Wright collection... Wright collection, c. 1860 - c. 1952
The records in this collection are mainly concerned with ACAW's career in East Africa, including his diaries, photographs and manuscript notes as well as maps, journals and government reports which he collected. The highlights of the collection include his wartime diaries and a large number of photographs taken from the abandoned Italian headquarters in wartime Mogadishu, which document aspects of life in Somalia from the 1920s to 1940s. As well as the records of ACAW's career, there is a box of photographs inherited from ancestors of the Wright family who also lived and worked overseas.
The photographs are currently the only part of this collection which are catalogued and available for research; further records are scheduled to be added over the course of the next year.
This catalogue was produced with support from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives
Armine Charles Almroth Wright (ACAW) was born in June 1910 in Trinidad, where his father Eric Blackwood Wright was a high court judge. He was educated in the UK, at Sherborne School and Christchurch College Oxford, before joining the Colonial Service. He was posted to Uganda as a District Officer in 1933 where he was responsible for a variety of projects including the building of roads, agricultural management and organisation of tax collection. A year after the outbreak of WW2 he was seconded to the King's African Rifles, and after a year in Kenya and Uganda, during which he married his wife Blanche Francis, he was sent to serve with the caretaking British Military Administration (BMA) in Somalia, part of which had just been conceded by the Italians. He spent the second half of 1941 there, before returning there again in a military convoy in August 1942 after illness and a spell of convalescence in Kenya. Blanche was allowed to accompany him as a civilian employee of the army, also with the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration (OETA), but had to return to family in Kenya when she became pregnant with their first daughter. Still serving wth the OETA, ACAW was transferred to Agordat, Eritrea in around 1943, where he stayed with his family until 1946. Part of his role here was peacekeeping, and he counted amongst his greatest achievements a deal he brokered between the warring Hadendoa and Beni-Amer tribes.
ACAW returned to Uganda as District Commissioner in 1946, before being transferred to Tanganyika as an Advisor on Economic and Social Development in 1951. It was here that he asked to be allowed to run a training school for chiefs and their wives, spending the majority of this posting overseeing the building and running of the Pasiansi School for the training of local chiefs. According to his family ACAW, a keen amateur anthropologist, was more interested in the lives of the African people he found himself amongst, and in finding workable solutions to problems, than in furthering the political objectives of the Foreign Office. As a result he failed to find favour with his superiors and was increasingly sidelined, taking early retirement from the service at the age of 45. On their return to the UK, the Wright family settled in Somerset where ACAW took teaching posts at Bridgwater Grammar School and Bristol University before being appointed Head of History at St Matthias Teacher Training College in Bristol. He continued to take a particularly keen interest in African history, politics and languages, and carried on with research and writing into his old age. He retired in 1975 and died in 1999.
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