Name ID 511
Conner, Shaun Memories of Colonel T.S.Conner DSO KPM
Page Number: 01
Extract Date: 1947
I thought there might be some interest in my late Uncle, Colonel T.S. Conner DSO. KPM, (known everywhere as "The Colonel"), so I thought I would let you have a small history of his and my families life in Tanzania, together with names I remember from the 1960's and 70's. I am also attaching some photographs which I thought maybe of interest.
The Col and his American wife, Jo, arrived in Mombasa from India in 1947 en route to South Africa following his retirement from the Indian Army. They had an American Willis Jeep which they had brought from India and set off to explore East Africa for a few months before departing for SA. However, they decided to stay and purchased a small farm somewhere not far from Nairobi. A short while later the Col heard that farms were being offered to soldier settlers in Tanganyika with the help of a loan from the Land Bank. He put his name forward and though questioned about being a little old (52) he was granted 3 lots as one farm in Oldeani, which he named Kongoni Estate. He and his wife then set about farming the land of which he had little knowledge save for being apprenticed to a Tea Planter in India before the First World War!
He farmed coffee wheat and barley as far as I can remember. He also had a fine heard of cattle. Sadly in 1950 Jo died in America of cancer. She had gone home to have a thorough check up, both unaware of how ill she must have been, but she never returned to Tanganyika. She did however organise to have all sorts of much needed farming machinery shipped over to Africa and in the following years, the Col together with his manager Van Wyke built up one of the most successful farms in Tanganyika. Success allowed him to buy 3 other farms, New Brandon Estate in Oldiani, Swiss Estate in Arusha and Little Kongoni Estate at Weru Weru, just 9 miles from Moshi. The Col offered many members of his family the chance to change their lives and come out to work for him.
In 1952 his niece Eileen and her husband Paddy Purchase arrived. Paddy built a house for them on the farm and their 3 children, Melody, Rosemary and Nigel, spent their early years in Oldeani before they moved to Arusha and Dar and then Kenya.
Extract Author: Miriam Watters (Pope)
Page Number: 2004 05 29
Extract Date: 1953-61
Congratulations on your website - it is a fascinating and a great browse!
My names is Miriam Watters nee Pope. I now live in Brisbane, Australia but I lived East Africa from 1953 until 1961. - spending 3 years in Arusha from 1959 to 1961 (aged 8 to 11). Your website was a trip down memory lane especially with the photo of staff and students in front of Arusha School. I wonder if my face is amongst the students - I was there about the time it was taken!
Mr. Hamshere was a wonderful headmaster and I remember my favourite teacher was Janet Jewell and of course who could forget "BL Jones!
In my autograph book I also have the names of other teachers - H. Tofte, Margaret Crow and V. Gormley. Rev. Bryn Jones was a good friend to my parents Jean and Frank Pope.
Dad was Mechanical Supervisor for PWD. We have happy memories of "Hatari" being made and the excitement of John Wayne and his fellow stars coming to town. I actually met John Wayne, Valentine DeVargis, Red Buttons and Howard Hawks in the Safari Hotel where they were enjoying a beer!
Dad went on safari with our neighbour Hugh Lamprey to catch the rhino for the film and Mum was an extra, chosen through her involvement with the Little Theatre. She acted in many fine plays along with Paddy Purchase .
I read with interest, Michele Calorio's letter on your website. I would love to contact her as I have a photo taken at a children's birthday party held by Mrs Calorio and from memory it was for her daughter Luisa Calorio.
I would be happy for you to include my name on your website and pass my email on to Michele.
Our neighbours in Springvale Road were Dr. and Mrs Carloni and children Nicoletta and Roger. I keep in contact with David "Titch" North-Lewis (now in UK), Melody, Rosemary (both UK) and Nigel Purchase (Kenya) and Joy Thomson (New Zealand).
Joy's father was Rev. Thomson from the Anglican Church. Other names I remember from my class are: Susan Totman, Yvonne Zikarkis, Jane Atlee, Peter Owen-Pawson and Peter French. My younger sister Vanessa was best friends with Elizabeth Cashin. My brother Alan was in the junior school. I also went to Sunday school at the Anglican Church - which has been beautifully kept and looks as good as when we attended church there.
I returned to Arusha in 2002 with my special friend Janet McGavin (who now lives in the UK) who also attended Arusha School. We first met as toddlers in Tabora and we have been close friends since then. One of the current teachers at Arusha School, Shaibu Pelle, showed us around the school. It was a very emotional visit - especially seeing the old tortoise again!
Before moving to Arusha my family lived in Dar-es-salaam where I went to St. Joseph's School for 6 months (in 1956) then we moved to Lindi until 1958. We left Tanzania just after Uhuru, in November 1961, and migrated to Australia in 1962.
By sheer chance I met Colin Swynnerton here in Brisbane - we realised we must have been in the same class as he was also a student at Arusha School and remembered the same class mates names.
I'll get in touch again if my memory comes up with any other names!
Miriam Watters (Pope)
Marsh, R.J. and E.P Safari Diaries
Page Number: 11
Extract Date: 1955 August 3
It was fairly clear on Tuesday morning at the Camp. We had a good run down into Oldeani, misty in patches, though occasionally it cleared to give us views of the Oldeani farms. I found the turning off the crater road, which took us round the back of the farms on to the road that led down to the village shops. I reckon that I just about know my way around Oldeani now after about 6 or 7 visits though I still do not reckon to know who is on all the farms. From the Karatu end to the other end of the District well over 20 miles just along the road, and there are about 30 farms in the whole area. Many of them have their houses only a mile as the crow flies from their neighbour, but it is often more like 5 miles to get round by road and tracks.
We called at the Purchases ... after we left them, we stopped at the dukas for Lazaroís benefit, and he decided to stay there until we came back for him late in the afternoon. Then we went on to Mrs Chingís estate for lunch. .A new family has just come there, the Holtonís, and their daughter aged nine who was very pleased to have the company of other children for half a day.
Mrs Ching and Mrs Holton are both interested in Ďimprovingí church servies when the new club is opened, and asked about making contributions of suitable items of furniture. They also asked if more regular servies might be provided in the future. I am wondering just how much they may be spurred on by the fact that the Afrikaans folk are having more regular visits from their minister now!
It was well on to 5 p.m. before we got away from here, and as I had decided to spend the next two nights at Karatu, we went straight over to there, there being as much as 20 miles to cover. The roads were pretty dusty especially around the farms, and some of the bends wanted watching. On one of them the dust was so thick that we practically skidded round an S-bend, and then the wind whipped up the dust we created and blew it right across the car so that it was literally falling down the front of the windscreen as if some one had emptied a bucket of dusty sand from the roof of the car.
We picked up Lazaro at the Oldeani dukas and then got over to Karatu after 6 - to find that the Rest House was deserted, and all locked-up, though fortunately the back door had been left unlocked. We were able to get in and unpack, but there was no boy around in charge, and so no Ďkunií (wood) for fires, and then to our dismay not water from the taps. We scrounged round for a little wood to light the bath fire, as we were able to do the cooking on the primus. Fortunately I had a good supply of drinking water available in the car to eke out for supper and breakfast if necessary. Judging from the next day it would seem that the water supply is off here at night for the present.
However we managed to get settled in and had a cooked meal, some kind of wash and then eventually to bed. David and Paul were very good over all this kind of thing and I never had a grumble from them the whole safari; occasionally they got a bit silly in their ways, but accepted all that came. Jolly good for them!
Marsh, R.J. and E.P Safari Diaries
Page Number: 14
Extract Date: 1956
Packed for safari and left Arusha, after calls in scholl and town, about 10 for Oldeani. Tarmac to 45 miles. Called on Holmes. Lunch at Ulyate, then across farms to Mtu was Mbu. Pushed on to Karatu. Called at J Gibb for tea. then Hargs and saw Angus. Met Jacksons (Lutheran) on the road, and reached Taylors up on ex-Sands farm, before 7p.m.
Out at 11, visited Purchases and van Rooyen. Afternoon very hot and returned to Taylors. Did not go out until after diner to Club.
No one came for 8am service! Engine of car a bit 'pinky', so Taylor and I had a go at carburator. Not cleared by 11.00 am so he took me to Club and then went back to see what could be done. Only Hargs and Paddy and 1 child came to 11 am service. Lunch at Taylors, left at 3pm. Straight back to Arusha by 6pm.
Extract Author: Sarah C Slater ( nee Burnett )
Page Number: 2004 10 24
Extract Date: 1958-1963
I was @ arusha school during the years above.
My parents are Joan & George Burnett. My father was an entymologist, & worked @ the Colonial (Tropical) Pesticides Reseach Institute.
My brother Patrick & sister Victoria were also @ the school.
I think I was in the same class as Vanessa Pope, Elizabeth Cashin, Rosemary Purchase, Geraldine Swynnerton, John Bovennizer, Emile Karafiat, Pamela Carter & Joyce Thompson, Huw Jones, Diana Yeo.
I think Sandro Legnani was in the same class as my brother.
Does anybody remember the Beaumont family who farmed @ Sharok?
Or the McPhillips, an Irish family of 10 children who's mother was a doctor at Meru Hospital?
I remember BL Jones & family well, & Miss Jenkins & Mrs Papadopoulos amongst others.
My parents kept in touch with Paddy Purchase, father of Rosemary, Nigel & Melody & Doug & Margaret Yeo whio were neighbours & colleagues of my father.
My Mum is very ill now. I would love to be able to pass on news to her. She was an artist & used to run art classes on our lawn. Her & my father were very active in the Little Theatre, Arusha. He used to build the sets & she would paint them. I remember being Fairy Crystal Fountain in a production of Sleeping Beauty, in a wonderful white tutu made by a lady, I think Mrs. Bloom, who had been a profesional costume designer.
Does any one remember Narajan Singh, the grocer? I remember it being an Aladdin's cave of sweeties & the lovely kind staff.
My parents moved to Aberdeen Scotland, where they still are. I lived in Scotland until 2000, & now live in Suffolk, England. I would be absolutely delighted to hear from any-one from those idyllic childhood years.
Sarah C Slater ( nee Burnett )
Lots of memories, and names - thank you. Iíll be updating the database in the next week or so, and will include your email, which Iím sure will trigger some responses.
There have been some recent feedback emails mentioning some of your names. Did you see the email from Miriam Pope mentioning the Purchases and the Little Theatre. Iíve also just this week been sent a photo which includes Emil Karrafiat - it should be on the web site with the next update.
As for Naranjan Singh - did you see the clips on the site from Hatari
I heard that after independence he moved to India, and became very rich with a department store. His sons have been in England, and visited someone I know who had been in Arusha in the 1950ís.
Thank you so much for the fascinating information. The web-site is a wonderful resource & the work that goes into producing it is much appreciated.
I printed out some of the pictures of the School, Boma & Hospital ( where I was born) for my parents, which were pored over, & recognised by all the family. They were totally amazed, being internet 'unfriendly'!
Conner, Shaun Memories of Colonel T.S.Conner DSO KPM
Page Number: 05
Extract Date: 1970
Sadly however, my father had to return home to the UK and died later that year from complications following an operation. The Col continued to run Ogaden for another 2 years and then decided that aged 75 he should move to live in Nairobi where Paddy Purchase was living and where he had many other friends through his interest in Sports etc. He sold Ogaden to a Derek somebody i cant remember, but he was never paid as agreed and got the farm back with the help of his great friend Charles Withers Payne. Charles was a lawyer who at some point had blotted his copy book but was able to practise in Tanzania. A lovely old gent who drove an American Chev he called Queen Mary and who was well known by the farmers and who in later years as you read on, you will learn was honoured for his work in trying to get the Tanzanian Government to stick to its promises to the farmers.
Eventually the Colonel sold Ogaden to somebody else but the money of course was stuck in a Tanzanian bank. Thus in 1970 when he was told there was a farm for sale in West Kilimanjaro, 2000 acres next to his old friend Piet Hugo he decided to buy it. He put a manager in place and commuted down as often as he could but of course during the early to mid 70's, Tanzania had closed its borders with Kenya due to a dispute over East African Airways and Tourism amongst other things. This made his visits difficult so his friend Charles Withers Payne helped him get the necessary paperwork as a land owner to avoid too many questions from the rather difficult border officials on both sides. He developed a system of arriving at Namanga in his car and appearing very old and doddery and exaggerated the use of a walking stick! He was by then getting on for 80 anyway. This usually got him through but hidden in his car were supplies for the farm and requests from friends as at this time it was difficult to get many basic things in Tanzania. He also always attended the St George's Day Dinner in Arusha if he could get down.