CHIT-CHAT ~ 2018

Sgt "Billie" ~ RIP
Sad news from Kondwani Banda in Malawi of the passing of Emiliano Fabiano Billie Gama - Sgt "Billie" as so many of us remember him. He joined the force in 1955 serving a total of thirty years. Those of us who knew him recall a very likable and amenable individual, efficient, adaptable and a loyal officer whose ready assistance and advice was indispensible - particularly to his expatriate colleagues. It is no surprise to us that he achieved senior rank as Regional Commissioner by the time of his retirement in 1985. He died at his home in the Northern Province on 10th December 2018. His funeral with full military honours was on 12th December 2018 of which Kondwani has put together three video recordings.
(Note: Further notes on his career can be found in

Video recordings Wednesday 12th December 2018:
1. Click to view
2. Click to view
3. Click to view

Freemasons in the Nyasaland Police
Ken Wilkinson tells us that a number of Officers in the Force were Masons and most belonged to St George Lodge No 7763 EC which still meets in Blantyre. He was initiated, he says, at St George Lodge in March 1963 and has now been an active Mason for over 55 Years. Present at his initiation were Mike Costello, Mike Davis, Cyril Marlow, Derek Tricker, Bill Le Fevre and John Brawn. He js also aware that Brad Gillies and at least five others joined in later years after he left the force. He would be very interested, he says, to hear from any other former members who became Masons during their service or later and to know if they are still in active membership.
Please contact Ken via email at

Pictured left is the Limbe rugby team of 1960, our man "Down Under", Tony Drynan, is on a mission to fill in the missing names although it seems Bill Apps is the only Nypol representative.
Names and suggestions so far are:
Standing: ?? Fitzgerald ? (Sydney?), Gerry Brown (died East London), Name please (May have been with the Standard Bank), Name please, Name please, (May have been with the Standard Bank), Colin Graham (died Montrose, Scotland), Bill Apps (died, ex-Nypol), Joe Marsh (UK).
Seated:: Robin Law (??), Name please (May have been with the Standard Bank), Bob Rogers (Capt) (died Durban), Dick Mullon (Coach) (died Cape), Holford Ness (died NSW), Ron Morgan (Australia), Norman Watson (died UK).
Front: Gordon Rogers (died Jo'burg), Ken Taylor (died Durban), George Donaldson (UK ??).

Brad Gillies (1934-2018) ~ RIP
Sadly Brad passed away in October 2018. He joined the Nyasaland Police in February 1959, leaving in 1971 to settle in South Africa. It was in Blantyre that he became a Freemason and remained an active member thoughout his life achieving high rank. A very effective Police Officer his experience led to employment in security work and as a director of an electronic security company he was involved in the setting up of the South Africa Security Association. A gregarious individual he was stricken with cancer in later life and surely will be missed by so many.
Origin - Ken Wilkinson, November 2018

This excellent drawing by Mike Tadman is taken from the Gallery pictures of Jon Dennison. Those pictured were working on the Police Mess at Limbe but who are they - can you add the missing names?
(1)    ??
(2)    Brad Gillies ??
(3)    Ted Shawley ??
(4)    ??
(5)    ??
(6)    ??
(7)    ??
(8)    Les Sampson ??
(9)    ??

Note: To further view and enlarge ths picture visit Galleries - Jon Dennison Collection

"Ambulance service"
We saw the Webmaster's great niece, Pippi Russell, take the baby "on board" below and what a lovely, healthy baby it looked to be. Needless to say Pippi, as a medical student, was keen to learn where and how the baby was delivered and, particularly, what transport was used to take the pregnant mother to the place of delivery. Was it by car, ambulance, taxi or bus maybe?
Click here to find out.
Webmaster - October 2018

Les Antrobus ~ RIP
It is sad to report the passing of Les on 28th September 2018. A skilled technician Les served in the Comms branch of the Nyasaland Police based mainly at the Headquarters in Zomba. On return to UK he settled in Sheffield where latterly he was stricken with Alzheimer's. Les was a man with a great sense of fun, he enjoyed life to the full and he was a very able individual - the picture on the left was taken at Luchenza Flying Club in 1966 following his first solo flight.
Origin - Christopher Bean, October 2018

"Baby on board"
Webmaster's niece, Linda Russell (nee Rankine), was resident in Nyasaland as a child when her father was employed in Barclays Bank, Limbe. She has recently (July 2018) returned for a visit with her daughter Pippi and both thoroughly enjoyed their time there. Pippi, a medical student, was keen to experience some aspects of the life of the ordinary villager and here she is seen trying the time honoured practice of baby transportation. What a delight it is to see the reaction of the ladies gathered there.    

Click here to view

Webmaster - September 2018

David O'Neil (1932 - 2018) ~ RIP
It is sad to report the passing of David O'Neil on 12th August 2018 having bravely battled his cancer over the past few years. David was an action man, pilot, sailor, Colonial Police Officer, Highlands tour guide, artist and photographer. In his later years he took up writing, Scottish guide books initially but more so he was a prolific writer of novels, varied in content but in particular historical fiction of life at sea under sail. A firm supporter of the Association he was a regular at the Reunions, including this year at Coventry in July and he put together a series of short stories for this website. For more information and to read his latest "shortie" click here to visit his section which remains in the "Items of Interest" page.
Origin - Webmaster, August 2018

John Raymond PRITCHARD (1933 - 2018) ~ RIP
John passed away on 19th June 2018 in the town of Miami, Queensland, Australia. He served in the Nyasaland Police from July 1961 to February 1965. He joined the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary in June 1967 on a 12 year contract, where, in particular, he served in Port Moresby as a Prosecuting Officer. He resigned in May 1974 and returned to Australia, his country of birth, where he studied law and which led on to the senior post as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in Canberra. He retired in August 1995.
Origin - Ken Wilkinson August 2018

At last, your webmaster is back at his desk and computer following the 2018 Reunion on the 12th July after too many days AWOL visting family and friends in the south of England. The website has been updated to include, in particular, pictures taken during the
reunion, details of David OíNeilís latest book, the latest ode by Kathleen Carr (below) and for the Police Days Extra Gallery Tony Drynan has sent in a couple of pictures (featuring himself, Denis Moore and Ray Punter), Mick Thacker (sans beard) on parade at Dowa (also as below) and Mike Tadman a copy of his fine photograph of Drum Major Gray Mtila.   (Note:Those present at the reunion who took pictures are invited to send them to nyasa.police@gmail.com for inclusion in the 2018 Reunion collection)

Origin - Webmaster July 2018

The Nypol Lads are here again
Our Nypol poetess, Kathleen Carr, following on from previous years produces yet another of her poetic observations of our aging membership at the 2018 Reunion on 12th July.
Click here to read and enjoy.
Origin: Kathy Carr - July 2018

ERIC BULT (1926 - 2018) ~ RIP
It is with sadness that recent information confirms the passing of Eric Bult in Knysna, South Africa, earlier in the year. Eric had been unwell for some time but was always a good supporter of the Association. He joined the Nyasaland Police in September 1951 after three years in the Metropolitan Police.
Origin - Christopher Bean July 2018

David's latest short story
David O'Neil has put together another short story for our easy reading - "The Saga of Arthur Watson" - a profund, enigmatic tale of crime, punishment and a split personality. David continues his prolific writing, for more information and to read his latest "shortie"
click here to visit his section in the "Items of Interest" page.
Origin - David O'Neil, July 2018

COLIN BAKER (1929 - 2018) ~ RIP
It is with great sadness to report the passing of Professor Colin Baker on 13th May. Colin had maintained a close contact with the Association since its foundation. His books of "Life & Work in Nyasaland" brought back so many memories for all of us - he will be sadly missed but well remembered as a true gentleman, a friend to us all and to the Malawi people during his service in Nyasaland and since. He had been suffering a worsening heart failure over the last month or so and although, after a few weeks in hospital, was able to return to his son's house in Bushey for the last seven weeks he became very short of breath on any exertion but in no pain right up to the end. As he was throughout his life, he passed peacefully with great dignity and calmness.
Webmaster, May 2018

Our man down-under, Tony Drynan, a keen student of life, be it human or animal, forwarded this picture taken in the Kruger National Park of an elephant carrying a lion cub some two miles to water after its mother became exhausted. Amazing, to say the least, so animals can, and do, help each other on occasions, and further he draws our attention to an article which sets out that, like them or not, the predators in the animal kingdom are mostly very beneficial to humans. This appears in "THE CONVERSATION" an independent, non-profit media outlet that uses content sourced from the academic and research community and publishes a variety of content to a reach of 35 million people.      
Click here to read all about it
Origin Tony Drynan, May 2018

Alison McLennan (nee Tomkins), with some reluctance, felt that she should comment having read the May contribution to page 1 of the NYPOL website wishing our main man, Christopher, an enjoyable evening with Kenya Police Association which sounds quite exciting, she thought. She could only be sympathetic to his declared sad start to the UK Summer and thought a few pictures of the start to her Autumn in Brisbane with sunny days and temperatures just perfect at about 13 - 25 degrees might just brighten his day.

Origin - Alison McLennan, May 2018

"Post Nyasaland"
Where did folk go, what did they do and what happened to them after they left Nyasaland? The answer given by many can be found in the
"Then & Now" page of this website but Alison McLennan, daughter of Fred Tomkins, has taken it a step further with a detailed and descriptive article of life for the Tomkins family back in Wales and beyond.
Click here to read and enjoy
Origin Alison McLennon, April 2018

Vanessa is on a quest
Vanessa Farmery (there she is - a chip off the old block!) is on a quest with her mother to put together some memories of their life, their time in Nyasaland and of colleagues and friends including Paddy Adair (on the right). Who can forget him, one of our Irish contingent who greatly enriched our Nyasa community. Vanessa asks "For any anecdotes about Paddy Adair please - dates, places and rank etc would also be useful."  If you can help then contact Vanessa direct at
vlfarmery@hotmail.com - or the Association for any further information.
Origin: Vanessa Farmery - March 2018

David's latest
"Chateau du Lac" - Following on from the best selling duo of 'A place in the Sun' and 'Seasons', this third episode of the Grape Growers of Provence introduces by David O'Neil is about a most intriguing set of characters with new friendships, new enterprise and business in the continuing background of the wine industry. However, all is not a bed of roses when criminal elements in the area joust with each other to establish their credentials.
Click here to visit his section in the "Items of Interest" page for David's CV and his books.
Origin - David O'Neil, March 2018

St Andrew's International High School (SAintS)
This is the Website of the St. Andrew's International High School in Blantyre, edited by Ian "Witty" Whitfield, open to all pupils and staff. The main focus is the opening years of the High School which was "The Federal Period" (1956 to 1964). However free participation is now open to any St Andrew's pupil or staff member, past or present, or any other interested persons. A large, comprehensive and well maintained website, it includes details and contributions some of which you will recognise as being those of our Association members or of their children. (See also "Remember this place?", origin Greg Tomkins, in Chit-Chat 2015)
Click here for more

New Year's Eve in Nyasaland
Mary Brill (left) continues her support for the Association with her regular contact and now in her nineties is as sharp as ever and possessed of a memory to which we all surely aspire. In this piece she recalls when and where she was during the New Year celebrations in Nyasaland and how she spent them. Thank you Mary for bringing back so many good memories to all of us.
Click here to read and enjoy
T Young, February 2018

From Zomba Plateau to Rotorua & Beyond (Update)
Claire's Charm: Following on from Ray Punter's entry in Chit-Chat 2014 it was inevitable that Ray would design his own trout fly although he didn't get round to this until 1977. He calls it Claire's Charm and why - well those of us who remember his family and in particular daughter Claire then it was cuttings of her hair that inspired Ray to use some of it in the make-up of the lure pictured left.      
Click here for further details
Webmaster - February 2018

Gallery addition
Sheila Lowes (left) has kindly sent in a collection of slides taken during her time in Nyasaland - they are now posted into the Galleries section - "Sheila Lowes Collection". Sadly time has ravaged the quality but they are of interest featuring both individuals and scenic views. Not all have been identified and readers are requested to assist - so please email in your identification details.
Click here to view Sheila's Collection
Webmaster, January 2018

Ken Wilkinson takes over as Reunions Supremo
Ken Wilkinson takes over the organisation this year of the annual reunions from Christopher Bean. He has been otherwise active in the Association since its inception and, in due course, will contact all members with details of our get-together at the Holiday Inn on 12th July. It is of interest that Ken joined the Nyasaland Police on 18th March 1959 finding the country in something of a political turmoil following the State of Emergency which had been declared on the 3rd March. With previous experience in Africa during the Mau Mau emergency in Kenya he was quick to adapt and during his service he was employed variously in PMF, General and Special Branch duties throughout the territory. It can be said that Nyasaland produced some new challenges for him and a few of these he recorded in 2014.   
Click here to read again
Webmaster - January 2018

Heather Dwyer (nee Morrison)
Heather Dwyer, younger daughter of Danny Morrison, passed away on or about 13th January 2017 in Australia. She was a strong supporter of the Association and of the Nyasaland community generally which included written content for Prof Colin Baker in his books "Life and Work in Nyasaland". She was 68 and faced a brave battle against cancer during her later years. Her elder sister, Mary Abela, has forwarded the picture on the left taken in about 2003 with the comment that "she enjoyed nothing more than a glass of bubbly and a fodya". Fortunately, she was a good writer and her mother being a member of the well respected Bishop family in Nyasaland she recorded her own memoirs in the article "Bishops in Africa". Of her father, Danny, she says "I believe he was liked and respected by all he came in contact with" and that is certainly very true. However, it is sad to read in her piece that Heather Hale, daughter of Binnie Hale (Comms Branch), committed suicide at the age of 21.

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