Letters during 'The Emergency'

Dinosaur

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G'day Folks

I had some earlier requests asking for stuff relating to the Kenyan 'Emergency'.

Attached is one of a few letters written by my long gone great uncle, which I found after my Grandparents passed away. Sorry, as I don't have a scanner, so it is poor photo quality stuff. The letter is old and faded, really hard to read. If you want view it, copy the photo, and zoom in on it.

Please jump the first few paragraphs of Page 1, as it is not Mau Mau related.

Regards
Rob

MM Letter-Dec 1952 #1..JPG
MM Letter-Dec 1952 #2.JPG
MM Letter-Dec 1952 #3.JPG
 
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spike.t

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Neat...very interesting... thanks.. :D Beers:

I had some books on the emergency ,and there were some serious people doing the patrols passing themselves off as the Mau Mau..... Along with the others from all walks of life fighting them......
 

spike.t

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Thanks..... Interesting reading how the thinking was back then....bumped off......love how they were annoyed at the armored cars damaging the bally bridges.....but no way they would have taken my guns from me with those psychopaths running around chopping people into pieces.......anymore by chance?.... :D Beers:
 

Dinosaur

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Thanks..... Interesting reading how the thinking was back then....bumped off......love how they were annoyed at the armored cars damaging the bally bridges.....but no way they would have taken my guns from me with those psychopaths running around chopping people into pieces.......anymore by chance?.... :D Beers:

G'day Spike

I am glad that you are enjoying the wee bit of history (y) It's just a pity that it is not in ebook form with the local colonial accent. I do have a couple more letters which I will try to load soon. It's a real shame that another letter was just too difficult to read due to it fading over time. I am pleased that I found them before the letters got destroyed in the hurricane at my Mothers.

One thing that I laughed about my great uncle 'Grunk' , is that he had 3 dogs, which he named 'Brandy, Whisky and Soda :ROFLMAO:

Regards
Rob
 

spike.t

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Wheels

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Thanks for the letters. Interesting times. Sounds like your uncle would have been a fun guy to know."

The "Air Mail" letter brought back some memories. Pre-independence, they were obviously using the "British East Africa" stamp.
 

spike.t

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I remember the foldable "Air Mail" letters. Used plenty of them when I was a teenager.

Mmmm.....so you are older than you been making us believe then......:D
 

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:LOL: I had been in boarding schools since I was 11. No phones for student use unless an emergency. So, a lot of letter writing.

Late starter...went when 8 and a bit....and friends started at 5 years old...... :eek::D
 

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Wow, that is young. I remember kids in First Form crying at night in dorms missing parents first few nights. I can't imagine how a 5 year old might feel.

I had to break the boarding school tradition with my kids (sister, parents, grandparents etc. went), as my first wife and I divorced and I had custody. If I sent them to boarding school she would have gone to court and gotten custody. My son was not happy about it at the time as he was really looking forward to going.
 

Dinosaur

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Thanks for the letters. Interesting times. Sounds like your uncle would have been a fun guy to know."

The "Air Mail" letter brought back some memories. Pre-independence, they were obviously using the "British East Africa" stamp.

Thank you Wheels for you kind comments, and you are totally right about the stamps, did you used to collect the stamps. I haven't looked at my collection for a long time, but in those days, we never had access to 'First Day Covers', we only took them from letters from exotic places.

My mother used to be a secretary for one of the well known White Hunter Companies in Nairobi & Dar es Salaam, and used to collect stamps from all over, from the used envelopes thrown in the bin.

By the way, here's another letter, but the writing is getting even more blurry.

Regards
Rob

May 1954 #1.JPG
May 1954 #2.JPG
May 1954 #3.JPG
May 1954 #4.JPG
May 1954 #5.JPG
May 1954 #6.JPG
 

Wheels

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Thank you Wheels for you kind comments, and you are totally right about the stamps, did you used to collect the stamps. I haven't looked at my collection for a long time, but in those days, we never had access to 'First Day Covers', we only took them from letters from exotic places.

My mother used to be a secretary for one of the well known White Hunter Companies in Nairobi & Dar es Salaam, and used to collect stamps from all over, from the used envelopes thrown in the bin.

By the way, here's another letter, but the writing is getting even more blurry.

Regards
Rob

View attachment 350543 View attachment 350544 View attachment 350545 View attachment 350546 View attachment 350547 View attachment 350548


I did cut stamps from envelopes, and save them for a time. The newly independent African countries always had colorful stamps compared with the stodgy American and European stamps. Those stamps are now long gone. No idea where they went.

I do remember one letter my father received. It was airmail from America and only had my fathers name and Tanzania, East Africa. Somehow it made it to our PO Box in Mbeya. Took around six months if I remember correct. Doubt anything like that would happen these days.

What company did your mother work for?

Interesting going through your uncles letter. I didn't realize that there were events like that going on most every day. Thought most events were isolated, not daily occurances.

Appreciate the information.
 

Dinosaur

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I did cut stamps from envelopes, and save them for a time. The newly independent African countries always had colorful stamps compared with the stodgy American and European stamps. Those stamps are now long gone. No idea where they went.

I do remember one letter my father received. It was airmail from America and only had my fathers name and Tanzania, East Africa. Somehow it made it to our PO Box in Mbeya. Took around six months if I remember correct. Doubt anything like that would happen these days.

What company did your mother work for?

Interesting going through your uncles letter. I didn't realize that there were events like that going on most every day. Thought most events were isolated, not daily occurances.

Appreciate the information.


G'day Wheels, Isn't it amazing how the letter from your father actually got t o you, it just proves how tightly knit the colonial communities were.

The postal address on my Great Uncles Letters is Mitubiri,, which is actually only a railway station near Thika in Kenya, I always thought that it must have been a small village, until I asked my parents.

It's a shame about your stamps, and yes, the new stamps after Uhuru were a lot more colourful.

As for my mother, I am pretty certain it was 'Shaw & Hunter Ltd' at Nairobi, but that gives me a good reason to give her a call, just to confirm if it was a different mob.

As for the Mau Mau, most of the info on the net makes the 'Emergency' just a minor colonial uprising, but if it was only trivial, why did the British send a huge amount of troops? I suppose the sheer numbers of people joining the Mau Mau enforced that, and they massacred hundreds of their own in the most brutal fashion.

The majority of the colonials were armed, they all had handguns even at the dinner table, as the murders were happening regularly in the middle of the night. My father even had a Sten gun with a .45 ACP Colt Revolver (yes, not .45 Long Colt, it was a .45ACP calibre), my mum had a .32, my grandfather had his . 45 Colt pistol, and my grandmother had a .25 ACP pistol, and a walking stick sword. Yep, just like the movies.

It was very, very, close, as my grandmother knocked out a Mau Mau who was sneaking up on my grandfather from behind, thank god she got him. She also learnt not to trust the Kikuyu cook, as she discovered that he was a Mau Mau , after finding a heap of glass in the meal prior to serving. From then on, she cooked herself, and she was an excellent cook.

Sadly they had good friends whom were murdered, and these people use to treat the Kikuyu like family, they wouldn't believe the authorities, when they were told to be careful of the Kikuyu farm workers.

My Great Uncle was in the Police Force, so I am guessing he got to see the regular events that the other colonials didn't get to see.

I really feel sad for the live stock that were brutally crippled by Mau Mau, Ham-stringing the poor things with Pangas.

Weird thing is my grandfather actually employed ex Mau Mau from the King Georgie Hotel (Prison), as farm workers. Some sort of Colonial rehabilitation scheme.

Well, that's Africa !

Regards

Rob
 

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Wheels

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Thanks for sharing family letters. They have been interesting and educational.
 

Dinosaur

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What company did your mother work for?


G'day Wheels

I have spoken to my mother, she worked for 'Shaw & Hunter Ltd' at Nairobi. It was in a building opposite the Stanley Hotel in Nairobi in the Late 1950s. Within the same building were a few other companies and they all came under the 'TATA Group of companies' that included Shaw & Hunter, and the Gun shop on the Ground Floor below.

My mother worked on the Telephone exchange, mail sorting, book work and other odd jobs. During the quiet periods at Shaw & Hunter she would do the same duties in the gun shop below, or in the other companies within the TATA group.

Her manager, when working in the Gun shop would get my mum to take the weekly cash to the Bank, which was down the road. My mother said that they didn't want the cash delivery to look obvious, especially as she had to walk it to the bank unarmed. Therefore, she would dress up in extra clothing and fill all the internal and external pockets up, and wear over large bras, in order to stow the cash in there too. My mother said it looked hilarious with bulges in the clothing everywhere :ROFLMAO:

After my mother left the business a young African Lady had been doing the same job, and was knocked on the bag of the head and robbed of all the cash.

Mum never understood why an armed man couldn't do the job, as it was the takings of the gun shop & Shaw & Hunter, of all things that she was taking to the bank .o_O

Due to relationship issues at the time, she decided to escape Nairobi and headed to the beautiful coastline of Tanzania, at Dar-es-Salaam, where she took on a 'Nanny' type jobs, including doing the book work in a Tannery at Thika, In Kenya.

Regrettably my mother doesn't have any photos of the period in 'Shaw & Hunter' and her memory is a bit vague so she can't recall any of the hunters names, other than her friends whom were living at Thika at the time (eg: Finn Aagard, and others not as well known). Funny thing , if I bring up a subject she will then get a flashback and tell me all sorts of stuff.

Regards
Rob
 

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