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Ian Fraser

  • Hi everyone, for those that don’t know me, I am Don, Ian’s bigger little brother and it is wonderful to see so many people here to celebrate Ian’s life
  • As you all know Ian wanted this gathering as one of celebrating his life and that there is to be no sadness. Well, everyone here will probably know that if that’s what Ian decreed, then that’s what it will be
  • So, I have tried to put together some anecdotes and memories of Ian mostly when we were growing up in Bergvliet, Cape Town
  • There is the best part of eight years between Ian and me. Ian was born right at the outbreak of the WW2 and I was born after the war after our dads release from captivity and one of the infamous death marches
  • I understand that as an eight-year-old, he objected strongly to “that man” that had come to live with our mother and then to crown it all along came a brother. This was not part of his plans!
  • Ian and I grew up in a very frugal and Victorian household with very regimented habits in the evenings. Meals were at fixed times and you could tell what day of the week it was by the meal on the table
  • With our father being an ex-POW, food was sacred and you left food on your plate at your peril
  • Ian’s school life was difficult to say the least. The problem was that schoolwork got in the way of building model boats and airplanes
  • His academic record was a complete contrast to his model building record. His school results were poor at best, however he won competition after competition at the Hobbies Fair with his balsa wood boats and planes.
  • The two I particularly remember was a remarkable scale model of the cruise liner the Dominion Monarch (used for the £10 fares from the UK to Australia), and a beautiful Ketch which had the planking of the deck all etched into the balsa wood
  • The age difference between us meant that we did not do a great deal together when he was a teenager. There was one exception that I recall
  • He built an 8-foot-long punt out hardboard and 1” pine wood and used liquid bitumen to seal the joints. It was painted bright canary yellow!
  • We used to spend every second Sunday at our grandmother’s house in Kalk Bay and the punt was taken there
  • He then invited me to go sailing with him in the harbour, which did surprise me. The reason, he needed someone to bail the water out as the bitumen sealant was not the best
  • As each two-week period went by he became more and more adventurous and one Sunday decided that he would paddle out of the harbour into the sea off the Kalk Bay swimming pool
  • This sent the Harbour Master absolutely apoplectic who ran up and down the breakwater yelling at us to go back inside the harbour. Needless to say, Ian paddled on regardless
  • Having no success, he then returned to his office and phoned our grandmothers house and spoke to our dad, who apparently said “ignore them, if it sinks they can both swim well”!!
  • It never sank which, of course, I put down to my superior bailing capabilities
  • Ian and I only overlapped for about a year or so at Wynberg boy’s school. He was in the senior school and I was in the junior school which were adjacent to each other.
  • One day I went too close to the high school once and managed to escape an ambush by him and his friends trying to catch me as there was apparently some intrigue as to how I looked like a miniature Ian (of course when he was the bigger older brother)
  • He did leave a legacy behind. When I arrived at the high school and attended my first Geography lesson, the teacher read out the names on the attendance register
  • When he reached Fraser, Donald he stopped and looked up and glared over his glasses and then asked me to stand up. When I did he asked if I was in any way related to the Ian Fraser who had been in his class
  • I proudly stood up and said yes I was. He replied with some emphasis, don’t you muck around in this class like you brother did or you will regret it.
  • Ian was musically extremely talented and taught himself to play the guitar which he really did well
  • It is probably unknown to most here that in the fifties Ian had one of the first rock bands in South Africa. I still remember the band’s name – The Rythmen and Ian played lead guitar
  • They played at Public Halls all over Cape Town, mainly in Muizenberg and the highlight was the New Year’s Even dance in Picketburg which they played at for a number of years which was apparently the most lucrative gig
  • Band practice was Sunday afternoons and our parents would disappear because of the noise. I used to be bribed with sixpence to buzz off and buy myself an ice cream down at the shops
  • During the time of the band Ian purchased a Fiat Cub (convertible) which was minute and which he used park round the back of the house next to his bedroom. He was very fond of the car and parked as close to his bed as he could get
  • One evening he came back from an evening of playing and he would bring home the base which was a tea-chest with a vertical pole and one string
  • Unfortunately, as he roared down the driveway to make a right turn to park at his bedroom he forgot that there was an electric cable across the gap between the house and the garage
  • The base’s vertical pole hit the wire, snapped it, and the car ended up in the compost pit, fortunately still on its wheels
  • Ian had a long an ultimately successful business career and we did have some business dealings. I have lived in the UK since 1985 and Ian and I did not see as much of each other as we might have if we had remained in RSA and hence the stories are few.
  • I could go on and on relating anecdotes of our times together in Cape Town, but I have probably gone on long enough.
  • All there is to say is to say is that shall dearly miss my little older brother

Thank you

  • 2022-07-05
  • 8 images