The British Empire Library

So Many Worlds

by Patricia Maddocks

Courtesy of OSPA

Richard Barlow-Poole (Northern Nigeria 1947-68)
This is a fascinating book, with a foreword by the Colonial Service's own historian, Anthony Kirk-Greene, containing Patricia's account of her own life from the earliest days of growing up until her current retirement in Aldeburgh.

Patricia arrived on a banana boat in Lagos in 1947, having been appointed to a job of putting in order a medical library which had been left to the country by an old African doctor, and to administer it thereafter. By August of that year she had married George Mooring, affectionately known through the Service as 'Satan'; then serving in Lagos in the Secretariat. In their first married tour they had to move houses no less than six times. They then moved to Ibadan where Satan served in the Finance Department before ending up as Deputy Governor of the Western Region (a post created in 1957 on the attainment of self-government) by the time he retired in 1959.

Two items in the chapter on Western Nigeria are worth recording. Firstly, Satan had served first in Northern Nigeria for ten years and had served in the West African Frontier Force during the 1939-45 war. A fellow officer of Satan's, John Purdy from the North, gave Patricia an account of the sort of bravery of which Satan was capable; he had commanded 'A' squadron of the 81st West African Division Recce Regiment during the battle for Maungdaw in the Arakan campaign. At the time all those involved had thought Satan deserved a VC (in fact he got a mention in despatches). Secondly, Patricia quotes from Simeon Adebo's Our Unforgettable Years where he writes of the Western Region Premier's reference to the valuable service given to the Region by members of the European staff - "one of whom was Sir George Mooring. He and his wife were about the most popular expatriate couple in the Region. His relations with Ministers were, so far as I (ie the Premier, Chief Awolowo) could judge, impeccable".

After Nigeria, the Moorings went to Zanzibar in 1960, Satan having been appointed Resident of the Protectorate, and they served there until Independence was achieved on 10 Deeember 1963, at which the Duke of Edinburgh represented the Queen. In 1964 the Moorings, now on retirement in the UK, reeeived the news of the revolution after which Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the new state of Tanzania. Patricia reports that many Arabs were killed; probably up to 15,000. So ended Pax Brittanica.

Satan did not live long to enjoy his retirement. Sadly he died of cancer in 1971. It had been a wonderful marriage and Patricia was devastated. But she was not one to sit down and mope. Three of the most interesting chapters in the book follow: the first two when she was appointed a Red Cross Field Officer, visiting Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion between 1971-72, and the South Pacific 1972-75; and the third when she returned home by bus from Katmandu to London. The last was a remarkable journey travelling through Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy, Germany and Belgium. "The whole trip was the experience of a lifetime" she writes. Could such a bus journey be made in safety today? I think not.

And so to Aldeburgh from 1975 until now; where on 30 December 1980 she married Sir Kenneth Maddocks, then a widower (a former colleague of Satan's in Nigeria and Governor of Fiji 1958-63). They were given twenty one happy years together, still travelling far afield. Kenneth died in September 2001. Patricia always remained busy locally, especially with the Aldeburgh Festival where she played an important role.

British Empire Book
Patricia Maddocks
The Memoir Club
1 84104 113 0


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