Plumtree School - Old Prunitians - Anecdotes & Trivia


On this page is a selection of stories and reminiscences submitted by OPs and former staff members. If you too have a memory
of an incident at the school or any interesting snippets, please send it to the web master to be added to this page.

Home     E-Mail
Last updated : December 08, 2002

Derek Botton (Grey 1942- 1946) :

Looking through the list of Grey House Heads for the years I was there, 1942 to 1946, it brought back forgotten memories and the reality of how times have changed and moved on ! Burrows and Clark moved back to Mashonaland and I never saw them again. Robert Day Kennedy, 1943, was such a fine outstanding man both morally and physically. He grew up in Filabusi where his father and mother were small workers (gold mining). After his war service he attended the Camborne School of Mines. Played rugby for England and the Transvaal. He died tragically in the seventies after being wounded whilst travelling home after viewing a gold deposit near Fort Victoria. My life long friend Basil Cooper ,1945, died last year (2000) of Parkinsons disease. Des Van Jaarsveldt ,1946, played rugby for the Springboks and captained them in a test match against Scotland in the 1960s. He lives at Binga.

Zwelithini Moyo (Lloyd 1990-1995) :

By the way Lloyd House is still the best house.* In 1992 the Head of House - Ndabezinhle Mdlongwa - was part of the Zimbabwe Olympic Team (he was a triple cum long jumper) ...although he did not win a any medal at the Olympics. I think Lloyd remains the only house to ever send a Plumtree Boy to the Olympics in a non team event. So I think we are still the best House. Many thanks Zwelithini. (I fully agree ! Does anyone have any comments on this ? Webmaster.)

Pete Nilson (Lloyd 1969-1973) :

Some interesting trivia for the Plumtree site. Your photo of Lloyd house reminded me of a story that my Dad told me, as he recalled. The famous Lloyd House fish pond. Never remember too many fish in there but the "platana" frog population was massive, a reliable source of bait for barbel fishing excursions to Railway dam. That pond looks so small and ordinary now , I am sure I can remember some reeds and weed growth, in fact as a 13 year old it was a fair jump on to the middle to retrieve a ball. Anyway back to the trivia. It may be interesting to ask whether any OP remembers when that Pond was built. It was probably 1939. Dad was a junior and he remembers the legendary Coney Fleming announcing that a pond would be built tomorrow and he called for volunteers. Juniors were never too far away when some labour (volunteers) was needed but as Dad recalled the first guy to get his his hands dirty was Coney Fleming himself, sleeves rolled up and at it at the crack of dawn. That gesture and example from the Housemaster has always stuck in my mind, though I understand that this would not surprise those that knew Coney Fleming well.

Rob Matthews (Milner 1966-1970) :

Remember when fagging didn't mean you were a poof ?!

My memories of fagging for Smith and Horsefall were being beaten with a shoe horn for not running a bath on time and being electrocuted by being forced to put my finger in the lamp socket in their study - Smith switched it on for "fun" and the contest was to see how far the new boy would be thrown! I couldn't quite get my mind around similar "fun" when it was my turn at being a study holder.....which didn't last long as "RAS" Suttle kicked me out of that for being caught drinking on waterpolo tour by Paddy Marshall. He just happened to walk past the Beach Hotel in Durban at "pinkers" time !

Do the new boys still get pelted with rock hard marulas launched with catties on their way back to Milner/Gaul from the grub hall ?

I've still got the Beit Hall Blue prints I took as a momento from the Beit Hall 28 years ago - laminated now for protection.....OK Mr. Ncube, I'll return them when I next come through town - 2002 ?

....hey I suppose the new guys still hoist the headmasters bike up the flag pole every year like we did to Mr. Lobb's?

Derek Thompson (Lloyd 1940-1944) :

The headmaster while I was there - 1940-44 - was "Baz" Mylne. He used to teach Latin and dribbled a lot which, I believe, was a result of having been gassed in the 1914-18 war. Pat Pattison was housemaster of Milner. He taught Latin and also cricket and rugby. His wife also taught but I can't remember what. She also took charge of the school stage productions - Gilbert & Sullivan. Coney Fleming was housemaster of Lloyd and was himself an old boy of the school. He also taught cricket and rugby and was famous for chasing you round with a stick if you didn't get stuck in. Mr Moss was a master at Grey, I don't think he was the housemaster but he taught science and physical education. Mr Barrett taught physics and maths. Mr Harland, I think he was housemaster of Gaul, taught history. "Tosh" Miller was the English teacher. "Dot" Brooke was a sort of handyman who had rooms in Lloyd House. He had an artificial leg which consisted of a piece of steel pipe with a rubber piece on the end. This was the result of a wound from the 1914-18 war. One could always hear him coming because the rubber piece on his artificial leg used to squeak. He also smoked a pipe with terrible tobacco. Montgomery was head of school when I started. Tom Walls (General Walls) during the Rhodesian war was also a head of school. David Lewis (who I believe was President of the Rhodesian Cricket Union in the 60s/70s) was at the school. I believe he also played cricket for England while at Oxford University and he also played rugby for the university. He was also a REPS old boy.

I remember . . .
- the first turf cricket and rugby field being laid between the Beit Hall and the athletics field. A group of us used to play rugby - a mixture of American rugby and the usual rugby - on the turf wicket. We had an American at the school at the time.
- trying to get out of having to do duty at the butts on the rifle range.
- trying to get into the school play so we wouldn't have to run in the cross-country - even though it meant having to dress up as a girl in the Mikado and Pirates of Penzance and The Gondoliers.

Mark Forshaw (Lloyd 1969-1974) says that he can still recall the Lloyd House roll call from his New Boy year, 1969 - here it is :


Pol, this is about all I can remember. Funnily enough, putting it to paper obviously made me remember a few more names.

So where are all these guys now ? I've only heard from a few of them !! Gordon

Tim New (Lloyd 1970-1975) :

GOD HAS THE LAST LAUGH - Your story re Cabot field reminded me of the time that a couple of us wandered down to the pig pens to check out the pigs. Nothing unusual about that so far - we had a lot of freedom at Plumtree didn't we. It was during (compulsory) Chapel time on a Sunday evening however and we were all dressed in our Sunday best. Well none of us wished to attend that evening and decided to find a nice quiet spot for a Benson and Hedges cigarette ! Fine so far except about half way through our sojourn, I stepped into a puddle the contents of which could only be described as pig slush - comprising pig excreta, food, urine etc. My shoes were completely submerged. Well, they smelled awful after that and it was the only pair of black shoes I had. Needless to say, I took great pains to avoid any staff/prefects for the next few days ! Actually, they stank for weeks in spite of my best efforts to wash them. To the best of my memory, Phil Nilson and Tim Philip were there at the time.

Gordon Poultney (Lloyd 1970-1975)

I recall during my second year at the school that to work off our Impots we had to go out on Saturdays and Sundays for several weeks to collect cattle manure from all the local cattle kraals on the farms, using the old school tractor and trailer. This was then spread on the ploughed up Cabot field, which had been the old athletics field. Next we had to flatten the field down and pick out all the stones and pebbles. Finally we had to plant the Kukuyu grass runners. The turf turned out quite well although the field was always rather hard and provided an ominous prospect to our rugby rivals from other schools !

Home     E-Mail