Gervase Markham

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Gervase Markham's Geni Profile

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Gervase Markham

Birthdate: (42)
Death: 1971 (42) (car accident)
Immediate Family:

Son of Mansfield Markham and Beryl Clutterbuck Markham

Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gervase Markham

BERYL MARKHAM IS DEAD AT 83; FLEW ACROSS ATLANTIC IN 1936

Segment from Beryl's Obituary

Mrs. Markham worked for a time in Hollywood as a consultant in films dealing with flying or Africa.

Her marriages were to Alexander Purves, once an international rugby player for his native Scotland; to Mansfield Markham, heir to a British coal mining fortune, and to the American writer and editor Raoul Schumacher.

A son by Mr. Markham, whose name she kept, died in an auto accident in 1971. Added to Geni by Janet Milburn 5/6/18

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In the late 1940’s, Beryl returned to Kenya to regain her status as a reputable trainer. She never again piloted a plane.

Throughout her life, Beryl had total disregard for money and never concerned herself with managing finances. Despite an apparently glamorous life, she was always dependent on the kindness and largesse of her friends. Her instinct was to survive no matter the cost to others. In 1981, she was brutally beaten when her rent-free bungalow at Ngong Racecourse was burglarized. Most of her few possessions and memorabilia were stolen. Beryl’s last years were a threadbare existence.

Her father, the most significant man in her life, died in 1957.

Her only child, Gervase Markham, died at the age of 42 in a car accident in Paris; Beryl did not attend the funeral. Gervase left two daughters, Fleur and Valery.

East African pilot G. D. Fleming believed that, with the exception of Jean Batten, Beryl was the finest woman pilot in the British Empire. “I never saw her the worse for wear – even after a ten-hour flight…her navigation was uncanny and she could find her way anywhere. I never saw her make a poor landing even in really filthy weather.”

When Beryl departed on her transatlantic flight, she quietly whispered twende tu (I am going). As a result of complications following hip surgery, she quietly departed this earth on August 4, 1986 in a Nairobi hospital; she was 83. Her cremated remains were scattered over the Ngong Racecourse. A memorial service was held on September 4, 1986 in London honoring Beryl’s life and commemorating the 50th anniversary of her epic flight.

When I visited Nairobi’s Wilson Airport in 1992, no one in the pilots’ lounge/FBO knew of Beryl. There were neither photos nor plaques to honor this daughter and pilot of Africa. Ngong Racecourse looked weary and timeworn with Beryl’s former bungalow nestled in the cool shade of a copse of large trees. There was a poignant sadness in what I failed to find.

Originally published in Woman Pilot • January/February 2000

Added to Geni by Janet Milburn 5/7/18

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Gervase Markham's Timeline

1929
1929
1971
1971
Age 42