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Hello and Welcome from an old campaigner .....


Here is a collection of military tales mostly based upon the activities of officers and men from the British County Regiments who came to Africa to do their duty as they understood it had to be done. There is also some description of events during the Great War in Africa, and details of war-time units raised within the continent. Most of these accounts have been published in regimental and museum newsletters and journals.

Some constant themes run through accounts of fighting in Africa:

-The ferocity of the fight – killing is the only thing that counts.

-Administrative problems, particularly the provision of water and the vulnerability of lines of communication, often determine tactics.

-Much of the terrain dictates that infantrymen do the fighting – armour, field artillery and aircraft may be useful but their presence involves costly technical support.

-Tribal custom and belief can win or lose the day.

-The local enemy leader does not burden his mind with complications such as taking prisoners or evacuating casualties.

-Africa always wins – the invaders or colonizers in the end acquiesce.

During 50 years of observing campaigns in Africa – mercenary insertions, tribal conflicts, colonial actions, and liberation struggles – it is noticeable that nothing much changes. As you read these words some army somewhere in Africa, probably equipped with very basic weapons, will be fighting and killing.

That is how it is.

So sit back and savour some military moments from the past.

After a particularly rough battle in Africa Sir Henry Newboldt wrote in his poem “Vitai Lampada”:

                              “The sand of the desert is sodden red,
                                Red with the wreck of a square that broke;

                               The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead,
                               And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.

                              The river of death has brimmed his banks,
                              And England's far, and Honor a name,

                               But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks,
                              "Play up! play up! and play the game!""

Above: The Medals of Major E.W. Hunt DSO, MC. Major Hunt was an old Africa campaigner, besieged with Baden Powell at Mafeking he later fought in German South West Africa then German East Africa.

Harry's Wars in Africa

--Egypt 1882:
Wolseley leads his men from Alexandria to Tel-El-Kebir

--Angoniland Rebellion:
Nyasaland 1898-99

--Gambia 1866:
A Victoria Cross for Samuel Hodge, serving with the 4th West India regiment

-- The Yoni Campaign: Sierra Leone 1887-88

--Witu 1890: A punitive expedition in East Africa

--The Jebu War:
Nigeria 1892

--Bronkhorst Spruit:
The first shots of the 1880-1881 Transvaal war are fired.

--Rejaf 1897: A battle in the Congo Free State

--Taita Hills: A punitive expedition in 1898

--Bechuanaland:
Fighting an epidemic, then fighting a battle

--Mafia Island: A Battle in an exotic location off the coast of GEA

--The Lake Chad area: The men of the Nigeria Regiment take WW1 up onto Mora Mountain

--The fight for Zuganatto bridge:
Baron Eric von Otter of the 3rd King's African Rifles wins the Military Cross

--A Final Volley! :  Major Harold Walter Gooch Meyer Griffith, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was killed in Action in Kamerun in 1915, at the same time winning the French Croix de guerre

-- Bweho-Chini: Bayonets in the bush then medals all around in a gallant action in German East Africa in 1917

-- The East Africa Police Service Battalion:
Policemen mobilised against the Schutztruppe.

-- The Baganda Rifles: Ugandan hunters fighting in German East Africa

-- Ross's Scouts: Major Charles Ross DSO, leads a scouting commando in German East Africa.

  --We have got the Maxim Gun: Captain A.J. Pott DCM took part in the campaign in Darfur 1916 including the battle at Beringia  

--Longido Mountain 1915:
Lieutenant Thomas Wilson wins an MC for cool machine gun work during an abortive attack  

--The Narungombe water holes: Lieutenant John Lawrence Leslie-Smith, originally of The Border regiment, won the Military Cross while fighting with the Gold Coast regiment in the Kilwa - Lindi region in German East Africa

--Lukuledi Mission: Fighting in German East Africa 1917

--The fight at Kisii:
British East Africa in September 1914

--A Cameroons campaign Victoria Cross:
Captain Butler's action in the Cameroons, 1914

--The road to Tunduru:
The death of Lt. C.W. Walser, Kings African Rifles.

--Gambia 1891-2: A Victoria Cross for William James Gordon of the West India Regiment

--Barton's Battalion: Captain Charles Walter Barton and the men of the 1KAR in Nyasaland and Portuguese East Africa 1918

--Somaliland 1884-1898: The early years on the Horn of Africa

--Somaliland 1901: The fighting continues

--Suez 1914-15:
Turks across the canal!

-- Van Deventer's Scouts: Captain W.A. Bloomfield, an East African VC

-- The Ugandan Railway Volunteer Reserve:
Guarding the rails in 1914

-- The Magadi Defence Force:
A fantastically obscure bit of 1914 history. HERE

-- The Gambia Company: German Kamerun 1914-16

-- The Northern Rhodesian Rifles: Mobile Units 1914-16

-- The 15th Ludhiana Sikhs and the Senussi: The Egyptian Western Desert, 1915-16 

--Togoland 1914: If you blinked... you missed it. The lightning campaign in Togoland 1914

-- The Uganda Volunteer Reserve: Uganda 1914-1916

-- Cole's Scouts: Somali Scouts, one of the exotic units that Makes Harry's Africa so unique

-- Kikarunga Hill: The death of Capt Butler VC DSO

-- Kamerun, 1914: The attacks on Yabasi, October 1914

-- Captain Arnold Wienholt, DSO MC and Bar: Bush Scout and Intelligence Officer

-- Machine Gunner!: The East African MG Coy

--The advance from Port Amelia: The Gold Coast Regiment in Portugese East Africa 1918

-- British East Africa, 1913: The last Prewar DSO and more...

-- Somaliland Camel Corps: 1921-1925

--Juba River, 1893: Initial British clashes with the Somalis of Jubaland 

-- Malangali 1916: The Union Central African Imperial Service Contingent

--Lioma, August 1918: The Final Great War Battle for the 1st Battalion of the 1st Regiment of the King’s African Rifles

--Northern Rhodesia 1914 - 1915: Northern Rhodesian Policemen and Belgian Askaris against von Lettow-Vorbeck's Schutztruppe

-- BSAP Special Reserve Companies: Southern Rhodesia responds to German aggression on the Northern Rhodesia border

-- The Rhodesia Native Regiment: German East Africa 1916

-- Cape Corps in Battle: The 1st Cape Corps in German East Africa 1916-17

-- Southern German East Africa
: The Operations in October 1916

-- Narunyu 1917 : The King's African Rifles in GEA 1917

-- Kibata:
German East Africa 1916-17, The 129th Duke of Connaught's own Baluchis

-- Blockade Breakers: German supply ships to German East Africa

-- Uganda 1902-1913 :
Military Operations in Central and North-Western Uganda

-- SE of Lake Victoria : Nyanza 1915

-- Potuguese Offensive GEA: The Kionga Triangle and Newala

-- From Rumbo to the Rovuma River : The Nyasaland-recruited 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Regiment of the King’s African Rifles in action during 1917 HERE

-- Loyal North Lancs MGC Part 1:
German East Africa October 1915 to April 1916 HERE

-- Loyal North Lancs MGC Part 2: German East Africa May to December 1916 HERE

-- The "Mad Mullah"
: The Second British Campaign in Somaliland against the “Mad Mullah”

-- The "Mad Mullah" 1902-03 : The Third Campaign in Somaliland 


-- The Fight at Lubemba Point : Lake Victoria, 1915

-- African Odyssey: The eventful life and death of Major Herbert Augustine Carter VC

-- Advance into German East Africa: Indian Army Units 1916

-- Somaliland 1903-04: The fourth Campaign against the Mad Mullah

-- Somaliland Camel Corps: Defending British Somaliland - 1940

-- Punjabis in Somaliland: July 1940 – March 1941 The Italian Invasion and British Re-occupation of British Somaliland

--Somaliland 1905 - 1913 : Military activities in the Somaliland Protectorate from 1905 to 1907

The intellectual property associated with Harry's Africa is owned by Harry Fecitt MBE TD.  Please acknowledge Harry's Africa should you wish to use any of the written material displayed here.

 
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