They Met in Mauritius: Volume 2: The Members of the Family who left Mauritius

[written by Donald Taylor]



The following is a list of those who left Mauritius together with a few notes of what happened to them and where they eventually settled down. The list does not pretend to be complete and the notes are very sketchy. The descendants of May and Percy Taylor have provided fairly comprehensive notes, but others have not. So this must be regarded as Work in Progress, and will be expanded when we know more.

We have not included those who spent the major part of their lives in Mauritius, and subsequently left in order to retire in Britain or elsewhere. But we have included Jack Smith and Donald Taylor both of whom took early retirement.




1.1.1    ENA O’CONNOR   (née SMITH)

Ena was the eldest daughter of George and Lizzie Smith born on 28th August 1907 at Forestside, near Curepipe, Mauritius.

She left Mauritius accompanying her parents in 1926 and met and married Dr Donald O’Connor on 30th June 1928 at the Brompton Oratory, London. Donald O’Connor was the son of Sir James O’Connor.

They lived in Launceston, Cornwall and had five children, all born in England: Cecily, born on 30th March 1929; Alec James, born on 2nd July 1930; Fergus Michael born on 19th August 1931; James Kenneth born on 31st May 1942; Marion Josephine born on 1st February 1944.

Donald died on 14th January 1989, and Ena died 25th November 1981.


1.1.2  Joyce Mary was the second daughter of George and Lizzie Smith, born in Mauritius on 22nd February 1909. She married Paul Gustavus Anthony on 30th June 1932, and they had three daughters and a son, all born in Mauritius. They were Molly Elizabeth born on 26th March 1933; Jeanette born on 12thMay 1936; Diana born on 4th February 1941; and Basil born on 3rd March 1945. MOLLY married James Jourdain, Chairman and Managing Director of Blyth Brothers, Mauritius, on 11th April 1953. They had two daughters and two sons all born in Mauritius: Diana born on 25th January 1954; Nicola born 12th July 1957; Richard born 6th April 1959; and Michael born on 20th June 1964.

Molly and her family left Mauritius when James (Jim) Jourdain retired from the Chairmanship of Blyth Brothers and went to settle in England. Jim Jourdain died soon after they arrived in England JEANETTE married John Francis Gunn (known as Frank) Reid on 10th October 1962. John was International Manager with the Mercantile Bank Ltd then Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, Hong Kong. He retired in 1989 as Group Training Manager in Head Office. He was appointed a Pensioner Liaison Officer for retired Overseas Staff for the south of UK until 1999. He is member of the Editorial Committee for compiling a written history of the Mercantile Bank. He and Jeanette have both lived in Sussex since 1992.

Frank and Jeanette were posted to Malaya where they had two sons, John (b. Penang on 10th May 1964) and David (b. Kuantan, Malaysia on 20thDecember 1965).

John was educated at Dollar Academy, Scotland and HerriotWattUniversity, Edinburgh. He is a Chartered Accountant and is Group Finance Director of CALA Homes, Edinburgh. He is also Governor of the GeorgeWatsonCollege.

He married Eileen Reid in 1993 and they have two sons: Callum Gunn Reid born in 1995; and Fraser Stuart Reid born in 1997. They all live in Edinburgh.

David Malcolm Reid was born in Kuantan, Malaysia in 1965. He too was educated at Dollar Academy, Scotland and Heriot Watt University, Scotland. He too is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He is Managing Director of Melchers (HK) Ltd. German Import/Export Company long established in the Far East. He is responsible for the China Operations. He married Robin Rochelle Mellecker (from Phoenix, ArizonaUSA) in 2007. They now live in Hong Kong.  BASIL DIANA was born in Mauritius on 4th February 1941. She was educated in South Africa and returned to Mauritius at the end of the 1950’s. She married Colin Hare OBE, on 24th November 1961. Colin Hare was Managing Director of the IBL Group at the time. They remained in Mauritius and Colin became Chairman of Taylor Smith Holding Ltd as well as Director of Taylor Smith & Sons Ltd. They have three daughters and a son, all of whom were born in Mauritius: Isabel born on 5th November 1962; Samantha born on 6th January 1967; Laura born on 15th January 1973; and Oliver Anthony born on 20thMay 1964.

The Hare family lives in Mauritius with the exception of Oliver who is working in Zurich, Switzerland. Oliver married Isabelle Mothillon and they have three children, Jasmine born on 10th May 2001, Humphrey born on 12th February 2003, and Stella born on 19th August 2005;

1.1.3       ALEXANDRA FRUDD  (née SMITH)

Alix was the third daughter of George and Lizzie Smith. She was born in Mauritius on 10th May 1913. She married Duncan Frudd on 17th June 1939. Duncan Frudd was the son of H.W.D. Frudd, General Manager of the UnionCastle line in South Africa. They were married in Salisbury, Rhodesia, now Harare, Zimbabwe, where they settled.


James, the eldest son of George and Lizzie Smith, was born in Mauritius on 16th February 1915. He was educated in England, and was awarded his Diploma of Loughborough College in 1937. He married Judy Court in October 1938 and with her returned to Mauritius as a partner in Taylor Smith and Co. They had a son, Robert, born in Mauritius in February 1940. The family returned to England the same year because of Judy’s cancer of the knee which required the amputation of her leg.

James joined the Royal Navy for the duration of World War II, and was Mentioned in Dispatches in 1942 for his work during an air raid at Bone in North Africa. He returned to Mauritius in 1946 and resumed his position in Taylor Smith and Co.

James had a daughter born in Mauritius whom they named Amanda. She accompanied her parents to England and married Gary Overton on 12th May 1973 with whom she had four children: Alexander (b. 26th July 1977), Jamie (b. 22nd June 1979), Dominic the twin of Charlotte (12th March 1985).

He retired from the Company in 1977 and with Judy went to live in Herefordshire in England. Judy died in August 2007, and James died in January 2008.

James and Judy’s son Robert married Michele Cole on 21st February 1970 and they had two sons, Matthew b. 20th September 1972, and Benjamin b. on 2nd September 1974. Michele died suddenly in 2006, and Robert has since remarried.


Ian, the second son of George and Lizzie Smith, was born in Mauritius on 7th April 1917. He was educated in England and was awarded the Diploma of Loughborough College in 1937. He returned to Mauritius and took up his place as a partner in the Taylor Smith partnerships. He married Joan Balfour Kirk in November 1940, and when Japan entered the War he joined the Mauritius Territorial Force and was sent to Diego Garcia. He was returned to Mauritius and joined the newly formed Mauritius regiment, and was sent to serve in Burma in 1943. However the Regiment mutinied in Madagascar and he, with some of the other officers of the Regiment, was then transferred to the Artisan Works Company in Gil-Gil in East Africa. He was demobilised from the Company in 1946 and returned to Mauritius.

Ian worked incessantly for the Taylor Smith companies from 1946 to 1981 when he retired from Mauritius and bought a home in Canterbury, Kent. Ian and Joan used to visit Mauritius from time to time, but they were never tempted to return permanently.  Ian and Joan’s first child was a girl, Wendy Balfour born in Mauritius on 20th  January 1942. Wendy married Arthur Ferguson and they had two children, Fenella Balfour born on 1st August 1966 and Duncan Alexander born on 3rd June 1971. Ian and Joan’s eldest son was John Smith born in Mauritius on 8th October 1948. John decided that he would not return to Mauritius once he had completed his training at Portsmouth. Instead he went to France and married Annie Parmentier and they had two children, Jennifer born in Couq, France, on 26th December 1974, and David born also in Couq, France on 6th August 1976.

 1.2       MARY ANN ROSE RICHARDSON (widow of William THOMAS, then of George Richardson, née SMITH)

Mary Ann Rose was born on 12 July 1874 in Port Louis. We assume that she travelled with her parents and her brothers George and John Gordon (henceforth Jack) towards the end of the 1880’s for them to be put to school in Scotland. We have no idea where she went to school while in Scotland or the name of the family with whom she must have stayed once her parents returned to Mauritius. However it is quite likely that she stayed with Helen Mitchell the widow of David Black who had returned to Scotland to the Mitchell family home in Broughty Ferry, not far from Dundee. Helen Black (née Mitchell) was the sister of James Mitchell and a very good friend of James Smith.

We know that she married Captain William Thomas from Wales at Dundee on 16 May 1896. Her address was given as Craigie Villa, Ferry Road, Dundee. Her wedding to Captain Thomas was an important event in the lives of James and Mary Ann Smith, for they left Mauritius and travelled to Scotland and took up residence in Dundee to be with her on the day.  It was on this occasion (1896) that Sandy and Clara also left Mauritius for a few months and went to Dundee to spend some time with James and Mary Ann, in order to attend the wedding.

Mary Ann Rose travelled with her husband Captain William Thomas for the next few years in his sailing clipper Mary Rose. According to Ian Smith:

“Mary Ann recalls being lashed to the mast to prevent her being washed overboard when going around the Horn. The vessel was in San Francisco harbour and both were aboard when the earthquake struck and the great fire consumed the city. The vessel survived and they were both unharmed.”[1]

Ian Smith goes on to say that Captain Thomas died at sea, leaving Mary Ann Rose as a widow. However we now know that William Thomas died on FloresIslands in April 1900. Mary Rose soon returned to Mauritius, and there met George Richardson, “whose mother had been a Miss Pender, a close relative of Sir George Pender, founder of Eastern Telegraph Company, with whom George served in Mauritius.”[2] Both Mary Ann Rose and George formed part of the group of young people who would meet together for parties and other occasions, and it was not long before they fell in love and got married. According to Ian Smith they got married on 12 October 1904 and “after serving with Eastern Telegraph around the world, they spent their last two postings at Cape Town in South Africa and Vigo in Spain.”[3]

Mary Ann Rose had a son to Captain William Thomas, who was born in Freemantle, Australia. He seems to have gone back to Australia during his later life where he died. And to George Richardson she had three daughters and two sons. And Mary Ann Rose eventually died in London on 31 May 1957.

1.3         JOHN GORDON SMITH (also known as JACK)

John Gordon (Jack) was born in Port Louis in 1876. He was sent to Scotland in the late 1880’s to complete his education at ElginAcademy. Once he had completed his studies he served his time with the Caledonian shipyard in Dundee. He then went to sea with the British India Steam Navigation Company and qualified as a Board of Trade Certified Chief Engineer. In 1907[4] he returned to Mauritius and on 1 January 1908 he was among the new partners to found the Taylor Smith & Co. Group of companies. To the partnership of Taylor Smith & Co. he contributed Rs 5,675 of the new capital. He also contributed Rs 1,000 as capital to the formation of the stevedoring partnership of Taylor & Smith.

On 11th November 1916 Jack married Marthe Josephine Rambert, and their wedding reception was held at James Smith’s house, Glen View, in Phoenix. Jack worked with Sandy Taylor at the Marine Yard of Taylor Smith from the time he arrived in Mauritius until the latter died in 1929. He also had George Taylor working under him at the Yard when the latter arrived in Mauritius after World War I in 1919. He continued to work in a senior position not only with Sandy Taylor but also after the latter died. He was largely responsible for the successful repair of the Uranienborg in 1930. However he found it difficult to continue after Sandy died and he retired from the Taylor Smith partnerships in 1934. He eventually moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands.[5]Both Jack and Marthe died in their seventies, so that we must assume that Jack died during the 1950’s, and that Marthe died during the 1960’s.





 2.2.1    The son of DENNIS and AUDREY TAYLOR  MICHAEL


Joan is the daughter of George and Betty Taylor. She was born on 24th September 1926 in Mauritius. She married Tom Collingridge on 5th December 1951, and had three children by him all born in Mauritius: John, born on 26th March 1953; Bridget, born on 9th November 1956; and Sarah born on 22nd June 1958.

Tom and Joan and family left Mauritius in 1966 for Tasmania where they remained for two and a half years. They then moved to Perth in Western Australia. Tom died of Alzheimer’s disease on 22nd January 2001. Joan developed osteoporosis and moved into a sheltered home called Parry House, Lesmurdie, near Perth    JOHN COLLINGRIDGE

John the son of Joan and Tom Collingridge was born in Mauritius on 26th March 1953. He was sent to school at the Oratory, Bournemouth in England in 1962. He accompanied his parents when they left Mauritius in 1966. He joined the British Army in 1978 and was with the 3rd Battalion, Queen’s Regiment and was stationed at Dover. He left the Army in 1982 and joined his parents in Australia.

He married in 1986 and had two children, Sarah born in 1987 and Julia in 1991. The marriage was dissolved in 1997. He remarried Miranda Divine in 2000 and they both live in Bunbury, Western Australia.    BRIDGET  (?) WARREN (née COLLINGRIDGE)

Bridget, the first daughter of Joan and Tom Collingridge was born in Mauritius on 9th November 1956. She accompanied her parents when they went to Tasmania 1n 1966 and then to Western Australia in 1968.She married      and they have a son called Gerhard born.    SUSAN COLLINGRIDGE

Susan is the second daughter of Tom and Joan Collingridge born in Mauritius. She accompanied her parents when they left Mauritius in 1966 and tried to settle in Tasmania. She went with them when they eventually settled in Perth, Western Australia in 1968. Susan entered a Catholic convent on leaving school, but found that she did not have a vocation for such a life. She is close to her elder sister Bridget, who is her constant helper.

 2.3        ELSIE KEENE  (née TAYLOR)

Elsie Taylor was born in May 1892, the daughter of Sandy and Clara Taylor. She was born during the 1892 cyclone at Rose Hill, when the roof of the house was blown off, and Clara and daughter had to be taken to shelter in Murdo and Elizabeth Macdonald’s house next door.

She accompanied her parents to England whenever they went on leave, and in 1913 while back in Mauritius she met and marries a young Lieutenant in the Artillery, called Hugo Nicholson Keene. She had her first child, a daughter, Hester, in 1914 in Mauritius. She accompanied her husband at the outbreak of World War One and returned back to England with him. In England she had two sons, Theodore and Creighton Guthrie Nicholson, known as Billy.

Elsie died during the terrible Spanish ‘flu pandemic of 1919 while in Wales.

Hester was a bridesmaid at Muriel and Duncan’s wedding in London in1920. Ian Smith’s family tree shows that Hester married Edward Ilott, and that they had two daughters and a son. Her daughter Gillian was killed in a car crash in California, and her second daughter, Judy married. He son John Ilott also married but we have no details.

Elsie’s son Billy went to Zimbabwe and married Jean Radburn in January 1949, and that they a daughter called Susan who married a Jonathan Parkin in 1974. They in turn had a daughter, Brenda, and two sons, Sean born on 25th April 1977 and Toni born on 3rd August 1979.

The Keenes never returned to Mauritius, except for Billy, who visited the island after the Second World War in 1946 before going on to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) to farm.


 2.4.1  ELSIE AUSTIN (née HAIGH)

Elsie Haigh was the elder daughter of Jessie and James Haigh, born in 1921 in Mauritius. She married Captain Philip Austin in Mauritius in 1945, and returned to England with her husband the same year. Philip had a dairy farm in a small village called Street in Somerset, not far from Glastonbury. They had two sons, John and James, both born in Somerset.

Philip Austin died suddenly in 1957, and Elsie was left to look after the farm. She developed cancer and died in Charing Cross hospital, London in 1960. John married Dorothy ? in 1965 and visited Mauritius a couple of years later but found that he was not suited to life in Mauritius. They eventually left Mauritius for Australia, and tried to settle there. James married Susanne Edwards, and they had two children, Kathryn and Giles. Both brothers sold their shares in the Taylor Smith companies in the 1980’s to Derek Taylor and Tim Taylor. Since then they have gradually lost touch with the Taylor and Smith families.


Olive was born in Mauritius on 24th December 1924. She was sent to school in Yorkshire and was recalled to Mauritius in 1940. She accompanied Rosemary and Donald, and Jim Macdonald, in the Cape Town Castle in August 1940 and eventually to Mauritius in the Umona in September 1940. She was struck down by typhoid fever in Mauritius and died on 11th December 1942. She is buried in St Thomas’ cemetery, Beau Bassin.

 2.4.3  PAUL HAIGH

Paul, the son of Jessie and James Haigh, was born on 2nd December 1928 in Mauritius. He was sent to school in South Africa, and after World War II he joined the Taylor Smith Marine Yard as a foreman. He was madly keen on deep sea fishing and fast cars. He shared a deep sea fishing boat with a Franco-Mauritian and would spend much of his time fishing and improving his boat. He got engaged to Meg Austin, the younger daughter of Lance and Mary Austin, the manager of Highlands Sugar Estate.

On the night of 23rd November 1956 after having had a dinner with Meg at a hotel in Curepipe and having dropped her off home, he drove down to his boat that was moored by the Dry Dock. He never reached his boat for he crashed into a tree at the foot of Chapman Hill and was killed instantly.


2.5.1      ROSEMARY WINCH  (née TAYLOR)

Rosemary was the first daughter of Duncan and Muriel Taylor, born at Richmond Lodge Curepipe on 11th October 1923. She had her primary education with Miss Brocus at the family school house in Vacoas, and then accompanied her mother to England in 1936. She was sent to school at Queenswood, Hatfield, Herts, and returned to Mauritius with her brother Donald, as well as Olive Haigh and Jim Macdonald and about a thousand children evacuated from England in August 1940.

She finished her education in Mauritius and was employed as a Royal Navy decoder at the RN Decoding Station in Vacoas. She met Peter Winch who was stationed in Vacoas with the battalion of the King’s African Rifles and they became engaged before the battalion was posted away from Mauritius for active service in Burma.

Peter returned from Burma to Mauritius as Major Peter Winch in March 1946. And Rosemary and Peter got married on 31st March 1946 at St Paul’s Church, Vacoas, Mauritius. After a few weeks, they left for East Africa on the Salween, a troopship in which Peter was Officer Commanding Troops. Peter was then posted to Colchester, Essex, as commandant of a German Prisoner of War camp in January 1947. While Rosemary and Peter were there, Rosemary’s mother Muriel, accompanied by Dorothy arrived in England. And Donald also arrived in England. They all met up at the small town of St Marychurch outside Torquay.

Peter was posted once more to East Africa, where he eventually was discharged from the Army.

Rosemary and Peter were in Nairobi in July/August 1948, where they met Rosemary’s sister, Dorothy, and her husband Vossie, who had just arrived from Mauritius after their wedding there in June 1948. Dorothy and Vossie left for Kitale, but Rosemary and Peter decided that Rosemary should go to Mauritius to be near Muriel, her mother, who was seriously ill with terminal breast cancer. Rosemary remained with Muriel together with Muriel’s mother, Minnie Thompson. Just before Muriel died on 9th January 1949, Peter got compassionate leave and flew from Nairobi to Mauritius. After the funeral, Peter flew back to Nairobi, and Rosemary remained with her father and Mini Thompson for another few weeks. She then flew back to Nairobi and joined up with Peter once more.

Peter joined a trading company, Leslie Anderson, in Nairobi, and then became employed by the Lint and Cotton Marketing Board. He left the Board and with Rosemary they formed their own company which they called Taylor Winch and Company, trading in tea and coffee. This necessitated their moving to Kampala in Uganda where they lived for a few years.

While in Uganda both Rosemary and Peter were active members of the British expatriate community and took part in the production of plays and pantomimes. Rosemary and Peter took up flying small aircraft, which Peter found useful for travelling around East Africa for their business. They eventually bought a small Cessna two-seater aircraft for flying to business venues in Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and even Nyasaland. Rosemary was the first woman to obtain a Pilot’s Licence in Uganda.

Peter and Rosemary became interested in sailing and had a small “cabin cruiser” on Lake Victoria. When they moved to Mombasa they bought a small sea going boat that they sailed to Seychelles and back. Peter retired from East Africa in 1974 as the authorities there refused to give Rosemary a work permit. They went to England and bought a larger sailing boat which Peter and Rosemary called Paille-en-Queue. This was the French name for the Bosun bird that was to be found so profusely around Gunners’ Quoin. They took with them a Belgian friend who they had met originally in the Belgian Congo. Together with him they sailed from Lymington in Hampshire to Mauritius via the Atlantic across to Rio de Janeiro, then to Cape Town, and then on to Durban.

They left Lymington in the second half of 1975 and arrived in Mauritius in 1976. Once in Mauritius they remained there for a few months. In March/April 1976 Donald flew out from Britain to attend to some business in Mauritius and he stayed with them in Tim Taylor’s campment at Poudre d’Or which they had rented from him for a few months while he and his family were on leave in Britain.

Donald returned to Britain at the end of April 1976, and Peter made preparations for voyage to Diego Garcia. Peter had contracted with the United Services Association to participate in their survey of the Chagos Archipelago and so was under an obligation to undertake the voyage. However Rosemary became ill while in Mauritius awaiting their departure for the Chagos and Peter arranged for a nurse to fly out from England to accompany them as Rosemary was determined not to be left behind in Mauritius. Rosemary however had a massive heart attack when they arrived at Diego Garcia, and she and Peter were flown by an American Air Force transport plane to Perth, Australia. There she died on 9th October 1976.

Rosemary was cremated in Perth and her ashes were scattered in the sea between Pointe d’Azur and Gunner’s Quoin, Mauritius.

Peter completed his contract with the United Services Association in their survey of the Chagos Archipelago, and returned to England. In 1980 he married again Jane, the widow of Mr Dale-Harris. They lived first of all in London, then they moved to a country house in the village of Rudge, Somerset. They sold their house in Rudge and bought a flat in Bath where they lived for some time.

Peter became seriously ill with a burst aorta in the year 2000, and never really recovered. He died in August 2006. Jane in the meantime contracted a virulent cancer of the pancreas and died the following year in November 2007.


Donald was the second son of Duncan and Muriel Taylor, born at Vacoas, Mauritius on 22nd October 1926. His primary education was with the indomitable Miss Brocus in the family school house at Vacoas. He then accompanied his mother to England in 1936 and was sent to boarding school in Paignton, Devon. He returned to Mauritius in 1940 and continued his education with private tutors.

He joined the Army in January 1945 and was posted to East Africa. He underwent the Recruits Course at the Combined School of Infantry at Nakuru and was posted to a Kenya Battalion of the Kings African Rifles at Diredawa in Ethiopia. The battalion returned to Nairobi but he remained in British Somaliland at Berbera with the 104 Independent Company KAR. He returned to Nairobi in October 1946 and returned to Mauritius on the Salween in the company of a number of other Franco-Mauritians, including Colo Maingard and his wife Francoise and John and Pam Larcher.

He went to England on the troopship Scythia in November 1946, and arrived in England on New Year’s Day 1947 in the worst winter in living memory. He studied electrical engineering at Faraday House, London, and was sent to do practical training at Sykes in Staines who were manufacturing gears.

He married Shelagh Beynon in Brussels in December 1949 and they returned to Mauritius in 1950. He was given a position with accounting responsibilities in the Taylor Smith group of companies and spent much of his time trying to modernise the stores and assist Kemp Chatteris, the Chartered Accountants who had a contract to modernise the companies’ accounts.

In 1963 he divorced Shelagh and went to Seychelles where he was taken on as a Sub-deacon to assist Donald Stowell, the resident Archdeacon. He took and passed his Ordination Examinations while in Seychelles and the following year he left Seychelles for India to join the Society of St John the Evangelist (SSJE). The Society had a House in Poona, and he spent the next few months there. He took an Air India plane from Bombay to Heathrow and went straight to Oxford where the Mother House of the Society was situated.

He spent a few months there but found that he did not have a vocation for the life there. He contacted Bishop Alan Rogers, the Bishop of Mauritius, who arranged for him to be ordained by the Bishop of St Albans in 1964. He did his curacy in the Parish of St Mary the Virgin in Ware, Hertfordshire and then returned to Seychelles. He remained in Seychelles until 1968, and then returned to England where he went back to the Society of St John the Evangelist to try his vocation once more.

While with the Society in Oxford he took his BD degree as an external student of LondonUniversity. Then he was accepted by LincolnCollege, Oxford to read for his Research Degree of DPhil (Oxon). His supervisor was Dr John Macquarrie, Lady Margaret Professor at Christchurch, Oxford. He completed his Thesis in 1976.

But before he completed his Thesis he left the Society of St John the Evangelist, and met and married Sylvia Thom on 19th August 1974. Sylvia had three daughters, Dorothy, Julie and Margaret. They intended to live first of all at Carnoustie on the east coast of Scotland, but this proved to be difficult and so they found a house in Gidea Park, Essex.

Donald then was taken on as a lecturer in Religious Studies at the College of All Saints, Tottenham, North London. He completed his Thesis and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy (Theology) by Oxford University in 1977 (Unio hypostatica in the Christology of Karl Rahner, SJ). He continued to lecture at the College of All Saints which was taken over by Middlesex Polytechnic. It later became Middlesex University. He was granted a year’s sabbatical to study for a second Research Degree with London University, this time in Social Anthropology (The Symbolic Construction of the Sri Lankan Hindu Tamil Community in Britain). He was awarded his second Doctorate in 1992. Before retiring from Middlesex University he had been promoted to Principal Lecturer in Religious Studies and was Head of the Religious Studies Department in the School of Philosophy and Religious Studies.

Sylvia’s eldest daughter, Dorothy, married Glenn Farrar in 1982, and on 5th August 1984 Dorothy gave birth to a daughter, Emma. She was Sylvia’s pride and joy. Unfortunately Dorothy and Glenn divorced two years later and Dorothy came to live outside Reading. She eventually moved to Hythe opposite Southampton, and after some time she started up her own driving school.

Sylvia’s second daughter Julie developed a melanoma cancer which brought about a tumour in her head. She was operated upon at the Southampton Hospital Neurological Department in 1984, and eventually died in February 1985, and is buried at the cemetery in Bournemouth.

Sylvia’s youngest daughter, Margaret, went to ManchesterUniversity to read History, where she met Oliver, Diana and Colin Hare’s son who was also there but in a year younger than hers. She was awarded her BA (Honours) in History, but eventually she carried out a conversion course and transferred to Law to become a solicitor. She was taken on as a Corporate Lawyer by Linklater’s and was sent for six months to New York. She also went to Sydney, Australia, for a year’s secondment. She left Linklater and was taken on by Clifford Chance in the City of London.

After several years she left Clifford Chance and in 2007 she bought herself a suitable house in Kent which she converted into a B&B. Since then she has been doing very well with clients coming from Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the United States and Canada.

Sylvia’s granddaughter, Emma, finished her secondary education and was accepted for an Honours Degree at the London School of Economics. She then followed this up with an MSc (Environment and Development) and is now applying her skills to work in the Office of National Statistics.

Donald retired from active lecturing in 1995, and with Sylvia they went to live at Caversham Heights, outside Reading. Donald visited Mauritius in 1998. In the course of writing a book for the Anglican Diocese of Seychelles (Launching out into the Deep: The Anglican Church in the History of Seychelles) he visited Seychelles and Mauritius a further four times, in 1999, 2000, 2001 and finally 2005. On each of these occasions he stayed at Dennis and Shelagh’s campment at Pointe d’Azur, Pereybère.

Owing to ill health neither Sylvia nor Donald is likely to visit Mauritius after 2008.

An assessment of Donald before he left Mauritius in 1963 by an old Creole to whom he refused to lend some money: “Ou papa mo ti connais, ou mama mo ti connais, mais ou qui maniere ou comme sa?” Donald found it difficult to live up to the fond memory in which his parents were held in Mauritius!

 2.5.3      DOROTHY VORSTER (née Taylor)

Dorothy is the second daughter of Duncan and Muriel Taylor, born at Vacoas, Mauritius on 16th February 1928. She married Olaf Abraham Servaas Vorster known as Vossie Vorster on 19th June 1948 at St Paul’s Church, Vacoas, Mauritius. A few weeks later they left for Mombasa on the famous troopship Salween arriving there at the end of July 1948. They met up with Rosemary and Peter Winch at Nairobi, and then travelled up to Kitale where Vossie was negotiating with Mr Lindsay for a job a manager of the latter’s farm.

Vossie got the job, and managed Mr Lindsay’s farm for a number of years. Dorothy had not been idle during this time and had produced her first son, Danton, in July 1949 and her second son, Peter in April 1951.

Duncan had remarried in December 1950, and in 1951 both he and his wife, Cokie, came over from Mauritius to visit Dorothy and Rosemary and their respective husbands. During this visit, Dorothy had arranged for her son Peter to be baptised. After the baptism they held a baptism party which included a number of Dorothy and Vossie’s friends, and this provided the opportunity for them to meet Dorothy’s father and step-mother.

The visit gave Vossie the opportunity to discuss with his father-in-law the possibility of buying a farm. He knew that one was coming up for sale in 1953 and Vossie took Duncan to have a look at it. Duncan promised to help him financially with the purchase, and when the time came he arranged for the funds to be made available. Thus Dorothy and Vossie were with the Lindsay’s for four years, from 1949 to 1953.

They moved into their new farm in 1953, which was not too far away from Mr Lindsay’s farm. They called their new farm Vacoas Farm, after Vacoas in Mauritius, but the Africans were not able to pronounce Vacoas and so never got used to the word. Instead they called it “Meyja” Farm, after Vossie who had been a Major in the King’s African Rifles. And he used to treat them as if he were still a major in the army, and they all seemed to love it!

While they were on their “Meyja” farm, Dorothy gave birth to a daughter, Irene Muriel on 7th July 1954. Prior to having Irene, Dorothy had given birth to another daughter in 1952. The child was born with a hole in her heart and because of the lack of medical facilities for such a birth in Kenya at that time, the child died within a week.

Duncan and Cokie visited them once more in 1955, when Duncan was seriously ill with lung cancer. He was with them only a few days and then went to Kampala to visit Rosemary and Peter, before boarding a plane for London. He underwent an operation for the removal of a cancer in the lung and died in London in March 1956.

Dorothy and Vossie continued to farm near Kitale. They sold Vacoas Farm (Meyja Farm) in 1969 and bought another farm at Japata nearby. But the policy of the government was to encourage the Europeans to leave so that the Africans could be taught to manage large farms. So Vossie sold Japata in 1974, and was employed by the Development Corporation in Kitale from 1975 to 1980. They then moved to Nairobi in 1980. By this time their sons Danton and Peter had finished school at Hilton in South Africa, and had got jobs of their own.

Danton had married in 1970, and left for India with his wife, Janet, where their first son, Justin, was born in 1971. Their second son Kieron was born in Kenya three years later, and was at one time a tennis coach. He is now with the David Lloyd Tennis organisation.

Dorothy’s second son Peter was born in 1951 and was sent to Hilton School in South Africa from 1964 to 1968. He knew he wanted to be a farmer like his father. He was sent to a farming college in Cirencester in 1970, but found that it did not cover the course which he was expecting. So he went to Cedara College in Natal from 1971 to 1973. He then completed his course at Natal University in 1974. He returned to Kenya and worked with the African Development Corporation in Kitale from 1974 to 1982. He then left Kenya and went to Zambia where he was manager of a farm. In 1988 he married Anita Barkness and they had a son, Ian, in 1990. In 1992 Peter developed a tumour in the spinal bones of his neck, and gradually became paralysed. He is now a quadriplegic and cannot move any of his limbs, and needs constant personal care.

As he was unable to work, his wife Anita started up a cloth printing business making not only table cloths but all manner of small items of clothes and hats from her printed cloth. This has managed to keep then fairly secure financially. In 1998 they managed to move from Zambia, where Peter’s treatment was quite inadequate, to Zimbabwe where he managed to receive more advanced treatment for a time. However the political state of Zimbabwe has deteriorated and today they are trying to cope with inflation which has gone completely out of control.

Dorothy and Vossie’s daughter, Irene, was born in 1954, when they were on their “Meyja” farm. She was sent to St Anne’s DiocesanCollege, Hilton, in South Africa from 1967 to 1971. She came to England and attended a finishing school at Winkfield Place, Windsor from 1972 to 1973. She returned to Kenya and after a few months she moved to South Africa. She spent four years in Johannesburg then returned to her parents in Kenya for a year until 1978. She finally went to settle in South Africa in Pinetown, in the Province of Kwa Zulu Natal.

Dorothy and Vossie remained in Nairobi from 1980, but in 1987 Vossie developed prostate gland trouble and in the course of the treatment in hospital in Nairobi he contracted septicaemia and died on 1st April 1987. Dorothy was not certain where she should settle after that, thinking at one time that she should return to Mauritius. She and Vossie had had a holiday there a year or so before, and were thinking of retiring there. She had even sent her trunks and furniture there. But she was persuaded to drop the idea, and eventually went to stay in Pine town, not very far from her daughter Irene. She moved to Pinetown in 1988, and has been there ever since, where she is the matriarch of a new clan, with her children and grandchildren flying in to see her at regular intervals.

And Irene has her house and her cats not far away from her


2.6.1   DAVID TAYLOR, second son of Percy Henry Taylor and Catherine May Taylor (née) McFarland.

David Ronald was born on 24th August 1938 at Belmont, Floréal, Mauritius. His own account is as follows:

“My childhood in Mauritius was mainly during the war years and we made our own entertainment. We lived at Belmont House, Floréal and Derek and I had many friends. Opposite were the Hines family, Jacky, Rosemary and Colin who was my close friend. Then there were the Anthony family with Molly, Janette, Diana. The Knights, David and Elizabeth; the Austins, Meg and sister [Pam]. In Vacoas were the Rountree family, Paddy and Peter, the Wilsons, Raymond and his sister. The Garthwaites, Martin and Pudgy. Later my [twin] sisters Maureen and Pauline arrived (1944), and finally Michael (1947).

We lived at the sea from July to September as it was cooler, and at Floréal the rest of the year. Percy worked long hours and we only saw him on Sundays when we all went to Granny Taylor’s for 4 pm sharp. The whole family gathered with the adults talking business or gossiping and the children playing in the garden. Granny held the whole family together and was always interested in the children. Percy would take me to work on Saturdays and I spent time in the office, went on board ships, and got to know the company. George Taylor was the boss and he would arrive in the office, undress with the Pion in attendance then put on a white suit over long johns (in the tropics!)and finally a large hat before departing to the Yard. They all gathered at 10 am for Tiffin which was usually a curry and rice, so all the gossip and problems were aired.

My mother May (or Goose) was involved in the Red Cross and would bring home men in the forces who needed a rest or recuperation.

My time at home was limited as I was off to boarding school in South Africa, then to England, so gradually lost touch with Mauritius.


Infant School run by Mrs Patsy Rountree at Vacoas, Mauritius. HighburyPrep School, Hillcrest, Natal, South Africa. Return to Mauritius 1948 and had home tuition with Miss Britter.

Michaelhouse boarding school, Balgowan, South Africa from 1951 to 1955.

Then went to England to study engineering. LoughboroughCollege then to ChelseaCollege of Automobile and Aeronautical Engineering. Gained a Diploma in Automobile Engineering – then later HND.

Married Pamela Georgina (Davies) January 1963. Lived in Southport in a rented flat then built a house at Ainsdale.

Son born 31 May 1970 Piers Jonathan; went to Merchant Taylors School, Crosby, then Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Sadly he died from epilepsy 19 October 1998.

Daughter Virginia Katherine was born 25 September 1971. She married Martin Fallows at Rugby School Chapel, 22 November 2003. She now has a daughter Isabella born 3 May 2006 and lives at Hillmorton, Rugby.

Despite a happy life together, Pamela left me in 1994 and we were divorced in 1996.

I married lovely Jilly (Hopewell) on 24 May 1997 at Thornton Hall, Wirral. Our extended family includes Rachel Elizabeth and Christopher James Hopewell. Rachel married James Bartlett on 20 October 2005 and Christopher married Jackie on 29 May 2004.

Rachel and James live at Pinner, North London and Christopher and Jackie live at Wallasey.

Jill and I live at 8 Keble Drive, WallaseyCH45 8JP


Family and friends are the most important thing in my life.

I now have a lovely wife Jilly with our close family Virginia, Martin and granddaughter Isabella; Rachel, James and bump, Christopher, Jackie and Daniella.


Percy had encouraged me to consider joining Taylor Smith business in Mauritius. They require4 Marine Engineering experience so I joined British and Commonwealth Shipping Co as an engineer officer, and went to Mauritius working on the MV Tintagel Castle in 1963. I had a few days off the ship when in Mauritius and had a good look at the Taylor Smith business, and found it run down. Jimmy Smith advised me not to join the company as he felt the future was not good.

On my return I got my old job back at D. Napier & Son at East Lancs Road, Liverpool as a development engineer on the production of the complex Deltic engine. Later I had various promotions ending up as assistant works manager. One interesting secondment I had was a liaison engineer between Auxilec in Paris and Liverpool on the production of the CSD and generators for the Concord aircraft. Being a government backed project we had a lavish budget staying at the King George V hotel in Paris and plenty of entertaining.

I was earning a good salary, however I had built our house at Ainsdale and after a few years found it was worth a lot more than it cost. The profit was worth about two year’s salary.

I decided to go into business, part time initially. I formed Woodvale Construction with a partner John Roberts who was an established solicitor and left Napiers & Son. We had some success building many houses and flats in Southport, Freshfield, Bolton and Blackpool and my brother Michael joined us and had an office in Croydon. He was successful and we bought and sold building land.

However Ted Heath and the miners’ strike resulted in the three days’ week and the economy crashed. We had a number of unsold newly built houses which could not be sold. Hence as usual the Bank pulled the rug from under our feet.

I was out of work so made a few enquiries and was offered a position of project manager for the construction of The Plaza in Wellington, New Zealand. So off we went in 1975 family and baggage. We were provided with a lovely house at Izard Road, Kandala, Wellington, a car and plenty of entertainment. The building standards need to stand up to the many earthquakes, so the construction of The Plaza, a shopping centre and a hotel, had to be massively strong. We enjoyed New Zealand and made many friends. However when the job was completed we returned to Southport, England in 1977 as this was home for us.

We bought a Victorian house at 33 Trafalgar Road, Birkdale, and I was taken on as General Manager by Hilton Developments in Blackpool. We had a number of house building projects and I had the onerous task controlling the building programme and costs. All went well; however I was on a salary and I had no profit share in the business. So I was keen to get back into business.

I was instrumental in forming Shearwater Estates Plc, a subsidiary of Next PLC and the Rosehaugh Group in 1985 in which I had a profit share arrangement. We had offices in John Princess, London, close to Oxford Circus and undertook a variety of substantial commercial property ventures.

This involved purchasing industrial estates and selling off the units to the tenants at a profit, purchasing building land and obtaining enhanced planning permission and then selling land at a profit.

We also carried out several developments including Peacock PlaceNorthampton a shopping centre, and the Next Department Store at Northumberland Avenue, Newcastle-on-Tyne.

I was interested in developing a large out of town retail centre and looked for suitable sites close to Chester. After some time we secured a site of some 140 acres on Junction 10 M53.

I selected a suitable professional Team of Architects, surveyors and engineers etc and worked up a design for a major shopping centre, leisure centre and office park. We named the project Cheshire Oaks and promoted it with audio visual presentations to the local authority County Council, the Public and National Government.

Nicholas Ridley was minister for the environment at the time in the Thatcher government, and he was keen to expand the local economy, and in 1989 planning permission was granted for 510,000 sf of retail space and 350,000 sf of leisure use, and 1,M sf of offices.

And this was a major achievement and I decided the most prudent way forward was to sell the site. However the main board felt it would be better to build out the project. I had a disagreement with them and asked to be bought out of the company, which was completed in 1993.

The Cheshire Oaks retail centre was built out by others over a period of several years and has been an outstanding success.

I then have been working part time from home as a consultant on commercial investments.

 Model Locomotives

A friend in Southport was very interested in model trains and in 1979 showed me a model steam locomotive powered by an electric motor which he had just acquired for £550. I asked him why it was not driven by steam considering the price and interest in steam. He informed me that no HO or OO gauge model locos were available driven by steam as they were too small. I felt it must be possible to produce a model of that size which was a proper steam engine, and I set about investigating the technical design possibilities. I found it was a difficult task and tried out a number of designs before a robust workable solution was achieved. He was very impressed and bought a model from me which he tested and found it to be reliable.

I investigated the possible demand for these small engines, and was surprised at the interest world wide. I set up Steamcraft Ltd with a small business grant and outsourced production of the engines and marketed and designed the product as a part time venture. Over a period of four years some four hundred models were produced and sold. However we started to get models returned due to poor quality. I had no time to sort out these problems and decided to close down the small business, but kept an interest in model locos.

Steamcraft enthusiasts set up clubs in USA, Australia, Switzerland, and UK, and came to visit me in Southport. The models can be found on eBay and model dealers on the web, selling for about £400 each as well used models.

Motor Racing

I became interested in motor racing when I came to England and used to attend race meetings, and soon got to know some of the teams.

Lotus Racing Cars were a small up and coming team and had works in Hornsey which   I frequented. They offered me a job as a poorly paid mechanic in1958 which I took on a short term basis. It was mainly work on building sports cars but I was drafted into the racing cars when short staffed. We worked long hours with enthusiasm building up racing cars repairing the crashed ones and attending race meetings including Le Mans 24 hour race. Graham Hill worked in the engine shop and was a part time driver. Keith Duckworth worked in the racing car shop and went on to form Cosworth Engineering which produced the world renown F1 racing engines which have won more Grand Prix races than any other manufacturer.

One event which I remember. We had been working on a racing car late in the night and finally finished. We all sat on the benches with a cup of tea, when Willie Griffiths came in and said “This needs to be a French Grand Prix today so does it work?” We said we had not fired it up yet as it would wake up the neighbours. Willy said that there was no time for all that and jumped into the cockpit. We pushed the car down the yard several times before it fired up with a raucous exhaust. Willy drove it on to the road and raced it around Hornsey at 3am waking up the area. He came back and drove in to the workshop and switched off. We closed the doors and turned out the lights and went in to the office. A few minutes later the police arrived asking who had been driving a racing car on the street. We invited the police officer to have a cup of tea, which they accepted. After a chat they said “OK, let us see the car and we won’t book you”; so all was well.

The car went to Rhimes for the French Grand Prix and came back a few days later smashed.

While I was studying at Chelsea I designed and built and raced three racing cars which were named EVAD being Dave spelt backwards. Our team was Mike Wesson, Clive Puzey, Twig Wood and Mike Trackman. We all pulled together and were good friends. The first was a rear engined formula Junior which I raced in England at Brands Hatch, Silverstone, OultonPark, Snetterton, etc. At the end of the season I sold it for a good price showing a profit on the year. The next car was also a Formula Junior racing car, this time front engined. I raced this car in England band on the continent in Italy and Germany on the old Nürburgring which is a very long bumpy circuit. I got start money of £500 per race which was good considering the car had cost me less than £600 to build.

The final car was a sports GT which I raced in England at Silverstone, Snetterton, Brands Hatch etc. With the experience I had from Lotus works we could design and build a car in about three months over the winter in our lockup garage in Bayswater. At the end of this season I sold the car and bought a four year Lotus F2 MK12 without an engine. I found a Climax engine and renovated it rebuilding the car. I found it fast but difficult to drive being very sensitive on corners; hence I lost it a few times and spun off the circuit. The best position I had in an international race was 5th in the Eifelpokal race at the Nürburgring on 2 November 1960. I won two club races and we all had a great time. We all went our separate ways and that was the end of motor racing as I was soon to marry Pamela. I had kept in touch with some of my friends who stayed in motor racing such as Sherry Thynn who became finance director of Williams F1 Team.

In 1970 I was offered a F1 Cooper T86B complete with a BRM V12 engine and Hewland gearbox for £2,500 which was cheap due to the fact it was not running. I bought the car and with Roger Banks rebuilt it in his garage in Southport. We took it to OultonPark for a test. I drove it cautiously for about ten laps and found the car very difficult to drive and then came in. Roger then went off in it with a cloud of burnt rubber and wheel spin. On completion of his first lap he lost control and smashed the car very badly. He was lightly concussed so I took him to the local hospital where he soon recovered. So I had a BRM V12 engine and Hewland gear box but no car.

In 1972 I met Tim Parnell at the BRM works. We had some lunch and he then showed me around. As a result I bought a F1 BRM 153B chassis no 004 for £2,000 with wheel suspension but no engine or gear box. We built up the car over the winter then raced it very successfully in 1973 and 1974. It was a very forgiving car to drive and we won four races, set a lap record at Aintree and had four second places. I sold the car at the end of 1974 to show a good profit. The car is now owned by Bobby Bell who races it in historic events. It must be valued at £400k now. In 1974 I bought a Brabham BT 38/40 F2 racing car which was ready to race. We had a successful season racing it at ten events winning two races and then sold the car. And that was the end of racing cars for me.


I decided to have a go at piloting aircraft in 1993 and joined the West Lancs Flying Club at RAF Woodvale which is close to Southport. I took the private pilot’s course in the club’s Cessna 150 aircraft and the various written exams and obtained my licence to fly solo in July 1994.I had a blip on my first solo flight. I had just taken off going west over a pine forest at about 500 feet when the engine started to misfire, and I started to lose climb rate. I frantically adjusted the fuel mixture and suddenly the Engine cleared and I began to climb again. When I landed the instructor walked over to the plane saying “I forgot to tell you that this engine tends to oil up its plugs as it has not yet run in.” I flew for a short time but gave up as it was too costly at £80 per hour.

 2.6.2 MAUREEN AND PAULINE TAYOR (From 1944 to 1964 mainly in Mauritius)

Maureen and her twin sister Pauline were born on 8th March 1944. They spent their childhood with their parents, Percy and May Taylor, in Floréal, Mauritius, and accompanied their parents whenever they went on leave to England. Between the years 1952 to 1955 they were taught by the indomitable Miss Brocus, who had taught the many of the Taylor children in the past years. In 1953 they start dancing/ballet lessons “which become a huge interest and motivation in our lives.”

And during the years 1955/6 they accompanied their parents on leave to England and attended the boarding school of Sibton Park, at Lyminge near Folkestone.

While they had been in England Mario and Valma Desvaux de Marigny started up a BalletSchool in Curepipe, and on their return they joined their ballet school. For their general schooling between 1957 and 1963 they attended the QueenElizabethCollege in Rose Hill. But during that time their main interest was in ballet. In 1959 they danced in the Corps de Ballet of the Mauritius Dramatic Club (Sinbad the Sailor), and in the Corps de Ballet of the Société de Curepipe’s production of Faust. In the 1960’s they danced a Czardas and the Peasant dance from Giselle, choreographed by Mario and Valma Desvaux de Marigny in the pantomime Cinderella.

They accompanied their parents on leave to England once more, in 1960, and on this occasion they attended the Marie Rambert School of Ballet, Ladbroke Road, London W 11, as day pupils for both schooling and ballet lessons. And on their return in 1961 they take part in Mario and Valma’s “Variety Performance” of Ballet during which they danced a duet. And in 1963 Mario and Valma’s production at the Plaza they get several solo roles.

From 1964 both twins leave Mauritius to start work in England. Maureen says: “It was an immensely difficult decision to leave, but I wanted to have an interesting career.”

 2.6.3    MAUREEN MARGARET TAYLOR (From 1964 resident in England)

The following account is in her own words:


We arrived in England on 3rd November 1964 by BOAC VC10 and lived at 26A Brackley Road, Beckenham, Kent. The house was owned by relatives of Mary Kemp, and the top floor was a self contained flat with separate entrance, which Dad (Percy) had rented for Pauline, Michael and me. During November and December 1964 I was a sales assistant at Gorringes Department Store, Victoria, SW1. I sold gloves, organised the glove displays, and I was the only person on the counter. Customers included the Queen Mother and the aristocracy.

From January 1965 I was employed by the BBC, who trained me as a secretary for only six months at the ILEA College, Kingsway, London. In the holiday periods I worked at the BBC Club and Broadcasting House, W1, and Audience Research. After training my first job was at Bush House.

I was secretary to Miss Gayner, Administrative Assistant, Asian and African Services (Overseas Direction) Bush House. It was a very busy office with just two secretaries. We dealt with the Employment contracts and salaries of all the Overseas staff broadcasting to Asia and Africa on the World Service, from Bush House. We also dealt with their recruitment via the British High Commissions and looking after them during their stay in UK.

Miss Gayner’s office also looked after the staff that had been recruited in London. I booked and prepared Board Rooms For these Job Vacancies when they occurred. Shortly after I joined her office, Miss Gayner retired and was replaced by Barbara Todd.

From 1967/68 I was secretary to Miss Barbara Todd, Administrative Assistant, African Services. When the Department was reorganised, I decided to continue working for Barbara Todd and joined her when she was put in charge of African Services. I was under even more pressure in this office as I was the only secretary. I remember filling in for brief periods, when secretaries were unable to be found for the sections we administered. You never knew where you could end up at any one time, as well as doing your own job. The phone never stopped ringing and there were endless people to be listened to and helped. But it was never dull. I often came in over the weekend to clear all the typing. You had to be diligent as you were dealing with staff contracts and they had to be correct.

I loved Bush House, and worked very hard. I also made a lot of friends.

 Moved to Television


Kensington House, Shepherds Bush. I was secretary Arts – Features and worked for Tony Palmer, producer of a live arts/talk show every Friday which was televised from Lime Grove Studios. The presenter was Angela Huth, now a novelist. Amongst those on the show were Ravi Shankar and Adam Faith. I sent out tickets for the audience each week, and I also looked after Tony Palmer. I booked film and accommodation on overseas trips, ordered transport for all artists, met them, organised drinks and 5refreshments for the after show party. On Fridays I was in the studio to retype or organise whenever anything went wrong, which it did. There was no office at Lime Grove so I had to gatecrash any office and type on any typewriter. It was very manic but enjoyable. The other secretary and I had often to stay until the early hours waiting for contributors to phone or bring in their pieces and to Roneo off the script (always Yellow paper) all by hand. On these days I slept on the floor of her flat in London.

I was seconded to work with John Wells to type the script he was compiling for a TV series for Gulliver’s Tales. It was never produced, but having John Wells read Gulliver’s Tales to me was so enjoyable – we laughed so much. He was just finishing writing “Mrs Wilson’s Diaries” and asked me about some unfinished lines! John Wells wrote “Dear Bill” and contributed to “Private Eye”. He was a friend of Lord Snowdon and was often in the BBC Club at Kensington House and the group of satirists of the time.


I was Secretary to Graeme Macdonald the producer of the “Wednesday Play”. His office was at Television Centre, WhiteCity. The plays tended to be modern, cutting edge and controversial. Among the playwrights was Dennis Potter. I booked studio space and cut out the press reviews of the plays, as well as being part of the process of producing a play for television. I loved it.


I joined BOAC on 2nd June 1969 as air cabin crew. I had six weeks training at Speedbird House Heathrow. I joined the VC10 and 707 Fleets and my supernumerary flight was to Teheran. All aircraft were operated by 6 cabin crew of 3 men and 3 women, and four flight deck crew of captain, 1st officer, navigator and engineer.

The trips were between 3 days and three weeks away. The longest time off in UK was 7 days which followed a trip length of three weeks.

I flew to North America, Alaska, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Panama, Peru Colombia, Venezuela, British Guyana, Bermuda, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Johannesburg, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore Brunei, Manila, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Auckland, Fiji, Hawaii, Tel Aviv, Cyprus, Beirut, Damascus, Kuwait, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Jeddah, Riyadh.

Promotion Course No 72 to Stewardess “A” 26 July 1971.

I then worked only in First Class. The stewardesses worked only in the cabin and the stewards worked in the galley. First class operated with 1 steward and 1 stewardess with the occasional help of the chief steward, but we could not always count on it.

 HIJACK  3RD March 1974

Super VC10 G –GASGO Beirut to Amsterdam. We boarded in Beirut but the flight had originated in Bombay. I was working in First Class  with steward Brian Loader and serving the passengers their lunch when suddenly and with a great deal of noise and force two passengers rushed through the First Class cabin past the galley and burst onto the Flight Deck. They were armed with pistols and grenades and yelling “Get Out!” They threw the Captain and Engineer off the flight deck, leaving the two 1st Officers to fly the plane. They ordered all the first class passengers and crew to the rear of the cabin. There followed an announcement from them which said: “This is your new captain speaking. We are from the Youth Movement for the Liberation of Palestine. If you do as we say you will not be harmed. Sit down and put your hands on your heads.”

The hijackers dealt only with me and the other stewardess Mary Le Feuvre. They did not realise that Aban Reporter was also a stewardess, as she was dressed in a sari, a national stewardess based in Bombay. The male members of the crew had to sit where they could find seats amongst the passengers. One hijacker stayed on the Flight Deck, and another stood at the front of the Economy Cabin in order to control the passengers and crew. No one was allowed to stand except with one of us. I had to collect all the passports in for them and collect hand luggage from hat racks. These were filled with explosives and placed over wing, at the front of each cabin and in the rear in front of the toilets. I asked and after some hours was allowed to give orange juice to all passengers and take them one by one to the toilet. On board was an unaccompanied small boy coming to UK for a heart operation, as well as an aged Indian gentleman who could not walk, and a very young new born baby with its parents. One hijacker shot at a passenger who was asking him to treat him better as he was an Arab. He missed him and the bullet hit the fuselage. I thought that he was aiming at me as I was the only one standing up, collecting the bags.

The hijackers were extremely agitated and kept calling to Allah and speaking to us in “learned” English commands. However Mary and I were very calm and unthreatening. We carried out all their commands, but we never befriended them or spoke unnecessarily. We explained what we were doing and never moved quickly. They broke the duty free alcohol bottles all down the aisle and placed oxygen cylinders around. The passengers were amazing and very quiet and trusting. We all had to sit with our hands on our heads for hours. We did not know where we were flying to, except that the sun was setting on the left hand side. Eventually it was obvious that the plane was descending, and the hijackers became increasingly more agitated and very nervous and kept checking their watches. I knew there was a time limit to the d detonation of the bombs on board. They kept yelling “We hope you are ready”. I later learned that at first the authorities at Schiphol refused to let the plane land but changed their minds when the co-pilot radioed that he had only enough fuel to fly for another fifteen minutes.

On landing Mary and a steward Anthony Sayer were taken to the front of the plane to open the galley door. But because the plane had not been depressurised it was very difficult to open any doors. The only door opened was the forward galley door and the chute inflated. The passengers were allowed off but it was very slow as there was only a single aisle. In the first class cabin were two hijackers and the two pilots with guns to their heads. When I got to the bottom of the chute I herded the passengers I could find away from the aircraft in case it exploded, which it did about five minutes later. There was a huge noise as the VC10 was at the end of the runway with all engines still running. We were miles away from the Terminal Building with ploughed fields in between. Eventually the rescue vehicles appeared.

The hijackers were tried and jailed in Holland. They were Sami Hussain Tamimi and Adnam Ahmad Nuri. They were Palestinian. They had been told to sit in the third row of the plane’s Economy Class. Under their seats, in the emptied life jacket containers, as promised, they found two pistols, hand grenades, explosives, fuses and detonator caps, which had been placed there whilst the cabin had been cleaned during the transit stop at Beirut.

On 24th March 1974 Ross Stanton, Chief Executive of BOAC, presented the crew with Certificates of Commendation “In Recognition of Exemplary Conduct”. The Captain was Colin Harrison, First Officers Geoffrey Crawford and David Warren, Engineer Officer William MacCracken, Chief Steward Robin Wright, Stewards Brian Loader and Anthony Sayer and Stewardesses Maureen Taylor, Mary Le Feuvre and Aban Reporter.

We had all been incredibly lucky.

 Employment with BRITISH AIRWAYS from 1975 to 1991

The hijack was a sign of its time. I experienced bomb scares, engine fires and political unrest in many countries. I also experienced flying on aircraft hit by lightening, and encountering very bad turbulence and yet I could not wait to be a part of it. I have wanted to fly since I was eight years old. I loved flying best of all and can’t believe I achieved my life long ambition.


Promotion Course to Steward I , 11th September 1975

I joined the Boeing 747 Fleet on 26th June 1978

I joined the Concorde Fleet on 15th October 1979 and flew to New York, Washington, Bahrain, and Singapore.

Concorde was the world’s first supersonic passenger aircraft and it carried 100 VIP passengers. The flight time between London (HeathrowAirport) and New York (JFK) was 3 ½ hours.

I joined the Tristar Fleet on 15th February 1982

I was promoted to Purser on 20th May 1984

I left Long Haul Flying and joined Short Haul 8th June 1987

Flew on BAC 1-11, B 737, B 757 on all European routes – 6 day “on” and 3 days “off”. I was in charge on BA 1-11 and B 737.

Following my breast cancer operation on 12th May 1985 and radiotherapy course I never regained my health. I was off sick until December 1985 and declared fit to work on ground but not fly.

I worked at the British Airways Sales shop in the Strand, London, I did the accounts for all the daily ticket sales and paid in the cash, from January to December 1986.

I returned to flying in January 1987 to May 1988, but was off sick during 1988 to 1989.

I was given ground duties from September 1989 to August 1991. I worked Four Corners Sales Shop in Whitley’s Centre, Bayswater and British Airways Shop, GrosvenorGardens. I did Daily Ticket accounts, and worked 4 hours and 6 hours in my final year.

I retired on an ill health pension on 1ST September 1991


Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that whilst I worked on Concord the record breaking aircraft of its day, Murdo Macdonald was the Captain of the Sir Lancelot which was a record breaking tea clipper of its day.

Another coincidence was that I was rostered to fly on Concord with John Hitchcock. His parents were Cecil and Joan Hitchcock and he had been in Mauritius as had his father. His grandfather H. J. Hitchcock had married Nellie Mitchell in Mauritius. Cecil and Joan were friends of Percy and May although I had never met John until we flew together.

The last coincidence was being rostered to fly with Mary Le Feuvre, the one and only time we managed to get hijacked.

Mary Le Feuvre was the cousin of Jane Kemp. As you remember Pauline, Michael and I lived in Beckenham in a flat owned by one of Jane’s relatives. Jane had become a great friend – we were at school together in Mauritius, and her parents were Bunny (Bernard Kemp the Archdeacon of the Diocese of Mauritius) and Mary Kemp.

The BOAC/British Airways rostering system was completely random. You had no input into where you were sent.

2.6.4   PAULINE CATHERINE TAYLOR  (left Mauritius in November 1964)

Maureen and I arrived in England on 3rd November 1964 and we lived at 26A Brackley Road, Beckenham, Kent, which had been rented by Percy for Maureen, Michael and myself.

I worked as a sales assistant at Peter Robinson Department Store in Oxford Circus, and I was selling hats.


On 11th March 1965 I joined the BBC as a clerk in the External Services Registry. There were three clerks and the manager Mrs Page. As part of the Legal and Policy Section it had contacts with a variety of BBC departments including Copyright, Legal, Sports, Schools and Programme Contracts Departments.

From December 1966 to November 1969 I was clerk at the Auditions and Availability Unit, for Artists’ Bookings Television, at Kensington House.

I was on my own arranging weekly interviews and auditions. I prepared an Availability and Casting Bulletin as an aid to Directors casting. I had contact with a vast number of artists and agents. The Auditioner was Doreen Dixon, and auditions took place in halls at Parsons Green and Goodge Street, London. After auditions I could go home early (4 pm!)

From November 1969 to 24th April 1970 I was clerk in the Studio Management, Television Service at the BBC Television Centre, WhiteCity, W12.

My work consisted in assisting the Head of Studio Management, Colin Lesley, in administration and allocation of the 120 Studio Management Staff. I had to inform them of Rosters and changes, checking of Allowance Claim Forms, ensuring that stand-bys were available (ie) Floor Managers, Vision Mixers, etc. Programmes were mostly live then so any illness or lateness was a big problem!


I joined BUA at GatwickAirport. The Chairman was Adam Thomson, who had been with Freddie Laker in contributing to the Berlin Airlift after World War II. I flew on VC 10, BAC 1-11, Boeing 707, to Europe, UK destinations, and Entebbe and Nairobi.

BUA merged with Caledonian Airways and became known as BCAL or British Caledonian Airways. From April 1971 to January 1988 I flew on Boeing 707, DC10, A3-10, Boeing 747, and Boeing 767. Destinations included Europe, East and West Africa, Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, Cameroon, Morocco, Libya. I also flew to South America, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Recife, Sao Paulo – to Hong Kong and India.

In 1988 BCAL merges with British Airways, and I was based at Gatwick. From there I flew to Saudi Arabia, South America, Africa, North America, Caribbean, India, Mauritius, Seychelles. I achieved the position of Cabin Service Director in November 1980, and remained in that position until I retired. The Cabin Service Director was the first line manager of Cabin Crew and Onboard Customer Service.

March 2004 I retired after 34 years of flying (1970-2004). My last flight was BA 2156, Antigua-LGW on 28 March 2004. The Captain was Philip Turner. Leaving Antigua on the Boeing 777 I had a very special “send off” usually reserved for retiring captains. On taxiing out the fire brigade used two canons to spray an arc of water over the aircraft and the ground staff lined up to wave good-bye. The fire engines flashed their lights. It was a great honour!


Michael was born on 11th December 1947, the last of Percy and May Taylor 5 children. The following account of his life is provided in his own words.

“I must have decided I had enough hanging around and came into the world in Durban’ South Africa inconveniently while my parents were on holiday. I was the only one out of the 5 children not to be born in Mauritius. Not a good move as it made things more difficult later in life, particularly when my job required me to travel throughout Africa during the apartheid years. It even prevented me from buying a property in Mauritius.

I was told I was a pretty baby and got a lot of attention from the women folk, but sadly once I got to my teens this apparent charm seemed to desert me just when I really wanted it. In those days children like me got farmed out to nannies while parents socialised. I therefore spoke Creole before English, which annoyed my Mum as she could not understand me until I was about 5 when I started to get the hang of English.

I remember travelling to England in my early years with my parents in old planes like Super Constellations, which took days. I recall once landing in the middle of the night at an airport in the desert in Africa and seeing huge 45 gallon drums of fuel being manhandled to fuel the plane.

Oh! There was a period I liked eating cigarette stubs out of the bins at airport, which drove my parents mad. I never took up smoking. On one of these flights, we went through an electric storm making the plane dive up and down with lightning at the windows. Much to my mum’s disgust, I was having a ball thinking it was like a Big Dipper ride when she was scared whittles.

My parents used to travel every 4 years to UK on a years leave. My two older brother’s Derek and David already lived away from home at boarding school leaving only my sisters Maureen and Pauline and me to travel with them. But as soon as we arrived in the UK we were all three bundled off to boarding school for the year. Twice while very young (around 4 and 8) I was sent with my sisters to a boarding school in Kent. It was an all girls’ school with just one other guy (the head mistresses son). An interesting time which I was too young to take full advantage of?

Schooling for the first 10 years in Mauritius varied from Kindergarten to private teachers at home.

In all I think I counted up once that I had been to over eleven different schools till I was about thirteen when I joined my tearaway friends Blob and Nick Latimer at St Esprit College in Quatre Bornes, Mauritius. Their father ran the Rothmans cigarette factory in Port Louis, so on Saturdays we went to the factory to collect free cigarettes from the assembly line. The longest cigarette we found you could keep alight was about a meter long.

Once with the Latimers we let off a Cannon Petard/Fire cracker in the new precinct in Curepipe blowing out a couple of shop fronts, which we though was fun, till we had to pedal like mad on our bikes to get away from the angry shop owners chasing us.

My other friends at St Esprit were HSBC Bank manager’s sons George and Harry Dumbell who were a good steady religious influence on me. I will always treasure the way they accepted me into their family.

When I was about 15 we started a skiffle band with plastic guitars, ashtrays as drums. Oh I played the double base (well a tea chest with pole and string) at our first gig our audience were totally captivated, as they were prisoners in the local jail. That was the start of the Whirlwinds band which is still successfully playing in UK. (See the web site which includes photos and the bands history

Being the last of 5 children was quite lonely. My dad seemed to always be at work, even some Christmas days as ships in the harbour would not wait. I really liked my Dad but there was an age gap. On his odd free weekend he would sleep, and I wanted to go to the beach. My two brothers were at boarding school from an early age so I did not really get to know them till my late teens /twenties. My twin sisters seemed to me at the time so grown up, although there was only 4 years between us.

Things were very formal at home with dinner at a set time (To the minute). If I invited any friends around for tea, I was embarrassed by the full silver service, even a Boy and Cook in white starched uniforms on hand to serve the pristinely made sandwiches, to some youngsters who just wanted to grab a bite to eat. Now looking back I realise my Mum was doing what she knew best. So as a result I spent most of my time with the Latimers and Dumbells going to the beach, swimming and sailing, and just generally messing about.

On the 18th September 1966 my fun days in Mauritius came to an end as my parents put me on a plane to England to live with my sisters in a flat in Beckenham, Kent so that I could complete my A levels at Croydon Technical College. I really missed Mauritius and found the only way I could survive in UK was to cut myself of completely from Mauritius by immersing myself in UK life. I later discovered this upset quite a few of my Mauritian friends who felt I had abandoning them.

In 1967 I met my wife to be (Anne Ballard) at a Croydon college dance and even though I moved to Birmingham on a 3 years Management course in the motor and transport Industry, our relationship blossomed. Up to that time I had never had any clear-cut idea of exactly what I wanted to do, other than manage a business. The Birmingham course, which in itself came about by accident, turned into a blessing. Because of its mix of management studies and technical/mechanics matters, I suddenly for the first time     wanted to study and learn.

In 1970 I qualified, and got my first job as Assistant Transport Manager at WH Smith’s Head Office in the city of London. It was an interesting job looking after 50 countrywide vehicle depots and a fleet of 2000 trucks.

At the same time Anne and I got married and Caroline was born in 1971.With a family to feed I found I needed to earn more money so with the help and guidance from my brother David in 1971, I set up an office in Croydon for a construction company buying and selling building land in the South East of England. Within 2 years I had managed to make a lot of money but unfortunately the 1973 recession hit and through my employers’ financial mismanagement I ended up losing my job and my money.

To make ends meet I took an early morning job loading potatoes at Covent Garden Market for my brother in-law. I would then buy and sell second hand Mini cars in the day. This lead to a chance opportunity of selling two-second hand Morris Oxford taxis to a Chinaman in Mauritius, which got me back, involved with the island.

In 1975 I managed to supply a steel building to Doger de Spéville in Mauritius which gave me sufficient funds to fly my family to Mauritius in 1976. This was my first visit since I left in 1966. Although my parents over the years wanted me to come out to see them I refused all offers until I could afford to pay myself. It took 10 years!

The 1976 trip to Mauritius was nice for Anne and Caroline and me to stay with Mum and Dad at the campment at Point aux Cannoniers. And see what was the last of the Raj with all the servants etc.

The first time Anne and Caroline went to Grand sable beach with Dasson the chauffeur she felt guilty laying on the beach while he sat in the car waiting for them. Caroline was terrified by the lizards on the ceiling thinking they were baby crocodiles so when she went to bed the Boy was sent into the bed room to clear it of geckoes.

While in Mauritius I got a job with a Rogers company, LG Adam in London.

Nine month on I left LGA feeling they were too sleepy, and started up my own Export Company to find any Rogers managers who wanted to use my quick, competitive service. I was prevented from doing so by the then Rogers MD Colo Maingard and this nearly put me out of business But in the long run this was the best thing that could have happened because it forced me to become independent and find non Rogers group customers like Bonieux and ERC transport who helped me a lot in the early days. In fact my first order with Pierre Bonieux, involved him having to send me a cheque, as I simply did not have the money to buy the spares he was ordering from me.

My older brother Derek helped by putting me up each time I came to visit customers in Mauritius. This turned out to be great as it gave us both an opportunity to get to know one another.

By 1984 the Export business had expanded world-wide and bought its own office, which was the start of MKT properties venture into Service offices. We were amazed to find that we were the first people in UK to do this on any scale. The property business then expanded into developing medium priced industrial units and by the mid 1990’s both businesses had grown into successful multi million pound operations.

The Export Company had by then a wide base of customers like The World Bank, Bob Geldof (Band-Aid), The Catholic Church, Oxfam, and many more. One of the most prestigious accounts being appointed as one of only 4 companies authorised to handle UK government overseas procurement.

In the late 1990’s I was still visiting Mauritius at least twice a year, and started to travel the world snow skiing, and windsurfing.  And by accident I became the first ever European to windsurf Rodrigues Island in1996. I have since been back to Rodrigues nearly every year with good Mauritian friends.

In 1998 I had to quickly learn to play the guitar for George Dumbell 50th birthday party at the Grand Bay Yacht club for the Whirlwind band 35-year reunion gig. I have since carried on playing the guitar in various rock bands in the UK.

In 2003 I started to put my semi-retirement plans in place by selling off and down size my businesses, giving me more time to travel, and to play music. And in 2006 I started kite surfing which has reduced the average age of my friends to 17!

My daughter Caroline married English Italian – Leo in September 2007 making Anne and I very happy as they make a great couple (Chip off the old block?)

My wife Anne has been a major contributor in helping us live a happy, healthy, and lucky life.”

[Michael Kenneth Taylor, 5.6.08]









James, the only son of Kenneth and Molly Macdonald (née McRorie), was born on 11th August 1925 in Mauritius.

After having been educated in Scotland and at Sedbergh in England, he returned to Mauritius during the Second World War in 1940. He left Mauritius in 1944 to join the Royal Air Force “as a fighter pilot.” But he had already begun his studies in Mauritius for Medicine at EdinburghUniversity so when he arrived at the Recruiting Centre in UK he was persuaded to continue and complete his medical studies before returning to the Recruitment Centre for service in the armed services.

He completed his medical training at EdinburghUniversity where he was awarded MB, ChB and DMRD. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps with the 23 Para Field Ambulance in 1952 where he was promoted to the rank of Major and was made second in command.

He married Dr Catherine Drysdale in 1951, the daughter of John Drysdale, CBE, who had served in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya. They have two sons: Kenneth John Stewart and Murdo James Stewart.

After leaving the 23 Para Field Ambulance, James became assistant radiologist at St Thomas’ Hospital, London from 1959-1962. He was then appointed to the RoyalMarsdenHospital in London as consultant radiologist from 1962 to 1985. He was a member of the Board of Governors from 1967 to 1982, and vice-chairman of the Board from 1975 to 1982, and became Director of the Diagnostic X-Ray Department. He was honorary senior lecturer at the Institute of Cancer Research 1966-1985, teacher in radiology at the University of London 1966-1985.

He contributed to numerous books and scientific journals on radiology and cancer. And he was on numerous committees and was the UK delegate for diagnostic radiology to Union Européene des Medicins Specialistes 1972-81.

Since his retirement James has been living with his wife Catherine in a fine house at Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Perthshire. The house was built in the 1930’s at about the same time as George Taylor’s house, Brae House, was built in Floréal, Mauritius.

[1] Ian Smith, The Taylor Smith Story, pp. 35-36. But this account must be verified because the earthquake took place in 1906 and she married George Richardson as a widow in 1904.

[2] Ibid. p. 36.

[3] Ibid. p.36. The only problem with this reference is that if Mary Ann was with her husband, Captain Thomas, at San Francisco during the earthquake, then they must have been there in 1906 (the year of the earthquake). But the date of her marriage to George Richardson must be October 1904, since the first child by her marriage to George was born on 24 June 1906 in Rodrigues.

[4] Ibid. p.36; but on p. 96 Ian says he came out to Mauritius in 1905 as a partner in Black and Smith.

[5] They had no children and information about their later life is scant. For instance it is not known when they moved to the Channel Islands, or whether they were there during the Nazi occupation of these islands.


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