Petrol Power

Leyland Hippo

Gervas Hughes bought the first fifteen ton Leyland Hippo lorry for transporting timber.

Petrol Power

Gervas bought a fifteen ton Leyland Hippo lorry for transporting timber, securing a notice to the tail gate: You are behind the biggest lorry in Rhodesia: Drive Carefully.

Petrol Power

Gervas had Brian drive the fifteen ton Leyland Hippo lorry, displacing 11 sixteen foot ox wagons, 450 oxen, 10 drivers, 10 leaders, and 2 herders.  Using 6 loaders he could, over 10 miles, do at least 4 loads a day, the equivalent of 12 wagon loads, making a saving of 16 African loaders as well.  Another bonus was that they could go farther afield than the 10 miles radius of the ox wagons. The wood was harvested from Crown land, clear felled and cut at not more than 10 inches above the ground.

But the wagoners and oxen received a reprieve. Gervas now obtained cheaper timber twenty miles from the nearest mine. His new system used the wagons to haul wood out of the forest to the nearest lorry track and off-load, building ‘lorry stacks.’ Stumps were cleared so that Brian could drive up to the stacks, loading directly from them.

Wood cutters were paid one shilling a cord (a day’s work), lent an axe, given a ration of four pounds of maize meal, and a little meat per day. Brian was paid £10 per month, given the use of a two roomed house, and paid for his own dinner at the hotel. He wore silk shirts and flannel trousers, drank beer at the pub, and went to the cinema or a dance every week.  He bought a Royal Enfield 250 cc motor bike he called Popping Percy. Gervas paid him half a penny per mile when travelling on business. ‘Money was money in those days’.  He still managed to save enough for a holiday, travelling by train every year to a South African beach.

He was in love with Barbara’s sister, Joan Millard.

Many Thanks to Tim Hughes of Queensland, Australia for the  picture and the excerpts from his unpublished manuscript  Matambega and Son written in the 1980’s.


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