What happened to the education of European children in World War 2 in Kenya

What happened to the education of European children in World War 2 in Kenya

What Happened to the Education of European Children in World War 2 in Kenya? Hazel MacGregor (née Kempton, of K Boat Yard in Mombasa) remembers the day war was declared in 1939, when she was ten years old. The European Grocery Shop in Mombasa was run by a German couple – the Von Rittens, who had left Germany because they were not supporters of Hitler. After being rounded up, Germans above military age were sent back to Germany. This greatly distressed the Von Rittens, who had no warm clothes. They were given clothes by Hazel’s mother and off they went, only for Herr Von Ritten later to be executed by the Nazis. Because Mombasa would be vulnerable from Italians in Abyssinia, the government arranged for upcountry farmers to host coast families, and Hazel was evacuated to a farm on the slopes of Mount Menengai. But a few weeks later the government decided it would be safe to return to Mombasa, and the children duly went back home. An underground trench was built in Hazel’s home, in case of Italian air raids. Air raid sirens were installed and air raid drills practiced. But the government changed its mind yet again and evacuated children upcountry. This time Hazel went to a farm near Nyeri, belonging to the Hendersons, whose son Ian later became prominent for his undercover work for the security forces. There were also air raid shelters and siren practices in Nairobi. In September 1939, immediately after the outbreak of war, pupils started school two weeks’ late, and helped to dig trenches. Children were not immediately evacuated from Nairobi but...