search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
Old McDougal Had a Farm P


leasant though flying always was in Southern Rhodesia, with its marvellous visibility and lack of turbulence even among the cathedral-like clouds in the wet season, instructing could at times become just a shade boring, with its circuits and bumps and demonstrations within easy reach of the airfield whose local terrain became well-known – every shrub in the local bundu, every bend in the Gwelo River nearby. That river, incidentally, remained completely dry for every day of my two years at Thornhill. So it was useful to find little ways of relieving even the minor degree of boredom which overtook us all now and again. F/Lt Wilcox, at the time my Group Commander, and I concocted one set of plans to do just that. We decided it would be amusing to try to explore the limits of Southern Rhodesia which a full load of petrol in the Harvard would allow. We accordingly did one or two fairly long cross-country exercises with our pupils which we entered in our log-books as ‘Formation x-country.’ One trip we did was up north to the Koriba Gorge, where years later the great Koriba Dam was constructed – the very dam which we visited in 1965 with Ronnie Gervers on our car trip north from Johannesburg. I got back from that one, nursing my engine on low throttle and with the prop. in as coarse pitch as the engine would tolerate, with barely enough fuel to register on the petrol gauge. On June 19th 1942 Wilcox and I consulted out maps and spotted, away down near the border with what was then Portuguese East Africa, now Mozambique, an airstrip marked as Triangle Ranch. It was near the Sabi River which ran down into Mozambique and we guessed it must be a farm, for there was little that looked like civilisation anywhere near it. Both Wilcox and I were fairly experienced pilots and he was, indeed, a regular officer. We trusted each other enough to decide that we might fly down to Triangle Ranch, have a look at the airstrip from above, and perhaps go in and land if it seemed feasible. We thought we might get a cup of tea at whatever farm there was down there. Before we had time to plan further, F/O Tony Gaudioz, an instructor in


Wilcox’s other flight, muscled in.


What are you two planning?’ he asked. ‘Come on, let me in!’ We were reluctant to include him, but he pestered us enough to make us relent and decide that all three should take off for this phoney cross-country formation exercise, myself with Sgt Larcombe as a pupil. The plan was in fact to fly down to Triangle Ranch separately, aiming to arrive overhead at a fixed time, and go in one by one if it seemed safe.


I was the first to arrive and there, surely enough, was a farmhouse on top of a small hill at whose foot ran a long, narrow airstrip of what was obviously grass. It had been recently mowed, for the hay was stacked in small, rounded stacks,


69


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148  |  Page 149  |  Page 150  |  Page 151  |  Page 152  |  Page 153  |  Page 154  |  Page 155  |  Page 156  |  Page 157  |  Page 158  |  Page 159  |  Page 160  |  Page 161  |  Page 162  |  Page 163  |  Page 164