Here he was arrested on a capital charge, but he managed to get free, jumped on the police captain's horse and headed north. He eventually crossed the Zambesi and settled into a hide-out among the foothills of the Luangwa escarpment. The spot was blessed with perennial spring water and here he built a rough dwelling and contrived to live off the country, growing most of his own requirements, such as wheat, sugar, tobacco and even coffee. The place was called 'Katchololo' from which his native pseudonym was derived, meaning a bubbling stream. It is now a halfway stop between Lusaka and Ft. Jameson but few travellers will know of its romantic origin. Just how Broomfield contrived to achieve all this after his flight from Bulawayo can only be vaguely surmised.
He resided at this lonely spot for several years. In the dry season he would go off hunting, up the Luangwa valley and even further afield. Just when the rains were due, he would turn up at Broken Hill, sell his ivory, rhino horns, lion and leopard skins and other trophies; replenish his stock of victuals and other supplies and retire to Kachalola for the rainy season. Latterly, he gave up this roving existence and farmed near Ft. Jameson, where he grew tobacco for many years. When the tobacco boom burst in 1929, he pulled out, returned to Britain and wrote his autobiography, entitled 'Kachalola or The Mighty Hunter: The Early Life and Adventures of Sidney Spencer Broomfield', before he died.
Dave came of a family of well-to-do farmers, living north-east of Inverness and he was one of six brothers. His parents wintered in their Edinburgh town house and the children were educated privately by tutors. Like so many Scots, they had an inborn desire to travel afar and the boys all went off to roam the world.
Dave went to sea and took his First Mate's ticket in sail; no sinecure in those days. His ship rounded the Horn and came to Australia. It was the time of the Kalgoorli gold rush and he 'jumped ship' and went off in search of gold. In this he was not successful and when he was really hard up he could always earn a few pounds as a programme filler at prize fights. As he neatly expressed it "I wasn't much of a boxer but at the age of twenty five, standing 5' 10" and weighing thirteen and a half stone, I was hard bacon and quite a scrapper . He drifted away from the gold fields and took up the occupation of brumby busting'. A tamer of wild horses in Australia where men in those days were like centaurs, must have been quite a horseman. In the course of this work, Dave smashed an ankle and walked with a slight limp for the rest of his life.
Then the S. African war broke out and David Morrison went off to Africa. Once there, he served as a Captain in the Intelligence and when peace was declared he remained in Africa.
Towards the end of the war there, he went off on patrol with a like minded S. African named Coetzee. When the German forces under von Lettow finally surrendered, the British H.Q. still received periodic reports of enemy activity from Morrison and Coetzee, so a party was despatched to see what they were up to.
From time to time, Dave made efforts to return to Scotland to visit his relatives but he never got any further than Cape Town, where his money was invariably dissipated in a wild spree. He eventually settled down as a tobacco planter in the Luangwa valley, varying the monotony with a hunting trip in the dry season. He met every kind of adventure. His buttocks bore the full imprint of the rake of the claws of a dying lion; he was put down by an elephant, yet escaped with his life. His left knee-cap was displaced by a bull buffalo which was shot in the nick of time by a brave gunbearer.
At about this period he inherited a bequest amounting to 30,000 pounds. This he made over to his two unmarried sisters, commenting that he was a man and could always earn his own keep.
In the dry season of 1929, a great friend of his named 'Buck' Sayers was killed by an elephant, some sixty miles distant, up the Luangwa valley. His remains were interred in a shallow grave by his African followers. Dave Morrison felt that his pal deserved some better marked resting place and accordingly set out for the place with some cement and iron railings. This was in October, when the heat in the valley is fearsome.
On the homeward journey, his mission accomplished, Dave and his retinue found that the waterhole where they had expected to make camp had dried up. So they spent the night dry, completing their journey the following day; making a total march of 60 miles without water. At that season the temperature in the valley seldom falls below 100 degrees Fahrenheit at mid-night and in the daytime it is a blistering torment. Dave was aged 63 when he made this trip to mark his friend's grave.
Another of his companions was killed by a lion. The tale is well told in a letter he wrote to me shortly afterwards. The complete original now reposes in the Bodleian library among a collection made to preserve some memory of these men.
An extract reads:-
"30th October (1935). Since I wrote the above I went over for tea to the Mission and while there a boy on a bike came with an S O S for me to go down to the Lupande and meet Freddy Hall who was being brought in by machila (a hammock). Padre and I went off at once in the Mission box-body as being better than my lorry and we met him just as he was carried in. He'd had a terrible mauling by a lion. Right leg below the knee being chewed to splinters, left thigh badly chewed and both arms and right hand chewed up also. He had been bandaged up and the wounds washed in permanganate by his boys but was in a dreadful state, as it happened the previous morning he had been stewing in a rough machila over 35 miles of native paths.
As I could see that he would never stand the journey to Ft. J. we took him to the Mission to have new dressings on and a bit of a rest. We landed back 10 p.m. Poor lad, he stuck it wonderfully. Not a moan out of him. He had a bit of sleep after a drop of some dope and having sent John. S. in overnight to warn the doctor, we got him in by 10 a.m. They wired off for another surgeon to come over by plane and he arrived next morning and the leg was taken off at the knee. But it was too late. Septicaemia had set in on three places and there was no hope. He died the following morning, conscious up to ten minutes before he went and game and smiling to the last. By God, he had guts and the way he stuck the dreadful agony he was suffering was wonderful. It was a great funeral. I think everybody who had notice in time was there and it was great to know how much he was respected and loved by all who knew him. I have lost a great friend."
Dave's own life ended shortly before he made the three score years and ten and he lies in the little cemetery, near Freddy and some of their contemporaries. His native name was 'Malofya' meaning 'fearless'.
This inland territory, remote from the sea, had a strange attraction for mariners. One of the local farms was advertised for sale in the English papers as being "mid-way between two railway stations". An accurate enough statement; it was 350 miles each way. A retired sea-captain, 'Skipper' P., took the bait and moved in, bringing his wife and some valuable furniture with him. They had no experience of farming, but they bought some cows and rejoiced in fresh milk, cream and home made butter.
After a while the milk yield dwindled and inexplicably vanished. It was only after the facts of life were explained to them that they acquired a bull and in the fullness of time milk flowed again.
There were also others; men of good birth and education, who could not make the grade and sank to the depths. This is not the place to tell their tale. Yet, withal, they still kept a certain pride and could turn up, clean, well shaven and clad in freshly ironed khaki drill. One such, an Irishman, had been brought up in racing stables near Dublin. Tim always studied form for the Grand National with zest and would offer the hottest of tips, just received by airmail from "Me ould auntie back home."
Jerry selected the finest farm in the province, situated at fairly high altitude among the M'pangwe hills. Three perennial streams ran out of the mountains and Jerry carefully constructed dams and led irrigation furrows over his lands. He came of farming stock and had a shrewd knowledge of what to do. He obtained seeds, plants and cuttings of everything that might grow on his property. There were groves of Washington navel oranges, grapefruit, lemons and peaches. Mangoes grew in profusion, while there were acres of coffee under irrigation and also wheat and maize.
He tried to grow rubber, both Hevea and Ceara, but without success. He also experimented with olives, which failed to bear fruit. Jerry also established a large herd of semi-improved cattle. The oxen were used as draught animals until 7-8 years old when they were fattened and butchered.
Agnes raised a leopard cub on the bottle. She named it 'Bismarck' and it became her faithful shadow.
|1959 Map of Northern Rhodesia|
|OSPA Journal 56: October 1988|
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