Dave Ommanney

Born 1931

Name ID 1454

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 207
Extract Date: 1952

David Ommanney

Stan Lawrence-Brown had many fine professional hunters associated with his firm in Arusha, but perhaps the best all-around hunter was David Ommanney. Dave was born in Jalgaon, India, in 1931, the son of a British policeman in the Indian Colonial Civil Service who settled his family in Nanyuki, Kenya. As a schoolboy Dave had been befriended by the famous tiger hunter from India, Jim Corbett, then in retirement at the small town of Nyeri in the foothills of the Aberdare Mountains. Corbett's influence helped prompt Ommanney to become a white hunter.

"There were only three safari outfitting organizations operating in Nairobi at the beginning of the fifties," Dave recalled. "Safariland, Ker and Downey, and Lawrence-Brown and Lunan."

Dave started with a visit to Safariland. The manager, Wally King, was not encouraging. Dave made his way to Ker and Downey's office where he met Donald Ker. Ker took one look at Ommanney and said, "Ker and Downey would never employ anyone who wore shorts! - In 1952 Ommanney was hired by Lawrence-Brown and Lunan Safaris as a "stooge."

There was hardly any money, and Stan worked him to the bone. But Ommanney does not resent the hardships, the brutal training, and long hours. He stuck out his stooging job with teeth gritted, although perhaps 98 percent of would-be hunters with stars in their eyes dropped out. The trainee's backyard university was fixing cars, meeting and greeting clients, tracking animals, scouting on reccies, skinning game, or standing in line at some bureaucratic counter getting interminable permits. There was always a rush to get the next safari on the road and get a shady, scenic campsite located, cleared, tents pitched, kerosene refrigerator and lamps working before the white hunter bwanas and clients arrived half a day later expecting hot showers, hors d'oeuvres, and a five-course dinner on the table. Bored to distraction sorting and packing supplies, or being jumped on for some petty fault, being eternally broke, tired, sore, bug-bitten, and belittled was not everybody's cup of tea. In those days only men who really meant to make a full-time career out of hunting would put up with the hardships. The years that were required to qualify for an unrestricted professional hunter's license constituted a most serious business, and Ommanney winces at the recollection of it.

Extract ID: 3828

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 204c
Extract Date: 1957

Stan Lawrence-Brown's lieutenants

Stan Lawrence-Brown wasted no time in recruiting lieutenants. He had brought with him from Kenya a young and talented hunter named David Ommanney . Ommanney had worked for both Stan and Dave Lunan during their partnership, having begun his apprenticeship with them in 1952. At Arusha Jacky Hamman came on board, followed in 1957 by hunters George Six, Derrick Dunn, Brian Herne, Nick Swan, and, in 1960 a very good Kenya hunter, Mike Hissey, and Stan's brother, Geoff. On a casual basis Stan hired Douglas Collins, Lars Figgenshou, and, for a time, Greg Hemingway (youngest son of Ernest). Greg's older brother, Patrick Hemingway, was a hunter with Russell's Whores and Shauris, just down the road.

Lawrence-Brown also employed casual hunters and "stooges" Arthur Squiers, Bob Robertson, Royce Buckle, Bruno Crone, Jon Hall, and store manager Dave Turner-Dauncey.

Extract ID: 3827

See also

Herne, Brian White Hunters: The golden age of African Safaris
Page Number: 217a
Extract Date: 1958 January

Death of Jackie Hamman

It was not to be a lion, leopard, buffalo, or black mamba that killed zestful Jacky Hamman in the prime of his life. In January 1958, David Ommanney , the gifted star at Lawrence-Brown Safaris, was sharing a hunting camp with Hamman and Geoff Lawrence-Brown, Stan's younger brother.

Jacky, like many South African hunters, had a tremendous love of antique guns, exposed-hammer firearms in particular. Before his safari with Ommanney , Jacky had purchased a new Land Rover pickup truck from which he had removed both doors in order to give himself and his clients quick and silent exit when hunting.

Jacky and his client went out guinea fowl hunting in the Mto-wa-Mbu (Mosquito River) area in northern Tanganyika. Hamman, the quick-shot artist, known to be a stickler for gun safety, was driving his doorless car with his hammer shotgun loaded, its butt resting on the car's floorboard beside his feet, its barrel cradled in the crook of his arm. Driving cross-country the vehicle hit a bump and the shotgun's butt slid across the floorboard and out of the car, but as it did so one of the shotgun's hammers hit the edge of the floor. Hamman took the full shotgun blast at almost point-blank range, and the charge struck just beneath his ear. It was David Ommanney who transported Jacky's body back to Arusha where Jacky's widow, Betty, and his two young children lived.

Extract ID: 3837