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Leopard skin from Mr McDougall’s Farm


late that same morning, amusing myself with a few very, very slow rolls on the way, and introduced him to farmer McDougall who made quite a fuss of him – a jolly good lunch over which the old boy stood up to what was a near inquisition so well that no-one would have dared to question our version of this very tall story. We flew back, Heal with his Harvard stuffed full of lovely grapefruit, I with a leopard skin presented by Mrs Kemp as we left.


The incident was the talk of the Station and the subject of a great deal of merriment. Everyone knew the story was phoney, but Gaudioz behaved impeccably, feigning sickness so well that they spent three days in the Gwelo Hospital trying to bottom his complaint. They carried out every test possible, including a lumbar puncture to check his spinal column fluid. I have never been in any doubt that our seniors had decided not to press their investigations too far – we were a trio of very experienced and hard-working instructors and there was no desire to lose us. So they grinned and bore it. Gaudioz was quite a character, full of odd quips and comments which included ‘This is the best war I’ve been in’, and ‘People have more fun than anybody.’ He was still instructing for a long time after I left Thornhill and much later I saw the announcement of his award of an AFC. It was also much later – many years later – that I picked up a copy of The Times and read about the construction of a rail link to connect Salisbury (now Harare) in SR with Lourenco Marques, the capital of Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique).


74


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