June 2020

The following came in from Mel Page: I’m sure most of you will be aware of the passing of Professor Shepperson last month, at age 98, in Peterborough, UK. You may also know that the Society of Malawi Journal is seeking to publish a special issue this year remembering his legacy. The Journal’s editor, David Stuart-Mogg, has asked me to contact people who may be interested in contributing to the special issue. Although David may have already been in touch with some of you, I’m attempting to follow through on his request. Please contact him directly expressing your interest in joining me in remembering Sam in this way. Mel Page. (If you don’t know how to get in touch with Mel, please contact me)

Some thoughts on the impact of the environment on British forces in East Africa during 1914-1918.

The Wartime Memories Project is worth a search for info on ships serving in the war and a few other snippets.

This Congolese collection has some diaries/journals from the war years – see Inventaire under Outcomes, although we might have to wait for them to become accessible.

An overview of 26th Air Squadron which saw service in East Africa.

I thought this contained some rather interesting background to Dar es Salaam.

The Liddle Collection at the University of Leeds appears to hold a collection of East Africa related material. Search ‘East Africa’

Collection of photos by Sergeant CPE Fuller RAMC in GEA and at 37th British Stationary Hospital, Lumbo in Mozambique.

Daniel Steinbach on misremembered aspects of the East Africa campaign (2015)

Margaret Duncan travelled to East Africa in February 1918 to work as a Post Office Clerk. Her diaries are shared by Bristol Archive.

Mel Page has an article on song in the Malawian units of the KAR over time and into the 21st century. “A continuing legacy of song: From Asilikali Lyrics into Malawian culture” is published in The Society of Malawi Journal, 2020, 73:1. The title has been added to the GWAA bibliography.

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.