Tuesday 30 April 2013

Our Fortieth Milestone

Pioneers' Re-Union — Roll of Honour Signed in Fadeless Ink

Pioneers answer the roll and receive their badge.
Photograph by R.F. Windram

THE Governor and Lady Rodwell, accompanied by Miss Cecilia Rodwell, Miss Dorothea Rodwell, Mr. 0. P.  Fowler, secrrtary to the Governor, and Capt. B. V. Cherry, M.C., A.D.C., arrived in Bulavvayo by train at 11.40 a.m. yesterday to attend the Matabeleland 40th anniversary celebrations, and were accorded a  hearty welcome by a representative assembly of Bulawayo people.

They were met by Mr. T. C. Fynn, the Civil Commissioner, the Mayor of Bulawayo, Councillor W. Maver,  and Mr. E. C. Alderson, hon. organiser of the Celebrations Committee.


The journey to Government House by car was made via Main Street, and the Governor remarked on the gay appearance of the town with its mass of flags and bunting fluttering in the breeze.

Among those at the station were Mrs. T. C. Fynn, Mrs. W. Maver, the Mayoress; Mr. H. Chapman, C.B.E..and Mrs. Chapman and Miss Meredith Chapman, Sir Richard Goode, C.M.G., C.B.E., Mrs. D. Vincent, members of the '93 Column—Col. Dan. Judson, O.B.E., Major Walter Howard, D.S.O., Mr. A. G. Hay and Mr. J. C. Coghlan, Col. J. B. Brady, D.S.O., M.P., Major R, Gordon. D.S.O., 'Major J. C. Brundell,  Councillor C. M. Harris, Mrs. D. Vincent, Captain Harry Allan, Mr. H. G. Issels, Mr. F. W. J. Posset, Mr.  A. G. Cowling, Captain W. P. Wolters, Mr. S. H. Veats, Mr. and Mrs. R, E. Bayliss, Major J. S. Bridger,  Councillor and Mrs. A. J. Butler, Councillor John Macdonald, Lieut.-Colonel Tom Baker, Captain Eric Hay, Mr, A, C, Thornton, Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Cook.

Yesterday afternoon the Governor received Mr. T. C. Fynn, the Mayor, and Mr. E. C. Alderson at Government House and discussed with them the arrangements for the week. A souvenir ash try was presented to the Governor, and three of the commemoration medals were left for the younger members of his family.


BULAWAYO'S welcome to her distinguished guests, the survivors of the occupation columns of 1893, and their wives and the widows of those men who unhappily did not live to see the celebration of the 40th anniversary—is no half-hearted one. The programme of celebrations is one that enables the community as a whole the opportunity of honouring the pioneers, and that opportunity is gladly welcomed.


All trains on Wednesday brought still more pioneers and visitors to the town. The lavish scale of the decorations and the arrangements for celebrating the historic occasion proved a tremendous surprise to all. The Celebrations Committee has done its- work well.

"It is nice to be made a fuss of like this," said one of the veterans. "I Should like to be feeling fitter. But why complain? It's great to be alive to-day and able to meet the old friends of forty years ago."

The pioneers at the reunion on Wednesday signed a roll in fadeless ink. This will be one of Bulawayo's most treasured historical documents. Its compilation was a happy idea. The Governor and Lady Rodwell are taking a very active part in the celebrations and have personally honoured the pioneers. The reunion of the pioneers in the morning proved a very happy affair.

PIONEERS of Rhodesia, some of whom had not seen each other for about 40 years, had a reunion gathering in -Bulaway on Wednesday morning when the Civil Commissioner (Mr. T. C. Fynn) who is chairman of the Celebrations Committee, and the Mayor of Bulawayo (Mr. W. Maver) extended to them an official welcome to join in the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Occupation of Matabeleland.

The scene in the courtyard of the Palace Hotel was a picturesque one (writes a representative of The Bulawayo Chronicle who attended). Pioneers and their wives were present in force, and the roll call disclosed remarkably few absentees. It was a memorable day in their lives, for when a crowd of jolly good fellows get together again after such a long interval of time—well, it is not long before tongues are loosened and memories stirred.


These Grand Old Men of Rhodesia are all between 60 and 80 years of age. Some hobbled along with the aid of sticks; others walked so straight that one would think they were still in the old B.B.P. (Bechuanaland Border Police). There were greybeards and white beards, sun tanned and weather-beaten faces, shaded by sun-helmets) broad-brimmed felt hats, and even—in one case—a hat of the Baden Powell type. One or two of the oldest enjoyed the support of friendly arms, others found newsprint not so clear as it was a quarter of a century ago and voices less distinct, but it must be said that most of the Pioneers and their wives carried their years surprisingly well. And they were all smiling and cheerful.

End Of Pg1
This group includes Tex Long, Hon. H. U. Moffat and Mr. Pat Fletcher.
 Photograph by R.F. Windram


The following members of the 1893 Column were present at the reunion:
W. Bisset, E. E. Bradfield, W. H. Butcher, Bevan.
Captain G. Cameron-Smith, E. Campbell, J. Carruthers, R. O. Carruthers, Capt. Chawner, G. A. Cooke, J. C. Coghlan, W. C. Collier, W. W. Cummins, H. R. Cumming.
R. G. Davies, J. A. Denn, D. Dollar, F. W. Dreyer.
J. V. Everard.
J. J. Felix, C. A. Fraser, J. Darg Fraser. P. Fletcher.
D. G. Gisborne, P. Gwynne, R. W. Gray.
A. G. Haddingham, Capt. H. T. Harrington, M.B.E., A. G. Hay, L. F. Herbert, G. Hickey, Capt. A. H. Hore, R. O. Hiscock, Major W. Howard. D.S.O., G. Horton, G. F. Hunt, Major Hurreil.
J. Jamieson, W. H. Jones.
F. Leverton, H. Lovemore, J. H. Lucas, J. Lyall, W. P. Lynch, Texas Long.
A. McLaren, A. Main, F. O. Mallett, Hon. H. U. Moffat, " Gertie " Mageean
L. N. Papenfus. J. D. Payne, W. H. Potbury, Capt. A. C. Pyke, H. Posselt.
T. W. Quested.
G. Rattray, H. J. Renders, R. C. Rogers, W. P. Rouse.
E. Scale, H. A. Shepherd, J. B. Scott, G. E. Storey, G. Southey, J. Squair.
C.W. Tyler.
M. E. Weale, T. O. Willows, H. J. Windell, H.H.. Williams, J. Wilson, G. C. Wise, W. C. Wilkinson, A.  Wilson, Matabele B. Wilson.


The following were also present, the majority being the wives of pioneers:

Mrs. H. R. Cumming, Mrs. H. S. Henderson, Mrs, Matalbele Wilson, Mrs. A. Pyke, Mrs G. Rattray, Mrs. R. W. Gray, Mrs. Nesbitt, Mrs. A. H. Hore,, Mrs. D.G. Gisborne, Mrs. L. N. Papenfus, Mrs.. A. G. Haddingham, Mrs. F. D. Payne, Mrs. J. Carruthers, Mrs. Hurrell, Mrs, H Posselt, Mrs. Barnard, Mrs.. Fisher, Mrs.. Carey, Mrs. Lloyd, Mrs. A. McLaren, Mrs. D, Dollar, Mrs. T. 0. Willows, Mrs. H. T. Williams, Mrs. H. T. Harrington, Mrs. Chawner, Mrs. W. C. Wilkinson, Mrs. E. E. Bradfield, Mrs. T. W. Quested, Mrs. R O. Hiscock, Mrs. J. V. Everard, Mrs. Bishoff, Mrs. Heilman, Mrs. H.U.. Moffat. Mrs. E. Campbell, Mrs. H. J. Renders, Mrs. C. W. Tyler, Mrs. H. Lovemore, Mrs. J. Coghlan, Mrs. W. Honey, Mrs. Napier, Mrs. Bain, Mrs. D. Vincent, Mrs. G. F. Hunt, Mrs. J. J. Felix, Mrs. Squair, Mrs. L. F. Herbert. Mrs. Matthysen, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Yeatman, Mrs. Prescott, and Mrs. Querl.


The Pioneers and the wives and widows of Pioneers were each presented by the Celebrations Committee with souvenirs in the form of a Commemoration Medal, an engraved ash tray, and a copy of the Matabeleland Occupation Souvenir publication, after which the Mayoress (Mrs. W. Maver) and Mrs. T. C.  Fynn pinned on the special rosettes which had been prepared for the occasion.

An illuminated roll, specially prepared for the occasion by Mr. D. MacGillivray, was signed in fadeless ink by each members of the 1893 Column present. This roll will be framed and carefully preserved for the Centenary Celebrations—in 60 years' time!


 " This is a wonderful occasion in the history, not only of Matabeleland. but of Bulawayo," said the Mayor in the course of his address of welcome

 " This is the most wonderful occasion that we are now about to celebrate in the history of this territory. I am very glad, indeed, to sec you all turning up in such large numbers. Today the Pioneers are the honoured guests of the Celebrations Committee of the 40th Anniversary and you are also the honoured guests of the town and citizens of Bulawayo, of which I have the honour to be the Mayor. I am quite certain that you will take part in and enjoy all the functions and entertainments that have been provided by the Celebrations Committee, of which Mr. Fynn is the worthy chairman.

 "I don't propose to say very much in connection with the actual occpation of Matabeleland and the foundation ol Bulawayo on this occasion, because 1 shall deal with the subject on two other occasions. Ladies an gentlemen all, on behalf of the Celbrations Committee and the Municpality of Bulawayo, I give you an official welcome and hope you will have a right royal time. Enjoy yourselves and carry away  happy memories of this great gathering." (Applause.)


 Mr. T. 0. Fvnn also welcomed the members of the various Pioneer Columns and gave some details of the celebrations programme.

 We have been told that the programme of the celebrations is designed to put most of you underground," he remarked amid laughter. " That . the last place we want to see you and I have guarded against it in this way—if the programme is too much for you, you are the honoured guests of the British Medical Association while you are in Bulawayo." (Laughter and cheers).

 Mr. Fynn referred to the Pioneer play as " a really first-class show of which we are justly proud," and he mentioned that among the historical relics in the exhibition to be opened by the Governor next day was a particular exhibit which the Pioneers would regard with affectionate remembrance—the old  Nordenfeld gun which had been sent to the exhibition from London by the B.S.A. Company.

Some of the survivors of the 1893 Columns ot Occupation had not met since they marches into the  ruins of Lobengula's Kraal on Saturday, November 4, 1893.
Their re-union in Bulawayo for the Fortieth  Anniversary Celebrations was therefore a very happy occasion. Well, you know what old soldiers are! The  photographs on this page were taken in the garden of the Palace Hotel.

Many of the Pioneers were accompanied by their womenfolks.
This happy group was photographed at  the official re-union.
 [Photograph by E. A. Payne.]

Source - 'Occupation Souvenir' which was published round about the same time as this Fortieth Commemoration of the 1893 Pioneers of Matabeleland. which was made available to ORAFs by Colin Castle Thank you Colin.

Comments are always welcome, please mail them to Eddy Norris at orafs11@gmail.com

Ref. Rhodesia



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