The Kenyan bowed his head as his captors opened the prison cell door to deliver another brutal whipping - a punishment meted out after he was accused of taking part in the independence movement against the British colonial authorities.
The man had been working as a cook for a British Army officer. Hussein Onyango Obama - President Barack Obama's paternal grandfather.
He had been arrested in 1949 and jailed for two years in a high-security prison.
There, according to his family, he was subjected to horrific violence.
They say British soldiers used torture in an effort to get him to reveal rebel secrets.
'The African warders were instructed by the white soldiers to whip him every morning and evening till he repented,' says Sarah Onyango, Hussein Onyango's third wife, and the woman President Obama calls 'Granny Sarah'.
He called the British "beasts and traitors in human skin".' This week, she told the Mail in an exclusive interview that she believes that learning of the torture meted out to his grandfather turned her grandson, the U. 'I narrated the whole story to Barack one evening to help him understand our family's past. He expressed quite a lot of concern about why the British had to punish his grandfather "on his own soil". He wondered why the British never respected African culture.The arrest, he said, was outrageous.' Shockingly, she adds: 'Generally, my grandson has never believed the British do anything for a common good, rather than their selfish interests.' Did British soldiers really torture President Obama's grandfather?As we will see, some elements of this highly emotive story have been twisted through the passage of time. So has Obama's memory of his grandfather's treatment influenced his aggressive reaction to BP over its handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill?But whatever the truth, these bitter tales form part of the Obama family folklore, and seem to have left the U. The Government has become increasingly concerned by Obama's anti-British rhetoric.For example, he has often referred to the global company as 'British Petroleum', although it changed its name to BP more than a decade ago, and even compared the disaster to 9/11.But this is not the first time he has paid little heed to the so-called Special Relationship.When he entered the Oval office, he immediately returned a bust of Winston Churchill that was on loan from Britain.And during the recent stand- off between Britain and Argentina over oil rights around the Falkland Islands, America was less than supportive.So what exactly happened in that prison cell some 60 years ago, and just how has it shaped the American President's view of Britain?In order to answer that question, we need to go back to the years before the bloody Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya.The British colonial presence in Kenya formally began in 1895, when white settlers were given huge tracts of rich farmland. Settlers arrived in increasing numbers as tales of Kenya's cocktail hour 'Happy Valley' lifestyle reached British shores.