CHIT-CHAT ~ 2019

Do you remember 'Jack' Helliwell?
Recent publications coming to light remind us of John Meade Helliwell CPM QPM, Deputy Commissioner of Police in Nyasaland 1953-1958. For those of us who met him will recall a very astute and correct senior officer with a reputation as an organiser. A brief career summary has been put together from his time as a trooper in the BSAP in 1932 through his service in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to his retirement in South Africa. Further, in addition, a copy of a partial draft for an article to appear in the Police Magazine, by Sheila Carteret Robinson, has become available.
Click here to read the career profile         Click here to read the Police Magazine article
Webmaster - November 2019

In his October message to members via the website our main man, Ken, described the various transport, official and private, used by our members during their time in Nyasaland and asked for any associated matter. It's pleasing to see that Mary Brill (left) and Alison McLennan (right) have taken the time to respond. Mary with a piece about an accident in Zomba and Alison about their family vehicles used at the time.
Click to read and bring back your memories.
Webmaster - November 2019

John McCracken - A History of Malawi 1859-1956
This is the first comprehensive history of Malawi during the colonial period. The book examines the way in which British people, starting with David Livingstone, followed by Scottish missionaries, soldiers, colonial officials and politicians, played an influential part in shaping Malawi and how the Nyasa people responded to colonialism and the role they played in the dissolution of the colonial state.
John McCracken (1938-2017) was Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Stirling University. He taught at University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, University College of Dar es Salaam and was Professor and Head of the Department of History at Chancellor College, University of Malawi from 1980-83 and returned as Visiting Professor in 2009. He was awarded ASAUK's Distinguished Africanist Award in 2008.
Click here to read a detailed preview and introduction to this book which is available on-line.
However, can you identify our man featured there on the cover?
Webmaster - November 2019

Barry Thorne
Here we have a man of many parts and a fervent supporter of Nypol whose amazing life as a boy soldier, Glorious Gloster, Colonial Police, Diplomatic Service and Business Consultant has included so much rich experience. Fortunately he has managed to find time to write not only his autobiography but calling upon the vast amount of knowledge gleaned he has written two novels - one of the Mau Mau years in Kenya (Mists of Kirinyaga) and the other an intriguing “pick up and put down” collection of short stories (One Under The Eight).
Click here for details in "Items of Interest" and read more of Barry in "Then and Now".
Webmaster - October 2019

Victor Sibale
Victor Sibale has worked variously including that of Personal Assistant to the Speaker since obtaining his BA degree in Secondary Education and Teaching at Chancellor College, University of Malawi. Described as a teacher by both training and inclination he has also turned his hand to writing. His publications include "A Handbook for Special Assistants to Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers", "The Speakership in Malawi: the Office and it's holders since 1958" and "The Life of the Malawi Parliament, fifty years on". However, he has now embarked on the history of the Nyasaland/Malawi Police 1921-2021, needless to say it involves a great deal of research and details of the lead in to this project are best set out in "The Federal Saints Journal" of November 2017 -
Click here to read it. Further he invites anyone who can assist with any relevant contribution to contact him via his email
Webmaster - October 2019

Donald Hargreaves - New Gallery
Donald Hargreaves clearly has had a very interesting life, particularly during his time in the Colonial service. Initially he was in the Northern Rhodesia Police before arriving in Nyasaland in September 1960 where his adventures included surviving a plane crash! Therafter his service included time in Mauritius and the New Hebrides being involved particularly in Special Branch and Security duties. See also
"Then & Now".
Click to view the Donald Hargreaves Gallery

It is sad to report the passing of Dot Farmery who died on the morning of Friday 9th August 2019 - wife of Doug Farmery and mother of Vanessa. Dot and Doug were in Nyasaland from October 1959 until early 1969 during a period of political upheaval and change as the country transitioned to become the independent state of Malawi. Doug, who died in 2011, was an experienced Police Officer with previous service of some nine years in the East Riding Constabulary. Dot and Doug considered their years in Africa as the best time of their long, happy life together, they highly valued the friendships they made there and were firm supporters of the Association. Sadly Dot suffered several progressive, painful, age-related conditions for a number of years and in the last eighteen months she become immobile and suffering unbearable pain she opted for the Dignitas facility in Switzerland where she passed away peacefully and pain free in the beautiful gardens found there.
Vanessa Farmery - 13th August 2019

The Nypol Lads are here yet again
Kathleen Carr, our Nypol poetess, was on parade in her usual good form at the 2019 Reunion on 11th July to stir our memory cells and come up with another fascinating poetic insight into our aging membership.
Click here to read and enjoy.
Origin: Kathy Carr - July 2019

Nyasaland-Malawi - Historical Moments
This is a Facebook Page for those of you with a continuing interest in Nyasaland as it was or Malawi as it is. It covers a variety of interests from pre-colonial days to early Independence and brings back so many memories for those of us who served there. Once logged in the page is open for your pictures, stories and memories, good or bad - all are welcome so post generously and share.
Click here to view

CMB - Founder Member
All our Nypol members know that Christopher Bean together with Les Renno, set up the The Nyasaland Police Association in 2006, arranged the magnificent memorial stone at the National Arboretum and ran the Association for some 12 years before stepping down to hand over to Ken Wilkinson. As a Founder Member it was generally agreed that his worthy service should not go unrecognised and at the 2019 Reunion, on behalf of the Association members, he was presented with a modest photobook with a varied collection of pictures which we hope will bring back some good memories of his time in that lovely part of Africa.
Click here for the 2019 Reunion Photograph Gallery

Once again the Association Reunion was held at the Holiday Inn, Coventry, our venue for the previous five years. We were 32 in total of which 10 were former officers. In his address Ken Wilkinson, the Association and Reunion Organiser, listed those who had passed away since the last Reunion and contacts made with members during the year before proposing a toast to 'Absent and Departed Friends'. Following the main course, he spoke of the Association's gratitude and appreciation for the great work done by Founder Member Christopher Bean, who managed the Association for some twelve years and to express this, on behalf of members, he presented Christopher with a photobook as a hopefully pleasant reminder of his work for Nypol and his time in Nyasaland. Barry Thorne in proposing the toast to the 'Nyasaland Police Association and Members' recalled his early days in the Force with good humour and due deference. Displaying his musical talents Ken followed this singing his composition of a ditty about joining the force before Kathy Carr, with her usual poetic vein, gave an excellent rendition of yet another ode to the Nypol Lads – a traditional part of every Reunion. There was the raffle, conducted by Liz Bean and Vanessa Farmery with with prize-winners well distributed and, in keeping with modern technology, Tony Drynan in Perth Australia, was able to join the the occasion via SKYPE. So concluded another another very enjoyable Reunion.
Click here for the 2019 Reunion Photograph Gallery

Colin Baker at the National Memorial Arboretum
The Association was privileged that Colin Baker was present and gave the address at the ceremony for the laying of the Memorial Stone at the National Arboretum, Lichfield, on 21st July 2011. In his speech he outlined the formation of the Nyasaland Police, its organisation and staffing from the early days through the colonial years to independence in 1963. Rather than a record of mere factual detail his talk was peppered with interesting and amusing anecdotes experienced by our members over the years bringing back so many memories to those present.
Click here to read the full address - of which the source is JSTOR.
Webmaster - June 2019

"A Chip off the Old Block?"
It seems that Tim Chevalier has not only taken on the good looks of his parents, Frank and Paddy, but also their qualities of good sense, hard work and adventurous nature. Nyasaland born he has come to the fore as a wild life photographer and conservationist, recognised widely and particularly so in Africa. Our man down under, Tony Drynan, reports that whilst in New Zealand Tim found time to visit Ray Punter in Rotorua and he futher draws our attention to a recent interview Tim gave in Capetown about work coming his way, the breakdown by genre of his life and his typical projects.
Click here to see and hear the interview.
Also, Tim has a very comprehensive Facebook account - Click here to view it via your Facebook account.
Origin - Ron Morgan, May 2019

I have to report that during my service in the Nyasaland Police I received a formal "Warning Letter" about my dog. Quite a few of us had the pleasure of owning dogs during our service and I was no exception. Mine was a handsome Alsatian which I had purchased as a puppy from Brian Burgess and named Duke (pictured left at Rumpi). Among his foibles was a tendency to swallow bated fish hooks as happened whilst I was stationed at Nkata Bay but the vet could recommend no more than "let nature take its course"! He accompanied me throughout my various postings which were then mainly in the Northern Division. It was whilst I was SBO at Mzimba that gave rise to this official Warning Letter. Whilst visiting outstations I had left Duke behind. It was then, the following day, that I received this letter from the OC Station to the effect that during my absence my dog "had spent the whole time wandering in and out of the station" with instructions to ensure that Duke be confined to my quarters on any future occasion. Fair enough I suppose but was a formal letter really necessary? A question that remained with me for some time, after all, the OC had the office next door to mine and there were regular meetings between us ................
Ken Wilkinson - April 2019
Adendum: I can confirm the "fish hooks" saga. I was privileged and had the pleasure of looking after Duke whilst Ken was on leave. He was with me whilst I was at Nkhata Bay and Rumpi. At Nkhata Bay I often fished for binga off the jettty there using a three pronged hook bated with nsima. Twice (one never learns) Duke swallowed the lot - hook, line and sinker. Too dangerous to pull out, the line had to be cut as far down the throat as possible and the rest left to a powerful digestive system - I'm pleased to say there appeared to be no ill effects. However, my most endearing memory of Duke was at Rumpi. There he was taken for a daily walk by the houseboy's five years old daughter. She was not much bigger than Duke himsef but what friends they were and although of gentle nature he may have been, I dread to think what woud have happened to anyone who made a move towards that wee girl. What a picture they made and I regret I have no photograph to record it.
Webmaster - April 2019

Malcolm Llewelyn CPM (1925-2019) ~ RIP
It is sad to report the passing of Malcolm Llewelyn on 11th March 2019. He was 94 with a wealth of experience behind him. He joined the Nyasaland Police in November 1951 after wartime service in the Royal Navy. His postings were varied and, in particular, setting up the Police Training School in Limbe. He was awarded the Colonial Police Medal in 1962. Leaving the force in the rank of SSupt he returned to Wales spending some thirty years as a teacher. An easy-going individual with a sense of humour, he was very competent and highly regarded. He will be greatly missed and on behalf of Nypol the Association Manager, Ken Wilkinson, has expressed heartfelt condolences to the family.

Founder member Christopher Bean steps down from his post as the Nypol Association Manager. It was with the late Les Renno some twelve years or so ago that he set up the Association and nurtured into the success it has since become. In particular he maintained contact with so many of our members, organised the ceremony with Les at the Arboretum and kept us all in the picture with the latest Association news. He has done his share and done it well, for that we are all appreciative and indeed grateful for the sustained effort and application over so many years and we wish him well in his "retirement".
Stepping up to the plate is Ken Wilkinson (1959-1964) to take on this role in addition to that of Reunions Manager. He has been active in the Association from the early days and is well versed in its organisation. He is undoubtedly the man for the job but it is important that he is well supported by all of us.
Webmaster - January 2019

"The Boy who Harnessed the Wind"
This is a Netflix film, released on 1st March 2019 and tells the story of William Kamkwamba a schoolboy in Malawi, who seeking to save his village from the drought, devises a plan to build a windmill to power an electric water pump. Initially his father considers it a futile exercise and there is some family disharmony but, eventially, there is reconciliation and with the help of friends and villagers a full-size windmill is built which leads to a successful crop being sown.
Click here to view the trailer
Webmaster, March 2019

The Livingstonia Escarpment
Most of us spent some time up in the Northern Division and travelled up or down the Livingstonia escarpment. It was a harrowing trip, especially in a PMF four-tonner when it could take quite some manoevring to negotiate the bends. Well
click here to view a quite recent video of that road where little has changed it seems.

Action on the Lake
Vanessa Farmery reminds us with this linked video that the first naval action of the First World War took place on Lake Nyasa. Left is the German steamship 'Hermann von Wissmann' which, in the 1890s, was engaged on the lake as an anti-slavery gunboat. Also on the lake was the British vessel 'SS Guendolen', launched in 1899, which plied the lake carrying goods and passengers on a 15-day round trip visiting the various ports. On 13th August 1914, some two weeks after the outbreak of war, the Guendolen commanded by Captain Edmund Rhoades, found the Wissmann on a slipway at Liuli (Tanzania now but then German East Africa) and attacked it. This took Captain Berndt of the Wissmann totally by surprise having been unaware that war had been declared. As normally friends and drinking partners it is said that Bernt jumped into a boat and approached the Gwendolen accusing Rhoades of being drunk - only to be taken prisoner! The action disabled the Wissmann briefly but in 1915 it was completely put out of action.
Click here to view this interesting video
Origin: Vanessa Farmery - February 2019

Justice is bottled
Mary Brill, now in her mid-nineties, is surely one of our most treasured contributors. Her articles about life in Nyasaland with husband Reg, in both the Agric Dept and the Police, are full of interest and her skill in making the Dorset brooches has added some style to the Reunion raffles over the years. This piece, having found it among her late husband's papers, tells the simple story, albeit not without a twist, of a local District Commissioner hearing a case on the production and possession of that local and lethal drink, kachasu.
Click here to read
Webmaster, February 2019

In the BSAP UK Outpost magazine David Gall writes of his time with the BSAP unit in Nyasaland during the 1959 emergency. Whereas, he says, reports that the BSAP 'saw a fair amount of action and used quantities of tear gas to quell rioting mobs’ it is not in accord with his recollections. Not once, he says, did he wear his tin hat nor hear a shot fired in anger.
Click here to open the Outlook magazine and read all about it on pages 6 & 21.
Webmaster - January 2019

Bill Dodd (1932-2018) ~ RIP
it is sad to report the passing of Bill Dodd on Boxing Day 2018. H was 87 and had been unwell for some time. He joined the Nyasland Police in March 1960 having previously spent seven years in the Liverpool City Police. His experience was greatly valued and in particular he was a skilled investigator and prosecuting officer. An outgoing individual with a fine sense of humour he will be greatly missed by family and friends.
Origin - Joy Wilkinson, January 2019

Our man in "The Land of the Long White Cloud"
For those of us who got his newsy Christmas letter will know that Ray Punter continues to enjoy an ever active and busy lifestyle in his adopted homeland of New Zealand. He remains a resident of Rotorua where he continues working at Rainbow Springs Nature Park and he has not hung up his fishing rods. Pictured left is the 8lbs Rainbow Trout which won him a free fishing licence for the coming season and when it became obligatory for boats on Lake Rororua to be named, his son Graham opted to keep memories alive with the name "Nyasa" for his good looking vessel.

Alison in Cyprus
Most of us served at one time or another in the military and some us served in Cyprus during the EOKA emergency there in the mid-fifties. They were tense times with General Grivas and his men in seeking Enosis (Union with Greece) operating a vigorous armed struggle against the British. However normal life continued, not without precautions, so
click here to read of the Fred Tomkins family home life there during that difficult time as described by his daughter Alison (McLellan) at the start of their many worldwide travels from South Wales via Cyprus and Africa to eventually settle in Australia.

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