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Name: ERROLL, Josslyn Victor Hay, 22nd Earl

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Nee: 22nd Earl of Erroll

Birth Date: 11 May 1901 London

Death Date: 24 Jan 1941 murdered at Karen

First Date: 1924

Last Date: 1941

Profession: Playboy. Military Secretary in World War 2

Area: Kiambu, Naivasha

Married: 1. In Kensington 23 Sep 1923 Lady (Myra) Idina Sackville b. 26 Deb 1893 Buckhurst, d. 5 Nov 1955 Mombasa (dau. of 8th Earl de la Warr) (div. 1930- see her entry under Sackville for her other marriages); 2. In London 8 Feb 1930 Mrs Edith Mildred Mary 'Mollie' Ramsay-Hill née Maude b. 3 Nov 1893 Chelsea, d. 13 Oct 1939 Nairobi (see her entry)

Children: 1. Diana Denyse Hay (5 Jan 1926 Nairobi-17 May 1978 Oban) (Carnegie, Moncrieffe) - later Countess of Erroll in her own right

Book Reference: Best, Golf, Markham, Vulture, Frampton, Mischief, Debrett, Hut, Bur, Wolseley-Lewis, Carnelley, Barnes, First Wheel, Ghosts

General Information:

President of Naivasha Sports Club in 1934-39. 
Best - 30th Chief of the Hays since 1160, baron of Slains, 26th Hereditary High Constable of Scotland and widely reputed to be tremendously exciting in bed. A Kenya settler since the early 1920s and a onetime resident of Naivasha in Happy Valley, he had been elected Member of the Legislative Council for the Kiambu constituency and held a temporary commission in the Kenya Regiment. He was 39 years old at the time of his murder, impoverished, good looking and notorious even in a promiscuous society for sleeping around - a compulsive womaniser, of whom the judge in a very messy divorce case had once observed: 'It is obvious that the co-respondent is a blackguard.'
Markham - His second wife, Molly, owned Oserian, a lake shore home at Naivasha, more notoriously known as the 'Djinn Palace' - 1931 - affair with Beryl Markham
Frampton - Djinn Palace where Joss Errol lived - a vast room with a domed ceiling depicting the firmaments: stars moon and all that. He was still a menace to each and every woman and always would be.  
Mischief - Hereditary High Constable of Scotland by precedence, the first subject in Scotland after the Royal family. At 39 a leading figure in Kenya's Colonial community and recently appointed Military Secretary. Notorious, locally, for his exploits with married women and much praised, ever since he was at Eton, for his charm and great good looks. Murdered on the very day that the campaign launched in Nairobi to remove Mussolini's army from Abyssinia. ...... Happy Valley originated with Erroll himself and with Lady Idina Gordon who later became his wife, and who set up house there in 1924. ...... at 17 asked to leave Eton - the most attractive boy in the school .... Lord High Constable of Scotland since 1315, walked directly behind the Royals at coronations. The Jacobite Lord Kilmarnock dominated the family strain, but Josslyn's great-grandmother was a natural daughter of William IV thus, perhaps, adding Hanoverian stamina to Highland gallantry. There had been family seats at Slains, Aberdeen and Rosenglass, Cumberland, but the Erroll fortune had been whittled away by the 19th Earl. Many of the family asstes were sold by Josslyn's grandfather the 20th Earl. ....... In 1922 Josslyn passed the F.O. exams and began to exploit his remarkable sexual attraction in London society. ...... In 1923 he fell in love with Lady Idina Gordon, the married woman with whom he eloped to Kenya. ............ Erroll had a farm at Nakuru, but paid little attention to it. - polo at Gilgil wearing tightly fitting shorts with wide corduroy stripes and, invariably, with a red-ochre Somali shawl flung over his shoulder. ...... Josslyn's charm, and even his arrogance, brought him close to the males around him. His assumption of the leader's role was effortless. .......... Paula Long remembers Josslyn's unpleasantness towards the staff: 'He was horrible to Africans, and swore at  them in Swahili,' she said, 'He kept the staff up all night and was quite unscrupulous.' ......... his innumerable women had one thing in common - they were all married. 'To hell with husbands' he was fond of saying. And to cuckold a man carelessly while slapping him on the back or borrowing a fiver, added to his pleasure. .......... Patricia Bowles said Erroll used to hold forth in the Men's Bar at Muthaiga, telling dirty stories. He was a terrific gossip ....... He thought of nothing but women, liked them rich and broke up many marriages. ......... 1928 Joss's marriage to Idina coming to an end in a blaze of acrimony and bad debts which he had run up in her name with the Indian merchants. ..... Erroll had fallen in love with Molly Ramsay-Hill a married heiress and a beauty older than him; a petite, slender, animated woman with auburn hair. Her husband Major Cyril Ramsay-Hill, was a rancher who had built himself a huge whitewashed castle in the Moroccan style on the edge of Lake Naivasha, with crenellated walls, a minaret, and lawns sloping down to the edge of the water. 'Oserian' as it was called, had been known since Happy Valley days as the 'Djinn Palace'. ..... There is a legend that Ramsay-Hill horsewhipped Erroll for his seduction of Molly, outside the Norfolk Hotel - Somali servant said it happened at Narok. ........... Idina cited Molly and produced 2 enquiry agents to prove 'misconduct' in a flat in Sloane St. in April 1928. ......... 1930 - Erroll married Molly and moved into Oserian. Molly's estate produced an income of £8000 a year ....... 1934 Erroll became a paid up member of the British Union of Fascists ..... 1935 he was elected, aged 34, to Presidency of the Convention of Associations. ....... He was losing interest in Molly and this, for Molly, signalled the beginning of a sad decline. She wanted desperately to produce a child and heir, and had many false pregnancies. Realising that she was losing Joss, she started to drink heavily and eventually to shoot morphine. She died in August 1939. ........ She left the Djinn Palace to Erroll in her will. ........... He became secretary to Sir Ferdinand Cavendish Bentinck (later Duke of Portland) - C-B said:- "Rather a bounder ..... very quick repartee, quite intelligent, very superficial. Bright, certainly, but not very profound. Too bright in that way really. Attractive chap." ........ 1939 - Erroll elected to Legislative Council as member for Kiambu. ......... 1940 - now 39, military secretary for the Colony. He had joined the Kenya Regt. with the rank of Captain. ........ Sir Wilfred Havelock worked under Erroll - 'I saw him as an executive; he was a demanding man, brilliant at his job.' ......... In 1940 he was in the middle of a serious love affair with a married woman from Happy Valley - ?? 'Nancy Wirewater' - and was caught by 'Auntie', proprietress of the Norfolk Hotel, having his way with her on the billiard table. ............ Delves-Broughton thought Erroll - 'one of the most amusing men I have ever met'.   
Debrett - Hon Attaché at Berlin 1920-22
Wolseley-Lewis - Sir Henry John Delves Broughton (Jock) had been in Kenya in the 20s. He was an ex-army officer (Irish Guards) of rather doubtful repute. He had a small team who had helped him with a phoney theft of pictures and pearls. In the team was his mistress, Diana (Motion) Caldwell, daughter of a fellow officer, and another officer in the 9th Lancers, Hugh Dickinson. They were sent to Kenya to do whatever was necessary as a team. Hugh Dickinson transferred to the RASC, a rather surprising choice, presumably because it was the only way to get to Kenya on time. He arrived first. His excuse was to be near Diana. The army would not normally have agreed to this, so there must have been some pressure …………… Hugh Dickinson hurt his leg and went into hospital in Mombasa. At the time of the murder [of Lord Erroll] he came and stayed with Aunt Molly [Parker] which was very convenient and he was supposedly still in Mombasa hospital. Why did he not go to his Rest House on the Broughton's plot? Because he was not meant to be in Karen at all. So the action had begun. What Diana and Erroll were doing was well known to Hugh and Jock since they were all still gadding around together. On the night of 22nd January 1941 it was known that they were going to the Clairmont and Muthaiga Club and that Erroll and Diana would be seen clinging together and come home after the others, seemingly having had a row because Joss said he could not marry Diana because she had no money. Hugh was waiting with his army revolver to shoot Erroll. No shot was heard from the house, so it can be presumed that Hugh stopped Erroll when he had driven away - stopped him as if to ask a question, opened the passenger door and shot him, the first shot missing and second fatal. He then went round and pushed Erroll into the passenger side where he fell on the floor, drove him to the murram pit where he was found dead early in the morning. Jealousy and duty worked very well together. Hugh then walked the mile across country to my Aunt's house. It had rained and his shoes/boots were covered in mud. The Aunt's faithful servant had to clean them and said to her he did not know where the 'Bwana' had been during the night. Everyone immediately said 'it was Diana of course' who had done it, the jilted woman. Delves Broughton knew that he had not done it and that it could not be proved that he had, so he played the part of the guilty party to save Diana from being arrested. Hugh was not suspected because officially he was not around. So many 'red herrings' were dragged across the trail intentionally. No one could really think that it could be a hush-hush removal of a man who had done much for Kenya and was liked. So concentration was centred on the romantic side with Joss's reputation as a playboy. SIS would never admit to any involvement. However, why would Delves Broughton have brought his small team out here one year after the start of the war in Europe, unless ……… ? Did Diana know Joss was going to be killed? I think not. Did Joss and Diana have a flaming row that night as reported and did this make the right opportunity for the jealous lovers to carry out SIS's instructions? I do not think that SIS intended murder. Now they are all dead this can be written. Some questions will probably never be answered but much that was not understood is explained here. All the rest of the mumbo-jumbo is of no consequence.
Carnelley - Naivasha - In the 1930s the Prestons and mostly everyone else round there led a fairly hectic life. Drugs from the Sudan were, supposedly, flown into their private airstrip. I remember one of my father's old servants, Kariuki, telling me that when the plane arrived, Bwana Hay (Lord Errol), living at Oserian, some 3 miles away, used to in his car, fly like the wind, one could see the cloud of dust, to the strip to collect his share for the benefit of Mary Ramsay-Hill, his current wife.
Carnelley - According to Stephen Carnelley, after Errol had been horse-whipped on Nairobi Station by Ramsay Hill he received a cable whilst in the Red Sea, saying "You've got the Bitch, now you can buy her the Kennel" (ie. Oserian, the Gin Palace) Barnes - St. Paul's Church, Kiambu Cemetery - Josslyn Victor Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll, Hereditary High Constable of Scotland, born 11th day of May 1901, met his death on 24th day of January 1941, thy will be done.
First Wheel - Bunny Allen's view - "Joss Errol was a colourful character …….. He was a good cricketer and had an eye for a horse, and I might add, for a pretty lady. He was a close friend of, and I think had been at Eton with, Jack Soames. To this day I recall the splendid perfume which he used. It was always in great evidence as he swept past one on the cricket field.  ………. Not unpleasant for one time, but a little cloying after awhile. People liked Joss Errol. He was "hale fellow well met". Any slightly rowdy party at the Rift Valley Sports Club, Muthaiga Country Club, Nanyuki Sports Club, or you name it, he was there. He was a bit of a politician, but not enough to 'twist' him. He was generally liked and somewhat respected by both friend and foe.
Markham - Lover of Beryl Markham in 1930s
Web - Oxford dnb - Happy Valley - Slains - Hay's first Kenyan house, named after his ancestral castle - was an unpretentious bungalow with corrugated iron roof and cottage-like bay windows, but had some exotic features: a mirrored ceiling above Idina's bed, and a green travertine marble bathroom to which hot water was piped from 3 44 gallon drums heated by log fires. Josslyn Hay's next house, Oserian, known as the Djinn Palace, a crenellated and domed house, with minarets, inner courtyard with fountains, squash court, swimming pool and polo ground, was near Kiki Preston's Dutch Colonial house, Mundai, on the shores of Lake Naivasha. In 1925 the Hays moved to Clouds - a palatial mountain lodge, with a cloistered central courtyard and a working dairy farm - which became synonymous with the high living of the Happy Valley set.

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