May 2020

A Zimbabwean in Palestine during WW1 – Biawa Makalaga. A letter permitting Biawa to enlist with the Northamptonshire Regiment was posted on the 1914-18 Forum. This discovery now brings the number of African black men who served in British regiments during the war to 5.

Some background to Spicer-Simson of the Lake Tanganyika Expedition. All the known primary documents concerning 1914-1915 have been collated chronologically in The Lake Tanganyika Expedition 1914-1917: A primary source chronology vol 1. Vol 2 should hopefully be out later this year.

From the Away from the Western Front website, short stories and a poem written by young people in 2018 on the East Africa campaign: Heat by Constance Cottrell; Welcome to East Africa by Charlotte Lee.

The Endangered Archive programme has digitised two collections which may hold information of interest:
Mengo Hospital in Uganda has patient records (names redacted) covering the war years, although these appear to be records of civilian patients.
Nairobi Railway photographs – no specific war collection but some of the catalogue covers the war years.

It’s the 70th anniversary of Jan Smuts’ death. Here’s some background for those interested.

An earlier Endangered Archive project concerned the digitisation of letters from Nigeria about the war offering financial assistance.

It might be helpful to know that the Botswana archive does not seem to hold material on WW1 Africa. If anyone knows different, please share…

The National Archives has a guide to colonial documents in UK archives.

April 2020

Two lots of sad news to open this newsletter.
Emeritus Professor George A Shepperson, CBE, died on 2 April in Peterborough. I got to know of George through his work on the Chilembwe uprising and other works on Malawi and World War 1.
Brian Tarpey MBE, who was also of the Legion of Frontiersmen with an interest in the 25th Royal Fusiliers in WW1, died on 7 April on Malta.
While both will be missed, their legacy and contribution to our understanding of Africa during WW1, amongst other things, will live on.

Members with an interest in South African Involvement in the war, might find the Wits Rifles site of use.

Back in 2016, South Africa commemorated the Battle of Delville Wood with a stage production called Devil’s Wood. It was directed by Sylvaine Strike and was shown in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. If anyone was able to see it, please could you share your experience of it as there doesn’t appear to be anything more than the publicity material and this little write-up.

Edward Parker England and the East Africa Campaign: “Could a cashiered 52 year-old Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Artillery win a Distinguished Conduct Medal as a Private in a line infantry regiment? Unlikely as it seems, it did happen during the Great War.”

A pdf of John Bruce Cairnie’s War Diary (3/4 KAR) is now available online.

Some short biographies of men who served in Africa with links to the East India Club, includes a summary of the campaign. Contains information on the two Ryan brothers who died in the same conflict on the same day serving with different units, one with 25th Royal Fusiliers and the other with the Nigerian Regiment.

A collection of posters and propaganda cartoons from SA during WW1 can be found here. I’ve contacted the author to find out about the article.

For anyone interested in the Spanish Flu and its impact on East Africa, Twitter connection WW1EAfricaCampaign (@WW1EACampaign) located this article by Fred Andayi, Sandra Chaves and Marc-Alain Widdowson: The impact of the 1918 Influenza pandemic on coastal Kenya.

As usual, various books are for sale through GWAA.

March 2020

As you’ll no doubt have realised, it’s been another rather busy period away from the web, although hopefully this newsletter makes up for it a bit.

One result of all this busy-ness is that the BSAP catalogue (which includes more than just WW1 Africa accounts of the BSAP) is now available through GWAA – see also under books for sale/resources. This is part of a new collaboration between BSAP and GWAA. Ebook versions will also be added as time goes by.
South Africa at War: The Union Defence Force in World War 1 by William Endley is now available for purchase. This has been a long-time coming as those of you who know William and are linked to his Facebook page will be well aware.
And if a personal plug is permitted, my book on Kitchener: The Man not the Myth has been published by Helion and is available through War Books in South Africa. The book has its origins in Kitchener objecting to the escalation of conflict in East Africa in 1915/6.

For members with an interest in shipping, the War Time Memories Project seems to have some useful/interesting snippets concerning Africa. And for anyone wanting to access ships’ logs – quite a few can be found here with some summary info here.
A photo collection by the doctor of SS Salamis which transported troops between East Africa and South Africa during the war.

Looking for info on people who worked or lived in East Africa between 1880 and 1939? Try Europeans in East Africa.
Harry Fecitt has a number of articles featured on Guerrillas of Tsavo in a section called Heroes of East Africa.

A short 3 min overview of World War 1 in Africa video on Facebook (courtesy of Chris Eyte).
Colourised images of Africans in Europe during the war can be found on Facebook.

A growing database of RAMC personnel, some of whom served in Africa – you can’t search on location so it will be a bit of a trawl if you don’t know the name.

The UNESCO history of Africa is now available online – Chapter 12 of vol 7 covers World War 1.

Brazilian Navy patrols African coast during the war. And an article by Michael Pesek on the development of the colonial state as a result of the war. New articles are regularly added to the site.

A DSO instead of a VC against the Senussi by the Western Front Association. And how the survivors of a torpedoed ship became prisoners of the Senussi.

A new book “The Merit Medals for Combatants in German South West Africa 1892-1918” by Gordon McGregor has been published.

In addition to links with the BSAP Association, GWAA has also aligned with the Military Intelligence Museum. The latter are relocating and require help with funding