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1930 - 1936, HMOCS

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Gervas (GCRC) went out to Northern Rhodesia, aged 23, as a Cadet in His Majesty’s Overseas Colonial Service (H.M.O.C.S.).  He had come down from New College, Oxford, from which during the previous summer vacation he and some friends had toured Europe.  That had been his first trip overseas; this was his second, so he saw everything with “new eyes”.  His father had served in South Africa during the Boer War.

Gervas had been born and brought up in Burton-on-Trent, where his father had been a Director of Bass’s Brewery, from which he had retired in 1925, and they had moved to Weston House, Albury in Surrey, which they rented, and then in 1935 they bought Abbotsfield, in Hurtmore, near Godalming, Surrey.

Gervas’s father was Gerard (Arden) Clay (GAC); his mother was (Ella) Violet Clay nee Thornewill (EVC), and both had grown up in Burton-on-Trent, where both families had been established for over two hundred years.  Gerard had been the first of his family to go abroad, and Gervas the first to make his career abroad.

Gerard and Violet had married in 1906, and spent part of their honeymoon in Paris.  Violet’s sister Katty, also known as “Ardie”, married Bertram Sargeaunt (“Uncle Berkie”), Government Secretary to the Isle of Man.

Gervas wrote home frequently; once established in Northern Rhodesia, he wrote roughly once a week.  His anecdotes regarding "mail", as recorded in the RSCJ, are worth reading - see the STAMPS tag in the left panel.

Volume 1 of these letters is stored in a sort of "facsimile" WORD document file in the LIBRARY - click that tag in the left panel; or click >here< for them all (eventually) as plain text files.

Volume 1 -  20 August 1929 to 29th October 1930

from England on S.S. ‘Gloucester Castle’ via Plymouth, Las Palmas and Lobito Bay (Angola) to Capetown;
by train to Livingstone; 
the Victoria Falls;
by train to Kapiri Mposhi;
by lorry to Luwingu;
working in Luwingu;
working in Perembuto in the Bangweolo Swamp;
arranging for food to be sent to Mpika;
shooting buck, buffalo and birds.


19290820 Colonial Office to GCRC - page 4
19290822 GCRC to Colonial Office (Draught) - page 8
19290831 Colonial Office to GCRC - page 9
19300710 Postcard of S.S. Gloucester Castle - page 12
19300711 GCRC to EVC, from Plymouth - page 13
19300715 GCRC to EVC, from Las Palmas - page 14
19300728 GCRC to EVC, from Lobito - page 15
19300729 Telegram from GCRC, from Lobito - page 17
19300729 GCRC to EVC, from Capetown - page 19
19300730 GCRC to EVC, from Capetown - page 20
19300803 Telegram from GCRC, from Capetown - page 21
19300804 GCRC to EVC, from Mafeking - page 22
19300805 GCRC to EVC, from Mafeking - page 23
1930809 Ch. Sec. to GCRC - page 24
19300810 GCRC to EVC, from Livingstone - page 26
19300811 Telegram from GCRC, from Livingstone - page 30
19300813 GCRC to GAC, from Livingstone - page 32
19300823 GCRC to EVC, from Luwingu - page 34
19300831 GCRC to EVC, from Luwingu - page 39
19300906 GCRC to EVC, from Luwingu - page 42
19300913 GCRC to EVC, from Luwingu - page 45
19300920 GCRC to EVC, from Luwingu - page 48
19300927 GCRC to EVC, from Luwingu - page 50
19301005 GCRC to EVC, from Perembuto - page 57
19301014 GCRC to EVC, from Luwingu - page 62
19301022 GCRC to EVC, from Perembuto - page 65
19301023 GCRC to GAC, from Perembuto - page 66
19301029 GCRC to EVC, from Perembuto - page 70

Volumes 2 has not yet been found.  Volumes 3 to 12 are being added slowly, as "text" (but don't hold your breath!).  Click >here<

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