Tuesday 22 October 2013

Fletcher Bridge

By Bill Sykes (RhAF)

I have forgotten who was looking for the location of the Fletcher Bridge...

Alastair Hull, ex Nat Parks, has tried to locate its exact position, but no luck so far.

He does have the history of the missing plaque though.

“The granite plaque came to light in Ruwa quite some years ago when I was visiting some relatives. The plaque was  already on the property they were renting but they did not know how it got there. Later I heard they had moved down to SA and, wondering what had become of it, I took a trip out there to see if I could locate it. I went and saw the new tenants but they did not know anything about it so I made a few discreet enquiries with some locals in the area, and eventually tracked it down to a place a few hundred metres from the property, to a place on the side of the road in the long grass where a shoe repair guy was using it as a table! 

Fortunately it was not damaged so I gave the guy a few bucks and drove off with it in the back of my pick-up and took it to Patrick Mavros’s parents (Doc Mavros and his wife Boo) in Borrowdale where, as far as I know, it still is. The mystery remains as to how it ended up at that house in Ruwa.

As far as the actual location of the bridge is concerned, Boo did tell me its location and the name of the river it spans  but I have since forgotten I am afraid. It is near Belingwe and is on one of the tributaries to the Sabi.”


View http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l2yNcgtRcA

Thanks to Bill and Alastair for sharing their memories with ORAFs.

Comments are always welcome, please mail them to Eddy Norris at orafs11@gmail.com
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At 22 October 2013 at 15:10 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Danae Lambert-Porter Writes:-

Well what a wonderful surprise! Thank you, Bill, Graham and Carrie Wilson!'

The stone is indeed at my parents home in Harare and still in the same place were Alastair positioned it when he gave it to my mother, Boo.

I was trying to find a picture of the Belingwe Hotel that I had 'found' on an extenuated Facebook session, and when I tried Googling I came upon a video clip of the opening of the bridge, which got us all excited! PB Fletcher was my grandfather and both he and my grandmother, who cut the ribbon, are easily identifiable despite the blurry movie clip.
None of us are sure which river it spanned but the Sabi is good clue to work with.

Thank you very much for filling in some of the missing detail and I'll get in touch with Alastair soon.

PS Haha I've just received this same email again via Tom Thomas - it seems your network can answer any question!

View http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l2yNcgtRcA

At 22 October 2013 at 15:10 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Malcolm Ross Writes:-

Fletcher Bridge is on the Belingwe

At 22 October 2013 at 15:11 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Nick Baalbergen (Itaf) Writes:-

this would have been built by the 'Primary Development' staff of the old Native Affairs Dept, which became Intaf. Mike Gargan was also a member of the 'Primary Development' staff in his day, so the bridge would have been built under similar circumstances, probably in or near a 'Tribal Trust Land ' area. The wording on the plaque bears this out.

At 22 October 2013 at 16:49 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Adrian R. Haggett (RhArmy) Writes

I am guessing that, NE of Belingwe is the main road bridge (A9) over the Sengwa River. Is this not the Fletcher Bridge at S 20 25 24.72 E 29 44 12.74 ?

At 22 October 2013 at 17:09 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Adrian R. Haggett (RhArmy) Writes

If I am correct with the coordinates, the tributary being spoken about is the Ngezi River.

I think the bridge is at S 20 24 58.48 E 29 53 27.09

At 17 December 2013 at 15:13 , Blogger Unknown said...

Well done to all ,most intriguing story , Leave no stone unturned .Alan.

At 2 November 2016 at 10:30 , Blogger Unknown said...

No it is not the Ngezi. Surely it is over the Mtchingwe, just below the weir you can see in the film. Otherwise why would the sign post at the beginning of the film show the Belingwe turn-off from Bulawayo. At the Ngezi both Belingwe and Bulawayo are in the same direction. This is quite a distance from either Belingwe of Lundi TTLs s quite intriguing why it was the Native Engineers who built it. perhaps it was the opportunity of significant funding?


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