David Paul Aimable, 1935 - 2008.
Aimable was born in Dar es Salaam in the British colony of
Tanganyika. His farther had gone to East Africa to help run the East
Africa Railways, which served Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda. David
was brought up among ex-pats who were either employed in the
colonial service, worked on the railways or were miners.
David got involved in mining when he was still a young teenager,
bluffing his way into jobs about which he knew virtually nothing –
but soon learned, gaining experience and skill in the tough mining
camps of East and Central Africa.
During the Mau Mau emergency in the early to middle 1950’s, he
served in the local defence force and saw regular action against the
insurgents. Once the troubles were over and the British granted
independence to those former colonies David felt the expedient to
decamp to England and he fetched up in London, where he drove double
– Decker buses.
However, the call of mining was too much for him and in 1962 he
moved to Cornwall and got a job at South Crofty Mine. Early
on he was appointed shift boss, but he soon reverted to his favorite
position of machineman and it was in this capacity that he is best
remembered by his many fellow miners.
Over nearly 30 years David built a reputation as a highly skilled
miner, mostly working on the main developments and many of South
Crofty’s lode drives and crosscuts – now flooded – were driven by
David and a series of mates. His many mates over the years retain a
vast store of anecdotes – some hilarious and most outrageous – about
his eccentricities. Everybody remembers his notorious ‘measuring
stick’, which he insisted had to be used precisely as instructed to
place various ‘easers’ around the ‘burn cut’. Most of us have thrown
the thing down the level or stamped on it at some time – but he
always had a replacement!
David’s outrageous sense of humour became notorious. It could be
directed at anybody or everybody and he never spared his work mates
blushes, either underground on the ‘croust seat’, in the cage
returning to surface, or – worst of all in the showers!
David Aimable will never be forgotten by his workmates, his fellow
Vincent Motor bikers, his neighbours and all his other friends.
Those of us who had a drink with him and Jennie every month at
Tyacks will certainly miss him. He was indeed unique, a ‘one off’!
All his former work mates will undoubtedly join us as we express our
condolences to his widow, Jennie and his family.