Small of Stature but Stout of Heart: Tich and Dolly Miles

Small of Stature but Stout of Heart: Tich and Dolly Miles

Tich and Dolly Miles were born into a military family. Their father, Frederick Tremayne Miles, a captain in the 18th Hussars, had married an American from New Orleans, Anna Carolie Sellar, in 1883, and they had four children. Olive, the only girl, was born in Middlesex in 1887 and her brother Arthur Tremayne Miles, in 1889. By the time of Arthur’s birth the family was living in Bourton, Much Wenlock, Shropshire. The father died on 12 February 1896, under chloroform on the sofa while being operated on for piles, and Arthur was then sent to school in Rottingdean, Sussex. He did not follow his father into the army, but instead sought adventure in Kenya, where he disembarked in 1909, at the age of nineteen. Arthur was taken on by a man promoting rubber-growing among the Nandi. His job was to serve in a duka (small shop) in Kapsabet for twelve hours a day, six days a week, selling goods and buying latex. With a long, thin face and toothbrush moustache, he was diminutive in stature, weighing scarcely more than seven stone, and was therefore universally known as ‘Tich.’ His friendship with Denys Finch-Hatton and Berkeley Cole led him, on the outbreak of the First World War, to join a unit called ‘Cole’s Scouts’, part of the East African Mounted Rifles, and Tich, Denys and Berkeley became known as ‘The Three Musketeers,’ so close was their friendship. Tich was a colourful and witty raconteur over evening camp fires, always cheerful and reckless. ‘Nature hath endowed him,’ said Lord Cranworth, ‘with a physique about ten times too small for the great...
Tea for Breakfast

Tea for Breakfast

About 1910 my father W.J. Dawson, known always as W.J., bought the Plains Dairy, that vast flatland where the Nairobi Airport is today. He and three other young Scotsmen had great times in the corrugated iron house he built there. The others were George Taylor, Will Jaffray and Sandy Milne. One morning my father, who was always particular about his early morning tea, spat out the first mouthful in disgust at the taste. He went outside and asked George Taylor if he thought the tea undrinkable. Taylor replied, “I hadna’ noticed.” Father called the servant and asked where he had obtained the water for the tea. Imagine my father’s reaction when the servant pointed to the tin bath in which all four men had bathed the evening before! Belle Barker, Hermanus, South Africa This story appeared in the October 2007 Only in Africa section of Old Africa If you enjoyed this story, consider purchasing Leopard in the Kitchen, our book of short stories....