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We Remember, Part 2

This page is for positive memories/details of any of our former colleagues who are deceased.  Contributions are welcome from members and non-members alike and may be emailed to the webmaster.  Pictures are welcome and will be added to the "We Remember" photo album which will, hopefully, be available to members, fairly soon.


Tribute to Derek Brent by Ian Davidson and Family:

The passing of Derek Brent.
So saddened to hear this news
Years back we lived close by in Greystone Park in the then Salisbury.
Our children played together ,We shared family moments and often a few Castles at sundown and beyond.
Derek was a DIY person and patiently taught me the arts of such.
Devoted to his family and a man of high integrity and conviction.
His word was good enough.
We were privileged to have known him.
Ada, Cheryl, Gavin and families
We think of you today
The Davidsons-Ian , Marie, Natalie and Ashley

Tribute to Ian (Tubby) Gray by Ian Davidson

Ian was in the Dept for some ten years. Our paths rarely crossed during that time. When he was on transfer to Chirundu or wherever I was probably in Lourenco Marques that was or Umtali or HO .

It was from the time I was seconded to the PM’s office and after Ian had joined a commercial entity as

shipping manager that we forged a close, personal and ‘official ‘ liaison during the dark days of the 70’s .

That liaison continued post Independence.

The Grays’ house in Borrowdale provided a welcome respite on my frequent visits back to Zimbabwe from South Africa where I then represented European based ship owners. (Mind you I always had a shopping list which often included spares for antique home appliances for their friends.)

Ian was very much involved in the establishment of the Beira Corridor designed to provide reliable, regular and cost effective rail and road access to and from the Mocambique port and Zimbabwe.

Shipping Lines went to Beira because this concept worked.

We came to live in Spain ex Swaziland in 2004 and Ian and Helen left Zimbabwe and purchased a property not far from us some time after.

They later sold up and went to the UK. However the lure of Africa proved too much and after a frustrating time in England they decided to go to Zambia to join their daughter Jackie on the farm.

Ian - we thank you for your friendship, your integrity, your sense of humour, and the fun we had as families in jointly adapting to the way of life in the Med.

Our respective careers spanned both good and bad times but Ian kept to his ideals.

In particular calling for calm on Lake Kariba when hastening back to safe anchorage after a day’s fishing

during a family holiday at Bumi generously provided by Ian’s company. A storm expertly forecast by the captain threatened to do severe damage as we neared the harbour. Ian remained stoic. ‘We have four beers left ‘ he said ‘before we start the climb up to the hotel!.

Farewell /adios our good friend - large in size, large in character and determined in resolve.

Ian and Marie Davidson

September 27, 2018
Tribute to Don Cowie by Andre Guernier:

“I first met Don at Beitbridge where we were both working.  For me it was the last few months of my work at Beitbridge, a place of many memories for me and for others who had the privilege to have worked there.  For Don it was his first few months there that we both shared.

It was Don’s love of the wilderness, so superb at the Bridge, that I enjoyed about him.  At the time a few of us would spend most weekends, if not working, exploring the area.  We also did a lot of hunting together and supplied our mess above the Customs House with fresh meat, including our many dogs, for most of the time.  Don had developed a love of the African wilderness while at school and brought with him an impressive knowledge of the bush including the names of many of the birds and animals and plant life.

Don’s generous nature and passion for life in the bush had a great impact on me leaving me to this day still wrapped up in that aspect of life.

After doing my National Service, and a year or two in Bulawayo, I was transferred to Tunduma on the border between what is now Zambia and Tanzania.  I caught up again with Don when we both ended up working in our Ndola office leading up to the dissolution of the Federation, resulting in both Don and I, and others, opting to return to Southern Rhodesia.  Don’s family offered to put me up while I looked around for accommodation of my own.  So I was privileged to have met both Don’s folks and his two sisters  Carol and Sheila.

It was not long after this that Don decided to follow his passion.  He resigned from Customs and took up a position as the manager of a new venture of game ranching on Henderson’s Doddiburn Ranch on the Umzingwane.  I visited Don at Doddiburn in around 1966 and what a fabulous place this was.  In addition to providing game meat for the market, the ranch also sponsored a variety of scientific studies examining the idea of game farming and the protection of wildlife in general.

I got married shortly after this as did Don and for some reason our lives went their own ways.  So it was not until 2012, some forty years later, that I was fortunate enough to catch up with Don who was by this time retired and living in Ballito, just north of Durban.

Don had not only become involved in the game farming industry, but had also worked for the Hendersons in their safari business with concessions in both Zimbabwe and in Botswana.  Don became very knowledgeable on all matters to do with wildlife and regarded by some, to quote from Brian Marsh of Rowland Ward, as “regarded by many as the most knowledgeable non-university trained ecologist in southern Africa”.  He conducted a number of lectures overseas and was a wonderful photographer and story teller.

When I met him in 2012 he had built up a gallery of many hundreds of first class photographs of African birdlife which he offered, free of charge, to anyone wanting to use them in support of a variety of research projects they might be engaged in.  He and I spent two weeks together in the parks of Kwazulu Natal.  I can remember that at the time he still had a number of birds that he was yet to photograph and we were able to find one of these while together and he managed to get a beautiful photograph of it.  I feel so privileged to have been able to be with Don and to meet with Kathy, his lovely wife who I had not met before and to meet with Carol, his sister, and her husband.

Don’s passing was so sudden that I am sure that everyone who knew him were left in some state of shock.  My condolences go to Kathy and to their children and grandies, and to both Sheila and Carol and their respected families.  Don was a wonderful man, so knowledgeable on a wide range of issues, and so generous in sharing that knowledge with everyone.

Many of us were in contact with Don through Facebook where he would regularly post the most beautiful photographs of birds he had recently photographed.  Don was an inspiration to so many and will be sorely missed.

Rest in peace Don in that great wide African veldt that you loved so much.

Regarding Ivan Smith from John Glynn:   (July, 2017)
Ivan was the first person I had the next desk to when I joined the Dept.
on the 2nd January 1953 in the old Stables Head Office on the corner of
4th Street and Jameson Ave in Salisbury. This was in the Internal Audit
section of
Head Office and was headed up with such luminaries as Brian Baisley and
Bobby Ballantine. My first job was to update a new Tariff Guide Book and
was handed 33 lists of amendments and additions. Ivan was very helpful in
assisting my introduction into the Dept. and it's members and I was
particularly impressed in that he was the owner of a large American car in
which he spent most of his weekends driving to Umtali and back due to a
feminine presence there. He possessed a great sense of humour and a very
kindly nature and will be sadly missed. Rest in peace old colleague!

From Linda Kelly (nee Gibson) regarding Doris McCallum

I was one of those fortunate youngsters who experienced her love and guidance in the transition from school to the “big wide world”.
She had mastered the ability to be fair and firm, served up with liberal doses of humour and took “no nonsense “ from the highest to the lowest.
She was treated with great respect which she thoroughly deserved. She delivered many subtle “life lessons” that one never forgot.
From Andre Guernier regarding Doris McCallum:

In remembrance of Doris McCallum who I remember fondly from my very first days in Customs in 1955.  Always a lovely positive person willing to give you a hand whatever the situation.  My condolences to her family.  Andre                                                                                                                May 2016
From Leo Fincham regarding Doris McCallum:

Doris, then still Doris Grace, was the first person I met in the Custom House when I reported there on joining the Department on January 9, 1950. We remained friends ever since, and Sheena and I were able to visit her several times when she was living with her daughter, Karen Ewing, and son in law, Neil, in Randpark Ridge. Although she became frail towards the end she remained mentally alert and was a joy in conversation. We will miss her.

Doris was an icon, and will always be remembered with admiration, respect and a great deal of affection.


Leo                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  May 2016
Harry Bowler by Andre Guernier A TRIBUTE TO HARRY BOWLER     (Click on the link)                                                                                                                             (November 13, 2015)
This an extract from the message received from John Glynn on the passing of Mike Shaw:

Sorry to advise that yet another member of our clan has now departed to a
better place.

Mike Shaw (Michael Cyril Howard Shaw) died in Harare on Sunday the 9th
March after a long and painful illness. He leaves a wife, Niki, and a son
and daughter behind. Although Mike's service in Customs was relatively
short his continued career if Freight Forwarding was long and resulted in
the making of many more friends who are now scattered throughout the
The World is short of real characters and Mike was one of these. (March 11, 2014)
Here is the email  from Andre Guernier on the passing of Mike Shaw:

"While I too did not know Mike that well while in Customs, I did spent two wonderfully exciting years working with both Mike and with you John (Glynn) as part of the Freight Services Project Shipping team (the main focus being the movement of some incredibly large and heavy equipment in support of the development of the Hwange Colliery Open Caste Expansion Project, and for much of the ancillary projects, all exceptionally exciting, with massive pieces of equipment being moved in support of the new Power Station and the electrification of the railway line.

Working with those guys was, typical of the old country, a wonderful experience of team effort with lots of support and fun.  Those two years were clearly right up there is terms of one of my personal career highlights.

Thank you Mike and thank you John for that opportunity.  They were truly great times.

My sincere condolences to Mike's family."
                                                                                                                                             (March 11, 2014)
The following is a tribute from Ian & Marie Davidson on the death of Roger Pettit:

Two fellow ex ' East Anglians' met up on transfer to the Beira office circa  1960.-where we all seemed to wear our white uniforms to the office (minus epaulettes of course).
Roger's  professed  'advantage' was  that he had done National Service in the UK. I  had just completed  the shorter equivalent  in B Company  in  Bulawayo and insisted I  felt in no way inferior as we  had recently  won the  ' drill ' competition against very serious opposition.
Fortunately Roger was a  believer in teetotalism and he was  thus relied upon to ensure our safety whenever our social activities  required a car .Equally this discipline  served him-and his passenger - well when  he drove  at a  fairly rapid pace  to Mutare/Harare for weekend breaks in his Porsche.
A man of unusually  temperate language -apart from when an outcrop on the section of gravel highway just outside Beira
caused some essential part of  the heating system of his prized vehicle to unravel.We seemed to walk a considerable distance
back towards the city  in an effort to retrieve the damage  by winding up a thin metal strip  of  what  I thought  by then must be memorabilia  of doubtful value.
He enjoyed good food and the 'Oceania ' restaurant on the sea front dutifully served up a small suckling pig on many occasions.
Our friendship was  tested one such evening when the top came off a bottle of aged  ketchup I had shaken up. In a watchful  restaurant Roger found himself covered with most of the contents.Waiters saved the day with a magical display of
attentiveness  and wet cloths.'Nao e problema' were welcome words.
Post Beira I was honoured to be  best man at his  marriage   on the south coast of England. I recall  some curious sheep invaded the churchyard -and possibly the church itself-during  the ceremony.
After a spell in Zambia following the end of  the Federation Roger returned south and we met up again in the  70's in Harare.We did business together in the 80's when he was GM of Manica in Harare and I represented Europe based ship owners.
After emigration  we met from time to time in Johannesburg but sadly lost touch after my transfer to Swaziland.
Many years have passed my friend but many memories  remain.
To Di and family our sincere condolences.
Ian and Marie Davidson.
                                                                                                                                                                                                       (November 7, 2013)
The following is from Ed Wainer on the death of Brian Whindus:

So very sorry to hear of the death of Brian Whindus. He was the SEO in Lusaka when I arrived in April 1958; having departed from England on the Winchester Castle only a month before. He was one of the most likeable men I have ever met: having a slight stutter, which only added to his charm. We shared a flat for some time.
He drove a Morris Oxford (I think) with the old side valve engine. He was full of fun and delighted in imparting to me that Alan Jarvis, the Collector, who had lauded me on my arrival as "just the sort of recruit we are looking for", had confessed to him a week or so later that he was "a bit disappointed in young Wainer". I had, needless to say, been introduced in the meantime, (by Pete Harris and Bob Hughes), to the delights of the Lusaka Sports Club!
Brian had a delightful, petite, blond girlfriend about whom he was absolutely nuts. They were married shortly after I moved on to Nyasaland, I think, but we lost touch.
Lovely man. My condolences to his family and friends.
Ed Wainer.

The Late David Anthony Varndell - Email sent by John (Aussie) Austin

LONDON             17 April 2013

 Dear Arthur,

I am sorry to have to report to the exCUSTOMSnet fraternity that DAVE VARNDELL died earlier yesterday evening, around 7pm SA time. He had been admitted to hospital in Johannesburg suffering from advanced liver cancer. He and Carole had been struggling with his treatment from Blantyre for the last few months, and he has finally succumbed to the disease relatively quickly. His brothers Geoff & Brian had been able to get to Johannesburg in time, as had his three children Michael, Laura & Jason.

I understand there is to be a memorial & cremation service in Johannesburg, followed by some sort of memorial & scattering ceremony later in Malawi…. Perhaps Derek & Margie Plane will be able to fill in for me here.

As you especially will know Arthur, Dave & I were at Ellis Robbins Boys High School together, later following each other into Customs & Excise. We were also Boy Scouters together, St Johns Ambulance Brigaders, and the very best of friends – Dave was Best Man when Joleen and I were married, as indeed I was Best Man when Dave & Carole were married….. the pair of them sweethearts from their teens.

I can honestly say that Dave was a family man first, a fisherman second, & a very successful businessman third. His family was everything to him…. And I know that he will leave a big gap in all their lives with his passing.

Not only did I grow up into adulthood with Dave as my friend, he has also been there with me and/or supported me through virtually every major event in my & our lives, including Chikurubi. Indeed, during one of our short-lived releases from detention, Dave & Carole simply phoned from Blantyre to tell us to fly James & Martin up to them…. to give Joleen and me some time together. There are many other fond clips of memory that I have of both Dave & Carole…. But that will suffice for now.

I invite all our colleagues in joining with me in expressing sincere condolences to Carole, his children Michael, Laura & Iain & grandchildren, and Jason, along with the wider family of Varndells & Treasures – their spouses, nieces, nephews, etc. Some colleagues may not realise that Dennis Shepherd is also Dave’s brother-in-law, Dennis having married Carole’s sister Yvonne.   

A very good friend who will be sadly missed with great warmth & affection by many & by me.

Please notify our exCUSTOMSnet colleagues accordingly in the usual way by circular email. Please would you also post this notification on the website for me.

Thanx Buddy,


Aussie    J

Tribute to the Late Tony Hussey submitted by Andre Guernier during June 2010 

"It is with a great deal of sadness that I hear of Tony's death and my condolences go to Daphne and her family.

Tony and I worked together from our very early days in Customs in
Bulawayo, Beitbridge and, later when Jean and I replaced Tony and Daphne in Lorenco Marques.  Tony, a most intelligent man, had a great sense of humour and high level of integrity which was continually demonstrated in whatever he did.  I am sure that he will be greatly missed well beyond his immediate family.

I am attaching a couple of photos taken in the late fifties while Tony and I were engaged from Beitbridge in a patrol along the border with the Bechuanaland Protectorate, as it was then.  The photos were taken at the point where the patrol reached the magical
Tuli Circle, a small enclave of land which was situated on the other side of the Tuli River at a point where the dry sand bed was a good kilometre in width.  It was also the site of a heritage cemetery and what remained of a police post that was once stood there.

Citations on the tombstones there were particularly fascinating and we spent a hour working our way through the cemetery.  But one tomb that particularly grabbed our imagination was one which stated something along the lines of "Here lies the remains of Trooper xxxxxxxx killed by lions near this spot".  It was at this point that Tony happened to gaze into the distance in contemplation only to see a small pride of five or six lions lying in the dry grass on the very edge of the cemetery and staring fixedly at us  They who too were no doubt in contemplation as they viewed us with a fair degree of intensity as we had been slowly working our way through the quite large burial site.

A quick assessment of the situation caused us to retreat, while facing the prospect of a daunting recrossing of the bare sands of the Tuli in a slow and measured pace anxious to get back to the Landrover, but at the same time not wanting to attract any further attention of our newly made furry friends.  We made it back without the slightest problem.

Once again, my condolences to Tony's family.


(Webmaster Note:  
Unfortunately, the photos Andre sent in are not clear, but one has been added one to the "We Remember" album  - available to members)
Added July 24, 2011)

Addendum to Ed Wainer’s Tribute to Doug McLennan by Robin Graham:

McLennan and Wainer for the weekend at Mwanza – ah yes, I remember it well. Not a recipe for an uneventful date, as those who knew either of them will be aware - and I was only 19 at the time; in fact I suspect I haven’t been the same since!

I do have a couple of pictures of the three of us to remember the occasion; one taken by Neves, Chef d’Alfandega, Zobue, who is in the second photo and who I have no doubt will remember the weekend also!!

Doug was one of those irrepressibly entertaining, street-smart and larger than life characters, who one particularly remembers because his conversation appeared to slowly degenerate into some unintelligible Scottish brogue as the day – and his thirst progressed! (By this time of course it may not have been necessary that we needed to understand what he was saying, but with visitors, one had to be polite!)

 Reading the tributes on the website, he obviously – and fortunately – never changed. They were great days, memorable because of the diverse characters, such as Doug, who made the wonderful working and social environments within the customs community which we were all fortunate to enjoy. It was heartening to read that he allowed his grandson, Kevin, to win at Champion of Champions; I am not sure he would have been as generous to the rest of us!

Robin Graham

PS. The Vespa scooter can be seen in the second photo and I am happy to report that it enjoyed an ongoing and distinguished but not trouble-free customs history when I sold it to Cyril McCormack who found two wheels particularly challenging to keep on the strips of his homeward journeys from the Cholo Sports Club to Malosa!

Webmaster Note:  The photos mentioned are in the 331(2) Photo Album (Available only to members).

Added June 25, 2011

Email from Ed Wainer regarding Doug McLennan  

I was so very sorry to hear of Doug McLennan's passing, but yet grateful for the raft of happy memories he provoked.
We first met in 1959 when we were both stationed in Limbe, Nyasaland. It was a happy time. We were frequent visitors to the Shire Highlands Hotel, not noted for its abstinence, and were both members of the Nyasaland National Rifle Association, where we shot on the local rifle range regularly.
One weekend we were invited by Robin Graham to visit him at the Mwansa border post. Our only transport at that time was Doug's 98cc put-put motorbike and we decided our best bet was to use that to get to the bus station in Blantyre and travel on the bus down to Mwansa. The only difficulty with that plan was that the "troubles" were on and there was a night time curfew in force. We reckoned that, by the wee small hours, all self-respecting security forces would be abed and we could safely snivel out before dawn to get to the Blantyre bus station in time. We were wrong. We'd hardly got to the edge of town when one of the big Bedford police trucks pulled out of a side turning behind us. I don't know whether anyone else can remember the Limbe/Blantyre road but, at the Limbe end there was a long straight section which traversed a series of ridges so it was rather like riding a roller coaster, one moment in the warm softness at the top of the ridges and the next plunged into the freezing air which had gathered overnight in the dips. We just decided to chin it out and carry on going. It must have been some sight, two young men in shorts and shirts on an underpowered motorbike with their overnight bags stuffed between them, alternatively frozen and warmed and pretending to be completely oblivious of the blazing headlights of the Bedford police truck travelling not a yard or two behind them. 
They didn't stop us - either they got bored with their playful terrorisation, or the passage of time turned the two renegade curfew breakers back into a couple of innocent civilians enjoying an early morning bike ride!
The weekend was a great success only marred by my silver tongued Scottish friend sweet talking Robin into letting him have a go on his brand new Vespa scooter - after all, he was an experienced motor cyclist and there wouldn't be any danger. Robin, against his better judgment it has to be said, agreed, and Doug set of round the corner with enthusiasm. It was quite a while before we detected the squeak, squeak, squeak of tyre rubbing on mudguard, to be followed by the somewhat disheveled and shamefaced picture of Doug pushing the mangled machine back again. Experienced motorcyclist he may have been but the tiny tyres and unusual sitting position of the scooter on corrugated dirt road bends was his undoing.
We didn't have to catch the bus back. We were given a lift in the latest, hump backed Standard Vanguards. All very plush and comfortable but, like the the scooter, a bit skittish on corrugated bends.
We were both serving together again in Head Office some twenty years later when the news that we were to train others of a slightly different hue to do our jobs and take our promotions filtered through. I left in September, 1980, and regrettably never saw Doug again. Happy memories though. I'm sure he'll be missed by his family and friends.

(Added May 8, 2011)

This is a tribute to Doug McLennan from his Grandson, Kevin McLennan:

Dear Doug

The memories I have of you are truly great. I remember when I was young and we used to play a game called Champion of Champions.
Even though I  was about 10 and I tried my hardest to get you out of the fighting ring I always lost but still you always let me win. Memories like that  are moments for life.
You were always generous and very wise. I hope to be just like you one day. Time says we will heal but I know when I think  I think of you I will always shed a tear.
I know we shouldn’t be sad that’s not the way you would want us to be. You taught us to be really strong and always have pride. I do because of you and I am extremely proud of you. You taught me more  than anyone.
Thank you for being  there for me, forever in my heart you will be.
Your grandson
Kevin McLennan
(Added April 30, 2011)

Here is the speech given by Ian Davidson at Doug McLennan's funeral:

I am sad but very, very proud to be asked to say a few words on the passing of my good  and valued friend, Douglas George Mclennan.  Our friendship goes back some 45  years spanning our  careers in the Dept of Customs and Excise and the Prime Minister’s office in what was then
Rhodesia followed by employment in the private sector in South Africa and then retirement in Spain.

I speak today on behalf of the many , many individuals all around the world - including Baobab members and other  friends  here in Spain- who were part of his legendary life and travels.   As the sad  news circulates any number of conversations will begin’ do you remember when?’.The McLennan history  will be discussed in detail and  glasses will be raised in salute to a unique Scotsman and his loved ones.  Whether it was in  a remote part of  the African  bush , within the confines of a city office or at a planning session when Doug was discussing his next DIY project-we were all captivated by his keen , sometimes startling sense of humour, his ability to analyse and his willingness to debate at  length on almost
any subject.
Doug  made unfortgettable  speeches at my family celebrations  in  years past and I ,Marie, our daughter, Natalie and our son ,Ashley thank him for those precious moments which will always  be on record.
I quote  one  example of his repartee .He was MC at our 25th wedding anniversary celebration in Johannesburg  and he  recalled a comment made by a guest who had remarked  that his brother Tom looked very much like him.’ Small wonder’ said Doug  ’he is wearing one of my suits  this evening’.

Jean, Andrew and  Allan and your families, Jennifer and David and family, Tom and  Maureen(who will be with Jean on Saturday) and Scott  in the land of the heather. We honour a committed  husband, a caring  father and grandfather and  a loving brother and uncle. His passing brings  profound grief to all of us but his life has left us with many happy and often amusing  memories which will forever remain in the thoughts  of  his friends and in the very souls of his family.   Shakespeare wrote  ‘those friends thou hast/ and their adoption tried/grapple them to your hearts/with hoops of steel'.
Doug was one of those.

In keeping with the many years Jean and Doug  and family spent in Southern Africa may I quote a  time honoured phrase from that part of the continent.
‘HAMBA KAHLE,UMNGANE WAMI’-go well    my friend.



(Added April 30, 2011)
Here are some details of Doug McClennan's funeral supplied by Ian Davidson, who also lives in Spain, and was a close friend to Doug:

The cremation service for Doug began at 1700  hrs on Tuesday 26th April at a beautiful chapel in the small coastal town of SAN PEDRO DEL PINATAR, some 25 mins drive from Jean's house.
Her sons, Andrew and Allan, flew in from Johannesburg and Doug's niece, Jennifer, and her husband David arrived from Scotland.
(His brother Tom and wife Maureen had just embarked in a cruise when they heard of the tragedy).
Amongst those saying farewell were members of the Baobab Club-individuals who had lived /worked in Southern Africa/East Africa-other friends and neighbours.
Recorded solemn, organ music was played at the beginning to provide time for reflection.
A photograph of Doug taken in 2002 was on view.
The Rev Keith Brown addressed the gathering with dignity and compassion and requested that her many friends now keep in touch with Jean on a regular basis.
The playing of 'Amazing Grace' and 'the Mull of Kintyre' with massed pipes and drums was hugely emotional for all concerned. The music underscored Doug's heritage and handkerchiefs were plentiful.
Each person filed past the coffin as the service came to an end and gave their own personal tribute.
Jean very generously invited all back to the restaurant where the Baobas have their monthly get togethers .The family was able to engage with all concerned and slowly and surely a degree of composure was obtained after a very sad day.
Brian Lucas -an ex DC and convener of the Baobabs -spoke during the meal in honour of Doug  and told how his Departmental  postings were  almost always  in parallel with those of Doug and yet they were only introduced to each other  in Spain!.
It so happens that the cruise vessel is calling at the port of Almeria in the south east of Spain this Saturday( 30th).
Passengers will be ashore for some six hours and I and Marie will make the 400 km with Jean and her sons to meet up with Tom and Maureen.  Andrew and Alan return to Johannesburg via Madrid on that same Saturday evening.
Added April 30, 2011

Doug McLennan - passed away suddenly in San Miguel de Salinas, Spain on April 22, 2011

The Following is an exerpt from an email message sent to Jean by Leo Fincham:

"We are not alone in this; Doug had many friends and admirers, simply because he deserved it. All of us were greatly saddened at the news of his passing. I knew Doug for more than 50 years, during which time we were not only colleagues, but friends and, latterly, partners in a business venture which owed much of its success to his acumen, insight and keenness.  One of his many outstanding attributes was his ability to express himself clearly, fluently, and with style, in writing and in speech. His intellectual prowess was another such attribute; he had few peers. Doug was an excellent mixer, and had a lively approach to all his activities. Who could forget the Friday afternoons in Head Office, when distillery samples were subjected to the most critical analysis! His sharp sense of humour was legendary. No wonder he was so highly regarded and respected.  Remember the words from the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in the Gospel according to St Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 4 : “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Tony Forrest - passed away in Biloxi, Mississippi on March 4, 2011.

Here is part of the email Claire Forrest (Tony's daughter) sent to Doug McLennan.
"Sadly, I am writing to let you know that my dad died on Friday March 4th at Biloxi Regional Hospital.  Last year he was diagnosed with smoldering myeloma and although he seemed to be doing well for much of the year, in January, after my parents returned from a family wedding in UK, it was discovered the cancer had become multiple myeloma. 
He was suffering from excruciating back pain caused by the cancer attacking his spine and causing 2 fractured vertebrae.  After surgery on February 10th to try and alleviate the pain a slew of complications began, including pneumonia, blood clots and internal bleeding.  After 2 weeks in the Intensive Care Unit, he passed away on Friday.
The medical staff at Biloxi Regional were exceptional during this time and it was a comfort to all of us to know Tony was being looked after by such compassionate and professional people. 
We know Tony will be missed by many, many people.  He really was such a funny and wonderful man, very loved."

Here is a copy of the obituary in the Biloxi local paper, the Sun Herald:

 MS United States Tony Forrest, "The Englishman", 72, of Biloxi, MS, died Friday, March 4, 2011, in Biloxi. Tony was born in Yorkshire, England in 1938. He was a very funny man and was often overheard telling people he was from Bogalusa when he was asked about his Yorkshire accent. This sums up Tony's sense of humor and his striving to amuse himself while never looking for an audience. If you ever had the joy of meeting Tony, you would probably have experienced this great sense of humor. Tony was a very generous and kind man, who would willingly give you the 50 cent thrift shop shirt off his back. Tony and MP met in Zimbabwe, and after living in many parts of the world they finally settled on a quiet southern U. S. lifestyle of shrimp, gin and tonics, squirrel chasing and hurricanes. The love, charm and giving nature of the Southerners assured Tony and MP that the Gulf Coast was to be their home. Hurricane Katrina brought wonderful volunteers into their life and many are now part of the Forrest family. Tony loved and appreciated all. More recently, the family experienced the most compassionate and professional care from the outstanding medical staff at Biloxi Regional Medical Center. We extend our grateful thanks to all, most especially to Dr. Motakaveri. Tony is survived by his beloved Scottish wife of 43 years, Mary-Pat; his daughter, Kate Forrest Rodrigue, and granddaughters, Thais and Ellie; his son, Kevin (Jessie) Forrest of Portland, Oregon; his daughter, Claire Forrest of Boston, Massachusetts; his sister, Pauline (Paul) Challenger and family of Yorkshire, England; and in-laws, Therese and Eric Hudson, Brendan and Jennifer Bocker and families in Scotland, and Joe and Meg Bocker and family in New Zealand. Many people will miss Tony; his jokes and wisecracks will live on for a very long time to come. A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, March 12, 2011, at Nativity B.V.M. Cathedral at 11 a.m. A reception will follow at Sacred Heart Center in Biloxi. Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home, Howard Avenue, in Biloxi is in charge of arrangements."There will be no more throwing plums in this house!" ~ Anthony Geoffrey Forrest."

We never knew Tony & Mary Pat in Zim, but got to know them through emails etc. when they joined the exCUSTOMSnet.  We met them in Biloxi around July 2007 when we were en-route from Texas to Florida.  They gave us a delicious meal & we spent a hilarious evening with them.  They were a wonderful couple and we certainly appreciated their hospitality, Tony's sense of humour and Mary Pat's artwork.

Arthur & Mary Adams

Here is Des Mooney's obituary from the Freight & Trade Weekly:  (Thanks to Brian Kalshoven)

Fond farewell to Saaff man

The freight industry has just said a fond farewell to Des Mooney, who died as a result of a heart attack, but left a clutch of pleasant memories with family, friends and co-workers.  A long-time business colleague and friend, John Buchell, MD of Heneways, captured part of the  Mooney character when he said he was “a pleasure to work with, and a man who was distinctly pro-active in dealing with issues in the freight industry”.  The two first met during Mooney’s 11-year chairmanship of the SA Association of Freight Forwarders (Saaff) in Gauteng. “During his term in office, it was a pleasure to have him in that post,” said Buchell.  “His stint with us as operations manager at Heneways was the last permanent post he held in a long history with the freight industry before he finally established himself as a consultant to theindustry, and to specific, selected clients.”  Through FTW, the industry says goodbye to Des Mooney.

Added November 3, 2009)


The Late Des Mooney.  June 2009

Des was a great friend from the days we started customs together in Bulawayo, right up until the time he died.
We spent some fantastic times together in Byo, at the Falls, Harare and later when I holidayed in S.A. 
and whenever he visited us here in Aussie. His cheeky sense of humour and his friendship will be sadly missed.
Sleep well Des, I am so fortunate to have known you for so long.
Joe Robertson

Des was one of us, and his passing touches us all. John Donne put it clearly nearly 500 years ago, when he said that 
“No man is an island, entire of itself….  Any man’s death diminishes me, because
I am involved in Mankind.  And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls: it tolls for thee."
Best regards to all, Leo

Please convey my deepest sympathy to Des's family 
Chris Maidwell  & family

We have good memories of Des and were really sad to hear that he has passed
on.  He was really fun to work with - he gave us lots of good laughs!
Fondest Regards, Liz (Fizzy) and Peter Marshall

It is a very sad day indeed. The last time I saw Des was at Graham Bennets funeral.
I always remember meeting Des at the training school as new recruits. I was the only one from Umtali and the  
rest were from Bulawayo and Salisbury.   As was custom we all had to get up and tell everyone who we were
and describe our home towns. Des got up and introduced himself and went on to describe how wide the streets
were so you could turn a span of oxen! Then I stood up and introduced myself and as everyone knows we were considered
as beings"hicks". I said that in Umtali didn't have wide streets to accomodate an ox cart turning, but that was because 
we drove motor cars!  From there on in we were the best of friends. Sleep well my buddy, you will be sorely missed. 
Peter Sands

I/we served with Des in the lowveld (he was i/c Buffalo Range, whilst I was i/c Hippo Valley distillery). An always cheerful 
tjappie was Des, with an unstoppable sense of humour. His Immigration counterpart in Chiredzi then was  one Jock Cruickshank(sp?)
...... if anyone is in contact with Jock these days (if he is still alive) - I am sure that Jock would want to know of this sad news.
We certainly enjoyed more than one good hoolie in the lowveld at either Hippy Valley Club, Planters Inn, the Customs mess, 
the Immigration mess, or even our Resident Excise Officer's house at 11 Old Mill Road (just up from the club).
We served with him in Harare too. A popular cheerful guy who will be sadly missed by many other than us, I am sure.  
Tjeeeerrrs poppet,
Aussie & Joleen Austin, LONDON  England

Ada and I are saddened at the news of Des' passing. - I last saw him at GCB's funeral in 2007.
As I fondly remember, he frequently attended the cricket matches we played at the Airways club and was always a jovial-full-of-fun 
person with appropriate comments if one went out for a "duck". - We both enjoyed his light-hearted company.
God's comfort and grace to family at this time.
Love, Derek and Ada Brent

Des and I were raw recruits together in Bulawayo and his cheerfulness often helped me through those anxious days.  Shortly 
after that we were transferred to Vic Falls and I always found him to be such a good friend.
So terribly sad to hear of his passing.
With fond memories, Robyn Westermeyer (nee Forster)

I remember Des well and will never forget his smile and sense of humour.
Arthur Adams

I was sorry to hear about Des's passing away.  I don't think that I ever actually worked with him at any time, but I still remember him    
as one of the students, in the front row, when I presented my very first training session.  It must have been one of the  six-week
Induction courses.  What I particularly remember is Des grinning there, looking up at me.  He had a great sense of humour and was 
quick to ask the awkward questions.  It was a memorable occasion for me, but far from being negative his comments
were very amusing and constructive drawing laughs from the other students.  I can still see his smiling face.
Andre Guernier

I too served with Des and although it was back in 1970 something, I remember a very happy go lucky guy who always
had a smile and a mischievous look on his face .

Dickie Dickinson


Sad to Hear of the Passing of Tubby Tolson  by Andre Guernier

I was saddened to read of the passing of Tubby Tolson.  I first met Tubby while stationed in Ndola in the year prior to the break-up of the Federation.

Tubby was, as I remember, stationed at one of our border stations on the Congo/Northern Rhodesia border.  One of his duties was to conduct a regular patrol along the length of the Luapula River, which formed the border between the NR and the Congo, to as far as Lake Mweru and back.  Tubby invited me to join him on one such patrol.

The patrol meant that we had to cross the Congo Pedicle from just outside Mufulira, cross the Luapula by ferry, and re-enter NR on the other side of the Pedicle.

It was then a case of following a very rough dirt road all the way up the Luapula river bank taking in Fort Rosebery, checking the odd village store for possible contraband and visiting medical centres along the way to ensure that rebated alcohol, used for medical purposes, was being properly stored and accounted for.

The area was possibly one of the most heavily populated parts of NR that I had been to.  The road was literally bordered by non-stop villages on either side all the way to Lake Mweru itself.  Tubby had jokingly called it Main Street Africa.

As we travelled along this rough road we had to be very careful not to hit some kid that would, without warning, dash from one side of the road to the other without looking and often emerging suddenly from behind a clump of tall grass.

Fortunately, we managed to avoid the disaster of collecting one of these dozens of kids, even dogs and goats that were equally prolific and just as good at attempting a suicidal crossing.  But the hundreds of chickens were another matter altogether.  On this trip we collected only three.  But Tubby told me that on some trips his “kill rate” could run to the twenties and more.  The way he was describing it to me I rather imagined that he might have painted chickens stencilled on the outside of the Customs Land Rover door representing each of his “kills”.

I can’t remember how things went during the years in between, but Tubby, Averil and the kids did visit LM, staying with Muk Micklesfield and his family, during the early 1970’s.

I saw Tubby and Averil again in Perth during the mid 1980’s but sort of lost contact after that.

My condolences go to his family.


4 September 2008

NOTE: A picture, provided by Andre, has been added to the "We Remember" photo album, only available to members.