The British Empire Library

The Career of W L Heape Colonial Administrator 1919 - 1958

by Colin Heape

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by Tim Tawney (Tanganyika 1958-1964)
This contribution to our shared colonial heritage is more a monograph than a book, but nonetheless covers a long and distinguished life and career.

It tells in highlights of episodes in the life of the author's father, who having given gallant service in the Great War, and been seriously wounded in 1915 at the battle of Aubers Ridge while a commissioned officer with the East Lancashire Regiment, joined the then Colonial Service in 1919. Although his army service was cut short, his Commanding Officer gave him a glowing testimonial.

His colonial service began with some fourteen years in East Africa, of which the first ten were in Somaliland, followed by four in Tanganyika. His years in Somaliland were rigorous, adventurous and not infrequently dangerous. After four years in Tanganyika a very serious illness, exacerbated by his terrible wounds from the war, almost killed him, and he had to return to England for treatment and recovery.

A new opportunity now presented itself - the post of Private Secretary to the Governor of Barbados. Now began a long and distinguished period, from 1933 to 1950, of service in the West Indies. One of the Governors he served, from 1940, was the Duke of Windsor in the Bahamas; prior to that he was posted to Grenada and St. Vincent, and later in 1944 to British Guiana. He returned to England in 1950, and finally retired from the Colonial Office in London in 1958, after 39 years of service.

This short book is a useful addition to the range of personal histories of experience in the Colonial Service. What it lacks in length is well compensated for by a wealth of original photographs, particularly of his spell in Somaliland, including some facsimile reproductions of reports and telegrams about significant incidents. It is also an affectionate tribute by the author's son, who seeks to emphasise the dedication of colonial administrators of an era whose protagonists have now all passed on.

British Empire Book
Colin Heape
Blurb Publishing
Read the Book Online
The author has kindly made his book available to read here.


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