……………….WALL of REMEMBERANCE………………..


 My father, Robert (Bob) Scanlon went murderedormissing (MoM?) in Uganda in 1977.  This was during the Idi Amin years. I just wonder does any one out there have any information which might help to discover what happened to him and why.

Let this be a ‘wall of rememberance’ for my father

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20 Comments

  1. Very sad indeed and I feel how much you miss your father and would want to put an end to his disappearance. Kindly allow me to introduce you to our one-week old online news. We do not intend to stay online but move on to print in under a year before Uganda;s presidential election in 2011. You may visit us on http://str8talkchronicle.com

    Would it be possible for you to write – in your own words – any details I could post in this online paper? The internet has grown very much in Uganda only second to S.Africa and nearly every trading centre has an internet cafe. In addition, many Amin exiles have returned home so there is a possibility some one alive knows something about yor father. Most of them are getting old but there is reason to have hope because the dead talk.

    • Thank you for your concerns. I would like very much to write something for your on-line paper. Please could you give me some guidelines. Would you like a one-off piece or a regular column?

  2. Author: Colin Henshaw 19.10.09

    Comment:

    Dear Cherie
    I was just browsing the internet and saw your blog. My condolences on the loss of your father. In fact I remember meeting Bob Scanlon at the rugby club in the early 1970s (1973/74) when I worked for Grindlays Bank in Kampala. Uganda was a wonderful country, such a pity it had such an unhappy history.
    Regards,
    Colin Henshaw,

    • Thank you so much for your kind condolences. Can you tell me what your impression of my father was? It would help me to build a picture of him and his life in Uganda, it is difficult for me to understand how he get into the difficulty he did which ultimately cost him his life.
      Cherie

  3. 81.155.146.198
    Submitted on 2011/06/21 at 7:50 pm
    I knew your dad and I am so sorry. I am Constance Carey, Mary Scanlon’s daughter and Mary was your Granddad’s sister. I’ve just watched a film with my son, another Robert and all the memories have come flooding back to me from this terrible time. Cherie, I’ve never met you but I met your dad when he was a young man. He was a lovely compassionate man. God bless to you all. Love Connie xx

  4. Comment by Danny 23 August 2012 23:59:15 GMT+01:00

    Hello,
     
    I am a Ugandan Asian age 68. I have been very touched by your blog.  
     
    I hope this helps you.
     
    http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR59/012/1982/en/0167e6b0-70f6-4739-a879-3743d21dd60f/afr590121982en.pdf
     
    Look at page 11. I hope this brings a closure for you.
     
    My best friend was also murdered by Amin’s agents in Sept. ’72 . We found him 8 days later hanging from a tree on Masaka Road with 17 bayonet wounds.
     
    I am quite sure I dealt with your dad at Car and General as we owned the largest travel tour company in Uganda and owned almost 85 vehicles at any given time.
     
    Keep in touch.
     
    Danny.

  5. Comment by David
    Subject: Regarding your father.
    Date: 11 March 2012 02:56:02 GMT

    I wasnt sure if you had this information already, so im sorry to get your hopes up if its old news but I just wanted to ask if you knew about the ‘Paul Martin(BBC, Times)’ connection to your search?
    He was the British journalist in uganda who gave one of the first reports on your fathers death. He got up close and personal with Amin on at least one occasion.

    • 11 March 2012 08:21, cherie scanlon wrote:
      No David, I don’t think so. Can you tell me more. Chérie

      • On 11 Mar 2012, at 11:11, David wrote:

        He was the British journalist in uganda who gave one of the first reports on your fathers death. He got up close and personal with Amin on at least one occasion. You may also remember him as the journalist who was kidnapped and then released by hamas in gaza in 2010. He is basically freelance but mainly BBC and the Times. I just thought that it is likely, being a proffesional, he still has the original sources from his report and other information. He is certain to live in Britain so im sure a meeting would be possible if you can contact him.

        Again, sorry if its a trodden path.

      • On 11 March 2012 12:59, cherie scanlon wrote:
        No, it isn’t, I wonder how I can contact him?  I was trying to google him. Didn’t find his contact details. Your interest, support and encouragement are very much appreciated. 
        Regards Cherie Scanlon 

  6. Comment From: richard
    Subject: Re: your father
    Date: 9 June 2012 17:04:51 GMT+01:00

    Dear Cherie,
                     I’m sorry to read about your father’s disappearance. I came across your blog by chance while searching for articles written by Yasmin Alibhai- Brown. I’ve been researching and writing a book about Idi Amin for the past two years and should complete it in the next couple of months. I’m Ugandan and was born just a few years after Idi Amin had been overthrown but his brutality shocked me so much I ended up researching more about him. What hurt me more was that the world failed to even lift a finger and fight Amin leaving him to rule freely for nearly a decade. Then he went on to escape justice, being hosted as a VIP in Saudi Arabia for the remainder of his life. Then I read books being written by his son claiming that his father was a hero.
    About your father, did you read an article on BBC by Paul Martin? He reported that Mr Robert Scanlon had been accused by Amin of being a spy then he mysteriously disappeared. Then he reports again that after the disappearance planned by Amin, Mr Scanlon was later killed in a secret prison. Perhaps Mr Paul Martin had some information? Or he talked to witnesses? You could track him down and see.  I’m going to email you a link to the article on BBC.

    Warm Regards,

    Richard

    • Hi Richard,
      I think the article actually trivialises my fathers death alluding to the sledge hammer treatment and other forms of torture in a lightharted way…. Thousands of people suffered in indescribable ways, and died undignified deaths. He claims a trophy stating that he had reported on my fathers disappearance, as if he deserved acknowledgement for that. Just like Yasmin A-B, they don’t know what they are talking about half of the time.
      If any one is mistaken enough to believe that Idi Amin did any thing good for Uganda they need to consider that even now, 35 years later, if you mention Uganda to anyone anywhere in the world, unless they know different these are the two things they say: ‘Idi Amin’ and ‘Is it Safe’? Even now people fear Uganda.
      I do hope that you will be able to include something about my father in your book, I need as much exposure as possible in the hope that someone, somewhere will remember him in captivity, dead or alive and come forward with information.
      I am also sure Bob Astles knows but he won’t talk.
      Regards
      Chérie Scanlon

      • 10 Jun 2012, at 14:51

        Hi Cherie,
                    Thanks for your email.
        You have voiced the same fears I actually had on reading that article. I feared the article missed important details. While the reporter writes well about the interview he had with the dictator, he writes about Mr Robert Scanlon without giving any details, making it look like speculation. He says “secret prison” which means even he didn’t know. He most likely wasn’t a witness and doesn’t name a source, not that every source would be credible anyway. It leaves the impression that the reporter just assumed, like everyone did in Uganda at the time that if a person went missing, he would have been executed or tortured and sledge hammered in many of Amin’s Prisons, which was mostly the case.
        I hope that one day you might be able to gain information that helps you to get to the bottom of it.
        I also share the same frustration with you that some people who served in Amin’s Government and were likely players in his brutality are still free men and never faced justice. Many of Amin’s thugs escaped justice like Amin himself.
        There’s also many people with inside information of what really happened but they have chosen to keep quiet. Many don’t want to talk about what they saw or did including Bob Astles. I some how think that Bob Astles would know what happened to your dad for instance. And yes, there’s also a few men serving in the current Government and were part of Amin’s inner circle. It pains me that such a beautiful country with it’s people would be taken on a journey to hell by Amin and his henchmen. I feel so heartbroken for all the people who lost their loved ones in Amin’s senseless killings. Amin remains the worst thing that ever happened to Uganda.

        Kind Regards,

        Richard

      • 11 June 2012 14:06:11 GMT+01:00
        To: “cherie scanlon”

        Hi Cherie,
                     I do understand your point. There’s so many Idi Amin “experts” and most of them have no clue what they’re talking about and don’t bother to research. I’ve come across so many during my research. I’ve even met those who think Amin was a hero. His son Jaffar Amin has written a book claiming his father was a decent man, a hero & not a murderer. Of course people can not choose family and children should be free from the sins of their fathers but Jaffar, instead of keeping quiet, he dives head in into his father’s sins and claims his father never killed anyone and was framed by his enemies. Can you imagine! If I were him (God forbid that!), I would just shut up and stop insulting the memories of those who lost their lives for no reason. I find him so insulting and so disrespectful just like his father, I really do.
        And I’m not writing my book with a bias against Amin. I’m trying to be as fair as possible but find that there’s virtually nothing positive to write about the man except that he “built the biggest mosque in Uganda”, as one man I interviewed proudly told me. And with such people, you are just left to wonder!
        Kind Regards,

      • Subject: Re: your father
        Sent: 9 Jun 2012 18:17

        Hi again Richard,
        I have just read Paul Martin’s report again. He states that my father was a ‘British car sales man’, which he was not. I think it was for this reason that I did not place any importance on him?
        Regards once again,
        Chérie Scanlon

    • 9 June 2012 17:06:19 GMT+01:00
      To: cheriescanlon@live.co.uk

      Richard saw this story on the BBC News website and thought you
      should see it.

      ** My experience of Idi Amin **
      ” target=”_blank”>Paul Martin recalls how, as a young BBC researcher in the 1970s, he came face to face with Uganda’s most notorious leader.

      • Cherie,

        There is one man who worked very closely with Idi Amin, one Frank Terpil. He supplied large quantities of torture technology to the SRB and used to sit in an office at the SRB HQs. I wish you could pick some interest in him. The detonator that set off the bomb that killed Bob Mackenzie and Keith Savage and two others was supplied by him, and he might even be the oe who ‘manufactured’ the bomb. There are several videos on Youtube with him confessing his involvement with Amin. I wish you could look them up.

        Your story is a touching one. It is gratifying that you have stayed firm.

      • Dear Otto,
        Thank you for your information about Frank Terpil. I have researched him on google and found stories relating to his involvement in the Amin Regime. I think he was a mercenary? I think he is in Cuba now, in Havana? I would very much like to ask him if he knew of my fathers disappearance or any clues about my father’s involvement with the regime. I have not been able to contact the man so far, but I think if he did know anything he might tell me, if I could only speak to him. An old man in Kampala told me that there had been electrical torture equipment installed at the State Research Bureaux. He said that Bob Astles was involved in the electrocution of people who were forced to place their hands on electrical hot-plates and hold them there until they died. The old man remembered that my father was a manager at Uganda Transport and his offices were near the taxi park/bus station. He could not recall my father’s disappearance. Please do let me know if you discover any more clues, I wonder at your interest in this period of Ugandan history?
        Thank you for your interest and encouragement,
        Regards,
        Chérie Scanlon

  7. Thought you might want to consider all the possibilities.

    People sometimes disappear and for different reasons. The UK government did go numb when asked to do something? This story explains one possible scenario courtesy of the History website. Have a quick read.

    —— Before his remarkable espionage career, Pujol, a Barcelona native born in 1912, cycled through a series of occupations, including failed chicken farmer, owner of an unsuccessful movie theater and manager of a rundown hotel. After the outbreak of World War II, Pujol, who despised Adolf Hitler, volunteered his services to British authorities in Madrid but was rejected. Pretending to be a rabid Nazi, he then offered to spy for the Germans, believing this would help convince the British to take him on. After being trained by the Abwehr, Pujol agreed to establish a network of agents in the United Kingdom who could supply the Germans with military intelligence. However, instead of going to England, Pujol went to Portugal, where he invented an espionage ring that eventually included more than two dozen agents, all of them completely fabricated. Using reference books and magazines, Pujol, who had never been to England, devised fictional intelligence reports that looked as if he were sending them from London. Meanwhile, he continued to offer to spy for the British, who in the spring of 1942 finally agreed to let him work as an operative and brought him to England where he was given the code name Garbo because he was such a good actor. Agent Garbo’s greatest deception came in 1944, when he played a key role in Operation Fortitude, a successful plot to mislead the Nazis into thinking that the bulk of the D-Day troop landings would occur at Calais rather than Normandy.
    After the war, Pujol moved to Venezuela, but in 1949 British authorities seeking to protect him from possible Nazi retribution told his ex-wife and children that he’d died of malaria in Africa.
    However, decades later a British historian tracked down Pujol, still in Venezuela, and in 1984, the 40th anniversary of D-Day, the public learned he was still alive. He was honored at Buckingham Palace and reunited with his children before passing away in 1988.

  8. Thought you might want to consider all the possibilities. People disappear for different reasons.
    The UK government did go numb when asked to do something? This story explains one possible scenario (courtesy of the History website). Have a quick read.

    —— Before his remarkable espionage career, Pujol, a Barcelona native born in 1912, cycled through a series of occupations, including failed chicken farmer, owner of an unsuccessful movie theater and manager of a rundown hotel. After the outbreak of World War II, Pujol, who despised Adolf Hitler, volunteered his services to British authorities in Madrid but was rejected. Pretending to be a rabid Nazi, he then offered to spy for the Germans, believing this would help convince the British to take him on. After being trained by the Abwehr, Pujol agreed to establish a network of agents in the United Kingdom who could supply the Germans with military intelligence. However, instead of going to England, Pujol went to Portugal, where he invented an espionage ring that eventually included more than two dozen agents, all of them completely fabricated. Using reference books and magazines, Pujol, who had never been to England, devised fictional intelligence reports that looked as if he were sending them from London. Meanwhile, he continued to offer to spy for the British, who in the spring of 1942 finally agreed to let him work as an operative and brought him to England where he was given the code name Garbo because he was such a good actor. Agent Garbo’s greatest deception came in 1944, when he played a key role in Operation Fortitude, a successful plot to mislead the Nazis into thinking that the bulk of the D-Day troop landings would occur at Calais rather than Normandy.
    After the war, Pujol moved to Venezuela, but in 1949 British authorities seeking to protect him from possible Nazi retribution told his ex-wife and children that he’d died of malaria in Africa.
    However, decades later a British historian tracked down Pujol, still in Venezuela, and in 1984, the 40th anniversary of D-Day, the public learned he was still alive. He was honored at Buckingham Palace and reunited with his children before passing away in 1988.


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