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

Ship’s Logbooks during East Africa Campaign


Naval-History.net is finalising the first of the World War 1 Royal Navy ship histories it is hosting. This is based on the 300,000 logbook pages transcribed for over 300 ships, mainly serving outside British waters.

The first four all served off East Africa, and all have interesting stories:

Now updated with Journey Plots added

HMS LACONIA, http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-08-HMS_Laconia.htm – armed merchant cruiser, 1915-16, East Indies Station, East Africa

HMS MERSEY, http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-03-HMS_Mersey.htm – river monitor, 1915-17, East Indies Station, East Africa, Konigsberg action

HMS SEVERN, http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-03-HMS_Severn.htm – river monitor, 1915-19, East Indies Station, East Africa, Konigsberg action, River Danube

HMS TRENT, http://www.naval-history.net/OWShips-WW1-09-HMS_Trent.htm – fleet messenger, 1915-19, East Indies Station, East Africa, Disciplinary problems/mutiny, repatriating POWs from Germany

I think you will find that these histories are quite unique and offer a great source of primary information for anyone studying the naval operations associated with the East Africa Campaign. I hope they will be of interest to you and your colleagues. If so, perhaps you could let others know of their existence.

I should add that all the editing as well as the Journey Plots are the work of Paul Money.

Best wishes,

Gordon Smith

GWEAA Conference, 8-9 November 2013

The second GWEAA conference will take place on 9 November 2013 at The National Archives, Kew, London (same place as last year).

At the request of many, we will have a conference research day on Friday 8 November for those who wish to access archival material whilst in London (details below). On the Friday evening, there will be an opportunity for everyone to meet at The Coach & Horses between Berkeley Sq. & Bond St. (max 5 mins walk from Bond St / Oxford Circus & Green Park tube / bus stops).

Given the centrality of the East Africa campaign to the Great War in Africa more generally, there will, pending interest, be a second strand of talks dealing with the Great War in other African theatres.

As there is no pre-determined theme for the day, topics relating to any aspect of the campaigns in Africa are welcomed.

If you would like to present a paper or talk on 9 November, please send a short overview to Anne at thesamsonsed[@]gmail.com
Papers and talks will be published following the conference event.

In order to cover the costs for 9 November, there will be a charge of £60 for participants and attendees. This includes lunch and refreshments during the day. There will be an additional small charge for the event on Friday evening 8 November for those wishing to attend. This will be advised in due course, as will details on how to book your place at the conference.

Research Day
If you would like to participate in the research day on 8 November, please let me know which of the archives (The National Archives or Imperial War Museum) you plan to visit. This will enable me to let you have the necessary information to access the collections (the two archives have different booking and entry requirements). There will be someone from the GWEAA at each venue to welcome members and to arrange a common place for those wishing to meet over lunch that day.

To book your place at the conference, please complete the GWEA Registration 2013 form.