Friday, 20 September 2013


I should have been allowed to write a feature about the nascent Wikipedia in 2003 or so, but my boss looked up a few things that should be in an encyclopedia and couldn't find them, and that was that. It has been a long time since I tried to find anything on the site that it might reasonably deal with and drawn a blank. Maybe I could start a googlewhack-style craze?

Ten minutes ago I sat down to link to these pictures of a mansion which hasn't been touched for 30 years. I assumed that the former owner, Sir Dhunjibhoy Bomanji, who was knighted for using his massive wealth in the allied cause during WW1, would be a colourful sort of character, and that I could quote bits of his Wikipedia page to prove this. No Wikipedia page. Wikiwhack!

I am sure I could find obituaries, certainly in the real world, and I'd like to, but I am incredibly busy and I'd be surprised if it ever gets up the priority list.

On the other hand, Kenneth Gandar-Dower. A friend of mine wrote about him for a book on touring cricket clubs. He was a rich youngest son, multi-blue, aviator and explorer. He played an unorthodox game of tennis, based on fitness (nickname 'the undying retriever') and an even more unorthodox game of real tennis, a game he threatened to break by volleying too much. His real sport was fives.

When he got back from Africa in 1937, he brought a dozen cheetahs with him and started racing them at Romford. On the upside, he disproved the then-held belief that nothing was faster than greyhounds. On the downside, it never really worked because the cheetahs didn't care enough about chasing the hare. (It's like a metaphor about capitalism.)

K G-D took photographs of gorillas, helped the Kenyan government relate to its native population and was sunk to death by the Japanese.


Holly said...

Gosh. Weirdnesses and coincidences -

My great-grandfather was Sir D's 'right hand man'... and Sir D his nemesis.

You can read lots more about him here:

amongst other places.

How Extraordinary. I had no idea about the house.

Robert Hudson said...

Gosh. This is excellent.