Bob Astles

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Robert "Bob" Astles (born 1924) is a former British soldier and colonial officer who lived in Uganda and became an associate of presidents Milton Obote and Idi Amin.

Early life

Bob Astles is English and was born in Ashford, Kent. He joined the British Indian Army as a teenager and then the Royal Engineers, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. Of his war service, he recalls: "I enjoyed being with other nationalities and their fights for world recognition during World War II." He was 21 when he left the United Kingdom for Africa.

Ugandan career

In 1949, Astles was sent on special duties during the Bataka uprising in Buganda. His first job in Uganda was as a colonial officer with the Ministry of Works, then with £100 he set up Uganda Aviation Services Ltd, the first airline in Uganda to employ Africans. As Uganda's independence approached in 1962, Astles became involved with a number of political groups. One of these was led by Milton Obote, who led the country to independence. Astles worked in his government until the 1971 coup d'état, when he transferred his allegiance to Amin.

In December, suspicion fell on Astles because of his previous support for Obote. Amin sent him to Makindye Prison where he spent 17 weeks, often shackled and brutally interrogated. Astles later said, "Amin called me a 'rotten apple' on the radio, and nationalised my airline. It was ordinary Africans who helped me to survive. One guard was kicked to death for helping...
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