Nothing new, or, Whatever happened to Aiden Diggeden?

16 02 2012

The police are everywhere these days. I see them under the big tree on the way into town trapping those who are careless with their speed. Other favourite spots include stop streets and certain traffic lights that people like to run. Mini busses are favourite prey and in Mutare they even pay a “levy” of around $5 which ensures that they are not pulled over for other infringements. It’s all part of a strategy to self finance the police. Spot fines tend to be inflated as most people are unaware of what they should be so several of my friends carry a schedule of the gazetted fines just in case. My friend Gary was in the local post office in Borrowdale this week having come up to Harare so that June, his wife, could have an operation on her broken leg. He got chatting to a gentlemen in the queue who seemed to know a lot about the subject. He told Gary that the police would even go so far as to release prisoners to do certain “work” and then they police would get some extra income, the prisoner would get a cut and go back to jail.

I mentioned this to Derek who had been in the  (Zimbabwe used to be called Rhodesia) CID (Criminal Investigation Department) of the Rhodesian BSAP (British South Africa Police) for many years. “Oh that’s nothing new” he said. “In the 1960s there was a certain criminal called Aiden Diggeden who was something of a folk hero around here. He was in jail in Bulawayo while there was a wage train robbery and the investigating officer noticed that Diggeden’s fingerprints were at the crime scene. A bit of investigation revealed that one of the prison warders had been letting him out at night to go and commit crimes and they would share the takings”.

Helen, Derek’s wife, was in the same class as Aiden at Chaplin School near Gweru and she said that his career in crime started when his step-father would not give him pocket-money so he would commit petty crime to get himself and his friends sweets. On several occasions her father gave him pocket-money.

Diggeden was a natural athlete and escaped Rhodesia to South Africa where he qualified for the South African Olympic team as a gymnast. An off duty Rhodesian policeman on holiday in South Africa saw him in a press photo under another name so he was extradited back to Rhodesia. He used his athletic prowess on several occasions to escape jail and used to keep fit in his cell by running up the wall and somersaulting back onto his feet.

On a well-known occasion he and another prisoner broke out of the jail on Enterprise road. They had managed to smuggle in some pieces of hacksaw blade and fashioned them into crude tools by inserting the pieces into the end of an old ballpoint pen. This was used to cut through the bars from the outside and Diggeden wrote a letter to Helen to ask her for paints, presumably to hide where they’d been cutting. They also sawed the frame of the door into pieces and put them back so that they were not discovered. Strips of canvas were stolen out of the prison workshop where canvas bags were made and on the night of the escape ladders were fabricated from the canvas and pieces of door frame. The attempt ran into trouble when Diggeden’s accomplice fell and broke a leg so Diggeden picked him up and left him in the chapel and tried to escape along the prison walls wearing canvas shoes also fabricated from canvas scraps to protect his feet from the glass on the wall. By this time the alarm had been raised and Diggeden’s route was blocked. Climbing up to the eves of the prison roof he hung by his hands and moved along to a trapdoor and then swung up into the roof. He was eventually apprehended in a water tank in the roof where he’d been hiding for 3 days.

“Diggeden was eventually deported to the UK where he got into more trouble and was locked up in Wormwood Scrubs” continued Derek. “I also heard that he got involved in crime in Canada and South America. Last I heard he’d committed suicide after getting tired of a life of crime and incarceration, but I am not sure about when or where” Derek concluded.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

32 responses

17 02 2012
Big Blister

I remember the name but not the association. Internet searches bring up a lot of references to Diggeden…

18 02 2012
gonexc

Yes, but not THAT Diggeden. I was surprised at how little there was but I guess it was a long time ago. Maybe a visit to the National Archives is in order…

2 04 2012
Aiden

I’m Still breathing

27 04 2012
Gary Westermann

Hi Aiden,
Your step mother was Wickee-Wood. You are the only one who could possibly know who her father was – obviously a Wickee. Do you know his names? Was Iris your actual mother? I am doing family tree research on the Wood family.
Regards
Gary

29 04 2012
gonexc

Gary, the person who wrote that comment has offered no evidence that he actually IS the Aiden Diggeden to whom I was referring. I suspect it is a “joke”.

8 11 2012
Gary Westermann

It’s no joke, there is only one Aiden William Diggeden, his father was Francis Aloysius Diggeden. The William name comes from the grandfather, William Diggeden. The Diggedens originated from Ireland but the name was not spelt that way, the unique spelling is from South Africa. All Diggedens elsewhere in the world originated from the South African Diggeden ancestor because of this fact. The Diggedens were all in the Grahamstown area originally and were Roman Catholic in religious affiliation. Francis had first married Iris Clark and then later Edna Josephine Wickee-Wood whom he met in Bulawayo. Francis married Edna in court initially because the Roman Catholic Church did not condone the divorce from Iris. Only much later, when Francis was very ill did the church relent and allowed the marriage in East London in 1985.
Regards
Gary

27 11 2016
Michael

Hi can tell you that Aldan is alive and well, and that was not him above, as he cant even use facebook.

23 11 2012
gonexc

The Aiden Diggeden to whom I am referring went to Chaplin school in the then Gwelo (now Gweru). His mother was 19 when he was born and he was adopted by her father. There is no record of whom his father was – he took his mother’s surname. He was a contemporary of Helen Leiros whom I know well and her husband, Derek Huggins, who was the investigating officer on his attempted break-out at the high security prison in Enterprise road here in Harare. If alive he’d be in his 70s now.

9 03 2015
Ian Carruthers

GJW indeed Francis Diggedin who married E J Wickee-Wood is retaled to me via Walsh/Welsh & “Frederick Job Gower” families.
Ian ex. Chaplin

10 03 2015
Mike

Hi Ian. As you can see, I have been waiting for a response from Shaun but I do not think it is forth coming. Are you in a position to assist me in trying to trace AWD? I looked after him for many years in Maximum Security and there have been all sorts of lies and rumours going around about him and his supposed death. I think I know him a fair bit better than just about most anyone else at this time and if he is surviving still, I would love to make comms with him.. I would certainly appreciated any news you could possibly share with me in regard. Thanks and best regards. Mike Mays

9 04 2014
Mike Mays

Greetings. It is now apparent that AWD died of heart attack in the UK two weeks ago! Indeed he was an adopted child and his ‘Father’ worked at Meikles in Gwelo. He did in fact attend Chaplin High School in Gwelo as a day scholar. Google his full name and read the results. Cheers. Mike Mays.

23 04 2014
shaun

aiden Is fine, I checked with my dad and from the horses mouth he still breaths, I used to hear all these stories and more as a kid, aiden and my dad lived in the uk then Durban in the 90`s , I used to drive for aiden when taking cars to the auctions,

23 04 2014
Mike Mays

Hi Shaun. If in fact Aiden is alive and well, could your Dad possibly ask him to contact me as I looked after him for many years in Salisbury Central Prison and I would surely like to make comms with him again and also to put an end to this saga one way or the other. Thanks. Mike.

21 05 2014
Mike Mays

Hi Shaun. I am still waiting for your response re you asking your Dad to get AWD to contact me. If he is in fact alive and well, I would like to ask him to be the guest speaker at our forth coming Annual Rhodesian Police Dinner in Cape Town. This would surely be a fantastic and wonderful evening! Please Shaun, you most urgent response is required! Regards. Mike.

22 05 2014
shaun

sorry mike didn’t see the notification, my dad said he was beating everyone at table tennis in there, I can always ask but I haven’t seen awd for a few years, but I will see my dad this week or next.
thanks shaun

22 05 2014
Mike Mays

Thanks Shaun, I really appreciate your help. Regards. Mike

11 06 2014
Mike Mays

Hi Shaun. Any response yet please? Regards. Mike

10 04 2016
Shonah

Hi there Garry Westermann. I would really like to make contact with you as I think our family trees could cross. My e-mail address is shonah@hotmail.co.za. Would be most interesting.

27 11 2016
Michael Mays

Shaun. Last response I had from you was 22/05/2014 and now i certainly believe that you were talking a whole lot of shit about AWD and were merely trying to make some sort of name for yourself! AWD is dead and I have documented proof so roll that up and shove it!

5 12 2016
Jane quinn

Aiden diggiden is still Alive and well and is in fact a good family friend and he is still a legend x

5 12 2016
Michael kinahan

He is such a great man. He has helped me out more than once. And I am very proud to have him as a friend.

5 12 2016
Michael Mays

I have heard all this BS before! Please do the honest thing and offer me so proof!

5 12 2016
Michael Mays

Please provide proof otherwise this will be treated as false!

8 12 2016
Michael kinahan

What sort of proof? Regards

28 12 2016
Michael kinahan

Hi, still awaiting what proof your after? Regards

28 12 2016
Michael Mays

Proof of existence. Photo’s, Name three fellow D Class prisoners who were incarcerated in the new D Class with him in the 70’s especially the British Spy and the one who was executed for committing murder. The name of the Prison Doctor and name of the Prison Officer who used to smuggle him in some Vodka every now and then. If he gets all this correct then I may just believe you and the rumour that he is still alive. Thanks.

30 12 2016
Michael kinahan

Spoke to Aidan, he can’t remember names as he is 75 and it’s been nearly half a century. The man who was executed he remembers he was from Aberdeen. If you have a email address I can send pictures of Aidan and his school report, and even his blazer from 1964 trampoline tournament against the USA .
Regards

30 12 2016
Mike Mays

Thanks Michael. Seems like we could be on the right track.
The executed guy was not from Aberdeen, he was a South African who murdered a taxi driver and stole his taxi.
Does Aiden by chance remember me?
My email address is maysmunt@live.co.za

30 12 2016
Mike Mays

Hi Michael.
I think I messed up my response, duplication!!!! However, it seems we are on the right track.
The executed person was not from Aberdeen but was a South African who murdered a taxi driver then stole his taxi.
The guy from Aberdeen was in fact the British sanctions spy Kenneth McIntosh who was sneaked out of prison by an MI6 agent by the name of Spencer.
Does AWD remember me by chance and possible the names of any other Prison Officers?
I would really like to supply you with my email address but I will have to create a temp one as I do not wish to have any looneys contacting me directly but if you have any other means of Contact we can share I would be most grateful.
Thanks and regards.
Mike Mays

17 12 2016
Dawn

I also am proud to have aiden as a friend

29 08 2017
Syma rc helicopters

Syma rc helicopters

Nothing new, or, Whatever happened to Aiden Diggeden? | Zimbabwe Absurdity

31 08 2017
Pandora Spacer

Pandora Spacer

Nothing new, or, Whatever happened to Aiden Diggeden? | Zimbabwe Absurdity

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: