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   Donald Thompson


Donald (Don) Frederick Thompson

Nickname: Thompy
House: Hawke
Years: 1945-1948

I was at the PoW from 1945 to 1948 (first term as a “Stinker” and then a Boarder to 1948), in Hawke House, when “Mkobe” Atkinson was the Master i/c of the House, and “Samaki” Salmon was his assistant. “Seedy” Gunson was Head of House, followed by “Bobo” Constantinidies – great days!

Memories of School:
  • As a "Rabble" (one was a Rabble for two years) having to do 'trades', clean shoes and make beds for those blokes who had been at School for two years or more.
  • For my second and part of the third term in 1945, Hawke was living in the, later known as Intermediate Block, and whilst Hawke's new block was being built we were put up in tents in the Quadrangle for a term in 1946 (?).
  • Rabble 'caught' near the Railway line (the main Upcountry Line ran past the School) were made to push a ten cent piece along the line with their nose.
  • As a Rabble not daring to walk past the “temple”, just before meals, as you were more than likely to have to sing, or do some other ‘task’.
  • One morning when all the Houses were assembled in the Square, just before prayers, and the School band marched into the Square, Sid Moscoff, who was playing one of the tenor drums, had loosened one of his felt drum stick heads. As he twirled the stick the head flew off, and spun into the air.
  • When Hawke were residing in their new House near the Radio Station, "Pansy" James (Rhodes Housemaster) had his horse stables close by, and it was a convenient place go and have a 'swift half' of a fag before the evening supper. One evening 'Pansy' decided to visit his stables to see how his horses were. Approaching the stables he caught one of the many Youngs (there was Vernon, Willie, David and Duncan) having a smoke and asked if anyone else was inside, "No, Sir", came the reply, and with that another Young came out, "Is anyone else in there?", "No Sir", and of course another Young came out of the stable - there were no more Youngs in the stable. The end (!) result was all of them got the 'cuts'.
  • "Ginger" Gledhill was the rugger coach, and one of his training 'things' for the forwards was when they were scrum-down he would jump on the top of the scrum to ensure it did not collapse.
  • Before a forthcoming House Dance when girls from the "Boma" (the Kenya High School) would be invited, there was a practice session held in the Gym. This entailed the blokes present to be split up into two groups, one would first represent the males for the dance and the other group would be the females. After the first shambolic dance, the two groups would change "sex", and the other lot then had their toes stood on and other misdemeanors carried out on their persons!! I went to one House Dance and spent most of the time apologising to the poor girl for standing on, or kicking, her toes.
  • On two separate Sundays I went on two lengthy pushy treks with three or four other fellows (as far as I can remember they were Guy Catchpole, "Grandad" Bompas, Chris Nicholas, John "Skinny" Fraser and "Cactus" Johnston), one was to the top of the Rift Valley Escarpment and the other was to Blue Posts Hotel at Thika. The return trek from Thika was hell for the last two or three miles pedalling up the Sclaters Road hill to the School.
  • At the end of term, on a number of occasions, some hardy souls would cycle home from School to such places as Nakuru and Eldoret, and on one trip three or four blokes made the trek to Mombasa. On the road before Mtito Ndei they encountered some lions lying in the shade in the middle of the road, so they returned to the next Station, put their bikes on a goods train and hitched a lift to the next station.

    Since leaving the School:
    As my parents where living in Mombasa, I naturally lived with them after leaving school, and joined the Mombasa Post Office in March 1949. After a year I transferred to Nakuru, and in June 1953 I was called up and join the Kenya Regiment. In 1955 I was discharged from the Regiment and was transferred to the Post Office in Kampala where I stayed a year before being transferred to Kitale as the Post Master.

    Kitale was one of the most delightful places to live, and it was whilst I was there that I married Sheila (nee Hornsby) in January 1956, who was on holiday with her Mum and Dad from Sunderland, County Durham, England, and they were all staying with Sheila's sister and brother in-law, who owned a Butchers shop in Kitale. After returning from some leave in the UK in 1959 we were transferred to Mombasa where we stayed until 1961. Our first son, Dale, was born in Mombasa. After leave in the UK we were transferred to Nakuru where we only stayed for six months before being transferred to Nairobi.

    In 1963 I left the Post Office and joined the Kenya Meat Commission, went on a three months course with ICT (International Computers & Tabulators) and was running their computer room (punch cards and paper tape) at the KMC Abatoir at Athi River. Our second son, Gary, was born in Nairobi.

    In December 1964 we all left Kenya and emigrated to England. I worked for Rolls Royce (Aero Engines) until September 1968 when we emigrated to Australia. I worked for the Sydney Morning Herald from March 1968 until the end of 1970 when we returned to the UK, were I worked for F.W. Woolworths from 1979 until 2001. As both our sons were working and living overseas, one in Australia and the other in Bangkok, we decided to emigrate to Australia, where we have been living in Brisbane from 2001 to the present (2008).

    Don Thompson

    (Registered - 24th July 2008) (Updated - 21st September 2008)

  • If anyone wishes to contact Don, please e-mail webmaster@oldcambrians.com to obtain his contact details