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Patrick 'Pat' Foss

Wing commander and then Group Captain with RAF Transport Command.

Educated at Pangbourne Nautical College, Patrick Foss joined the RAF in 1932, though with a view to a career in civil aviation. But the Second world war claimed his services and he was to remain an RAF man. In the summer of 1940 he flew in the Battle of Britain and took part in early bombing raids over Germany.

A cheerful and unsophisticated faith characterised Foss, both in war and peace. In the 1930s he had become a recruit to the Oxford Group (later Moral Re-Armament) which had challenged him to make a daily practice of “trust and teamwork, coupled with asking God to show what is right,” as he put it. From this, he claimed, sprang much of his initiative and willingness to carry responsibility.

In early 1947 he set out—supposedly to recuperate from the exhaustion of war—with two companions on a hazardous journey piloting a single-engine Percival Proctor across Europe and via Kenya to the Cape. Kenya became his second home, and he moved there with his wife Margaret after their marriage in 1952.

There they devoted their whole time to Moral Re-Armament. It was the period of the Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule. Foss got to know Jomo Kenyatta, later Kenya’s first President and others of Mau Mau’s Kikuyu leaders. He perceived that such men, arrested for their involvement in the Mau Mau underground, should not be merely held in detention camps but reorientated to lead their people in nation-building. This led to the creation of a new camp at Athi River where such an approach was applied. Many who went through the Athi River experiment went on to hold responsible posts in independent Kenya.

From 1961 he acted for 20 years as secretary of the Friends of the Westminster Theatre, which at the time served as one of MRA’s main propaganda arms.

Death year
1996
Nationality
United Kingdom
Primary country of residence
United Kingdom