Not much is known of the time Lil and the Doc spent in South Africa. From existing documents we can however piece together something of what happened during this time. The first mention of The Doc is in March 1920 when his appointment to the Mental Hospital Service, serving on Robben Island, is recorded in the South African Medical Record. Lil and The Doc set up house on the Island, a small, flat and rocky feature only 3.3km long by 1.9km wide (and 8km off the coast of Cape Town) which had variously served as a garrison, hospital and prison since the late 1400s. The community on the Island was small and electricity was only available from a portable generator which served the island cinema. A flock of 150 sheep grazed on the island in case the ferry could not get through from the mainland with food. Life was certainly isolated, although at that time, inhabitants on the island were approaching 2000, lepers and mental patients included.

Their only son, William Hayward, always called Billy, was born on 11th September 1920, and baptised 2 months later. Billy’s Godfathers were Doctor Thomas Davies and Mr William B De Smidt. Despite the small size of the Island, the Budds had a car and the Doc built a boat. Pictures also survive of a holiday to the fashionable Clifton area on the mainland, along with social gatherings – whilst isolated, life appears to have been good, and most certainly very different for Lil from life as a servant girl in Boscombe.

Little of The Doc’s work is known. Whilst his appointment was to the Mental Hospital Service, the facilities on Robben Island catered for both mental patients and lepers at the time of his arrival. The high cost of providing treatment on the Island caused the mental patients to be transferred to Cape Town (to the Valkenburg Hospital, still in operation today), leaving only the lepers on the island by 1921. Nonetheless The Doc remained on the Island – we can therefore presume that he worked in the Leprosarium there.

The Doc appears to have become a specialist in leprosy and made trips to another Leprosarium in the Eastern Cape in Mjanyana, near Mthatha (some 700 miles away from Robben Island).  It was on one of these trips in September 1927 that The Doc suddenly contracted pneumonia and, following a brief spell in the hospital in Mthatha, on 14th September, 3 days after Billy's seventh Birthday, suddenly died.

He was buried in the Anglican cemetery in Umthatha, but Lil and Billy were never to visit his grave - he was to be there nearly 90 years before his grave was marked (see this blog post for details).

Robben Island

Billy’s Christening 28th November 1920 L-R: Dr Davies, Mr and Mrs De Smidt, Lil, Billy, The Doc

Lil (l) with Billy (centre) on the steps of the Medical Superintendent's house

The Doc with Dr Davies on the verandah of the Medical Superintendent's house

Medical staff, Robben Island, The Doc on the left