CHIT-CHAT ~ 2020


"Then & Now" Revisited
When I took over as the Association manager John Clements, who has an entry in
"Then & Now", was the first to contact me and he has kept in touch on occasions ever since. John, now (in 2020) aged 86, was born in Nyasaland and after National Service in the Kings African Rifles, served in the Nyasaland Police from 1959-1964. He gained wide experience having been stationed at Lilongwe, Ncheu, Dedza, Mzuzu, Karonga and Blantyre. Now a widower he has lived and worked in South Africa for many years and currently lives at Somerset West in Cape Province. Over the years he has had a variety of interests which included climbing and organising a mountain rescue team, sailing and being in Lifeboat crews for some 18 years. Bird watching and ringing as well as painting are among his hobbies. Although the current coronavirus lockdown is restricting his activity, he remains cheerful and is happy that his news is available to former colleagues and others and sends his best wishes to all who remember him.
Ken Wilkinson, June 2020

Brian Burgess at the Helm
Brian Burgess throughout the many facets of his life and a distinguished career in the Nyasaland Police transported many people to many places by many means - by land, sea and air. He built and sailed his own boats on Lake Malawi and he went on to take his pilots licence eventually operating his own air transport company. Among those who travelled with him as passengers were princes and paupers but in 1966 and pictured below it was Malawi's top man, President Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who was his passenger aboard the power boat at the formal opening of the Kamuzu Dam near Lilongwe.
    Further: British Pathe were on hand to record the occasion - please
Click here to view this video and BB in all his glory!

How many of us, when we left Nyasland following independence, found work that measured up to the life we were used to. Most found suitable work, totally acceptable and sometimes enjoyable but it was Ray Punter who surely found "Just the Job". New Zealand and the trout fishing there was a major attraction and it was at Rotorua that he found employment in the management of this fish and then, shortly afterwards, to be taken on the staff at Rainbow Springs Nature Park. His fishing activities are recorded elswhere on this website but there is much more to Rainbow Springs among which is the conservation efforts underway there of New Zealand's national emblem - the Kiwi.
Click here to read about it and Ray's involvement there.
Webmaster - May 2020

At the age of 95 Mary Brill has a great memory of years gone by and of a different world to what we live in nowadays. Here she recalls her time in Nyasaland where, like the local Nyasa people, there was a need to 'make do and mend'. She also speaks of the varied diet of the locals, including flying ants and kungu flies.
Click here to read her story
Click here for a video showing the collection of the Lake Nyasa kungu fly.
Origin - Mary Brill, May 2020

Clement Matacheta
Amazing how so many different things bring back the memories of our time in Nyasaland! It was Christie's Auction House that brought back some fond memories to me of Clement Matacheta. Latterly Clement was located at PMF Headqurters in Zomba where among his duties was the task of teaching the new Azungu arrivals the basics of the Chinyanja language. A very gentle individual possessed of a vast amount of patience (greatly needed) he was an excellent teacher which is very evident even today when so many of us introduce a variety of Chinyanja words into our day to day chat. It was his medals up for sale as set out below that came to notice and they realised a reasonable return. It is recorded that he was born in 1913 and joined the Nyasaland Police in March 1949. It only remains to say "Zikomo kwambiri, Bambo Clement".

Webmaster, April 2020

The NPA Reunions
Starting in 2006, a total of 14 Reunions have taken place to date. The Reunions were started by Christopher Bean and Les Renno. Initially, for six years, taking place at the Hilton Hotel, Coventry, with the 2012 reunion at Tamworth prior to the Arboretum ceremony. After being let down on our booking by the Hilton, an excellent new venue was found at the Holiday Inn, Coventry, in 2013 where we have been extremely well looked after ever since. Our Reunion has always been one of the highlights of the year. We have many happy memories of these events and very much missed colleagues no longer with us or unable to attend. The
Galleries on our website are a valuable visual reminder of each of these occasions. I took over as Organiser from Christopher Bean starting with the 2018 Reunion. With the cancellation this year I hope that when post Pandemic times return we will be in a position to arrange another Reunion at that time.
Ken Wilkinson, April 2020

Like it or Lump it!
In 1958, after some four years in the BSAP Mike Harper joined the Nyasaland Police. After a gentle introduction at Zomba and Fort Manning he was dispatched to the far north where he was the first OC at Fort Hill, Chitipa as it is now called. To say it was like chalk and cheese after the comforts and organisation of the BSAP is to put it mildly. However. Mike was up for it and put together a well established police post in that remote but important border area of Nyasaland.
Click here to read his account of his time there.
Origin - Mike Harper, March 2020

Salad Days' & The Zomba Theatre Club
Who would have thought it? Coppers treading the boards - however in May and June 1964 serving members of the Nyasaland Police played their part in the production of 'Salad Days' in both Zomba and Blantyre. The producer was Nora, wife of Dougie Lomax, then 2ic Special Branch, who may have had some influence on David Nash, Glyn Spurgeon and David Corrall appearing on stage and engaging the help of other members behind the scenes. Described as musical entertainment "Salad Days" generally relates to those days of inexperienced youth.
Click here for a copy of the programme.
Click to view the 2018 'Salad Days' trailer.
Origin - Glyn Spurgeon, March 2020

'Nyalugwe' - Magazine of the Nyasaland Police
After "Our Man" Ken's appeal for copies of 'Nyalugwe', the Nyasland Police Magazine, Mick Thacker has come up trumps providing a copy of Volume 1 No 1 dated September 1957 - only 62 years old! What about following publications, were there any and, if so, does anyone possess any copies.
This copy is reproduced in full, accessible from the "Items of Interest" page -
click here to view.
Origin - Webmaster, February 2020

Mick Thacker & Muffin
Was it Mick's service in the Royal Horse Guards that led to his taking on a belaboured packhorse which was on its last legs to keep him company in Mwanza? Surely the most unusual activity undertaken by any member of the Nyasaland Police at any time, anywhere. However, it was a remarkable achievement that Mick was able to get this clearly intellgent but cussed animal back to good health and that eventually, with skill and a lot of patience, he was able to ride it.
For the full story
click here.
Origin - Mick Thacker, February 2020

Paddy Adair on parade at Kota
Sir Glyn Smallwood Jones GCMG MBE was Chief Secretary Nyasaland prior to succeeding Sir Robert Armitage as Governor in April 1961. In his capacity as Acting Governor he paid a formal visit to Kota Kota in Oct 1960. Paddy was stationed there at the time and it fell to him to provide the Guard of Honour. Suffice to say he was well up to it, as was his men, and they are to be commended on their immaculate turnout and their high standard of drill.
  • For the Pathe News film of this event Click here
  • For more details Click here
    Ken Wikinson, February 2020

  • Origin - Donald Hargreaves, February 2020
    Commendations for a joint CID/SB operation - Donald Hargreaves
    1961 was a year plagued with political disorder which included a series of arson incidents in a remote part of Karonga district. Essentially these were criminal actions whether political or otherwise. Serious disruption was the inevitable result and firm action was required. So, Donald Hargreaves, the District SBO, was deployed with Insp Chirwa leading the SB team together with Brian Graves leading the CID team to the area where they were camped for some 10 days in the bush and under the stars. Fortunately they had their cooks and a good supply of beer but this did not distract from an extensive investigation leading to the identification and apprehension of the culprits. The difficult nature and result of this investigation was recognised by a formal commendation from the Commisioner J. V. Mullins. Sadly Inspector Chirwa, an excellent officer, was later to lose his wife, she was murdered by the mob when Chipembere, the rebel ex-Minister, led the armed attack on Fort Johnson in his abortive coup attempt in February 1965.
    To read the Donald Hargreaves copy of the Commisioner's commendation
    click here.

        ~~ ALL AT SEA ~~
    Alison McLennan in 1964
    Fred Tomkins at the end of his tour with the Police in Nyasaland did what so many of us did - we took advantage of the passage paid free cruise home by way of the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company. His daughter Alison (McLennan) records their family trip with fond memories. Her Mum, it seems, didn't enjoy it but Dad, Alison and brother Greg surely did. Among the memories of their time in Africa Alison still has a packet of sand from a lakeshore beach and copies of Union Castle posters. Further it was back to Wales for the family's pet baboon, "Chippy" (see the
    Alison McLennan Collection).
  • For Alison's report click here
  • Click here to view a promotional video of the Transvaal Castle.
    Origin - Alison McLennan, February 2020

    .......................... Mary Brill in 1956
    It was by sea in 1956, and also by the Unon Castle line, that Reg and Mary Brill, together with their young family, returned to Nyasaland after UK leave. Unlike Alison's Mum, Mary thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
    To read Mary's description of that voyage Click here.
    Origin - Mary Brill, February 2020

    Ken Wilkinson in 1962
    Returning from leave Ken opted for "BI" (the British India Steamship Navigation Company) and for the longer trip from London to Beira, or the "East Coast Route" as it was known. For good reason too, he travelled First Class - needless to say, he enjoyed it.
    To read all about it Click here.
    Origin - Ken Wilkinson, February 2020

  • Cyril Marlow MBE, PPM
    Cyril Marlow who served in the Nyasaland Police from 1960 to 1975 passed away in 2001. The Society of Malawi records his obituary as put together by David Stuart-Mogg, editor and publisher in the UK of The Society of Malawi Journal (Historical and Scientific). Edited only to reflect the Nypol interest, it is comprehensive, interesting and informative
    click here for more.
    Origin - David Stuart-Mogg, February 2020

    Cosmo meets Mary
    Where was the entertainment in Nyasaland in the 1950s? There was a cinema in Blantyre, clubs in Zomba, Blantyre, Limbe, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Fort Johnston but very little elsewhere. Radio was basically limited to popular music on LM and unreliable, intermittent short-wave reception of the BBC World Service. So, in the outstations, ex-pats sought each other's company as best they could and dinner parties, with or without parlour games, were often the meeting places. However there was a 'pecking order', with the OC Police, the DC and his ADC, an Agric or fisheries officer maybe being on almost common ground. At least a level above was the PC, the Provincial Commissioner, so it was that in 1959, Reg and Mary Brill were stationed in Karonga when the PC, Cosmo Haskard, visited the area and they took it upon themselves to invite him and his wife to dinner. An invitation that was accepted. So with some considerable effort, a lot of thought, a little worry and some panic Mary went about making the necessary arrangements, deciding on the menu and preparation - Karonga was hardly the place to find things Tesco style readily available! Fortunately, it went well greatly to the relief of them both. Cosmo Haskard died in at the age of 100 in 2017 after a disguished career which included Governor of the Falkland Islands from 1964 to 1970.
  • For Mary's details of their meal that evening click here
  • For Cosmo's distinguished career including details of his time in Nyasaland Click here
    Origin - Mary Brill, January 2020
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