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