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Message #48202

Board Name: England Genealogy
NL Spice Aust. Oct 26, 2003
DEMETRI CAROLUMBUS PETMEZAKI, was born in October 1895 in Ephesus, Asia Minor (now Turkey). In earlier years Demetri's father had been the Mayor of Ephesus and was also a Consul, a Diplomat for Greece. Demetri studied for some years at the College of Athens.

Demetri left Ephesus and travelled to Egypt and on through the Sudan. At the age of 17 (about 1912) he arrived in Omdurman (north west of Khartoum) and opened his first company, Dem Petmezaki and Co, specialising in the exporting of the produce of the Sudan.

In 1920, the Turks began ejecting the Greeks from Ephesus. Demetri went to the rescue of his mother and two brothers; Kosti (Constantine) who was two years older than Demetri and Spiro who was two years younger. Demetri brought them all to Omdurman and placed Spiro in charge of DEM PETMEZAKI & CO. This became the head office of Demetri's operations. It would appear that 1920 was perhaps the last time that he was in Asia Minor (Turkey)

In 1923 Demetri took on a partner; a Swede by the name of Alfred Joenssen who lived in New Jersey, USA. Demetri and Alfred set up SAPCO New York. Demetri set about creating distributing offices in Hamburg, Paris, Marseille and Trieste. The collecting centre was set up in El Obeid. SUDAN AMERICAN PRODUCE COMPANY INC was established & exported Sudanese product through the drug department of a London agent in Idol Lane, which was managed by Mr Hockley, also to Boots in the UK. DEM PETMEZAKI & CO was distributing through R.L. FULLER LTD.

Florence Gaisford was born in 1907 in Clapton, London. She first met Demetri in 1924, because Florence's official religion was Church of England & Demetri's was Greek Orthodox, they used the registry office in Hackney, London to marry on 12 July 1928. She was 21 and he was 33.

On their return to Sudan, Demetri took Florence to Abyssinia, ( Today, Ethiopia) to show her the hundreds of acres of coffee plants, that he owned. They arrived in Omdurman in October 1928, where Demetri introduced her to his dear friends Mr. & Mrs Cowell whose daughter Millie was later to become Florence's confidante and best friend. Shortly after their first meeting, Millie, who was two years younger than Florence, married Bill Frost.

Demetri & Florence had their first child, Daphne Anne was born on 26 September 1929. Their second child arrived, Denis Charles, on 18 July 1931. Around 1934, they returned to England & bought a home called 'Allways' in Medway Crescent, Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. This was staffed with one maid by the name of Dorothy. The children were put into St Michaels Convent boarding school.

In March 1936 Demetri returned to Omdurman where he met up with his brother Kosti. Together they travelled to Kano, Nigeria and bought out an ailing soap factory which they soon sold to Lever Brothers. They then set up The African General Trading Company which primarily dealt in ground nuts.

In 1938 Florence returned to Khartoum, by which time, Demetri had left Kano and settled in Abeche in French Equatorial, (now Chad), to trade in pineapples where Florence joined him in 1939. In September 1939 Britain declared war on Germany making it impossible for them to return to the U.K. as she had had to rescind her British passport on marrying Demetri. Also the war logistics rendered movement of civilians from North Africa to England virtually impossible. The space, expense and risk was reserved for military personnel.

They returned to the Sudan & bought a home in North Khartoum. In June 1942 Demetri returned to Kano to start a new venture, El Obeid Anglo Egyptian in the Sudan. Florence said that she never heard or saw Demetri again. She wrote to the District Commissioner de Candole in Geneina, as well as many other organizations but was never able to find the truth. As late as 1990, an advertisement in the leading newspapers in the Sudan, asking for any information on the Petmezaki's has failed to unearth anything significant.

Any info or advice would be very much appreciated.
Sincere thanks,

NL Spice.
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