Reminiscences of my 60 years in South America
Trevor Stephenson 1915 -2015
Arranged by Tony Morrison

After settling with Helena in Lima Trevor worked for Duncan Fox, a long established firm with interests along the West Coast of South America. When Duncan Fox changed hands Trevor was made redundant but he had many connections from his earlier years in Peru so it seemed the time to start his own business. Eventually Trevor's agency in Lima representing British companies became a family affair - here he is at his desk with his son Andrew

Schoolboy to Apprentice 1931-1936
Maranham 1936-41
Parnahyba 1937 -1943
Homeward Bound 1938
Tropical Troubles 1942
Para 1938/1939 1943 /1945
Amazonian Interlude 1941
Manaus 1941-1942
War time diary 1942
Back to Brazil 1943
Iquitos 1945-1946
Brazil for the second time 1947
On a coffee fazenda 1952 -1953
São Paulo Alpargatas 1953 - 1957
Crossing the Continent 1956
Lima 1957 -1963
Working for myself 1964-1990
Working for myself 1964-1990
For the first time I was my own boss


Duncan Fox is sold to an American firm and I am redundant

We were well settled in Lima when news came that Duncan Fox had been sold to an American firm. Soon after I was made redundant. At first all the firm were willing to pay me was my indemnity. I asked to be repatriated to England but they said they would only do so to Brazil. I am not a Brazilian nor did I have a 'residence permit' any more.

With the help of the British Embassy, Duncan Fox finally gave me first class passages to the UK for myself and family. However, with no job to go to, I thought it wise to go by myself and see what the prospects were. First of all I went to the Board of Trade in London , as recommended by the First Secretary of the British Embassy, who informed me that they had received a letter from the Embassy that I might be interested in representing British firms in Peru. I was handed some 40 or 50 letters and catalogues from such firms and asked to study them and report back. The following week I returned to the Board of Trade telling them that I had chosen some 20 firms which I felt I could represent.

So back to Lima

Upon my return to Lima, a friend allowed me to use his office while I drew up a working plan. Then I received a call from a a well known businessman, Charles Redshaw who said that he had a firm called Redshaw & Guilding, that his partner Guilding had left and so he suggested I might work with him on the basis of 1/3rd of any commission I might earn be paid to him for account of the office expenses. Amongst the representations I had chosen were Pyrene who were specialists in controlling fires, Tilley Lamps, British Ropes and an Agency for all sorts of goods. Over the next 4 to 5 months I visited numerous local companies endeavouring to sell them goods without success. I had better luck with Pyrene but because we had no stocks we were only able to sell wheeled units for direct importation. A good friend of mine called Gerald Cooklin offered to help with capital so we formed the firm Resteco S.A made up of Redshaw, Stephenson and Cooklin. We were thus able to import a small quantity of fire extinguishers which we sold quickly.

For the first time, I was now my own boss. I decided who to visit, where to go, who to write to. No longer were my letters to clients of firms subject to prior censorship. I felt free!

Meanwhile, Helena and were living on the indemnity I received from Textiles Generales and with two children at school, we had to get in funds as quickly as possible. Helena now came to the rescue obtaining a position as saleswoman for the Encyclopaedia Britannica with such success that she soon became one of their star saleswomen.

A Trade Mission arrived from the London and we were offered the Agency of Rabone Petersen who sold numerous items including Thermos, Tough Ropes and Newey Goodman. Later at the Pacific Fair we took on a line of automatic coffee machines from Australia.

And don't mention the soup...

I had great luck with these coffee makers. I would place several illustrated leaflets in my pocket when attending a reception. Then I would go up to the manager of a firm and ask "Who makes the coffee in your office?" When the reply was "My secretary" I would say "That must be the most expensive coffee in all Peru when you take into consideration the time spent by the secretary and her wages. It so happens that I have a coffee machine which will produce cups of coffee at 10 centavos and also a delicious soup". Then I would hand out the leaflet. Almost invariably an order would result. I also supplied the coffee, sugar, milk and the soup. We made a great profit on the sale of the soup because by accident when working out the cost and selling price I put the decimal point in the wrong place so we received ten times more than we should! However, it was so enjoyed that nobody ever complained.

'Business was bad'

In 1967 the exchange rate was about S/.27.00 to the dollar and by the following year it had reached S/.37.00. Business was bad and there was a lot of unrest. Then on 3 October 1968, there was a military coup. Belaude was rushed off to Argentina and General Juan Velasco took charge. He instituted an Agrarian Reform confiscating all the large fazendas giving the owners barely time to pack their bags. The Lobitos and Standard Oil companies as well as the major Mining firms were all confiscated. Foreigners were looked upon with suspicion and no one was allowed to own foreign currency either in the country or outside. My first job was to instruct all our Agencies to hold back 50% of all commissions to be paid into bank accounts in the USA or the UK. Strangely enough, business for our firm actually increased as I was able to sell to the ex-appropriated Mines and to the Navy.

The Peruvian Corporation was taken over but the British staff were permitted to continue working to ensure their pensions. I managed to make friends with the General Manager to such an extent that he gave me a personal permit which allowed me to enter the railway offices and yards at will and park my car inside. As a result we obtained a number of very good orders, I learnt quite a lot about railways, especially the track, which served me well in later years after I left Peru.

Ancón on the coast north of Lima was a favourite bathing resort. One day a friend of mine, John Massey, suggested we purchase between us a plot of ground on some high ground with a wonderful view of the sea. We found an architect who suggested a 'ship on land' and designed a small single storey building with two rooms, two bathrooms and two kitchens. John had one half and I had the other. I used my handicraft to make a cupboard door, a table out of old floor boards, a division on the space in front of the building to separate our two properties, a table and lights from old bottles. We had a marvellous time at weekends. Unfortunately John died shortly afterwards and I bought his share of the building.

As business increased, I began to travel to Iquitos where I sold linen cloth from Samuel Lamonts of Ireland, whisky and other items from
R. Singlehurst & Co of Liverpool. I went to Tacna where I found a good Agent for Thermos. On two occasions, I took advantage of my stay there to take a taxi across the border into Chile at Arica. When a local factory for Thermos opened up in Lima, I travelled to Colombia and Venezuela selling the Thermos there too. It was an interesting life and I enjoyed myself immensely.

One day in 1974 the Commercial Secretary of the British Embassy asked me whether I would like to represent the Confederation of British Industry [CBI] - the leading British business organisation . I asked what this involved. Upon being told that all I had to do was to write an economic report each quarter for which I would be paid £50 I accepted.

Enter the CBI connection

Shortly afterwards, I met the Commercial Secretary again and he remarked "I see that there is a selection process to choose candidates for the CBI Scholarship scheme. I suppose you will be involved." That was the first I had heard of it but I naturally replied "Certainly I will." Immediately afterwards I went to the British Council. I announced that I was the CBI Representative. I was told that I was to be on the examination board. The board was composed of a member of the British Council who dealt with the financial aspects, the British Embassy who dealt with the visas, a long time ex CBI Scholar who dealt with candidates' technical data and myself who had to ask questions such as "why have you chosen England?" and "what type of work have you been doing? When one or two candidates had been selected, I would then decide what type of firm would be most suitable for the candidates. Peru had the greatest number of CBI scholars after Australia. Then one day, I met one of my candidates who had recently returned from England. It seemed strange that no interest seemed to be taken in candidates after they came back so in 1975, I consulted the British Council when it was agreed that an ex CBI Scholars Association should be formed. I obtained a list of ex-scholars, traced as many as possible, then arranged for the Commercial Secretary, Tom Malcomson, to host a reception. There I outlined my plan, put it to the vote. it was agreed so then and there we elected a committee. I acted as Hon. President. No membership fee was charged. On the first Tuesday of every month, a lunch would be held at the Phoenix Club at which I arranged a speaker, either an overseas visitor or a Government official to give a talk. Members just paid for their lunch and a Pisco Sour. In 2000 when I paid a visit to Lima, the ex CBI Scholars Association celebrated their 25th anniversary to which I was invited and was presented with a lovely certificate.

Then one day we received a visit from a gentleman who asked whether we would help them at an auction of Persian carpets. All we had to do was to despatch the carpets through Customs, arrange a suitable place to hold the auction and collect the money. For this we were to receive a commission plus expenses. We agreed and a date was fixed for the first consignment to arrive. I suggested holding the auction at the Bolivar Hotel but was told that this was too swanky and that the waiting room at Desamperados railway station would be more suitable.

Carpets and the Police Chief

An advertisment was placed in the local paper that a consignment of Persian carpets for Ecuador had fallen through and would be auctioned off in Lima. Then we received a visit from a man who claimed to be an official auctioneer. He claimed that only Peruvian or legally resident foreigners could officiate at auctions. Hurriedly we arranged for Redshaw to receive a licence to hold the auction. But the official auctioneer must have complained to the police for on the day before the auction, two policemen came into the office and demanded that I accompany them to Headquarters. Hurriedly I grabbed papers proving that all duties had been paid. I was taken to the office of the Chief of the Police who commenced to question me over the Persian carpets, where they had come from, who they were for etc. I explained that the proper duties had been paid and was about to explain what we proposed to do with them, when a small lad came into the office with a bag over his shoulder containing two large Thermos flasks. He proceeded to pour out a coffee into a plastic cup. The Police Chief gave him some coins. When the boy had gone, I told the Police Chief that I had a machine which would provide him with coffee and milk or a cup of delicious soup for centavos. I pulled an illustrated leaflet from my pocket and gave it to him. He was interested and asked me how to obtain one and what did it cost. I said all he needed to do was to send Resteco an official order and we would deliver the machine with the ingredients. Immediately, he rang a bell and when a policeman appeared, he told him "Take Mr Stephenson back to his office as soon as possible." We received the order the following day.

The Auction took place at 11 am. A large number of the wealthier Limeños [people of Lima]came. Redshaw opened the proceedings, then the firm's official auctioneer, Sr Pichiotto, took charge. After selling the first three rugs, he spotted a small girl in the front row. "Would you like to buy a rug?" She nodded so Pichiotto started the auction directed at her. After he helped her make two bids, he declared the rug was hers. Obviously her parents at her side were delighted and they bid for and obtained a number of carpets. The sale was a great success and all but five carpets were sold. We made a tidy sum from the commission so it was agreed that as soon as possible, I should fly to England to visit the firms we represented, look for new ones and that I should do a course at Pyrene.

I flew to England via New York and Iceland being met by my brother Graham at London airport. One of the firms I visited was Sterns. Redshaw had recently sold a large consignment of stern oil. The firm in the Strand was run by an old lady of 90. After a few polite questions, she told me she wished to invite me to lunch but on account of her age, would I mind going with one of her young assistants. He turned out to be 69! He took me to Simpsons where he was obviously well known for the Head Waiter showed him a lot of attention and asked "Your favourite pink champagne, Sir? We had a wonderful lunch.

At Pyrene, I was shown over the factory, then I was given a full day course on fire fighting, use of the different extinguishers, how to charge them etc after which I received a diploma. The person instructing me was a Mr Martlew with whom I became very friendly.

My first cashcard

When I paid a visit to London In April 1975, I found it rather frustrating carrying my cheque book around with me. Then the man at the counter of Barclays Bank suggested I joined their Cashcard scheme. I was given a six number password and some £10 [Sterling] vouchers. All I had to do was go to one of their Cash Machines, press button C, then enter my code numbers by pressing numbers on the front of ther machine. I could then open a drawer and press one of my vouchers, face upwards and bottom edge towards me, then andclose the drawer. Illuminated instructions would then appear on a screen. When the word ACCEPTED appeared, I was able to open the drawer gently, remove my Ten Pounds and gently close the drawer. Wonderful! Today, of course, Banks use the ATM machines and credit cards.

Back in Lima, Redshaw became ill and after a time it was obvious that he could not continue so I took over his shares and Peter Relton, an Anglo Peruvian , who had a representation of carbon paper and other stationery from Colombia, came in as a partner and we formed a new company called RESTESA. Whilst Relton handled his Agency business, I handled the rest which was now growing. We concentrated on the Navy and the Railways.

The way it works.... "twenty percent"

One day an ex-Minister of the Navy phoned asking me to meet him at a cafe nearby. There he explained that the Navy wished to buy some frigates and that he had heard that we represented Yarrows. Then he added that I shouldn't believe all people said about him which were all lies but that obviously he wasn't interested in the proposal just for his health. I got the hint and asked him how much he wanted. He said "Twenty percent". As at a very rough estimate a frigate would cost around £50 million, I said that 20% was a lot of money in any language. He then asked how much we received so said "One quarter of one percent". "Ok", he replied, "put me down for the same amount". Not long afterwards, A Congressman stood up in Congress saying that Chile had just bought some frigates and therefore Peru must have some new frigates. Then I received an official request for an estimate of the cost.

Not long after this, a high official from Yarrows arrived with an ex-British Royal Naval Captain.. A meeting was held at the Navy Headquarters at which were present five Admirals. The Yarrow pair had brought with them a model frigate with loose items such as guns to get an idea of just what the Peruvian Navy wanted. The first Admiral said "I want two 5 inch guns up for'wd". Then the second Admiral said "I want two 4 inch guns aft". The third Admiral wanted two depth charge platforms aft. The fourth Admiral then asked for anti-aircraft guns midships. I could see the RN Captain getting redder and redder in the face. When the fifth Admiral said he wanted a cannon aft of the bridge, the RN Captain exploded. He banged his fist on the table and shouted "Gentlemen. You have sunk the ship". Finally the Admirals came to a consensus. Just as we were leaving, one of the admirals asked if they could buy the model.

A formal quotation was received and in due course the Naval Attache was instructed to present a Letter of Intention to Yarrows. Before he left London however, word was received from Lima that the Minister of the Navy had had a heart attack and to suspend everything. After the new Minister had been appointed and not having heard anything from the Navy, I invited the Minister together with the five Admirals to our house in Chaclacayo with the idea of mentioning the Yarrow order. To my surprise neither the Minister nor the Admirals turned up nor did they send any message to say they could not come.

Beaten by the Italians

Next day I spoke to a friend of mine at the Navy who told me that a delegation from Italy had suddenly arrived. Not long after, word came out that Peru had ordered four frigates from Italy. And so vanished all my plans to go on a world cruise!

Servicios Industriales de la Marina ,SIMA, were in charge of the building of cargo vessels for which purpose they recruited technicians from Scottish shipyards. In charge at the time was a Comandante Moran who had under him an Scottish Peruvian, Andrew Lindsey. Andrew and I met at the Caledonian Society of which I was Secretary. He suggested that I offer to supply nautical items and equipment to SIMA which I did with some success. It was my custom to go to SIMA in Callao every Tuesday morning. As a result SIMA were accustomed to my regular appearances and I obtained many requests for items which I would then endeavour to source.

Persona non grata

In January 1979 I had to renew my pass to enter the shipyard and was very surprised when I was informed that I was "persona non grata". I pointed out that I had been coming to SIMA for the last 9 or 10 years without problem so why now? The only reply I got was "Don't you know what year it is?" "What has that got to do with it", I asked. The reply surprised me. "1979 is the centenary of the War with Chile.". I was puzzled and asked what that had to do with me. "Your Queen has sided with Chile in a dispute with Argentina. Therefore you are unwelcome here." I pointed out that I supplied vital equipment to SIMA and that the Admiral in charge had requested me several times to visit him at SIMA. Then the official in charge of Security asked "How do you come here?" "In my car", I answered. He thought for a moment then said "I will issue a pass for your car" This was wonderful for now I was enabled not only to enter the shipyard but also drive around to the various offices without having to walk and I could park my car anywhere I wished.

Another incident with the Navy, I was very friendly with the Head of the Navy, When I called upon him shortly after he took office, he asked me what I was selling. I mentioned a number of items including English chinaware. Immediately he rang a bell and the head of the Naval Bazaar came in.

"Mr Stephenson has an interesting line of chinaware. Please place an order." The order resulted in a very large one, so large in fact that the factory stopped work on other orders to supply mine. Shipment was made by a Naval vessel. I asked the Official at the Bazaar how payment would be made, by draft or letter of credit. He replied that when the ship arrived, I should present an invoice when it would be paid. Although I was a little doubtful, I accepted this method as I was a friend of the Admiral. Shortly before the vessel arrived in Callao, the Navy sent a message to the ship stating that they had advice that there was contraband whisky aboard. The captain denied all knowledge of any whisky. As the vessel arrived off Callao the Customs were ready to board the vessel but were told that the ship was sinking and had to go into dry dock immediately. The dry dock was, of course, in the Naval dock yard. By the time that the Customs officers had obtained permission to enter the yard and board the vessel, any contraband had disappeared. Fortunately the chinaware was covered by all the necessary documents. I presented the invoice and, whilst I waited, a cheque was drawn for the full amount. Later, I was told that the Navy was sorry they had not ordered even more of my chinaware.

Now for the radar

When I learnt that the Navy were thinking of purchasing some radar equipment, I decided investigate.. However, the department concerned was not at the Naval Yard so I had to have a special pass. I had a friend in the Navy so I asked for his help. He kindly provided me with a temporary pass valid for one month until December 1978. As I had to make a number of visits to the Naval Official in charge I wondered what to do when January came around. However, no guard stopped me as I handed in my pass and no guard stopped me on my subsequent visits until the beginning of 1980 when the guard said "This pass is no longer valid". I replied "Congratulations. You are the first guard to have noticed it." He smiled and said "OK Pass."

On another occasion Ronald Gordon, a long time resident in Peru and at one time Agent for Yarrows, told me that his friend, General Benavides, now in charge of the Army in Iquitos, wished to purchase a new ship. I queried why the army should be interested in ships and not the Navy. He said that the Army used the ships to attend to small villages along the river Amazon. He suggested that we paid a visit to Iquitos.

I return to Iquitos

We flew there and were met by the General himself. After booking into the Tourist Hotel, we went to the General's office in the old Malecon Palace Hotel where the General told us that although they already had a vessel supplied by Yarrows, they wanted a new one. The General handed me a plan of the vessel they required, then invited us to have lunch at his home. He had a lovely wife who chatted to me whilst the General and Gordon spoke about old times. After a splendid lunch, the General and Gordon went into the garden. Then the wife, who was upstairs, called out "Trevor. Come upstairs to my bedroom,. I want to show you something." I was scared. What was she going to show me and what if the General should suddenly come in doors and find me in his wife's bedroom? The wife insisted so trembling, I climbed the stairs. What she wanted to show me was one of her paintings. I praised it and as soon as possible, said I had better go and see if Gordon wanted me. That afternoon, we had to inspect the Guard of Honour.

When we left Iquitos the next day I took with me a letter from the General to the Head Quarters in Lima requesting permission to purchase a vessel from Yarrows as per the drawing. But first I had to obtain a quotation from Yarrows. After studying the plans of the vessel, they telegraphed back that there seemed to be an error as according to the drawings, the vessel would have a list to starboard. I contacted General Benavides who said that the plans had been drawn up by one of his best technical experts and that he wished the vessel to be exactly according to the plans. In due course I received the quotation so I went to the General Headquarters in Jirón de la Union- in the old city . I told the guard that I had an important document for the General. I insisted so finally I was allowed to pass in to the room of the General. "Senor General", I said, "I have here a letter from General Benavides containing plans and quotation for a vessel in Iquitos". I was unprepared for his reaction. Ringing a bell for one of his soldiers, he shouted "Take this intruder and throw him into the street. Generals send communications direct to me, not though people like you." We did not get the contract for the vessel but indeed no one was ever built.

More of the same... plus copper and glue to fix it

One of our better Agencies was Pandrol who supplied clips for railway lines. Southern Peru Copper Corporation had large copper mines in Toquepala so I decided to make a trip there. This entailed flying to Arequipa, then taking a taxi to Ilo and another to the Mines. When I got to the gates of the Mine I was told that taxis were not permitted to go any further. I asked there the office was located. 4 miles away. In the end I had to wait until a lorry laden with copper ore passed and gave me a lift. We also had the Fairmont Agency of the States which sold heavy railway equipment. One day I sold the mne one of the latest machines so Fairmont offered to send a technician to Toquepala to help set it up. The technician arrived in Lima so I phoned the mine to say he would be travelling there the next day. I was told that they didn't want any technician. They could set it up themselves. The technician went to the mine anyway but they would not receive him.

One of my smaller Agencies was Isopon, a resin which would stick almost anything to anything. I showed a sample to my friend Alfonso Urrutia who owned a small factory making and repairing refrigerator cabinets. He liked the product and said he would buy some so I placed a small order. Alfonso remained one of my best friends the whole time I was in Peru. When that was sold I reinvested the money in a larger order and so on until I had a regular stock and regular turnover. Helena helped me selling the Isopon. One day I received a phone call from the General Manager of a large business house. "Your wife has just left here. She emptied her handbag on to my desk, mentioned something about a product called Isopon and convinced me to buy a ½ kilo tin Please tell me what do you use Isopon for?" Incidentally we only had the one tin of ½ kilo and never sold any more of that size.

London again and Paddy Brushes

One day I read in a magazine about Paddy Brushes for painting. The inventor, an Irishman, had sold the business to someone else. On my next visit to London, I phoned the new owner saying I would like to meet him. He came to the door of my brother's house in Blackheath where I was staying. My brother went to the door. He came back saying "There is a man at the door who wants to take you to lunch and would like to know whether you would prefer to travel in a Rolls or a Daimler?" I went outside. There was a lovely Rolls and behind a Daimler with a chauffeur standing by. I decided on the Rolls Royce so my host told the chauffeur to follow in the Daimler. We had lunch at the Trafalgar pub in Greenwich after which we went to some lock-up garages. The man took me inside saying "This is the factory where we make the Paddy brushes." There was a girl cutting up the cloth which was the brush. Another girl was pasting glue on to the metal handles. A third girl placed the cloth on to the handles whilst a fourth girl with a pair of nail scissors carefully trimmed the edges of the brush. "See", the owner said, "completely automated." When I got back to Peru, I obtained an order from a large paint factory for 10,000 Paddy Brushes. Unfortunately the "automated factory" was unable to supply such a large order.

A TV appearance

In 1980 I received a visit from Tony Morrison who explained that the BBC would be making a film about the Central Railway and asked whether I would like to take part. Naturally I agreed. Shortly afterwards a film crew arrived together with the humour writer Miles Kington. First of all we met at a small cafe near Desemparados Stion where we were filmed drinking coffee. Then to the station where I had to buy my ticket. Five times I had to buy it before the cameraman was satisfied. On the train I sat beside Miles Kington and two Peruvian girls who were helping with the planning. Miles asked me a lot of questions about my work etc as I was acting as ' a businessman going to Huancayo'. All the time we were being filmed. At Huancayo I returned home whilst the others continued to La Paz. The film was titled 'Three Miles High' and was part of a series of Great Railway Journeys.

Thermos....... '

Thermos was a great Agency for us and I travelled to Piura, Chiclayo, Arequipa and to Tacna selling the flasks to our contacts. In Tacna I had great success as my Agent there was receiving orders for l00 cases per type at a time from his contacts in Arica. Whilst in Tacna I took a taxi to Arica where I wandered around the town, tasting the food and seeing the sights. Later a local factory started up in Lima in competition. It was feared that import taxes might be imposed on our flasks. Shortly afterwards I made a trip to England and paid a visit to the Thermos factory Not long afterwards I made a trip to England when I visited the Thermos factory. I mentioned that a local factory had started up which was affecting our sales. It was agreed that we should seek a Peruvian factory in Lima which would make certain types of flasks and that we would continue to act as exclusive Sales Agents. We found a firm and manufacture commenced. We continued to sell though not as well as before due to the competition. It was then decided to travel to Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela to find Agents for the Peruvian flasks. In Venezuela I was invited to the home of a wealthy businessman. He met me at the airport. Giving my passport to an Aide, he took me to the VIP lounge whilst my passport was being stamped. That evening I had dinner at his home. During the meal the door bell rang and his daughter came in. She had just arrived from Paris. The first thing she said was "Dad. I forgot to buy a handbag which I so much wanted. I must return." Her father merely said "Go to the airport tom tomorrow morning early and catch the first plane to Paris. Tell the airline to charge my account."


From the moment I started working on my own, I resolved never to take work or troubles home. To keep me busy, I commenced making wine from Oranges, Apples and Honey. This latter, known as Mead, was splendid and very popular though some found it a little strong. Then I commenced woodworking. I made first of all a desk with sundry cubby holes, a drop down cover to serve as a writing platform and two doors underneath. Later I started doing wood carving making a number of small tables. One day I visited a friend of mine. In the hallway was a table with a design of ivy leaves

on the surface like marquetry. I remarked upon it when my friend said that it was French and was xylogravia. He said it was done with small gouges and chisels cutting the design. Then the wood inside the design was stained with wood stain. I liked the idea so much that I obtained some suitable wood without veins and set to work. I made a picture of two roses, then aimade a tray with a number of different flowers and plants. Then I started inlaying my wood pictures with silver. I then did a picture of a native girl dancing. Finally I made a round top for a side table, did the design of a rose, and round the edge of the top I inlaid two centimetre piece of copper separated by two centimetre pieces of black wood. I added a foot piece and donated it to my daughter. All this kept me occupied. I also joined the Numismatic Society as I had always been interested in Coins. Later I was elected as Hon. Secretary and wrote for the magazine. Later when the English language newspaper Peruvian Times was closed by the Velasco Government for writing things about the Government, the Lima Times started up and I was asked to write a weekly article on Coins which I did for fifteen years. I also joined the Scottish Masons Unity 1109 reaching the rank of Junior Warden.

[As an afterthought 'Some years afterwards when we left Peru for England I joined the Old Cranleighan Lodge No.4680. Whilst here I reached the position of Worshipful Master of the Lodge. On one occasion, the meeting was held at Cranleigh School and it gave me much pleasure to be there. Grandfather as well as my brother Andrew were also Masons'.]

Wonderful hands....

We had been living in Magdalena not far from the old city but the winter climate brought on attacks of asthma for Helena so we had to return to Chaclacayo. One day I mentioned to a friend that my wife had asthma. He said that massage was a good help and introduced me to a doctor of the Peruvian Navy who did massage. I went to see him. The first thing he did was to look at my hands. "Wonderful hands. Just right for massage." I had six lessons. He used as a model, a young pretty girl who did not seem to mind my hands massaging all parts of her body. But the lessons worked very well and whenever Helena had an attack of asthma, I would massage her back over the lungs and she quickly recovered.

David Killerby, who worked at the Fabrica La Unión started up the Good Companions theatre group to put on plays at the Lima Cricket Club with members of the cast being English members of the British Colony. I was asked to take a part in the play Habeas Corpus written by Alan Bennett. I played the part of Sir Percy Shorter. I quite enjoyed myself.

In 1986 I was awarded the MBE

In June 1986 I was awarded the MBE [Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire] for services to the British Community, that is sending young engineers to the UK on the CBI Scholarship scheme. Helena and I travelled to London and accompanied by our daughter Barbara, we went to Buckingham Palace where I received the Order of Member of the British Empire from the hands of the Queen. An event which will remain forever in my memory.

One day we suffered an earthquake. I had experienced many tremors so at first I took no notice but when the filing cabinet fell over and my desk shot across the room and then came hurling back towards me, I decided it was time for action. Remembering the War, I got up and stood in the doorway until the quake passed. There was quite a lot of damage done though not too much in the city itself.

On another occasion, there was a strike of the Police. We heard shouts and the noise of shooting. Looking out of the window, I saw a crowd burst into an electrical shop and come out with whatever they could carry. By lunch time I decided to call it a day but how to get to the Carretera Central? I got the car out from the garage under the building and drove into the main street. Just passing was an armoured vehicle with a gun mounted at the back. I thought that my car, if I kept close enough, would be under the range of the gun. Although at first the soldiers waved me to get out of the way, I continued and finally they considered me a 'mad Englishman' and let me follow them to the bridge over the river Rimac where I was able to turn off and so go home to Chaclacayo.

' They were selling money at the street corners'

In 1986 President Garcia took over. One of his first acts was to say that he would not repay any international loans. There had been inflation until then, so he changed the currency from the Sol to the Inti, one Inti being equal to one US Dollar. This did not last for long and inflation again took over and at speed. In the morning before going to the office I would change US$20.00 Then after lunch I would change another US$20.00 this time receiving 5 to 10% more. The exchange got worse and worse until in 1988 a new currency was decreed. The Inti. It commenced with One Inti equal to US$1.00. This didn't last. In a very short time Bank notes of thousands of Intis equalled one dollar. Bank notes of Five Million Intis were issued. Life was hectic. Young men were to be found on every street corner changing money as the banks had to keep to the official exchange. Everyone wanted dollars. Business was now bad as firms did not want to import anything as they did not know how much the cost and duties would be when the goods arrived.

With Helena , I returned to England in 1990

Matters got so bad that at the beginning of 1990 I decided to return to England until things got better. Presidential Elections were getting close. Mario Vargas Llosa, the author whom I met at one of the British Chamber of Commerce lunches, was a candidate. He asked me what I was doing and when I mentioned the railways, he asked if I could draw up a plan for the future of the Peruvian railways. Then he asked, as I said I was going to London, if I could find a firm willing to run the railways. I said I would do my best but would need to go in some sort of official position. He replied that he could only grant that if and when he was elected. I went to England. Alberto Fujimori was elected, so I sent my plan for the railways to him.

[Editor's note: Trevor was 75 when he returned to London but if you think that is the end of the story see Trevor aged 97 in a video. WATCH.]



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