A War Time Wedding


Basil Prior and and Ethne Laurie on their  Wedding Day, April 1 1945

A War Time Wedding

Long distance courting was tiring. Basil Prior, of the Globe and Phoenix Mine, asked  Ethne Laurie, of the Cam and Motor Mine, for her hand in marriage.

A War Time Wedding

The wedding day was set for Easter Sunday,  1st April 1945, in Gatooma.

Imported goods were scarce during the war years.  Ethne’s mother, Dolly Davies had an open account with big firms in Bulawayo and Salisbury. They would send her a length of material or lace when they received stocks. Ethne’s trousseau was gathered together in this fashion over time.  Family members contributed scarce items in crockery and cutlery.  Another obliging friend flew the wedding flowers down from Salisbury in a light plane which had been seconded to the Air Force.  An official photographer could not be found. Wedding photos were taken by a couple of friends who had managed to hoard a roll of film.

A large contingent of young friends came up from Que Que.  The reception was in full swing until the couple left on the 10.10pm mail train.  The first two weeks of their honeymoon were spent in East London, before going on to the Priory at St Marks.

Their first home on the G & P Mine was in Boundary Road, two rondavels connected by a square lounge and small dining room.  A covered walk led to a separate building at the back housing the kitchen, pantry and bathroom.  In winter, one had to dash through this open passage from the bathroom to the bedroom. Their cook, Adam, was a master in handling the Dover stove.  The mine power station supplied the electricity which was 110 volts, so no electric stoves were allowed.

After fifty years, water and electricity still came from the mine for the village of Que Que.  Life revolved around the mine: the wail of the mine hooter denoting the change in shifts, while the  mill roared twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and the cocopans strung on the overhead cable carried the ore past the Club to the crushing plant.

The Priors raised three sons during their thirty years on the Globe and Phoenix Mine, until underground mining closed on its 80th anniversary in 1975.

Thanks to Nigel Prior of Australia for Snippets from his Mother’s Memoirs and the photograph



  • Brian Turner

    Reply Reply March 18, 2012

    Hi Nigel,
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, two great people and always very friendly to young people especially me when I arrived in Que Que in 1970. Baz was always willing to play a round of golf with a hacker like me.

  • Chris Duckworth

    Reply Reply March 20, 2012

    Anyone know when they filled up the trenches in which us children at school were to shelter in should the Germans have bombed the village?… The trenches dug in 1940… On 1st April In 1945 I was in Standard 5 at C.J.R. in Gwelo, our master, Mr Carter, who harboured a sword in his room, the sight of which I was confronted when my mother asked me to deliver a bag of wool one evening for the jerseys he was knitting for men in the Armed Force… He, on account of an illness, not called-up… A huge strapping man with a walking stick he was and April the First was definitely not a day in the class on which play April Fool… A very good teacher he was!…And that’s 67 years ago… And let me pinch myself… Yes I’m still alive!…

    • Diana

      Reply Reply March 20, 2012

      Chris, Aaron Sloman remembers the war trenches at the Park between Slomans Wholesale section and the cenotaph. He suspect they had been filled by the time we had the royal family visit in 1947.

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