Counting Camels : A Look at the Journals of a Big-Game Hunter - Field Book Project

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Tuesday, 18 December 2012


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Andrea Hall

Hi Rob,

Thanks again for your interesting notes! We will look into any mentions of Hoey in the journals. In the mean time, to answer your previous question, we reached out to Technical Information Specialist, Daria Wingreen-Mason, at Smithsonian Libraries who pointed us to a note which was with the report from Major Charles Doughty-Wylie, the Chargé d’Affaires of the British Legation in Adis Ababa at the time. At the bottom of the front page of the note, Doughty-Wylie mentions receiving “copies of both map and report which will certainly be of use here”, indicating that a copy of the report was intended to be sent to him at the British Legation. Thanks again for your interest and questions!

Rob Wheeler

The initial idea of Cockburn's expedition of 1909-10 appears in a letter of 15 Jan 09 to his cousin. He explains that there would be "400 miles of absolutely unknown country to cross". The expedition was to be a joint one:
"Two Spaniards - the Duke of Penaranda - he was educated in England - and Huerta - and two Englishmen from this country make up the party ... we shall have to take a lot of men owing to the natives being said to be very unpleasant."
In the event there was certainly one English settler participating in the trip, A Cecil Hoey (1883-1926) who deposited survey documents from a 1909 trip from Lake Baringo to Addis Ababa at the Royal Geographical Society, London. Cockburn's bank book has payments of £400 to 'Hoey' in the summer of 1909 as well as other payments that appear to be for supplies (eg to the Boma Trading Co). There is however some ambiguity about Hoey's status, because he was already in the business of arranging safaris for wealthy visitors and accompanying them as a 'white hunter'. It would be interesting to know if you had spotted anything in the journals that might throw light on Hoey's role, and indeed on whether the other principals mentioned in the January letter did indeed take part.

Andrea Hall

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your comment and question! We're looking into this and should be able to get back to you with an answer soon. In the meantime, thanks for your patience and your interest in N.C. Cockburn!

Rob Wheeler

When Major N C Cockburn died in 1924 there were 24 trophies in his billiard room, ranging from a lion skin to a couple of elephant feet, and a further six on the main staircase. This was at Harmston Hall in Lincolnshire, England.

Your catalogue entry refers to a copy of a typescript report with his journals: was there any indication of to whom that report had been sent?

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