Colonial Africa
Maps. Background. Gold Coast. School In South Africa. Nyasaland.

Gold Coast

Rhodesia & Nyasaland

I left HMS Worcester in 1965, a term early, as my parents had left Nyasaland about a year earlier after the independence of Nyasaland in 1964.

After he got back to England he was invited to go back again for the independence hand over arrangements.This he did and then came back to England. The leaving of Nyasaland involved loading up the Morris Traveller with what ever they could get in it and a drive to Beira in Mozambique. Then a ship journey via the Suez Canal to Italy. Then a drive to Ashford in Kent. It has to be said that the poor old “moggie” didn’t make it all the way as both back wheels collapsed a few mile from Ashford. - How lucky is that !!

As time went on they explored the idea of living in Portugal then opted for West Australia. I am sure the decision was influenced by the fact that my “uncle” Gray (Graham Tillesley) had already moved to West Australia along with six other ex Colonials and liked it. I was invited along.

Earlier in his career before Ghana’s independence, my Dad obtained a position in Zomba in 1956. To get there, my Dad and Mum caught a ship to the West Coast of the Belgium Congo and then drove across the Congo through Leopoldville (Brazzaville), through into Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and on to Zomba in Nyasaland (Malawi) in a Rover 75, fully loaded with whatever they could fit in. I have absolutely no idea how they organised this trip, where they slept, where they bought petrol and food etc although I suppose as the Congo was a Belgium Protectorate the infrastructure may have been reasonable and the Colonial Civil Service had people all over the place. This was all dirt roads of course and the road in the picture of the Morris below is probably a “good” road.

Now, this may be my childhood memory playing up or it may have happened. I do remember my dad telling me about it. Halfway across he had a piston failure and with the help of a local “useful” guy, made and fitted a hardwood piston to the engine which amazingly got him to Nyasaland. But, I have checked with my “uncle” Gray in Australia who was already employed in Nyasaland at the time of the trip. He and Gray were destined to become friends for many years and business partners as well. He remembers my Dad’s account as being that he broke a rear spring and managed to bodge another from a vehicle he found at a disused airfield. He doesn’t remember anything about a piston but, as he said, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. After all, what would you do, you would have to try something and he was a good engineer. This got them to Nyasaland and my Uncle Gray remembers the Rover to be a real mess when they arrived. Doors wired up and the engine just about hanging on by it’s teeth.

Apparently my Dad’s abiding memory of the trip was a bush fire that was so long that they wondered if they would manage to get by it in one piece. My personal feeling is he did well to get there at all.

But, the story of our involvement in Africa is one of many Colonials acted out under the African sun and one I feel requires exploring with the limited stuff I have, especially, as I have been unable to find much about the Colonial way of life on the net, so far.

So here is a page or two about my parents in Africa and my early life.

My Mum and Dad in Zomba and there is the Morris Minor they eventually left Nyasaland with.

Here is the Rover that was more than likely used to drive from Gold Coast to Nyasaland.

From left - Mum,my Sister Susan and myself

My Mum and Dad before they went to Africa - approx 1936

My Mum and my “Uncle” Gray

Here is another shot of the “moggie” on the way to Quelimane in Mozambique.

My Uncle has relayed a story to me about the trip he did to West Australia when leaving Nyasaland. Gray has a small plane pilots licence and indeed was a member of the Zomba Flying Club. Anyway, he flew down to Salisbury and then to Johannesburg by light aircraft the pilot of which was a club member. He introduces my Uncle Gray to the pilot of the Super Constellation that was to take my Uncle to West Australia. Gray was invited to sit in the cockpit for the trip. On the way over the pilot took the plane out of Autopilot and invited Gray to take the controls - which he duly did. Don’t suppose that would happen now !

Not strictly about my Africa but Hugh Morgan (1918 - 1990) was aboard Worcester II as a Cadet in 1937. He and his family were in East Africa prospecting amongst various other ways of making a living. There is little on the web about Colonial times and his life story written by himself makes for fascinating reading.

Hugh was Divisional Officer aboard Worcester III when I was aboard from 1962-65.

Read his very interesting life story supplied  by Keith Broderick OW (PDF Icon)