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COMBINED SERVICES TOUR OF RHODESIA AND KENYA

The Combined Services team flew in an RAF Hastings aircraft staying at El Adem in Libya before arriving in Nairobi. The Hastings was an uncomfortable noisy aircraft and the journey was hard. As daylight broke we found that we were over Lake Victoria – a magnificent and welcome sight! Playing in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare Zimbabwe) Bulawayo and Kitwe, they stayed on military bases or in private homes and were well entertained. HJC recalls that he was one of six players who sat up all night playing cards, to be picked up by minibus at 6.00am then taken to a Safari Park, Not surprisingly the party fell asleep and saw no wild animals! The matches generally were easy for the team which had many top class players in it. The team visited Victoria Falls and had a picnic on an island with crocodiles swimming around!

  
On the Combined Services Tour of Rhodesia and Kenya, the final match in Salisbury was watched by the British Lions Touring party on route to South Africa, little did he know that he had already been carded as first reserve for the Lions which he discovered on returning home. 
On attending his medical examination before joining the Lions, HJC was told by the examining Doctor that he had the lowest pulse rate he had ever encountered. This fact alone meant that fitness could easily be achieved. 

 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Kenneth Cross meets the RAF team before an Inter Service match at Twickenham. Known as " Bing " he was the power behind RAF rugby. As C in C Bomber Command during The Cold War he had the RED telephone to Downing St,. on his desk ready to launch retaliatory nuclear strikes should we had been attacked.
HJC recalls that "When serving as Adjutant of No 1 Parachute Training School, RAF Abingdon, I was ordered to attend HQ Transport Command for final selection as ADC ( Aide de Camp ) to Sir Kenneth Cross , the then C in C. It was a job I did not want and was much relieved on entering his office to here him say " You dont want to be an ADC do you Brownie ? " " No Sir " I replied and we sat down and talked Rugby for 30 minutes.
Tragedy struck Sir Kenneth in retirement when his wife, Lady Cross, was murdered in their family home in Chelsea.  

 

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