Author Topic: Rodney Burton-Williams - 1950's  (Read 1313 times)

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Offline Michael Alexander

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Rodney Burton-Williams - 1950's
« on: November 11, 2013, 02:27:24 PM »
This is interesting , but a wee bit before my time, can anyone assist Bernard?


My name is Bernard.

I was born in Cape Town in 1961.

I am trying to find some family history and hoped ypou may direct me further.

My mother who is now 83 lived in Oranjemund in 1957(ish) and was married to a man called Rodney Burton-Williams.

He was involved in diamond prospecting perhaps as a surveyor.

He was sadly killed in a motorbike accident around 1957-8 (I know this because my elder brother was born to them in 1957).

That is all I have.

Any suggestions for getting any information from so far back?

Many thanks.


OPS 1976-1982 : CBC 1982-1988

Offline Bob Molloy

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Re: Rodney Burton-Williams - 1950's
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2013, 11:31:38 PM »
Hi Bernard,
                   There were three mine accidents resulting in European deaths during that period. One killed a visiting senior consulting engineer when he jumped from the cab of a diesel-electric train after the speed control jammed. The others involved a car and a helicopter. 
The car, actually a bakkie, overturned on the Mittag road just north of the Uubvley Hostel. The driver escaped with minor injuries but the passenger was thrown out of the vehicle (no seat belts in those days) and died that night in the Oranjemund hospital. If that were the case he would be buried in the Oranjemund graveyard and it's possible his headstone would be still be readable. Ask Mike Alexander to take a look for you.
The helicopter was ferrying prospectors and operators somewhere near Chameis Bay when it crashed in thick fog, killing all aboard, about four or five people. No idea where they were buried but also most likely at Oranjemund. The bodies were so badly damaged that recognition was only possible by reference to dental records. As for the consultant, my recall is that his body was flown back to Kimberley or wherever his home was.
 Sorry I can't give any names or other details. You may find more information if you search back copies of the Windhoek Advertiser, the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley and the Cape Times for those years. Those three papers were served by an Oranjemund correspondent during that period. You could also try back copies of the Oranjemund Newsletter though that would be an unlikely venue for bad news. However, I advise the first place to look would be the old headstones in the Oranjemund cemetery.
Best wishes,
Bob Molloy