God Bless the Soldiers

At Herschel for Barbara Millard and Gervas Hughes wedding in April 1936: John Barbara, Monica, Gervas, Theo, Joan and John

God Bless the Soldiers

Dr. Millard bought a battery wireless. The months went by with news of the war ever on their minds. They never missed the news bulletin, sometimes Joan translating from Afrikaans. The children were fascinated but it was never turned on except for the news.

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Tim Does Something Really Bad!

Angela and Tim riding at Herschel in the Cape about 1940

Tim Does Something Really Bad!

Dr. Millard thought of himself as an old man, though he was only sixty. He had poor health and had to look after 55,000 Africans. Luckily, with the resilience of the young, the children settled in happily. They adored their grandfather, calling him “Daddy, Joan’s Daddy.” They explained “Our Daddy is busy in Rhodesia. This is Joanie’s Daddy.”

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The Devotion of Joan

Sisters Joan (L) and Barbara (R) riding together at Herschel in 1939

The Devotion of Joan

After the funeral for Barbara, Gervas Hughes’ wife, Rosemary Paget, a family friend from Salisbury, organised the packing and travel arrangements for Gervas, Angela and Timothy to go by train to Barbara’s father at Herschel, a little village just south of Basutoland. Gervas employed a retired farmer to take care of his business for a month.

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Gallant, Splendid and Tragic

Gallant,-Splendid-and-Tragic

Gallant, Splendid and Tragic

During the war petrol rationing kept people at home unless they had horses. Barbara’s father had owned one of the first cars in England but rode a horse in Herschel on his doctors rounds, sometimes riding forty miles to clinics. She loved riding, especially with Gervas. But they thought they could only ride together if a responsible European stayed with the children, which was seldom. Most of the country’s Whites were away at the war and the children had a Native nanny.

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Horse Power Makes a Comeback

Gervas' office First St Que Que

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.

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Petrol Power

Leyland Hippo

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.

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