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Name: CARBERRY, John Evans

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Nee: 10th Baron Carbery, born John Evans-Freke

Birth Date: 20 May 1892 London

Death Date: 25 Dec 1970 Johannesburg

First Date: 1920

Profession: Farmer. Built the airstrip at Malindi. Built the Sindbad and Eden Roc Hotels at Malindi after WW2 and greatly expanded in 1948

Area: 'Seremai' Nyeri, Malindi, Hut - partner with Trench Seremai Est.

Married: 1. In Paddington 7 July 1913 José Metcalfe (div. 1919) b. 26 Nov 1893 Queensland, Australia, d. 14 June 1977 Petworth (she later m. Basil John Montfort Bebb 1892-1952); 2. 1922 Maia Alfreda Ivy Anderson b. 1904 Gloucestershire, d. 12 Mar 1928 Nairobi (dau. of Alfred Gerald Wright Anderson); 3. In London 9 July 1930 June Weir Mosley (30 Mar 1905 Croydon-27 Oct 1975 Johannesburg)

Children: 1. Hon. Fabienne José (Claridge) (17 July 1916-2007). 2. Juanita Virginia Sistare (7 May 1925 Nyeri-27 July 1913 London)

Book Reference: Best, Golf, Debrett, Malindi, Markham, EAWL, Flying, Samson, Mischief, KAD, Red 25, J. Carnegie, Curtis, Red 22, Davis, Fleming, Aero, Nicholls, Burke, Campling, Web, Bate, Air, Red 19

School: Harrow and Trinity Coll. Cambridge, in Switzerland and at Leipzig

General Information:

Gave up his title on becoming an American citizen in 1919. 
Gazette 6 Dec 1938 Aberdare Voters List
President of Nyeri Golf Club in 1928.
Debrett - John Evans-Freke, 10th Baron Carbery, sometime a Midshipman in Royal Naval Vol. Reserve; served during European War 1914 in Royal Naval Air Ser.; received preliminary naturalisation papers in USA (San Francisco) June 1919, and took name of "John Evans Carberry" by deed poll in Nairobi 1920  
Markham - In 1923 His young wife Maia was learning to fly. ............ In Kenya he was called 'JC'. He was the first person in Ireland to learn to fly. In 1932 he was casting about for someone suitable to replace his resident pilot at Seremai, his coffee estate just outside Nyeri. Sydney St. Barbe - celebrated sky writer. He had just lost his job with Beecham's Pills for scrawling in huge letters across the sky - Beecham's Balls. Beryl Markham urged him to become JC's pilot and he fell madly in love with Beryl.. She went to Seremai as Sydney St. Barbe's girlfriend. ...... The Carberrys' long, low-lying house faced Mt. Kenya, and sat in the broad valley between the Aberdares and Kirinyaga as the Kikuyu call their sacred mountain. 'Seremai' - 'place of death' in Masai took its name from their old battleground with the Kikuyu, now JC's landing field. The social centre of flying in the Colony. ........... After Maia Carberry died in a flying accident in 1928 at Dagoretti JC had remarried. June née Weir Mosley was his third wife and S. African. Despite JC's reputation for 'monstrous behaviour' perpretated by those who feared him, Beryl liked him. - 'he was not so much wicked ... as naughty ... always taking the mickey, taking a macabre delight in pretending to be more of an ogre than he was.' ..... A long lanky frame, grey eyes in a somewhat cadaverous face. In keeping with Irish sentiment JC hated England. ...... He tried to become a US citizen but failed because of his 'bootlegging' activities during prohibition. .............. By 1932 he and his partner from Jamaica, Maxwell Le Poer Trench, were producing eau-de-cologne, cheap gin, créme de menthe and Jamaica rum from the Seremai still. ...... If alone at mealtimes, JC entertained himself by taking pot-shots from his 50 ft. dining table at portraits of his Irish ancestors. ....... JC's circle tended to dismiss June as 'common' but recognised her kindness for all her peroxided hair and chorus girl make up - mascara framed her large eyes, excessive scarlet lipstick matched her bass voice and drinking habits. ........ Seremai was a convenient stopping off place en route to Nanyuki for the 'Happy Valley' set. ............ Every week, on Friday, the Carberrys, in JC's huge American drop-head coupé, a lovely Auburn Straight, which did 12 miles to the gallon raced along the narrow track at a ferocious pace to Nyeri, round the series of steep hairpin bends 'knocking anyone to smithereens who obstructed his way'. Anyone heading for Nanyuki in the opposite direction on Fridays, drove hand-on-horn in deadly fear of meeting JC on the road. ............. Some time in 1934, in the bar of the White Rhino, JC dared Beryl Markham to fly the Atlantic against the wind, during one of these lunch-time sessions in this crowded, small, dark, cedar-panelled room. ........ During 1936 in London when Beryl was preparing for her flight to America she 'seemed to be JC's girlfriend' ........ usually she was accompanied by 'the bold, lecherous, brave and dissipated JC'. .......... Built the Maia Carberry Nursing Home in the shape of an aeroplane, in memory of his wife. Today the building houses the Kenya School of Law.   
Letter from Mrs Ingrid Gray - 'There is a fashion in books and films these days to turn some characters into complete baddies. I expect Hazel told you that my father [Mr Kempton] sailed Lord Carberry's yacht out from England. He was obviously a character and had some bad faults, but our memories of him are different to the current image. He got on well with my parents and he was always generous with his yacht, lending it to us for holidays. I can remember a particularly wonderful Christmas trip when I was small. He could also be sensitive - he knew my parents had little money then, so if he brought people to visit us he would make an excuse to call at the house in the morning with a gift of whisky or gin. It was always done with great tact.  Letter from Mrs Hazel Macgregor - has had plenty of very unpleasant publicity in recent films and books - some of it highly exaggerated. In fact there was also a very generous and amusing side to his personality despite his eccentricities. ........ an early customer, and friend of my parents - his yacht 'Nguva' Kemmy [Kempton - father] helped to sail from Europe to Mombasa in 1938 along with another old Kenya settler - Brian Curry from Rumuruti.  
Flying - It was in 1926 when private flying first came to EA with the importation of 'Miss Kenya', a de Havilland DH 51 two-seater biplane powered by a 120 hp. Airdisco air-cooled engine, by Mr John Carberry, who himself flew with the RFC. The aircraft was registered G.KAA on Sept. 10 1928, and later changed to VP-KAA .......... In 1928 a number of ex-RFC enthusiasts living in Kenya got together and formed the Aero Club of EA.  
Samson - 1927 - an old RNAS pilot in the war, had his aeroplane on the aerodrome ...... His was the first aeroplane to be kept in Kenya, and he has done a great deal to stimulate interest in aviation out here.  
Mischief - a sadistic, satanic character whose exploits any new arrival in Kenya would quickly hear about. His wife June was at Nairobi airport to meet him. She and Diana [Delves-Broughton] struck up an instant alliance and were soon to become 'best friends'. Carberry, who was born John Evans-Freke and had become the 10th Baron and 3rd Baronet Carbery at the age of 6 in 1898, developed a violent dislike for his native England, which he now called 'Johnny Bull', and an equal passion for America. He had been educated at Harrow and Trinity College Cambridge, in Switzerland and at Leipzig; and had served during WW1 in the Royal Naval Air Service. In 1919 he had taken out American naturalization papers, which were withdrawn because of his involvement in bootlegging, and in 1920 in Kenya had changed his name by deed poll to John Evans Carberry, dropping his title .... he had even acquired an American accent. ........ His first wife divorced him for cruelty in 1919. His second wife was Maia Anderson, another flier, who died piloting her plane in 1928. In her daughter Juanita's view, this was suicide provoked by the bullying and cruelty of her husband. ....... Carberry had by now become a Nazi sympathiser out of pure anti-English sentiment. Earlier that year, 1940, at a wedding party at the White Rhino Hotel at Nyeri, he had proposed the toast: 'Long Live Germany. To hell with England.' He was reported to the police but it was thought best to let the matter lie. Recalling Carberry 40 years later, a woman who knew him then retained a vivid image of his magnetism. 'He was not only tall and handsome, but the way he swung along the beach at Malindi was .... captivating.' He had a house at Malindi, an airstrip - he was a trophy-winning pilot - and a bar called the Eden Roc, where the drink measures contained marbles. He owned another house and a ranch at Nyeri called 'Seremai' (a Masai word meaning 'Place of Death') ....... There Carberry ran his liquor still with his partner, Maxwell Trench, whose Jamaican parents had taught him the art of distilling cane. They made cheap gin, Jamaican rum, créme de menthe and eau de cologne. In 1930 Carberry was married for the third time, to June Mosley, the only woman who proved able to stand up to his monstrous behaviour. Dushka Repton remembers meeting the couple in Paris that year. "At 17 she couldn't put two words together, and she was common as hell. J.C. introduced her as his 'baby'. 'That's my dumb baby,' he said, in a broad American accent. .......... But she was very pretty. Huge, rather Ó fleur de tete eyes, long lashes, long hair and very painted lips. She looked like a very pretty chorus girl ....... she was rather careful with his money." ....... Later she was described as a 'terrifyingly unnatural blonde. Deep bass voice. Tough as boots. But a wonderful person warm hearted and totally unjealous. Cut her in half, you'd find mostly gin.' June's drink in fact was brandy and soda, and she drank it all day, as she chain-smoked. ..... Carberry drank too, but never after dinner. The couple used terrible language to each other and they had violent rows, but Carberry adored his wife, and admired her tenacity. She had many affairs and Carberry usually didn't mind. Once when June went off with Derek Fisher on a trip to Meru while C. was away, he came back unexpectedly. When he discovered his wife gone, he took off again and caught up with the couple driving across Cole's plains. He had loaded the plane with medium sized rocks, with which he bombarded their car from the air. His servants called Carberry by the Masai name, 'Msharisha' - the long whip with which oxen are driven - because he was tall, and because he used to lash them on the slightest pretext. His attitude to the African race is best described by Lady Altrincham: 'I took a great dislike to him. Once when some petrol had gone missing, he said, "Blame it on the boy." I said, "But he didn't do it." "That doesn't matter," said Carberry - a sadist. .................... Duska Repton (1979, living in London) - the beautiful Russian exile who had been a neighbour of Jack Soames in the late 1920s and the 1930s. said that 'Soames and Carberry were great friends, and well suited to each other. They loved to sit around talking and planning murder. Carberry even boasted that he had committed two murders, and I wouldn't be surprised. Poor Gloria, his wife, died a complete alcoholic.'  
KAD 1922 - Committee Member, REAAA;
KAD 1922 - Committee Member, Nyeri Gymkhana Club.  
Letter from John Carnegie - 'J.C. Carberry I never knew & I doubt whether my parents ever met him but everyone knew about him: He was Irish, I think, and tough as old boots. A sort of Hemingway character. I only know that he loved his first wife whom he called "Bubbles" and bought her a small plane which she flew very well. One day she was taking some young man round doing 'circuits and bumps' and 50 feet above the ground asked the bloke to hand over to her as he was over-shooting badly & he, I'm told, must have frozen on the stick in a moment of panic; the plane stalled, dropped a wing and crashed in front of everyone, including Carberry, who cried miserably "Bubbles is dead" long before the machine hit the ground. He built the Maia Carberry nursing home in Nairobi in her memory. He also seems to have pioneered 'goggling' and spear fishing at Malindi ....... and built a hotel at Eden Rock I think. I think he was also an expert Big Game fisherman and had a smart cabin cruiser. People used to say he could drink most people under the table ........ I think one could safely say he was rich, clever, brave, charismatic, didn't suffer fools gladly and was rather quick-tempered and abrasive in his speech.'
Curtis - p. 42 - '....... My uncle [Reginald Barton-Wright] had the first privately owned motor-car in Nairobi, a chain-driven G.W.K. He told me he used to get stuck on Secretariat Hil;l, then a track through the bush. J.E. Carberry later also had a car, and the two of them used to race from the Nairobi Club to Ngong Corner and back.
Red 22 - J.E. Carbery
Davis - The Settler Aviators - Seremai lies in the lush foothills of Mount Kenya, where the morning mists shroud the hillsides until burned away by the bright African sunlight. At an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet, it was ideal for the cultivation of coffee. At Seremai there lived a man who was to provide the accidental inspiration for the birth of an idea which was to grow into an international airline. His name was John Carberry. Born John Evans-Freke in 1892, he had become the 10th Baron Carbery, inheriting the title during childhood. He had learned to fly before the Great War and, in 1914, had participated in the Schneider Trophy race at Monaco. During the war he joined the Royal Naval Air Service. On leaving the Navy, for some personal reason, he took a dislike to his country of origin and in 1919 took out American naturalisation papers. He failed in his ambition following difficulties with the law, in cannection with 'bootlegging' during the period of prohibition. He moved to Kenya, dropping his title and changed his name to John Evans Carberry (inserting an extra 'r' in the family name). He settled in Kenya, creating a coffee plantation called Seremai, near Nyeri. It was Carberry who was to import the first privately owned aeroplane into Kenya. The de Havilland DH51, VP-KAA, was despatched from the de Havilland Stag Lane Works to Mombasa on September 17, 1925 and, after a long passage by sea followed by the haul up-country on the Uganda Railway, it was finally carried on a cart drawn by an ox-team, on the last leg of its journey from Nairobi to Seremai, where it was reassembled for flight.
Fleming - An opposition company [to Wilson Airways] had just started up called East African Airways, in which Lord John Carberry and Norman Turner were part of the financial backing. …..
Aero - De Havilland 51 - ……The DH 51 aircraft …… was imported and flown on its original British registration G-EBIR and was owned by John Carberry. This aircraft, named "Miss Kenya", was the first on the East African register when, on 10th September 1928, it became G-KAA, and later altered to VP-KAA in February 1929. It is now back in England and still flying with the Shuttleworth Trust under her original British registration. In 1929 John Carberry had sold "Miss Kenya" locally and replaced it with "Miss Africa" - a Fokker Universal monoplane with Wright Whirlwind engine - registered from G-EBUT to VP-KAB.
Nicholls - John Carberry owned Seremai, a lovely house near Nyeri, six cars and an aeroplane.
Nicholls - John Carberry, the deeply unpleasant farmer imprisoned in Fort Jesus for flouting wartime currency regulations, and his wife June, one of the jet set liable to be found lying naked on her bed with her lover by her side
Campling - "'Miss Kenya' was a de Havilland DH.51 3 seater biplane powered by a 120hp Airdisco air-cooled engine, and was the first privately-owned aircraft to be imported into Kenya. It arrived in Mombasa in March 1926 and was then sent by rail to Thika, which was as far as the railway went at that time; from there it continued by ox wagon to Seremai, a coffee estate outside Nyeri which was jointly owned by John Carberry and Maxwell le Poer Trench. Here 'Miss Kenya' was taken out of her crate and assembled, to make her first flight on 4th April. But it was not until the 7th October that the East African Standard headlined the "First Flight in Kenya" when it announced that John Carberry had made the first private flight in the Highlands of Kenya, having flown on the previous day from Nyeri via Gilgil to Mount Margaret Estate ……..
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.
Campling - He first learnt to fly in 1912 and he joined the Royal Naval Air Services and later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps during WW1, by which time he was an accomplished pilot. While with the RFC he was asked to test-fly an aircraft which he considered to be unsafe (and said as much), but none the less he was ordered to fly it and the aircraft then crashed. He was unhurt, but after that tended to be anti-British, gave up his title and later applied for American citizenship, which was refused, and it was said that during Prohibition he was involved in rum-running and smuggling between the United States and Mexico. Tall, good-looking and charming to women, John Carberry was the real pioneer of private aviation in Kenya. He imported the first aircraft into Kenya early in 1926, G-EBIR, a de Havilland DH.51 3 seater biplane …… Known as 'Miss Kenya' it was the first aircraft ever to be registered in Kenya when in September 1928 it became G-KAA, although the registration was later changed to VP-KAA. ……
Campling - 1933 - Kenya's first air force unit as a unit of the KDF - Pilot Officer
Web - 'The Warp' - " ….. At the age of 8 John lined up the gardener and shot an apple off his head with an air pistol. He also shot the hat off the head of an alarmed poacher in the castle demesne, slightly grazing his head.  …… It has often been claimed that John wandered with friends through the chambers of Castle Freke, gun in hand, using the family portraits for target practice. That would not have been popular with his mother; but the many Carbery family portraits that I have seen do not seem to have been harmed, so this story may not be true. ………….. At 14 he went secretly to Cork and arrived back driving his first motor car. Later he bought an aeroplane which he landed on the strand at Castle Freke. John was a charismatic and much talked of young man around whom gossip accumulated. Winifred Gloster, a neighbour, describes how, 'The young Lord Carbery was a constant source of interest. The day War No. 1 started he arrived at Blackrock, near Cork, in the first aeroplane and caused quite a sensation.' ……. A glittering marriage was what Mary had in mind for John, the latest scion of an ancient family who claimed to trace back through the male line to the 3rd century, a family who were cousins to the Cecils, the Wroughtons, the Bandons. John took a different view. Within 2 weeks of the ball [to celebrate his coming of age] he had married Jose Metcalfe, a spectacularly beuatiful young woman, the daughter of Major 'Jumbo' Metcalfe, from an acceptable military background, but not a brilliant one. Jumbo was a member of the elitist and socially acceptable White's Club in London, but he was also known for his extravagant gambling. Debonair, wealthy, titled, brave, John for some years held the record for the Cresta toboggan Run. He had represented Britain in the Schneider Trophy for the fastest plane on earth.. He was considered highly eligible and attractive by many young women. Two women in particular at the ski resort found him especially desirable. They tossed a coin for him that season at St. Moritz. One of them was Jose and she won. The Cresta Run was dangerous and Jose now set about winning John's heart by taking her place on the toboggan as part of an all male team, an astonishing thing for a woman to do at that time. John admired courage and unconventionality in women and fell in love with her. ……….[much more] ………  It is sometimes said that Mary had induced in John a dread that he would die young, as his father and uncles had, and that is why he grew up so brave, reckless, debonair and selfish. Others believe that he actually disliked people and also disliked most animals. …….. 1919 ……… Jose had begun divorce proceedings against John. It was alleged that while in kenya, he had been whipping her. It was not easy to get divorced in those days. John and Jose's marriage was ended on July 2 1920, by act of parliament. ……… In June 1913, soon after their marriage, so the Act says, John had given Jose a black eye. The alleged whipping in Kenya occurred in April 1918. Jose experienced bruises round her body from the 'sjambok or cattle whip'. Lord Carbery 'threw her on the ground' and she was caused 'extreme pain and distress'. Two months later, says the Act, he committed adultery for 3 nights running in a Paris hotel. ……. [sold Castle Freke] …….. Along with many other Irish people, John had developed a hatred for England, which he called 'Johnny Bull'. Perhaps this was  the reason that in 1921 he stopped using his title and assumed by deed poll the name John Evans Carberry, now spelling the name with 2 rs. After some practise he began to speak in a broad American accent which he used for the rest of his life. ……………. John married a third time. Some say that his new wife, the pretty and streetwise June Mosley, was the only woman in his life who was able to stand up to his wild behaviour. Soon after they met, John took her up in a plane and asked her if she would like to do some stunts. With cool courage, June undid her safety belt, to show she wasn't afraid. John admired courage, and that gesture won his deep affection. Later, June was described as a 'terrifyingly unnatural blonde. Deep bass voice. Tough as boots. But a wonderful person, warm hearted and totally unjealous. Cut her in half , you'd find mostly gin.' John and June shouted at each other and they had rows, but he adored her. She had many affairs, aided and abetted by a governess John had engaged for Juanita. John usually didn't mind. However, once when June went off with a lover on a trip to Meru while John was away in his aeroplane, he came back unexpectedly. When he discovered his wife gone, he took off again and flew until, far below him, he caught sight of the couple driving across a desolate area. He had loaded the plane with medium sized boulders, with which he bombarded their car. John's servants called him 'Msharisha', the Kikuyu name for the long whip with which oxen are driven, because he was tall, and because he lashed them frequently. At a wedding party at the White Rhino Hotel at Nyeri, soon after the outbreak of the second world war, he proposed the toast; 'Long Live Germany. To Hell with England.' He was reported to the police but 'it was thought best to let the matter lie.' One of John's less well known projects was the financing of Beryl Markham's attempt to fly non-stop from England to New York, a flight which had not yet been successfully done solo. In due course he spent a period in prison as the result of his contravening the 'Defence Regulations' with 'currency offences'. He was initially sentenced to 3 years hard labour. He appealed to the Supremem Court in Nairobi and the sentence was reduced to one year's simple imprisonment. He later referred to his time in gaol as 'the happiest period of my life'.
Bate - "Who can ever forget the brace of Bugattis imported by the famous aviator and motorist Lord Carberry, a one and a half litre plus a two thousand three hundred cc tourer? The latter, hardly a car to go touring in on Kenya's roads no matter what love one had for Bugatti. Nothing equalled the exhaust note of the small car in Kenya at the time or anywhere else come to that. It was possible to hear that tearing sound as it streaked up some hill or other, from miles away. This car was red, the larger one pale yellow.
Air - Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. Fr. 1437 dated 14 Aug 1913 - Morane-Saulnier Monoplane
Red Book 1919 - Lord J. Carbery - Settler - Seremai, Nyeri
Web - Oxford dnb - Happy Valley - The Carbery farmhouse at Seremai was a single-storey grey-stoned building with a cedar bark shingle roof surrounded by a coffee plantation. The focal point of June Carbery's bedroom, which was painted in raspberry and cream with doors and mantleshelf in black gloss, was the huge bed in which she amused her lovers. With its well-groomed gardens, and a battery of servants, Seremai provided the semblance of English country-house living in an equatorial climate.

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