Fresh from officers course at Roberts Heights (OK, Voortrekkerhoogte) this brand-new lieutenant is sent as adjudant to Hotel (actually Natal) Command. I’m given my own room just above Marine Parade and told to leave my shoes outside the door. Not for religious reasons – because someone else miraculously cleans them overnight!
In my very own office in Metal Industries House I am told by the PF outgoing adjudant which hospitals fall under my care: Mosvold, Ngwelezane, Christ the King, Madadeni, Appelsbosch, Hlabisa, Osindisweni, St Appolonaris and Manguzi are the names I still remember. I’m responsible for the civilian force docs posted to these outposts, so I go through their files to see wassup. Wait! This guy is due to leave Mosvold tomorrow! I better phone him NOW! He thanks me profusely and says “Usually we’re told late or not at all!”. Another one thanks me for giving him a whole week’s notice. Both notices had arrived on this desk more than a month earlier!
Once I have everything sorted out and organised after about a month I ask around: Yes, says Naval Captain Dr Mervyn Jordan boss of Medics in Natal in his dapper white uniform, I can requisition a Land Rover and visit “my” hospitals! I can’t wait.
But just then I get a transfer order myself, and though I’m sorely disappointed to miss my planned “Grand Tour of the Provinces” I cannot miss this:
“You are hereby ordered to report to Addington Hospital where you will be given your own flat in Doctors’ Quarters across the road from the Nurses Res where hundreds of nubile nurses await your arrival”.
Hey, orders are orders!