Archive centreWhitehaven
TitlePhotograph of Sgt William Forster, King's African Rifles, with other personnel [Kenya?]
DescriptionThere is a brief caption on the back which describes those depicted from left to right as Capt Sergel, "yours truly" (William Forster), Mrs Camurri, Col Gilkers, Sgt Botha. A pencil note states '24 Broughton Brigade'
Datecirca 1941?
Extent1 item
ContextWilliam Forster was the father of the depositor and had an interesting connection to the infamous Earl of Errol murder case in Kenya in 1941. Josslyn Victor Hay, 22nd Earl of Errol, became a colonist in Kenya. He was one of the 'Happy Valley' set of expatriates who led a privileged and scandalous lifestyle there. He was a notorious womaniser and in 1940 he started an affair with Diana, the beautiful young wife of Sir Delves Broughton. On 24 January 1941, Errol was ambushed while motoring in Kenya and was shot dead.

Just prior to World War Two, Forster was a managing clerk in a Whitehaven solicitor's office and played the odd first team football game for the Workington Reds. In 1941, he (now Sergeant William Forster of the King's African Rifles) was given a very special assignment. Errol's suspected murderer, Delves Broughton, had stood trial for the crime in Kenya but was acquitted in July 1941. However his hopes for a return to acceptance among local colonial high society were to be short-lived. Everyone knew and believed Broughton "had done it" and, as such, was regarded as persona non grata in Kenya and was in real danger for his life. The authorities therefore ordered his return home despite the hazards of such a journey in wartime. Sergeant Forster was instructed to accompany Broughton back to England. His son recalls that his father met Broughton and found him both charming yet disreputable, torn between duty and a natural tendency to 'kick over the traces'. However, soon after, Sergeant Forster was reassigned to active duties in Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland, a military policeman apparently was to accompany Broughton. On his return to England in November 1942 Broughton was met by detectives from Scotland Yard who were investigating his probable part in an insurance fraud involving the theft of valuable paintings from Broughton's Cheshire seat. He committed suicide by morphine injection in a Liverpool hotel in December 1942. The murder was depicted in the 1987 film 'White Mischief' (though artistic licence was taken with the circumstances of Broughton's suicide). Joss Ackland played the part of the cuckolded Broughton, Greta Scacchi was Diana Broughton and Charles Dance played Errol.
Catalogue levelSubFonds

Photograph of Sgt William Forster, King's African Rifles, with other personnel [Kenya?]

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