The Linfields of Southern Africa – Part 1

My cousin, Bill Linfield, of Harare, Zimbabwe, joined the Group last summer when he and his wife, Merle, visited us. I asked Bill if he would write an article on his branch of the family, which he has kindly done. It follows this introduction. However, Bill is a modest man and has not included much about himself, so I have taken the liberty of trying to rectify the situation.

Bill’s father, Roy, was my father’s brother and I first met Bill in the 1950s when he came to Europe as a teenager. However, I did not get to know him properly until my wife and I together with my two daughters, Kate and Caroline, stayed with him and his wife in Zimbabwe on holiday in 1992. We had a tremendous time, particularly as Bill flew us by light aircraft to many places throughout the country. One such flight took us over Victoria Falls and I can say that this was of the greatest experiences of my lifetime.

However, I digress. Bill himself was born and brought up largely in Zimbabwe and was one of the few locals to join the British South Africa Police, as it was then known, in the 1950s. Most recruits came out from the UK. He rose to be a Superintendent (I believe) and one of his jobs was Protection Officer to Ian Smith during the time he declared UDI in the 1960s. Bill learned to fly whilst in the Police so when he retired, prior to Independence, he took up flying as a career. He now works for a multi-national construction company, flying people all over Africa. He is also Commandant of the Police Air Wing in Zimbabwe which is a volunteer force who assists the Regulars with problems such as game poaching.

Recently, Bill took delivery of a new aircraft for his employers but had to collect it in Germany. He and the aircraft’s former owner then flew it from Germany to Zimbabwe, landing in various out of the way places en route. I think this would be a good subject for another article!

Both Bill’s sons are successful farmers, however they live with the constant threat of the loss of their property if President Mugabe pursues his declared policy of breaking up large acreage and redistributing it.

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