School career ended prematurely as POW last term was cut short
because of the emergency precipitated by Congo Independence. Hawke
House was turned to housing Belgian refugees and I got conscripted as an
interpreter to help there - pending call-up into Kenya Reg. I never made it there
but was seconded directly into KAR (I was a Uganda boy) to help
with rescue and evacuation of missionaries et al. Demobbed early after an
illustrious military career lugging a WW1-era Lee-Enfield rifle around Bukavu
keeping the United Nations peace.
Joined The British Tabulating Machine Company (EA) which later
became ICT then ICL. Sent to England to learn how to program
and maintain computers, eventually returning to Nairobi where I baby-sat
the first computers for EAR&H and EAP&L. Eventually transferred back to
UK to do research and design for ICT and then to Holland to look after
their machines there. Here I came to the attention of an American outfit
and was recruited to emigrate to the U.S. and next spent 30 years working
for Control Data Corporation in R&D on supercomputers.
Have lived in California (San Francisco Bay Area - Silicon Valley) ever
since with my wife Nancy. Have two daughters who have since left the
nest, and recently retired (mid 2002)
Generaly manage an annual sojourn back to the UK to visit with
friends and family.
Photo below - I'm the tall skinny guy standing up. Seated is
Ian MacOwen who I remember was a "Day Boy" who lived up the road
in Kabete. We are wearing CCF uniform and the building to the right
is the Science Labs. This was taken just outside "the armoury" where
the rifles for the CCF were kept.
An addition (Feb 2003) to Jitze's recollections:
The Scottish Dancing pictures (1961) reminded me of "Spunky" Duncan - he and I revelled in
illicit chemistry experiments. I recall we used to hollow out the pods dropped by the gum
trees at the top fields. (Some people fashioned pipe-bowls out of them in which to smoke
various dried leaves or 10-centi tobacco reclaimed from used stompies). Our variation was to
fill them with ammonium-nitrate (swiped from the labs) mixed with sugar, and detonate them. I
don't know if anyone remembers, but there was a 1ft pipe under the road leading to Junior House
(storm culvert) and this mysteriously exploded one night when we miscalculated the dosage
required for a big bang..... (the perpetrators were, of course, Prefects seconded to serve in
Junior House from their respective senior houses. These were supposedly the guardians of law
and order, and mentors to the young and impressionable rabble. What 'was' the youth of those
days coming to?)
In Junior House, grace before meals was initiated by the Housemaster banging smartly with a
large gavel on a round wooden block. 'Somebody' created a hollow in the bottom of this block and
filled it with home-crafted nitrogen tri-iodide...... with the result that the next time grace
was said, the block split due to the explosion, and the celebrant was enveloped in a cloud of
I see from Brod Purdy's entry on this web site that he now indulges as "...mature student
reading Hons Oriental Studies with Chinese at Oxford..." and I see also that he indulges in
racing old jalopies round France.
I am now somewhat more pedestrian in my pursuits - see
although I must confess that on returning to EA after my stint as an apprentice in Britain, I
and a friend entered the East African Safari Ralley as one of a team of 3 DKW's. This was the
2-stroke 3-cylinder job with front-wheel drive, competing mainly against Saab (we thought) but
that year an Austin Mini won in the under-one-litre class if I recallcorrectly. Our car ran out
of road in a tea plantation somewhere near Kericho in the dead of a very dark night.
Thankfully passed between two rubber trees while taking out a couple of tea bushes and modifying
the distributor by pushing the front bumper in to it.
I exited the vehicle after checking that my co-driver was OK and decided to take the
opportunity to now relieve my bladder - which I did against a rubber tree. Too late!! It turned
out that the trunk of said rubber tree was in fact the back leg of an elephant that had strayed
into that shamba. So beat an ignominious retreat back into the Deek and waited there till
morning and the backup/rescue vehicle came looking for us.
(Registered - 10th December 2002)
If anyone wishes to contact Jitze, please e-mail email@example.com
to obtain his contact details