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Name: PERCIVAL, Philip Hope

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Nee: younger brother of Arthur Blayney Percival and Walter Gilbey Percival

Birth Date: 10.5.1884 Westoe, Durham

Death Date: 13.11.1966 Wami, Kenya - buried Potha Hill

First Date: 1905 September

Last Date: 1966

Profession: Professional hunter and for many years Chairman of EA Professional Hunters' Ass. Initially an ostrich farmer with friends, the Hill cousins at Machakos. They persevered in spite of many difficulties from lions and leopards. Later a ranch

Area: 'Potha' Machakos, HBEA 1912 - Limoru, 1909 Limuru, Drumkey - Athi Plains

Married: In Axbridge 1908 Flora Vivien Smith-Spark b. 10 Nov 1884 Pawlett, Somerset, d. 31 July 1957 Nairobi and buried on low hilltop near Potha

Children: Evelyn Margaret Blayney 'Peggy' (Howden) (9 Sep 1912 Berrow, Somerset-1985); Joyce Franklin (Beresford-Peirse) (22 June 1915 Machakos-1997); Richard 'Dick' (27 Sep 1918 Potha-1976)

Author: 'Hunting, Settling & Remembering' 1997

Book Reference: Gillett, SE, HBEA, Best, Midday Sun, Ker, Ruark, Downey, Safari Trail, Percival, Roosevelt, KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Hut, Playne, Pioneers, Drumkey, Land, Red 22, Into Africa, AJ, Gazette, Peerage, Medals, PercivalP, Web, Machakos, SKP

General Information:

SE - P.H. Percival - Oct 1907
Best - Churchill said most of the Europeans in Kenya 'were dressed in khaki shorts cut 'five inches - at least - above the knee'' He was probably thinking in particular of Phil Percival, a white hunter who had gone with him on a lion-hunting safari at Thika. There must have been something about Percival's knees that inflamed the passions of great statesmen, for when Theodore Roosevelt, ex-President of the United States, visited Kenya in 1909, he too felt moved to write about them in a book. ........... later took out Ernest Hemingway and appears as 'Pop' in 'Green Hills of Africa' and as Robert Wilson in the Macomber story.
Midday Sun - 'Philip Percival, a famous white hunter, was one of the local stalwarts. His wife ran the farm while he took out safaris. There were many years of stringency. Their daughter remembers a 2 days' journey in an ox-wagon with her parents to the Athi river, where her father shot a hippo to provide the household's fat, and reims cut from its hide. A shortage of soap during WW1 was overcome by using a root which produced a lather for the wash. Ker - His first professional safari was as an assistant to R.J. Cuninghame with Teddy Roosevelt in 1909  
Ruark - 1951 - now retired dean of the bunch, who raised Harry Selby, is a plump old gentleman with stubby legs, who looks about as fierce as Colonel Blimp. ........ Once, with an empty gun, he was being chased round and round the hunting car by a wounded buffalo, and all the natives in the back save one called Adam - panicked and went over the side. Adam was a porter then. He sorted through the dozen different varieties of cartridges in the back of the car until he found a couple of slugs that fitted old Phil's gun. He handed them to the old boy as he went round the car for the umpteenth time. Percival loaded his weapon in full flight. He settled the animal. As of then Adam was promoted.
Downey - Of all these old-time hunters, Phil Percival made the greatest impression on Downey during the still-formative years. Percival was the first man to take Downey along - on formal safari - as Assistant Hunter, and Percival was a teacher by precept ..... was something of a martinet. The rank or prerogative of a client meant nothing to him. He would give of his best, in producing trophies and amenities, excitement, explanation. But: 'By 6 a.m. I do not mean 6.20 a.m.' he might say in freezing tones; everything had to be done his way.
Safari Trail - Meeting of Professional Hunters' Association in Duke of Aosta's stables in Addis Ababa in 1942 - Philip Percival, as President in the Chair, Pat Ayre, Vivian Ward, Syd Downey, Donald Ker, "Pip" Beverley, T. Murray Smith
Roosevelt - at Bondini - a tall, sinewy man, a fine rider and shot; like so many other men whom I met, he wore merely a helmet, a flannel shirt, short breeches or trunks, and puttees and boots, leaving the knee entirely bare. I shall not soon forget seeing him one day, as he walked beside his 12 ox team, cracking his long whip, while in the big waggon sat pretty Mrs Percival with a puppy and a little cheetah cub, which we had found and presented to her, and which she was taming.
Playne - The pioneer ostrich farmers of BEA were Mr P.H. Percival and Messrs Hill Brothers, who made a start with 82 full-grown birds, which they bought in German territory and brought overland to the Athi plains. Mr Percival occupies the 5000 acre farm of Potha in the Machakos District, one of the best watered farms in the neighbourhood, and particularly good as a centre from which to collect eggs and young ostriches. ............ Great difficulties have been experienced in breeding birds owing to the depredations of lions and other animals. Some 20 full-grown birds have been killed by lion or leopard on this farm alone. Mr Percival has now taken a farm in the Limoru District, where he is erecting vermin-proof breeding camps, where he will breed from selected birds, and trusts that he will in a few years be able to show feathers equal to those of S. Africa. On Potha a large stone boma has been built to protect the birds from the lions. Mr Percival has been very successful in finding lions for visiting sportsmen who have visited his neighbourhood, and he, with the Hill brothers, assisted Sir Alfred Pease in finding the seven lions shot by ex-President Roosevelt and his son in 2 days hunting.
Drumkey 1909 - Cattle Brand - B1P - Kapiti Plains
Land - Leased 5142 acres at Machakos
Land - 1908 - P.H. Percival - Grazing, 5142 acres, Lukenia, 28-10-05, Registered 27-6-08
Into Africa - The man ultimately considered the beau ideal of white hunters, Philip Percival, was just starting when Roosevelt visited. He did some transport work for the Roosevelt safari, but (as 'Percival junior' - his older brother was A. Blayney Percival, the Game Ranger) he was listed as 'hunter' for the Duke of Connaught's safari, probably under Riddell, in early 1910. His great days were to come after the war.
EA Sportsman's Handbook, 1934 - Advert - African Guides Ltd. - Directors - Baron Von Blixen, Philip Percival, J.F. Manley
Pioneers - A Machakos Childhood - Peggy Howden - ……. As time went on Father was away more and more, as he became a well-known hunter - he needed the money because the farm didn't pay. The cattle died in spite of all we did, and market prices for pigs, oranges, or whatever we managed to produce never seemed to cover costs of production. Mother made butter to sell in Nairobi. I can see her carefully lining the box in which it travelled with Silky Oaktree leaves to try to keep it cool. Water was very precious: the tin tanks which filled with rain-water from the roof were kept locked, and each week a spoonful of paraffin was poured in to stop mosquitoes from breeding. …… During the First World War Mother was alone most of the time with only me to start with, later Joy, and later still, Dick. She had only one servant as she couldn't afford more, and it must have been hard work carrying the water up the outside ladder to the bath, as we had no piped water until after I was married in 1937
Agricultural Journal 1908 - Brands allotted and registered - P.H. Percival, Kapiti Plains - Machakos B1P
Gazette - 7/4/15 - Liable for Jury service, Machakos - P.H. Percival, Potha, Machakos (Boer)
Medals - East African Intelligence Department - Lieutenant
Percival, P - went to BEA in 1904 to seek his fortune on the advice of his elder brother Blayney who was already there. Philip served in England in the Army in the Somerset Light Infantry and later in Africa in two World Wars in Intelligence. During the Abyssinian Campaign a South African War correspondent, Carel Birkby, to whom he was escort and guide wrote of him, "A rare and lovable old man …. " Essentially he was a quiet, humorous man and shunned publicity in any form as he became well known in the hunting world. He was elected President of the East African Professional Hunters' Association and served in this capacity for 25 years. A born naturalist with great respect for wildlife, he was a Trustee and Founder Member of the National Game Parks formed in Kenya. He was loved and respected by his African servants and friends and many clients, some rather famous, but remained the same modest person Ernest Hemingway wrote of him in 'Look Magazine' in 1954: "He is the finest man I have ever known in any peace or any war."
PercivalP - " The Hills were satisfied with the country as being suitable for ostriches and put in for 5,000 acres of land; I took up 5,000 acres adjoining them and Sir Alfred Pease had another 5,000 acres. Sir Alfred did try to farm, and took a partner, but lost money and sold out. I think the dear old gentleman was always moe interested in the game than in serious farming."
PercivalP - "In 1908 I went home to England and married my girl, to whom I had been engaged since the age of 13! ……. My dear old mother was not very sanguine about our prospects and insisted on giving my bride the price of a return ticket "just in case".
SKP - 1938 - Society of Kenya Pioneers - over 30 years in Colony - arrived Sept 1905
Gazette - 29/10/1919 - Register of Voters - Ukamba Area - Philip Hope Percival - Settler, Potha, Machakos and Flora Vivian Percival - Married woman, Potha, Machakos
Gazette 13 Dec 1966 probate says he died at Konza on 13 Nov.

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