September 2018 Update

The bell from SS Mendi was returned by Britain to South Africa at the end of August.

1914-1918 Encyclopedia is looking for Africa continent wide articles on food and nutrition and carriers amongst others.

A documentary by NWO Documentary Channel on the Lake Tanganyika Expedition made in 2017 was brought to attention by Jennie Upton. It’s the traditional story which contradicts itself on a few occasions, but worth a view (Youtube, 50mins). For the most complete account using all primary source material including Belgian and German, see vol 1 of The Lake Tanganyika Expedition 1914-1917: A primary source chronology. Vol 2 is due out later this year, early 2019.

Jennie Upton has published an article on Lieutenant Leslie St Legder Blakeney who served in West Africa.

An interpretation on Mozambique and the Great War by Meera Sabaratnam

For those who read French, there’s an account of the Togoland campaign from the German perspective.

Oliver Shulten has had an article published on the end of the First World War in Africa: Erste Weltkrieg: Zeitenwende 1918 (cost: 5,30 euros)

Sierra Leone in the First World War – thesis by Festis Cole, 1994

A postal history of the First World War in German East Africa by Tom Dietz.

Following a request from the British Legion for individual accounts of people who served in Africa, a page has been started to record histories which are not found elsewhere on line. If you have a WW1 Africa related personal history and would like to share it online, please get in touch. If it doesn’t go on this page because it is already online or published elsewhere, it will be linked to the In Memory lists.

The US Army Centre of Military held a conference on medicine in World War 1 – a summary of the Pike Report and other aspects was a feature of Beyond the Western Front

Keeping to the medical theme, the Central African Journal of Medicine has an online archive which is freely accessible

Your help is sought: animal sightings in your reading of WW1 in Africa.

With the centenary of the end of the war approaching, there are numerous events happening – please see the calendar for the details. The centenary commemorations in Zambia are falling into place – if you are intending to join us, please get in touch as accommodation in Mbala, in particular, is filling up quickly.

August 2018 Update

For those interested, you can see William Kentridge’s production of The Head and the Load online until 24 August.

Although the exhibition has now ended, this looks to have a very useful map showing basic Belgian movements in East Africa.

Did you know that 32 Congolese troops served in Europe? I discovered this thanks to the Belgian Minister Counsellor to Britain pointing me in the direction of Sophie de Schaepdrijver.

Andy Olver has written about Southern Rhodesia on the Western Front during World War 1
This article contains mention of Rhodesian and South African soldiers named on the Menin Gate.
Rhodesian units which served in Africa during WW1.

For a slightly different look at the war, Bill Nasson has written about the Home Front and economies in South Africa for the 1914-18 Encyclopedia

Possibly still one of the best overviews of the SANLC.

The Legion of Frontiersmen have posted some info on the 9000 which includes those who served in East Africa.

And, in case you missed it, some comments have been posted on previous posts:
Harry Fecitt on Lettow-Vorbeck
David Boyd on Road Corps

Finally, Michelle Moyd (author of Violent Intermediaries) asks some pertinent questions when dealing with images – context is crucial

July 2018 Update

It seems to be a busy time of the year …

An interesting map has come onto the market for sale regarding WW1 East Africa. The seller assumes it is a Meinertzhagen map – what do you think? I’m not convinced.

There are still a few more days for people in or near London to see the exhibition Somalis in World War 1 – it runs until 23 July

A number of people contacted me about William Kentridge’s The Head and The Load exhibition/show at Tate Modern. You can read more about it on my blog
Similarly, John Siblon has very kindly provided an overview of the SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Dance performance which took place in Southampton.

The Royal Navy – First World War at Sea looks to be a very helpful resource in tracing people and ships of the time. It contains Service Records, which at this stage, for Africa, only includes Cameroon action between 7 September and 8 October 1914. More to follow in due course hopefully.
For more general info, ship logs and other reports, Naval History is an excellent link.

Melvin Page has a new article, Africa’s first “high-tec” war: The Technological Impact of World War One on Africans, published in The Journal of African Military History, 2, 1 (2018), 24-61 (there is a charge for this article unless you can access it through an academic or other library subscription).

This article by Jennie Els makes mention of Harold Eastwood’s death in East Africa during the 1914-1918 war.

North Africa gets a mention for work on the Western Front.

If you are in South Africa, or able to get there for 12-13 November, and to Pretoria in particular, please consider presenting a paper on the aftermath of the war at the Unisa conference. The deadline for proposals is 13 August. There’s also the Away from the Western Front creative competition and Diversit House events. More info is available through the calendar links.

Can you help? A researcher is trying to find information on his grandfather – William H Simons – who served in YMCA in East Africa from March 1918. If you are aware of where information is held on the Indian YMCA in particular and American involvement, please can you let me know so I can pass this on.

25 November 2018 sees the centenary of the end of the war in Africa. There are various events being planned, one of which is in Zambia with a memorial service on 24 November at Chembeshi, where the initial notice of peace was handed over, and on 25 November at Mbala (previously Abercorn) at the spot where the original surrender took place. Claire from Thorn Tree Safaris is able to organise travel and accommodation for people. There are a number of people going from the UK travelling following various routes to be at the main centres – Chambeshi on 24 and Mbala on 25th together. If anyone is looking to go and wanting to visit some of the battlefield sites, John Bannon has a route planned to see some of the places his grandfather Jack Bannon of 1/4 KAR went. This includes a trip into Tanzania. The proposed itinerary can be found here. If you are interested, please get in touch with John to discuss costs etc.

Further north, in Kenya, at the spot where the first shot of the war in East Africa was fired and where there was a commemoration in 2014 to mark the outbreak of war, there will also be a service to mark the end of the war. To find out what is happening there, Guerrillas of Tsavo have a newsletter providing info on the run-up to the end of war commemoration events in Kenya. They are also crowd-funding to improve the information display boards in Taita area.

If anyone is close to London and is interested in having a say in how The National Archives supports users, the User Advisory Group Recruitment campaign 2018 has now gone live. Early next year I step down from the Group having represented on-site users and those who cannot get to be on-site (ie many of the GWAA).

The Museum of Military Intelligence is looking for information and artefacts – can you help?

A number of people have asked if there is a photo of Henry Belfield, Governor of East Africa when war broke out. Thanks to Guerrillas of Tsavo, here’s one: