Horse Power Makes a Comeback

Gervas' office First St Que Que

Gervas’ office First St, Que Que.  After the war broke out, petrol was rationed and men went back to their horses.

Horse Power Makes a Comeback

Gervas, a bloke with no shoulder muscles due to his bout with polio, could tip his hat, use a hammer, fire a gun, run the farm, the office and the mill and had even tried his hand at gold mining.  Britain declared war on Germany on Sept 3, 1939, but he was not accepted for military service, on medical grounds.

Horse Power Makes a Comeback

Brian Freyburg and Barbara’s brother John Millard were amongst the first to sign up.  Both would serve in North Africa.  Gervas took on extra work maintaining farms where the owners had gone to war.

In 1942 Gervas, like other farmers, suffered a severe drought. It was so bad that a critical shortage of maize meal was forecast by the Rhodesian government. Maize meal, the natives staple diet, was provided by employers as part payment of wages. The government issued a direction to employers to reduce rations by 25% to conserve reserves. This did not work; native mine workers went on strike and the government had to import maize at vast expense.

Que Que staged an annual Carnival and War Fete to support the national Post War Fund. Many Rhodesian lads in battle would make the supreme sacrifice; many others would return requiring help.  Everyone in  Que Que made a contribution.

Family pressure and circumstances had brought Brian and Gervas together but getting the huge Leyland lorry just in time, Gervas, to his surprise did not miss Brian when he left.  Petrol was rationed, so travel by car was restricted to business.  Barbara especially was glad to have to ride her horse to visit friends.

Life went on, but with the whole world at war, Gervas thought he was prepared for anything.

Many Thanks to Tim Hughes of Queensland, Australia for the  picture and the excerpts from his unpublished manuscript  Matambega and Son written in the 1980’s.


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