Waters & words : a celebration of flyfishing

Freedom of a captivated mind

“As I weakened I set myself landmarks to be reached in order to earn regular rests of a few minutes in that hellish, barren land.  My one great desire was to go to sleep in a pool of cool water under a tree, a pool and a tree such as the ones nestling in the lovely rolling hills of my native Dargle Valley in faraway Natal, a valley green in summer when storms and gentle rains water the land; tawny under blue skies in winter when little or no rain falls. There on the farm at the foot of the ‘Nhlosane’ mountain – Zulu for ‘budding breast’- I used to run and ride and fish for trout in the pristine streams.”

Jeff Morphew, describing his escape from his “Tommy” , shot down by German F109’s on 4 June 1942, Libya.

from: Five Frontiers to Freedom:  Jeff Morphew, Vinyard publishers 1999

Before  Jeff Morphew died in 1993, he was the only man living to have escaped from an Italian POW camp in World War II while Italy was still at war. He had grown up on the farm Furth, in the Dargle, where he was born in 1918.

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The only prior record (before this year)  that I have been able to locate of trout being caught in the Furth stream (a tributary of the uMngeni) , was a verbal account from Jeff Morphew’s nephew, about Jeff catching trout on forays to this small stream from his retirement home at “The Fextal”, which overlooks the stream.

Yours truly, with a small brown from the Furth Stream, 21st March 2020. (Photo Sean Rogers)

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5 responses

  1. Well done Andrew. I wasn’t aware of this stream, but even then there’s something reassuring in finding out the trout are still there, so many years on. I’m sure you must have enjoyed this discovery immensely!

    August 9, 2020 at 9:20 pm

  2. Gavin P

    An interesting snippet. The first photo is stunning. “Groen is die land van Natal”.

    August 6, 2020 at 10:41 am

    • Isn’t it just…a drone shot of course. The Fextal, where Morphew lived in retirement, is at the base of the mountain …

      August 6, 2020 at 10:49 am

  3. Neil

    Lovely Andrew – indeed, a stream for the the brave and sure-footed. I have not forgotten about the bottle of “Mkhize’” that I owe you for that little beauty!

    August 6, 2020 at 10:19 am

    • 🙂 Thanks Neil. Well, Morphew successfully crash landed his shot up plane in the libyan desert without the use of his wounded arms, and released himself from his harness with his teeth, and wriggled to what he thought was safety, only to be ground strafed by the 109’s….. so he certainly was “sure footed” , not to mention brave! Wish he was still around to share an “Mkhize” with…imagine the stories he could tell!

      August 6, 2020 at 10:48 am

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