Greetings to all
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.