Thursday, 6 August 2015



"Skipper" & Anna on their Wedding day 
In 1963 my late maternal grandfather, Frederick Chapman-Gibson (aka “Skipper” to his friends and family) and then aged 72, married a nursing sister, Anna  Susanna Costopoulos (nee De Klerk), who was  a widow, aged 37, with two young children, Anita (9 ) and Peter (7).

Skipper was the son of one of two 19th century transport pioneering English brothers who founded South Africa’s largest privately-owned coach and mail transport companies in the late 19th century, known as the “Red Star Line”. (#)

There are many stories that can be told about “Skipper” Chapman-Gibson, a dynamite-transport entrepreneur, inventor and a generous and kindly man, who adored his pets (dogs and cats) and entertaining friends and acquaintances alike with his “tricks”. One intriguing story relates to the 1950’s “discovery” of an ox wagon  allegedly containing some of  President Paul Kruger’s gold found in a spring on Skipper’s 52-acre estate at Buccleuch in Gauteng!

"Buccleuch House" built in 1936
"Buccleuch Castle"  built in 1949
Anna (aka “Anne”), who was a qualified nursing sister, and “Skipper” spent 15 years of marriage together  until ‘Skipper’s” passing in 1978. Skipper and Anna began their married life living on Skipper’s  ship look-alike home in Buccleuch (see photo on left), then a few years later moved to Skipper’s “facsimile” of a Union- Castle Line  mailship, known as “Buccleuch Castle”(which Skipper had  built in 1949) (see photo on right) before finally moving to Glenhazel, Johannesburg.

Anna Gibson, a beautiful woman to this day (she will be 89 in 4 months’ time) has always been greatly loved by her family and friends. She epitomises serenity, tranquillity, caring and kindness. Skipper was truly blessed to have met her. After his demise Anna became a matron at a retirement home in Johannesburg and later moved into a retirement village in Randburg. 

Anna is currently, at the time of this posting, in ICU in Sandton and is in all the family's and everyone’s prayers.

(#) There will be a future post on the history of The Gibson Brothers of the Red Star Line.

                                                      - penned by Guy Macleod 6 August 2015.

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