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Anyway, that is the end of my “brat’s” life and none of my children followed me into the services.’For six years ex-Staff-Serjeant P. Nyland of the Royal Pioneer Corps had not seen his five sons.Throughout his 13 years, the eldest of these sons, Jimmy, had not even seen his brothers.
I do, however, remember a visit from Princess Alexandra.I let go and glided in till, luckily, I was standing in about 2 feet of water. Nanyuki, we were informed, was right on the Equator, so, logically, we thought, “On the Equator: it is hot here, so it is going to be really hot there”, and jumped into the back of a Land Rover with no canopy on, wearing shorts and T-shirts. And Nanyuki is located near the bottom of it, so we were freezing.I was never so scared in my whole life, and I never laughed at anyone trying to do anything again (lesson learned). At first, we were placed in a hotel that turned out to be the same hotel that owned “Treetops” (where the Queen was on holiday when she heard of her father’s death), which was basically a hotel built on sawn-off trees, with a manmade lake in front of it to bring the animals in to water.My brother Billy got a job as assistant “white hunter”, so we got to go there quite regularly, seeing a few film stars, among them Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.Then we moved to what would be our house, with two African couples who were to be our house boy, cook, cook’s assistant and gardener. I got a job with the NAAFI and a part-time job with the AKC [Army Kinema Corporation] cinema as a projectionist.Next, we moved back to Nairobi to live and took our house boy and the others with us as we all got on really well. Eventually, we moved to Düsseldorf, where I started work as a store man for the NAAFI.
Unfortunately, I have very few pictures of my time in Kenya, and I cannot remember the names of any of the schools that I attended whilst we lived in Nanyuki, but know that I went to Delamere Boys’ School in Nairobi. I and a few others managed to get the army to give us a building that we turned into a youth club, where we played table tennis and held dances, but it was mainly a get-together sort of place.
Well, the boat took off with me following (with knees bent as I was too scared to stand up).
We went around, and as we approached the beach, the man in the boat kept indicating to me to let go – let go!!!! Anyway, after going around again, my legs were so sore from being bent and from all of the shock-absorbing that I had no choice: I just aimed for my brother on the beach, hoping that he would rush out to get me. We lived in Nairobi for a short time at first, before being told we were that moving to a town called Nanyuki.
Then we returned to London where, after a short time, my father retired from the army.
Just before this, I joined the Royal Corps of Signals myself, aged eighteen years.
I remember having to get the army bus at 5.45 in the morning to travel over Tai Mo Shan to reach school at St George’s.