DENIS WILLIAM PATIENCE
LEGEND IN HIS LUNCHTIME"
- - Denis was born in Reading,
Berkshire, England of an English father and a Southern Irish mother on
24th August 1914.
It is said by those who
know the family well, that Denis inherited is "difficult side" from
his mother ! In any case, that is
what Dorothy (Denisí wife) told her sons many years ago.
He went to Reading
School from 1924 to 1932, where, it was generally known, he played
Rugby and enjoyed rowing - indeed, he rowed at Henley.
What is not generally
known, is that he also excelled at cross country running, and one of
the earliest examples of Denisí sense of fun (mischief) is supplied by
Kerr Kirkwood, the current Hon. Secretary of the Old Redingensian
"In 1932, he was in the
"7 - Mile Race" and at the end, all three leaders (1st, 2nd and 3rd
joined arms 100 yards before the tape.
- - Denis
"The HM declared the
race "null and void" and made them re-run the course - It was a real
sensation at the time."
In 1935 he joined Miles
Aircraft as a draftsman on modifications.
He later moved to Short
Brothers at Rochester on Sunderland Flying Boats and Stirling Bombers;
was bombed out and sent to Belfast.
Later he moved to
Swindon where he met Dorothy who had also been bombed out of London,
and who was working for Short Brothers at Stratton St. Margarets.
Soon after the outbreak
of World War II, Denis joined the Berkshire Regiment and later
transferred to the Royal Engineers.
He was commissioned in
He married Dorothy in
Reading in June 1943, and was sent to Italy in 1944, where he filled
holes and built Bailey Bridges, not to mention drinking copious
quantities of ltalian plonk !
Kevin was born in 1945.
Denis was posted to
Palestine and remained there until the British were declared non
grata and the area became known as Israel.
In 1947, Denis was
posted to Mombasa, and sent to Mackinnon Road which in those days was
an army/ RAF bomb dump.
Dorothy and Kevin soon
joined him, coming out on the Llangibby Castle.
Soon thereafter, Denis
was de-mobbed (with the rank of Captain) and was employed by Shell for
a while, and then by the "P.W.D" (Public Works Department) in Nairobi.
From his earliest days
there, he and Dorothy soon became involved in the Donovan Maule
Their second son Colin
was born in Nairobi in 1951.
He was then transferred
to Kisumu where he started the Kisumu Amateur Dramatic Society.
He was recalled early
from his leave in 1953, owing to the outbreak of the "Emergency", and
sailed back to Mombasa on the B.I.S.S. Mulbera.
On his return, he was
transferred back to Nairobi, and remained there until his retirement
Denis was the last
surviving Founder Member of the Nairobi City Players: the other
"Founders" (Brian Epsom and Rurik Ronsky) having gone to the Happy
Hunting Grounds earlier.
He became very involved
in theatre in Nairobi and Ruiru, and also in the Kenya Regiment,
which (if I recall) used to put on some form of pantomime in those
He even became involved
(somehow !) in ballet, but Kevin assures us he never wore a "tutu"
In 1971 he moved to
Mombasa and in 1972 his bungalow at Kisauni was ready for him and
Dorothy to move into.
He joined Mombasa Club
in 1974, and, with Dorothy, was a very active member of the Little
Theatre Club from 1972 to around 1984.
He produced plays and
acted in them, and at one time, there were not less than five members
of the Patience family in a production: Denis and Dorothy, Kevin and
Colin, and Kevinís wife Kay.
It is believed that this
is still an unbroken record for family involvement on the L.T.C
He was employed by
Southern Engineering Co. Ltd. until 1980, when he joined Divecon.
The close family ties
continued when Kevin was appointed MD of Divecon, and father and son
were obliged (for some reason) to share an office.
Denis retired finally
from active employment in 1993.
He was actively involved
in Game Fishing from 1970 to some time in the 1980s, and at one time
held the Kenya Record for a Sailfish on a light line.
His active love of
sports continued right into his twilight years, and he was a regular
attender at the Hong Kong Sevens.
In 1995, at the age of
81, Denis was still playing rugby for the "Golden Oldies" in
Christchurch, New Zealand.
His closest "competitor"
for the current oldest player is a "mere snippet " at 61 !
Denis remained true to
his outlook on life to the end: a combination of warmth, crustiness
On the day of his final
admission to hospital, the ambulance arrived, and he was invited by
the attendants to take his place on the mobile stretcher.
"Not b..... likely" says
Denis, and plonks himself in the front passenger seat of the
Sadly, later that
morning, he appeared to be comfortably asleep when I called to see
him; twenty four hours later he had gone, and one can only hope, his
final hours were comfortable and painless.
To his family, Kevin and
Kay, Colin, Judy, Victoria and Stuart, we offer our sincere regrets
Denis was, indeed,
larger than life, and for those who wonder where the title comes from:
Denis loved his regular Wednesday lunches at the Yacht Club, and some
other days at the Mission, for many years.
There is a brass plaque
on the first Barrel on the left, holding up the Bar Counter in the
Mission Bar, as you enter from the car park.
The "quotation" is his
familyís tribute to the Mission for the many happy hours Denis spent
there, and in that particular corner.
He was also a very
regular supporter of the Mombasa Club on Monday nights and Saturday
lunch times - indeed, a week before his passing, he was present at the
April Draw of the Monthly lottery, and informing all and sundry that
he was perfectly capable of assisting with draw, without any
assistance from anyone else, thank you very much !
- P. D., Mombasa.