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Ascension Island in the 1960's




Wideawake Field - 1967.

My wife, daughter and self arrived on Ascension Island in September 1966 aboard the RMS 'Capetown Castle' to be advised that our new bungalow in Two Boats had only been completed that morning and that we would have to finish unpacking the furniture and bedding ourselves! Also we were invited (read commanded) to attend a cocktail party at the OIC's bungalow at 7pm tonight. So began a most interesting 18 months on the island!

Before leaving England, we had been to a meeting in Cheltenham, where it was explained that although the Two Boats club and shop were not quite ready, we would be able to join the Exiles Club in the meantime and shop in Georgetown. However as usual in the Civil Service, this was not quite true. Actually on arriving, neither the construction of the Club nor Shop had even started and membership of the Exiles Club was limited to C&W staff and those nominated by them. So until you had managed to cultivate a C&W staff member, you had no chance of joining.

However apart from those small difficulties, life on the Island was interesting and varied. At that time, Two Boats was only half complete, there were no roads in the village, no Donkey fences etc. At night the donkeys went through the garbage bins looking for food and the land-crabs knocked on your windows. The houses had been designed by a committee back in England, they had louvred windows and no fly screens, so they were inundated with dust and insects. There was no pool or air-conditioning, so in the summer it was very hot.

The duty-free status of the Georgetown shop made for some anomalies in prices, South African gin was three shillings and sixpence a bottle, cheaper than lemonade. Meat was brought by a container every six months although there were sometimes lamb chops available from the Green Mountain farm. Green vegetables were virtually unobtainable, unless you knew someone on the American base, they had fresh vegetables flown in every week. An invitation to the Volcano Club was greatly appreciated.

Reading the latest issues of the Ascension Island Islander newspaper makes me wonder what it is like now, it has certainly far more going on, but I see that civilisation is now catching up with you at last - Speed humps outside the Volcano Club - whatever next?

The following pages consist of photos and slides I took while I was out there, plus some others kindly loaned by other past residents and visitors :-

Ascension Photos

Historic Ascension

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