CHIT-CHAT ~ 2023

Mick Thacker ~ RIP
It is sad to report the passing of Mick Thacker on 13th November 2023. Aged 89, his health had deteriorated over the later months and he died peacefully at home. Following military service in the Horse Guards he joined the Nyasaland Police in April 1955 - where a feature of his service was his posting to Mwanza in 1958. He was a stauch supporter of the Association, a regular at the Reunions and his contributions to
Chit-Chat and his Collection of photographs was greatly enjoyed and much appreciated.

The Police accommodation lines at Chinteche Police Post in 1900 - the umbrellas probably suggest it was the rainy season but were they both the property of the occupants of that one foremost house?
Origin: David Stuart-Mogg

Atonga police, circa 1900, with .577/.450 Martini-Henry rifles and, right, the blanket sash suggests ulendo prepared.
(Photographs, Henry Wallis ~ Nyasaland Legislative Council 1908 and Acting Governor July 1910 - February 1911)

Nyasaland Police Blazer Badges
Simon Elmer
, our latest member who was with us for the 2023 Reunion, is a retired Lincolnshire Police Inspector, previously with the 'Met' and RMP, he has a particular interest in policing in Colonial Africa especially during the 'Winds Of Change' years. Added to his collection are the fine copies of the badges pictured left. For your information these were made up on a special order with a firm in Pakistan called Musa Embroidery.
Both are 4x4 inches, so ideal to fit a blazer pocket, for instance. The cost was around £50 for the two, including international courier delivery. Payment was very easy via Western Union or PayPal, turnaround 5-6 weeks with excellent comms at every stage. The firm have a page on Facebook which is how he learnt of it.

Derek Harling ~ RIP
It is sad to report the passing of Derek Harling on 28th Sptember 2023. A victim of cancer he slipped away peacefully aged 88 in NSW, Australia. He joined the Nyasaland Police in June 1956 leaving on redundancy in 1969. He served variously throughout his service, including in the Staff Office at HQ Zomba where, with all the high brass in situ, tact and diplomacy was of the essence. Details of his service can be found in his article in Vol 4 of Colin Baker's "Life and Work in Nyasaland" a
copy being available on this website.

Note: Although Derek was unable to attend the Reunions he was represented there by his daugter Sue in 2015. However, for the 2023 Reunion his son, Mark, originated a tribute to the Association on behalf of the family - "A Salute from the Harling Family" - which is available on the Letters page of this website.

Note: Ray Punter has put together a letter paying tribute to Derek, how he got to know him, their close friendship and their association as colleagues. Available now on the Letters page of this website - Click here to view

September 2023: Ray Punter holds a NZ Falcon (Karearea) which features on the New Zealand $20 note.

Fort Johnston (Mangochi)
Pictured left is the modern main street in Fort Johnston (Mangochi) and on the right is a copy of the painting
by artist Helen Maclaren (born 1898)

Tony Drynan ~ RIP
Following deteriorating health it is sad to report the passing of Tony Drynan on 3rd Sptember 2023. Aged 90 he died peacefully in sheltered accommodation in Perth, Western Australia. He joined the Nyasaland Police in July 1956 after BSAP service from 1951 to 1954. He was stationed variously in the country including some years in Special Branch. A keen supporter of the Association, he was unique for a
Skype video appearance at the 2018 Reunion.

Note: A good friend of Tony and former Nyasaland colleague was Ray Punter, now retired to New Zealand. It was Tony's funeral on 20th September to which Ray put together a very full and fine eulogy. Click here to read it.

It's new to the website, a Letters page, where you are invited to comment on the Association, its organisation, the Reunions, the website or any other relevant matter. Email and/or snailmail versions are welcomed. Accessible from the main menu above, photographs, in particular, for inclusion in the website would be greatly appreciated - otherwise all appropriate communications will be included.

Nonagenarian Mary in the prizes
Just about all Association members who have attended our reunions have been lucky enough to become owners of a Dorset Button brooch. These have been put together by nonagenarian Mary Brill. That she is now in a care home has not diminished her continued activity in producig them. Then, on Saturday 12th August, with nine other residents, staff assistants wheeled them out to visit the local Leigh Flower Show. Mary's entry of her brooches to the Craft section of the show was deservedly in the prizes. Third prize maybe, but we know the first class effort she has put in for our benefit over the years.
She speaks well of her acccommodation, the care she is receiving and the staff there - including one from Zambia who joins her in airing their knowldge of Chinyanja!

It was the final Association Reunion at the Holiday Inn, Coventry, on Thursday 13th July, of the seventeen held this had been our venue for the last nine years. There was an excellent turnout of some forty members - the highest for many years and, in particular, very welcome were Liz and Bronwen, widows of Founder Members Christopher Bean and Les Renno. Manager KEN WILKINSON gave the welcome address and the toast to "Absent and Departed" members. For general information he put together a full report of the occasion ~ Click here to view.
Certainly a sad but enjoyable evening in the usual excellent company and, in addition to Ken's welcome and his toast to "Absent and Departed" members, the assembly was addressed by BARRY THORNE who proposed the second toast which was to the "Nyasaland Police Association". In his usual urbane manner Barry held our attention with his considered words of good sense. His daughter Erika filmed his speech. Click here to view..

A number of our members are also members of FOMA. This Association was formed in 1969 to foster friendship, goodwill and understanding between the people of the United Kingdom and the people of Malawi. For further details
click here to visit the FOMA website which clearly sets out the excellent work of this organisation - "Serving all who love and support Malawi."

Derek Unwin ~ RIP
It is further sad news to report the passing of Derek Unwin, aged 84, on 23rd July. Derek joined the Nyasaland Police on 5th October 1961 bringing with him the sound knowledge and experience of policing in Manchester. His initial posting was to Limbe where, after a spell employed in general duties, he took on the role of Admin Officer - albeit without losing operational duties. There was a return to general duties latterly in his service when he was posted to Fort Hill, a remote outpost in the border area of the far north. In 1963, on his return to UK, he re-joined the Manchester City Police. (See also

Plane Down
In 1958 Ray Punter took up the post of OC Rumpi during which time Boyd Pendennis was OC the neighbouring Karonga district and there was, by necessity, considerable liasion between the two. None more necessary though when, in October 1958, an aircraft en route from Karonga to Mzuzu was reported missing. The report indicated it likely that the aircraft had come down in the area of Mount Laws near Livingstonia Mission, in the border area between the two districts. Consequently Ray and Boyd joined forces and set out with a small party to conduct the search.

Click here for Ray's report   ~   Click here for Ray's crash site photographs


This picture came to us via a Nyasa friend of Association member John Kirkham but who are they?
On the cap of the Officer front row centre there is clearly a Nyasaland Police badge. The others have been identified as wearing that of the Northern Rhodesia Police.
It is speculated that the picture dates from 1953 when the NRP sent three platoons of of their anti-riot squad to asist with the emergency in the country that year.
How many Officers have we currently got in the Association that were serving at that time - very, very few, but if you are one can you identify that Nyasa Officer? (wearing the non-uniform stockings!)

(For full size picture see Galleries - 'Police Days Collection')

Boyd Pendennis ~ RIP
It is sad news to report the passing of Boyd Pendennis on 18th May, he was 94 and was suffering from extended cancer. Following the death of his good pal Jon Dennison he became our senior former serving officer having joined the Nyasaland Police in 1954. He was a very regular supporter of the Association and attended just about every reunion. He served variously throughout the country and as a well respected Officer in differing duties as he rose through the ranks. A man of generally good cheer and a healthy sense of humour his presence at our annual meetings will be greatly missed. (See also

Cyclone Freddy batters Malawi
Mid-March 2023 the east of southern Africa was hit by "Cyclone Freddy". Hardest-hit was probably Malawi where a State of Emergency was declared when incessant rains caused catastrophic flash floods, with Blantyre suffering the brunt of it. The nation's power grid was crippled, with its hydroelectric dam rendered inoperable. Current figures suggest the cyclone killed at least 238 people: 199 in Malawi, 20 in Mozambique, 17 in Madagascar, and 2 in Zimbabwe. The widespread and prolonged impacts prompted extensive relief efforts from the affected nations and multiple intergovernmental agencies. UNICEF and the WFP provided relief items for those affected, as well as temporary shelters. Food security was of particular concern, with millions left at risk and our fervent wish is that there be no more casualties and that there is a rapid return to the pleasant, safe conditions to which the country is normally blessed.

Residents in the affected areas recorded the storm and the startling effects can be accessed from the links below:
Freddy 1
Click here  ~  Freddy 2 Click here  ~   Freddy 3 Click here  ~   Freddy 4 Click here

Note: Thanks to Nyasalander Amanda Tolchard (nee Fox) for access to these video recordings.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Did you serve in the Northern Rhodesia Police (NRP) or the BSAP in Southern Rhodesia? If so your Nypol contact is Simon Elmer. Resident in Horncastle, Lincs, Simon is a retired Lincolnshire Police Inspector, previously with the 'Met' and the RMP. He has not served in Afirca but has acquired a growing historical interest in policing Africa especially during the 'Winds Of Change' years. He tells us that he spent several very enjoyable evenings reading Christopher Bean's book and passed a dreary Sunday afternoon visiting the Nypol website, both of which he describes as "absolutely tremendous". He has expressed a wish to attend the Reunion in July and accordingly he is invited.
To accompany his interest Simon is a skilled producer of figurines and these include the two pictured. On the left is the figure of an Inspector in the NRP during the Chinsali disturbance of 1964 and on the right a BSAP Ch/Insp of the period mid/late 1970s.
(Note: The Chinsali disturbance in 1964 was in the drive against followers of the fanatical Lumpa Church Sect led by Alice Lenshina.
Click here for a Pathe video of some aspects of that incident.)
For more information email Simon at "SIMONPELMER@hotmail.co.uk".

Mary Abela, daughter of Danny Morrison (left), tells us that she wondered what to do with her father's basically historical papers concerning his service in Palestine and Nyasaland. With no family members interested she decided to contact "Middle East Archives' who readily accepted all his papers for safe keeping - and further advised her that they would be available to anyone wishing to read them. Her contact is mainly to advise us that should there be any of our members in a similar position then this is a most acceptable way to ensure safe storage. For further details
click here

Identity please
This picture is extracted from Colin Baker's Volume 6 of his series "Expatriate Experience of Life and Work in Nyasaland". Entitled "WHOOPS 1956" it is obviously a large vehicle that has toppled side-ways. Why? Was it the state of the road, dangerous or careless driving, alcohol, another vehicle or evasive action to avoid a pedestrian, clyclist or whatever. The location is not indicated but it looks more urban than "bush". However, on the scene is an Officer of at least Inspector rank but who is he? It was 1956 so there are a few among us who should know him or even served with him, was it you dear reader, your husband maybe or your Dad perhaps but not so, then can you identify him?
Nypol Member Bob Carr confirms that it was his photograph taken of Ian Morgan at Nkhata Bay.

Jon Dennison - RIP
It is with great sadness to report the passing of Jon Dennison on 8th February, he was a month short of 98, our senior former serving officer and an active supporter of the Association. Jon served in the BSAP from 1947 to 1950 before joining the Nyasaland Police in May 1950. He was a regular at the Association reunions where his invariably good humour contributed much to the overall "family atmosphere" of those occasions - he will be greatly missed. A collection of his
Nyasa pictures is available in the Galleries section of this website.

The Last Hurrah ???
It looks like our final reunion will be in July this year. We've had a splendid run over the past seventeen years thanks to Founder Members Christopher Bean and Les Renno and, for the past five years, Ken Wilkinson. Ken, among others, is particularly keen that this occasion be well supported with a good turn out of members - which includes relatives, visitors and friends. With this in mind he has taken the trouble to express his views by first class letter to those who have attended in recent years. CLICK HERE for a copy of this letter - so, if you haven't received one or haven't already decided, how about it? Let's see you this year.

A Room with a View!
There's no doubt that Nyasaland provided us with some excellent scenic views - Zomba Mountain from the Police Camp, Mount Mlanje, the Lake, the Vipya and Nyika plateaux among them. So it was a bit of a change for "our girl" Vanessa when she joined husband Jens working in Greenland. One's sympathy for the cold climate there surely evaporated when she forwarded this photograph taken from her village residence - weather and season allowing.

John Wilkes - back in the air
The first of the Nyasaland Police flyers was John Wilkes who initially flew aircraft in support of the Police from the Luchenza Flying Club. However, South Africa provided a Cessna 172 (pictured left) which John took over and flew on a regular basis. So it was back in time in November last year when daughter, Lucy, took him to the Cromer (Norfolk) flying club where he got his wings back! Some lovely people took him up for a flight in their light aircraft, gave him the controls, so at 91 he was back in his element and with no discernable difficulty.
Origin Lucy Bridgeman (Wilkes)

(Full size picures in Galleries "Terry Young Collection")

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