Geology Reference
In-Depth Information
leave them. What made it even worse was that he was slowly
sinking into debt. But help was at hand.
Memba Minerals Limited was a prospecting company that
had recently purchased a licence to search for minerals of eco-
nomic importance in Mozambique, then Portuguese-owned
East Africa. A prospecting party had departed for Mozambique
early in 1910, but having already spent a year there without any
success, the company was now looking for extra recruits. The
di~cult terrain and large area to be examined had put the party
behind schedule and Memba Minerals was nervous about get-
ting its investment back. A former student of the Royal College
was with the party and had sent back exciting letters about the
hostile natives and the man-eating lions, so when further per-
sonnel were sought from the College, imaginations were stirred.
In addition, the salary was rumoured to be £40 month, almost
as much as a whole year's scholarship.
Interviews were arranged with Memba Minerals for three
demonstrators in the geology department: Arthur Holmes,
Edward Wayland and Alexander Wray. On writing home to tell
his parents the exciting news Holmes was concerned they would
be distressed at the idea of him going away to darkest Africa,
but he was confident that they would not put any obstacles in
his path 'for if successful, it will prove one of the best open-
ings into the geological profession that I could have.' How
right he was may not have seemed apparent until some con-
siderable time later.
While the candidates waited for the results of their interviews,
Professor Watts gave his Presidential Address to the Geological
Society. These events were prestigious occasions and everyone
who was anyone in the geological world was there. So, keen to
hear his Professor talk, Holmes inveigled an invitation from a
colleague and went along although he was not yet a member of
the Society. During the course of the afternoon Holmes met up
with Dr Prior, Keeper of Minerals at the British Museum, who
was keen that if the expedition to Mozambique went ahead they
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