Books – Walker

Kenya’s Northern Frontier
and Far Beyond

Memoirs of a District Officer

by Hugh Walker MBE

Published Jan 2020

Hardback & Paperback 84pp
eBook Mobi (Kindle)

Go here to buy it.

This is Hugh Walker’s first book, at the age of 89. (There are plenty more notes in his study!)

Hugh tells hair-raising and witty tales of life as a Colonial District Officer in Kenya’s wild northern frontier-land in the 1950s, and in Aden during the Insurgency. Along the way he delivers piercing insights into the political machinations of these end of Empire periods. He began his African adventures in the Army, with the Somaliland Scouts, where he learned to speak and write fluent Somali. After training by the Colonial Service he was sent to Kenya where he recalls how he adopted a lion cub, fell in love with the Maasai people, pursued Mau Mau rebels, and had to literally read the Riot Act to unruly crowds from the safety of a Landrover. He writes bitterly about how the British government broke its promises that Kenya’s Somali population would be allowed to secede. In Aden he supplied favoured tribes with guns, ammunition and silver Maria Teresa dollars, surviving death threats and escaping Aden just one week before his successor was blown up by a bomb placed in an aircraft.

He later became head of the BBC’s Somali Service and spent a decade as a civil administrator in colonial Hong Kong. All this comes against the unpromising background of early life in a children’s home, until he was adopted by a wealthy spinster. In his 50s he finally found his birth family and later married the painter Anne Moorse, to settle with her in Dorset.