Tag Archives: South Africa

Lewis Hastings

In his ‘ family memoir’ Did You Really Throw it at the Television, renowned war correspondent and military historian Max Hastings has this to say of his eccentric great uncle, Major Lewis Hastings, whose swashbuckling life in South Africa in the early years of the twentieth century was in marked contrast to that of so many members of his family at that time:


‘He adopted a lifestyle so remote from those of his forebears as to deny any notion of inherited values. It was as if set out to compensate for generations of stiff collared family respectability and piety by cramming a century’s misdeeds and extravagances into a single lifetime. He was also writing verse…Lewis possessed real literary gifts, not least a talent for verse. When he exercise his brain and pen, the results were sometimes remarkable. His accomplishments were much slighter than they might have been because he always chose to please himself, to forswear discipline, to pursue whatever overhead star momentarily seized his imagination…To my father and later myself, when we read of the Hastingses of the nineteenth century, they seemed respectable, hard-working, decent Christian people…Lewis by contrast was more fun than the chaps who got made head of house at school or lived blameless lives…’


In a typewritten poem entitled ‘PLAIN PRAYER’ and inscribed in pencil ‘ by Lewis Hastings ‘ which we found in the Jot 101 Archive recently ( the provenance is unknown) , the former Rhodesian MP, South African farmer and all-purpose adventurer and maverick expresses his contempt for all those people and their values that Hastings writes about in his tribute.


Jot 101 Lewis Hastings portrait 001

PLAIN PRAYER ( To be recited only at Regimental Dinners, Old Boys Reunions and meetings of the Virgin Uplift Society). Continue reading