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Name: NICHOLAS, Gerard Basil DFC (Wing Commander)

Birth Date: 18 Aug 1899 Walthamstow

Death Date: 4.1.1943 flying accident on active service, North Africa

First Date: 1912

Profession: Farmer

Area: Mombasa, 1930 Box 537 Nairobi, 1922 Kibwezi, Mombasa; Belvedere Dairy, Kikuyu

Married: Laetitia Jean Brittlebank b. 1899, d, 29 Mar 1975 Nairobi

Children: Lulu (1925); Wendy (1926); Peter Gerald (b. 8 July 1927 Nairobi, awarded the George Medal for courage during Mau Mau, d. 2002 Kenya)

Book Reference: Red 25, Macmillan, Red 22, Harmony, Red 31, Hut, Pioneers, Aero, Campling

General Information:

Pioneers - Belvedere Estate - A. Laetitia Nicholas - This farm, only 13 miles from Nairobi, was carved out of the bush in about 1927 by my husband, Wing Commander G.B. Nicholas DFC, who was killed on active service in 1943 in North Africa. The house consisted of several large rooms on the first floor and nothing below except some rather eerie godowns and vast archways. This was soon converted into a comfortable farmhouse with up-to-date conveniences. The downstairs was filled in, walls and windows put in place, and now it resembles an old hall with its plain stone walls, huge beams and heavy imported furniture.
I wanted some fresh and reliable milk for my 3 children and so we bought a few cows, all good foundation Friesian stock. A cattle dip then became essential and, as this cost several hundred pounds, it warranted more than just a few house-cows. So we bought some pure-bred Friesians from Major Pirie of Karirana Farm, Limuru. This started off the dairy with some 30 gallons a day. Gradually it grew; more cowstalls, a small milking shed with a three-unit Alfa 10-volt milking machine, then a dairy with a small cooler, etc.
On the outbreak of the Second World War my husband rejoined the RAF and I took over the farm. With the help of a Goan manager, Mr Antonio Pereira, we managed not only to carry on but gradually to expand and improve. …..
Aero - Roll of Honour for World War Two, 1939-45 - W/Comdr. G.B. Nicholas DFC
Campling - Keith [Campling] carrying a small bundle of clothes and a blanket, met with Mr Nicholas at his office in Nairobi one afternoon and they drove out together the 15-odd miles to the farm which extended to about 250 acres, mainly dairy but with some poultry. When they arrived Mr Nicholas pointed to an old chicken house and said that Keith could find a place to sleep there. It was a small wooden structure, raised on stilts and with slatted floor and wooden perches; long grass grew through the floor, and it was all in a filthy state and covered with chicken droppings and dirt. It was too late in the evening to contemplate the long walk back to Nairobi that night and, as Kikuyu can be very cold of an evening, Keith had no alternative but to scrape a place clean for himself and, enveloping himself in his blanket, make the best of it.
Early the next morning, when Keith told Mr Nicholas that the accommodation was unacceptable, he was furious and lost his temper, climbed into his car and left for Nairobi. Mrs Nicholas felt embarrassed and invited Keith into the house to have breakfast before starting on the long walk back to Nairobi, …
CWGC Heliopolis War Cemetery RAFVR son of Basil Arthur and Jean Nicholas, husband of Laetitia Jean Nicholas, of Kikuyu. Also served in 1914-18 war, d, 4 Jan 1943
Macmillan - 1930 - Mortiboys, Nicholas and Co. Ltd., Manufacturers' Representatives - The business in question was started in 1917, and was taken over by the present limited liability company in 1922, the directors being Messrs. G.B. Nicholas and Arthur Gill. The Head Office is at Mombasa
Member of Lodge Harmony - Initiated 1/3/26, age 25, Merchant, Mombasa.
Lesley David: In the early 1930s Farmers were doing well with beef cattle so there was a surplus that if chilled could be used for export.  The Managing Agents were G. B. Nicholas & Co. Ltd.  Ashley was taken under the wing of Ged Nicholas who owned this small Import Export Company.  Ged Nicholas also had a dairy farm at Kikuyu called Belvedere Farm.  Even in the 1930’s Ged was able to commute to Nairobi by car on what were probably terrible roads.  At the outbreak of WW2 Ged re-joined the RAF as a fighter pilot.  It is said he lied about his age and had joined up with the RAF for WW1 becoming a fighter pilot.  In 1941 he was posted to Egypt.   Unfortunately Ged died in an accident in 1942.  He had been instructed to fly Lady Tedder and her party to a cocktail party in Cairo.  [This is well documented online as Wing Commander Arthur William Tedder  - became Lord Tedder - was in charge in North Africa at the time]  The plane hit a severe sand storm and all on board died. 

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