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Name: DUGMORE, Francis Sandys (Capt.)

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Birth Date: 3.3.1839 Swaffam, Norfolk

Death Date: 10.11.1898 suicide at Mombasa

Nationality: British

First Date: 1895

Last Date: 1898

Profession: An administration officer EAP, he was known as 'Commander of Ngong Fort'. One of the controversial 'Freelanders'

Area: Lamu, Mombasa, Uganda, Ngong

Married: In Christchurch, Hampshire 23 Apr 1867 Hon. Emily Evelyn Brougham b. London 4 Sep 1839, d. 13 Nov 1919 St Peter Port, Guernsey (dau of 2nd Baron Brougham and Vaux)

Children: William Francis Brougham Radclyffe (1 Oct 1868 Kingston, Canada-1917); Arthur Vaux Venner Radclyffe (1870 Towyn, Wales-1955); Evelyn Mary Radclyffe (1873 Wallingford-1950); Cyril Patrick William Francis Radclyffe (1875 Parsonstown, Ireland-1966); Eric Valentine Frederick (21 Jan 1875 Wallingford-1954); Louisa; Wilfred Laurence Edmund Radclyffe (1880 Guernsey-1932)

Book Reference: Gillett, Freeland, Hut, North, Curtis, UJ, Nicholls, Bright

War Service: North Staffordshire Regt.

General Information:

After the Freelanders left Capt Dugmore remained, joined the IBEA and, accompanied always by a pet cheetah, made a name for himself as a strange yet capable administrator.
North - International Freeland Assoc. - Nominal Member - Dep. Hamburg for EA 28/3/1894; arr. Lamu 26/5/1894; stayed in Lamu after Assoc. disbanded 26/6/1894; on shooting trip up Tana at Manfano Nov 1894; At Lamu, 'Dugmore is a most excitable old fellow' (Pigott, FO 403) 26-5-1894; Lamu Dec 1894; Mombasa 16/8/1895 calling himself a "War Correspondent" during Mbarak rebellion, joined attack on Mwele; Dep. Zanzibar for Bombay via Seychelles 27/10/1895; Mombasa 26/3/1896; dep. Machakos for Kikuyu 7/9/1896; Ngong in charge of Sudanese by 24/9/1896; At Fort Smith, 'Old Dugmore is here & boring us all most dreadfully' (Russell, RH) 22-7-1897; Fort Smith 22/7/1897; Served in Uganda during Sudanese mutiny Nov 1897-8; Kitembe 7/6/1898; Arr. Kikuyu from Uganda Aug. 1898; Declared to be mentally unbalanced by Dr. A.E. Jerman '….. not entirely responsible for his actions & is of unsound mind' (FO 107), to be escorted from Fort Smith to Machakos 10-9-1898. At Athi River Camp on way to Machakos shot and killed Capt. W.E. Cooke during an argument over the siting of his tent 12-9-1898; Taken to Mombasa to stand trial for murder 15-9-1898. 'Though he is absolutely mad, I hope he will get hung' (Hall, RH) 8/10/1898 d. 10/11/1898 at Mombasa while awaiting trial for murder, "Apoplexy" (ZG 16/11/1898)"Insanity …… Haemplegia ….. Exhaustion" (FO 107), "hung himself with bootlace" (Ainsworth, RH)
Curtis - p. 37 - Life at Fort Smith - '....... [1896 letter from Francis Hall to his father]] .. Martin and his wife came up and stayed here about 12 days. I gave them my quarters and we had a very jolly time. She is Portuguese but very nice; and plays, and sings in several languages, and as old Dugmore (in charge of the troops) has the American organ (that I brought out for him) up here, we had some musical evenings, Russell on the 1st whistle, Lane banjo and Mrs M. on the organ, while I occasionally had to warble as my share, and another fellow here, Trefusis, plays the autoharp very well. By-the-bye I shall be mentioning names you don't know, so I must tell you that two Mombasa firms have agents up here, living about 1000 yards from the Fort. Trefusis, a very good sort who has travelled the world, is one, and a man named Walsh with his wife for the other. Then we have one coffee planter, Kitchen, and Dr. Wallace's party just coming. Mr Wallace (brother) and his wife arrived about 10 days ago and Dr Boedecker and wife, and a Mr McQueen and wife are to arrive tomorrow. We shall then have 10 Europeans resident in Kikuyu.
Uganda Journal - Vol 25, p.84 - retired from the Army. In 1894 he came to East Africa as a member of the Freeland Association, which planned an Utopian settlement on the Tana River, but quickly collapsed; 1895-7 served in East Africa in various temporary capacities - Somali raids on the Tana, the Mazrui campaign, and district work in Ukamba and Masailand; Nov 1897 volunteered for military service against the mutineers in Uganda but his health gave way and he ultimately died in hospital in Mombasa. A man of great courage but eccentric (he walked about accompanied by a tame cheetah), he did not fit readily into Government harness. He was the father of Lieut. (later Capt. DSO) W.F.B.R. Dugmore (1868-1917) who had courageously kept the Sudanese troops at Masindi under control during the critical months of the Mutiny until relieved in February 1898; and of A. Radclyffe Dugmore (1870-1955) the artist-naturalist and author of 'The Wonderland of Big Game'.
Nicholls - [After the Freeland fiasco] - Dugmore was one of those who went to Mombasa. As a retired British miltary officer he was put in charge of a detachment of Sudanese troops and sent upcountry to help garrison the forts. Hall and Russell did not take to him at all, for he was decidedly strange. Instead of walking a few paces to discuss matters face to face with his white colleagues, Dugmore would type them lengthy letters signed 'Mugdore ye Looniac' or 'The Bloody Old Shit'. He sent Mrs Martin an elephant foot as a delicacy for her table. To counter fleas he soaked his pyjamas in paraffin before going to bed, which brought him out in boils all over his body. And when his pet monkey got into some of his belongings he gave it a sound flogging - 'What the natives can think of him I don't know,' said a despairing Edward Russell. He was seconded to Uganda, and when he eturned to Fort Elvira he found he had been replaced by Captain William Cooke. After displaying signs of insanity he was sent to Machakos under the escort of Cooke, whom he shot dead at Athi River. Arrested and sent to Mombasa for trial, he committed suicide by means of a bootlace. Dugmore was an example of the less than satisfactory personnel sometimes employed to guard the British Empire overseas - men whose behaviour would not be tolerated at home.
Bright - 11 Nov 1898 - Old Dugmore being sent down to the coast with 2 officers. He was walking in front of the caravan with his escort; he suddenly snatched an Express rifle from one of them and shot Cook and Crawshay dead; he was then seized and overpowered. There was some idea of Dugmore coming up here to look after Savé. ("Old" Dugmore, Capt. F.S. Dugmore (retired), came out of retirement to try to assist. There was a "Young" Dugmore, Lt. W.R. Dugmore of the Uganda Rifles, who went on to a very distinguished army career.)
Old Africa - 20-3-14 - Christine Nicholls & Steve North - The Mad, Bad and Dangerous Captain Francis Dugmore
Francis Sandys Dugmore was born in Paddington, London, where he was baptised on 18 March 1839. He was the son of a barrister, William Dugmore, and his wife Mary Louisa. He was brought up in London and had three younger brothers and two younger sisters. He joined the army, serving in Canada in the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment, and eventually reaching the rank of Captain in the 64th Regiment of Foot. He was prosperous enough to marry on 23 April 1867. His bride, the same age as himself, was a member of the aristocracy, the Hon. Emily Evelyn Brougham, daughter of the 2nd Baron Brougham and Vaux. The pair lived in Canada, where their first son, William, was born. Soon the family returned to Britain, where they settled at Dauddyffryn, in Merionethshire. Three more sons were born, Arthur, Wilfrid and Cyril, and a daughter, Louisa.
Dugmore spent long spells serving in Ireland, but got himself into trouble in 1882 and was imprisoned in Tullamore gaol, while on the army reserve list (he had retired from the army in July 1882). Apparently he had been inciting people not to pay rent. Questions were asked in Parliament and he was eventually released. At some stage he joined the Royal Navy, where he reached the rank of lieutenant (he appears in the Navy List from 1888 to 1898).
What happened to Dugmore’s marriage is uncertain, but in 1891 his wife was living in Guernsey on private means, with her two youngest sons. In 1894 Dugmore joined the party of Freelanders going to Lamu, whom I talked about in last month’s blog. He was a troublemaker who stayed in Africa after the venture was cancelled. Following the British government’s takeover of British East Africa in July 1895, Dugmore managed to get himself attached to the troops engaged in the attack on Mwele, calling himself a war correspondent and later, following a trip to Bombay, he was apparently given a minor position with the military at Mombasa.  In September 1896 he was put in charge of Sudanese troops at the Ngong stockade and although he was apparently always highly strung, now he was becoming increasingly difficult to deal with, possibly even mentally unstable. The British administrators Frank Hall and Edward Russell did not take to him at all, because he was decidedly strange.  Instead of walking a few paces to discuss matters face to face with his white colleagues, Dugmore would type them a lengthy letter signed ‘Mugdore Ye Looniac’ or ‘The Bloody Old Shit’.  He sent one lady an elephant foot as a delicacy for her table.  To counter fleas, he soaked his pyjamas in paraffin before going to bed, which brought him out in boils all over his body. And when his pet monkey got into some of his belongings he gave it a sound flogging. “What the natives can think of him I don’t know,” said a despairing Edward Russell.
The Sudanese troops complained to John Ainsworth, District Commissioner at Machakos, of what Ainsworth described as their ‘extraordinary treatment’ by Dugmore. When the Sudanese mutiny started in Uganda, Dugmore, much to everyone’s relief, decided to go and help because his son William was a lieutenant in the Uganda military. His position at Ngong was taken by a young man called William Cooke. Dugmore returned from Uganda in August 1898 and seems to have convinced himself that Cooke had stolen his job. By now there was no doubt that he was ill and after an examination by the local medical officer, Ainsworth ordered him to be brought to Machakos, escorted by Cooke and Edward Russell. On the journey Dugmore was apparently in good spirits and seemed glad to be going, but during a halt at Athi River camp he got into an argument with Cooke about the positioning of his tent, grabbed Cooke’s loaded rifle and shot and killed him. While awaiting trial for murder in Mombasa he managed to hang himself with a bootlace on 10 November 1898, leaving effects amounting to £60. The Zanzibar Gazette reported his death as being caused by apoplexy, and suicide was not mentioned. It was simply stated that his mind appeared to have been affected during his time in Uganda.
Dugmore is an example of the less than satisfactory personnel sometimes employed to guard the British empire overseas, men whose behaviour would not be tolerated at home. But his sons did well, the eldest becoming a professional soldier who was killed in the First World War in 1917, while another was an accomplished photographer, and one became an athlete. Dugmore’s wife died on 13 November 1919. Captain Dugmore was a retired British army officer and an erratic, violent man, who settled in East Africa when he had nowhere else to go. His personal politics were situational; a Conservative and notoriously combative falconer, he experienced a bout of populism when in 1882, he was arrested for exhorting Irish tenants to withhold rent. ... He wrote frequent and voluminous letters [to the British consul in Zanzibar, even though no one had heard of him there] reporting on the Freelanders’ activities, often with two or three postscripts. His characterizations of other colonists was largely hostile; he considered every one of the non-English participants to be dangerous and unstable....For sport Dugmore would lean out the window of the compound with his revolver and shoot holes through the water jugs that local women carried on their heads to their homes. “It was a joy to the old man to see the girls’ insane fright when water and jar shards rained down around their ears at the sound of the gun firing,” Scavenius wrote, adding that Dugmore accidentally shot the women three times. Dugmore called this charming activity “black game shooting”....
Dugmore himself was finally ejected from the house on June 27, 1894 when Scavenius accused him of disloyalty in front of the entire party. Accounts vary at this point but the British group threatened to shoot anyone who removed Dugmore by force; Wilhelm settled the matter by asking Dugmore to remove himself voluntarily, knowing by then that the man was a British spy.
After most of the Europeans left Lamu in July, Dugmore and Thomas joined the remaining Englishmen in the interior. In October the group defended a Swedish-American mission from a raid by Ogaden Somalis under the command of Hassan Barjin. Dugmore followed the Somalis back to their camp and killed many of them in their sleep.
Kenyan officials encouraged Dugmore to join his son, a Lieutenant in the British army, in Uganda. Once there his behavior became even more erratic (he once arrived at a dinner party with an elephant’s foot as a table setting). Paranoid that his position was being threatened by a young officer, Dugmore shot the man with his own rifle, then hung himself with his bootlaces while awaiting trial on November 10, 1898. He is buried in Mombasa. There is a plaque commemorating him in St. Peter’s Church in Dorset, England, which reads, “Worn out by the hardships of the Uganda Campaign. RIP.”

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