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Name: KEMPTON, Frederick Albert 'Kemmy'
Birth Date: 12 Aug 1894 Fulham, London
Death Date: 1 Mar 1969 Mombasa
First Date: 1920
Last Date: 1969
Profession: With Paulings - builders of Kilindini Docks; Kenya Landing & Shipping Co., stevedoring, boat building, owner of K Boat Yard, Mombasa
Married: In Mombasa 15 Oct 1932 Gwendoline May Hammon b. 29.8.1905 Coventry, d. 9.4.1994 Walton on Thames (she was prev. m. to John Wilfred Grimbeck b. 1907)
Children: Irene Hazel, stepdau. (Macgregor) (10 Oct 1929 Bournemouth); Ingrid Stella (Gray) (1 June 1933 Mombasa); Brenda Dorothy (Mentz) (1940)
Book Reference: EAWL, Red 25, Red 31
War Service: Army in WW1 - France, Egypt, Palestine
Gazette 18 July 1969 - probate
Gazette, 6 Dec 1938 Msa Voters List
The business 'K' Boats was built up from very small beginnings in 1938 (with one motor launch, one sailing boat and one rowing boat). Grew into a very successful operation with a Yard and Club House next to the Yacht Club at Liwatoni. Later he built a house there as well and lived there until 1968 when his illness forced them to sell and move to Nyali.
After the war the boat building side expanded with most of the men working on the boats coming from the Seychelles. All the boats were constructed from the very best African wood and with 'grown' timbers from the forest at Gedi specially selected for the stems of the bigger boats.
Many well known people had boats built to order and kept them moored at 'K' boats yard for many years. These included the Delameres, Colonel Hoey of Hoey's Bridge, two of the Australian Mayers family - Eric & Aubrey, Norman Turner (of the Turner & Newall family) who lived at Nyeri and later at Kilifi on his boat, Missionaries on the Tana river who had to have specially adapted propellors for the shallow waters. Thay needed a suitable craft for their visits to the remote tribes living on the upper reaches of the river. Another very nice Motor Launch was built and delivered to Lamu for the D.C. in 1953.
An early customer - and friend - was John Carbery whose yacht 'Nguva' Kemmy helped to sail from Europe to Mombasa in 1938 along with another old Kenya settler - Brian Curry - a rancher from Rumuruti.
Kemmy described the voyage in three parts in 3 issues of the 'Yachting World' in 1939. They looked after 'Nguva' for a number of years. The Big Game fishing side developed in the late 40s and 50s and led to the founding of the Mombasa Sea Angling Club which had its HQ at the 'K' boat Club.
The Delameres were amongst the leading Big Game fishing enthusiasts in those days especially Lady D. who was exceptionally keen and very good at the sport. Source: Mrs H. MacGregor More in letter file
Letter from Mrs Ingrid Gray - 'Stories about Kemmy Kempton would fill a book. It was a pity he never attempted an autobiography as he had a gift for writing; at one time he used to contribute a weekly column to the Mombasa Times ...... he and a friend were the first to travel from Mombasa to Nairobi by motor vehicle - in fact by motorbike. We used to have a photograph of their reception in Nairobi. He was also involved for a time in an official attempt to cut down leopard numbers. After a friend who was with him was mauled to death (despite strangling the leopard with his bare hands before he himself died) he vowed vengeance and shot some 200 leopard, but after that I do not think he ever touched a gun again.
For a while he kept a pet lion somewhere in the centre of Mombasa town. It used to terrify shoppers by leaping out at them - really just in play. After complaints the lion ended up at Edinburgh Zoo and became quite well known. When Dad worked at the docks during the war he was always getting involved in the most hilarious or serious animal stories - escaped prize bulls, elephants in the sea, rampaging horned cattle from the northern frontier (his fault entirely), an upside down racehorse, and so on. I found life with my parents exhausting but never dull. At a ceremony to mark his death one speaker said Kem should have been named 'Thor' because he was so much a man.
Red 25 - African Wharfage Co.
Gazette 18 July 1969 probate
Brenda Mentz: I do wish I had recorded my father when he spoke about his experiences in the first world war. He did once tell me that his regiment were in the trenches in France, without being relieved, for three times as long as they should have been. Whenever he had a cup of that Knorr Swiss instant soup mix he would always remark “ my word, if only we had had this in the trenches”. But as a result of spending time with the Camel Corps in the desert he never liked camels!
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