I was going to email shortly before Christmas but decided it was too busy and I’d wait for the new year – when things got even busier and I then headed to South Africa for 5 wonderful weeks of seeing family and doing some research into South Africa’s involvement in the First World War. It was good to meet some old (as in we’d met before) friends and to make some new ones who have some very exciting contributions to make to the history of WW1 in Africa.
Hopefully you have already seen the notice about the next Great War in Africa conference which will be held during July 2014 in Lisbon. Details are on the site but do get in touch if you would like to contribute etc. We’ve been able to get a reduction in fee for this year as we’re combining with the International Network for the study of the Great War in Africa. It may all sound academic but as usual, there will be the mix of presentations and subjects ranging across Africa, the personal and the global as well as discovering how other cultures experienced the war.
This is an ideal opportunity to say a big thank you to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the work they do across Africa in maintaining the graves of those who died during the fighting in the Great War (and others). In particular, special thanks and wishes are due to Charles Ross who has looked after the South African graves so wonderfully until 21 February 2014 when he decided that retirement was a more attractive option. In my trip I was able to visit the Braamfontein and Maitland Cemeteries and can commend the work done by the CWGC in maintaining the cemeteries in these challenging times of others wanting and taking the various metal items in the grounds. On behalf of the Association, we wish Charles well and look forward to seeing the work continue under his permanent successor who is still to be appointed.
If you are aware of any commemoration events concerning the war in Africa, please let me know so that these can be added to the website. Plans are taking shape in Kenya and there’s some talk of things happening in Tanzania and South Africa. As soon as details are confirmed, these will be posted on the site.
We’ve a number of new members who have recently joined. I’ve made contact with the majority and have a broad idea of everyone’s interests but please do add a short biography to your profile to assist others in the Association linking up. The Association membership is nearly 180 across the globe.
This update provides an opportunity to remind you that a password is required for accessing the ‘member only’ pages. These are developing with photos and other snippets which members are kindly sharing with others for personal study purposes. The additional pages are under ‘Information on the campaign’. If you would like access to these pages and to be able to contact other members, please contact me giving me permission to add your details to the member contact page.
Other developments on the website include:
Day by day account of the war in Africa – this is a work in progress and is regularly updated.
A calendar of talks, conferences and other WW1 events of interest. Please let me know when you are giving a talk etc so that this can be added to the calendar. With the centenary of the war approaching there is quite a lot happening. I have included all known WW1 events on the calendar from across the globe.
This image was sent in by one of the GWAA members.
In 1914, a boy chained his bike to a tree, then went to fight WWI.
The tree is on Vashon Island, Washington
As usual, any comments, thoughts etc about the website and association are welcome. I look forward to hearing from you.