Between the furrows
"Where are they since Gwebi?"
Mike Armstrong - dropped off the radar.
Rob Davenport - After graduating at Gwebi in 1960, Rob enrolled at university in South Africa. He returned as a lecturer at Gwebi. Married to Libby and has been farming at Stapleford. Rob is former Chair of Seed Potato Producers' Association and alternates to the Hermanus.
George Foot - in Harare, running Spectrum.
Roy Futter - Roy was born and bred in Somabhula and after schooling at Chaplin he attended Gwebi Agricultural College with Course 10.
After graduating in 1960 he worked on several farms in the district before spending fifteen years as an Irrigation Engineer with Martin Sacchi in Gweru. Roy had only returned the year before to Lewis Farm, the family property owned by his grandfather, where he had just embarked on a dairy project.
Tragically on 9 May 1987, at the age of 46, he was shot by dissidents at the Somabula Club. He survived the initial attack but his heroism saved the lives of many.
As the sun sank below the horizon after tennis at Somabhula Club, the braais were lit and after supper was eaten most of the members gravitated towards the clubhouse after tennis. Gunfire was heard that Saturday night
A gang of four Terrorists – the modern day “dissidents” - had been observing the club since midday and no one paid any attention to the stranger lounging around the blue Datsun 120Y. The gang waited patiently until night fell and then approached the club in the darkness with their weapons, walked around the side to an open window and at about 9.30 p.m.fired automatic bursts from AK47s at Roy Futter, Thys Lourens, Allen Dicks and Glyn Williams who were playing darts in the club close to this window. Thys, Allen and Glyn were all killed instantly in this fusillade of bullets but Roy was not wounded and realised that he needed to get the five women and youngster to safety so quickly ushered them to the shower rooms where he locked them in for their safety. Roy then returned to the now darkened club to try and secure the situation but was gunned down by the gang as he attempted to close the door to the bar. His son Greg, 11 at the time, lying on the floor pretending to be dead, witnessed his father being shot. Frank Mkwebu, the club barman, took this opportunity to try and escape but was shot and wounded in his leg and was dragged back into the club but in spite of his wounds managed to hide by dragging himself under a table when the terrorists were distracted. The gang, now intent on escaping, broke into another vehicle looking for a weapon but soon drove off in their own car into the darkness.
Several people, on hearing the gunfire from the club, had telephoned the Police in Gweru but it would take some time for them to organise themselves and then drive the 32 kms to Somabhula. In the meantime, Roy Paul, a neighbouring farmer who had been phoned at home, cautiously approached the club and released the traumatised group from the shower room and together with Greg Futter were taken to a place of safety. Frank Mkwebu was also rescued and transported by ambulance to Gweru Hospital for treatment to the wounds in his right leg.
The information that was pieced together by the community, the Police and the surviving witnesses was that this gang was led by the infamous Richard Gwesela, a former ZIPRA terrorist who, in spite of the cessation of the war, the advent of independence and the unity accord, refused to hand in his weapons, gathered up a gang of like-minded criminals, and continued with his reign of terror killing both black and white Zimbabweans in the Midlands area. The illegal squatters on Ruby Ranch, a Lonrho property managed by Glyn Williams, had sent threats and death notices to Glyn and it was surmised that Gwesela had been contacted by these squatters to murder him as Glyn had been attempting to have them evicted. Regardless of this supposition, the outcome was that tragically the squatters got their wish with the death of Glyn along with the murder of three other good men.
Richard Gwesela and his gang were not apprehended by the Police and just ten days later this gang murdered Roy Dabbs, another farmer in the Lower Gweru farming district. The gang went on to murder at least another twenty-one victims.
Roy was a keen sportsman representing Rhodesian Country Districts at Cricket and gained his Zimbabwe colours for shooting. Roy was survived by his three children, Grant, Linda and Greg, and his fiancée Lizzy.
Abbreviated from a report compiled by Colin Lowe after consulting Ellen Hapelt, Dr Drew Shaw and Eastland Collen.
Phil Goldhawk "Goldie" - Marondera and "Lyndhurst" at Darwendale, now passed on.
Graham Goslin - Zambia.
Mike Heppell - Mtoko then Harare then Johannesburg.
John Harris - Marandellas.
Neville Hoy - farming at Banket to Australia.
Angus Kirkman - was farming at Norton where he was killed in an accident on 28th March 2002.
Cedric Lamb - farmed in Karoi. Passed away.
Doug Lamb - was in Harare. Passed away.
Eric Lilford - farmed at Norton before moving to Natal.
Mario Morgado - Mozambique.
Neville Quail - farmed at Karoi and has passed away.
George Quinnell "Demps" - Banket to Harare.
Dave Randall - came to Gwebi from Nigeria. Zimbabwe was his adopted home for 30 years and Dave became a Rhodesian citizen and has wife was born in Bulawayo. They were married at Salisbury Cathedral and their three children were all born at Lady Chancellor - Karl 1967, Tania 1968 and Ingrid 1970.
They moved to Athens and worked in the Veterinary Division for MSD Ag Vet and Dave was transferred to the UK. After the merge with Rhone Poulenc he was declared redundant when all UK positions were given to the French. Dave took early retirement in 1997 and living in Cambridge, UK.
Sandy Scott - from Chipinge to Harare and passed on.
Gordon Sellar - Malawi.
Mike Shepherd - Australia.
Peter Smyth - Karoi.
John Stables - worked for Rob Davenport, "Lesbury Estates" at Rusape, then to Inyanga where he passed away.
Andrew Stead - from Juliasdale (brother to the well known tree expert, Meg Coates-Palgrave). Passed away in 2004.
Len Thomas - Banket to Harare.
Lochie Turnbull - went from Banket to Scotland and then to Zambia. Passed away.
Acknowledgement to John Harris and Len Thomas via Colin Lowe.
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