Harry Curtis (Father)

Harry was born in Johannesburg on 1 November 1914, his father being a mine manager at Crown Mines.

He matriculated at Durban Boys High in 1932, straight after which he started working at City Deep Mines being trained as an underground shift boss.

In 1941 Harry joined the South African Air Force to train and become a pilot. He started his flying days at No 5 Air School Witbank, his first flight being on 14th October 1941 in a Tiger Moth. He qualified to wear the South African Flying Badge on 10 April 1942 after flying 165 hours. His logbook contains a summary of Flying and Assessment undertaken at 25 Air School. The assessment reflects the period December 1943 to July 1944, reflecting total flying hours of 1402 and Above the Average assessment as a Pilot Instructor.

 

 

A later Flying Assessment undertaken at 9 Fighter Squadron on 31 July 1945 reflects:

Assessment of Ability:

As a Fighter Pilot – Average +
In Bombing – Average +
In Air Gunnery – Average +

 

  

As a pilot instructor, he instructed for two years and was then sent on operations to North Africa, Europe and Greece.

He was demobilised in December 1945 and married my mother Joyce on 29 December 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry was released from the SA Airforce in December 1945

Harry was released from the SA Airforce and put on reserve on the afternoon of the 28th December 1945 and married Joyce in the morning of  the 29 December.

The were married at St Mary’s Cathedral, Johannesburg, opposite the station. The reception was at the Langham Hotel and my uncle Harold Duthie gave Mum away as Grandpa Arthur Sammual Distin died when my Mum was 16. Mum wore a naby blue dress and had no bridesmaids. Dad’s best man was Basil Guest. Their honeymoon was at the Amamzimtoti Hotel in Natal for 3 weeks. For the first 9 months of the married life, they stayed at the Sunnyside Hotel which was managed by my Aunt Rita Frank, Mums sister. They moved to an apartment in Norwood for 8 months.

Harry’s brother Buster has moved to Northern Rhodesia and started a mining supplies company, J L Curtis Ltd, in Ndola. He persuaded Harry to join him and while setting things up in Ndola mom moved back to the Sunnyside Hotel for 6 months before she joined Harry.

They Stayed at Hadden Hall for 1 year and then moved into an apartment in 3rd Avenue for 18 months. From there they moved to Highlands Farm where they lived until leaving the country.

Unfortunately I have no formally recorded memoirs of my father’s life. What is recorded has come from the memories of his children, relatives and friends, and from certain records evidencing events in his life.

Harry’s one real passion in life was golf. He had obviously inherited this interest from his father who was a passionate and very good golfer. He played 18 holes three times a week and retained his enthusiasm for the game right until his dying day. Being a physically strong man, and relatively supple, he hit the ball a long way. He was a single handicapped golfer for most of his golfing days, down to as low as a 4 handicap at times.

The town of Ndola had a beautiful 18-hole course, the premier course of Zambia. The Ndola Golf Club hosted the internationally renowned annual Cock O’ the North Golf tournament which was started in 1953. The tournament over the years attracted such greats as the South Africans Harold Henning, Dennis Hutchinson, Terry Westbrook the English Golfers Bernard Gallagher, Craig de Foy, Sam Terrance, Brain Barnes, Christy O’ Conner, Dai Rees and the Australian Jack Newton.

Harry participated in a number of Cock O’ the North Pro-Am. He was well known throughout the Zambian golfing fraternity. He achieved two holes in one, both on the Ndola Golf Course in 1960 and 1968.

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