At the age of 16 in 1947 Derek Franklin achieved his boyhood ambition when he was
accepted into the Merchant Navy as a Cadet. His career as a sailor, whilst spiced
with excitement and occasionally danger, came to an end in 1951 when he was called up
for National Service. The next two years found him soldiering with the 1st
Commonwealth Division in Korea and Japan.
Obtaining his release from the Army, he made a successful application to join the
Kenya Police and by the beginning of 1954 had undergone a short training course and
had started a Police career which was to span 28 years.
Much has been written about the clandestine exploits of the Kenya Police Pseudo
Gangs which operated so successfully against the Mau Mau, but little has been recorded
of their efforts against the Somali Shifta who operated within Kenya's Northern
Territory. The author makes amends for this omission and his story starts with a graphic
account of a successful night attack on a Shifta encampment some miles inside Somali
territory. He devotes the whole of Part I of his book to his Pseudo Gang's activities in
that area but makes light of the harsh conditions under which they operated and of the
sustained physical and mental efforts required to achieve success.
There follow further accounts of his Pseudo Gang's operations directed against the
Mau Mau in the White Highlands and the forests of Mount Kenya. Finally, and with
many amusing anecdotes, he describes his work on the borders of Ethiopia before taking
up his final post as the Divisional Commander in Eldoret. He was the last expatriate
officer to hold that command.
The occasional periods he spent in Special Branch HQ in Nairobi, invariably on
surveillance operations or counter-espionage work, plus his wide experience in the field,
assured him of continued employment overseas, and in 1967 he was recruited as a
Superintendent in the Bahrain Police SB. However, four years of Middle East intrigue
proved to be sufficient for him and in 1971 he returned to Africa.
His first appointment was in the Lesotho Mounted Police as the Deputy Director of
Intelligence and his second as the Deputy Head of SB of the Botswana Police. Apart
from one abortive coup attempt by an opposition political party, and some lively
exchanges with members of the South African Security Service personnel, his time in
Lesotho when compared with that of Kenya was relatively peaceful.
Perhaps the most notable event during this period was the well-deserved award of his
MBE. His time in Botswana from 1976 until he retired in 1981 was, once again, peaceful
and obviously to his liking. Perhaps the ideal way to complete some three decades of
Derek Franklin's story is a tale of adventure and personal success and told with modesty
and humour. I found it enjoyable reading.