May 2022

There is not much for this month, but a few items have tight deadlines so I thought I’d post this sooner rather than later…

Names missing from a memorial in South Africa – CWGC announcement; memorial design competition closing date 2 June 2022 (Heritage Portal article)

Info on SS Mendi Memorial in Rondebosch, SA

For anyone in the neighbourhood wanting to do a Tsavo Battlefield Tour, Tom Lawrence has today released the following:
Apologies for the short notice of this trip, but it has been cobbled together, but it will provisionally be as follows;
• Friday 10th June. Meet at Tsavo River Station (please come with a packed lunch). Over lunch we will set the scene. Next will be a brief look at the Tsavo River defences inside Tsavo West. That night will be spent at Kitani Bandas (these are self-catering and depending on the nature of the group we will either eat at Severin Lodge, or work out our own catering.
• Saturday 11th June. Drive to Kitchwa Tembo Fort. This has only recently been revisited having probably not had a soul visit it for some twenty of so years (the last time james Willson was there was about 25 years ago. This will be 4×4 ONLY. From there we will go to Taita Hills Lodge where we will stay.
• Sunday 12th June. Go down to Taveta, visiting Maktau (where the main British garrison was), and Taveta Cemetery, and the old police station where the first shot of the East African Campaign was fired. Lunch will be at Grogan’s Castle. If there are those who need to get back to nairobi, you can do so direct from Taveta up to Oloitokitok and then on the brand new tarmac to Emaili, or Kajiado.
• Monday 13th June. For those who don’t have conventional jobs, and can afford an extra day and not have to drive back to Nairobi, I have to go and try to locate some graves of the 130th Baluchis on Kasiagu mountain… we have been so close for three trips now, but have narrowed it down -so fingers crossed!!!
For further info and costings please contact Tom direct on atomlaw50[@]”

April 2022

In March there was a talk on the “The South African Motorcyclist Corps. (1916-1918)” by Errol Back-Cunningham. The Zoom recordings are available at Part 1 and Part 2. The talk is based on the diary of Alan Stuart-Findlay, Platoon 8, Potchefstroom 1916 to 1918.

A fairly new organisation has set up to remember South African Indian involvement in World War 1 amongst other conflicts. More about the SA Indian Legion is on the Legacy page. They’re operational on Facebook.

For anyone interested in Egypt during the First World War, there is now a dedicated website. It is managed by Stuart Hadaway.

In Mauritius, the 100th Anniversary of the War Memorial was observed on the 15th April 2022 at the Royal College Curepipe in collaboration with the association ‘SOS Patrimoine en Peril “Save our Heritage”‘ (represented by Arrmaan Shamachurn & Akilesh Gunputh, also former student of RCC). A history of the memorial was posted in the March Newsletter. You can see photos of the commemoration service here. For anyone interested, you might still be able to obtain a copy

The 2022 CWGC review, a year after the enquiry into Non-Commemoration is now available. The CWGC team are currently in Kenya speaking to local communities about the impact of the war and aspects of commemoration.

Something slightly different – a look at South and East Africa from a travel perspective before war breaks out.

The resources page has been updated – well, rather let’s say the dud links have been removed. It’s much shorter now and you probably have to do a bit more digging on some of the sites to find their 1914-1918 Africa material. I’m thinking of introducing themed newsletters listing useful sources on a topic, both in print and online, perhaps including some archive references. Let me know if you have strong feelings either way.

GWAA will be at the Britannia Medal Fair in London on 8 May 2022 to answer questions. Books will also be on sale. Please email Anne if you would like to pre-order or reserve your copy. This includes Harry Fecitt’s recent book on The King’s African Rifles and East African Forces in both world wars, James Willson’s Guerrillas of Tsavo, Peter Charlton’s Cinderella’s Soldiers and more.

March 2022

We’re well into the year already but start with the sad news that Ann Crichton-Harris died on 16 January. Ann was the author of Seventeen Letters to Tatham, the account of her grandfather’s time in East Africa as a doctor of the East Africa campaign. As far as I know, Tatham’s account is the first medical biographical account to be published – Francis Brett Young’s work being classed as autobiographical. She continued her interest in East Africa and despite a very active life, very kindly transcribed another doctor’s diary which will be published through GWAA in due course.

While on the topic of transcribing – a huge thank you too to Jonathan Taylor for transcribing the names of those who were awarded Bronze War Medals from Basutoland and Nigeria/West Africa in WO 329/2372. As a result of his dedication we have been able to add over 3,700 names to the Names of those Who Survived and Died in Africa. These names although added to the database, will be integrated fully in due course once some final formatting has been undertaken. In a separate tab on the same spreadsheet are General Routine Order (GRO) entries (WO 128/228 and WO 128/229) for East Africa starting from 1916. All entries until July 1916 are now transcribed with random other entries. The names on the GRO list have not yet been cross-referenced with the main list so if you are searching for someone, it’s best to check both tabs. The remaining GRO entries continue to be transcribed If you spot any names not included, please email me so we can add them. Apart from assisting individuals with family and other research, obtaining as complete a list as possible will assist with larger studies into numbers involved in the various theatres (such as confirming or otherwise information coming to light in the CWGC non-commemoration project).

Not all African awards and promotions were announced in the London Gazettes as they were decisions made locally. The GRO entries therefore compliment and supplement those in the London Gazette. A summary/overview of African mentions in the London Gazettes in 1914 and 1915 has been compiled.

CWGC have been busy. Their January 2022 update with information on the non-commemoration project can be found here. It’s all helping to piece the EA jigsaw together.

Mauritius will be commemorating the centenary of its war memorial at Curepipe in April. More details will be provided in due course but here is a timeline of Mauritius’ involvement in the war and the memorial

A list of engagements/encounters in the African theatres has been added to the website. This contains extracts from WO 33/3147 Report of the Battles Nomenclature Committee which met in 1919.

Although not Africa specific, this article has a breakdown of the various military medical stages a wounded/ill soldier or carrier would pass through. Slight variations exist for Africa due to the multiple administrative bodies involved: Colonial Medical Service, Indian and South African Medical Services in addition to the RAMC. The German equivalent is described here.

There are more EA theatre books on the EA theatre from a private collection for sale.