Lester has just mailed me a bag full of old photographs. All taken at The Overseas Visitors Club, London between 1963 – 1965. If you can help in identifying any of the people below, please note the picture number and names – and send to me at jrpolson[at]bigpond[dot]com.

Thanks to Annette Cowderoy (now Annette Crossley) for her help in identifying many of the pictures.  She is living in Provence, France – and can be found here.

More Recent Pictures…

There are further sets of photos at the bottom of the page… In October 2010, our old mate Ron Gyde met up with Lester in Luxor, Egypt – and they got to spend a few days together… scroll down…  And there’s more… in April 2011, I got to spend a day with Lester in Chelsea in London.

1. Lester Jolly – hosting a group of friends…

2. Was Frank Delfos ever this young?  Dressed for Ascot…

3. In the Grotto Bar. L-R Dudley, Bill, Ted, Frank Delfos and Kathy…

4. Dick, Gustav, Don and Cedric… in the Grotto Bar

5. One half of a crowd scene – 10th Anniversary Ball…
Back row of sitting people, 2nd from left – Johnny Derrens.

6. The other half of the same crowd scene…
First line of standing folk, on right of photo (partially obscured) is Annette Cowderoy.

7. Lester Jolly with Max, the Club Macaw…

8. Tracey – perhaps from the Gold Coast?




12. Lester Jolly (far right – front row) and…



15. Lester Jolly (L) and…

16. Max the Club Mascot, a South American Macaw, could swear in five languages and could always be relied upon to drop the magic word at exactly the wrong time…

17. Max again… Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaark!

18. On the left, Jean Colvin. On the right, Georgina Gaal. With a lucky David Lawson in the middle!




22. Johnny Derrens on the right?

23. Eric Muller.

24. L-R. Jean Colvin, Eric Muller and Georgina Gaal.

25. Jean Colvin.

26. Lester with… Jean Colvin and Georgina Gaal.






32. Georgina Gaal (L), David Lawson and Jean Colvin (R).




36.  Di Uys (RSA) in the Central Reservations Office.


If you can help in identifying any of the people above, please note the picture number and names, and send to me at jrpolson[at]bigpond[dot]com.


October 2010: Ron drops in on Lester in Luxor.


April 2011: I spend a day with Lester in Chelsea.

And we didn’t drink much at all…


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.  Readers’ Letters and Photos


  1. Annette Cowderoy
    November 9, 2008

    John, So many faces so very familiar. I spotted myself in two crowd scenes as well !!

    With great certainty I can say that in photo 18,14 and 26 on the right with Lester is Georgina Gaal who married Tim Sutton. Sadly both Georgina and Tim have died.

    The girl with George is well known but her name excapes me. We all loved in the same house in Nevern ? just behind the club !

  2. Annette Cowderoy
    November 9, 2008

    Doing a double take but…..I am pretty certain with Georgine in photo 24 is Eric Muller -who I have recently found I will check with Maxine.

  3. Annette Cowderoy
    November 13, 2008

    John, below is the email from Maxine..it is Eric in photo no23 and 24 with Georgina and a girl called jean ?

    See email below

    I have looked onto the Old Blue Truck website and the photos nrs 23/24 are definatly Eric, he is with Georgina and another girl called Jean, who I might add he married in a mock (hopefully) ceremonly at Gretna Green, there is an amusing story attached to that…..we are going to have so much to catch up on. I must say I was impressed at the photo of me and Jon taken in the restaurant at the OVC, wish I still looked like that. Do you remember a couple Brian and Melody, Brian (Forsyth) worked on the grotto bar, they married when they left london and went back to SA, I was Melodys bridesmaid, anyway she sadly died of cancer over 2 years ago, Brian still lives in Pretoria, I am going to send the Old Blue Truck website to him, they have one surviving son Brett, their eldest son Greg, died of cancer before Melody, a very sad story.

  4. Annette Cowderoy
    November 14, 2008

    Photo 5 left just back from the front kneeling is Johnny Derrens..according to Graham !!!! and I agree.

  5. Geoff Crimes
    November 21, 2010

    Mention was made of the locals and police that used the Club, and that possibly strange things were happening there unbeknown to most of us. I recall one lad who we got to know at the bars downstairs, he was a Canadian – or said he was. Anyway this lad was like most of us, quite happy to spend any spare time boozing and trying to pick up the odd ‘bit of spare’. He wasn’t working at the time but always had enough to pay for his ’round’ when it came round. All in all another young colonialist trying to make his way in swinging London. One evening we were all down in the Grotto when a call came over the tannoy for him to “take a call at the Porter’s lodge, please”. He took it and came and told us that it was “The Fuzz” on the phone. They ascertained his name and “did he live at the ground floor flat at No… Cromwell Road”, “yes”, and then they told him that they’d just caught some thieves red handed in the place and needed him to come and identify the stuff they had. They’d sent a CID car round to collect him from the front door to save time, and would he mind coming and having a look at what they had. Well he told us he’d be back ‘just now’ (that magical African time which covers everything from a minute to 12 hours!), and he went upstairs to wait. As he came out of the front door there was a man in a ‘raincoat’, who said ” Mr ?????, please come this way, we have the car here”. We next saw him about 10 days later when we received a message to please come and see him at St. Mary Abbot’s Hospital!!!!!. He was in a pretty bad shape, he’d been given a good hiding, broken knee caps etc. Apparently he’d become involved in a load of forged travellers cheques and hadn’t been passing the money over. Within a week or so he was gone never to be seen again. See what was going on around us?

  6. rees martin
    April 3, 2017

    I was then what was euphemistically called a night porter at the OVC during the early 1960s. Great fun with lots of scary moments. Was then living with my first Wjfe Jill Loft. Lester kindly arranged our marriage in the club.
    Will look at photos when at my computer.


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