My father, Noel Eric Sydney Simon, known as Peter, was born in London in 1898.
He attended Haylebury College from where he joined the Royal Flying Corps as a reconnaissance member in WWI. He was injured on artillery observation and his right hand remained clawed for the rest of his life
After the war he spent time in Africa. He tried his hand at dairy farming in Kwazulu Natal and mixed farming in the Barbeton valley. His next venture was in the acting arena. This was a passion of his which he never relinquished. In those early days he even appeared in the same production as Dame Irene Vanbrugh.
Travelling further afield, he was given a contact in Ceylon and worked there on a rubber plantation. He met Peggy who was visiting as a friend’s bridesmaid. They married in Colombo but later returned to UK.
Just before the outbreak of WWII, Peter moved to South Africa with his young family. He joined the South African Air Force in a training capacity.
My father was always politically aware and wasn’t prepared to be a spectator. Unhappy with the political situation in SA, he relocated our family to Rhodesia where he continued to take an active part in civic affairs. He wrote copious letters to the newspaper on subjects which touched his conscience and he stood as a Rhodesia Party candidate in 1965. He was unsuccessful but he didn’t lose his deposit.
For many years he was vice-chairman of the Bulawayo branch of Hopelands, the centre for Downs Syndrome children and he was actively involved in the local SPCA.
He remained active in the insurance field until a few months before his death, at the age of 82. My brothers and I lost a father who was always prepared act on his convictions.