Newsletter 6

Greetings to all

Christmas card 2013

Firstly, Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate Christmas and seasons greetings to all.

At this time of the year, one can’t but help feel for those who were without their loved ones for whatever reason. Although there weren’t Christmas Day truces in EA as there were on the Western Front, as far as I know, given the tendency of the forces to break for various reasons and swop injured men, I’d like to think little fighting took place during this time, and by all accounts – a quick glance at the Chronology (which still needs quite a bit of info added to it), it was a quieter time of year. And we have the few accounts of some being able to have slightly larger meals and that the Allies had cigarettes delived by air (the Germans thinking the Allies were accidently bombing their own).

December 1915 was to prove quite significant for the South Africans – it was the month that Wully Robertson became CIGS (22 Dec) and authorised Smith-Dorrien’s plans for his campaign in EA (Salaita Hill). SD left England on 23 December and en route, fell ill, seeing Smuts take command in February 1916.

Boxing Day 1915 saw the Lake Tanganyika Expedition in action against the Kingani eventually leading to Germany losing control of the Lake, whilst December 1916 saw the arrival of the Nigerians.

There are probably other stories and accounts I haven’t mentioned – please feel free to share what you know so we can build as good a picture of this campaign as we can.

The GWEAA is going from strength to strength. We are now at 108 members across the globe, covering a myriad of fields and interests, and I’m aware of a few other interested people who choose not to engage with technology.

At this stage, plans for 2013 are:
* publication of conference 2012 proceedings – this should hopefully happen in the next few months
* a conference in London, possibly October – please let me know if you see any reason why October would not be a good month
* finalise conference plans and locations over the centenary years
* explore ways to fund the GWEAA to keep membership free
More will be circulated through future newsletters. Please feel free to share your ideas and how/what you would like to get out of the GWEAA.

As usual, there are new queries on the Forum – please take a look and help if you can. The ‘In Memory’ list has now reached over 5,500 and includes some prisoners of war who have come to light. There have also been some changes to the books on the campaign which should make it easier to use.

I am aware that members do various talks on the campaign. If you would like these advertised or made known, please let me know. I am happy to put a calendar of activities onto the site.
Kevin Patience is talking at the London Guildhall on 15 January
I’m talking to the Western Front Association in Portsmouth on 28 January
Harry Fecitt is at the WW1 Historical Association Annual Seminar in March at Poughskeepie.

This has been a quiet month for new books. The only one I am aware of is mine which was finally published a couple of weeks’ ago. There have been various articles published – these have been updated on the Article list.

I think that’s it for December, other than, in addition to the earlier Christmas and Season’s Greetings, to wish you all the very best for 2013. May it be all you hope for.

Kindest regards

Special Offer – “My Life” supporting GWEAA

Happy Holidays one and all.

I would like to offer a short time holiday special on the book I recently published – ‘My Life’ by General Paul von Lettow Vorbeck. It is the first English edition of the autobiography of this very interesting man. His ‘My Reminiscences of East Africa’ is a relatively common book, but the only one of his books until now to be found in translation. I never knew why. But when the chance to publish ‘My Life’ presented itself; I jumped at it . The book is sewn hardcover cloth with a dust jacket. In appearance it is very like the scarce German original. The published price is $49.95. For this special until the 18th of Dec.(should allow for Christmas delivery), I am offering a price of $40.

I am happy to sign copies on request.

I had hoped to have a regular book list out some time ago, but have not found the time. There are a few authors also recently published that I would like to mention. First is Dr. Tony Sinclair who has worked in the Serengeti since my days in E. A.. He has published a book on the history of the Serengeti. I should be able to have signed copies when he returns from Tanz. in January. There are also other new books coming out on WW I in E. A. I need to get detail on pricing (one must come from Kenya & the shipping is a bit of a problem), etc.

New books on WW I in E. A. brings up something else new. There is now a Great War in East Africa Association – . It has been around only since February 2011, but looks to be a winner. If you order ‘My Life’ through this offer or via GWEAA, I will give a percentage to the association.

I hope to hear from a good number of you, but if not be sure to have a good holiday season.

Nenda salama, Jerry
Gerald Rilling
Books on East Africa
5307 Nottingham Drive
Loves Park, IL
U. S. A.

email: eafricabk[@] – please remove [  ] before emailing.

Newsletter 5 – November

It’s been a little while since the last newsletter and as you can imagine there’s been quite a bit going on.

I spent Rememberance Sunday in South Africa where red poppies were not as prominent as they are in the UK and was surprised at the number of people who did not know what the poppies stood for. Unfortunately, there also seems to be a divide amongst the population regarding the poppy as it’s now seen as a ‘colonial’ emblem. This is a huge pity given the number of lives of all colour which were lost in East Africa (let alone the rest of the war). I’m not sure how members in other countries see the poppy -please do let me know – but I see it in the same way as the origin of the minute’s silence – for all those who were affected. It was the South African Sir Percy Fitzpatrick (of Jock of the Bushveld fame) who suggested a two-minute silence. Apparently in South Africa, across the country a three-minute silence was held every day of the 1914-1918 war. Although Fitzpatrick lost his son Nugent on the Western Front, his other son Alan, commanded the 4th South African Horse in East Africa and survived the horrors of war.

The 100th membership milestone was achieved during the first weeks of November – in fact as I write, there are 102 of us registered on the site and I know of a fair few who haven’t (yet) but who are interested and investigating aspects of the EA campaign. Our membership spans the world – only Asia is not yet represented!

There have been a few books published on the East Africa campaign which might be of interest:

James Willson’s Guerillas of Tsavo can be obtained in the UK from UK from Peter J Ayre [] who is a specialist East African book seller based in Somerset. He is selling a limited number at ₤32 INCLUSIVE of p&p. There is also a PayPal account for orders placed through

Richard Pullen has published the memoirs of Sergeant Harold Downs of the 11th Hull Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. Details can be found on the Forum under Sales/Books

Peter Charlton’s Cinderella’s Soldiers: The Nyasaland Volunteer Reserve is available from Peter directly. He’s on the Membership Only contact list for those of you registered for that, otherwise let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

Finally, Gerald Rilling has had Lettow-Vorbeck’s My Life translated into English. This can be purchased from Gerald through Abebooks.

Also on the Forum, under tours, are details of a Kilimanjaro climb Peter Baxter is organising. If you have any related tours, please do let others know of them on the Forum.

Steve Eeles has launched his website on the 25th Royal Fusiliers. You can also find it on the Related Groups section of the GWEAA.

During my travels I have met and discussed some centenary events with different people and organisations. I’ll be putting the details up on the ‘In Memory’ section. Please let me know of any you know of so that these can be added too. The same goes for any names to be added to the Names list which is now around the 4,000 mark including some carriers, women and children prisoners of war.

We’ve also had some new queries on the site – if anyone can help with information, it would be greatly appreciated.

As usual, any questions etc, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Until next time
Best wishes