Charles Alfred Bungey was born in London in 1887. He had several siblings, one of whom (William Walter) spent the majority of his adult life in Kenya and is pictured in some of the photographs. Charles attended Technical School and Polytechnic in London and served 5 years apprenticeship as a cabinet maker and joiner between 1905 and 1910. He also spent 2 years in the Territorial Army between 1908-1910. His army record shows a clear medical record, but at some subsequent point he lost part of a finger in an accident which rendered him unfit for active service in WW1.
Charles took up his post as Instructor of African Apprentices, later Workshop Overseer, with the Public Works Dept. in Nairobi in March 1910. In 1915 he married Frances Mary Lethbridge (known as May), a children's nurse from Devon who had travelled out to Kenya with the family she worked for and later worked as a nurse in WW1. The exact details are unclear, but at some point during the war the couple became friends with Sergeant Bertie James Rand, possibly when army officers were billeted at their home. Charles became godfather to Bertie's son Ian, who was born in 1932.
During the 1920s, Charles gained several promotions and the couple moved around the country. He worked as a Technical Instructor and Education Officer at the Kabete Reformatory, the Ukamba Native School in Kabete and the Coast Technical School at Waa, where he became Acting Principal, a role he subsequently held at the Government African Technical School in Machakos. In 1927 he was appointed Principal of the Government African Technical School in Kapsabet, where he stayed until taking retirement from the Education Service in 1931.
The Bungeys returned to the UK, settling in Exeter during the 1930s. Charles worked in various civil defence roles between 1938 and 1947 and they also looked after his godson Ian Rand, who lived with them to escape the bombing in London. When Ian finished his education, the Bungeys returned to Kenya, settling in Mombasa where amongst other activities they ran holiday camps for children. The latest document in the collection shows Charles applying for a job as a carpenter in Nakuru in 1954. He died in Mombasa in 1960, after which May returned to the UK and died in 1968.