Many books have been written about the First World War campaign in German East Africa, sometimes called the Forgotten War as it was overshadowed by the battles of the Western Front. The British South Africa Police of Southern Rhodesia had a relatively minor role numerically in the overall scale of this campaign, but it played an important part in the continuous pursuit of the German forces over a large portion of the territory which later became Tanganyika and then Tanzania. Together with its sister forces, The Rhodesia Native Regiment and the Northern Rhodesia Police, allied together in the Rhodesia/Nyasaland Field Force, commonly known as Norforce, the BSAP Service Companies marched, countermarched and fought battles over harsh and inhospitable terrain, denying the Germans any rest or fixed bases. In the space of one day’s march the country could vary from humid, hot river valleys to freezing misty mountain tops, often with wrecks of continuous rain. The troops suffered through lack of proper clothing, rest or food. It was calculated they marched about 12,000-15,000 miles all told, along native paths through thick bush, with the danger of attack from German forces ever present. Disease in the form of malaria and blackwater fever was rife, ambulances and field hospitals were primitive and the wounded often had to be carried long distances. Previously unpublished, the photographs of Sergeant FG Elliot and the Diary of BSAP Service Company Private WHJ Walker paint a vivid picture of the day to day life of the men.
About the BSAP