November 2018

On 2 November at 4pm Professor Alexander Balezin, Doctor of Historical Science, Institute of World History of the Russian Academy of Sciences will be speaking on World War 1 in East Africa at the Dar-es-Salaam Russian-Tanzanian Cultural Center, Seaview Road 2043/3 (near Aga Khan Hospital), tel. 225222136578, email: rtcctanzania@gmail. web:

Around 11 November, BBC Northern Ireland will be broadcasting a 10-minute interview with John Bannon whose Grandather, John (Jack) Bannon was at the surrender in Abercorn on 25 November 1918.
There are various special commemorations taking place in Africa: 11 November in Tanga, 25 November in Mbala and in Tsavo. Other main centres are, by all accounts, following the usual 11 November practice and I understand in Zimbabwe there will be a special remembrance lunch. Please feel free to share your centenary remembrance experiences and thoughts. The centenary marks a special occasion especially as we have none around who were involved in the 1914-1918 war and new generations are discoving the sacrifice so many made in so many different ways.

Thanks to Guy Ellis for bringing the following from Rhodesiana to light:
Operations around Mpepo by HA Cripwell (p54)
The last phase of the East Africa campaign 1914-1918 by LA Russell annotated by HA Cripwell (p41)

The memorial book The Sikh Chronicles is available online – there is a short contribution on Africa.

The Legion of Frontiersmen featured in the UK Belgian Embassy news back in August – Africa has a mention.

Peter Charlton’s Cinderella’s Soldiers has been re-issued for anyone who wasn’t able to get a first edition. There have been a couple of new additions to the text. A book containing essays on why we should remember WW1 in Africa was produced by Diversity House and published by GWAA. It includes contributions by Sir Hew Strachan, Tim Stapleton, Nuno Lemos Pires, and various GWAA members.
At last the GWAA Conference papers from 2012 to 2017 have been published in a compilation entitled There came a time. Finally, a book commemorating the end of the war in Zambia has been produced by the GWAA which contains diary accounts of the events between 11 November and 31 December 1918. Harry Fecitt and Michael Pesek have each contributed a commentary on the last days of the conflict. Contributors to the various publications wishing to purchase copies should contact Anne to ensure they receive the appropriate discounts.

Some documents from Africa during World War 1 can be found on The National Archives (UK) education website:
Letter from Henry Bullen in Egypt, 24 July 1916 2/10 Middlesex Rgt
Letter from Harold Cronin in Egypt, 20 May 1915 4th Sea Highlanders & 5th Bedfordshire
Frederick Jarrett, East African Mounted Rifles, Aug-Nov 1916 with photos

For members interested in campaign stamps, Mike White’s Worldwide Postal History has some items of interest.
Another collection of WW1 Africa stamps has been brought to attention – if anyone can provide additional information to accompany any of the stamps, please get in touch

Peter Dickenson has an article on VC Harry Greenwood, a South African who served in Europe.

The following request has come in. Perhaps someone will be inspired to do something with an African sound?
A message from Neil McLennan regarding the musical project…/play-for-peace-a-concert-for-coo…
“I wondered if you might help us. As you will know #iPlay4Peace is growing fast and we have musicians across the world joining.…/play-for-peace-a-concert-for-coo…
Any further shares appreciated.
However, not everyone is able to play a musical instrument. And so….
Can some people record themselves reading their most inspiring piece of World War One poetry which helps us to consider war and peace (British, German, French or any country or origin) and then upload the video clip before 4pm CET (3pm GMT) on 11th November 2018 to Facebook or Twitter with these two hashtags added:- #iPlay4Peace #Poetry4Peace
You can record yourself reading it from anywhere :- your living room, next to a war memorial or in front of a live audience in town halls etc.
If you do not want to play music or read poetry, why not share what you think is the most powerful image of war or the poppy on 11 November. For this, use the hashtags #iPlay4Peace #Pictures4Peace
The hashtags are vital so that we can bring together and view all the musical, poems and art work shared.
Please share this growing project with any other music, poetry or art groups you know. Together, on 11 November, we will create an amazing bricolage of cultural responses to war at the hashtag #iPlay4Peace
Kind Regards Neil McLennan”

October 2018

Nuno Lemos Pires has published a paper on Academia about Contradictions in the Great War concerning MozambiqueThe Imperial War Museum has a special exhibition on Africa in World War 1. It runs until March 2019.

Thomas Vennes looks at the 1915-1916 Volta-Bani War

Angelica, An international journal of English studies has two articles on Africa: Anne Samson on The End of the 1914-1918 War in Africa, and Anna Branach-Kallas on recent postcolonial First World War novels.

Various of Harry Fecitt’s articles which were on the Western Front Association website are now available here.

I missed this back in 2014, no doubt as I was in Africa. In case you missed it too for some reason, here’s a synopsis of a film about Liemba released in 2010.

Bjarne S. Bendtsen who has written about the blockade runners in a forthcoming GWAA book, sees his book ‘Mellem fronterne: om Første Verdenskrigs aftryk i dansk litteratur og kultur 1914-1939’ published during September.

Is there a World War 1 archive in Africa which would benefit from funding? Endangered Archive is open for applications until 19 November.

British Government support for WW1 commemoration in Kenya

Books on the German colonies and uniforms including World War 1 Africa

Question of authenticity:
The photo linked has the caption indicated. However, the small print on the photo is dated March 1918. My questions are:
1. Is the date of March 1918 correct? Surely the men are too spic and span for that stage of the campaign. Would they have had the luxury still of chairs and such clean uniforms?
2. The date of 1919 seems more plausible but is the ‘British’ officer British?. I can’t make out the cap badge but his buttons are different which does suggest a different force. The German officer on the right is Kraut.
General Lettow-Vorbeck in Dar es Salaam with a British Officer (left) and German Officer (right), March 1919.

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.