The Linfields of Southern Africa – Part 2

As a recently signed up member of the Lin(d)field One Name Group and cousin of Barry Linfield, Membership Secretary, I received with interest Vol 6, 1 December 1997 of LONGSHOT which contains the details of my late father, Frederick Roy LINFIELD, Lieutenant RNR, both in the service records by Alan Linfield (Page 8) and in the Royal Naval Patrol Service by Arthur G Lindfield (Page 41). This has prompted me to jot down a brief historical background to the Linfields of Southern Africa.

Frederick Roy Linfield was recruited into the British South Africa Police, Southern Rhodesia in 1934 where he served in Salisbury (now Harare), Selekwe and Gwelo, leaving the Police Force on completion of his initial three year contract in 1937. In the same year he married Alice Gabriel who he met in Gwelo. Alice was the daughter of William Gabriel of Scotland, who had travelled to Africa as a soldier in the Cameron Highlanders regiment under Lord Kitchener, arriving in South Africa, from service in the Sudan, to participate in the Anglo-Boer War at the end of which he settled in South Africa, joined the Police Force, retiring as a Detective Chief Constable.

On 6 December 1937 Frederick Roy and Alice’s daughter, Pauline Mary, was born and on 27 February 1939 I was born and named Gabriel William Roy Linfield. We were both born in Bulawayo.

When World War II broke out in 1939 Frederick Roy, who was at the time working in Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia, contacted the Admiralty (being a member of the RNVR) and was subsequently called up for active service.

Due to Southern Rhodesia being a land-locked country with no direct access to the sea it was decided that Alice, my sister and I would move to Durban, South Africa, to be more accessible when Roy was given shore leave. This we did in 1940.

When Roy was reported killed in action in the Mediterranean in 1942 Alice remained in Durban where she had a job with the Admiralty. However, in January 1949 she returned to Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia to re-establish a home and future for her family.

Alice never remarried and finally died three months after her 90th birthday in 1994. Pauline Linfield married in 1958 and has three daughters and six grandsons, all living in South Africa.

I married Merle Denis Beets in 1962 and we have two sons, Roy and Wayne. Roy has a daughter, Andrea, and two sons, Dean and Bradley. Wayne has a daughter, Tracey, and a son, Sean.

This branch of the Linfield family still resides in Zimbabwe.

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