With John Polson

The Overseas Visitors Club began in Cape Town, South Africa in the late 1950s.  Max Wilson chartered one of the Union Castle Line ships and took the first ‘load’ of young colonials to London for £30 – with one week’s accommodation at the OVC headquarters at 180 Earls Court Road, SW5.  And it grew – and grew – from there…

By the time I arrived in 1965, Max Wilson had sold to a London syndicate headed by Nick Tarsh, Neil Herman and David Lawson – and they had extended their operations to include the Chandris Shipping Lines (and several others) and five other hotel properties.

The sea fare from New Zealand to Southampton – including transfers to London and one week’s accommodation had risen to £160.

A Fascinating Place…

It comprised 5 hotels – 600 rooms – 5 restaurants – 7 bars – a night-club (where Gerry Dorsey worked for £15 – before he became Engelbert Humperdinck) – a TV lounge – an employment agency – a Poste Restante office – a theatre booking desk and a travel agency, which gave birth to – Trafalgar Tours.

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Top Row L-R: 1. OVC Front Entrance – on Nevern Place.  2. House Manager, Lance Schroeder (SA) 3. Entertainment Directors, Ian Crawford (UK) and Frank Delfos (Pretoria).  4. Derek Symonds (Cape Town) and Lee (Charles) Hogan (Durban) at Loch Lomond.
Bottom Row L-R: 1. Annie Summers (Bermuda).  2. General Manager – Lester Jolly (Durban).  3. Cocktail Bar scene, staff unknown.  4. Restaurant Managers – Maxine and Jon.

There was the very famous notice board…

Cars were bought and sold – flatmates found – tour parties formed – relationships started, and tour companies formed.  It was here that John Anderson posted his famous “2 places available” sign (which started Contiki Tours) – and where David Hodges found me! Ah… well, it worked most of the time!  I once bought a 1963 E-Type Jaguar from that notice board.  It was bright red (what other colour could it be?) – had only 5 owners – and cost me £200.  £200! I owned it for just 6 weeks.  Not to make a long story of it – it had been used in a murder, the body had been stored in the boot – for a very long time – and when one turned on the heater… well – not nice.  So I sold it – on the same notice board – for the same price, and years later read a magazine article about that E-Type.  It had been acid-dipped and resprayed – re-upholstered (re-everythinged) and had over 200 owners – mostly young visitors to London!  I’ve had several Jaguars since – but never another E-Type.

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Wide-eyed innocents – all of us…

Our members came from all over the world – but mainly South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  The new arrivals were no match for the seasoned veterans who had been in London for a year or more – or those who had already ‘done the Continent’ – at least once.  Our membership was also open to service personnel and members of the Kensington Police Force – a volatile mix – but they all added to the ‘rich tapestry of life’ in Earls Court.

A few local identities…

would also drift in and out of the OVC – including one well known set of  Twins who used to visit when we had new musical groups, just like an audition for their Club.  Frank Delfos was our Entertainment Director – used to book groups into the Astor Club in Mayfair as well – and he knew them well.  By this time I had been promoted to Bars Manager and was always the last to leave after closing, when Frank would take me for a few drinks and the late show at the Astor.  They were gracious hosts, and if we had ladies with us, absolute gentlemen.  It was there that this wide-eyed young Kiwi came of age (literally!) – and it continued for months, until the boys from Kensington told us that it might not enhance our careers if we were seen (too often) being delivered home in ‘that’ large green Bentley! Some time later, the Twins disappeared from London’s club scene.

The Zambesi Club…

was just down the road – and it was between there and the OVC that Mike Hoare recruited both 5 and 6 Commando (for the Congo) – there was no shortage of young men (and some women) who really felt that they were bullet proof!  At about the same time, there was a very interesting chap recruiting pilots for the Sultan of one of the Trucial States’ airforce.  £1,000 per week, and they paid for jet conversion!  It took him about 10 days to find his 15 pilots, and I must admit that I had more than one conversation with him (my hearing problems were not an issue!) – but – at the end of the day – common sense prevailed – and I went off to do something REALLY dangerous – like cross the Sahara with Hodges and Percy!

But most of our members…

were just ordinary youngsters – heading out on their first adventure in life – collecting stamps in their passports – and worrying the hell out of their parents.  Our staff members were from the same group and we became a close knit little bunch – living together, growing together…  Some of us have stayed in touch – and some have drifted apart.  With luck – this page may help to bring us back together again.  I will put a (starter) list at the bottom of this page (Where are they Now?) and encourage anyone with update information to contact me… John Anderson already has!

It ended in 1973…

The 1960s saw the OVC reach a peak. London was on the crest of a wave, with the swinging sixties hosting Rock ‘n Roll , the Twist and the Beatles ruling the charts – year after year.  While many Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians settled in the UK – the political situation changed – and South Africans’ chances of becoming a “Rooinek” stalled.  The OVC – sadly had to close its doors in 1973 when South Africa was expelled from the Commonwealth – ending a wonderful and exciting era of travel for youngsters…

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Pictures – Top Row: 1. Reception Desk – R to L Dennis Fisher (Rotorua NZ). Derek Symonds (Cape Town SA). Margaret Ellis (Melbourne AUS). 2. Reservations Desk – 600 rooms on a manual system on electric rollers! Margaret Ellis and Martin Blakeway (Jersey CI).

Second Row: 1. Cocktail Bar – R to L: Unknown liquor rep. Hazel Acutt (JHB SA). Lofty ? (SA). Lester Jolly. 2. The Grotto Bar – and Lofty.
Bottom Row: 1.
Lee (Charles) Hogan (Durban SA) and Brian Duffin (JHB SA) at Brands Hatch. 2. Talk of the Town – London 1967.

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Hazel’s big fight…

I’ve put this clipping here because it may feature in another story I hope to write – one day.

Although it’s a rather extreme example – it also indicates the sort of stuff that some of us got up to in those pre September 11 days.  It also illustrates what I meant when I said “worrying the hell out of their parents” above!

Despite what this clipping says – Hazel Accutt (Johannesburg SA) met her husband – Tony Dunn (UK Royal Marine Commando) – at the OVC – and they married in Aden.  Tony was an NCO in a single men’s unit so Hazel was forced to live in private civilian quarters – in Crater – a district of the old port city of Aden.

The ‘car crash’ which killed Tony was, in fact, an armed ambush – and Hazel sustained severe injuries.

It transpired that Lester Jolly and I were registered in her papers as ‘next of kin’ – and the two of us spent the next few days in very tense communications with Royal Marine HQ – until we located her mother in SA, and get her flown to Hazel’s bedside. Some weeks later Hazel and her Mother were repatriated to South Africa.

Her recovery was long and frightful – understandably the family closed ranks around her…

Finding Hazel again – for both Lester and me – became quite a saga – and culminated with meetings in Johannesburg (with her family) and in Durban (with her) – in 1968.

UPDATE…

On December 21, 2015 I received an email… “Hi John, I’m Hazel Accutt’s daughter. Please let me know if Lester Jolly is still in Chelsea? Kindest regards, Sandy”. There has been a LOT of communication since – lots of photos – lots of joy… Hazel is back in the lives of Lester and me – she is well and living in Kwa-Zulu Natal. She has requested that I not write the “other story” mentioned above – and that she be allowed to continue living her quiet, low-profile life. I have agreed. She’s back with us – and that’s all that matters.

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Where Are They Now?

No addresses or emails here – but where I can, I will assist in your contacts… Please contact me with any update information.  Click here…

Acutt-Dunn, Hazel: I visited her in 1968 – recuperating and working in Durban – last heard that she had returned to JHB and was working in a university library.
UPDATE: See my notes attached to the Chapter above…

Anderson, John:  Founded Contiki Tours – sold in 1989 to Trafalgar Tours. Currently lives with his family in Marlborough in the South Island of NZ – and has written a book on the Contiki story.  He contacted me just a few days after this site launched – and ‘threatened’ a contribution to this page.  I hope he does…

Blakeway, Martin:  Lost him in 1968 soon after he visited my parents in Rotorua NZ.  Found him again (actually he found me) in 1981 during the publicity following my daughter’s birth.  Who else would write to a 3 day old infant?  He lectured at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan for 25 years – and played a huge part in my Japanese tourism activities.  He now lives in California.

Delfos, Frank:  Continued in the entertainment industry for some years – working with Charles Mather out of Las Vegas – and booking acts at Chevron Hotel in Surfers Paradise – and around Australia.  Married – divorced – with a delightful daughter (Vonni) making a name as an international model.  Frank still lives on the Gold Coast, Australia.

Duffin, Brian:  Returned to Johannesburg and married Krisa (Grace) Malliaros (OVC Reception) – last saw him in JHB in 1967.
UPDATE 1:  18 May 2006:  Brian’s son (Jason) found this site – forwarded it to Brian – and I’ve just received an email… We now have some catching up to do!  He’s still in JHB, still married to Grace (Krisa) – has 2 children (Jason & Simone) and 2 grand children… He also has news of Margaret Ellis (below) and I expect to hear more soon.
UPDATE 2:  Brian died in March 2008, just weeks after he and Krisa spent a week with me on the Gold Coast.  Rest peacfully old friend.

Ellis, Margaret:  No contact since OVC days.
UPDATE 1: 18 May 2006:  Brian Duffin tells me that she is still in London – and I’m now hoping to hear from her soon!
UPDATE 2:  Lester Jolly is in contact with her – there’s a photo of her (with Lester and David Lawson) on the Blog postings – dated September 6, 2009 – Blog Page (and scroll back).

Fisher, Dennis:  No contact since OVC days.

Gyde, Ron:  Joined Qantas and became a Senior Purser – was a regular visitor to our place on the Gold Coast for years – and was the last person in contact with Lester Jolly.  Last saw Ron in Sydney in the 1980s.
UPDATE:  May 2, 2008 – Ron has just signed in – Still in SYD and now a regular contributor here.

Herman, Neil:  No contact since late 60s – letter from him – at OVC.

Hogan, Lee (Charles):  Left OVC for Canada in 1966 – to study computers – no contact since then.
UPDATE: 11 June 2009 – He’s just signed in – from Toronto Canada!  We’re waiting for photographs!

Jolly, Lester:- As General Manager of the OVC he was the one most responsible for our early professional development – on and off duty – and surrogate ‘Dad’ to many of us.  Ron Gyde was instrumental in tracking LSJ down to an hotel in (from memory) the West Country in the late 80s.  We found the number and Frank Delfos and I called him – Lester came to phone – heard his voice – and the line dropped out…  no contact since.
UPDATE 1:  March 8, 2008 – We’ve found him!  Live and well – and living in Chelsea. His voice hasn’t changed a bit!
UPDATE 2:  April 15, 2011 – I’ve just returned from a visit with him – pictures on Blog posting – April 8, 2011. And again August 17, 2012.

Lawson, David:  No contact since late 60s – letter from him – at OVC.
UPDATE 1:  15 September 2009, David features in a photo from Lester – he’s looking good and I’m going to try and entice him into an update…

Marks, Gina & Sydney:  They handled my ‘placement’ for several years – several hotels – several countries – until I ‘settled’ at Chevron Hotel on the Gold Coast – no contact since mid/late 1970s.

Polson, John:  I’m here!

Schroeder, Lance:  No contact since OVC days. Then, on September 28, 2016 – he sent me this email… “Hello John….My grandson found the OVC pages on The Old Blue Truck site on the internet… It has brought back many memories. My favourite times were the meeting of all club members in groups of 10 or more at both the sea and airports and introducing them to London. The first chartered Vessel was THE WINDSOR CASTLE which I flew to SA to travel back on as the Club Rep. Betty (my better half) and I moved to Devon 14 years ago and are very much retired. I would be delighted to hear from any old friends – my EMAIL is HERE.  Regards Lance. 

Summers, Annie:  We’ve stayed in touch – but not nearly enough – she was at my 40th – but not the recent one.  Married to David Guest and living (in splendor) in Windsor UK. Last saw them in 2012.  They feature in some Blog photos on April 8, 2011.

Sylvester, Peter:  GM of the Salisbury Court Hotel in 1966.  We re-met in 1967 while he was at the President Hotel in Cape Town, and I was at the President Hotel in Johannesburg.  Married Del New in Southport, Australia in 1970 – and I was their best man – they were desperate!  Now retired and living on the Gold Coast, Aust – and we meet every month at SKAL Club lunches.

Symonds, Derek:  Left OVC for Canada in 1966 – to study computers – no contact since then.

Tarsh, Nick:  Lost touch with him after the OVC closed down – but heard that he had started Insight Tours and was giving Trafalgar some stiff competition.  Met him again in the 1990s when we were both guest speakers at a tourism industry convention in Singapore – and again at the ABTA Conference on the Gold Coast.  Since then – lost him again…

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Several Pages on the Early History of the OVC…

1.  New Book – ‘Earls Court, the OVC and Me
2.  Lester Jolly’s Pictures
3.  Brian Duffin (dec) – RSA
4.  Nigel Raihman (dec) – Fiji & AUS
5.  Lance Schroeder – RSA
6.  Readers’ Letters and Photos

 

44 Comments

  1. Ruan
    December 12, 2006

    I will be leaving for the UK on 18 Jan 2007 and need a place to stay. Do you have any rooms available and at what rate?

    Please advise

    Reply
  2. the old blue truck
    December 21, 2006

    A Message just in from Barry Aitken-Smith,,,

    LESTER IS MY UNCLE AND I HAVE’NT SEEN HIM FOR 17 YEARS

    IF YOU HAVE ANY IMFOMATION ON HIM PLEASE LET ME HAVE IT

    THANKS BARRY AITKEN-SMITH

    07801327650

    02380 315255

    Reply
  3. Leon Lippy
    January 27, 2007

    I am trying to find photos of the various pursers that worked on the Union Castle Safmarine Liners that plied the waters around South Africa during the period 1950 to 1968. My parents were on that boat and they said some of the pursers were really outstanding and went well out of their way to help the passengers. One of the people that my parents mentioned was a chap called David Lawson who I found out later started the VOC (sic OVC) with Max Wilson.

    I would like to find out more about those pursers and see some photos of them in action.
    Can anyone help please?

    Reply
  4. the old blue truck
    January 27, 2007

    Leon
    Thanks for dropping in… Can’t help you with the pursers – and wasn’t aware that David Lawson ever worked with Union Castle – although I guess it’s possible! When I met him he was already one of 3 directors of the OVC – with Neil Herman and Nick Tarsh. I am in contact with Nick who may know where David and Neil are. If you find any of them – point them to this page and tell them I would LOVE to hear from them!

    As soon as I can – I will post a picture of David Lawson (and a few of us) taken at Talk of the Town in Piccadilly around 1966 or 1967.

    Good luck with your search
    Alles van die beste
    John Polson

    Reply
    • Leon Lipschitz
      October 10, 2011

      Hi
      Still no word from David Lawson Yet
      Is it possible to send me the contact Details of Max Wilson and Nick Tarsh
      Have some news about a friend of theirs Leon Maltz who passed away receintly
      Thank You

      Reply
  5. Lester Jolly
    September 24, 2007

    Hello from Lester, will love to hear from you
    Please reply.

    Love
    Lester

    Reply
  6. Lester Jolly
    September 26, 2007

    lester says hello all look forward to hearing from yuo

    Reply
  7. Jenny Wood nee Duffin
    March 26, 2008

    Hi
    Brian Duffin is my brother. Thank you for the beautiful tribute to him. I was with Krisa, Simone and Jason when he died and was totally overwhelmed with the amount of love present at the time of his passing. I felt the prescence of our mother who had died 10 years previously. This experience has left me totally convinced of a continuance of the soul.
    I too stayed at the overseas visitor’s club in 1968, shortly before Brian returned to South Africa. Thank you for keeping the memory of Brian alive.

    Reply
    • tony de werth
      October 3, 2016

      I left Rhodesia with a Brian Duffin and travelled to UK and OVC with him in 1965…….would this be the same Brian Duffin?…….used to race sailboats with me and Brian’s Father in Salisbury…….
      Just wondering……

      Tony

      Reply
    • tony de werth
      October 3, 2016

      Jenny,

      Just came across this site.
      I left Rhodesia with Brian on the same flight in April 1965.
      Knew your Father George also.( Mazoe Sailing Club, Salisbury)
      Completely lost contact with Brian when I left UK in November 1965 and had no idea what had happened to him until I happened across this site.
      Those OVC days were certainly a lot of fun !!!!!!

      Tony

      Reply
  8. Annette Cowderoy
    April 6, 2008

    I was at the OVC from around 1965. I was friendly with Georgina Gaal, Tim Sutton, Margie Ellis, Eric Muller, Maxine Hitchcock, Brian Duffin. I married Graham Porteous who was a dish washer !!!! We travelled and now I live in France.

    Lester – where are you?

    I am saddened re the news of Brian. Saw a lot of Tim and Georgina before their very sad deaths. Am in touch with Margie Ellis. her ‘phone number is (London)02077240537 or by email via me !!

    I would Love to hear from anyone from those brilliant days.

    Reply
  9. Annette Cowderoy
    April 6, 2008

    Ron Gyde….. I am a friend of Wendy and Amanda’s God mother…a pretty useless one but….

    I know you and Wendy are apart but do you have a contact for her?
    Annette

    Reply
    • tony de werth
      October 3, 2016

      Long shot, but I shared a flat in Earls Court with an Aussie named Ron Gyde and 4 others back in 1965……and then In November of that year I got a job working on a private yacht in Florida and the Bahamas…….owner was looking for a cook/steward and I persuaded him to send this Ron Gyde a ticket to the USA and he did………worked on the yacht with him til April 1966 when I went to Canada.
      Perhaps (if it is the same Ron Gyde) you could please pass my name and email address along?

      Reply
  10. Annette Cowderoy
    April 25, 2008

    John, I have found Wendy Gyde that was, She and Ron are divorced and both married again…see the email from their daughter Amanda….
    Annette

    Hello !!

    Dad left Qantas about 18 months ago, Carey his wife is still flying.

    Mum is good, I am seeing her today it is Lily’s 5th birthday today.

    Caroline my sister has 3 little ones, Lily 5, Hannah 2 and Harrison 9 months. Nicole just got married again, Eamonn is 12 from her 1st marriage, her new hubby is Peter. They married in January.

    Mum and Roy are still together in the house at Winston Hills.
    Dad and Carey have a son, Michael who is 18 next month.

    I have a wonderful boyfriend Daniel and we are moving into our new home in May, it is a 2 bedroom town house, I am still trying to see my little flat.

    Nana and Dah, Dad’s parents are still with us, in their mid 80’s now and a little crazy, but still going strong, Nan is in a Nursing Home and Dah is still in the house.

    Mum still has lots of pets, 2 dogs and 3 cats.

    How long have you been in France ? My friend Tina loves France, I have never been, she will be very jealous.

    Reply
  11. Lester Jolly
    May 2, 2008

    John,
    Great news you have found LSJ.Yes I tried to see him in 1990. I went to LHR and then to The Boshipfarm Hotel in Hailsham nr Eastbourne only to find he had left and no one had any knowlegde of him.
    John I would appreciate an Email address or phone number to my Email. I really do not have a lot more to say at present as my daughter Amanda and Annette seem to have said it all.
    Will be in touch though you Email.
    Regards
    Ron.

    Reply
  12. Ron Gyde
    May 9, 2008

    Hello Annette C . thank you for getting in touch with my Amanda then onto John P.
    Yes it’s been a vary long time between drinks , so nice to get your info etc. Apart from
    John P the only others I have seen( 20 yrs ago) is Peter Wylie and Lee Nicholls nee
    Baranack.Hane not seen LSJ for about 17yrs.Thankyou also for calling Wendy, I will be seeing her this w/end and expect to hear of her suprise at hearing from you.
    If anyone hears from any of the above names I would love to hear from them also.
    Regards
    Ron.

    Reply
    • tony de werth
      October 3, 2016

      Hey Ron…….long shot……..did you work with me on CRITERION in the Bahamas in 1965/1966?

      Tony de Werth

      Reply
  13. Annette Cowderoy
    June 8, 2008

    Jon, and Ron ……

    This is so great. I am now really looking for Maxine Hitchcock .. She married Eric Muller…does anyone have any idea of their whereabouts.
    If either of you speak or write to Lester, please ask him if he knows. He was really friendly with Eric and Max. I last saw them at the Lion and Elephant Motel in Zim a million years ago.

    It is so exciting to be back in touch with Wendy and Amanda……..more later. Will write in reply to your email soon,Ron

    Annette

    Reply
  14. maxine muller
    November 16, 2008

    have just read all the emails of the web site and would love to chat to Lester, Eric is still in SA winding up our affairs he will be so chuffed to know that so many of our old friends are now contactable. So if anyone has Lesters phone nr please can they let me know you can contact me on my sons nr: 020-88731925

    thanks Maxine

    Reply
  15. Lester Jolly
    December 30, 2008

    Eric Smith Durban South Africa is trying to contact Lester Jolly in the U.K.

    Reply
  16. Eric Smith
    January 22, 2009

    The last time I saw Lester Jolly was in 1968. I have tried all avenues possible to contact him but no luck so far. if any of his many friends know of his whereabouts could they please contact me. Many thanks to all of you.
    Eric Smith

    Reply
  17. Richard Harrison
    February 21, 2009

    My birth certificate lists 180 Earls Court Road as my mothers address at my time of birth. I am adopted and wish to know whether anyone knew a Norma Mary Dwyer who may have stayed at the OVC around August and possibly beyond in 1966. She was a bank clerk and from W.A in Oz.A bit of a long shot I know but thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Tim Sainsbury
      May 5, 2011

      By the way it would be great to know if anyone of you lucky folks from the swinging sixties knew a Jennifer Harkness from Hamilton in New Zealand, a typist, who was in London in 65/66/67. I appreciate it might be a complete shot in the dark but you never know. It can be a small world at times.

      timsainsbury[at]hotmail[dot]com

      Reply
  18. John Rowe
    October 16, 2010

    hi, i PLAYED IN THE 1ST aUSSIE rULES FOOTY MATCH IN lONDON IN 62 OR 63. the aussie club (cant remember the name) played the Zambesi Club on a rugby pitch on a freezing cold foggy day. ANYONE REMEMBER IT? JOHN ROWE

    Reply
  19. Geoff Crimes
    November 21, 2010

    Does anyone remember playing rugby for the OVC? I well remember anyone wanting to go/play met in the grotto bar Sunday lunchtime. On the way to the game there’d be a sorting of clobber to try and get as much sports gear onto the players. The games never seemed to last the full time, and were more an agreed time slot as both sides were always suffering from Saturday’s exertions! A great place we went to was “Varsity Vandals” who played on an island in the Thames at Walton-on-Thames. Great Days.

    Reply
  20. Val Hogg
    January 7, 2011

    What wonderful young and innocent days they were! What amazing memories! Life was never as carefree again.

    Anyone know about Lance Schroeder, or George Hoff who delivered and collected all our miscellaneous luggage from Southampton?
    I would love to know where they are, these days.
    You can print my email address… [ Hawoz(at)aol(dot)com ] No worries about that.

    Reply
    • John Polson
      January 7, 2011

      Hello Val.
      There’s a picture of Lance above – but I’ve heard no news of his current whereabouts – he was from Durban from memory – and no news on George. I’m meeting in London with Lester and some of the old team in March/April – so perhaps some news then.
      Welcome aboard! JP

      Reply
      • LANCE SCHROEDER
        December 5, 2016

        On arriving at the Club… Joined the staff and set-up the Port reception department AND then met groups of 10 or more members on their arrival at various ports and air ports.{met 40,000 members from 1959 to 1964} I then took on role as assistant manager to David Lawson with my office at Nevern Place A position I held until the Club closed .During my term as assistant manager I sat on the Board to represent the Club Members
        IF any of the members who may still remember their First introduction to Britain my contact email is belan.schroeder@btinternet.com

        Reply
    • LANCE SCHROEDER
      September 28, 2016

      Hi Val…..Have only just found OVC on the net ….Found by my son-in-law who called me ta ask who Val Hogg was…..So I got the OVC details up and I hope this reaches you…As for George Hoff have no information
      Lots of fond memories from an old 86 year old now living in DEVON with Betty and have just cellabrated our 55 anniversary.
      Regards from Lance

      Reply
  21. Robert de Vos
    January 9, 2011

    Hi, I happened upon your website today. I am Australian and was in London from 1969 to 1972 and also did the continent stint a few times. I enjoyed reading some of your articles which brought back some really good memories.
    I noticed a reference to the Zambezi in Earls Court which was a regular haunt of our group. I am travelling to London soon and wanted to know if the Zambezi is still there. Do you know if it is or isn’t?
    Regards, Robert de Vos
    vossy46[at]yahoo[dot]com

    Reply
  22. bill
    May 5, 2011

    Great stories and memories. I used to hang around the OVC and the Zambezi with friends from SA in early 1960s. Some of them living in Australia now as I am.

    I emigrated to OZ years later.
    To my knowledge the Zambezi Club is long gone.

    Bill

    Reply
    • JRP
      May 5, 2011

      Thanks for dropping in Bill. I was in London a couple of weeks ago – and spent a few hours wandering around the old ‘manor.’ You are right – the ‘Zam’ is no more. A few photos and words coming soon!

      Reply
  23. Mike Welsh Australia
    August 15, 2011

    I was refered to as Durbanmike back then, does anyone know of the whereabouts of these Rhodesian guys? We all worked together at Vangaurd Engineering in London in the early 70s and also with Simplex in Ireland.
    Mike Gunn, Morgan Young (Morgs), Eddy Cherry, Sandy Davidson, I lived in Penywern Rd staggering distance from the Zam where we caught up with all the news from SA and Rhodesia

    Reply
    • JRP
      August 15, 2011

      Welcome aboard Mike
      I hope you get some response
      JP

      Reply
    • Lyn Worbots Ward
      September 24, 2011

      Hi Mike. just came across this site. I hung out at the Zam in mid 70s and my ex hubby worked at Vanguard…Piers Weston-Burt. Sadly, I have heard that Morgs passed away a few years ago. I don’t know where Mike Gunn is….he visited us in the States in the 80s and haven’t seen him since. Don’t know the others you mentioned but can put you in touch with Ian Wawn or Bill Sneddon who may know. Do you know them? They too worked at Vanguard and hung at the Zam. Lyn Worboys.

      Reply
  24. Leon Lipschitz
    October 10, 2011

    Lawson, David: No contact since late 60s – letter from him – at OVC.
    UPDATE 1: 15 September 2009, David features in a photo from Lester – he’s looking good and I’m going to try and entice him into an update…

    Any posibility of sending mea copy of the Photo of David Lawson from Lester
    Please
    Really would appricaite it very much

    Reply
  25. patricia merz
    January 18, 2015

    Stayed at the OVC on Earls Court off and on during May-August, 1964. Does
    anyone know when it was built? have pics? In writing a short story with this
    being an important ‘place’, I’m having difficulty getting an accurate
    description of the building. What I remember and what is actual, a mystery
    I remember booking bus tours from Trafalgar Tours which had an office
    to the left of the front door to OVC

    Reply
  26. Mike Exelbirt
    August 25, 2015

    American stationed in Germany mid 60s. Met a girl from Rhodesia – Esme Hersey – in Sitges, Spain who was a bar maid at the OVC. Met a Brit at the club. And almost moved to london when my enlistment was up.

    Reply
    • frankhill
      April 25, 2016

      mike a wonderful past we had frank

      Reply
  27. frankhill
    April 25, 2016

    the most wonderful years of my life were in earls court–i found a job thru the ocvc lifting carpet–another time at some holiday camp at dimchurch ? I even ran into a friend of mine richard holeman from london ontario small world that was in the 1962 era—i can recall looking at the message board and dreaming to take a trip to south africa on a jeep for 80 or l00 pounds or going to salisbury for little money and living their–it is so wonderful the dreams that club gave me and the wonderful ppeople i met===i met a girl from slaisbury and fell in love she did not know it but i did but never told anyone–a year ago i went back to the uk to revisit the places i loved and i did love earls court and the people–the overs visitors club was good to me –used to pick up my mail–and relived the memories that will always be with me——oh yes living in a room with aussies and a south africian and me a cdn for 5 pounds a week–i was broke but so happy–now i am 77 left canada and lift canada years ago and now am in las vegas–and have only the wonderful memories of london and even billy butlins where i was a dustman—frank from las vegas

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  28. frank hill
    August 6, 2016

    i am going back to london again this year–i will never to see the wonderful friends i met at the over seas and earls court but it is reliving the memories that one has had—the boys and girls who could get paid to go to south africa for 20 pounds or work in souther rhodesia–going from uk to south africa for 160 pounds–never will we see these timea gain–it is almost like an erriee world we lived in–like has been wonderful and the overseas visitors did so much for my life—just the ground it was a place–frank from las vegas

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  29. tony de werth
    October 3, 2016

    Just found this site…..
    I was there hanging around OVC from April 65 to November of that year when I went to the US to work on a private yacht…….a Ron Gyde was around the OVC at the same time as me and I have enquired on this site if it is the same fellow……seems like could well be………
    Brian Duffin left Rhodesia with me in 65 (Fathers name was George) and I also am wondering if it is the same fellow talked about on here?
    Others in our circle at the time?
    Tony Waters, Leonard Woodgush, Gary Mathews, Jimmy van Zyl, and the lovely Deeane Scott from Launceston Tasmania……I remember her very fondly……

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  30. John McLellan
    January 11, 2017

    I remember the OVC with some fondness in 65-69 when it was “our base” to meet up with mates and the Zam which i recall featured in a spy story that hit the headlines a few years later. Made contact with a few old school mates from Naenae College- the world is really quite a small place!. Then I moved out to Watford for work in the Print Industry when my money ran out but still managed a few jaunts to the Continent including trips to Le Mans 24 Hour race with Page Tours in 66, 67 &68 and the odd weekend down in South Kensington with Ken B. Dennis, John,and Max et al.

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  31. Brian Finch ex RAF MN and advertising in Londons West End.
    June 19, 2017

    Is DAVID LAWSON ex Asst Purser on U.c.Line Met him in Port Elizabeth when I was circumnavigating the Cape on the Edinburgh Castle he was on the Carnarvon Castle, tied up opposite each other.That ws not the era of mobniles nd one had pen-friends. David lived at 29 Reighton Road, LONDON E8 and had a phone number AMHERST……. i Have, over the years wondered whatever happened to him…………..I wonder if anyopne out there knows I worked on P&O ‘s Arcadia, when I caught up with David in cape Town when we were Australia bound via Cape Town because of he Suez crisis………………..

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