Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In Memory of Denys

Born 24th April 1887, died 14th May 1931

It was today that his soul fell from the sky only to traverse it sans wings. There are so many stories told of his life - and death. A few come to mind for me...At Eton he had a trick of running full long at a chair, able to hit it and roll and come back up sitting in it. I think it was noted in the very fine book, Silence Will Speak by Errol Trzebinski.

There is another story of the day he died - that his good friend and aviatrix, Beryl Markham, was invited to fly with him. Her friend, Tom Black, - and incredible aviator in his own right - had a premonition about the flight and asked her to not fly with him. She did as he asked and declined the offer. So Denys stayed (after his propeller had to be replaced and he was awaiting a part) with friends at Voi, Mr. & Mrs. Layzell.

They lived near an airstrip and Mrs. Layzell was to drive him there. Her two daughters begged to come along and there, before he left, he asked their mother if she wanted to fly. Her youngest child became hysterical so she declined. His craft fell very shortly after takeoff.

Tania drove into town, unwittingly, only to see a sort of morose look on the faces there, all of them turning away from her. She had a remembrance of the days during the war when she wasn't trusted. Lady Macmillan had invited her to lunch and afterward, broke the news to her.

It was only afterward that the new governor allowed her to find land in the reserve for her Kikuyu families. A sort of mercy, it is thought, for what everyone knew was a tremendous loss heaped upon an unbearable misery.

You can see a nice article about and photos of his gravesite here.

He was an incredible individual who lived his life unapologetically, ignoring demands of birth and society. There is so little of that around, now...he'd hate it here...

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