John Walter Soper

John Walter Soper

1876-1953

 

John Walter-Soper (popularly known as Jack Soper) was a Londoner born in October 1876, came to Southern Rhodesia via South Africa and settled in Victoria Falls in 1905 where he got his first job as a toll collector at the Victoria Falls Bridge.

In 1906, the toll on the bridge was abolished and he resorted to being the guard at the scenic bridge. In 1908, his friend, Mr Watson took him to Australia considering that he would brighten his life prospects.

Alas, in 1909 he was back in Victoria Falls and started developing interest in trapping wild animals and domesticating them; baboons, leopards and crocodiles mainly. He was an expert in crocodile habits which saw him dubbed the ‘Crocodile King’. In 1910, he opened a curio shop within the Railway Reserve next to Clark’s Curios.

Soper, together with another resident, is recorded as among the first to descend into the bottom of the Falls chasm down the front face of the Falls, at Livingstone Island. He was a close friend of Ted Spencer. He died in 1953.

Postcards

References

Mabel E. Larkins Hack

Mabel E. Larkins Hack

1891 – 1955

 

Mabel E. Larkins was born Oneida Castle, New York in 1891.  She graduated from a teacher training school in 1911 and taught in New York for 11 years.  She was appointed a missionary with the American Board of Commissions in 1922, traveling to Southern Rhodesia to teach at the Mount Silinda Training and Practicing School (later Mount Selinda Institute). As of 1927, Miss Larkins was acting Principal.

In 1932 she married Richard B. Hack, who was born in South Africa and was associated with the mission.  Mrs. Hack continued to teach at Mount Selinda for over 30 years until her death in Umtali, Southern Rhodesia on November 2nd, 1955.

References

  • Mabel E. Larkins Hack (findagrave.com)
  • Annual Reports of the Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1922 – 1954
Contributors
  • Mark Loomis
  • Walter Herdzik

FB

Ilo The Pirate

Ilo The Pirate

1922-2009

Ilo Alexander Battigelli (1922-2009) was an Italian draftsman who gained his nickname from photographing important moments in the history of the Saudi oil industry while working in Ras Tanura Refinery. Workers in Aramco changed his name and started calling him “Ilo the Pirate” because he had his studio on the beach.

He left Aramco in 1954 and was exhibiting and photographing in the United States, often in pirate garb. After returning to Italy to be with his ill mother, he moved to Southern Rhodesia in 1957 to photograph the construction of the giant Kariba Dam for its Italian contractor. He then opened a studio in Salisbury and continued to shoot studies of people and places. In 2000, he retired with his wife Pauline to San Daniele del Friuli, Italy.

In 1980, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe held an exhibition titled Ilo the Pirate: A Restrospective Exhibition Spanning Ilo Battigelli’s Fifty Years in Photography.

Postcards

References

Contributor
  • Keith Harrop

FB

Shepherd’s Stationery Service

Shepherd’s Stationery Service

Salisbury

Shepherd’s Stationery Service was owned by Edward Bruce Shepherd (b.1891 South Africa) known as ‘Pop’ Shepherd. As a Rotarian, he hosted Rhodesia’s first Rotary meeting at his house on 2nd May 1930 where he became the first secretary and after holding office for 11 years was elected president in 1940.

In 1942, he made the King’s Birthday Honour List for his work with social services in Central Africa. He died 15th January, 1953.

Postcards

References

Contributors
  • Keith Harrop

Robal Studios (Pvt) Ltd

Robal Studios (Pvt) Ltd

Bulawayo

Robert Lumsden Franks (Bob) was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on 4th August 1917. Robert’s schooling commenced at King Edward School for Boys, until 1927 when his family moved to Bulawayo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where Robert continued his education at Plumtree and Milton schools. A keen member of the Bulawayo Boy Scout Troop Robert regularly attended their training camps in the famous Matopos National Park. His first job after school was at the Rhodesian Railways, Bulawayo as a bookkeeper whilst studying accountancy at night school.

During WWII, because of his interest in photography, he underwent training at Cranborne Air Force Base, Salisbury and was seconded to the Air Recognizance Photographic Unit where he served in the Royal Air Force 237 Squadron in Eritrea and Egypt as a photographer. In 1942 he married Beryl Fodisch.

After the war, he became a professional photographer, and established Robal Studios (PVT) Ltd. He was also a major shareholder and director of Associated Photographic Services in Bulawayo. His proficiency in photography ensured that he officiated at many weddings, schools, colleges, military establishments and recorded numerous historic events. Some of his official portrait subjects included Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Governors, and Prime Ministers of Rhodesia. His work also included the official aerial/survey photography of the Kariba Dam project on the Zambesi River.

His wife, Beryl, died in 1977 and he remarried in 1979 after which he emigrated to Canada where his eldest daughter was living. He passed away in 15th January, 2016.

Postcards

References

Mathilde Thorson Dysart

Mathilde Thorson Dysart

1882-1954

 

The second wife of John Paden Dysart, Mathilde Thorton was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota December 21, 1882.  She was the daughter of Nelr Thorson and Christina Larson.  She attended the Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Institute (The Lutheran Deaconess Home and Hospital) and then served as a missionary in Madagascar for over seven years.

In February 1918, she married fellow missionary John P. Dysart.  The Dysarts would go on to serve with the American Board Mission at the Gogoi Mission in Portuguese East Africa and, upon its closing, at Chikore Mission in Southern Rhodesia until 1947.  She died in Temple, Texas October 1954.

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis

FB

Helen Newton Springer

Helen Newton Springer

1893 – 1990

 

The daughter of a Methodist minister, Helen N. Everett was born in Charlton, Massachusetts October 17, 1893. She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1917 followed by nurses training at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1921, she joined her brother, Rev. Edward I. Everett, as a missionary with the Methodist Congo Mission Conference in Africa.  She began work as a nurse in Kapanga and also served in Kanene and Elisabethville, Congo.

She also served as a missionary teacher at the American Board Mission‘s Mt. Silinda Mission in Southern Rhodesia in 1935 and with the Methodist Mutambara Mission in Southern Rhodesia as a teacher beginning 1936. 

Everett retired in 1942, returning to the United States. In 1956, following the death of his first wife, Helen Emily (Chapman) Springer, Everett married Bishop John M. Springer, the former Methodist Bishop for Africa. Helen (Everett) Springer died 1990.

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis
  • Johan Diesveld

Alan Drysdall

Alan Drysdall

1934-2017

Alan Drysdall graduated, in 1954, with a first class honours degree in geology from Southampton University and after appropriate research, with a PhD in 1957. In August 1957, he took up a post with the Geological Survey of Northern Rhodesia, where he lived until 1975.

Alan had a distinguished career in Northern Rhodesia, latterly from about 1970 as director of the Zambian Geological Survey, which included having named after him (in 1961) a new genera of scalenodont, a mammal like reptile, Luangwa drysdalli (featured on a stamp released on 1st February 1973) and also, in 1973, having a new mineral species drysdallite named after him. After working on projects in Pakistan and Canada in November 1977 Alan accepted a post in Saudi Arabia, eventually retiring from there in 1990.

While in Lusaka Alan took up philately again and joined the Lusaka Philatelic Society and in 1971 the RSC and in 1974 the Royal Philatelic Society London. In 1976, his first book was published: The Stamps and Postal History of Northern Rhodesia and Zambia 1963-65, followed, in 1986: by The Nyasaland-Rhodesia Field Force 1914-18 (jointly with Kenneth Pennycuick), in 1988, by The Oates Correspondence; a Postal History of Frank Oates’ Travels in Matabeleland and Zambesia 1873-75 (jointly with Kenneth Wright) and, in 1990, Mashonaland; a Postal History 1890-96 (jointly with Dave Collis).

Since these early days Alan wrote prolifically for The Transvaal Philatelist, The Natal and Zululand Post (both of which he edited for many years), the London Philatelist, the Rhodesian Study Circle Journal and the RSC Handbook Memoir series, the South African Philatelist and Gibbons Stamp Monthly and others, and also written a number of books on Transvaal stamps. Indeed, the early Transvaal stamps were Alan’s main collecting interest, his collection winning many gold medals at National and International level before it was sold in 2006.

Alan’s preeminence in the world of philately was recognised by many honours, culminating in his signing of the Rolls of Honour in South Africa in 1995 and in England in 2003.

Alan Drysdall, President of the RSC 2011-14 and a Life Vice President, died on 11 January 2017.

References

Frank T. Meacham

Frank T. Meacham

(1890-1960)

 

Rev. Meacham was born in Clay, Iowa in March 1890.  He attended Grinnell College, Iowa, graduating 1913, followed by studies at the Chicago Theological Seminary.  He graduated 1917, was ordained, and married first Helen Jane Cowden August 1917.  She died November 1918.  He married second Doris Van der Pyl January 1920 at Oberlin, Ohio. She graduated from Wellesley College 1915.

Rev. Meacham received an appointment with the American Board Mission in March 1920 and the couple sailed for Southern Rhodesia. Rev. Meacham served initially as pastor of the Chikore Mission church and responsible for “evangelistic work in the out stations.”

They were later at Mt. Silinda Mission and, as of 1940, he was in charge of the Mt. Silinda Institute.  After retiring, the Meachams continued to live in Southern Rhodesia.  Rev. Meacham died in Umtali (Mutare) Southern Rhodesia January 1960.  He is buried at Mt. Silinda Mission.

References

Contributors
  • Mark Loomis

Stationery: American Board Mission – Wm. T. Lawrence M.D. – East Africa Mission

American Board Mission

Wm. T. Lawrence M.D. – East Africa Mission

1 2 3 7