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Name: TUNMER, Harry Wilfred

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Birth Date: 12 Dec 1912 Greytown, Natal

Death Date: 29 July 1975 Kisumu

First Date: 1925

Profession: Farmer, blasting engineer

Area: Kiambu, Kakamega

Married: Hester Maida Millicent b. 1918 Bandon, Ireland, d. S. Africa (dau of John Henry Good)

Children: 2 sons; Gale

Book Reference: Red 25, Campling

General Information:

Campling - 1932 - Kakamega - "One day while Keith [Campling] was loading logs at Butere he met his old friend Harry Tunmer, whom he had got to know some years previously. Keith had had a particularly bad go of malaria as a lad in Nairobi, and his Grandmother, Nana, had sent him to recuperate at the Tunmer's farm at Kamiti. In those days Kamiti was still very wild and the natural bush and country remained much as God had made it and thus relatively unspoilt by man. The area teemed with game including buffalo, and lion were not uncommon. The Tunmer children were Harry (the eldest), Gordon and little sister Idris, and while Harry was older than Keith they had become firm friends. Harry was always rather wild, good with his gun and deadly with his knife. The friendship was now renewed and often when Keith spent the night in Butere he stayed at Harry's camp; Harry was strong and fearless and they valued each other's company in the tough world of the mining community ……
Campling - Kakamega 1930s - Milly Good, daughter of Mr & Mrs Good. Mrs Good was an enthusiastic amateur geologist and very keen on studying rock formation; she walked the hills and valleys all day long, convinced that one day she would make the big strike. Her husband was a quiet man, not particularly interested in prospecting. Their daughter Milly and sons Stowell, Jack and Ian were away at school in Eldoret but joined them in the school holidays. Milly was a very pretty girl, uninterested in mining and very bored with Kakamega and was always glad of visits from Keith [Campling] and Harry [Tunmer] Milly ran off with Harry Tunmer and married him. Her mother was very upset as she did not consider 'wild' Harry a suitable husband for her daughter. …… the marriage lasted many years and produced 2 sons and a daughter and it was only when the daughter Gale grew up that Milly decided to leave Kenya, no doubt remembering from her own girlhood that the Kenyan bush was no place in which to bring up a young girl. She took her daughter to school in Natal where her own mother, by then widowed, was already living.
Campling - 1930s Kakamega - " ….. Harry Tunmer was now also working for Edwards [Charlie Edwards] supervising the logging in the forests ………
Campling - 1930s Kakamega - Harry was a licenced blasting engineer …….. often had to work night shifts, and one night Keith [Campling] was woken by one of Harry's workers, who informed him; "Bwana Harry na kwisha kufa" [has died] and asked him to come quickly. So Keith hurriedly dressed and, grabbing a carbide lamp, followed the man to the mine head. He climbed down the shaft and saw the tunnel where Harry had been blasting. After blasting Harry, always checked that it was safe before calling the workers to remove the rubble, but this time it had not been safe and the roof of the tunnel had collapsed and buried him. Keith peered in the dim light of his lamp and saw Harry's arm. He knew that it was a dangerous situation, as there could be another fall at any moment and anybody there was likely to be killed - and the miners knew it too. Keith was unable to move the rocks in order to release Harry himself and it took threats of force to persuade the labourers to help, but they worked quickly and before long a barely conscious Harry was pulled free; he was carried out, not a moment too soon, as very shortly afterwards the roof collapsed. Had they still been in the tunnel it could have been the end for them all. Harry was put into the old Fiat and Keith drove into the night down the bumpy road to the hospital in Kisumu some 20 miles away; fortunately apart from some serious bruising and a few cuts, a broken leg was the only real damage sustained by Harry, and a couple of weeks later he was able to leave the hospital with a pair of crutches and one leg encased in plaster.

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