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Name: KEMPE, William Alfred

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Photo Source: top left from W.A. Kempe photo album

Nee: cousin of Wilfred Erskine Knollys

Birth Date: 21.8.1882 Enfield, Middlesex

Death Date: 23.1.1922 Nairobi, typhoid fever

First Date: 1905

Last Date: 1922

Profession: Treasury Official EAP. HBEA 1912 Auditor; Treasurer Nov 1919

Area: Nairobi

Married: In London 29 Jan 1914 Kunigunda 'Queenie' Neville-Rolfe b. 6 Jan 1891 Kensington, d. 9 Feb 1959 King's Lynn

Children: Margaret (14 Apr 1916 Nairobi-19 Apr 1916 Nairobi); John William Rolfe (29 Oct 1917 Nairobi-2010); Venetia Ann (11 Aug 1919 Nairobi-2006)

Book Reference: Gillett, SE, HBEA, Drumkey, EAHB 1906, Gazette, North, EAHB 1907, All Saints, Barnes, Leader14, Red Book 1912, Gazette, Red 19

School: Haileybury; Trinity College, Cambridge

General Information:

SE - W.A. Kempe - May 1910
Drumkey 1909 - Audit Dept. - Assistant Auditor, Mombasa - William Arthur ?
Gazette - 19/5/15 - William Alfred Kempe - appt. Deputy Treasurer
North - arr. Mombasa from England 19-10-1905
EAHB 1907 - Colonial Audit Branch of Exchequer and Audit Department Oct 10 1904; Temporary Asst. Auditor EA Protectorate Oct 2 1905
All Saints - Pew - William Alfred Kempe, Treasurer of this Colony, d. 25-1-1922, aged 39
Barnes - Nairobi South Cemetery - Margaret Kempe, child, died 19 Apr 1916
Barnes - Nairobi South Cemetery - William Alfred Kempe, born 21 Aug 1882 died 23 Jan 1922, Treasurer of this Colony. Inscription:William Alfred Kempe / late Treasurer of this Colony / born August 21st 1882 / died January 23, 1922 / that the land which thou esteemedst above all others / might receive a worthy colony of God's children
Red Book 1912 - Audit Dept. - Assistant Auditor - W.A. Kempe
Gazette 25/1/1922 - Obituary - His Excellency the Governor most deeply regrets to announce the death of the Hon William Alfred Kempe, Treasurer of Kenya on 23/1/1922 caused by typhoid. Mr Kempe was appointed to the East Africa Protectorate as Assistant Auditor on 30/9/1905. In 1914 he acted as Auditor for 7 months. On 30/3/1915 he was promoted to the post of Deputy Treasurer and became Treasurer on 3/1/1920.
Gazette - 12/11/1919 - Register of Voters - Nairobi, South Area - William Alfred Kempe - Deputy Treasurer EAP - Rawson Road and Mrs Kunigunda Kempe - Rawson Road
W.A. Kempe diary (in possession of grandson) show Kempe as a keen sportsman who played tennis or football or golf almost daily. He was sociable, dining out several times a week, and was a keen gardener when he had his own house in Nairobi. He entered shooting competitions and went on safari several times. Most of his early trips to audit various government stations in Kenya were made on foot, with African porters. He also audited the Zanzibar accounts. When living in Mombasa, he partook in sailing races. Typical diary entries are:

Jan 26th 1909 Tuesday [in Mombasa] Shooting match v the Hermione we won by 1 point. Teams of 6 – only 4 to count. I got in our 4 but shot very badly & was a long way behind the rest.
27th Wednesday Sailing match in Kilindini harbour & Port Reitz. Went along with Hamilton & came in 3rd the 2 boats from the Hermione being first & 2nd. There was too much wind for local boats- the Mbuni was giving the ships 10 minutes & should have made a race of it but carried away her jib stay. The course was nearly 10 miles we got in by 6 very wet – our boat having committed two fouls. We gave them a dinner at the club afterwards.
Jan 28th Thursday Evans Browne arrived from Zanzibar on his way for a fortnight’s shoot up the line & put up with me.
Jan 29th Friday New Audit man – Faulkner – arrived from home; he is going to Nbi to take over from V de V who goes on leave. The Hindes came to dinner.
Jan 30th Saturday Went up to Miritini by the 2 o’clock train with Ward, Fisher & the Asst. Liwali Ali bin Salim & stayed at the latter’s shamba & had a most enjoyable weekend. He has a small stone house with 3 rooms & a nice cool place to sit out under a mango tree. We made two unsuccessful sallies into the neighbourhood for guinea fowl & for the rest of the time slacked. Ward & I walked in as far as Changamwe on Sunday about 5 miles. When we got down we heard that Monier Williams ADC at Rabai who was taken ill at Christmas evening when he dined with us at the Hinde’s had died in hospital of Typhoid & Malaria.
Jan 31st Monday Went on safari, after persistent dropping of hints to Machakos & Kitui went up as far as Mazeras with Mrs Hinde & Rosie to whom I supplied lunch & thus managed to get a carriage to myself as far as Kui where I picked up Evans Browne who came on to Machakos Road. I tramped right in to Machakos with a rest of 1 ½ hours at Bondoni on the way & arrived pretty fresh but felt it in my legs in the night. Found Platts ADC at the station who fed me & I slept in a tent. The station has been improved by some stone buildings since I was here last. Humphery the DC and Lightbody an ADC came in on Wednesday. After a very decent game of tennis with Platts on the local court we all dined together & played bridge.
Feb 2nd – 5th Machakos to Kitui 4 marches camped at Masii, Athi River & Tiva River. The porters were very bad & grumbled at long marches. The first march half was through fields of populated country. Crossed the Athi  by Cable way. Fished therein & got two small ones full of bones with a grasshopper but my hook was too large. The water there was good. At the other camps it had to be dug for in the dry river bed & was insipid. Only took out a bird licence & did nothing with that. At the Tiva I was turned out of bed at 3am by the guard falling in for rothe’s & came out of my tent to find a rhino about 30 yards off looking at us. By the time I had got my gun he cleared off. The place is full of them.
Feb 6th – 18th Arrived at Kitui on the morning of the 6th did a good day’s work & played a game of football with the wild Wakamba. JB Ainsworth D.C., Chamier, Dundas Ass DCs & Miller Stock Inspector were the white contents, a very cheery crowd who lived in pig stys in a beastly unhealthy place & all messed together in Ainsworth’s house which was better than the others but falling down. Spent 5 days in Kitui which had not been visited for 2 years. Returned to Machakos in 4 marches with some ivory & specie & the next day with Lightbody & Pearson stock inspector who travelled on a waggon went into Kapiti Plains Station. Lightbody & I walked and intended to camp on Wami hill to hunt for lions but got off the road, missed the porters who misunderstood the camping place & pitched the tent where there was no water & eventually fetched up at the station having done nearly 25 miles some of it very rough going at 5pm having had no food or drink on the way. I thought L. was going to drop the last 2 miles. We went back over Wami early the next morning to look for lions but saw nothing & caught the train down to the coast 3pm arriving at Mombasa on the 18th.
Death of his dau: diary 14 Apr 1916 Marjorie was born about 4.15 in the afternoon. Gilks was in attendance. I spent the afternoon gardening & did not go with the defence force.
20 Apr 1916: Just as I was getting ready to go to the range the nurse told me the child was dying. It apparently choked. She picked her up & she gave a little choke & went out, I got Cherrett and Gilks but it was no good. Poor Queenie. We buried her at 5.30. 
14 Aug 1920 Got the first currency note with my signature from the Currency board. Played cricket Officials v non officials. Dined at Club in honour of Bowring & Ainsworth.
Venetia Carse and Dorothea Hughes, A Family History of the Kempe Family vol 2. Leave to UK 1919 was cut short because Kempe worried about leaving Audit Dept. in hands of subordinates. On return found errors in accounts and a lobby opposing his suggested intro of income tax at 6p. a pound. Appt. Treasurer 1920. In 1921 offered position as financial adviser to Shah of Persia, but turned it down. Jan 1922 mild outbreak of typhoid. Kempe drank from their outdoor well.

A memorial tablet, one of the very few, was placed above the main door of Nairobi Cathedral. It reads: 'To the Glory of God and in Memory of William Alfred Kempe Treasurer of this Colony died 23 January 1922 aged 39 years. This tablet is erected by his former Colleagues in the Treasury and Audit Departments.'

Letters of condolence to his widow mention that he was one of the most popular men in the colony and what a great loss his death was - e.g. from Gracie Pickwoad:  'It is beautiful to hear all that people say about your husband, and every word is true. I know we have lost a great friend. One saw yesterday what people thought of him by being in such numbers to pay their last tributes, and all the staff walked him from the hospital to his last resting place.'



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