This page remembers some of the former staff, their memories of EAA and where they are now.
Vijay Dev Gandhi
Vijay Dev Gandhi joined EAA in 1962 and left in 1971. Vijay was an Interline Officer and worked alongside Mr Ashraf Aryne who left in 1969. He latterly lived in Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire.
Sadly, he passed away on Saturday 16th January 2021. He said that his days ay EAA were the best days of his life.
Born 14th December 1937 to Dr. Erisa Musoke Kalibbala of Kyebando – Kampala and died 24th April 2003.
He was a jolly and principled man married first to Margeret Lukiza – Kiwanuka (the late) and later Jacqueline Bosanga – Kiwanuka (the late) and is survived by 6 children – one of whom passed on and 1 grandchild.
He studied at Makerere College School and Aggrey Memorial School.
In 1959 under the Haile Selassie scholarship scheme, he enrolled for pilot training in registration, aerodynamics, link trainer and other technical qualifications under the Ethiopian Airlines’ Training project. Out of the 22 enrolled students, him and 10 others graduated with the Commercial Pilots Licence with Instrument Rating (CPL/IR) in 1961.
He checked out as the First African Captain on the DC – 3 (1970), attended F -27 flight training at the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight academy – Karachi (1971), an instrument rating examiners’ course at the Civil Aviation Flight Unit (CAFU) – Stenstead UK (1972), qualified as the First African Instrument Rating Examiner for the East African Directorate of Civil Aviation (1972), attended the Eastern Airlines Flight Academy – Miami USA for the DC – 9 stimulator course (1973), attended the American Airlines Flight Academy for the B – 707/720 (1975), attended the B – 737 stimulator course for Air Zaire (1988) and the DC – 8 (1990) and the CEFA course B -727 at the Centre d’etudes et de formation en Aviation – Kinshasa (1994).
At Ethiopian Airlines (1961 – 1963), he was a First officer (F/O) on the DC – 3 and C – 47 flights from Addis Ababa to Aden and flights to Somalia and Yemen.
In 1964 he returned to Uganda and after a familiarisation course at the Naguru Police college, he became the first African pilot in the Uganda Police Airwing. He left the Police force at the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP).
He joined the East African Airways Corporation (EAA) in 1965 and worked there till 1977. At the EAA he became the first East African black pilot F/O VSC on the DC – 3 (1965) and first black East African Captain on the: DC – 3 (1970), F – 27 (1971), DC – 9 (1973), SVC – 10 (1974) and the Boeing 707 (1975). He was also a Deputy Chief Pilot and Instructor on the DC – 9.
In 1977 he joined the Zaire Aero-service (ZAS) and Air Zaire in 1978 where he worked up to his retirement in 1993. At Air Zaire, he qualified as a Captain (1978), Instructor (1979), Deputy Chief Pilot (1984) and Chief Pilot (1986) of the F – 27 and as Captain of the Boeing 737 in 1988.
At the time of his retirement in 1993, he had accumulated a total of 14,000 flight hours and 2,500 of which were on the Boeing 737.
I will always remember how I looked forward to going on a flight. I would be ready in my airline gear four hours before my pick up time. Never sitting down so as not to crease my uniform. I loved the SVC10s’ takeoffs and landings. I loved the sound she made during these times. When EAA packed up, I continued flying for another three months with KQ and then left to join BA on the ground. KQ did not pay our salaries for three months. We would be told to go and ask EAA management and of course there was none and this made me chose BA over my much loved career.
Well I loved BA very much and although I worked on ground at both Embakasi and JKIA, I enjoyed working under Mr. Trevor Fox, the BA Airport Manager who was a really good boss. He was very organized and we had all our trainings every three months in London at British Airways Heston in Hounslow. We also had a club in Nairobi, which we called Speedbird, after BA’s nickname. We really had parties and a lot of game trips to both our National Parks and Game Reserves in Kenya.
Again I had the honour of carrying BA’s flag in Golf Tournaments as Mr. Fox and other BA managers played golf. When BA Head Office in London informed Nairobi staff that they are offering the Golden Handshakes to staff members who can find jobs elsewhere, I took mine and went into a secretarial college, (Kianda College) where I trained as an Administrative Secretary for one and a half years. From there I worked for a British International NGO as an Administrative Secretary, later my position was changed to that of an Admin Assistant.
I worked there for 10 years before winning my green card and relocating to USA. I am now working as a Certified Nurse Assistant.
Sadly Mary passed away in April 2020.
Roger was a Training Superintendant at EAA from 1960 to 1965 and therfore responsible for much of the training of cabin crew during that period. He passed away in 2011.
The following is written by Sarah, his daughter.
Dad was born on the 17th March 1929. At 16 he joined the ATC (Air Training Corp) as he was too young to go to war. When the war finished in 1946 a gentleman from BOAC came to the ATC to recruit apprentices to work for them.
After applying he travelled to London for an interview and was accepted. Working on Lancastrians, Comets, Flying Boats, etc…. After his apprenticeship (BOAC BRAT), he went on to become steward and then chief steward.
Between 1955 – 1960 Roger returned to the UK and took a break from flying, married Mum in 1956, my sister came along in Jan 1959.
1960 – 66 Dad was contacted by East African Airways to become Cabin Crew Training superintendent and did so in 1960, I think he worked alongside Barry Fraser. My father adored working with EAA, this was still part of the golden years. I was born in April 1963, Mum went back to the UK during her pregnancy as, as we all knew Kenya was up for its independance and my parents wished for me to have a British passport. We lived in Westlands and mum worked at the Aga Khan Hospital. Unfortunately I don’t have many stories as I was too young but I have spoken to Martha Kingsley who was trained by my father, so she my have some( I would love to hear them from any other staff.)
In 1966/67 Dad was offered a position as Catering Manager with Kuwait airways based in Kuwait, the 1st Gulf war broke out and we returned to the UK after only 6 months.
Our new home base was in Sibson village (now obselete for the new runway at Heathrow), just a stone throw from Heathrow airport. Dad was now catering manager with Nigeria Airways and collaborating with Airchef Catering company.
1970- mid 1974 Montreal, Canada – BOAC/BA Senior Catering Officer Canada, based in Montreal (Dorval) & Toronto.
1974- end 1979 Hong Kong – Cathay Pacific – Training Superintendent Cabin Crew. Dad rejoined his old pal and workmate Barry Fraser from his days at EAA .
1980 Dad retired from the airlines and bought a restaurant in a small village called Laneham near Retford in Nottinghamshire where he started his semi-retirement with mum.
Dad passed away in Ripon on the 26th January 2011, my sister Louise passed away in 2014 in Portugal, Mum is 86 and living in Ripon, I am living in the south of France.
Apart from his profession Dad was a very keen cricketer, I think he played in Nairobi in his free time. Also an avid stamp collector.
The following is from Interline News (published in the 1960s)
Born in the United Kingdom in 1933, David Evans was educated at Liverpool College and at Christ Church, Oxford
After completing the three years Articles of the Royal Institute of British Architects, David was required to perform his national service. Due to colour blindness he was not accepted by either the RAF or the Navy; consequently he joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers and on being commissioned, volunteered to be seconded to what was then the King’s African Rifles in Kenya, where he attained the rank of Captain. After national service he returned to Britain to join the Overseas Civil Service and, as an Administrative Officer, asked particularly to return to East Africa to assist in the preparation for Kenya’s eventual independence.
In the meantime his artistic temperament came to the fore in the form of freelance writing, painting and photography and in May 1961, David joined EAA as a Sales Development Officer, originally handling the Corporation’s Public Relations work. However he soon transferred to the Advertising side of Sales Development – now called Publicity – in order to be more creative. In February 1965, he became Sales Development Superintendent and in October of the same year he was promoted to Publicity Manager
His favourite hobbies, not unrelated to his work, are photography and oil painting. In 1964 he won a Silver Medal in the Kodak International Colour Competition exhibited at the New York World’s Fair, an event which attracted more than 150,000 entries from 58 countries.
On most weekends David spends his time painting East Africa’s unrivalled landscape in spite of his colour blindness, providing him with immense pleasure.
His favourite sports are riding and all forms of aquasports.
Yes, I was a pilot with EAA. I flew DC3’s, F27’s, the DC9 in the short period it was there, and SVC10’s. Most was on the SVC10 as I went through the lower fleets very fast. I got into EAA in June 21st 1966 via Cpt Terry Walch, the American pilot that was killed in a road accident by the Langata army barracks above Wilson airport. Terry was doing a check out on Tommy Turk who was one on my best friends and I sat in the jump seat before Terry asked, much to my surprise since I was with Safari Air, if I wanted to do an initial instrument rating test. I passed it and Terry got me into EAA by talking to Cunningham. I left EAA in Sept 1970.
Tommy and I are in touch via e-mail. I live in Grapevine, Texas, he in Vienna and Thailand. Tommy was copilot on the DC3 crash in Kilwa Tanzania when Brokenshaw was killed.
On the SVC10 I did all of Europe and Hong Kong, the old Kai Tak airport.
When I left EAA I started Specialised Mouldings in Nairobi which grew into a 500 man operation before it was stolen from me by a top politician. I spent 4 yrs under house arrest and in jail under a false charge before being allowed to leave Kenya when it was dropped.Some of my story can be seen on www.samantha-39.dk and in my upcoming book “Some Fear Spiders.” Pics of my factory are also on the site.
I will be sailing my yacht African Queen from Greece to the Caribbean next year with a bunch of Samantha owners, one of who is ex-Kenya. Unfortunately I do not have any pics as I was only allowed to leave Kenya with a spare T-shirt. I do however know a lot of stories.
I was a First Officer on Friendship and VC10 before I became a Captain on Twin Otter, Friendship, DC 9 and VC10. There are a lot of pictures from EAA’s VC10 on the ground or in the air but none from it’s cockpit, so I thought I would send you one. (see Aircraft page)
I was offered employment as a trainee after an interview conducted by James Stuart-Wortley in London in 1951. There were some six others, which included Robin Grant.
I travelled out to NBO by BOAC, which included a 48 hr delay in CAI at the time of the Abadan crisis. I duly arrived in NBO the same day as Robin who as on a later BA flight We stayed in the Avenue Hotel for about five days and we then both moved to the Hurlingham Hotel. Our first duties were at Eastleigh Airport, Robin in Traffic, and myself in Mail and cargo. My duty officer was Ted Bates, with Spud Murphy as STO and Graham Mollison as Station Manager. At that stage the Head Office was located in Shell House.
After about four months I was transferred to Reservations by then located in Sadler House. I was then working on the Local Res Control Section. Harry Stanley was the Control Supervisor. I stayed there until early 1954. Names of my colleagues were Ray Sharpe, Johny Baines, Derrick Pierce, Vinod Patel, V J Shah, Anne Driscol, Dicky Bird was the Ticket Office Supervisor. Malan Sorsbie at that stage GM had his office in Sadler House.
In 1954 I was conscripted into the KPR and served full time in various parts of the Colony. During this period I was considered as an EAAC employee and continued to enjoy staff privileges.
I think it was early 1957 that I was released and returned to Reservations in Sadler House. By now there were others such as Taffy Williams, Bill Botto, Andy Andersen, Robert Honret, (spelling?), Johnny Jordan, Eric Watson, Jim Clements, Brian Jeffries & Wally Poole who was Reservations Manager. Others in Sadler House were Harry Day, Tom Cronin, Mary Heather-Hayes, John Hayes and of course Sir Alfred Vincent & his secretary Jean Harris.
It was about 1959 or 1960 that I was transferred to Dar Es Salaam as Senior Controller. Chick Little was Station Manager, Richard Airey, STO and Bill Mason and latterly Jim Maclachlan as Sales Office Supervisor. Tony Harley and latterly Cyril Whitemen as Sales Representative. Tommy Webb as Station Engineer.
After three years, I was moved back to Nairobi as Senior Controller to replace Chris DuPlessis, and then as Reservations Control Superintendent. In Wally Poole’s absence I acted for him.
In 1967, I was head hunted by Ted Bates who by now was with BUA in London, as Manager London Reservations.
In 1974 I met Steve Choppin ex Chief Accountant EAA who was then GM, Air Botswana. I joined him as Sales and Training Manager, and learned that until shortly before Johnny Baines had been the Pro at the Gaborone Golf Club.
Now I am living in Cape Town, and am in touch with Tony O’Donaghue and Brian Jeffries During the years with EAA I was known as Mike Brand.
As a kid growing up on a farm in the Kenya Highlands, I used to watch with awe as the EAA/BOAC Argonauts brrred and hummed overhead en-route to exotic destinations. After a messy education, (an impulsive dad whipping me out of school to travel for a few years), I dropped out of Princo. Head Master ‘Flakey’ Fletcher kindly got me into an apprenticeship at EAA in the DC3 prop. shop.
After a year there I did 6 months National Service, after which EAA told me they didn’t want me any more. Obviously I hadn’t learnt the intricacies of balancing those DC3 props! Ambition burnt, having watched DC3 pilots in their khaki Safari outfits come down to the Wilson Airport hangers where I laboured, to take DC3s up for test flights.
Fast forward. 5 Years later I was a DC3 F/O. after 9 years a Comet IVc Check Captain, and after 10 years a SVC10 Senior Captain. In 1973 I had Bruce Mackenzie on a flight He was then an EAA Board Member. I knew him from my charter pilot days with Campling Bros, where i often flew him and Tom Mboya. I asked whether rumours of calamity were true. He said.. this country won’t pay for this, that one won’t pay for that.. and we owe Shell millions of Shillingi. That triggered my move to Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong. After a year there I got into the Fitness Industry.. which i had been doing as a sideline all along in Kenya. (Bruce Mackenzie died in an air crash. He had visited Idi Amin at Entebbe, and been given a lion’s head as a gift. For reasons unknown, the gift had an altitude-triggered time bomb inside).
I’m now retired in Thailand and Vienna. I wonder.. if in the far distant future, our great, great grand kids will find this site, and ask for stories about these ‘pioneering’ guys and gals.
My family owned two travel agencies in Uganda, one in Jinja and one in Kampala. The one in Jinja was established in 1949 followed by the one in Kampala in ’52. We were the ground handlers for EAA at Jinja airport from ’51 until ’72.
I was at prep and public school in Cheltenham and Wellingborough from 1955 but went home for holidays very often. Being an avid air enthusiast I would go to the airport almost everyday with my dad.
I have 8 maps given to me by Captain Lingham. He used these while flying all over East Africa. I will try and get some photocopied so you can post them on your site. They are rather large!
EAA was part of our family for almost quarter of a century. I have also been fortunate enough to fly on all of their planes.
I am retired now and reside in North London after having spent 32 years in Vancouver, Canada.
William Muir Anderson
My father Capt. William Muir Anderson joined EAA in 1946 from England & took his family to Nairobi. He flew for EAA 1946-1952 & then from 1960-1964. Meanwhile flying for Hunting Clan in UK & Sudan Airways. Aircraft he flew for EAA were Rapide, Dove, Dakota.& Friendship. He died in 1985.
He kept his home life very separate from his work, so very few EAA memorabilia exist & no photos .that I can remember.
I can thoroughly recommend the book “East African – An Airline Story” by Peter J. Davies (Runnymede Malthouse Publishing, Runnymede Road, Egham, Surrey, UK). My copy was published in 1993, ISBN 1 873203 22 5
From his sone David.
Devi Kunniah (Ellamah)
I worked with East African Airways as stewardess between 1974-1977. EAA has recruited 8 Mauritians to work for them. We were trained by Ms Wambui & Ms Chettiar and really had a wonderful time working for this company. The team was great. Special thoughts for Capt Ricketts, Capt Rajesh Jethwa, Capt Cooks, Mr Walia. I shall be visiting Nairobi after 34years and am thrilled. Hope to meet my ex-colleagues. May me they remember me by Ellamah Kunniah. Thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to renew with my past, will send one of my old photographs. I am still in the airline business, working with a Travel Agency as a Customer Relationship Manager.
Teddy was a flight attendant at EAA during the 1960s, probably one of the first Africans employed in that role. These pictures have been kindly supplied by her daughter Maureen Sight. If anyone recognises Teddy, I am sure Maureen would like to hear from you.
In 1958, after leaving KLM in London, I joined East African Airways and started work in Sadler House, Koinange St., Nairobi in the reservations department. But I only remained there just a few short weeks before being posted to Tancot House, Dar es Salaam where I was taken under the wing of Mike Brand, Senior Controller.
Mike was a great educator and taught me all I ever knew about reservations.
Chic Little was the Station Manager at the time (a lovely man)
Reg Hill and Roger Heather were in traffic
Bill Mason was the S.O.S.
After a couple of years or so, I took over from Mike Brand as Senior Controller. Mike was posted to Nairobi where he took up the post of Senior Controller there. During my seven in Dar. Alister McKenzie took over from Chic Little as Station Manager.
Jim Gillard took over the position of S.O.S. Followed by Jim McLachlan.
I was then posted to Nairobi Reservations in 1965 and if my memory serves me correctly, once again took over from Mike Brand as Senior Controller before joining The Training Centre under Reg Hill.
I was Africanised at the same time as Wally Poole in Nairobi in 1969. I was told on good authority that an error had been made and that because of the similarity of our surname, Harry Day was in fact due to be Africanised and not me! This seems to be borne out by the fact that the half a dozen or so ex. pats. Africanised at this time were all at least 20 years older than me and nearing retirement age.
Some highlights during my time with E.A.A.
- Attending a BOAC workshop in London with Brian Jeffries and being voted student of the course (despite a fairly low pass mark!) And being rewarded by Alister McKenzie for putting Dar. on top of the list with a free trip to Rome with my wife Bernice.
- Going to Trinidad with Bill Botto to look at BWIA’s Reservations Computer System (Bill and I drink a lot of white rum on this trip!)
- Accompanying John Dudley ( who called everyone ‘Dear Boy’ except of course the ladies!) on a Sales trip to the Eastern Bloc Countries (John and I drunk a lot of vodka on this trip)
- Returning home to Tancot House in Dar. with Bernice after seeing a movie to find ‘two Government ‘Heavies’ (Europeans) waiting for me and threatening me with deportation if I failed to allow armed Askiris to board an E.A.A. Aircraft – I wouldnt agree and couldn’t agree as it was far beyond my jurisdiction. Alister McKenzie, Station Manager at the time, was deported shortly afterwards in similar circumstances.
- Although being farely low in the ‘pecking’ order, in Dar. I had the misfortune to be the most senior member of Staff available when Gene Brokenshaw was accidently killed (in Sao Hill, if my memory serves me correctly). His family insisted on his body being returned to South Africa so his remains were flown to Dar. before leaving for Nairobi the next day. I had to deliver coffin with his remains to the mortuary, thought that would be the end of the matter, but since the receipt called for ‘Coffin with human Remains’, the lid had to be removed to confirm the contents.
Three names from other airlines that remain strong in my memory: Robin Grant, British United, Tony Shapley, BOAC and Dave Nichol, Qantas. I also remember great times with members of the SKAL Club in Nairobi . A popular song we sang at the time was ‘These Were the Days my Friend, We Though They Would Never End’. Little did we know!
I joined EAAC in early 1970 to fly as FO on the Comets. On arrival at Nairobi, I was advised the Comet course was cancelled but in ten days’ time I was to join No 16 SVC-10 conversion course.
The following pilots were also on the course:
- EAAC Comet Captains: Jerry Sirley, Tommy Turk, (?)Webster and (?) Hartley
- EAAC DC-3 FO: (?) Munday
- John Fitzgerald, ex- East West Airlines F27 Captain (failed the course)
- Frank Gow, ex-East West Airlines FO (failed the course)
- Harvey R Ritchie (myself), ex RAAF C-47 and Lockheed C130-A model captain (passed!!!)
- Randall Eugene Patterson, ex- Flying Tigers pilot and engineer (failed the course)
- Ray Schramel, ex-USMC C130 pilot (I think he failed)
- Gurdial Singh, ex FO Air India (failed)
- Nirmal Singh, ex captain IAF 748’s (failed)
After the technical course and the simulator training, my first flight on that beautiful aircraft was with T Dornan on 9 May 1970, on local training in 5H-MOG. Above my desk, I still have a picture of her on take-off from Heathrow with snow on the ground.
My last flight was with Captain Power from Bangkok to Nairobi direct on 10 March 1971, after three days on the ground in BKK. On the approach to BKK from HK (my sector), one section of the port inner flap dis-integrated and we landed with take-off flap. Therein lies a whole story on its own. I left EAAC a couple of weeks later having resigned some weeks earlier.
In all, I flew 507 hours on the 10, about half of it P1/US. As was often the case back then I was restricted to the SVC-10 fleet and could have expected to get a command in about another two years. However, because of Africanisation of the Kenyan schooling system my wife and I chose to return to Australia for our sons’ education.
As well there are lots of stories – one I would love to tell was how Jerry Sirley taught me to pass that dreadful subject, Performance A.
Martha (now Martha Kinsey) was a Stewardess in the 1960s.