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Name: PEMBRIDGE, Geoffrey Richard
Birth Date: 1 May 1897 Birmingham
Death Date: 19 Oct 1964 Eldoret
First Date: 1921
Profession: Professional soldier; farmer
Area: Kedong Escarpment, 1925 Turbo Valley
Married: In Eldoret Apr 1935 Mary Swinstead b. 7 Oct 1912 Durley, Hampshire, d. 5 May 2009 Queensland, Australia. She married Charles Newton after her husband's death and moved to S Africa. After his death she moved to Australia
Children: John A. (Eldoret 1943); Richard Chandos Geoffrey (1936 Eldoret-28.12.2018 Rotorua, New Zaland); Sally (Tofte) (Eldoret 1939)
Book Reference: KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Hut, Red 22, Stud
War Service: King's Shropshire Light Inf.
Red 22 - Kaimosi
EA Stud Book 1954 - Cattle - Jerseys - Mrs Mary Pembridge, Eldoret
Gazette - 27/2/1924 - Electoral Register - Pembridge, Geoffrey Richard, Farmer, Farm 1741a, Kipkarren, Turbo Valley
Hut - Thorn Tree Farm, Chartered Accountant, House burnt, Sold to Biwott
Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Uasin Gishu Voters Roll
Info from son John Pembridge Profession: 1. Professional soldier – joined up aged 16 and commissioned aged 17 in December 1914. Resigned his commission in 1920 at the rank of Captain. Served with the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in Mesopotamia (today’s Iraq). Also was seconded to two other Regiments during the course of the war, when I asked the webmaster for the Light Infantry website why this happened he informed me it was because of the casualty rate, officers were seconded wherever they were needed.
2. Farmer - My father and a fellow officer from his Regiment ( Halligan-Jolly) were allocated land in the Kedong Valley as a partnership. This partnership was dissolved I think in 1923 and my father moved to the Kipkarren where he went into partnership with a man called ‘Sheller’ Hodson (called Sheller I believe because he was the only farmer in the district with a maize sheller) on a farm called Python Rapids. In 1924 my father was tried and sentenced in Eldoret for trespass and criminal intimidation. His sentence was for nine months but I think he only served six months and from what I was told spent most of his time playing bridge and making furniture. The story behind it was an argument over a lady, my father foolishly threatened the other suitor with a gun on his veranda and the twist in the tale is the gentleman he threatened ended up later in jail with him for stealing cattle. I have a King’s Pardon in my possession signed in 1948 by the Governor on behalf of the King. In 1931 during the depression the Python Rapids farm went into liquidation when I believe the price of maize was less than the cost of the bag. It took until 1945 for my father to rehabilitate himself by paying off all the money he owed.
3. Accountant – In 1931 he walked into Eldoret and managed to get a job as a legal intern with Digby Green who was a solicitor, with the intention of going back to England to join his uncle who was a solicitor, however it was not long before Digby could no longer pay him owing to the depression. During the war he had been asked at some stage to help sort out the Regiment's books which were in a mess, so had learned basic accounting. He now put this to good use by opening an office in Eldoret doing farmers' books and ended up having quite a successful business and in fact became secretary/accountant to the Johnson/Starnes syndicate on the Kakamega gold fields as well as being secretary to the Eldoret Racecourse. After marrying my mother, Mary Swinstead in 1935 they bought another farm in 1937, Fairthorne Farm between the Elegerini and Nderutu rivers near Plateau station on the Uasin Gishu plateau. My father continued to do books for farmers as a sideline business and his signature was accepted by the income tax department right up to his death in 1964. ( Buried in Eldoret cemetery)
My mother, Mary Swinstead came out to Kenya in 1934 aged 22 to marry an old family friend. She was from a farming family in Hampshire and had trained as a nurse. She however decided not to marry Stephen Rutley who I think farmed up near Kitale somewhere and met and married my father in the St. Matthew's church in Eldoret in April 1935. Unfortunately the winds of change and the betrayal of their kith and kin in Africa by the Brits have split and blown many families all over the world. My brother Richard born in Eldoret in 1936 died in December 2018 in New Zealand having left Kenya in 1977, where he and his wife had successfully re-established themselves dairy farming. They lost their younger son in Kenya but their other son Gordon is a well known wildlife artist and woodturner based in Auckland. My sister Sally born in Eldoret in 1939 lives in Queensland, Australia having left Kenya with her first husband in 1967 for Rhodesia. Having divorced her husband in 1973 she left for Australia with her two children and subsequently got remarried to an Australian and they have one son between them. I also was born in Eldoret in 1943 but after having done my service in the Kenya Regiment did not go back to the farm where by this time my brother was farming next door and my father did not see a future farming so I secured a job on a Tea Estate in Sotik where I stayed until 1973 when my wife and I and our three daughters emigrated to South Africa; we also have a son born in South Africa who farms with us in Natal.
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