Contribution by Lucy Tarr:
After they returned to Livingstone in 1938, Winnie employed a Cook called Joseph who had worked for Granny May for several years. During the war years overseas leave was cancelled for all personnel in Government. Ralph worked very long hours during that period, especially when it was thought the Germans might break through from the north. All coded messages from the Western Desert to Pretoria came through Livingstone and Ralph and the Chief of Police were the only ones with sufficient security clearance to handle the encoded messages.
Ralph would have to go down to the Engineering department late at night and decipher and re-encipher before sending on the Pretoria. The Chief of Police had to sit and see that nothing untoward happened. I can remember many times waking to hear Dad coming in after 2.0 & 3.0 am. He had tried to enlist again at the outbreak of war but was turned down as it was felt he might be needed in the future to do just what transpired.
In 1942 a siren system was installed in the centre of town as it was thought that the Italians might push through from Tanganyika and further south in an effort to reach South Africa. Winnie told Joseph about the siren that if it sounded we would all have to run away into the bush and hide. A practice run was carried out one day without warning while Winnie was in town. When she returned she found that Joseph had made enough sandwiches to feed an army, boiled enough milk for about three days, filled a dozen containers with water, got his wife to pack clothes for us children and was about to leave so that we could all run and hide !!!!
Many times once I started Boarding School, Winnie would say to Joseph that they would be away for a week or so and she would phone him when they were coming back and they would arrives home to a cooked meal and everything spick and span. In about 1951, Joseph had reached an approximate age of 80 yrs and was going blind. Ralph awarded him a pension and sent him home to his village in Western Barotseland. He begged not to be sent away but Winnie was afraid of him doing himself damage because of his eyesight. His son also told the folks that he would die if sent away. Sure enough, three months later the son came to tell us that Joseph had died.
Constant up grading of the telecommunications system was undertaken throughout Ralph's career with the Colonial Service. Throughout Northern Rhodesia, until the advent of Federation, local calls in all towns were free. This was due to the efficient manner in which the Department was run. Many interesting people visited us from Britain during those early years after the War and on one occasion two men from ATM Company came to stay. Food rationing was still very much in evidence in Britain in 1946 so for Sunday Lunch Mother arranged for a leg of lamb to be served. The visitors were delighted and when Mother offered ?seconds? they accepted with alacrity. Dad stood for so long at the Carving table and after an enquiry from Mother, he had to confess that there wasn't one scrap of meat left on the bone which caused him much embarrassment !!