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Name: DUDGEON, Arthur Frederick OBE (Major)

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Nee: son of Ellis Frederick Dudgeon

Birth Date: 1 Jan 1879 Edinburgh

Death Date: 12 Aug 1959 Edinburgh

First Date: 1913

Last Date: 1959

Profession: Worked in Guiness Breweries in Dublin for a few years then joined his brother gold mining in Rhodesia and also in Lolgorien, Kenya. Then farmed at Gogar Farm, Rongai

Area: Nairobi, 1923 Lolgorien, 1924 Gogar Farm Rongai, 1925 Naivasha

Married: In Kensington, London 3 June 1913 Jean Marjorie Arbuthnot b. 27 Nov 1886 Kensington, d. 6 Dec 1969 Edinburgh

Children: Emily Mary Arbuthnot (25 Mar 1914 Nairobi-24 Nov 1978); Elizabeth Arbuthnot (Grant) (4 Apr 1915 Nairobi-2002); Jean Arbuthnot (Anderson) (4 Apr 1915 Nairobi-2005); John Arbuthnot (19 Nov 1919 Kensington-1975)

Book Reference: EAWL, Golf, KAD, Red 25, Red 31, Hut, Curtis, Red 22, EA & Rhodesia, O&C, Njoro, Gazette, Joelson, Alumni, Mills, Rift Valley, LG

War Service: In EA in WW1 in charge of mechanical transport

School: Prep School near Edinburgh, Winchester College,Trinity College Cambridge 1898-1900 - double 1st in Nat. Sciences

General Information:

Source: Mrs J.A. Anderson
Golf - In 1914 - at his initiative as Resident Engineer to the Muthaiga Estate, water was laid on to the Muthaiga greens by a gravity system with the overflow water from the Club. ... Muthaiga - due to the keenness of certain members, including Major J.W. Milligan and Mr S.A. Mortiboys and especially to the efforts of Major Dudgeon to save the Course, the Muthaiga Country Club agreed in 1921 to admit Associate members for golf ..... played golf for Cambridge in 1899-1900 - 1901   Captain of Njoro Golf Club in 1931.
KAD 1922 - Committee Member, REAAA (and Red 25)
Curtis - p. 92 - 'Gogar Farm, Rongai' by Mrs Jean Anderson - 'In May 1913 my father, Arthur Dudgeon, was walking up Bond Street. He happened to meet a friend and told him that he was about to be married and that they were going out to live in Canada. The friend said, "You're mad to go to Canada where the climate's so extreme and you have no help of any sort with anything. The coming country is Kenya, where the climate's wonderful, and its just being opened up to people with energy and skills." Such was the persuasive eloquence of his friend that my father - very uncharacteristically, because he was not at all given to impulsive decisions - decided to cancel their passages to Canada and go to Kenya instead. So, after my parents were married in June 1913, they set off for Kenya. My father was a scientist and very mechanically minded; in fact he had the 11th car in Ireland when he was working as a research chemist in Guiness' brewery. So he had brought his car out with him on the ship. Among the jobs which he did after they arrived in Nairobi, and while he was looking for a permanent job and land to buy, was taxiing people about in his car. As people had to rely on rickshaws for transport he did quite well. He was fairly dictatorial with his clients, and if he had taken them out to a dinner party, even to Government House, he would tell them what time he would call for them, and that he would not then wait, as he did not like late nights. Muthaiga Club was being built then and my father was able to give advice about the building and also help with the plumbing. He made friends with Ewart Grogan at that time and happened to mention to him that he wanted to buy some land. Grog then told my father that he had had the foresight to get a surveyor out from Britain to do a survey up country and advise as to where the next railway extension would be built, going up to Uganda. He realized that it was most important to have land near the railway in order to have transport for the crops and produce. Soon afterwards Grog showed my father on a map where the surveyor had decided that the railway would have to go. My father then bought 1000 acres which were 20 miles beyond Nakuru, where there were two rivers on the land. In fact the Rongai River actually joined the Molo River on the farm. By that time War had broken out and my father was put in charge of the mechanical transport and the training of drivers, etc. .... After the war he was gold mining in Lolgorien until the price of gold made it uneconomic. He started to develop the farm in 1924 when the railway to Uganda was being constructed, and not only was the railway on his land but Rongai station was on the farm too! So started Gogar farm, which before we arrived was totally uninhabited except by wild animals. ......... Gogar Farm gradually became a highly developed and flourishing mixed farm which still belongs to our family, and it is farmed at present by my cousin Freddie Blackwood.
EA & Rhodesia - 1/10/59 - Major A.F. Dudgeon, who died recently in Edinburgh, was one of the most generally liked and greatly respected of the pre-1914 company of Kenya settlers. Educated at Winchester and Cambridge, where he represented the University at golf in 1899, 1900 and 1901, he was employed by the Guinness Brewery in Dublin but left later to join his brother who was mining in Southern Rhodesia. Subsequently he returned to the United Kingdom and in 1913 he left for Kenya, where he joined Lamberts Ltd. In Nairobi. When the First World War broke out the East Africa Mechanical Transport Corps was raised in Nairobi and commanded by Lieutenant (later Major) Dudgeon. After the war he settled at Rongai and started farming. He was a member of the district council and for many years the Labour Advisory Board. Together with the late Mr J.E.A. Wolrych Whitmore, he was largely responsible for the building of St. Walstan's Church, Rongai.
Njoro - Captain of Golf 1931
Gazette - 26/8/1914 - Appt. - A.F. Dudgeon, Director of Mechanical Transport, to be Lieutenant, to date August 6th 1914 Gazette - 4/11/1914 - Appt. - East Africa Transport Corps - To be Deputy Assistant Director of Transport - Lieutenant A.F. Dudgeon, Force Transport Officer (Mechanical Branch)
Gazette - 4/11/1914 - Appt. - EATC - To be Captain - Lieutenant A.F. Dudgeon
Joelson - Notes in proof copy of 'Eastern Africa Today' - Approved Vacancies for Pupils (Convention of Assocns.) - A.F. Dudgeon, Naivasha
Alumni - At Guinness's Brewery Dublin in 1901. Mining in Rhodesia 1908. Capt. E African Rifles 1914; Major MTC; OBE General Manager of Lambert's Ltd, Nairobi
Mills - Initially employed by the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, in 1906 he went to Rhodesia to join his elder brother in a gold mining venture but was recalled to Edinburgh by his family after he was spotted alone in a carriage in Salisbury with an 'unsuitable' lady. Back in Edinburgh he was introduced to a lady who would later become  his wife, Marjorie Arbuthnot. His family said he should not return to Africa and tickets for Canada were arranged. After Arthur and Marjorie were married in June 1912, they set off for Liverpool Docks to board a ship bound for Canada but while in the queue a man came down the line waving 2 tickets for Mombasa which he wished to trade. Arthur grabbed the chance and they swapped tickets. So it was that they arrived in Kenya in 1912 with trunks full of fur coats, woolly underwear and one motor car. Arthur Dudgeon was a mining engineer. However, among the jobs which he did after they arrived in Nairobi, whilst he was looking for permanent employment and land to buy, was taxiing people about in his car. As people had to rely on rickshaws for transport he did quite well. He was fairly dictatorial with his clients, and if he had taken them out to a dinner party, even to Government House, he would tell them what time he would call for them, and that he would not then wait as he did not like late nights. In fact he was renowned for refusing to work after 10 pm. ………….. During the war, their children, Emily, twins Elizabeth and Jean, and son John were sent to live with relations in Britain and never saw their parents for 6 long years. ………………. [more - farming at Rongai] Prior to his death in Scotland whilst on holiday in 1959, Arthur Dudgeon used his extensive agricultural knowledge and experience in the Rift Valley to further extend his farm holdings to 12,000 acres. Following his death, some of the property was sold to His Excellency Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first President. ………. - Fiona Blackwood
Rift Valley - 9 July 1926 - 'That the books in the library be arranged in the serial order in which they have been numbered and always put back on the shelves in this order in future.'
Rift Valley - Member of the Rift Valley Sports Club - Jan 1929 - Elected - 12 Mar 1925 - Maj. A.F. Dudgeon London
Gazette - 7 February 1919 - OBE for valuable services rendered in connection with military operations in East Africa - T/Capt. Arthur Frederick Dudgeon, Special List
Gazette 5/4/2938 - Honorary Game Warden
Red 25 - JP, Mara
Gazette - 4/5/1921 - Presentation of Honours by Governor - Major A F Dudgeon - OBE
Barnes St Walston's Rongai cem Arthur Frederick, Emily Mary and Jean Marjorie Dudgeon
Anne Scott, A Nice Place to Live, 1991

to the Sladens. They were Major Arthur Dudgeon and his wife Marjorie. Major Dudgeon had come to Kenya almost by chance. He had been born and brought up in Edinburgh at Gogar Bank House (now the residence  of  the  Commander-in-Chief,  Scottish  Command).  After Winchester, he went to Cambridge where he achieved a Double First in science and a half Blue for golf. He was offered a job by Marconi, at that time unknown, but he was not allowed to accept by his father, and instead went to work for the Guinness Brewery in Dublin. He found it dull and resigned, much to the fury of the managing director. He then joined his elder brother gold-mining in Rhodesia, but didn't like that either, came back to Britain, married and decided to emigrate to Canada. They took tickets and sent their heavy luggage to the docks. While Major Dudgeon was standing in a queue waiting to collect the tickets he started to talk to the man behind him, who held forth about British East Africa — 'an earthly paradise, with a perfect climate, good fertile land, almost empty of inhabitants, beautiful scenery and delightful people'. The man in front was told there were no more berths to be had to Canada, so Major Dudgeon, on the spur of the moment, handed him his Canadian tickets and decided to go to Kenya instead. He and his wife retrieved their luggage from the ship and sailed to Africa in October 1913. He brought a Dodge car, which had been the eighth car to be registered in Ireland, and amongst other jobs that he did in Nairobi was to drive this car as a taxi. He would tell his passengers if he took them out to dinner that he wouldn't wait a minute after io p.m. He bought some land but it was completely undeveloped and he hadn't the capital to farm it so after the war he took a job in a gold-mine in order to get some money together. This was at a place where the Masai had never seen another white woman. They were very intrigued by Mrs Dudgeon's hair; they wanted to pull it to see if it was real.

The Dudgeon children had been left in Britain with their grandparents and never saw their parents for six years. However, by 1924 the Dudgeons felt able to settle on their land so they brought the children out and started farming. They had three daughters, born within thirteen months; the eldest was Emily and then there were twins, Elizabeth, always called Bissie, and Jean, and then a much younger son, John. The three girls were just a year or two older than us, so they joined in with us and the Sladen girls. Their house was very near the Molo river and not far from the Rongai Station.

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