. Diggeden was in my form at Chaplin in the early 60’s – my one claim to fame. He was always in trouble even then – had up for shoplifting in Gwelo at the age of about 9 and I seem to remember a huge drama when he and a pal stole the exam papers from the Head’s office. All a good grounding for his future infamy.
By the way we were A stream pupils. I borrowed the same book of famous Rhodesian Trials – quite fascinating.
I read with interest Mags article on Aiden Diggeden. I remember the legend of Aiden well from when I was at school in Livingstone Northern Rhodesia in the 60's he was the talk of the town and the hero of every young lad including me. Then in the mid 60's I was traveling as a child with my parents by train when we pulled into a station or siding and there were police everywhere. The police then swarmed the train and blocked all exit points searched the train and eventually dragged Aiden out of the next door cabin to ours. As a child at junior school, this made my day, as it gave me bragging rights, I was able to brag how I had seen Aiden personally and witnessed him being arrested. Simon
I too read with fascination Digiden’s concise record so thanks to the author for a piece well written. I remember as a teenager in the mid 1960’s that Digiden had escaped again and something about him cached in the maize stooks in the Umtali area where we lived. This was under some intrepidation because he was so notorious. But I learn with interest that he was unusually benign except when it came to Ford’s! I also think the story of Rhodesia’s Robin Hood would make a good film story. Best Charles
A fascinating story with one error. In 1966 Diggeden stole Jacqui's new - one day old - mini minor (not a mini cooper) from her flat in the avenues quite near David Livingstone school and a short distance from the jail. It was found the next day with a written apology from Diggeden on the front seat. Regards Pat
I sent the story of Aiden Diggeden to my retired father in SA as I thought he might remember him and this is what he wrote to me in response:
I was very interested in this story because your grand-father put him in jail in Salisbury, when he was Chief Magistrate in the Dept. of Justice! He also told me a story about Diggeden that does not appear in this narrative and that was later, when my Dad was Secretary for Justice, one of his portfolios was Prisons. On an official visit to Salisbury Central Prison, he met Diggeden again and in the company of the Head of Prisons and other VIPs who were accompanying their “boss” on an official tour, chatted to him and remarked that these high walls (15 feet high I believe) that surrounded them should keep him in. Diggeden said “no way watch this” and ran at the wall full speed, ran up the wall and hung on the top, turned to the amazed onlookers and said “see what I mean” and then dropped down again!
Dad said he was remarkably athletic!
Hi A work colleague was in jail at the time of one of Diggeden’s breaks – must have been the 31 January 1968 one. He told of Diggeden spending his days exercising continuously and could run around his cell horizontally on the wall. This must have taken some speed. He used the chapel bench as a ramp to start his run up and over the 18 foot high wall. How he got it there is a mystery but it took several wardens to carry it back to the chapel. The Herald carried a story from a lady of the night with whom he spent a few days on one of his breaks that he had amazing stamina. After having sex he would jump up, do several press ups and then start all over again! She also said he was an absolute gentleman. Alan