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Name: EDWARDS, Charles Hugh 'Corkscrew'

Death Date: 1 Feb 1936 Kakamega, aeroplane accident, 6 weeks after marriage

First Date: 1933

Last Date: 1936

Profession: Owned gold mine and two hotels

Area: Nairobi, Kakamega

Married: 1936 Veronica Markwell b. 22 Mar 1915 Newcastle upon Tyne, d. 2001 (dau. of James Markwell, later Mrs Wilkinson)

Book Reference: Fleming, Racing, Campling, Trish Heather-Hayes

General Information:

Fleming - Talking of packing up flying before it kills you reminds me of a well-known character in Kenya in those days, Charlie Edwards. He was an ex-jockey and claimed to have ridden in the Grand National once. He had got himself into trouble on the track and had been "warned off for life". He arrived in Kenya somewhere about 1933 and started a one-man show, of transporting supplies from Nairobi or Kisumu to the goldfields by truck. This grew and became quite a profitable concern. He also put up a rondavel hotel called the "Pig and Whistle". He had  a man prospecting for gold and struck lucky and found alluvial in fair quantities. During the year of 1934 he claimed that he cleared £14,000 on his combined deals. He also had shares in East African Airways and learned to fly. He bought himself a Gipsy Moth in which he used to fly backwards and forwards between his mine and Nairobi. He was without doubt the worst pilot I have met, and he was very over-confident. He used to land in "series of bird-like hops". One day he came to me and asked me to teach him aerobatics, and I was rather rude and said : "You want to learn to fly first; don't try to run before you can walk!" He went to Wilson Airways and learned to do aerobatics. He then proceeded to loop and roll all over the sky, usually too low to be safe. Again I was rude to him and said: "Charlie, for God's sake take it easy. Your flying is really dangerous; unless you are more careful I give you three months to live at the rate you are going." He just laughed, but actually it caught up with him, and a couple of months later, not quite three, he was stunting over his mine, got into difficulties and spun right into the top of his mine shaft. He killed himself and an unfortunate passenger, Henry Bunting, as well. There was one amusing incident that happened in the early days when we first knew Charlie. He had a large bet with another man in Torrs Hotel that he could get into a racecourse and place a bet, which, of course, he was not allowed to do, having been warned-off the racecourse for life. He came to my wife and me for assistance. He had bought or borrowed a grey wig, an old dowager's hat covered in flowers, a long dress with high neck (boned), and a pair of high-heeled black buckled shoes and grey stockings, an umbrella and handbag. We had the difficult job of making him up with cosmetics. The powder would not stick to his large hooked nose, his lips were so thin there was no room for lipstick, and he had almost no eyelashes to black. His eyebrows were thick and bushy. We eventually succeeded, and I have never seen such a shocking sight. He looked like a drink-sodden, wicked old woman of about 70, trying to be young. His very red complexion showed through the powder, giving a mauve shade, and his large nose, rather parrot-like, and thin mouth completed the picture. However he no longer looked like Chas. Edwards, and my wife took him to the races as her aunt! He placed his bet and watched the race. I am not sure what happened then, but I think he sneezed; off came his wig and hat together - and Charlie took to his heels! With several stewards in hot pursuit, Charlie made for the gate as quick as his high heels would permit, with his skirt pulled well up, showing his bandy, hairy legs. I doubt whether Nairobi racecourse had seen - or ever will see again - a sight to equal Charlie's exit. But he won his bet!
Racing - Owner and rider of 'Make Haste' - 1929 - Mr C.H. Edwards
Racing - Owner of 'Pretty Poll' - 1930
Campling - 1930s Kakamega - "'Corkscrew' Charlie Edwards, a businessman who, in addition to owning a bar called the Corkscrew Inn in Kakamega, had timber concessions in the forest at Butere. He was logging timber and selling it to the mines, and he needed trucks and offered to buy both [Keith Camplings 2 trucks], but Keith sold him just the Ford although he agreed to hire out himself and the Chevrolet……….
Campling - "It was about this time that they heard the news of the death of "Corkscrew" Edwards. He was flying a Gypsy Moth when he buzzed low over a mine to greet some friends and hit the gantry, and that was the end of him. Edwards had joined in a consortium that formed a company known as East African Airways Ltd., and others involved included John Carberry, Dot Lyons and Norman Turner, who was a director.
Trish Heather-Hayes - My mother married Charles Edwards in 1936 …owned a gold mine and two hotels, the Corkscrew Inn in Kakamega and the Kakamega Hotel. Anyway he killed himself a month later showing off in his aircraft to a wedding party at the Corkscrew and crashed in front of everyone including my mother!
Gazette 14 Apr 1936 probate
Hut has Jimmy Edwards 1933 Corkscrew Inn Mumias

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