From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris

Meeting the Mayor of Croydon

The address by the Mayor of London:

Princess 'Mantsebo Seeiso, Chieftains, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am the Mayor, or Headman of this town, and I speak these words of welcome for all the people of this place, Croydon.

In this town there are more than 72,000 dwellings and the people who live here number about 250,000 or rather less than half the people ofBasutoland. We are all happy that you have come to see us and have brought so many Chieftains who are sons of the Great Moshoeshoe.

Our Librarian has provided me with books to read about your country before your visit, so I have learned of the great generosity of your people who in two World Wars have faithfully provided brave men as well as money to help the King to defeat his enemies.

I have read the words of your late husband, Madam, for he was a good man, and in World War 11 said" I declare that His Majesty's Government is fighting ajust war, and we Basuto join with the other countries of the British Empire in our unswerving loyalty to the King's throne, and declare we are ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of achieving victory for Great Britain as in the last war".

In the following year the African Auxiliary Pioneer Corps was formed, and here today to support me in welcoming you are Major Tom Rogers and Major Collins who are men of Croydon, and were officers in the African Auxiliary Pioneer Corps. They both served in Basutoland and in the Middle East with your brave countrymen. Major Rogers has shown me a picture, Ma'am, of your presenting prizes to his Basuto soldiers after a race meeting at Maseru and I hope that the presence of these officers will remind you of happy days in the past and make you feel that you are among friends.

I have learned that you are a keen farmer. I have studied reports about the Merino rams and the Angora goats which have been imported into Basutoland to improve the wool crop of the sheep and the mohair from the goats. My grandfather was a farmer, and so I rejoice at the wise rules that you have made to encourage the proper ploughing of the land to prevent soil erosion. I hope the Basutoland National Council will find a way to encourage tree planting in your country without infringing the rights of the Chieftains. I believe that if the Basuto people have more wood for fuel then the cattle dung can be used to enrich your soil and make it more fertile for your crops. I am glad that your Chef Adviser breeds Jersey cows, that you all love sport and that your young men play football well.

I am so happy to see you that I want to present a gift to remind you of this occasion. It is a book which should be read by every livestock breeder. It deals with the breeding of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and poultry. I hope it will interest you and your Chieftains.

In this town we make many useful and beautiful things, and when it was known that you would visit us, some of our firms provided gifts for you which are to be presented as a sign of goodwill and affection from the business men and the skilled men and women in our factories.

Here, first, is Mr. O.T. Jones to present you with a casket of perfumes and aids to beauty made in Croydon by the firm of Bourjois Limited.

Then here is a box of delicious chocolates manufactured by George Payne Limited of Croydon.

Here, too is a gold watch which another Croydon firm, Louis Newmark Limited, manufacturers in this town. As this watch tells the hours, it will remind you, I hope of Croydon.

Then I am to ask you to accept this portable battery radio set which is the gift to you ofPhillips (Croydon) Works Limited, who make radio and television sets in a marvellous factory where hundreds of our men and women work under ideal conditions, and lastly you will be interested in Christmas crackers for children's parties at Christmas. They are the gift to you and your Chieftains from the firm of Mason and Church Limited of Croydon.

Soon you will be going home and there will be rejoicing at your safe return and you will be able to show our gifts to prove that we were glad you came to our town.

We send kind greetings to your people. We understand your anxieties and we think that one day The Queen may need again the loyal service of our faithful Basuto friends in the British Commonwealth. In the name of the people of Croydon I say :-

May your feet go softly and may you and your people be sheltered under the Queen's blanket.

I am handing this Address of Welcome to you so that at your leisure your Advisers may translate it into Sesuto for your pleasure.

Madam, you are very welcome! Pula!'

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by Stephen