Thursday, 25 August 2016
Week 34: The Semliki Crossing
I have recently bought another book written/compiled by a Palin. This particular 580 page book was compiled by the son of diary/journal entries made by his mother, father and grandfather. One of the great things about this book was it also included plenty of great pictures.
Reginald went on to follow in his father’s footsteps and chose religion as his occupation, however with a major twist. In 1929 Reginald was ordained as a priest at Chester Cathedral and on July 19 1934 he left England bound for Uganda to work there. This book covers his Mboga Diaries while he was there.
Starting off Reginald was meeting with the local chiefs, learning the languages/dialects and having to build his home and furniture. In his daily entries he writes about the church services and baptisms that he performs and the locals that he meets. He goes on safaris to meet the other communities and tribes and will have a service there and perform baptisms.
He writes about meeting the local teachers and setting up further instruction for the teachers. He also mentions the weather, the hot sun or the torrential rain storms, the wild beasts or the large snakes.
He mentions the excitement in getting letters and newspapers from home and his daily correspondence outbound to various organizations. One of Reginald’s passions was playing tennis and he had built a tennis court near the church that he could continue to play.
In Dorothy Clayton’s journals we read when she first met Reginald Palin and how he had traveled 50 miles in only a day and a half and then took ill. She mentions that while he was in the sick room she would go into visit him and cheer him up. That was in April of 1935. We also read that over the next year there were times when the two would correspond and then after a months holiday in Dec 1936 Reginald writes to Dorothy and explains what he feels toward her and what she means to him. Dorothy reciprocated the emotion!
Dorothy sailed for home in June of 1937 and Reg followed in September. On Thursday February 3 1938 the two are married in St Thomas church. Dorothy’s father performed the service and Reginald’s father took the Holy Communion. They returned to Africa in May 1938.
Their first son, Christopher, was born that December and baptised the following January. The family then makes the trek to Toro where Reginald starts his new job as Rural Dean of Toro including the Mboga parishes.
The news of WWII makes it Toro and it Reginald mentions that there are petrol restrictions in Uganda. Reginald is busy going to the different communities and performing services and the young family continues to grow. The second son, Frank, is born the following year.
Reginald continues his work travelling through Uganda and helping the local churches and teachers. Two years later their first daughter, Rosemary Enid, is born in Toro. The young family is thriving despite the typical childhood ailments, colds, measles etc.
In 1942 Reginald was also asked to become the Rural dean for Bunyoro in addition to Toro. This made it extremely difficult year for him for all the extra travelling that he need to do. Also that winter was extremely dry and so the food was quite scarce.
The third son, Robert Alan, is born the following year in Namirembe. And a couple of months later the family goes on a six month leave – not to England, because of the war, but to Cape Town.
In the epilogue it states that shortly after the 6 month leave in Cape Town, Reginald moved his base to Bunyoro and in 1945 he was appointed Archdeacon of the whole Western Province of Uganda. The following year Celia Margaret was born.
In 1947 the family traveled back to England on furlough but it was a bitter sweet having to leave the two older boys in a boarding school there for the next four years. In 1950 Reginald became the Archdeacon of Uganda which required Reginald to learn yet another tribal language. “Although his job was now mainly administrative, Reg was never happier than when on pastoral duties and her thoroughly enjoyed going on safari for a few days.” In 1963 Reginald and Dorothy celebrated their silver wedding anniversary with a tea party attended by many of their Ugandan friends and family.
In 1964, after 30 years of overseas service, they returned to England where Reginald accepted the position of vicar of Wichenford, a small rural parish in Worcestershire. He died in 1989.