought she would
                                      live. I gave her half an aspirin and left three more half tablets to be given four hourly.
                                      Next day she seemed much brighter. I poured more lotion on the gauze
                                      disturbing as few pieces as possible and again the next day and the next. After a week
                                      the skin was healing well and the child eating normally. I am sure she will be all right now.
                                      The new skin is a brilliant red and very shiny but it is pale round the edges of the burnt
                                      area and will I hope later turn brown. The mother never uttered a word of thanks, but the
                                      granny is grateful and today brought the children a bunch of bananas.


                                      c/o Game Dept. P.O.Moshi. 29th September 1944

                                      Dearest Mummy,

                                      I am so glad that you so enjoyed my last letter with the description of our very
                                      interesting and enjoyable safari through Masailand. You said you would like an even
                                      fuller description of it to pass around amongst the relations, so, to please you, I have
                                      written it out in detail and enclose the result.

                                      We have spent a quiet week after our exertions and all are well here.

                                      Very much love,

                                      Safari in Masailand

                                      George and I were at tea with our three little boys on the front lawn of our house
                                      in Lyamungu, Northern Tanganyika. It was John’s sixth birthday and he and Jim, a
                                      happy sturdy three year old, and Henry, aged eleven months, were munching the
                                      squares of plain chocolate which rounded off the party, when George said casually
                                      across the table to me, “Could you be ready by the day after tomorrow to go on
                                      safari?” “Me too?” enquired John anxiously, before I had time to reply, and “Me too?”
                                      echoed Jim. “yes, of course I can”, said I to George and “of course you’re coming too”,
                                      to the children who rate a day spent in the bush higher than any other pleasure.
                                      So in the early morning two days later, we started out happily for Masailand in a
                                      three ton Ford lorry loaded to capacity with the five Rushbys, the safari paraphernalia,
                                      drums of petrol and quite a retinue of servants and Game Scouts. George travelling
                                      alone on his monthly safaris, takes only the cook and a couple of Game Scouts, but this was to be a safari de luxe.

                                      Henry and I shared the cab with George who was driving, whilst John and Jim
                                      with the faithful orderly Mabemba beside them to point out the game animals, were
                                      installed upon rolls of bedding in the body of the lorry. The lorry lumbered along, first
                                      through coffee shambas, and then along the main road between Moshi and Arusha.
                                      After half an hour or so, we turned South off the road into a track which crossed the
                                      Sanya Plains and is the beginning of this part of Masailand. Though the dry season was
                                      at its height, and the pasture dry and course, we were soon passing small groups of
                                      game. This area is a Game Sanctuary and the antelope grazed quietly quite undisturbed
                                      by the passing lorry. Here and there zebra stood bunched by the road, a few wild
                                      ostriches stalked jerkily by, and in the distance some wildebeest cavorted around in their
                                      crazy way.

                                      Soon the grasslands gave way to thorn bush, and we saw six fantastically tall
                                      giraffe standing motionless with their heads turned enquiringly towards us. George
                                      stopped the lorry so the children could have a good view of them. John was enchanted
                                      but Jim, alas, was asleep.

                                      At mid day we reached the Kikoletwa River and turned aside to camp. Beside
                                      the river, under huge leafy trees, there was a beautiful camping spot, but the river was
                                      deep and reputed to be full of crocodiles so we passed it by and made our camp
                                      some distance from the river under a tall thorn tree with a flat lacy canopy. All around the
                                      camp lay uprooted trees of similar size that had been pushed over by elephants. As
                                      soon as the lorry stopped a camp chair was set up for me and the Game Scouts quickly
                                      slashed down grass and cleared the camp site of thorns. The same boys then pitched the tent whilst George himself set up the three camp beds and the folding cot for Henry,
                                      and set up the safari table and the canvas wash bowl and bath.

                                      The cook in the meantime had cleared a cool spot for the kitchen , opened up the
                                      chop boxes and started a fire. The cook’s boy and the dhobi (laundry boy) brought
                                      water from the rather muddy river and tea was served followed shortly afterward by an
                                      excellent lunch. In a very short time the camp had a suprisingly homely look. Nappies
                                      fluttered from a clothes line, Henry slept peacefully in his cot, John and Jim sprawled on
                                      one bed looking at comics, and I dozed comfortably on another.

                                      George, with the Game Scouts, drove off in the lorry about his work. As a Game
                                      Ranger it is his business to be on a constant look out for poachers, both African and
                                      European, and for disease in game which might infect the valuable herds of Masai cattle.
                                      The lorry did not return until dusk by which time the children had bathed enthusiastically in
                                      the canvas bath and were ready for supper and bed. George backed the lorry at right
                                      angles to the tent, Henry’s cot and two camp beds were set up in the lorry, the tarpaulin
                                      was lashed down and the children put to bed in their novel nursery.

                                      When darkness fell a large fire was lit in front of the camp, the exited children at
                                      last fell asleep and George and I sat on by the fire enjoying the cool and quiet night.
                                      When the fire subsided into a bed of glowing coals, it was time for our bed. During the
                                      night I was awakened by the sound of breaking branches and strange indescribable
                                      noises.” Just elephant”, said George comfortably and instantly fell asleep once more. I
                                      didn’t! We rose with the birds next morning, but breakfast was ready and in a
                                      remarkably short time the lorry had been reloaded and we were once more on our way.
                                      For about half a mile we made our own track across the plain and then we turned
                                      into the earth road once more. Soon we had reached the river and were looking with
                                      dismay at the suspension bridge which we had to cross. At the far side, one steel
                                      hawser was missing and there the bridge tilted dangerously. There was no handrail but
                                      only heavy wooden posts which marked the extremities of the bridge. WhenGeorge
                                      measured the distance between the posts he found that there could be barely two
                                      inches to spare on either side of the cumbersome lorry.

                                      He decided to risk crossing, but the children and I and all the servants were told to
                                      cross the bridge and go down the track out of sight. The Game Scouts remained on the
                                      river bank on the far side of the bridge and stood ready for emergencies. As I walked
                                      along anxiously listening, I was horrified to hear the lorry come to a stop on the bridge.
                                      There was a loud creaking noise and I instantly visualised the lorry slowly toppling over
                                      into the deep crocodile infested river. The engine restarted, the lorry crossed the bridge
                                      and came slowly into sight around the bend. My heart slid back into its normal position.
                                      George was as imperturbable as ever and simply remarked that it had been a near
                                      thing and that we would return to Lyamungu by another route.

                                      Beyond the green river belt the very rutted track ran through very uninteresting
                                      thorn bush country. Henry was bored and tiresome, jumping up and down on my knee
                                      and yelling furiously. “Teeth”, said I apologetically to George, rashly handing a match
                                      box to Henry to keep him quiet. No use at all! With a fat finger he poked out the tray
                                      spilling the matches all over me and the floor. Within seconds Henry had torn the
                                      matchbox to pieces with his teeth and flung the battered remains through the window.
                                      An empty cigarette box met with the same fate as the match box and the yells
                                      continued unabated until Henry slept from sheer exhaustion. George gave me a smile,
                                      half sympathetic and half sardonic, “Enjoying the safari, my love?” he enquired. On these
                                      trying occasions George has the inestimable advantage of being able to go into a Yogilike
                                      trance, whereas I become irritated to screaming point.

                                      In an effort to prolong Henry’s slumber I braced my feet against the floor boards
                                      and tried to turn myself into a human shock absorber as we lurched along the eroded
                                      track. Several times my head made contact with the bolt of a rifle in the rack above, and
                                      once I felt I had shattered my knee cap against the fire extinguisher in a bracket under the
                                      dash board.

                                      Strange as it may seem, I really was enjoying the trip in spite of these
                                      discomforts. At last after three years I was once more on safari with George. This type of
                                      country was new to me and there was so much to see We passed a family of giraffe
                                      standing in complete immobility only a few yards from the track. Little dick-dick. one of the smallest of the antelope, scuttled in pairs across the road and that afternoon I had my first view of Gerenuk, curious red brown antelope with extremely elongated legs and giraffe-like necks.

                                      Most interesting of all was my first sight of Masai at home. We could hear a tuneful
                                      jangle of cattle bells and suddenly came across herds of humped cattle browsing upon
                                      the thorn bushes. The herds were guarded by athletic,striking looking Masai youths and men.
                                      Each had a calabash of water slung over his shoulder and a tall, highly polished spear in his
                                      hand. These herdsmen were quite unselfconscious though they wore no clothing except for one carelessly draped blanket. Very few gave us any greeting but glanced indifferently at us from under fringes of clay-daubed plaited hair . The rest of their hair was drawn back behind the ears to display split earlobes stretched into slender loops by the weight of heavy brass or copper tribal ear rings.

                                      Most of the villages were set well back in the bush out of sight of the road but we did pass one
                                      typical village which looked most primitive indeed. It consisted simply of a few mound like mud huts which were entirely covered with a plaster of mud and cattle dung and the whole clutch of huts were surrounded by a ‘boma’ of thorn to keep the cattle in at night and the lions out. There was a gathering of women and children on the road at this point. The children of both sexes were naked and unadorned, but the women looked very fine indeed. This is not surprising for they have little to do but adorn themselves, unlike their counterparts of other tribes who have to work hard cultivating the fields. The Masai women, and others I saw on safari, were far more amiable and cheerful looking than the men and were well proportioned.

                                      They wore skirts of dressed goat skin, knee length in front but ankle length behind. Their arms
                                      from elbow to wrist, and legs from knee to ankle, were encased in tight coils of copper and
                                      galvanised wire. All had their heads shaved and in some cases bound by a leather band
                                      embroidered in red white and blue beads. Circular ear rings hung from slit earlobes and their
                                      handsome throats were encircled by stiff wire necklaces strung with brightly coloured beads. These
                                      necklaces were carefully graded in size and formed deep collars almost covering their breasts.
                                      About a quarter of a mile further along the road we met eleven young braves in gala attire, obviously on their way to call on the girls. They formed a line across the road and danced up and down until the lorry was dangerously near when they parted and grinned cheerfully at us. These were the only cheerful
                                      looking male Masai that I saw. Like the herdsmen these youths wore only a blanket, but their
                                      blankets were ochre colour, and elegantly draped over their backs. Their naked bodies gleamed with oil. Several had painted white stripes on their faces, and two had whitewashed their faces entirely which I
                                      thought a pity. All had their long hair elaborately dressed and some carried not only one,
                                      but two gleaming spears.

                                      By mid day George decided that we had driven far enough for that day. He
                                      stopped the lorry and consulted a rather unreliable map. “Somewhere near here is a
                                      place called Lolbeni,” he said. “The name means Sweet Water, I hear that the
                                      government have piped spring water down from the mountain into a small dam at which
                                      the Masai water their cattle.” Lolbeni sounded pleasant to me. Henry was dusty and
                                      cross, the rubber sheet had long slipped from my lap to the floor and I was conscious of
                                      a very damp lap. ‘Sweet Waters’ I felt, would put all that right. A few hundred yards
                                      away a small herd of cattle was grazing, so George lit his pipe and relaxed at last, whilst
                                      a Game Scout went off to find the herdsman. The scout soon returned with an ancient
                                      and emaciated Masai who was thrilled at the prospect of his first ride in a lorry and
                                      offered to direct us to Lolbeni which was off the main track and about four miles away.

                                      Once Lolbeni had been a small administrative post and a good track had
                                      led to it, but now the Post had been abandoned and the road is dotted with vigourous
                                      thorn bushes and the branches of larger thorn trees encroach on the track The road had
                                      deteriorated to a mere cattle track, deeply rutted and eroded by heavy rains over a
                                      period of years. The great Ford truck, however, could take it. It lurched victoriously along,
                                      mowing down the obstructions, tearing off branches from encroaching thorn trees with its
                                      high railed sides, spanning gorges in the track, and climbing in and out of those too wide
                                      to span. I felt an army tank could not have done better.

                                      I had expected Lolbeni to be a green oasis in a desert of grey thorns, but I was
                                      quickly disillusioned. To be sure the thorn trees were larger and more widely spaced and
                                      provided welcome shade, but the ground under the trees had been trampled by thousands of cattle into a dreary expanse of dirty grey sand liberally dotted with cattle droppings and made still more uninviting by the bleached bones of dead beasts.

                                      To the right of this waste rose a high green hill which gave the place its name and from which
                                      the precious water was piped, but its slopes were too steep to provide a camping site.
                                      Flies swarmed everywhere and I was most relieved when George said that we would
                                      stay only long enough to fill our cans with water. Even the water was a disappointment!
                                      The water in the small dam was low and covered by a revolting green scum, and though
                                      the water in the feeding pipe was sweet, it trickled so feebly that it took simply ages to
                                      fill a four gallon can.

                                      However all these disappointments were soon forgotten for we drove away
                                      from the flies and dirt and trampled sand and soon, with their quiet efficiency, George
                                      and his men set up a comfortable camp. John and Jim immediately started digging
                                      operations in the sandy soil whilst Henry and I rested. After tea George took his shot
                                      gun and went off to shoot guinea fowl and partridges for the pot. The children and I went
                                      walking, keeping well in site of camp, and soon we saw a very large flock of Vulturine
                                      Guineafowl, running aimlessly about and looking as tame as barnyard fowls, but melting
                                      away as soon as we moved in their direction.

                                      We had our second quiet and lovely evening by the camp fire, followed by a
                                      peaceful night.

                                      We left Lolbeni very early next morning, which was a good thing, for as we left
                                      camp the herds of thirsty cattle moved in from all directions. They were accompanied by
                                      Masai herdsmen, their naked bodies and blankets now covered by volcanic dust which
                                      was being stirred in rising clouds of stifling ash by the milling cattle, and also by grey
                                      donkeys laden with panniers filled with corked calabashes for water.

                                      Our next stop was Nabarera, a Masai cattle market and trading centre, where we
                                      reluctantly stayed for two days in a pokey Goverment Resthouse because George had
                                      a job to do in that area. The rest was good for Henry who promptly produced a tooth
                                      and was consequently much better behaved for the rest of the trip. George was away in the bush most of the day but he returned for afternoon tea and later took the children out
                                      walking. We had noticed curious white dumps about a quarter mile from the resthouse
                                      and on the second afternoon we set out to investigate them. Behind the dumps we
                                      found passages about six foot wide, cut through solid limestone. We explored two of
                                      these and found that both passages led steeply down to circular wells about two and a
                                      half feet in diameter.

                                      At the very foot of each passage, beside each well, rough drinking troughs had
                                      been cut in the stone. The herdsmen haul the water out of the well in home made hide
                                      buckets, the troughs are filled and the cattle driven down the ramps to drink at the trough.
                                      It was obvious that the wells were ancient and the sloping passages new. George tells
                                      me that no one knows what ancient race dug the original wells. It seems incredible that
                                      these deep and narrow shafts could have been sunk without machinery. I craned my
                                      neck and looked above one well and could see an immensely long shaft reaching up to
                                      ground level. Small footholds were cut in the solid rock as far as I could see.
                                      It seems that the Masai are as ignorant as ourselves about the origin of these
                                      wells. They do say however that when their forebears first occupied what is now known
                                      as Masailand, they not only found the Wanderobo tribe in the area but also a light
                                      skinned people and they think it possible that these light skinned people dug the wells.
                                      These people disappeared. They may have been absorbed or, more likely, they were

                                      The Masai had found the well impractical in their original form and had hired
                                      labourers from neighbouring tribes to cut the passages to water level. Certainly the Masai are not responsible for the wells. They are a purely pastoral people and consider manual labour extremely degrading.

                                      They live chiefly on milk from their herd which they allow to go sour, and mix with blood that has been skilfully tapped from the necks of living cattle. They do not eat game meat, nor do they cultivate any
                                      land. They hunt with spears, but hunt only lions, to protect their herds, and to test the skill
                                      and bravery of their young warriors. What little grain they do eat is transported into
                                      Masailand by traders. The next stage of our journey took us to Ngassamet where
                                      George was to pick up some elephant tusks. I had looked forward particularly to this
                                      stretch of road for I had heard that there was a shallow lake at which game congregates,
                                      and at which I had great hopes of seeing elephants. We had come too late in the
                                      season though, the lake was dry and there were only piles of elephant droppings to
                                      prove that elephant had recently been there in numbers. Ngassamet, though no beauty
                                      spot, was interesting. We saw more elaborate editions of the wells already described, and as this area
                                      is rich in cattle we saw the aristocrats of the Masai. You cannot conceive of a more arrogant looking male than a young Masai brave striding by on sandalled feet, unselfconscious in all his glory. All the young men wore the casually draped traditional ochre blanket and carried one or more spears. But here belts and long knife sheaths of scarlet leather seem to be the fashion. Here fringes do not seem to be the thing. Most of these young Masai had their hair drawn smoothly back and twisted in a pointed queue, the whole plastered with a smooth coating of red clay. Some tied their horn shaped queues over their heads
                                      so that the tip formed a deep Satanic peak on the brow. All these young men wore the traditional
                                      copper earrings and I saw one or two with copper bracelets and one with a necklace of brightly coloured

                                      It so happened that, on the day of our visit to Ngassamet, there had been a
                                      baraza (meeting) which was attended by all the local headmen and elders. These old
                                      men came to pay their respects to George and a more shrewd and rascally looking
                                      company I have never seen, George told me that some of these men own up to three
                                      thousand head of cattle and more. The chief was as fat and Rabelasian as his second in
                                      command was emaciated, bucktoothed and prim. The Chief shook hands with George
                                      and greeted me and settled himself on the wall of the resthouse porch opposite
                                      George. The lesser headmen, after politely greeting us, grouped themselves in a
                                      semi circle below the steps with their ‘aides’ respectfully standing behind them. I
                                      remained sitting in the only chair and watched the proceedings with interest and

                                      These old Masai, I noticed, cared nothing for adornment. They had proved
                                      themselves as warriors in the past and were known to be wealthy and influential so did
                                      not need to make any display. Most of them had their heads comfortably shaved and
                                      wore only a drab blanket or goatskin cloak. Their only ornaments were earrings whose
                                      effect was somewhat marred by the serviceable and homely large safety pin that
                                      dangled from the lobe of one ear. All carried staves instead of spears and all, except for
                                      Buckteeth and one blind old skeleton of a man, appeared to have a keenly developed
                                      sense of humour.

                                      “Mummy?” asked John in an urgent whisper, “Is that old blind man nearly dead?”
                                      “Yes dear”, said I, “I expect he’ll soon die.” “What here?” breathed John in a tone of
                                      keen anticipation and, until the meeting broke up and the old man left, he had John’s
                                      undivided attention.

                                      After local news and the game situation had been discussed, the talk turned to the
                                      war. “When will the war end?” moaned the fat Chief. “We have made great gifts of cattle
                                      to the War Funds, we are taxed out of existence.” George replied with the Ki-Swahili
                                      equivalent of ‘Sez you!’. This sally was received with laughter and the old fellows rose to
                                      go. They made their farewells and dignified exits, pausing on their way to stare at our
                                      pink and white Henry, who sat undismayed in his push chair giving them stare for stare
                                      from his striking grey eyes.

                                      Towards evening some Masai, prompted no doubt by our native servants,
                                      brought a sheep for sale. It was the last night of the fast of Ramadan and our
                                      Mohammedan boys hoped to feast next day at our expense. Their faces fell when
                                      George refused to buy the animal. “Why should I pay fifteen shillings for a sheep?” he
                                      asked, “Am I not the Bwana Nyama and is not the bush full of my sheep?” (Bwana
                                      Nyama is the native name for a Game Ranger, but means literally, ‘Master of the meat’)
                                      George meant that he would shoot a buck for the men next day, but this incident was to
                                      have a strange sequel. Ngassamet resthouse consists of one room so small we could
                                      not put up all our camp beds and George and I slept on the cement floor which was
                                      unkind to my curves. The night was bitterly cold and all night long hyaenas screeched
                                      hideously outside. So we rose at dawn without reluctance and were on our way before it
                                      was properly light.

                                      George had decided that it would be foolhardy to return home by our outward
                                      route as he did not care to risk another crossing of the suspension bridge. So we
                                      returned to Nabarera and there turned onto a little used track which would eventually take
                                      us to the Great North Road a few miles South of Arusha. There was not much game
                                      about but I saw Oryx which I had not previously seen. Soon it grew intolerably hot and I
                                      think all of us but George were dozing when he suddenly stopped the lorry and pointed
                                      to the right. “Mpishi”, he called to the cook, “There’s your sheep!” True enough, on that
                                      dreary thorn covered plain,with not another living thing in sight, stood a fat black sheep.

                                      There was an incredulous babbling from the back of the lorry. Every native
                                      jumped to the ground and in no time at all the wretched sheep was caught and
                                      slaughtered. I felt sick. “Oh George”, I wailed, “The poor lost sheep! I shan’t eat a scrap
                                      of it.” George said nothing but went and had a look at the sheep and called out to me,
                                      “Come and look at it. It was kindness to kill the poor thing, the vultures have been at it
                                      already and the hyaenas would have got it tonight.” I went reluctantly and saw one eye
                                      horribly torn out, and small deep wounds on the sheep’s back where the beaks of the
                                      vultures had cut through the heavy fleece. Poor thing! I went back to the lorry more
                                      determined than ever not to eat mutton on that trip. The Scouts and servants had no
                                      such scruples. The fine fat sheep had been sent by Allah for their feast day and that was
                                      the end of it.

                                      “ ‘Mpishi’ is more convinced than ever that I am a wizard”, said George in
                                      amusement as he started the lorry. I knew what he meant. Several times before George
                                      had foretold something which had later happened. Pure coincidence, but strange enough
                                      to give rise to a legend that George had the power to arrange things. “What happened
                                      of course”, explained George, “Is that a flock of Masai sheep was driven to market along
                                      this track yesterday or the day before. This one strayed and was not missed.”

                                      The day grew hotter and hotter and for long miles we looked out for a camping
                                      spot but could find little shade and no trace of water anywhere. At last, in the early
                                      afternoon we reached another pokey little rest house and asked for water. “There is no
                                      water here,” said the native caretaker. “Early in the morning there is water in a well nearby
                                      but we are allowed only one kerosene tin full and by ten o’clock the well is dry.” I looked
                                      at George in dismay for we were all so tired and dusty. “Where do the Masai from the
                                      village water their cattle then?” asked George. “About two miles away through the bush.
                                      If you take me with you I shall show you”, replied the native.

                                      So we turned off into the bush and followed a cattle track even more tortuous than
                                      the one to Lolbeni. Two Scouts walked ahead to warn us of hazards and I stretched my
                                      arm across the open window to fend off thorns. Henry screamed with fright and hunger.
                                      But George’s efforts to reach water went unrewarded as we were brought to a stop by
                                      a deep donga. The native from the resthouse was apologetic. He had mistaken the
                                      path, perhaps if we turned back we might find it. George was beyond speech. We
                                      lurched back the way we had come and made our camp under the first large tree we
                                      could find. Then off went our camp boys on foot to return just before dark with the water.
                                      However they were cheerful for there was an unlimited quantity of dry wood for their fires
                                      and meat in plenty for their feast. Long after George and I left our campfire and had gone
                                      to bed, we could see the cheerful fires of the boys and hear their chatter and laughter.
                                      I woke in the small hours to hear the insane cackling of hyaenas gloating over a
                                      find. Later I heard scuffling around the camp table, I peered over the tailboard of the lorry
                                      and saw George come out of his tent. What are you doing?” I whispered. “Looking for
                                      something to throw at those bloody hyaenas,” answered George for all the world as
                                      though those big brutes were tomcats on the prowl. Though the hyaenas kept up their
                                      concert all night the children never stirred, nor did any of them wake at night throughout
                                      the safari.

                                      Early next morning I walked across to the camp kitchen to enquire into the loud
                                      lamentations coming from that quarter. “Oh Memsahib”, moaned the cook, “We could
                                      not sleep last night for the bad hyaenas round our tents. They have taken every scrap of
                                      meat we had left over from the feast., even the meat we had left to smoke over the fire.”
                                      Jim, who of our three young sons is the cook’s favourite commiserated with him. He said
                                      in Ki-Swahili, which he speaks with great fluency, “Truly those hyaenas are very bad
                                      creatures. They also robbed us. They have taken my hat from the table and eaten the
                                      new soap from the washbowl.

                                      Our last day in the bush was a pleasantly lazy one. We drove through country
                                      that grew more open and less dry as we approached Arusha. We pitched our camp
                                      near a large dam, and the water was a blessed sight after a week of scorched country.
                                      On the plains to the right of our camp was a vast herd of native cattle enjoying a brief
                                      rest after their long day trek through Masailand. They were destined to walk many more
                                      weary miles before reaching their destination, a meat canning factory in Kenya.
                                      The ground to the left of the camp rose gently to form a long low hill and on the
                                      grassy slopes we could see wild ostriches and herds of wildebeest, zebra and
                                      antelope grazing amicably side by side. In the late afternoon I watched the groups of
                                      zebra and wildebeest merge into one. Then with a wildebeest leading, they walked
                                      down the slope in single file to drink at the vlei . When they were satisfied, a wildebeest
                                      once more led the herd up the trail. The others followed in a long and orderly file, and
                                      vanished over the hill to their evening pasture.

                                      When they had gone, George took up his shotgun and invited John to
                                      accompany him to the dam to shoot duck. This was the first time John had acted as
                                      retriever but he did very well and proudly helped to carry a mixed bag of sand grouse
                                      and duck back to camp.

                                      Next morning we turned into the Great North Road and passed first through
                                      carefully tended coffee shambas and then through the township of Arusha, nestling at
                                      the foot of towering Mount Meru. Beyond Arusha we drove through the Usa River
                                      settlement where again coffee shambas and European homesteads line the road, and
                                      saw before us the magnificent spectacle of Kilimanjaro unveiled, its white snow cap
                                      gleaming in the sunlight. Before mid day we were home. “Well was it worth it?” enquired
                                      George at lunch. “Lovely,” I replied. ”Let’s go again soon.” Then thinking regretfully of
                                      our absent children I sighed, “If only Ann, George, and Kate could have gone with us

                                      Lyamungu 10th November. 1944

                                      Dearest Family.

                                      Mummy wants to know how I fill in my time with George away on safari for weeks
                                      on end. I do believe that you all picture me idling away my days, waited on hand and
                                      foot by efficient servants! On the contrary, life is one rush and the days never long

                                      To begin with, our servants are anything but efficient, apart from our cook, Hamisi
                                      Issa, who really is competent. He suffers from frustration because our budget will not run
                                      to elaborate dishes so there is little scope for his culinary art. There is one masterpiece
                                      which is much appreciated by John and Jim. Hamisi makes a most realistic crocodile out
                                      of pastry and stuffs its innards with minced meat. This revolting reptile is served on a
                                      bed of parsley on my largest meat dish. The cook is a strict Mohammedan and
                                      observes all the fasts and daily prayers and, like all Mohammedans he is very clean in
                                      his person and, thank goodness, in the kitchen.

                                      His wife is his pride and joy but not his helpmate. She does absolutely nothing
                                      but sit in a chair in the sun all day, sipping tea and smoking cigarettes – a more
                                      expensive brand than mine! It is Hamisi who sweeps out their quarters, cooks
                                      delectable curries for her, and spends more than he can afford on clothing and trinkets for
                                      his wife. She just sits there with her ‘Mona Lisa’ smile and her painted finger and toe
                                      nails, doing absolutely nothing.

                                      The thing is that natives despise women who do work and this applies especially
                                      to their white employers. House servants much prefer a Memsahib who leaves
                                      everything to them and is careless about locking up her pantry. When we first came to
                                      Lyamungu I had great difficulty in employing a houseboy. A couple of rather efficient
                                      ones did approach me but when they heard the wages I was prepared to pay and that
                                      there was no number 2 boy, they simply were not interested. Eventually I took on a
                                      local boy called Japhet who suits me very well except that his sight is not good and he
                                      is extremely hard on the crockery. He tells me that he has lost face by working here
                                      because his friends say that he works for a family that is too mean to employ a second
                                      boy. I explained that with our large family we simply cannot afford to pay more, but this
                                      didn’t register at all. Japhet says “But Wazungu (Europeans) all have money. They just
                                      have to get it from the Bank.”

                                      The third member of our staff is a strapping youth named Tovelo who helps both
                                      cook and boy, and consequently works harder than either. What do I do? I chivvy the
                                      servants, look after the children, supervise John’s lessons, and make all my clothing and
                                      the children’s on that blessed old hand sewing machine.

                                      The folk on this station entertain a good deal but we usually decline invitations
                                      because we simply cannot afford to reciprocate. However, last Saturday night I invited
                                      two couples to drinks and dinner. This was such an unusual event that the servants and I
                                      were thrown into a flurry. In the end the dinner went off well though it ended in disaster. In
                                      spite of my entreaties and exhortations to Japhet not to pile everything onto the tray at
                                      once when clearing the table, he did just that. We were starting our desert and I was
                                      congratulating myself that all had gone well when there was a frightful crash of breaking
                                      china on the back verandah. I excused myself and got up to investigate. A large meat
                                      dish, six dinner plates and four vegetable dishes lay shattered on the cement floor! I
                                      controlled my tongue but what my eyes said to Japhet is another matter. What he said
                                      was, “It is not my fault Memsahib. The handle of the tray came off.”

                                      It is a curious thing about native servants that they never accept responsibility for
                                      a mishap. If they cannot pin their misdeeds onto one of their fellow servants then the responsibility rests with God. ‘Shauri ya Mungu’, (an act of God) is a familiar cry. Fatalists
                                      can be very exasperating employees.

                                      The loss of my dinner service is a real tragedy because, being war time, one can
                                      buy only china of the poorest quality made for the native trade. Nor was that the final
                                      disaster of the evening. When we moved to the lounge for coffee I noticed that the
                                      coffee had been served in the battered old safari coffee pot instead of the charming little
                                      antique coffee pot which my Mother-in-law had sent for our tenth wedding anniversary.
                                      As there had already been a disturbance I made no comment but resolved to give the
                                      cook a piece of my mind in the morning. My instructions to the cook had been to warm
                                      the coffee pot with hot water immediately before serving. On no account was he to put
                                      the pewter pot on the hot iron stove. He did and the result was a small hole in the base
                                      of the pot – or so he says. When I saw the pot next morning there was a two inch hole in

                                      Hamisi explained placidly how this had come about. He said he knew I would be
                                      mad when I saw the little hole so he thought he would have it mended and I might not
                                      notice it. Early in the morning he had taken the pewter pot to the mechanic who looks
                                      after the Game Department vehicles and had asked him to repair it. The bright individual
                                      got busy with the soldering iron with the most devastating result. “It’s his fault,” said
                                      Hamisi, “He is a mechanic, he should have known what would happen.”
                                      One thing is certain, there will be no more dinner parties in this house until the war
                                      is ended.

                                      The children are well and so am I, and so was George when he left on his safari
                                      last Monday.

                                      Much love,



                                        From Tanganyika with Love

                                        continued part 7

                                        With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                        Oldeani Hospital. 19th September 1938

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        George arrived today to take us home to Mbulu but Sister Marianne will not allow
                                        me to travel for another week as I had a bit of a set back after baby’s birth. At first I was
                                        very fit and on the third day Sister stripped the bed and, dictionary in hand, started me
                                        off on ante natal exercises. “Now make a bridge Mrs Rushby. So. Up down, up down,’
                                        whilst I obediently hoisted myself aloft on heels and head. By the sixth day she
                                        considered it was time for me to be up and about but alas, I soon had to return to bed
                                        with a temperature and a haemorrhage. I got up and walked outside for the first time this

                                        I have had lots of visitors because the local German settlers seem keen to see
                                        the first British baby born in the hospital. They have been most kind, sending flowers
                                        and little German cards of congratulations festooned with cherubs and rather sweet. Most
                                        of the women, besides being pleasant, are very smart indeed, shattering my illusion that
                                        German matrons are invariably fat and dowdy. They are all much concerned about the
                                        Czecko-Slovakian situation, especially Sister Marianne whose home is right on the
                                        border and has several relations who are Sudentan Germans. She is ant-Nazi and
                                        keeps on asking me whether I think England will declare war if Hitler invades Czecko-
                                        Slovakia, as though I had inside information.

                                        George tells me that he has had a grass ‘banda’ put up for us at Mbulu as we are
                                        both determined not to return to those prison-like quarters in the Fort. Sister Marianne is
                                        horrified at the idea of taking a new baby to live in a grass hut. She told George,
                                        “No,No,Mr Rushby. I find that is not to be allowed!” She is an excellent Sister but rather
                                        prim and George enjoys teasing her. This morning he asked with mock seriousness,
                                        “Sister, why has my wife not received her medal?” Sister fluttered her dictionary before
                                        asking. “What medal Mr Rushby”. “Why,” said George, “The medal that Hitler gives to
                                        women who have borne four children.” Sister started a long and involved explanation
                                        about the medal being only for German mothers whilst George looked at me and

                                        Later. Great Jubilation here. By the noise in Sister Marianne’s sitting room last night it
                                        sounded as though the whole German population had gathered to listen to the wireless
                                        news. I heard loud exclamations of joy and then my bedroom door burst open and
                                        several women rushed in. “Thank God “, they cried, “for Neville Chamberlain. Now there
                                        will be no war.” They pumped me by the hand as though I were personally responsible
                                        for the whole thing.

                                        George on the other hand is disgusted by Chamberlain’s lack of guts. Doesn’t
                                        know what England is coming to these days. I feel too content to concern myself with
                                        world affairs. I have a fine husband and four wonderful children and am happy, happy,


                                        Mbulu. 30th September 1938

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        Here we are, comfortably installed in our little green house made of poles and
                                        rushes from a nearby swamp. The house has of course, no doors or windows, but
                                        there are rush blinds which roll up in the day time. There are two rooms and a little porch
                                        and out at the back there is a small grass kitchen.

                                        Here we have the privacy which we prize so highly as we are screened on one
                                        side by a Forest Department plantation and on the other three sides there is nothing but
                                        the rolling countryside cropped bare by the far too large herds of cattle and goats of the
                                        Wambulu. I have a lovely lazy time. I still have Kesho-Kutwa and the cook we brought
                                        with us from the farm. They are both faithful and willing souls though not very good at
                                        their respective jobs. As one of these Mbeya boys goes on safari with George whose
                                        job takes him from home for three weeks out of four, I have taken on a local boy to cut
                                        firewood and heat my bath water and generally make himself useful. His name is Saa,
                                        which means ‘Clock’

                                        We had an uneventful but very dusty trip from Oldeani. Johnny Jo travelled in his
                                        pram in the back of the boxbody and got covered in dust but seems none the worst for
                                        it. As the baby now takes up much of my time and Kate was showing signs of
                                        boredom, I have engaged a little African girl to come and play with Kate every morning.
                                        She is the daughter of the head police Askari and a very attractive and dignified little
                                        person she is. Her name is Kajyah. She is scrupulously clean, as all Mohammedan
                                        Africans seem to be. Alas, Kajyah, though beautiful, is a bore. She simply does not
                                        know how to play, so they just wander around hand in hand.

                                        There are only two drawbacks to this little house. Mbulu is a very windy spot so
                                        our little reed house is very draughty. I have made a little tent of sheets in one corner of
                                        the ‘bedroom’ into which I can retire with Johnny when I wish to bathe or sponge him.
                                        The other drawback is that many insects are attracted at night by the lamp and make it
                                        almost impossible to read or sew and they have a revolting habit of falling into the soup.
                                        There are no dangerous wild animals in this area so I am not at all nervous in this
                                        flimsy little house when George is on safari. Most nights hyaenas come around looking
                                        for scraps but our dogs, Fanny and Paddy, soon see them off.


                                        Mbulu. 25th October 1938

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        Great news! a vacancy has occurred in the Game Department. George is to
                                        transfer to it next month. There will be an increase in salary and a brighter prospect for
                                        the future. It will mean a change of scene and I shall be glad of that. We like Mbulu and
                                        the people here but the rains have started and our little reed hut is anything but water

                                        Before the rain came we had very unpleasant dust storms. I think I told you that
                                        this is a treeless area and the grass which normally covers the veldt has been cropped
                                        to the roots by the hungry native cattle and goats. When the wind blows the dust
                                        collects in tall black columns which sweep across the country in a most spectacular
                                        fashion. One such dust devil struck our hut one day whilst we were at lunch. George
                                        swept Kate up in a second and held her face against his chest whilst I rushed to Johnny
                                        Jo who was asleep in his pram, and stooped over the pram to protect him. The hut
                                        groaned and creaked and clouds of dust blew in through the windows and walls covering
                                        our persons, food, and belongings in a black pall. The dogs food bowls and an empty
                                        petrol tin outside the hut were whirled up and away. It was all over in a moment but you
                                        should have seen what a family of sweeps we looked. George looked at our blackened
                                        Johnny and mimicked in Sister Marianne’s primmest tones, “I find that this is not to be

                                        The first rain storm caught me unprepared when George was away on safari. It
                                        was a terrific thunderstorm. The quite violent thunder and lightening were followed by a
                                        real tropical downpour. As the hut is on a slight slope, the storm water poured through
                                        the hut like a river, covering the entire floor, and the roof leaked like a lawn sprinkler.
                                        Johnny Jo was snug enough in the pram with the hood raised, but Kate and I had a
                                        damp miserable night. Next morning I had deep drains dug around the hut and when
                                        George returned from safari he managed to borrow an enormous tarpaulin which is now
                                        lashed down over the roof.

                                        It did not rain during the next few days George was home but the very next night
                                        we were in trouble again. I was awakened by screams from Kate and hurriedly turned up
                                        the lamp to see that we were in the midst of an invasion of siafu ants. Kate’s bed was
                                        covered in them. Others appeared to be raining down from the thatch. I quickly stripped
                                        Kate and carried her across to my bed, whilst I rushed to the pram to see whether
                                        Johnny Jo was all right. He was fast asleep, bless him, and slept on through all the
                                        commotion, whilst I struggled to pick all the ants out of Kate’s hair, stopping now and
                                        again to attend to my own discomfort. These ants have a painful bite and seem to
                                        choose all the most tender spots. Kate fell asleep eventually but I sat up for the rest of
                                        the night to make sure that the siafu kept clear of the children. Next morning the servants
                                        dispersed them by laying hot ash.

                                        In spite of the dampness of the hut both children are blooming. Kate has rosy
                                        cheeks and Johnny Jo now has a fuzz of fair hair and has lost his ‘old man’ look. He
                                        reminds me of Ann at his age.


                                        Iringa. 30th November 1938

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        Here we are back in the Southern Highlands and installed on the second floor of
                                        another German Fort. This one has been modernised however and though not so
                                        romantic as the Mbulu Fort from the outside, it is much more comfortable.We are all well
                                        and I am really proud of our two safari babies who stood up splendidly to a most trying
                                        journey North from Mbulu to Arusha and then South down the Great North Road to
                                        Iringa where we expect to stay for a month.

                                        At Arusha George reported to the headquarters of the Game Department and
                                        was instructed to come on down here on Rinderpest Control. There is a great flap on in
                                        case the rinderpest spread to Northern Rhodesia and possibly onwards to Southern
                                        Rhodesia and South Africa. Extra veterinary officers have been sent to this area to
                                        inoculate all the cattle against the disease whilst George and his African game Scouts will
                                        comb the bush looking for and destroying diseased game. If the rinderpest spreads,
                                        George says it may be necessary to shoot out all the game in a wide belt along the
                                        border between the Southern Highlands of Tanganyika and Northern Rhodesia, to
                                        prevent the disease spreading South. The very idea of all this destruction sickens us

                                        George left on a foot safari the day after our arrival and I expect I shall be lucky if I
                                        see him occasionally at weekends until this job is over. When rinderpest is under control
                                        George is to be stationed at a place called Nzassa in the Eastern Province about 18
                                        miles from Dar es Salaam. George’s orderly, who is a tall, cheerful Game Scout called
                                        Juma, tells me that he has been stationed at Nzassa and it is a frightful place! However I
                                        refuse to be depressed. I now have the cheering prospect of leave to England in thirty
                                        months time when we will be able to fetch Ann and George and be a proper family
                                        again. Both Ann and George look happy in the snapshots which mother-in-law sends
                                        frequently. Ann is doing very well at school and loves it.

                                        To get back to our journey from Mbulu. It really was quite an experience. It
                                        poured with rain most of the way and the road was very slippery and treacherous the
                                        120 miles between Mbulu and Arusha. This is a little used earth road and the drains are
                                        so blocked with silt as to be practically non existent. As usual we started our move with
                                        the V8 loaded to capacity. I held Johnny on my knee and Kate squeezed in between
                                        George and me. All our goods and chattels were in wooden boxes stowed in the back
                                        and the two houseboys and the two dogs had to adjust themselves to the space that
                                        remained. We soon ran into trouble and it took us all day to travel 47 miles. We stuck
                                        several times in deep mud and had some most nasty skids. I simply clutched Kate in
                                        one hand and Johnny Jo in the other and put my trust in George who never, under any
                                        circumstances, loses his head. Poor Johnny only got his meals when circumstances
                                        permitted. Unfortunately I had put him on a bottle only a few days before we left Mbulu
                                        and, as I was unable to buy either a primus stove or Thermos flask there we had to
                                        make a fire and boil water for each meal. Twice George sat out in the drizzle with a rain
                                        coat rapped over his head to protect a miserable little fire of wet sticks drenched with
                                        paraffin. Whilst we waited for the water to boil I pacified John by letting him suck a cube
                                        of Tate and Lyles sugar held between my rather grubby fingers. Not at all according to
                                        the book.

                                        That night George, the children and I slept in the car having dumped our boxes
                                        and the two servants in a deserted native hut. The rain poured down relentlessly all night
                                        and by morning the road was more of a morass than ever. We swerved and skidded
                                        alarmingly till eventually one of the wheel chains broke and had to be tied together with
                                        string which constantly needed replacing. George was so patient though he was wet
                                        and muddy and tired and both children were very good. Shortly before reaching the Great North Road we came upon Jack Gowan, the Stock Inspector from Mbulu. His car
                                        was bogged down to its axles in black mud. He refused George’s offer of help saying
                                        that he had sent his messenger to a nearby village for help.

                                        I hoped that conditions would be better on the Great North Road but how over
                                        optimistic I was. For miles the road runs through a belt of ‘black cotton soil’. which was
                                        churned up into the consistency of chocolate blancmange by the heavy lorry traffic which
                                        runs between Dodoma and Arusha. Soon the car was skidding more fantastically than
                                        ever. Once it skidded around in a complete semi circle so George decided that it would
                                        be safer for us all to walk whilst he negotiated the very bad patches. You should have
                                        seen me plodding along in the mud and drizzle with the baby in one arm and Kate
                                        clinging to the other. I was terrified of slipping with Johnny. Each time George reached
                                        firm ground he would return on foot to carry Kate and in this way we covered many bad
                                        patches.We were more fortunate than many other travellers. We passed several lorries
                                        ditched on the side of the road and one car load of German men, all elegantly dressed in
                                        lounge suits. One was busy with his camera so will have a record of their plight to laugh
                                        over in the years to come. We spent another night camping on the road and next day
                                        set out on the last lap of the journey. That also was tiresome but much better than the
                                        previous day and we made the haven of the Arusha Hotel before dark. What a picture
                                        we made as we walked through the hall in our mud splattered clothes! Even Johnny was
                                        well splashed with mud but no harm was done and both he and Kate are blooming.
                                        We rested for two days at Arusha and then came South to Iringa. Luckily the sun
                                        came out and though for the first day the road was muddy it was no longer so slippery
                                        and the second day found us driving through parched country and along badly
                                        corrugated roads. The further South we came, the warmer the sun which at times blazed
                                        through the windscreen and made us all uncomfortably hot. I have described the country
                                        between Arusha and Dodoma before so I shan’t do it again. We reached Iringa without
                                        mishap and after a good nights rest all felt full of beans.


                                        Mchewe Estate, Mbeya. 7th January 1939.

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        You will be surprised to note that we are back on the farm! At least the children
                                        and I are here. George is away near the Rhodesian border somewhere, still on
                                        Rinderpest control.

                                        I had a pleasant time at Iringa, lots of invitations to morning tea and Kate had a
                                        wonderful time enjoying the novelty of playing with children of her own age. She is not
                                        shy but nevertheless likes me to be within call if not within sight. It was all very suburban
                                        but pleasant enough. A few days before Christmas George turned up at Iringa and
                                        suggested that, as he would be working in the Mbeya area, it might be a good idea for
                                        the children and me to move to the farm. I agreed enthusiastically, completely forgetting
                                        that after my previous trouble with the leopard I had vowed to myself that I would never
                                        again live alone on the farm.

                                        Alas no sooner had we arrived when Thomas, our farm headman, brought the
                                        news that there were now two leopards terrorising the neighbourhood, and taking dogs,
                                        goats and sheep and chickens. Traps and poisoned bait had been tried in vain and he
                                        was sure that the female was the same leopard which had besieged our home before.
                                        Other leopards said Thomas, came by stealth but this one advertised her whereabouts
                                        in the most brazen manner.

                                        George stayed with us on the farm over Christmas and all was quiet at night so I
                                        cheered up and took the children for walks along the overgrown farm paths. However on
                                        New Years Eve that darned leopard advertised her presence again with the most blood
                                        chilling grunts and snarls. Horrible! Fanny and Paddy barked and growled and woke up
                                        both children. Kate wept and kept saying, “Send it away mummy. I don’t like it.” Johnny
                                        Jo howled in sympathy. What a picnic. So now the whole performance of bodyguards
                                        has started again and ‘till George returns we confine our exercise to the garden.
                                        Our little house is still cosy and sweet but the coffee plantation looks very
                                        neglected. I wish to goodness we could sell it.


                                        Nzassa 14th February 1939.

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        After three months of moving around with two small children it is heavenly to be
                                        settled in our own home, even though Nzassa is an isolated spot and has the reputation
                                        of being unhealthy.

                                        We travelled by car from Mbeya to Dodoma by now a very familiar stretch of
                                        country, but from Dodoma to Dar es Salaam by train which made a nice change. We
                                        spent two nights and a day in the Splendid Hotel in Dar es Salaam, George had some
                                        official visits to make and I did some shopping and we took the children to the beach.
                                        The bay is so sheltered that the sea is as calm as a pond and the water warm. It is
                                        wonderful to see the sea once more and to hear tugs hooting and to watch the Arab
                                        dhows putting out to sea with their oddly shaped sails billowing. I do love the bush, but
                                        I love the sea best of all, as you know.

                                        We made an early start for Nzassa on the 3rd. For about four miles we bowled
                                        along a good road. This brought us to a place called Temeke where George called on
                                        the District Officer. His house appears to be the only European type house there. The
                                        road between Temeke and the turn off to Nzassa is quite good, but the six mile stretch
                                        from the turn off to Nzassa is a very neglected bush road. There is nothing to be seen
                                        but the impenetrable bush on both sides with here and there a patch of swampy
                                        ground where rice is planted in the wet season.

                                        After about six miles of bumpy road we reached Nzassa which is nothing more
                                        than a sandy clearing in the bush. Our house however is a fine one. It was originally built
                                        for the District Officer and there is a small court house which is now George’s office. The
                                        District Officer died of blackwater fever so Nzassa was abandoned as an administrative
                                        station being considered too unhealthy for Administrative Officers but suitable as
                                        Headquarters for a Game Ranger. Later a bachelor Game Ranger was stationed here
                                        but his health also broke down and he has been invalided to England. So now the
                                        healthy Rushbys are here and we don’t mean to let the place get us down. So don’t

                                        The house consists of three very large and airy rooms with their doors opening
                                        on to a wide front verandah which we shall use as a living room. There is also a wide
                                        back verandah with a store room at one end and a bathroom at the other. Both
                                        verandahs and the end windows of the house are screened my mosquito gauze wire
                                        and further protected by a trellis work of heavy expanded metal. Hasmani, the Game
                                        Scout, who has been acting as caretaker, tells me that the expanded metal is very
                                        necessary because lions often come out of the bush at night and roam around the
                                        house. Such a comforting thought!

                                        On our very first evening we discovered how necessary the mosquito gauze is.
                                        After sunset the air outside is thick with mosquitos from the swamps. About an acre of
                                        land has been cleared around the house. This is a sandy waste because there is no
                                        water laid on here and absolutely nothing grows here except a rather revolting milky
                                        desert bush called ‘Manyara’, and a few acacia trees. A little way from the house there is
                                        a patch of citrus trees, grape fruit, I think, but whether they ever bear fruit I don’t know.
                                        The clearing is bordered on three sides by dense dusty thorn bush which is
                                        ‘lousy with buffalo’ according to George. The open side is the road which leads down to
                                        George’s office and the huts for the Game Scouts. Only Hasmani and George’s orderly
                                        Juma and their wives and families live there, and the other huts provide shelter for the
                                        Game Scouts from the bush who come to Nzassa to collect their pay and for a short
                                        rest. I can see that my daily walk will always be the same, down the road to the huts and
                                        back! However I don’t mind because it is far too hot to take much exercise.

                                        The climate here is really tropical and worse than on the coast because the thick
                                        bush cuts us off from any sea breeze. George says it will be cooler when the rains start
                                        but just now we literally drip all day. Kate wears nothing but a cotton sun suit, and Johnny
                                        a napkin only, but still their little bodies are always moist. I have shorn off all Kate’s lovely
                                        shoulder length curls and got George to cut my hair very short too.

                                        We simply must buy a refrigerator. The butter, and even the cheese we bought
                                        in Dar. simply melted into pools of oil overnight, and all our meat went bad, so we are
                                        living out of tins. However once we get organised I shall be quite happy here. I like this
                                        spacious house and I have good servants. The cook, Hamisi Issa, is a Swahili from Lindi
                                        whom we engaged in Dar es Salaam. He is a very dignified person, and like most
                                        devout Mohammedan Cooks, keeps both his person and the kitchen spotless. I
                                        engaged the house boy here. He is rather a timid little body but is very willing and quite
                                        capable. He has an excessively plain but cheerful wife whom I have taken on as ayah. I
                                        do not really need help with the children but feel I must have a woman around just in
                                        case I go down with malaria when George is away on safari.


                                        Nzassa 28th February 1939.

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        George’s birthday and we had a special tea party this afternoon which the
                                        children much enjoyed. We have our frig now so I am able to make jellies and provide
                                        them with really cool drinks.

                                        Our very first visitor left this morning after spending only one night here. He is Mr
                                        Ionides, the Game Ranger from the Southern Province. He acted as stand in here for a
                                        short while after George’s predecessor left for England on sick leave, and where he has
                                        since died. Mr Ionides returned here to hand over the range and office formally to
                                        George. He seems a strange man and is from all accounts a bit of a hermit. He was at
                                        one time an Officer in the Regular Army but does not look like a soldier, he wears the
                                        most extraordinary clothes but nevertheless contrives to look top-drawer. He was
                                        educated at Rugby and Sandhurst and is, I should say, well read. Ionides told us that he
                                        hated Nzassa, particularly the house which he thinks sinister and says he always slept
                                        down in the office.

                                        The house, or at least one bedroom, seems to have the same effect on Kate.
                                        She has been very nervous at night ever since we arrived. At first the children occupied
                                        the bedroom which is now George’s. One night, soon after our arrival, Kate woke up
                                        screaming to say that ‘something’ had looked at her through the mosquito net. She was
                                        in such a hysterical state that inspite of the heat and discomfort I was obliged to crawl into
                                        her little bed with her and remained there for the rest of the night.

                                        Next night I left a night lamp burning but even so I had to sit by her bed until she
                                        dropped off to sleep. Again I was awakened by ear-splitting screams and this time
                                        found Kate standing rigid on her bed. I lifted her out and carried her to a chair meaning to
                                        comfort her but she screeched louder than ever, “Look Mummy it’s under the bed. It’s
                                        looking at us.” In vain I pointed out that there was nothing at all there. By this time
                                        George had joined us and he carried Kate off to his bed in the other room whilst I got into
                                        Kate’s bed thinking she might have been frightened by a rat which might also disturb

                                        Next morning our houseboy remarked that he had heard Kate screaming in the
                                        night from his room behind the kitchen. I explained what had happened and he must
                                        have told the old Scout Hasmani who waylaid me that afternoon and informed me quite
                                        seriously that that particular room was haunted by a ‘sheitani’ (devil) who hates children.
                                        He told me that whilst he was acting as caretaker before our arrival he one night had his
                                        wife and small daughter in the room to keep him company. He said that his small
                                        daughter woke up and screamed exactly as Kate had done! Silly coincidence I
                                        suppose, but such strange things happen in Africa that I decided to move the children
                                        into our room and George sleeps in solitary state in the haunted room! Kate now sleeps
                                        peacefully once she goes to sleep but I have to stay with her until she does.

                                        I like this house and it does not seem at all sinister to me. As I mentioned before,
                                        the rooms are high ceilinged and airy, and have cool cement floors. We have made one
                                        end of the enclosed verandah into the living room and the other end is the playroom for
                                        the children. The space in between is a sort of no-mans land taken over by the dogs as
                                        their special territory.


                                        Nzassa 25th March 1939.

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        George is on safari down in the Rufigi River area. He is away for about three
                                        weeks in the month on this job. I do hate to see him go and just manage to tick over until
                                        he comes back. But what fun and excitement when he does come home.
                                        Usually he returns after dark by which time the children are in bed and I have
                                        settled down on the verandah with a book. The first warning is usually given by the
                                        dogs, Fanny and her son Paddy. They stir, sit up, look at each other and then go and sit
                                        side by side by the door with their noses practically pressed to the mosquito gauze and
                                        ears pricked. Soon I can hear the hum of the car, and so can Hasmani, the old Game
                                        Scout who sleeps on the back verandah with rifle and ammunition by his side when
                                        George is away. When he hears the car he turns up his lamp and hurries out to rouse
                                        Juma, the houseboy. Juma pokes up the fire and prepares tea which George always
                                        drinks whist a hot meal is being prepared. In the meantime I hurriedly comb my hair and
                                        powder my nose so that when the car stops I am ready to rush out and welcome
                                        George home. The boy and Hasmani and the garden boy appear to help with the
                                        luggage and to greet George and the cook, who always accompanies George on
                                        Safari. The home coming is always a lively time with much shouting of greetings.
                                        ‘Jambo’, and ‘Habari ya safari’, whilst the dogs, beside themselves with excitement,
                                        rush around like lunatics.

                                        As though his return were not happiness enough, George usually collects the
                                        mail on his way home so there is news of Ann and young George and letters from you
                                        and bundles of newspapers and magazines. On the day following his return home,
                                        George has to deal with official mail in the office but if the following day is a weekday we
                                        all, the house servants as well as ourselves, pile into the boxbody and go to Dar es
                                        Salaam. To us this means a mornings shopping followed by an afternoon on the beach.
                                        It is a bit cooler now that the rains are on but still very humid. Kate keeps chubby
                                        and rosy in spite of the climate but Johnny is too pale though sturdy enough. He is such
                                        a good baby which is just as well because Kate is a very demanding little girl though
                                        sunny tempered and sweet. I appreciate her company very much when George is
                                        away because we are so far off the beaten track that no one ever calls.


                                        Nzassa 28th April 1939.

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        You all seem to wonder how I can stand the loneliness and monotony of living at
                                        Nzassa when George is on safari, but really and truly I do not mind. Hamisi the cook
                                        always goes on safari with George and then the houseboy Juma takes over the cooking
                                        and I do the lighter housework. the children are great company during the day, and when
                                        they are settled for the night I sit on the verandah and read or write letters or I just dream.
                                        The verandah is entirely enclosed with both wire mosquito gauze and a trellis
                                        work of heavy expanded metal, so I am safe from all intruders be they human, animal, or
                                        insect. Outside the air is alive with mosquitos and the cicadas keep up their monotonous
                                        singing all night long. My only companions on the verandah are the pale ghecco lizards
                                        on the wall and the two dogs. Fanny the white bull terrier, lies always near my feet
                                        dozing happily, but her son Paddy, who is half Airedale has a less phlegmatic
                                        disposition. He sits alert and on guard by the metal trellis work door. Often a lion grunts
                                        from the surrounding bush and then his hackles rise and he stands up stiffly with his nose
                                        pressed to the door. Old Hasmani from his bedroll on the back verandah, gives a little
                                        cough just to show he is awake. Sometimes the lions are very close and then I hear the
                                        click of a rifle bolt as Hasmani loads his rifle – but this is usually much later at night when
                                        the lights are out. One morning I saw large pug marks between the wall of my bedroom
                                        and the garage but I do not fear lions like I did that beastly leopard on the farm.
                                        A great deal of witchcraft is still practiced in the bush villages in the
                                        neighbourhood. I must tell you about old Hasmani’s baby in connection with this. Last
                                        week Hasmani came to me in great distress to say that his baby was ‘Ngongwa sana ‘
                                        (very ill) and he thought it would die. I hurried down to the Game Scouts quarters to see
                                        whether I could do anything for the child and found the mother squatting in the sun
                                        outside her hut with the baby on her lap. The mother was a young woman but not an
                                        attractive one. She appeared sullen and indifferent compared with old Hasmani who
                                        was very distressed. The child was very feverish and breathing with difficulty and
                                        seemed to me to be suffering from bronchitis if not pneumonia. I rubbed his back and
                                        chest with camphorated oil and dosed him with aspirin and liquid quinine. I repeated the
                                        treatment every four hours, but next day there was no apparent improvement.
                                        In the afternoon Hasmani begged me to give him that night off duty and asked for
                                        a loan of ten shillings. He explained to me that it seemed to him that the white man’s
                                        medicine had failed to cure his child and now he wished to take the child to the local witch
                                        doctor. “For ten shillings” said Hasmani, “the Maganga will drive the devil out of my
                                        child.” “How?” asked I. “With drums”, said Hasmani confidently. I did not know what to
                                        do. I thought the child was too ill to be exposed to the night air, yet I knew that if I
                                        refused his request and the child were to die, Hasmani and all the other locals would hold
                                        me responsible. I very reluctantly granted his request. I was so troubled by the matter
                                        that I sent for George’s office clerk. Daniel, and asked him to accompany Hasmani to the
                                        ceremony and to report to me the next morning. It started to rain after dark and all night
                                        long I lay awake in bed listening to the drums and the light rain. Next morning when I
                                        went out to the kitchen to order breakfast I found a beaming Hasmani awaiting me.
                                        “Memsahib”, he said. “My child is well, the fever is now quite gone, the Maganga drove
                                        out the devil just as I told you.” Believe it or not, when I hurried to his quarters after
                                        breakfast I found the mother suckling a perfectly healthy child! It may be my imagination
                                        but I thought the mother looked pretty smug.The clerk Daniel told me that after Hasmani
                                        had presented gifts of money and food to the ‘Maganga’, the naked baby was placed
                                        on a goat skin near the drums. Most of the time he just lay there but sometimes the witch
                                        doctor picked him up and danced with the child in his arms. Daniel seemed reluctant to
                                        talk about it. Whatever mumbo jumbo was used all this happened a week ago and the
                                        baby has never looked back.


                                        Nzassa 3rd July 1939.

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        Did I tell you that one of George’s Game Scouts was murdered last month in the
                                        Maneromango area towards the Rufigi border. He was on routine patrol, with a porter
                                        carrying his bedding and food, when they suddenly came across a group of African
                                        hunters who were busy cutting up a giraffe which they had just killed. These hunters were
                                        all armed with muzzle loaders, spears and pangas, but as it is illegal to kill giraffe without
                                        a permit, the Scout went up to the group to take their names. Some argument ensued
                                        and the Scout was stabbed.

                                        The District Officer went to the area to investigate and decided to call in the Police
                                        from Dar es Salaam. A party of police went out to search for the murderers but after
                                        some days returned without making any arrests. George was on an elephant control
                                        safari in the Bagamoyo District and on his return through Dar es Salaam he heard of the
                                        murder. George was furious and distressed to hear the news and called in here for an
                                        hour on his way to Maneromango to search for the murderers himself.

                                        After a great deal of strenuous investigation he arrested three poachers, put them
                                        in jail for the night at Maneromango and then brought them to Dar es Salaam where they
                                        are all now behind bars. George will now have to prosecute in the Magistrate’s Court
                                        and try and ‘make a case’ so that the prisoners may be committed to the High Court to
                                        be tried for murder. George is convinced of their guilt and justifiably proud to have
                                        succeeded where the police failed.

                                        George had to borrow handcuffs for the prisoners from the Chief at
                                        Maneromango and these he brought back to Nzassa after delivering the prisoners to
                                        Dar es Salaam so that he may return them to the Chief when he revisits the area next

                                        I had not seen handcuffs before and picked up a pair to examine them. I said to
                                        George, engrossed in ‘The Times’, “I bet if you were arrested they’d never get
                                        handcuffs on your wrist. Not these anyway, they look too small.” “Standard pattern,”
                                        said George still concentrating on the newspaper, but extending an enormous relaxed
                                        left wrist. So, my dears, I put a bracelet round his wrist and as there was a wide gap I
                                        gave a hard squeeze with both hands. There was a sharp click as the handcuff engaged
                                        in the first notch. George dropped the paper and said, “Now you’ve done it, my love,
                                        one set of keys are in the Dar es Salaam Police Station, and the others with the Chief at
                                        Maneromango.” You can imagine how utterly silly I felt but George was an angel about it
                                        and said as he would have to go to Dar es Salaam we might as well all go.

                                        So we all piled into the car, George, the children and I in the front, and the cook
                                        and houseboy, immaculate in snowy khanzus and embroidered white caps, a Game
                                        Scout and the ayah in the back. George never once complain of the discomfort of the
                                        handcuff but I was uncomfortably aware that it was much too tight because his arm
                                        above the cuff looked red and swollen and the hand unnaturally pale. As the road is so
                                        bad George had to use both hands on the wheel and all the time the dangling handcuff
                                        clanked against the dashboard in an accusing way.

                                        We drove straight to the Police Station and I could hear the roars of laughter as
                                        George explained his predicament. Later I had to put up with a good deal of chaffing
                                        and congratulations upon putting the handcuffs on George.


                                        Nzassa 5th August 1939

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        George made a point of being here for Kate’s fourth birthday last week. Just
                                        because our children have no playmates George and I always do all we can to make
                                        birthdays very special occasions. We went to Dar es Salaam the day before the
                                        birthday and bought Kate a very sturdy tricycle with which she is absolutely delighted.
                                        You will be glad to know that your parcels arrived just in time and Kate loved all your
                                        gifts especially the little shop from Dad with all the miniature tins and packets of
                                        groceries. The tea set was also a great success and is much in use.

                                        We had a lively party which ended with George and me singing ‘Happy
                                        Birthday to you’, and ended with a wild game with balloons. Kate wore her frilly white net
                                        party frock and looked so pretty that it seemed a shame that there was no one but us to
                                        see her. Anyway it was a good party. I wish so much that you could see the children.
                                        Kate keeps rosy and has not yet had malaria. Johnny Jo is sturdy but pale. He
                                        runs a temperature now and again but I am not sure whether this is due to teething or
                                        malaria. Both children of course take quinine every day as George and I do. George
                                        quite frequently has malaria in spite of prophylactic quinine but this is not surprising as he
                                        got the germ thoroughly established in his system in his early elephant hunting days. I
                                        get it too occasionally but have not been really ill since that first time a month after my
                                        arrival in the country.

                                        Johnny is such a good baby. His chief claim to beauty is his head of soft golden
                                        curls but these are due to come off on his first birthday as George considers them too
                                        girlish. George left on safari the day after the party and the very next morning our wood
                                        boy had a most unfortunate accident. He was chopping a rather tough log when a chip
                                        flew up and split his upper lip clean through from mouth to nostril exposing teeth and
                                        gums. A truly horrible sight and very bloody. I cleaned up the wound as best I could
                                        and sent him off to the hospital at Dar es Salaam on the office bicycle. He wobbled
                                        away wretchedly down the road with a white cloth tied over his mouth to keep off the
                                        dust. He returned next day with his lip stitched and very swollen and bearing a
                                        resemblance to my lip that time I used the hair remover.


                                        Splendid Hotel. Dar es Salaam 7th September 1939

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        So now another war has started and it has disrupted even our lives. We have left
                                        Nzassa for good. George is now a Lieutenant in the King’s African Rifles and the children
                                        and I are to go to a place called Morogoro to await further developments.
                                        I was glad to read in today’s paper that South Africa has declared war on
                                        Germany. I would have felt pretty small otherwise in this hotel which is crammed full of
                                        men who have been called up for service in the Army. George seems exhilarated by
                                        the prospect of active service. He is bursting out of his uniform ( at the shoulders only!)
                                        and all too ready for the fray.

                                        The war came as a complete surprise to me stuck out in the bush as I was without
                                        wireless or mail. George had been away for a fortnight so you can imagine how
                                        surprised I was when a messenger arrived on a bicycle with a note from George. The
                                        note informed me that war had been declared and that George, as a Reserve Officer in
                                        the KAR had been called up. I was to start packing immediately and be ready by noon
                                        next day when George would arrive with a lorry for our goods and chattels. I started to
                                        pack immediately with the help of the houseboy and by the time George arrived with
                                        the lorry only the frig remained to be packed and this was soon done.

                                        Throughout the morning Game Scouts had been arriving from outlying parts of
                                        the District. I don’t think they had the least idea where they were supposed to go or
                                        whom they were to fight but were ready to fight anybody, anywhere, with George.
                                        They all looked very smart in well pressed uniforms hung about with water bottles and
                                        ammunition pouches. The large buffalo badge on their round pill box hats absolutely
                                        glittered with polish. All of course carried rifles and when George arrived they all lined up
                                        and they looked most impressive. I took some snaps but unfortunately it was drizzling
                                        and they may not come out well.

                                        We left Nzassa without a backward glance. We were pretty fed up with it by
                                        then. The children and I are spending a few days here with George but our luggage, the
                                        dogs, and the houseboys have already left by train for Morogoro where a small house
                                        has been found for the children and me.

                                        George tells me that all the German males in this Territory were interned without a
                                        hitch. The whole affair must have been very well organised. In every town and
                                        settlement special constables were sworn in to do the job. It must have been a rather
                                        unpleasant one but seems to have gone without incident. There is a big transit camp
                                        here at Dar for the German men. Later they are to be sent out of the country, possibly to

                                        The Indian tailors in the town are all terribly busy making Army uniforms, shorts
                                        and tunics in khaki drill. George swears that they have muddled their orders and he has
                                        been given the wrong things. Certainly the tunic is far too tight. His hat, a khaki slouch hat
                                        like you saw the Australians wearing in the last war, is also too small though it is the
                                        largest they have in stock. We had a laugh over his other equipment which includes a
                                        small canvas haversack and a whistle on a black cord. George says he feels like he is
                                        back in his Boy Scouting boyhood.

                                        George has just come in to say the we will be leaving for Morogoro tomorrow


                                        Morogoro 14th September 1939

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        Morogoro is a complete change from Nzassa. This is a large and sprawling
                                        township. The native town and all the shops are down on the flat land by the railway but
                                        all the European houses are away up the slope of the high Uluguru Mountains.
                                        Morogoro was a flourishing town in the German days and all the streets are lined with
                                        trees for coolness as is the case in other German towns. These trees are the flamboyant
                                        acacia which has an umbrella top and throws a wide but light shade.

                                        Most of the houses have large gardens so they cover a considerable area and it
                                        is quite a safari for me to visit friends on foot as our house is on the edge of this area and
                                        the furthest away from the town. Here ones house is in accordance with ones seniority in
                                        Government service. Ours is a simple affair, just three lofty square rooms opening on to
                                        a wide enclosed verandah. Mosquitoes are bad here so all doors and windows are
                                        screened and we will have to carry on with our daily doses of quinine.

                                        George came up to Morogoro with us on the train. This was fortunate because I
                                        went down with a sharp attack of malaria at the hotel on the afternoon of our departure
                                        from Dar es Salaam. George’s drastic cure of vast doses of quinine, a pillow over my
                                        head, and the bed heaped with blankets soon brought down the temperature so I was
                                        fit enough to board the train but felt pretty poorly on the trip. However next day I felt
                                        much better which was a good thing as George had to return to Dar es Salaam after two
                                        days. His train left late at night so I did not see him off but said good-bye at home
                                        feeling dreadful but trying to keep the traditional stiff upper lip of the wife seeing her
                                        husband off to the wars. He hopes to go off to Abyssinia but wrote from Dar es Salaam
                                        to say that he is being sent down to Rhodesia by road via Mbeya to escort the first
                                        detachment of Rhodesian white troops.

                                        First he will have to select suitable camping sites for night stops and arrange for
                                        supplies of food. I am very pleased as it means he will be safe for a while anyway. We
                                        are both worried about Ann and George in England and wonder if it would be safer to
                                        have them sent out.


                                        Morogoro 4th November 1939

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        My big news is that George has been released from the Army. He is very
                                        indignant and disappointed because he hoped to go to Abyssinia but I am terribly,
                                        terribly glad. The Chief Secretary wrote a very nice letter to George pointing out that he
                                        would be doing a greater service to his country by his work of elephant control, giving
                                        crop protection during the war years when foodstuffs are such a vital necessity, than by
                                        doing a soldiers job. The Government plan to start a huge rice scheme in the Rufiji area,
                                        and want George to control the elephant and hippo there. First of all though. he must go
                                        to the Southern Highlands Province where there is another outbreak of Rinderpest, to
                                        shoot out diseased game especially buffalo, which might spread the disease.

                                        So off we go again on our travels but this time we are leaving the two dogs
                                        behind in the care of Daniel, the Game Clerk. Fanny is very pregnant and I hate leaving
                                        her behind but the clerk has promised to look after her well. We are taking Hamisi, our
                                        dignified Swahili cook and the houseboy Juma and his wife whom we brought with us
                                        from Nzassa. The boy is not very good but his wife makes a cheerful and placid ayah
                                        and adores Johnny.


                                        Iringa 8th December 1939

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        The children and I are staying in a small German house leased from the
                                        Custodian of Enemy Property. I can’t help feeling sorry for the owners who must be in
                                        concentration camps somewhere.George is away in the bush dealing with the
                                        Rinderpest emergency and the cook has gone with him. Now I have sent the houseboy
                                        and the ayah away too. Two days ago my houseboy came and told me that he felt
                                        very ill and asked me to write a ‘chit’ to the Indian Doctor. In the note I asked the Doctor
                                        to let me know the nature of his complaint and to my horror I got a note from him to say
                                        that the houseboy had a bad case of Venereal Disease. Was I horrified! I took it for
                                        granted that his wife must be infected too and told them both that they would have to
                                        return to their home in Nzassa. The boy shouted and the ayah wept but I paid them in
                                        lieu of notice and gave them money for the journey home. So there I was left servant
                                        less with firewood to chop, a smokey wood burning stove to control, and of course, the
                                        two children.

                                        To add to my troubles Johnny had a temperature so I sent for the European
                                        Doctor. He diagnosed malaria and was astonished at the size of Johnny’s spleen. He
                                        said that he must have had suppressed malaria over a long period and the poor child
                                        must now be fed maximum doses of quinine for a long time. The Doctor is a fatherly
                                        soul, he has been recalled from retirement to do this job as so many of the young
                                        doctors have been called up for service with the army.

                                        I told him about my houseboy’s complaint and the way I had sent him off
                                        immediately, and he was very amused at my haste, saying that it is most unlikely that
                                        they would have passed the disease onto their employers. Anyway I hated the idea. I
                                        mean to engage a houseboy locally, but will do without an ayah until we return to
                                        Morogoro in February.

                                        Something happened today to cheer me up. A telegram came from Daniel which
                                        read, “FLANNEL HAS FIVE CUBS.”


                                        Morogoro 10th March 1940

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        We are having very heavy rain and the countryside is a most beautiful green. In
                                        spite of the weather George is away on safari though it must be very wet and
                                        unpleasant. He does work so hard at his elephant hunting job and has got very thin. I
                                        suppose this is partly due to those stomach pains he gets and the doctors don’t seem
                                        to diagnose the trouble.

                                        Living in Morogoro is much like living in a country town in South Africa, particularly
                                        as there are several South African women here. I go out quite often to morning teas. We
                                        all take our war effort knitting, and natter, and are completely suburban.
                                        I sometimes go and see an elderly couple who have been interred here. They
                                        are cold shouldered by almost everyone else but I cannot help feeling sorry for them.
                                        Usually I go by invitation because I know Mrs Ruppel prefers to be prepared and
                                        always has sandwiches and cake. They both speak English but not fluently and
                                        conversation is confined to talking about my children and theirs. Their two sons were
                                        students in Germany when war broke out but are now of course in the German Army.
                                        Such nice looking chaps from their photographs but I suppose thorough Nazis. As our
                                        conversation is limited I usually ask to hear a gramophone record or two. They have a
                                        large collection.

                                        Janet, the ayah whom I engaged at Mbeya, is proving a great treasure. She is a
                                        trained hospital ayah and is most dependable and capable. She is, perhaps, a little strict
                                        but the great thing is that I can trust her with the children out of my sight.
                                        Last week I went out at night for the first time without George. The occasion was
                                        a farewell sundowner given by the Commissioner of Prisoners and his wife. I was driven
                                        home by the District Officer and he stopped his car by the back door in a large puddle.
                                        Ayah came to the back door, storm lamp in hand, to greet me. My escort prepared to
                                        drive off but the car stuck. I thought a push from me might help, so without informing the
                                        driver, I pushed as hard as I could on the back of the car. Unfortunately the driver
                                        decided on other tactics. He put the engine in reverse and I was knocked flat on my back
                                        in the puddle. The car drove forward and away without the driver having the least idea of
                                        what happened. The ayah was in quite a state, lifting me up and scolding me for my
                                        stupidity as though I were Kate. I was a bit shaken but non the worse and will know
                                        better next time.


                                        Morogoro 14th July 1940

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        How good it was of Dad to send that cable to Mother offering to have Ann and
                                        George to live with you if they are accepted for inclusion in the list of children to be
                                        evacuated to South Africa. It would be wonderful to know that they are safely out of the
                                        war zone and so much nearer to us but I do dread the thought of the long sea voyage
                                        particularly since we heard the news of the sinking of that liner carrying child evacuees to
                                        Canada. I worry about them so much particularly as George is so often away on safari.
                                        He is so comforting and calm and I feel brave and confident when he is home.
                                        We have had no news from England for five weeks but, when she last wrote,
                                        mother said the children were very well and that she was sure they would be safe in the
                                        country with her.

                                        Kate and John are growing fast. Kate is such a pretty little girl, rosy in spite of the
                                        rather trying climate. I have allowed her hair to grow again and it hangs on her shoulders
                                        in shiny waves. John is a more slightly built little boy than young George was, and quite
                                        different in looks. He has Dad’s high forehead and cleft chin, widely spaced brown eyes
                                        that are not so dark as mine and hair that is still fair and curly though ayah likes to smooth it
                                        down with water every time she dresses him. He is a shy child, and although he plays
                                        happily with Kate, he does not care to play with other children who go in the late
                                        afternoons to a lawn by the old German ‘boma’.

                                        Kate has playmates of her own age but still rather clings to me. Whilst she loves
                                        to have friends here to play with her, she will not go to play at their houses unless I go
                                        too and stay. She always insists on accompanying me when I go out to morning tea
                                        and always calls JanetJohn’s ayah”. One morning I went to a knitting session at a
                                        neighbours house. We are all knitting madly for the troops. As there were several other
                                        women in the lounge and no other children, I installed Kate in the dining room with a
                                        colouring book and crayons. My hostess’ black dog was chained to the dining room
                                        table leg, but as he and Kate are on friendly terms I was not bothered by this.
                                        Some time afterwards, during a lull in conversation, I heard a strange drumming
                                        noise coming from the dining room. I went quickly to investigate and, to my horror, found
                                        Kate lying on her back with the dog chain looped around her neck. The frightened dog
                                        was straining away from her as far as he could get and the chain was pulled so tightly
                                        around her throat that she could not scream. The drumming noise came from her heels
                                        kicking in a panic on the carpet.

                                        Even now I do not know how Kate got herself into this predicament. Luckily no
                                        great harm was done but I think I shall do my knitting at home in future.


                                        Morogoro 16th November 1940

                                        Dearest Family,

                                        I much prefer our little house on the hillside to the larger one we had down below.
                                        The only disadvantage is that the garden is on three levels and both children have had
                                        some tumbles down the steps on the tricycle. John is an extremely stoical child. He
                                        never cries when he hurts himself.

                                        I think I have mentioned ‘Morningside’ before. It is a kind of Resthouse high up in
                                        the Uluguru Mountains above Morogoro. Jess Howe-Browne, who runs the large
                                        house as a Guest House, is a wonderful woman. Besides running the boarding house
                                        she also grows vegetables, flowers and fruit for sale in Morogoro and Dar es Salaam.
                                        Her guests are usually women and children from Dar es Salaam who come in the hot
                                        season to escape the humidity on the coast. Often the mothers leave their children for
                                        long periods in Jess Howe-Browne’s care. There is a road of sorts up the mountain side
                                        to Morningside, but this is so bad that cars do not attempt it and guests are carried up
                                        the mountain in wicker chairs lashed to poles. Four men carry an adult, and two a child,
                                        and there are of course always spare bearers and they work in shifts.

                                        Last week the children and I went to Morningside for the day as guests. John
                                        rode on my lap in one chair and Kate in a small chair on her own. This did not please
                                        Kate at all. The poles are carried on the bearers shoulders and one is perched quite high.
                                        The motion is a peculiar rocking one. The bearers chant as they go and do not seem
                                        worried by shortness of breath! They are all hillmen of course and are, I suppose, used
                                        to trotting up and down to the town.

                                        Morningside is well worth visiting and we spent a delightful day there. The fresh
                                        cool air is a great change from the heavy air of the valley. A river rushes down the
                                        mountain in a series of cascades, and the gardens are shady and beautiful. Behind the
                                        property is a thick indigenous forest which stretches from Morningside to the top of the
                                        mountain. The house is an old German one, rather in need of repair, but Jess has made
                                        it comfortable and attractive, with some of her old family treasures including a fine old
                                        Grandfather clock. We had a wonderful lunch which included large fresh strawberries and
                                        cream. We made the return journey again in the basket chairs and got home before dark.
                                        George returned home at the weekend with a baby elephant whom we have
                                        called Winnie. She was rescued from a mud hole by some African villagers and, as her
                                        mother had abandoned her, they took her home and George was informed. He went in
                                        the truck to fetch her having first made arrangements to have her housed in a shed on the
                                        Agriculture Department Experimental Farm here. He has written to the Game Dept
                                        Headquarters to inform the Game Warden and I do not know what her future will be, but
                                        in the meantime she is our pet. George is afraid she will not survive because she has
                                        had a very trying time. She stands about waist high and is a delightful creature and quite
                                        docile. Asian and African children as well as Europeans gather to watch her and George
                                        encourages them to bring fruit for her – especially pawpaws which she loves.
                                        Whilst we were there yesterday one of the local ladies came, very smartly
                                        dressed in a linen frock, silk stockings, and high heeled shoes. She watched fascinated
                                        whilst Winnie neatly split a pawpaw and removed the seeds with her trunk, before
                                        scooping out the pulp and putting it in her mouth. It was a particularly nice ripe pawpaw
                                        and Winnie enjoyed it so much that she stretched out her trunk for more. The lady took
                                        fright and started to run with Winnie after her, sticky trunk outstretched. Quite an
                                        entertaining sight. George managed to stop Winnie but not before she had left a gooey
                                        smear down the back of the immaculate frock.




                                          From Tanganyika with Love

                                          continued  ~ part 6

                                          With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                          Mchewe 6th June 1937

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Home again! We had an uneventful journey. Kate was as good as gold all the
                                          way. We stopped for an hour at Bulawayo where we had to change trains but
                                          everything was simplified for me by a very pleasant man whose wife shared my
                                          compartment. Not only did he see me through customs but he installed us in our new
                                          train and his wife turned up to see us off with magazines for me and fruit and sweets for
                                          Kate. Very, very kind, don’t you think?

                                          Kate and I shared the compartment with a very pretty and gentle girl called
                                          Clarice Simpson. She was very worried and upset because she was going home to
                                          Broken Hill in response to a telegram informing her that her young husband was
                                          dangerously ill from Blackwater Fever. She was very helpful with Kate whose
                                          cheerfulness helped Clarice, I think, though I, quite unintentionally was the biggest help
                                          at the end of our journey. Remember the partial dentures I had had made just before
                                          leaving Cape Town? I know I shall never get used to the ghastly things, I’ve had them
                                          two weeks now and they still wobble. Well this day I took them out and wrapped them
                                          in a handkerchief, but when we were packing up to leave the train I could find the
                                          handkerchief but no teeth! We searched high and low until the train had slowed down to
                                          enter Broken Hill station. Then Clarice, lying flat on the floor, spied the teeth in the dark
                                          corner under the bottom bunk. With much stretching she managed to retrieve the
                                          dentures covered in grime and fluff. My look of horror, when I saw them, made young
                                          Clarice laugh. She was met at the station by a very grave elderly couple. I do wonder
                                          how things turned out for her.

                                          I stayed overnight with Kate at the Great Northern Hotel, and we set off for
                                          Mbeya by plane early in the morning. One of our fellow passengers was a young
                                          mother with a three week old baby. How ideas have changed since Ann was born. This
                                          time we had a smooth passage and I was the only passenger to get airsick. Although
                                          there were other women passengers it was a man once again, who came up and
                                          offered to help. Kate went off with him amiably and he entertained her until we touched
                                          down at Mbeya.

                                          George was there to meet us with a wonderful surprise, a little red two seater
                                          Ford car. She is a bit battered and looks a bit odd because the boot has been
                                          converted into a large wooden box for carrying raw salt, but she goes like the wind.
                                          Where did George raise the cash to buy a car? Whilst we were away he found a small
                                          cave full of bat guano near a large cave which is worked by a man called Bob Sargent.
                                          As Sargent did not want any competition he bought the contents of the cave from
                                          George giving him the small car as part payment.

                                          It was lovely to return to our little home and find everything fresh and tidy and the
                                          garden full of colour. But it was heartbreaking to go into the bedroom and see George’s
                                          precious forgotten boots still standing by his empty bed.

                                          With much love,

                                          Mchewe 25th June 1937

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Last Friday George took Kate and me in the little red Ford to visit Mr Sargent’s
                                          camp on the Songwe River which cuts the Mbeya-Mbosi road. Mr Sargent bought
                                          Hicky-Wood’s guano deposit and also our small cave and is making a good living out of
                                          selling the bat guano to the coffee farmers in this province. George went to try to interest
                                          him in a guano deposit near Kilwa in the Southern Province. Mr Sargent agreed to pay
                                          25 pounds to cover the cost of the car trip and pegging costs. George will make the trip
                                          to peg the claim and take samples for analysis. If the quality is sufficiently high, George
                                          and Mr Sargent will go into partnership. George will work the claim and ship out the
                                          guano from Kilwa which is on the coast of the Southern Province of Tanganyika. So now
                                          we are busy building castles in the air once more.

                                          On Saturday we went to Mbeya where George had to attend a meeting of the
                                          Trout Association. In the afternoon he played in a cricket match so Kate and I spent the
                                          whole day with the wife of the new Superintendent of Police. They have a very nice
                                          new house with lawns and a sunken rose garden. Kate had a lovely romp with Kit, her
                                          three year old son.

                                          Mrs Wolten also has two daughters by a previous marriage. The elder girl said to
                                          me, “Oh Mrs Rushby your husband is exactly like the strong silent type of man I
                                          expected to see in Africa but he is the only one I have seen. I think he looks exactly like
                                          those men in the ‘Barney’s Tobacco’ advertisements.”

                                          I went home with a huge pile of magazines to keep me entertained whilst
                                          George is away on the Kilwa trip.

                                          Lots of love,

                                          Mchewe 9th July 1937

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          George returned on Monday from his Kilwa safari. He had an entertaining
                                          tale to tell.

                                          Before he approached Mr Sargent about going shares in the Kilwa guano
                                          deposit he first approached a man on the Lupa who had done very well out of a small
                                          gold reef. This man, however said he was not interested so you can imagine how
                                          indignant George was when he started on his long trip, to find himself being trailed by
                                          this very man and a co-driver in a powerful Ford V8 truck. George stopped his car and
                                          had some heated things to say – awful threats I imagine as to what would happen to
                                          anyone who staked his claim. Then he climbed back into our ancient little two seater and
                                          went off like a bullet driving all day and most of the night. As the others took turns in
                                          driving you can imagine what a feat it was for George to arrive in Kilwa ahead of them.
                                          When they drove into Kilwa he met them with a bright smile and a bit of bluff –
                                          quite justifiable under the circumstances I think. He said, you chaps can have a rest now,
                                          you’re too late.” He then whipped off and pegged the claim. he brought some samples
                                          of guano back but until it has been analysed he will not know whether the guano will be
                                          an economic proposition or not. George is not very hopeful. He says there is a good
                                          deal of sand mixed with the guano and that much of it was damp.

                                          The trip was pretty eventful for Kianda, our houseboy. The little two seater car
                                          had been used by its previous owner for carting bags of course salt from his salt pans.
                                          For this purpose the dicky seat behind the cab had been removed, and a kind of box
                                          built into the boot of the car. George’s camp kit and provisions were packed into this
                                          open box and Kianda perched on top to keep an eye on the belongings. George
                                          travelled so fast on the rough road that at some point during the night Kianda was
                                          bumped off in the middle of the Game Reserve. George did not notice that he was
                                          missing until the next morning. He concluded, quite rightly as it happened, that Kianda
                                          would be picked up by the rival truck so he continued his journey and Kianda rejoined
                                          him at Kilwa.

                                          Believe it or not, the same thing happened on the way back but fortunately this
                                          time George noticed his absence. He stopped the car and had just started back on his
                                          tracks when Kianda came running down the road still clutching the unlighted storm lamp
                                          which he was holding in his hand when he fell. The glass was not even cracked.
                                          We are finding it difficult just now to buy native chickens and eggs. There has
                                          been an epidemic amongst the poultry and one hesitates to eat the survivors. I have a
                                          brine tub in which I preserve our surplus meat but I need the chickens for soup.
                                          I hope George will be home for some months. He has arranged to take a Mr
                                          Blackburn, a wealthy fruit farmer from Elgin, Cape, on a hunting safari during September
                                          and October and that should bring in some much needed cash. Lillian Eustace has
                                          invited Kate and me to spend the whole of October with her in Tukuyu.
                                          I am so glad that you so much enjoy having Ann and George with you. We miss
                                          them dreadfully. Kate is a pretty little girl and such a little madam. You should hear the
                                          imperious way in which she calls the kitchenboy for her meals. “Boy Brekkis, Boy Lunch,
                                          and Boy Eggy!” are her three calls for the day. She knows no Ki-Swahili.


                                          Mchewe 8th October 1937

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          I am rapidly becoming as superstitious as our African boys. They say the wild
                                          animals always know when George is away from home and come down to have their
                                          revenge on me because he has killed so many.

                                          I am being besieged at night by a most beastly leopard with a half grown cub. I
                                          have grown used to hearing leopards grunt as they hunt in the hills at night but never
                                          before have I had one roaming around literally under the windows. It has been so hot at
                                          night lately that I have been sleeping with my bedroom door open onto the verandah. I
                                          felt quite safe because the natives hereabouts are law-abiding and in any case I always
                                          have a boy armed with a club sleeping in the kitchen just ten yards away. As an added
                                          precaution I also have a loaded .45 calibre revolver on my bedside table, and Fanny
                                          our bullterrier, sleeps on the mat by my bed. I am also looking after Barney, a fine
                                          Airedale dog belonging to the Costers. He slept on a mat by the open bedroom door
                                          near a dimly burning storm lamp.

                                          As usual I went to sleep with an easy mind on Monday night, but was awakened
                                          in the early hours of Tuesday by the sound of a scuffle on the front verandah. The noise
                                          was followed by a scream of pain from Barney. I jumped out of bed and, grabbing the
                                          lamp with my left hand and the revolver in my right, I rushed outside just in time to see
                                          two animal figures roll over the edge of the verandah into the garden below. There they
                                          engaged in a terrific tug of war. Fortunately I was too concerned for Barney to be
                                          nervous. I quickly fired two shots from the revolver, which incidentally makes a noise like
                                          a cannon, and I must have startled the leopard for both animals, still locked together,
                                          disappeared over the edge of the terrace. I fired two more shots and in a few moments
                                          heard the leopard making a hurried exit through the dry leaves which lie thick under the
                                          wild fig tree just beyond the terrace. A few seconds later Barney appeared on the low
                                          terrace wall. I called his name but he made no move to come but stood with hanging
                                          head. In desperation I rushed out, felt blood on my hands when I touched him, so I
                                          picked him up bodily and carried him into the house. As I regained the verandah the boy
                                          appeared, club in hand, having been roused by the shots. He quickly grasped what had
                                          happened when he saw my blood saturated nightie. He fetched a bowl of water and a
                                          clean towel whilst I examined Barney’s wounds. These were severe, the worst being a
                                          gaping wound in his throat. I washed the gashes with a strong solution of pot permang
                                          and I am glad to say they are healing remarkably well though they are bound to leave
                                          scars. Fanny, very prudently, had taken no part in the fighting except for frenzied barking
                                          which she kept up all night. The shots had of course wakened Kate but she seemed
                                          more interested than alarmed and kept saying “Fanny bark bark, Mummy bang bang.
                                          Poor Barney lots of blood.”

                                          In the morning we inspected the tracks in the garden. There was a shallow furrow
                                          on the terrace where Barney and the leopard had dragged each other to and fro and
                                          claw marks on the trunk of the wild fig tree into which the leopard climbed after I fired the
                                          shots. The affair was of course a drama after the Africans’ hearts and several of our
                                          shamba boys called to see me next day to make sympathetic noises and discuss the

                                          I went to bed early that night hoping that the leopard had been scared off for
                                          good but I must confess I shut all windows and doors. Alas for my hopes of a restful
                                          night. I had hardly turned down the lamp when the leopard started its terrifying grunting
                                          just under the bedroom windows. If only she would sniff around quietly I should not
                                          mind, but the noise is ghastly, something like the first sickening notes of a braying
                                          donkey, amplified here by the hills and the gorge which is only a stones throw from the
                                          bedroom. Barney was too sick to bark but Fanny barked loud enough for two and the more
                                          frantic she became the hungrier the leopard sounded. Kate of course woke up and this
                                          time she was frightened though I assured her that the noise was just a donkey having
                                          fun. Neither of us slept until dawn when the leopard returned to the hills. When we
                                          examined the tracks next morning we found that the leopard had been accompanied by
                                          a fair sized cub and that together they had prowled around the house, kitchen, and out
                                          houses, visiting especially the places to which the dogs had been during the day.
                                          As I feel I cannot bear many more of these nights, I am sending a note to the
                                          District Commissioner, Mbeya by the messenger who takes this letter to the post,
                                          asking him to send a game scout or an armed policeman to deal with the leopard.
                                          So don’t worry, for by the time this reaches you I feel sure this particular trouble
                                          will be over.


                                          Mchewe 17th October 1937

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          More about the leopard I fear! My messenger returned from Mbeya to say that
                                          the District Officer was on safari so he had given the message to the Assistant District
                                          Officer who also apparently left on safari later without bothering to reply to my note, so
                                          there was nothing for me to do but to send for the village Nimrod and his muzzle loader
                                          and offer him a reward if he could frighten away or kill the leopard.

                                          The hunter, Laza, suggested that he should sleep at the house so I went to bed
                                          early leaving Laza and his two pals to make themselves comfortable on the living room
                                          floor by the fire. Laza was armed with a formidable looking muzzle loader, crammed I
                                          imagine with nuts and bolts and old rusty nails. One of his pals had a spear and the other
                                          a panga. This fellow was also in charge of the Petromax pressure lamp whose light was
                                          hidden under a packing case. I left the campaign entirely to Laza’s direction.
                                          As usual the leopard came at midnight stealing down from the direction of the
                                          kitchen and announcing its presence and position with its usual ghastly grunts. Suddenly
                                          pandemonium broke loose on the back verandah. I heard the roar of the muzzle loader
                                          followed by a vigourous tattoo beaten on an empty paraffin tin and I rushed out hoping
                                          to find the dead leopard. however nothing of the kind had happened except that the
                                          noise must have scared the beast because she did not return again that night. Next
                                          morning Laza solemnly informed me that, though he had shot many leopards in his day,
                                          this was no ordinary leopard but a “sheitani” (devil) and that as his gun was no good
                                          against witchcraft he thought he might as well retire from the hunt. Scared I bet, and I
                                          don’t blame him either.

                                          You can imagine my relief when a car rolled up that afternoon bringing Messers
                                          Stewart and Griffiths, two farmers who live about 15 miles away, between here and
                                          Mbeya. They had a note from the Assistant District Officer asking them to help me and
                                          they had come to set up a trap gun in the garden. That night the leopard sniffed all
                                          around the gun and I had the added strain of waiting for the bang and wondering what I
                                          should do if the beast were only wounded. I conjured up horrible visions of the two little
                                          totos trotting up the garden path with the early morning milk and being horribly mauled,
                                          but I needn’t have worried because the leopard was far too wily to be caught that way.
                                          Two more ghastly nights passed and then I had another visitor, a Dr Jackson of
                                          the Tsetse Department on safari in the District. He listened sympathetically to my story
                                          and left his shotgun and some SSG cartridges with me and instructed me to wait until the
                                          leopard was pretty close and blow its b—– head off. It was good of him to leave his
                                          gun. George always says there are three things a man should never lend, ‘His wife, his
                                          gun and his dog.’ (I think in that order!)I felt quite cheered by Dr Jackson’s visit and sent
                                          once again for Laza last night and arranged a real show down. In the afternoon I draped
                                          heavy blankets over the living room windows to shut out the light of the pressure lamp
                                          and the four of us, Laza and his two stooges and I waited up for the leopard. When we
                                          guessed by her grunts that she was somewhere between the kitchen and the back door
                                          we all rushed out, first the boy with the panga and the lamp, next Laza with his muzzle
                                          loader, then me with the shotgun followed closely by the boy with the spear. What a
                                          farce! The lamp was our undoing. We were blinded by the light and did not even
                                          glimpse the leopard which made off with a derisive grunt. Laza said smugly that he knew
                                          it was hopeless to try and now I feel tired and discouraged too.

                                          This morning I sent a runner to Mbeya to order the hotel taxi for tomorrow and I
                                          shall go to friends in Mbeya for a day or two and then on to Tukuyu where I shall stay
                                          with the Eustaces until George returns from Safari.


                                          Mchewe 18th November 1937

                                          My darling Ann,

                                          Here we are back in our own home and how lovely it is to have Daddy back from
                                          safari. Thank you very much for your letter. I hope by now you have got mine telling you
                                          how very much I liked the beautiful tray cloth you made for my birthday. I bet there are
                                          not many little girls of five who can embroider as well as you do, darling. The boy,
                                          Matafari, washes and irons it so carefully and it looks lovely on the tea tray.

                                          Daddy and I had some fun last night. I was in bed and Daddy was undressing
                                          when we heard a funny scratching noise on the roof. I thought it was the leopard. Daddy
                                          quickly loaded his shotgun and ran outside. He had only his shirt on and he looked so
                                          funny. I grabbed the loaded revolver from the cupboard and ran after Dad in my nightie
                                          but after all the rush it was only your cat, Winnie, though I don’t know how she managed
                                          to make such a noise. We felt so silly, we laughed and laughed.

                                          Kate talks a lot now but in such a funny way you would laugh to her her. She
                                          hears the houseboys call me Memsahib so sometimes instead of calling me Mummy
                                          she calls me “Oompaab”. She calls the bedroom a ‘bippon’ and her little behind she
                                          calls her ‘sittendump’. She loves to watch Mandawi’s cattle go home along the path
                                          behind the kitchen. Joseph your donkey, always leads the cows. He has a lazy life now.
                                          I am glad you had such fun on Guy Fawkes Day. You will be sad to leave
                                          Plumstead but I am sure you will like going to England on the big ship with granny Kate.
                                          I expect you will start school when you get to England and I am sure you will find that

                                          God bless my dear little girl. Lots of love from Daddy and Kate,
                                          and Mummy

                                          Mchewe 18th November 1937

                                          Hello George Darling,

                                          Thank you for your lovely drawing of Daddy shooting an elephant. Daddy says
                                          that the only thing is that you have drawn him a bit too handsome.

                                          I went onto the verandah a few minutes ago to pick a banana for Kate from the
                                          bunch hanging there and a big hornet flew out and stung my elbow! There are lots of
                                          them around now and those stinging flies too. Kate wears thick corduroy dungarees so
                                          that she will not get her fat little legs bitten. She is two years old now and is a real little
                                          pickle. She loves running out in the rain so I have ordered a pair of red Wellingtons and a
                                          tiny umbrella from a Nairobi shop for her Christmas present.

                                          Fanny’s puppies have their eyes open now and have very sharp little teeth.
                                          They love to nip each other. We are keeping the fiercest little one whom we call Paddy
                                          but are giving the others to friends. The coffee bushes are full of lovely white flowers
                                          and the bees and ants are very busy stealing their honey.

                                          Yesterday a troop of baboons came down the hill and Dad shot a big one to
                                          scare the others off. They are a nuisance because they steal the maize and potatoes
                                          from the native shambas and then there is not enough food for the totos.
                                          Dad and I are very proud of you for not making a fuss when you went to the
                                          dentist to have that tooth out.

                                          Bye bye, my fine little son.
                                          Three bags full of love from Kate, Dad and Mummy.

                                          Mchewe 12th February, 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          here is some news that will please you. George has been offered and has
                                          accepted a job as Forester at Mbulu in the Northern Province of Tanganyika. George
                                          would have preferred a job as Game Ranger, but though the Game Warden, Philip
                                          Teare, is most anxious to have him in the Game Department, there is no vacancy at
                                          present. Anyway if one crops up later, George can always transfer from one
                                          Government Department to another. Poor George, he hates the idea of taking a job. He
                                          says that hitherto he has always been his own master and he detests the thought of
                                          being pushed around by anyone.

                                          Now however he has no choice. Our capitol is almost exhausted and the coffee
                                          market shows no signs of improving. With three children and another on the way, he
                                          feels he simply must have a fixed income. I shall be sad to leave this little farm. I love
                                          our little home and we have been so very happy here, but my heart rejoices at the
                                          thought of overseas leave every thirty months. Now we shall be able to fetch Ann and
                                          George from England and in three years time we will all be together in Tanganyika once

                                          There is no sale for farms so we will just shut the house and keep on a very small
                                          labour force just to keep the farm from going derelict. We are eating our hens but will
                                          take our two dogs, Fanny and Paddy with us.

                                          One thing I shall be glad to leave is that leopard. She still comes grunting around
                                          at night but not as badly as she did before. I do not mind at all when George is here but
                                          until George was accepted for this forestry job I was afraid he might go back to the
                                          Diggings and I should once more be left alone to be cursed by the leopard’s attentions.
                                          Knowing how much I dreaded this George was most anxious to shoot the leopard and
                                          for weeks he kept his shotgun and a powerful torch handy at night.

                                          One night last week we woke to hear it grunting near the kitchen. We got up very
                                          quietly and whilst George loaded the shotgun with SSG, I took the torch and got the
                                          heavy revolver from the cupboard. We crept out onto the dark verandah where George
                                          whispered to me to not switch on the torch until he had located the leopard. It was pitch
                                          black outside so all he could do was listen intently. And then of course I spoilt all his
                                          plans. I trod on the dog’s tin bowl and made a terrific clatter! George ordered me to
                                          switch on the light but it was too late and the leopard vanished into the long grass of the
                                          Kalonga, grunting derisively, or so it sounded.

                                          She never comes into the clearing now but grunts from the hillside just above it.


                                          Mbulu 18th March, 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Journeys end at last. here we are at Mbulu, installed in our new quarters which are
                                          as different as they possibly could be from our own cosy little home at Mchewe. We
                                          live now, my dears, in one wing of a sort of ‘Beau Geste’ fort but I’ll tell you more about
                                          it in my next letter. We only arrived yesterday and have not had time to look around.
                                          This letter will tell you just about our trip from Mbeya.

                                          We left the farm in our little red Ford two seater with all our portable goods and
                                          chattels plus two native servants and the two dogs. Before driving off, George took one
                                          look at the flattened springs and declared that he would be surprised if we reached
                                          Mbeya without a breakdown and that we would never make Mbulu with the car so

                                          However luck was with us. We reached Mbeya without mishap and at one of the
                                          local garages saw a sturdy used Ford V8 boxbody car for sale. The garage agreed to
                                          take our small car as part payment and George drew on our little remaining capitol for the
                                          rest. We spent that night in the house of the Forest Officer and next morning set out in
                                          comfort for the Northern Province of Tanganyika.

                                          I had done the journey from Dodoma to Mbeya seven years before so was
                                          familiar with the scenery but the road was much improved and the old pole bridges had
                                          been replaced by modern steel ones. Kate was as good as gold all the way. We
                                          avoided hotels and camped by the road and she found this great fun.
                                          The road beyond Dodoma was new to me and very interesting country, flat and
                                          dry and dusty, as little rain falls there. The trees are mostly thorn trees but here and there
                                          one sees a giant baobab, weird trees with fantastically thick trunks and fat squat branches
                                          with meagre foliage. The inhabitants of this area I found interesting though. They are
                                          called Wagogo and are a primitive people who ape the Masai in dress and customs
                                          though they are much inferior to the Masai in physique. They are also great herders of
                                          cattle which, rather surprisingly, appear to thrive in that dry area.

                                          The scenery alters greatly as one nears Babati, which one approaches by a high
                                          escarpment from which one has a wonderful view of the Rift Valley. Babati township
                                          appears to be just a small group of Indian shops and shabby native houses, but I
                                          believe there are some good farms in the area. Though the little township is squalid,
                                          there is a beautiful lake and grand mountains to please the eye. We stopped only long
                                          enough to fill up with petrol and buy some foodstuffs. Beyond Babati there is a tsetse
                                          fly belt and George warned our two native servants to see that no tsetse flies settled on
                                          the dogs.

                                          We stopped for the night in a little rest house on the road about 80 miles from
                                          Arusha where we were to spend a few days with the Forest Officer before going on to
                                          Mbulu. I enjoyed this section of the road very much because it runs across wide plains
                                          which are bounded on the West by the blue mountains of the Rift Valley wall. Here for
                                          the first time I saw the Masai on their home ground guarding their vast herds of cattle. I
                                          also saw their strange primitive hovels called Manyattas, with their thorn walled cattle
                                          bomas and lots of plains game – giraffe, wildebeest, ostriches and antelope. Kate was
                                          wildly excited and entranced with the game especially the giraffe which stood gazing
                                          curiously and unafraid of us, often within a few yards of the road.

                                          Finally we came across the greatest thrill of all, my first view of Mt Meru the extinct
                                          volcano about 16,000 feet high which towers over Arusha township. The approach to
                                          Arusha is through flourishing coffee plantations very different alas from our farm at Mchewe. George says that at Arusha coffee growing is still a paying proposition
                                          because here the yield of berry per acre is much higher than in the Southern highlands
                                          and here in the North the farmers have not such heavy transport costs as the railway runs
                                          from Arusha to the port at Tanga.

                                          We stayed overnight at a rather second rate hotel but the food was good and we
                                          had hot baths and a good nights rest. Next day Tom Lewis the Forest Officer, fetched
                                          us and we spent a few days camping in a tent in the Lewis’ garden having meals at their
                                          home. Both Tom and Lillian Lewis were most friendly. Tom lewis explained to George
                                          what his work in the Mbulu District was to be, and they took us camping in a Forest
                                          Reserve where Lillian and her small son David and Kate and I had a lovely lazy time
                                          amidst beautiful surroundings. Before we left for Mbulu, Lillian took me shopping to buy
                                          material for curtains for our new home. She described the Forest House at Mbulu to me
                                          and it sounded delightful but alas, when we reached Mbulu we discovered that the
                                          Assistant District Officer had moved into the Forest House and we were directed to the
                                          Fort or Boma. The night before we left Arusha for Mbulu it rained very heavily and the
                                          road was very treacherous and slippery due to the surface being of ‘black cotton’ soil
                                          which has the appearance and consistency of chocolate blancmange, after rain. To get to
                                          Mbulu we had to drive back in the direction of Dodoma for some 70 miles and then turn
                                          to the right and drive across plains to the Great Rift Valley Wall. The views from this
                                          escarpment road which climbs this wall are magnificent. At one point one looks down
                                          upon Lake Manyara with its brilliant white beaches of soda.

                                          The drive was a most trying one for George. We had no chains for the wheels
                                          and several times we stuck in the mud and our two houseboys had to put grass and
                                          branches under the wheels to stop them from spinning. Quite early on in the afternoon
                                          George gave up all hope of reaching Mbulu that day and planned to spend the night in
                                          a little bush rest camp at Karatu. However at one point it looked as though we would not
                                          even reach this resthouse for late afternoon found us properly bogged down in a mess
                                          of mud at the bottom of a long and very steep hill. In spite of frantic efforts on the part of
                                          George and the two boys, all now very wet and muddy, the heavy car remained stuck.
                                          Suddenly five Masai men appeared through the bushes beside the road. They
                                          were all tall and angular and rather terrifying looking to me. Each wore only a blanket
                                          knotted over one shoulder and all were armed with spears. They lined up by the side of
                                          the road and just looked – not hostile but simply aloof and supercilious. George greeted
                                          them and said in Ki-Swahili, “Help to push and I will reward you.” But they said nothing,
                                          just drawing back imperceptibly to register disgust at the mere idea of manual labour.
                                          Their expressions said quite clearly “A Masai is a warrior and does not soil his hands.”
                                          George then did something which startled them I think, as much as me. He
                                          plucked their spears from their hands one by one and flung them into the back of the
                                          boxbody. “Now push!” he said, “And when we are safely out of the mud you shall have
                                          your spears back.” To my utter astonishment the Masai seemed to applaud George’s
                                          action. I think they admire courage in a man more than anything else. They pushed with a
                                          will and soon we were roaring up the long steep slope. “I can’t stop here” quoth George
                                          as up and up we went. The Masai were in mad pursuit with their blankets streaming
                                          behind. They took a very steep path which was a shortcut to the top. They are certainly
                                          amazing athletes and reached the top at the same time as the car. Their route of course
                                          was shorter but much more steep, yet they came up without any sign of fatigue to claim
                                          their spears and the money which George handed out with a friendly grin. The Masai
                                          took the whole episode in good heart and we parted on the most friendly terms.

                                          After a rather chilly night in the three walled shack, we started on the last lap of our
                                          journey yesterday morning in bright weather and made the trip to Mbulu without incident.


                                          Mbulu 24th March, 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Mbulu is an attractive station but living in this rather romantic looking fort has many
                                          disadvantages. Our quarters make up one side of the fort which is built up around a
                                          hollow square. The buildings are single storied but very tall in the German manner and
                                          there is a tower on one corner from which the Union Jack flies. The tower room is our
                                          sitting room, and one has very fine views from the windows of the rolling country side.
                                          However to reach this room one has to climb a steep flight of cement steps from the
                                          court yard. Another disadvantage of this tower room is that there is a swarm of bees in
                                          the roof and the stray ones drift down through holes in the ceiling and buzz angrily
                                          against the window panes or fly around in a most menacing manner.

                                          Ours are the only private quarters in the Fort. Two other sides of the Fort are
                                          used as offices, storerooms and court room and the fourth side is simply a thick wall with
                                          battlements and loopholes and a huge iron shod double door of enormous thickness
                                          which is always barred at sunset when the flag is hauled down. Two Police Askari always
                                          remain in the Fort on guard at night. The effect from outside the whitewashed fort is very
                                          romantic but inside it is hardly homely and how I miss my garden at Mchewe and the
                                          grass and trees.

                                          We have no privacy downstairs because our windows overlook the bare
                                          courtyard which is filled with Africans patiently waiting to be admitted to the courtroom as
                                          witnesses or spectators. The outside windows which overlook the valley are heavily
                                          barred. I can only think that the Germans who built this fort must have been very scared
                                          of the local natives.

                                          Our rooms are hardly cosy and are furnished with typical heavy German pieces.
                                          We have a vast bleak bedroom, a dining room and an enormous gloomy kitchen in
                                          which meals for the German garrison were cooked. At night this kitchen is alive with
                                          gigantic rats but fortunately they do not seem to care for the other rooms. To crown
                                          everything owls hoot and screech at night on the roof.

                                          On our first day here I wandered outside the fort walls with Kate and came upon a
                                          neatly fenced plot enclosing the graves of about fifteen South African soldiers killed by
                                          the Germans in the 1914-18 war. I understand that at least one of theses soldiers died in
                                          the courtyard here. The story goes, that during the period in the Great War when this fort
                                          was occupied by a troop of South African Horse, a German named Siedtendorf
                                          appeared at the great barred door at night and asked to speak to the officer in command
                                          of the Troop. The officer complied with this request and the small shutter in the door was
                                          opened so that he could speak with the German. The German, however, had not come
                                          to speak. When he saw the exposed face of the officer, he fired, killing him, and
                                          escaped into the dark night. I had this tale on good authority but cannot vouch for it. I do
                                          know though, that there are two bullet holes in the door beside the shutter. An unhappy
                                          story to think about when George is away, as he is now, and the moonlight throws queer
                                          shadows in the court yard and the owls hoot.

                                          However though I find our quarters depressing, I like Mbulu itself very much. It is
                                          rolling country, treeless except for the plantations of the Forestry Dept. The land is very
                                          fertile in the watered valleys but the grass on hills and plains is cropped to the roots by
                                          the far too numerous cattle and goats. There are very few Europeans on the station, only
                                          Mr Duncan, the District Officer, whose wife and children recently left for England, the
                                          Assistant District Officer and his wife, a bachelor Veterinary Officer, a Road Foreman and
                                          ourselves, and down in the village a German with an American wife and an elderly
                                          Irishman whom I have not met. The Government officials have a communal vegetable
                                          garden in the valley below the fort which keeps us well supplied with green stuff. 

                                          Most afternoons George, Kate and I go for walks after tea. On Fridays there is a
                                          little ceremony here outside the fort. In the late afternoon a little procession of small
                                          native schoolboys, headed by a drum and penny whistle band come marching up the
                                          road to a tune which sounds like ‘Two lovely black eyes”. They form up below our tower
                                          and as the flag is lowered for the day they play ‘God save the King’, and then march off
                                          again. It is quite a cheerful little ceremony.

                                          The local Africans are a skinny lot and, I should say, a poor tribe. They protect
                                          themselves against the cold by wrapping themselves in cotton blankets or a strip of
                                          unbleached sheeting. This they drape over their heads, almost covering their faces and
                                          the rest is wrapped closely round their bodies in the manner of a shroud. A most
                                          depressing fashion. They live in very primitive comfortless houses. They simply make a
                                          hollow in the hillside and build a front wall of wattle and daub. Into this rude shelter at night
                                          go cattle and goats, men, women, and children.

                                          Mbulu village has the usual mud brick and wattle dukas and wattle and daub
                                          houses. The chief trader is a Goan who keeps a surprisingly good variety of tinned
                                          foodstuffs and also sells hardware and soft goods.

                                          The Europeans here have been friendly but as you will have noted there are
                                          only two other women on station and no children at all to be companions for Kate.


                                          Mbulu 20th June 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Here we are on Safari with George at Babati where we are occupying a rest
                                          house on the slopes of Ufiome Mountain. The slopes are a Forest Reserve and
                                          George is supervising the clearing of firebreaks in preparation for the dry weather. He
                                          goes off after a very early breakfast and returns home in the late afternoon so Kate and I
                                          have long lazy days.

                                          Babati is a pleasant spot and the resthouse is quite comfortable. It is about a mile
                                          from the village which is just the usual collection of small mud brick and corrugated iron
                                          Indian Dukas. There are a few settlers in the area growing coffee, or going in for mixed
                                          farming but I don’t think they are doing very well. The farm adjoining the rest house is
                                          owned by Lord Lovelace but is run by a manager.

                                          George says he gets enough exercise clambering about all day on the mountain,
                                          so Kate and I do our walking in the mornings when George is busy, and we all relax in
                                          the evenings when George returns from his field work. Kate’s favourite walk is to the big
                                          block of mtama (sorghum) shambas lower down the hill. There are huge swarms of tiny
                                          grain eating birds around waiting the chance to plunder the mtama, so the crops are
                                          watched from sunrise to sunset.

                                          Crude observation platforms have been erected for this purpose in the centre of
                                          each field and the women and the young boys of the family concerned, take it in turn to
                                          occupy the platform and scare the birds. Each watcher has a sling and uses clods of
                                          earth for ammunition. The clod is placed in the centre of the sling which is then whirled
                                          around at arms length. Suddenly one end of the sling is released and the clod of earth
                                          flies out and shatters against the mtama stalks. The sling makes a loud whip like crack and
                                          the noise is quite startling and very effective in keeping the birds at a safe distance.


                                          Karatu 3rd July 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Still on safari you see! We left Babati ten days ago and passed through Mbulu
                                          on our way to this spot. We slept out of doors one night beside Lake Tiawa about eight
                                          miles from Mbulu. It was a peaceful spot and we enjoyed watching the reflection of the
                                          sunset on the lake and the waterhens and duck and pelicans settling down for the night.
                                          However it turned piercingly cold after sunset so we had an early supper and then all
                                          three of us lay down to sleep in the back of the boxbody (station wagon). It was a tight
                                          fit and a real case of ‘When Dad turns, we all turn.’

                                          Here at Karatu we are living in a grass hut with only three walls. It is rather sweet
                                          and looks like the setting for a Nativity Play. Kate and I share the only camp bed and
                                          George and the dogs sleep on the floor. The air here is very fresh and exhilarating and
                                          we all feel very fit. George is occupied all day supervising the cutting of firebreaks
                                          around existing plantations and the forest reserve of indigenous trees. Our camp is on
                                          the hillside and below us lie the fertile wheat lands of European farmers.

                                          They are mostly Afrikaners, the descendants of the Boer families who were
                                          invited by the Germans to settle here after the Boer War. Most of them are pro-British
                                          now and a few have called in here to chat to George about big game hunting. George
                                          gets on extremely well with them and recently attended a wedding where he had a
                                          lively time dancing at the reception. He likes the older people best as most are great
                                          individualists. One fine old man, surnamed von Rooyen, visited our camp. He is a Boer
                                          of the General Smuts type with spare figure and bearded face. George tells me he is a
                                          real patriarch with an enormous family – mainly sons. This old farmer fought against the
                                          British throughout the Boer War under General Smuts and again against the British in the
                                          German East Africa campaign when he was a scout and right hand man to Von Lettow. It
                                          is said that Von Lettow was able to stay in the field until the end of the Great War
                                          because he listened to the advise given to him by von Rooyen. However his dislike for
                                          the British does not extend to George as they have a mutual interest in big game

                                          Kate loves being on safari. She is now so accustomed to having me as her nurse
                                          and constant companion that I do not know how she will react to paid help. I shall have to
                                          get someone to look after her during my confinement in the little German Red Cross
                                          hospital at Oldeani.

                                          George has obtained permission from the District Commissioner, for Kate and
                                          me to occupy the Government Rest House at Oldeani from the end of July until the end
                                          of August when my baby is due. He will have to carry on with his field work but will join
                                          us at weekends whenever possible.


                                          Karatu 12th July 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Not long now before we leave this camp. We have greatly enjoyed our stay
                                          here in spite of the very chilly earl mornings and the nights when we sit around in heavy
                                          overcoats until our early bed time.

                                          Last Sunday I persuaded George to take Kate and me to the famous Ngoro-
                                          Ngoro Crater. He was not very keen to do so because the road is very bumpy for
                                          anyone in my interesting condition but I feel so fit that I was most anxious to take this
                                          opportunity of seeing the enormous crater. We may never be in this vicinity again and in
                                          any case safari will not be so simple with a small baby.

                                          What a wonderful trip it was! The road winds up a steep escarpment from which
                                          one gets a glorious birds eye view of the plains of the Great Rift Valley far, far below.
                                          The crater is immense. There is a road which skirts the rim in places and one has quite
                                          startling views of the floor of the crater about two thousand feet below.

                                          A camp for tourists has just been built in a clearing in the virgin forest. It is most
                                          picturesque as the camp buildings are very neatly constructed log cabins with very high
                                          pitched thatched roofs. We spent about an hour sitting on the grass near the edge of the
                                          crater enjoying the sunshine and the sharp air and really awe inspiring view. Far below us
                                          in the middle of the crater was a small lake and we could see large herds of game
                                          animals grazing there but they were too far away to be impressive, even seen through
                                          George’s field glasses. Most appeared to be wildebeest and zebra but I also picked
                                          out buffalo. Much more exciting was my first close view of a wild elephant. George
                                          pointed him out to me as we approached the rest camp on the inward journey. He
                                          stood quietly under a tree near the road and did not seem to be disturbed by the car
                                          though he rolled a wary eye in our direction. On our return journey we saw him again at
                                          almost uncomfortably close quarters. We rounded a sharp corner and there stood the
                                          elephant, facing us and slap in the middle of the road. He was busily engaged giving
                                          himself a dust bath but spared time to give us an irritable look. Fortunately we were on a
                                          slight slope so George quickly switched off the engine and backed the car quietly round
                                          the corner. He got out of the car and loaded his rifle, just in case! But after he had finished
                                          his toilet the elephant moved off the road and we took our chance and passed without

                                          One notices the steepness of the Ngoro-Ngoro road more on the downward
                                          journey than on the way up. The road is cut into the side of the mountain so that one has
                                          a steep slope on one hand and a sheer drop on the other. George told me that a lorry
                                          coming down the mountain was once charged from behind by a rhino. On feeling and
                                          hearing the bash from behind the panic stricken driver drove off down the mountain as
                                          fast as he dared and never paused until he reached level ground at the bottom of the
                                          mountain. There was no sign of the rhino so the driver got out to examine his lorry and
                                          found the rhino horn embedded in the wooden tail end of the lorry. The horn had been
                                          wrenched right off!

                                          Happily no excitement of that kind happened to us. I have yet to see a rhino.


                                          Oldeani. 19th July 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Greetings from a lady in waiting! Kate and I have settled down comfortably in the
                                          new, solidly built Government Rest House which comprises one large living room and
                                          one large office with a connecting door. Outside there is a kitchen and a boys quarter.
                                          There are no resident Government officials here at Oldeani so the office is in use only
                                          when the District Officer from Mbulu makes his monthly visit. However a large Union
                                          Jack flies from a flagpole in the front of the building as a gentle reminder to the entirely
                                          German population of Oldeani that Tanganyika is now under British rule.

                                          There is quite a large community of German settlers here, most of whom are
                                          engaged in coffee farming. George has visited several of the farms in connection with his
                                          forestry work and says the coffee plantations look very promising indeed. There are also
                                          a few German traders in the village and there is a large boarding school for German
                                          children and also a very pleasant little hospital where I have arranged to have the baby.
                                          Right next door to the Rest House is a General Dealers Store run by a couple named
                                          Schnabbe. The shop is stocked with drapery, hardware, china and foodstuffs all
                                          imported from Germany and of very good quality. The Schnabbes also sell local farm
                                          produce, beautiful fresh vegetables, eggs and pure rich milk and farm butter. Our meat
                                          comes from a German butchery and it is a great treat to get clean, well cut meat. The
                                          sausages also are marvellous and in great variety.

                                          The butcher is an entertaining character. When he called round looking for custom I
                                          expected him to break out in a yodel any minute, as it was obvious from a glance that
                                          the Alps are his natural background. From under a green Tyrollean hat with feather,
                                          blooms a round beefy face with sparkling small eyes and such widely spaced teeth that
                                          one inevitably thinks of a garden rake. Enormous beefy thighs bulge from greasy
                                          lederhosen which are supported by the traditional embroidered braces. So far the
                                          butcher is the only cheery German, male or female, whom I have seen, and I have met
                                          most of the locals at the Schnabbe’s shop. Most of the men seem to have cultivated
                                          the grim Hitler look. They are all fanatical Nazis and one is usually greeted by a raised
                                          hand and Heil Hitler! All very theatrical. I always feel like crying in ringing tones ‘God
                                          Save the King’ or even ‘St George for England’. However the men are all very correct
                                          and courteous and the women friendly. The women all admire Kate and cry, “Ag, das
                                          kleine Englander.” She really is a picture with her rosy cheeks and huge grey eyes and
                                          golden curls. Kate is having a wonderful time playing with Manfried, the Scnabbe’s small
                                          son. Neither understands a word said by the other but that doesn’t seem to worry them.

                                          Before he left on safari, George took me to hospital for an examination by the
                                          nurse, Sister Marianne. She has not been long in the country and knows very little
                                          English but is determined to learn and carried on an animated, if rather quaint,
                                          conversation with frequent references to a pocket dictionary. She says I am not to worry
                                          because there is not doctor here. She is a very experienced midwife and anyway in an
                                          emergency could call on the old retired Veterinary Surgeon for assistance.
                                          I asked sister Marianne whether she knew of any German woman or girl who
                                          would look after Kate whilst I am in hospital and today a very top drawer German,
                                          bearing a strong likeness to ‘Little Willie’, called and offered the services of his niece who
                                          is here on a visit from Germany. I was rather taken aback and said, “Oh no Baron, your
                                          niece would not be the type I had in mind. I’m afraid I cannot pay much for a companion.”
                                          However the Baron was not to be discouraged. He told me that his niece is seventeen
                                          but looks twenty, that she is well educated and will make a cheerful companion. Her
                                          father wishes her to learn to speak English fluently and that is why the Baron wished her
                                          to come to me as a house daughter. As to pay, a couple of pounds a month for pocket
                                          money and her keep was all he had in mind. So with some misgivings I agreed to take
                                          the niece on as a companion as from 1st August.


                                          Oldeani. 10th August 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Never a dull moment since my young companion arrived. She is a striking looking
                                          girl with a tall boyish figure and very short and very fine dark hair which she wears
                                          severely slicked back. She wears tweeds, no make up but has shiny rosy cheeks and
                                          perfect teeth – she also,inevitably, has a man friend and I have an uncomfortable
                                          suspicion that it is because of him that she was planted upon me. Upon second
                                          thoughts though, maybe it was because of her excessive vitality, or even because of
                                          her healthy appetite! The Baroness, I hear is in poor health and I can imagine that such
                                          abundant health and spirit must have been quite overpowering. The name is Ingeborg,
                                          but she is called Mouche, which I believe means Mouse. Someone in her family must
                                          have a sense of humour.

                                          Her English only needed practice and she now chatters fluently so that I know her
                                          background and views on life. Mouche’s father is a personal friend of Goering. He was
                                          once a big noise in the German Airforce but is now connected with the car industry and
                                          travels frequently and intensively in Europe and America on business. Mouche showed
                                          me some snap shots of her family and I must say they look prosperous and charming.
                                          Mouche tells me that her father wants her to learn to speak English fluently so that
                                          she can get a job with some British diplomat in Cairo. I had immediate thought that I
                                          might be nursing a future Mata Hari in my bosom, but this was immediately extinguished
                                          when Mouche remarked that her father would like her to marry an Englishman. However
                                          it seems that the mere idea revolts her. “Englishmen are degenerates who swill whisky
                                          all day.” I pointed out that she had met George, who was a true blue Englishman, but
                                          was nevertheless a fine physical specimen and certainly didn’t drink all day. Mouche
                                          replied that George is not an Englishman but a hunter, as though that set him apart.
                                          Mouche is an ardent Hitler fan and an enthusiastic member of the Hitler Youth
                                          Movement. The house resounds with Hitler youth songs and when she is not singing,
                                          her gramophone is playing very stirring marching songs. I cannot understand a word,
                                          which is perhaps as well. Every day she does the most strenuous exercises watched
                                          with envy by me as my proportions are now those of a circus Big Top. Mouche eats a
                                          fantastic amount of meat and I feel it is a blessing that she is much admired by our
                                          Tyrollean butcher who now delivers our meat in person and adds as a token of his
                                          admiration some extra sausages for Mouche.

                                          I must confess I find her stimulating company as George is on safari most of the
                                          time and my evenings otherwise would be lonely. I am a little worried though about
                                          leaving Kate here with Mouche when I go to hospital. The dogs and Kate have not taken
                                          to her. I am trying to prepare Kate for the separation but she says, “She’s not my
                                          mummy. You are my dear mummy, and I want you, I want you.” George has got
                                          permission from the Provincial Forestry Officer to spend the last week of August here at
                                          the Rest House with me and I only hope that the baby will be born during that time.
                                          Kate adores her dad and will be perfectly happy to remain here with him.

                                          One final paragraph about Mouche. I thought all German girls were domesticated
                                          but not Mouche. I have Kesho-Kutwa here with me as cook and I have engaged a local
                                          boy to do the laundry. I however expected Mouche would take over making the
                                          puddings and pastry but she informed me that she can only bake a chocolate cake and
                                          absolutely nothing else. She said brightly however that she would do the mending. As
                                          there is none for her to do, she has rescued a large worn handkerchief of George’s and
                                          sits with her feet up listening to stirring gramophone records whilst she mends the
                                          handkerchief with exquisite darning.


                                          Oldeani. 20th August 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          Just after I had posted my last letter I received what George calls a demi official
                                          letter from the District Officer informing me that I would have to move out of the Rest
                                          House for a few days as the Governor and his hangers on would be visiting Oldeani
                                          and would require the Rest House. Fortunately George happened to be here for a few
                                          hours and he arranged for Kate and Mouche and me to spend a few days at the
                                          German School as borders. So here I am at the school having a pleasant and restful
                                          time and much entertained by all the goings on.

                                          The school buildings were built with funds from Germany and the school is run on
                                          the lines of a contemporary German school. I think the school gets a grant from the
                                          Tanganyika Government towards running expenses, but I am not sure. The school hall is
                                          dominated by a more than life sized oil painting of Adolf Hitler which, at present, is
                                          flanked on one side by the German Flag and on the other by the Union Jack. I cannot
                                          help feeling that the latter was put up today for the Governor’s visit today.
                                          The teachers are very amiable. We all meet at mealtimes, and though few of the
                                          teachers speak English, the ones who do are anxious to chatter. The headmaster is a
                                          scholarly man but obviously anti-British. He says he cannot understand why so many
                                          South Africans are loyal to Britain – or rather to England. “They conquered your country
                                          didn’t they?” I said that that had never occurred to me and that anyway I was mainly of
                                          Scots descent and that loyalty to the crown was natural to me. “But the English
                                          conquered the Scots and yet you are loyal to England. That I cannot understand.” “Well I
                                          love England,” said I firmly, ”and so do all British South Africans.” Since then we have
                                          stuck to English literature. Shakespeare, Lord Byron and Galsworthy seem to be the
                                          favourites and all, thank goodness, make safe topics for conversation.
                                          Mouche is in her element but Kate and I do not enjoy the food which is typically
                                          German and consists largely of masses of fat pork and sauerkraut and unfamiliar soups. I
                                          feel sure that the soup at lunch today had blobs of lemon curd in it! I also find most
                                          disconcerting the way that everyone looks at me and says, “Bon appetite”, with much
                                          smiling and nodding so I have to fight down my nausea and make a show of enjoying
                                          the meals.

                                          The teacher whose room adjoins mine is a pleasant woman and I take my
                                          afternoon tea with her. She, like all the teachers, has a large framed photo of Hitler on her
                                          wall flanked by bracket vases of fresh flowers. One simply can’t get away from the man!
                                          Even in the dormitories each child has a picture of Hitler above the bed. Hitler accepting
                                          flowers from a small girl, or patting a small boy on the head. Even the children use the
                                          greeting ‘Heil Hitler’. These German children seem unnaturally prim when compared with
                                          my cheerful ex-pupils in South Africa but some of them are certainly very lovely to look

                                          Tomorrow Mouche, Kate and I return to our quarters in the Rest House and in a
                                          few days George will join us for a week.


                                          Oldeani Hospital. 9th September 1938

                                          Dearest Family,

                                          You will all be delighted to hear that we have a second son, whom we have
                                          named John. He is a darling, so quaint and good. He looks just like a little old man with a
                                          high bald forehead fringed around the edges with a light brown fluff. George and I call
                                          him Johnny Jo because he has a tiny round mouth and a rather big nose and reminds us
                                          of A.A.Milne’s ‘Jonathan Jo has a mouth like an O’ , but Kate calls him, ‘My brother John’.
                                          George was not here when he was born on September 5th, just two minutes
                                          before midnight. He left on safari on the morning of the 4th and, of course, that very night
                                          the labour pains started. Fortunately Kate was in bed asleep so Mouche walked with
                                          me up the hill to the hospital where I was cheerfully received by Sister Marianne who
                                          had everything ready for the confinement. I was lucky to have such an experienced
                                          midwife because this was a breech birth and sister had to manage single handed. As
                                          there was no doctor present I was not allowed even a sniff of anaesthetic. Sister slaved
                                          away by the light of a pressure lamp endeavouring to turn the baby having first shoved
                                          an inverted baby bath under my hips to raise them.

                                          What a performance! Sister Marianne was very much afraid that she might not be
                                          able to save the baby and great was our relief when at last she managed to haul him out
                                          by the feet. One slap and the baby began to cry without any further attention so Sister
                                          wrapped him up in a blanket and took Johnny to her room for the night. I got very little
                                          sleep but was so thankful to have the ordeal over that I did not mind even though I
                                          heard a hyaena cackling and calling under my window in a most evil way.
                                          When Sister brought Johnny to me in the early morning I stared in astonishment.
                                          Instead of dressing him in one of his soft Viyella nighties, she had dressed him in a short
                                          sleeved vest of knitted cotton with a cotton cloth swayed around his waist sarong
                                          fashion. When I protested, “But Sister why is the baby not dressed in his own clothes?”
                                          She answered firmly, “I find it is not allowed. A baby’s clotheses must be boiled and I
                                          cannot boil clotheses of wool therefore your baby must wear the clotheses of the Red

                                          It was the same with the bedding. Poor Johnny lies all day in a deep wicker
                                          basket with a detachable calico lining. There is no pillow under his head but a vast kind of
                                          calico covered pillow is his only covering. There is nothing at all cosy and soft round my
                                          poor baby. I said crossly to the Sister, “As every thing must be so sterile, I wonder you
                                          don’t boil me too.” This she ignored.

                                          When my message reached George he dashed back to visit us. Sister took him
                                          first to see the baby and George was astonished to see the baby basket covered by a
                                          sheet. “She has the poor little kid covered up like a bloody parrot,” he told me. So I
                                          asked him to go at once to buy a square of mosquito netting to replace the sheet.
                                          Kate is quite a problem. She behaves like an Angel when she is here in my
                                          room but is rebellious when Sister shoos her out. She says she “Hates the Nanny”
                                          which is what she calls Mouche. Unfortunately it seems that she woke before midnight
                                          on the night Johnny Jo was born to find me gone and Mouche in my bed. According to
                                          Mouche, Kate wept all night and certainly when she visited me in the early morning
                                          Kate’s face was puffy with crying and she clung to me crying “Oh my dear mummy, why
                                          did you go away?” over and over again. Sister Marianne was touched and suggested
                                          that Mouche and Kate should come to the hospital as boarders as I am the only patient
                                          at present and there is plenty of room. Luckily Kate does not seem at all jealous of the
                                          baby and it is a great relief to have here here under my eye.



                                            From Tanganyika with Love

                                            continued  ~ part 5

                                            With thanks to Mike Rushby.

                                            Chunya 16th December 1936

                                            Dearest Family,

                                            Since last I wrote I have visited Chunya and met several of the diggers wives.
                                            On the whole I have been greatly disappointed because there is nothing very colourful
                                            about either township or women. I suppose I was really expecting something more like
                                            the goldrush towns and women I have so often seen on the cinema screen.
                                            Chunya consists of just the usual sun-dried brick Indian shops though there are
                                            one or two double storied buildings. Most of the life in the place centres on the
                                            Goldfields Hotel but we did not call there. From the store opposite I could hear sounds
                                            of revelry though it was very early in the afternoon. I saw only one sight which was quite
                                            new to me, some elegantly dressed African women, with high heels and lipsticked
                                            mouths teetered by on their way to the silk store. “Native Tarts,” said George in answer
                                            to my enquiry.

                                            Several women have called on me and when I say ‘called’ I mean called. I have
                                            grown so used to going without stockings and wearing home made dresses that it was
                                            quite a shock to me to entertain these ladies dressed to the nines in smart frocks, silk
                                            stockings and high heeled shoes, handbags, makeup and whatnot. I feel like some
                                            female Rip van Winkle. Most of the women have a smart line in conversation and their
                                            talk and views on life would make your nice straight hair curl Mummy. They make me feel
                                            very unsophisticated and dowdy but George says he has a weakness for such types
                                            and I am to stay exactly as I am. I still do not use any makeup. George says ‘It’s all right
                                            for them. They need it poor things, you don’t.” Which, though flattering, is hardly true.
                                            I prefer the men visitors, though they also are quite unlike what I had expected
                                            diggers to be. Those whom George brings home are all well educated and well
                                            groomed and I enjoy listening to their discussion of the world situation, sport and books.
                                            They are extremely polite to me and gentle with the children though I believe that after a
                                            few drinks at the pub tempers often run high. There were great arguments on the night
                                            following the abdication of Edward VIII. Not that the diggers were particularly attached to
                                            him as a person, but these men are all great individualists and believe in freedom of
                                            choice. George, rather to my surprise, strongly supported Edward. I did not.

                                            Many of the diggers have wireless sets and so we keep up to date with the
                                            news. I seldom leave camp. I have my hands full with the three children during the day
                                            and, even though Janey is a reliable ayah, I would not care to leave the children at night
                                            in these grass roofed huts. Having experienced that fire on the farm, I know just how
                                            unlikely it would be that the children would be rescued in time in case of fire. The other
                                            women on the diggings think I’m crazy. They leave their children almost entirely to ayahs
                                            and I must confess that the children I have seen look very well and happy. The thing is
                                            that I simply would not enjoy parties at the hotel or club, miles away from the children
                                            and I much prefer to stay at home with a book.

                                            I love hearing all about the parties from George who likes an occasional ‘boose
                                            up’ with the boys and is terribly popular with everyone – not only the British but with the
                                            Germans, Scandinavians and even the Afrikaans types. One Afrikaans woman said “Jou
                                            man is ‘n man, al is hy ‘n Engelsman.” Another more sophisticated woman said, “George
                                            is a handsome devil. Aren’t you scared to let him run around on his own?” – but I’m not. I
                                            usually wait up for George with sandwiches and something hot to drink and that way I
                                            get all the news red hot.

                                            There is very little gold coming in. The rains have just started and digging is
                                            temporarily at a standstill. It is too wet for dry blowing and not yet enough water for
                                            panning and sluicing. As this camp is some considerable distance from the claims, all I see of the process is the weighing of the daily taking of gold dust and tiny nuggets.
                                            Unless our luck changes I do not think we will stay on here after John Molteno returns.
                                            George does not care for the life and prefers a more constructive occupation.
                                            Ann and young George still search optimistically for gold. We were all saddened
                                            last week by the death of Fanny, our bull terrier. She went down to the shopping centre
                                            with us and we were standing on the verandah of a store when a lorry passed with its
                                            canvas cover flapping. This excited Fanny who rushed out into the street and the back
                                            wheel of the lorry passed right over her, killing her instantly. Ann was very shocked so I
                                            soothed her by telling her that Fanny had gone to Heaven. When I went to bed that
                                            night I found Ann still awake and she asked anxiously, “Mummy, do you think God
                                            remembered to give Fanny her bone tonight?”

                                            Much love to all,

                                            Itewe, Chunya 23rd December 1936

                                            Dearest Family,

                                            Your Christmas parcel arrived this morning. Thank you very much for all the
                                            clothing for all of us and for the lovely toys for the children. George means to go hunting
                                            for a young buffalo this afternoon so that we will have some fresh beef for Christmas for
                                            ourselves and our boys and enough for friends too.

                                            I had a fright this morning. Ann and Georgie were, as usual, searching for gold
                                            whilst I sat sewing in the living room with Kate toddling around. She wandered through
                                            the curtained doorway into the store and I heard her playing with the paraffin pump. At
                                            first it did not bother me because I knew the tin was empty but after ten minutes or so I
                                            became irritated by the noise and went to stop her. Imagine my horror when I drew the
                                            curtain aside and saw my fat little toddler fiddling happily with the pump whilst, curled up
                                            behind the tin and clearly visible to me lay the largest puffadder I have ever seen.
                                            Luckily I acted instinctively and scooped Kate up from behind and darted back into the
                                            living room without disturbing the snake. The houseboy and cook rushed in with sticks
                                            and killed the snake and then turned the whole storeroom upside down to make sure
                                            there were no more.

                                            I have met some more picturesque characters since I last wrote. One is a man
                                            called Bishop whom George has known for many years having first met him in the
                                            Congo. I believe he was originally a sailor but for many years he has wandered around
                                            Central Africa trying his hand at trading, prospecting, a bit of elephant hunting and ivory
                                            poaching. He is now keeping himself by doing ‘Sign Writing”. Bish is a gentle and
                                            dignified personality. When we visited his camp he carefully dusted a seat for me and
                                            called me ‘Marm’, quite ye olde world. The only thing is he did spit.

                                            Another spitter is the Frenchman in a neighbouring camp. He is in bed with bad
                                            rheumatism and George has been going across twice a day to help him and cheer him
                                            up. Once when George was out on the claim I went across to the Frenchman’s camp in
                                            response to an SOS, but I think he was just lonely. He showed me snapshots of his
                                            two daughters, lovely girls and extremely smart, and he chatted away telling me his life
                                            history. He punctuated his remarks by spitting to right and left of the bed, everywhere in
                                            fact, except actually at me.

                                            George took me and the children to visit a couple called Bert and Hilda Farham.
                                            They have a small gold reef which is worked by a very ‘Heath Robinson’ type of
                                            machinery designed and erected by Bert who is reputed to be a clever engineer though
                                            eccentric. He is rather a handsome man who always looks very spruce and neat and
                                            wears a Captain Kettle beard. Hilda is from Johannesburg and quite a character. She
                                            has a most generous figure and literally masses of beetroot red hair, but she also has a
                                            warm deep voice and a most generous disposition. The Farhams have built
                                            themselves a more permanent camp than most. They have a brick cottage with proper
                                            doors and windows and have made it attractive with furniture contrived from petrol
                                            boxes. They have no children but Hilda lavishes a great deal of affection on a pet
                                            monkey. Sometimes they do quite well out of their gold and then they have a terrific
                                            celebration at the Club or Pub and Hilda has an orgy of shopping. At other times they
                                            are completely broke but Hilda takes disasters as well as triumphs all in her stride. She
                                            says, “My dear, when we’re broke we just live on tea and cigarettes.”

                                            I have met a young woman whom I would like as a friend. She has a dear little
                                            baby, but unfortunately she has a very wet husband who is also a dreadful bore. I can’t
                                            imagine George taking me to their camp very often. When they came to visit us George
                                            just sat and smoked and said,”Oh really?” to any remark this man made until I felt quite
                                            hysterical. George looks very young and fit and the children are lively and well too. I ,
                                            however, am definitely showing signs of wear and tear though George says,
                                            “Nonsense, to me you look the same as you always did.” This I may say, I do not
                                            regard as a compliment to the young Eleanor.

                                            Anyway, even though our future looks somewhat unsettled, we are all together
                                            and very happy.

                                            With love,

                                            Itewe, Chunya 30th December 1936

                                            Dearest Family,

                                            We had a very cheery Christmas. The children loved the toys and are so proud
                                            of their new clothes. They wore them when we went to Christmas lunch to the
                                            Cresswell-Georges. The C-Gs have been doing pretty well lately and they have a
                                            comfortable brick house and a large wireless set. The living room was gaily decorated
                                            with bought garlands and streamers and balloons. We had an excellent lunch cooked by
                                            our ex cook Abel who now works for the Cresswell-Georges. We had turkey with
                                            trimmings and plum pudding followed by nuts and raisons and chocolates and sweets
                                            galore. There was also a large variety of drinks including champagne!

                                            There were presents for all of us and, in addition, Georgie and Ann each got a
                                            large tin of chocolates. Kate was much admired. She was a picture in her new party frock
                                            with her bright hair and rosy cheeks. There were other guests beside ourselves and
                                            they were already there having drinks when we arrived. Someone said “What a lovely
                                            child!” “Yes” said George with pride, “She’s a Marie Stopes baby.” “Truby King!” said I
                                            quickly and firmly, but too late to stop the roar of laughter.

                                            Our children played amicably with the C-G’s three, but young George was
                                            unusually quiet and surprised me by bringing me his unopened tin of chocolates to keep
                                            for him. Normally he is a glutton for sweets. I might have guessed he was sickening for
                                            something. That night he vomited and had diarrhoea and has had an upset tummy and a
                                            slight temperature ever since.

                                            Janey is also ill. She says she has malaria and has taken to her bed. I am dosing
                                            her with quinine and hope she will soon be better as I badly need her help. Not only is
                                            young George off his food and peevish but Kate has a cold and Ann sore eyes and
                                            they all want love and attention. To complicate things it has been raining heavily and I
                                            must entertain the children indoors.


                                            Itewe, Chunya 19th January 1937

                                            Dearest Family,

                                            So sorry I have not written before but we have been in the wars and I have had neither
                                            the time nor the heart to write. However the worst is now over. Young George and
                                            Janey are both recovering from Typhoid Fever. The doctor had Janey moved to the
                                            native hospital at Chunya but I nursed young George here in the camp.

                                            As I told you young George’s tummy trouble started on Christmas day. At first I
                                            thought it was only a protracted bilious attack due to eating too much unaccustomed rich
                                            food and treated him accordingly but when his temperature persisted I thought that the
                                            trouble might be malaria and kept him in bed and increased the daily dose of quinine.
                                            He ate less and less as the days passed and on New Years Day he seemed very
                                            weak and his stomach tender to the touch.

                                            George fetched the doctor who examined small George and said he had a very
                                            large liver due no doubt to malaria. He gave the child injections of emertine and quinine
                                            and told me to give young George frequent and copious drinks of water and bi-carb of
                                            soda. This was more easily said than done. Young George refused to drink this mixture
                                            and vomited up the lime juice and water the doctor had suggested as an alternative.
                                            The doctor called every day and gave George further injections and advised me
                                            to give him frequent sips of water from a spoon. After three days the child was very
                                            weak and weepy but Dr Spiers still thought he had malaria. During those anxious days I
                                            also worried about Janey who appeared to be getting worse rather that better and on
                                            January the 3rd I asked the doctor to look at her. The next thing I knew, the doctor had
                                            put Janey in his car and driven her off to hospital. When he called next morning he
                                            looked very grave and said he wished to talk to my husband. I said that George was out
                                            on the claim but if what he wished to say concerned young George’s condition he might
                                            just as well tell me.

                                            With a good deal of reluctance Dr Spiers then told me that Janey showed all the
                                            symptoms of Typhoid Fever and that he was very much afraid that young George had
                                            contracted it from her. He added that George should be taken to the Mbeya Hospital
                                            where he could have the professional nursing so necessary in typhoid cases. I said “Oh
                                            no,I’d never allow that. The child had never been away from his family before and it
                                            would frighten him to death to be sick and alone amongst strangers.” Also I was sure that
                                            the fifty mile drive over the mountains in his weak condition would harm him more than
                                            my amateur nursing would. The doctor returned to the camp that afternoon to urge
                                            George to send our son to hospital but George staunchly supported my argument that
                                            young George would stand a much better chance of recovery if we nursed him at home.
                                            I must say Dr Spiers took our refusal very well and gave young George every attention
                                            coming twice a day to see him.

                                            For some days the child was very ill. He could not keep down any food or liquid
                                            in any quantity so all day long, and when he woke at night, I gave him a few drops of
                                            water at a time from a teaspoon. His only nourishment came from sucking Macintosh’s
                                            toffees. Young George sweated copiously especially at night when it was difficult to
                                            change his clothes and sponge him in the draughty room with the rain teeming down
                                            outside. I think I told you that the bedroom is a sort of shed with only openings in the wall
                                            for windows and doors, and with one wall built only a couple of feet high leaving a six
                                            foot gap for air and light. The roof leaked and the damp air blew in but somehow young
                                            George pulled through.

                                            Only when he was really on the mend did the doctor tell us that whilst he had
                                            been attending George, he had also been called in to attend to another little boy of the same age who also had typhoid. He had been called in too late and the other little boy,
                                            an only child, had died. Young George, thank God, is convalescent now, though still on a
                                            milk diet. He is cheerful enough when he has company but very peevish when left
                                            alone. Poor little lad, he is all hair, eyes, and teeth, or as Ann says” Georgie is all ribs ribs
                                            now-a-days Mummy.” He shares my room, Ann and Kate are together in the little room.
                                            Anyway the doctor says he should be up and around in about a week or ten days time.
                                            We were all inoculated against typhoid on the day the doctor made the diagnosis
                                            so it is unlikely that any of us will develop it. Dr Spiers was most impressed by Ann’s
                                            unconcern when she was inoculated. She looks gentle and timid but has always been
                                            very brave. Funny thing when young George was very ill he used to wail if I left the
                                            room, but now that he is convalescent he greatly prefers his dad’s company. So now I
                                            have been able to take the girls for walks in the late afternoons whilst big George
                                            entertains small George. This he does with the minimum of effort, either he gets out
                                            cartons of ammunition with which young George builds endless forts, or else he just sits
                                            beside the bed and cleans one of his guns whilst small George watches with absorbed

                                            The Doctor tells us that Janey is also now convalescent. He says that exhusband
                                            Abel has been most attentive and appeared daily at the hospital with a tray of
                                            food that made his, the doctor’s, mouth water. All I dare say, pinched from Mrs

                                            I’ll write again soon. Lots of love to all,

                                            Chunya 29th January 1937

                                            Dearest Family,

                                            Georgie is up and about but still tires very easily. At first his legs were so weak
                                            that George used to carry him around on his shoulders. The doctor says that what the
                                            child really needs is a long holiday out of the Tropics so that Mrs Thomas’ offer, to pay all
                                            our fares to Cape Town as well as lending us her seaside cottage for a month, came as
                                            a Godsend. Luckily my passport is in order. When George was in Mbeya he booked
                                            seats for the children and me on the first available plane. We will fly to Broken Hill and go
                                            on to Cape Town from there by train.

                                            Ann and George are wildly thrilled at the idea of flying but I am not. I remember
                                            only too well how airsick I was on the old Hannibal when I flew home with the baby Ann.
                                            I am longing to see you all and it will be heaven to give the children their first seaside

                                            I mean to return with Kate after three months but, if you will have him, I shall leave
                                            George behind with you for a year. You said you would all be delighted to have Ann so
                                            I do hope you will also be happy to have young George. Together they are no trouble
                                            at all. They amuse themselves and are very independent and loveable.
                                            George and I have discussed the matter taking into consideration the letters from
                                            you and George’s Mother on the subject. If you keep Ann and George for a year, my
                                            mother-in-law will go to Cape Town next year and fetch them. They will live in England
                                            with her until they are fit enough to return to the Tropics. After the children and I have left
                                            on this holiday, George will be able to move around and look for a job that will pay
                                            sufficiently to enable us to go to England in a few years time to fetch our children home.
                                            We both feel very sad at the prospect of this parting but the children’s health
                                            comes before any other consideration. I hope Kate will stand up better to the Tropics.
                                            She is plump and rosy and could not look more bonny if she lived in a temperate

                                            We should be with you in three weeks time!

                                            Very much love,

                                            Broken Hill, N Rhodesia 11th February 1937

                                            Dearest Family,

                                            Well here we are safe and sound at the Great Northern Hotel, Broken Hill, all
                                            ready to board the South bound train tonight.

                                            We were still on the diggings on Ann’s birthday, February 8th, when George had
                                            a letter from Mbeya to say that our seats were booked on the plane leaving Mbeya on
                                            the 10th! What a rush we had packing up. Ann was in bed with malaria so we just
                                            bundled her up in blankets and set out in John Molteno’s car for the farm. We arrived that
                                            night and spent the next day on the farm sorting things out. Ann and George wanted to
                                            take so many of their treasures and it was difficult for them to make a small selection. In
                                            the end young George’s most treasured possession, his sturdy little boots, were left

                                            Before leaving home on the morning of the tenth I took some snaps of Ann and
                                            young George in the garden and one of them with their father. He looked so sad. After
                                            putting us on the plane, George planned to go to the fishing camp for a day or two
                                            before returning to the empty house on the farm.

                                            John Molteno returned from the Cape by plane just before we took off, so he
                                            will take over the running of his claims once more. I told John that I dreaded the plane trip
                                            on account of air sickness so he gave me two pills which I took then and there. Oh dear!
                                            How I wished later that I had not done so. We had an extremely bumpy trip and
                                            everyone on the plane was sick except for small George who loved every moment.
                                            Poor Ann had a dreadful time but coped very well and never complained. I did not
                                            actually puke until shortly before we landed at Broken Hill but felt dreadfully ill all the way.
                                            Kate remained rosy and cheerful almost to the end. She sat on my lap throughout the
                                            trip because, being under age, she travelled as baggage and was not entitled to a seat.
                                            Shortly before we reached Broken Hill a smartly dressed youngish man came up
                                            to me and said, “You look so poorly, please let me take the baby, I have children of my
                                            own and know how to handle them.” Kate made no protest and off they went to the
                                            back of the plane whilst I tried to relax and concentrate on not getting sick. However,
                                            within five minutes the man was back. Kate had been thoroughly sick all over his collar
                                            and jacket.

                                            I took Kate back on my lap and then was violently sick myself, so much so that
                                            when we touched down at Broken Hill I was unable to speak to the Immigration Officer.
                                            He was so kind. He sat beside me until I got my diaphragm under control and then
                                            drove me up to the hotel in his own car.

                                            We soon recovered of course and ate a hearty dinner. This morning after
                                            breakfast I sallied out to look for a Bank where I could exchange some money into
                                            Rhodesian and South African currency and for the Post Office so that I could telegraph
                                            to George and to you. What a picnic that trip was! It was a terribly hot day and there was
                                            no shade. By the time we had done our chores, the children were hot, and cross, and
                                            tired and so indeed was I. As I had no push chair for Kate I had to carry her and she is
                                            pretty heavy for eighteen months. George, who is still not strong, clung to my free arm
                                            whilst Ann complained bitterly that no one was helping her.

                                            Eventually Ann simply sat down on the pavement and declared that she could
                                            not go another step, whereupon George of course decided that he also had reached his
                                            limit and sat down too. Neither pleading no threats would move them so I had to resort
                                            to bribery and had to promise that when we reached the hotel they could have cool
                                            drinks and ice-cream. This promise got the children moving once more but I am determined that nothing will induce me to stir again until the taxi arrives to take us to the

                                            This letter will go by air and will reach you before we do. How I am longing for
                                            journeys end.

                                            With love to you all,

                                            Leaving home 10th February 1937,  George Gilman Rushby with Ann and Georgie (Mike) Rushby:

                                            George Rushby Ann and Georgie

                                            We had a very warm welcome to the family home at Plumstead Cape Town.
                                            After ten days with my family we moved to Hout Bay where Mrs Thomas lent us her
                                            delightful seaside cottage. She also provided us with two excellent maids so I had
                                            nothing to do but rest and play on the beach with the children.

                                            After a month at the sea George had fully recovered his health though not his
                                            former gay spirits. After another six months with my parents I set off for home with Kate,
                                            leaving Ann and George in my parent’s home under the care of my elder sister,

                                            One or two incidents during that visit remain clearly in my memory. Our children
                                            had never met elderly people and were astonished at the manifestations of age. One
                                            morning an elderly lady came around to collect church dues. She was thin and stooped
                                            and Ann surveyed her with awe. She turned to me with a puzzled expression and
                                            asked in her clear voice, “Mummy, why has that old lady got a moustache – oh and a
                                            beard?’ The old lady in question was very annoyed indeed and said, “What a rude little
                                            girl.” Ann could not understand this, she said, “But Mummy, I only said she had a
                                            moustache and a beard and she has.” So I explained as best I could that when people
                                            have defects of this kind they are hurt if anyone mentions them.

                                            A few days later a strange young woman came to tea. I had been told that she
                                            had a most disfiguring birthmark on her cheek and warned Ann that she must not
                                            comment on it. Alas! with the kindest intentions Ann once again caused me acute
                                            embarrassment. The young woman was hardly seated when Ann went up to her and
                                            gently patted the disfiguring mark saying sweetly, “Oh, I do like this horrible mark on your

                                            I remember also the afternoon when Kate and George were christened. My
                                            mother had given George a white silk shirt for the occasion and he wore it with intense
                                            pride. Kate was baptised first without incident except that she was lost in admiration of a
                                            gold bracelet given her that day by her Godmother and exclaimed happily, “My
                                            bangle, look my bangle,” throughout the ceremony. When George’s turn came the
                                            clergyman held his head over the font and poured water on George’s forehead. Some
                                            splashed on his shirt and George protested angrily, “Mum, he has wet my shirt!” over
                                            and over again whilst I led him hurriedly outside.

                                            My last memory of all is at the railway station. The time had come for Kate and
                                            me to get into our compartment. My sisters stood on the platform with Ann and George.
                                            Ann was resigned to our going, George was not so, at the last moment Sylvia, my
                                            younger sister, took him off to see the engine. The whistle blew and I said good-bye to
                                            my gallant little Ann. “Mummy”, she said urgently to me, “Don’t forget to wave to

                                            And so I waved good-bye to my children, never dreaming that a war would
                                            intervene and it would be eight long years before I saw them again.

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