John Pridgeon

William Henry Vernon Pridgeon

Circa 1886, a young man by the name of William Henry Pridgeon climbed off a ship bound for Cape Town from England.  Among other things, this recently qualified mining engineer from Cornwall had gold on his mind, and along with hundreds of other hopefuls, he made his way north to the budding gold rush taking place there.

He eventually settled in a little town called Springs.

Springs gets its name, unsurprisingly, from a large number of natural springs (points from where ground water flows out of the earth) in that area, although these were not the main reason people originally settled here. Springs started out as a farm, but shortly afterwards coal was discovered there and before long a railway line was built to carry that coal to the gold mines of the Witwatersrand (Afrikaans for the ‘ridge of white waters’).

The coal mines soon closed around Springs, as better coal deposits were discovered in nearby Witbank, but the subsequent discovery of gold guaranteed Springs’ survival as a mining town. A village emerged as early as 1904, and by the late 1930’s there were eight gold mines in and around that village, making Springs and its surrounds the largest single gold producing area in the world.

This original Willliam Pridgeon begat several children, and 2 sons, the first-born William (“Jeff”) Pridgeon and his brother Arthur Pridgeon, both followed their daddy’s footsteps by becoming Mine Captains on the still famous Daggafontein Mine. Jeff was uncommonly strong and could hold a gold bar upside down with just his thumb and the fingers of his outstretched hand – I seem to remember that my father Bill said that he offered that anyone watching who could do the same could keep the bar.

So then Jeff begat 2 children, William (“Bill”) Pridgeon in September of 1924, and our aunt Shirley. Billy was always expected to be a miner, in the generations old Pridgeon tradition. This journey started for mine boys in their early teens, and my father was told that he would begin his apprenticeship at Dagga soon after he had completed his primary school. Its “mine time” Billy, Dad was warned by his father Jeff as the year end approached, and the prospect of going kilometres underground loomed large in unhappy young Billy’s eyes. By a wonderful quirk of fate, Billy became eligible for a scholarship to go to Benoni Boys High school after the parents of the fellow that came first in class were transferred at the end of his last year at Junior School. Billy’s now prominent mine-related anxieties were suitably allayed, and he found himself happily albeit only temporarily relieved from the nasty prospect of mine duty.

Every school day my father rode his bike from home on Pridgeon Avenue to the Springs train station and commuted by train from there to Benoni, where he walked to and from school for the 5 years of his high school career. During that time Bill became an avid and very capable sportsman, and excelled at cricket, rugby, tennis and … brawling. He played Nuffield Cricket, Craven Week Rugby and also got his pseudocolours in Englesmanne vs Afrikaner Street Fighting. There was still a great enmity between these two white factions of students, a nasty white tribal hangover from the Boer War, and Billy was frequently chosen to represent Die Engelse Sprekende Mense of Benoni Boys High. Apparently Dad was very handy with his fists, but did not like fighting much, and as youngsters, my 6 foot 2 inch father advised us that if he found us fighting, that win or lose, we would then fight him – and there were no guesses about that outcome! Needless to say, our nascent brawling careers were stopped dead in their tracks right then and there. We didn’t dare, as having been on the receiving end of Dad’s “plates of meat” hands when he dished out a not infrequent Rhodesian “good hiding”, none of us could imagine the pain if that same beefy paw was closed when it struck us.

When Dad klaared out of Benoni Boys High, papa Jeff was there at the ready singing his favourite “Mine Time” song but Bill would have none of it. As fate would have it, he had another cast iron excuse to swerve right past the extremely unpopular mine deal. Like many in Britain’s colonies, he opted to serve South Africa in WW II. I never asked Dad if this was to avoid going underground, or to help the war effort against the dreaded Boche who were threatening to Hitlerise the planet, but I suspect a healthy chunk of both caused him to enlist as soon as he was old enough to serve.

In any case, I suspect Dad had long ago decided he wasn’t good mining stock, and having been over three kilometers underground in the hot, humid and horribly stuffy St Helena Mine in Welkom, I for one heartily agree with Dad that this is the last place any sane person should spend even a single day. A couple of hours down there and I was done with mining. Sorry Grampa, but I am another failed Pridgeon miner!

Dad must have signed up for active duty in about 1942, aged 17. His morbid dislike of the subterranean world might even have prompted him to choose the fly-boy option, and he commenced his training as a trainee SAAF pilot in the general area of the East Rand. Dad was an excellent fighter, but apparently not much of a natural pilot – at least to begin with – as he nearly missed getting his wings altogether. He described the training airplane as very little more than an engine, wings and a rudimentary tail section. Obviously, training costs were being kept to a minimum. He said that there were not even proper floorboards on those trainers, so looking down was generally not encouraged while airborne! After pranging two of these “aircraft” Dad was warned that he would start his infantry career the moment he put a third plane down without doing it in the “proper landing style” preferred by his instructors, where you could actually use the contraption again for the next hapless pupil. Anyway, Dad finally got his wings, and they flew their “kites” up to Cairo (where he developed a pathological hatred for “Gyppos”) then west across North Africa and up into Italy, where he was stationed as a bomber pilot for the last 2 years of the war. What an experience that must have been, flying your aircraft north through Africa, to the war. He never did let on to what the Egyptians did to him that endeared them to him so much, but the very mention of Egyptians made him visibly bristle.

Dad’s logbook says he flew a hundred and twenty-three missions while in Italy, and eventually became the youngest squadron leader in all of Allied occupied Italy. This promotion was probably unrelated to any flying ability or any leadership qualities he may have exhibited, but one that more likely transpired after those occupying that position before him were all killed in action! The war finally ended before he followed in his predecessors’ footsteps up that stairway to heaven, but not before his aircraft took a fair amount of peppering from flak and bullets … his logbook is a frightening testimony to what those pilots endured, day in and day out, as the target practice / cannon fodder bomber pilots were, almost by definition, in their slow moving and almost defenceless aircraft.

While serving in the Second Great War Dad learned and showed a considerable aptitude for two more sports, namely drinking and smoking, in which he again excelled at the highest of levels. People were trying to kill him the moment he left the ground you see, and my guess is that anyone with half a brain would have used these wonderful survival aids to help them through their deadly tours. WW II, or rather the smoking habit it had spawned in him, eventually did kill Dad, as at the very young age of 52 years old he succumbed to the lung cancer that an 80 smokes-a-day habit will inevitably cause.

One of my Dad’s favourite stories was born the day his CO in Italy called him in for “a word”. Obviously, if your pilots got hammered every night in the Officers Mess, this ended badly for all concerned. So the amount that any pilot could spend per month on his bar tab was capped, and because the CO was “one of us Africans” this limit was probably very generous, and morale preserving. There was precious little these poor blokes could look forward to after a hard day above the trenches, except a cold one or ten every night IF they made it back to base.

The interview apparently went something like this:

“Sir. You wanted to see me, Sir?” an inquisitive and mildly apprehensive Flight Lieutenant Pridgeon asked.

“Ah Pridgeon. It has come to my attention that your mess tab is always a consistently large number. You recall there is a number that represents the monthly maximum amount of money allowed to be spent on alcohol at this base?”

“Yes Sir”.

“I would remind you that number is a limit, not a target.”

“Sir”, he replied, saluted, smiled and left.

Well the Boche were finally tamed and beaten back to Berlin, and Dad flew home and was demobbed. The dreaded mine time again loomed large. But by now, after dodging much flak and many bullets, Dad had finally grown a pair big enough and had made up his mind to buck the hereditary Pridgeon Mining Scheme system. So Dad he finally told his father flat out that he would not be following the family’s mining tradition. Dad had expected and dreaded the inevitable catastrophic reaction almost a decade, and he was not disappointed. Dad knew. His father Jeff was absolutely furious, and then and there turned his back on his only son. But Billy took it on the nose, applied for and was awarded a serviceman’s bursary to attend Wits University. After qualifying as a Quantity Surveyor a few years later, William Henry Vernon Pridgeon fled his father and South Africa to settle in Bulawayo in about 1951. This was where he later met his wife-to-be, a high school teacher called Kathleen Massingham Seymour, who was the daughter of a well-known Matatiele lawyer, the co-author of the still used book “Native Law in South Africa”.

Then Billy got busy, and before long William Russell Massingham Pridgeon became the next generation’s heir to the Pridgeon family name William. He has however always been called Russell.

Pridgeons are by their very nature mostly stubborn people, hard-headed bastards who do not easily forgive or forget, but the bad blood between father and son mended gradually over the years that followed Bill’s hasty northern departure, likely fueled by a grandmother’s insatiable curiosity to see how her grandkids were getting on, and the cavernous divide was bridged at last. Eventually every year in December, my father Bill, my mother Kallah and us three boys trekked “down south” to the Natal South Coast for Christmas, staying en route with the Springs chapter of the Pridgeon family. All was again well.

That same stubborn, hard headedness has served this first born Pridgeon well, and is in no small way the reason why Russ has been able, assisted valiantly by likeminded Australians and his great friend Patrick, to stymie his persecution by the horrific legal system that exists in Australia today.  I believe the fact that these two have never ever given up, against an almost overwhelming onslaught, a veritable army of government officials, is a total anathema to the Australian authorities, and they have never seen anything like it before. These two boys from Bulawayo, have never budged an inch, while successfully defending themselves against a multiplicity of ridiculous charges, and their wrongful arrest.

The Family Court of Australia uses a carefully designed and intricately coordinated process that openly and provably enables paedophiles, and protects them from answering for their heinous crimes. While it steadfastly declines to punish pedos for the terrible abuse they mete out to Australia’s children, it mercilessly punishes those willing to throw themselves under the bus to protect those same helpless kids.

This system as it exists today is chronicled in great detail by Russell’s book “Everybody Knows”. You will not believe what you read there, but it is all provably true, and this Australian tragedy is relentlessly ongoing.

I fervently hope one day, somewhere in the hereafter, my intrepid father will acknowledge the enormous courage his first born has displayed these last ten years, and the massive honour he has brought to the Pridgeon name. And he will, as he certainly should, be suitably proud. I do not mean to belittle my father’s great personal contribution to the safety of this world in any way, but if I were to compare the bravery and endurance that these two members of my family were forced to muster over the years of their private agony, my brother Russell would win that race by way more than a country mile.

No one has ever done more to try to guarantee the safety of the kids living “down under”, or to protect them from the horrific ongoing abuse that continues to exist, and in fact its extent grows unabated.

But sadly it may well be, in fact in my opinion it is highly likely, that Russell and Patrick O’Dea’s immense courage and their long years of sacrifice will not make one hoot of difference to the status quo in the paedophile paradise that Australia is today.

Recently, Jim Caviezel and Mel Gibson’s real life movie “The Sound of Freedom” has done much to bring the MASSIVE paedophile business of child trafficking to the attention of this beleaguered world. What appalled me was the part where Tim Ballard came to the realisation, as he stated in the movie, that the money this business makes is huge, because children can be sold and used MANY TIMES A DAY.

Let us all hope and pray that Australia’s ongoing pedo tragedy will also one day be similarly broadcast worldwide, and become noticed in this same way, and that this will help to fuel and grow a fire that will help to burn these bad bastards out of business.

And finally stop kids from being destroyed.

7 thoughts on “William Henry Vernon Pridgeon”
  1. I have since learned that the Arsetralian authorities still retain Russell’s passport.

    1. Yes indeed Tony, after repeatedly asking for the return of his passport, Russ remains empty-handed. Everyone Russell has asked at the Australian Federal Police offices he has visited or written to has either deflected or ignored him.
      He remains unable to leave Australia TWO MONTHS after all charges against him were withdrawn in February.
      In October 2018, in the police action code named “Operation Noetic”, no fewer than 28 policemen and women descended upon Russell and Patrick to arrest them, accompanied by massive press and TV coverage. Russell was accused of being the “mastermind” of a child trafficking ring, and the public was told that he had made lots of money doing this!!!
      At that time, the cops confiscated all of his telephones, computers, and his passport amongst other things. None has been returned to him.
      Since his total exoneration in Australia’s law courts, he has received not one single apology for his wrongful and unlawful arrest, and the newspapers and television stations which were so vocal in their nationwide smearing campaign are now completely silent.
      My contempt for Australia’s partisan and cowardly fourth estate could not be greater.
      There seems only one place to get the truth about what is happening down under and that is Gumshoe News

      The internet is still full of these libelous stories.
      Cops swoop on child stealing network
      Parental abduction ring smashed

      Just once I would love to see the AFP behave like the public helpers that they should be, just once would be good
      But I am not holding my breath waiting for that to happen

  2. So they beat the aussie demented suystem and won their case, fantastic nes, thanks for that wonderful story, all the best and take care John

    1. Thanks and backatcha mate. We are still waiting for these AFP dorks to give Russ his docs and other stuff back. He will get his things back, by now the Aussies understand that Russell does not give up – ever!!!

      I hope everyone reading this is beginning to understand the state of our world, the total overreach of the authorities worldwide (Trump in court while his brain dead opponent is free to canvas for votes, Ramaphosa unilaterally instituting the NHI in SA – now THAT is going to put the cat amongst the pigeon turds – the global immigration debacle, the proposed adoption of WHO’s draconian Pandemic Treaty, and on and on), and that WE NEED TO STAND FIRM TOGETHER in committed opposition to their shenanigans.

      We need to be awake and mindful that these bastards have us all, and our kids FFS, firmly in their crosshairs, and we need to push back with everything we have …

Leave a Reply