August 1914-2014 commemorations

The following commemorative events in August have been brought to my attention concerning the war in Africa.

TUESDAY, 5 AUGUST 2014 at 19.30
Erlswold Way in Saxonwold
August 1914 – 100 years ago World War I was declared

A moving tribute to those men and women who made the supreme sacrifice, in a programme with a dramatic mix of music, poetry and readings, featuring some of the great First World War poets, read by Alan Swerdlow and Peter James Smith.

The programme will end with the Last Post being played beneath the War Memorial: A memorial to those who died in wars.

TICKETS: R150 (this includes a glass of wine or gluhwein)
Seating is limited to 300.
There is plenty of safe parking
BOOKING: Please phone 011 447 9264 or email
BANK DETAILS: Chanticleer Singers. NEDBANK (Greenside 197505); A/c No 1975 046 560; Reference: surname 4/8
Chanticleer Singers
P O Box 627, ParklandsJohannesburg
[P]: 011 447 9264| [F]:

SUNDAY 10 August, at 14h30, in the Ditsong Military Museum Auditorium, South Africa
Address as above

Commemorative Film Show
Centenary of the Outbreak of World War I

As part of the SA Military History Society’s and the Ditsong Military History Museum’s Programme of Events based around the Centenary of the First World War, a special showing of the classic movie, “Oh What a Lovely War!” made in 1969, and one of the most controversial made about the War.

The Event will be organised under the kind auspices of the Majestic Film Society.

The ticket price of R100 per person will include an introductory talk as well as tea and refreshments after the movie. Booking is essential.

To book, please contact the Majestic, on, or at Tel: 011 486 3648

Events are also planned in Kenya but dates need to be confirmed. Details will be added once confirmed.

June update and Conference details


The Great War in Africa Conference is fast approaching and we’ve finally got the draft programme together which you can find GWAA Conf 2014 Programme

In addition to the information on the programme (start times, cost, speakers), local hotel accommodation can be found at –
The university recommends Hotel VIP Zurich Executive. You can also find the details of hotels and book at

If you are arriving over the weekend are looking for places to visit, there is an exhibition in the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal on World War 1. Opening hours 09,30 to 17,30.
There is also the Maritime Museum which has a display on the First World War in Africa.

Payment for attendance can be made at the venue but it would be helpful to know if you are planning to join us. You can either Email me or the Conference email.

I hope to see you there.

For those of you UK based and unable to attend, or others visiting London in November, we’re looking to have an informal get-together on Saturday 22 November 2014. Please do get in touch if you are interested. Details will be made available in due course.

Some other World War 1 Africa bits and pieces which have been in the media follow:

Togo sees first shot fired

CWGC focus on Kenya

Taita Taveta and 15 August 2014 commemoration plans

Captain Thornycroft memorial (panel 6) in Cork, Ireland brought to us by a researcher, Colleen Watkins.

His brother is listed on panel 7.
Following up on my research re. Captain Thornycroft please find attached an Irish website that hosts photographs of the WW1 war memorial in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland) in Cork city, which commemorates the many WW1 fallen and includes Captain E.M.G. Thornycroft and his older brother, Captain JOHN RALPH M. THORNYCROFT (born 1884. He died on 22 Oct 1914. The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment). DIED OF WOUNDS 22 Oct 1914 RECEIVED IN BATTLE AT 1ST BATTLE FOR YPRES. (WAS DUE TO MARRY ON HIS RETURN FROM FRANCE)).

St Fin Barre’s Cathedral WW1 war memorial panels

Please click on the accompanying links on the web page: panel 6 shows Captain Thornycroft’s name and his brother is on panel 7. There is also a text link on the same web page that shows all the names of the fallen from the parish.

The panels were erected upon the south-western aisle pillar (near the choir); and below the names – and just above the inscription HEROES COLUMN engraved into the foot of the stone pillar – is the following dedication:

In reverent and grateful memory of men from the diocese of Cork Cloyne & Ross who gave their lives at the call of honour and duty in the Great War 1914-1918. Their names have been inscribed here that future generations may be reminded of their sacrifice and their achievement. Death is swallowed up in victory.

NB On the same pillar is also a beautiful illuminated book (housed in a wooden and glass box) that records the WW1 fallen and an original wooden crucifix brought back from the Western Front.

Meanwhile, f.y.i. I have located Edward Thornycroft’s birth registration (Yorkshire, England 1886) and his British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index:- Campaign: B.E.F. 1914, disembarked 4/8/14 (1914-15 Star). His rank is Lieut. and from 4/8/14 Capt. His Corps is given as: R. Lancs Reg and from 4/8/14 K.A.R. Meanwhile, his correspondence/home address is listed at his mother’s home (she was widowed and had remarried) c/o Mrs Morris, Stance (sic) Court, Castletownsend, Skibbereen, County Cork.

New Member, Jennifer Bosch found this link with some amazing photos of GSWA and EA:

Some Africa related links can be found in Empires in World War I: Shifting Frontiers and Imperial Dynamics in a Global Conflict (Andrew Tait Jarboe and Richard S. Fogarty, eds.) recently published by I.B. Tauris.

Please do send in any bits you have discovered or would like to share with the group. We’re slowly approaching 200 members…

Best wishes

Update April 2014

Greetings all,

Some new and interesting info on the Great War in Africa has come to light in the past few weeks.

Firstly, don’t forget about the next conference in Lisbon on 14 and 15 July. Details are here. Please do get in touch if you will be joining us or let me know if you can’t make it but would value getting together later in the year (October/November) in London.

The Imperial War Museum has recently discovered what it holds on the African campaigns. They are also in the process of making available an exciting new source on the East African campaign, thanks to Gerald Rilling who recently announced on Facebook:

Well after over thirty years, I finally will have the translations & photos of the nearly 20 WaKamba World War One veterans I interview just before I left East Africa completed. Thank you internet – that is where I found my translators & Dr. Anne Samson of the Great War in Africa Association who put me on the right track. The interviews are now being used in the Imperial War Museum in London. Some very interesting stories from a voice very seldom heard.

Having worked with Jerry on these interviews, they offer a welcome first-hand account of the lives of porters and some KAR soldiers. One common thread running through the interviews is the story of the German woman sniper who hid in a baobab tree. They all vary in detail as do all the accounts I’ve heard, so I’ve started a discussion link on the forum for you to add your version and hopefully we’ll be able to get to the bottom of it.

The British Library featured an article on Untold Lives featuring Richard Meinertzhagen. As many know there is much discussion around Meinertzhagen’s accounts but, for potential legal reasons, no more will be said on this issue here.

Gordon from Naval History has kindly posted on the ships which were involved in the East Africa theatre. You can either scroll down to read the article, or click here

In response to a number of queries I’ve had, I wrote the following on sourcing SAffer military records. This will be followed next week on SAffers as Imperial Service troops during WW1.

The In Memory and Book lists have been updated.

Since posting the Book list, notification of Francesco Correale’s La Grande Guerre des trafiquants: le front colonial de l’Occident maghrebin has come to light. You can see more at here.
Ricardo Marques has also published on 1914 Portugal no ano da Grande Guerra

Don’t forget to let me know if you have a book to sell on the African campaigns or better still, add it to the Book Sale section on the Forum.

Until next time,
Kindest regards