Report on Stellenbosch & other bits

A huge thanks to Ian van der Waag for his hospitality (beyond the call of duty) and for organising an excellent Great War in Africa conference. It was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and broaden our knowledge of the various campaigns and other related aspects.

Oswald Masebo from Tanzania shares his discoveries of World War 1 in south-east Tanzania in the article
The African soldiers dragged into Europe’s war – more than one million people died in East Africa during World War One – some soldiers were forced to fight members of their own families
and in voice

Books
Michelle Moyd’s book Violent intermediaries is now available. It’s a good, interesting read and a review will soon be available.

Ed Yorke’s new book Britain, Northern Rhodesia and the First World War: Forgotten Colonial Crisis is soon to be available from Palgrave Macmillan

There are some books for sale through the GWAA – most of which are on behalf of members. Please get in touch if you are looking for a copy or have copies to sell.

If you’ve reviewed a book on the campaigns in East Africa, please share the link.
Recent reviews I’ve done are:
Tim Couzens – The Great Silence
Bill Nasson – World War 1 and the people of South Africa
James Stejskal – Horns of the Beast
Floris van der Merwe – Sporting Soldiers

Reviews are due out on Michelle Moyd’s Violent Intermediaries, Duncan McGregor’s World War 1 in Namibia, and Adam Cruise’s Louis Botha’s War. Watch this space.

Calls for papers
As usual, these are posted on the forum with dates for conferences, exhibitions etc noted on the calendar.

Changes at IWM

I wrote to IWM setting out concerns about the closure of the IWM Library to which they responded. However, as the letter was marked ‘Personal’ they are not happy for me to include it on the GWAA site. Instead they have directed me to share the following letter which explains what their forthcoming plans are.

If you are concerned about the changes, there are a number of petitions circulating as you may already be aware as well as an open letter which I have copied below for anyone who wishes to use it.

Sir,
Following your article, ‘Imperial War Museum will charge for services’ (24 February 2015), which revealed the museum plans to introduce a fee of up to £14 a day, for use of its research room, and reduce its opening hours, we would like to express our deep concern for these measures.
The printed material, unpublished documents and oral histories, available for consultation in the research room, is a world-class collection. It covers every level of wartime experience, from letters scribbled by a private in the trenches of the First World War through to regimental histories of the armed forces.
This collection has been the bedrock of thousands of history books on twentieth-century warfare. These proposals will deter many researchers and serve only to impair our understanding of modern warfare.
The timing of this is particularly unfortunate. We are a hundred years on from the First World War and seventy years on from the end of the Second World War. More and more of those who lived through the Second World War are disappearing from our world. This is the time when the Imperial War Museum should be doing everything to ensure their voices continue to be heard.
Yours faithfully,

The changes are expected to come into play in April. Bookings for the reading room are being done as staff become aware of what is happening so best to email your request. The Reading Room will only be open 4 days a week but which days is still not clear.
Photocopies etc are taking a long while to get done – from my recent visit, there is at least a 10 week wait.

March Update

1915 was a relatively quiet year in East Africa with the British forces being on the defensive. However, elsewhere in Africa things were on the move: the campaign in South West Africa was well underway and action was still taking place in Cameroons.

2015 however, seems to be a bit busier on the remembrance front with a few conferences and seminars scheduled for the coming months. See Forthcoming Events on the homepage for details.

In case you haven’t checked lately, the In Memory pages listing those known to have been involved in the Great War in Africa have been updated. We now have over 19500 names for East and Central Africa and 3000 for Southern Africa. North and West Africa are lagging behind at under 1000. If you do have lists of names of men and women who were involved in the campaign, please send them in to help complete the lists. Apart from being of help to family members trying to trace information on relatives who saw action in the various theatres, being able to search and sort the information in different ways is opening up new insights into the campaign and avenues for further research.

After a bit of a wait, through no fault of his, Richard Sneyd’s History of the Faridkot Sappers and Miners is now available to access on the website. This can be found, together with some new articles by Harry Fecitt on the 40th Pathans and 30th Punjabis, and one by Mark Thatcher on Lettow-Vorbeck on the site. Thanks to all for their dedication to the cause…

Alan Rutherford has a second edition of Arthur Beagle’s Diary of East Africa out. It can be found online

Photographing in the British Library has been extended:
Guidelines to taking photographs in the British Library

Thanks to Alex Balm for sharing this find on a flight mechanic of 4RNAS
And to Paul Ferguson for drawing attention to the Masonic Great War Project

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission featured SA’s Mendi Day Commemorations
BBC on How British colonies helped war effort (Video footage featuring James Willson)

Review of Michelle Moyd’s Violent Intermediaries

Although not a member of GWAA, Leondard Shurtleff was a history enthusiast with wide-ranging interests including Africa, where he served as Ambassador to a number of countries. His willingness to help and advise will be missed across all the networks he participated in.