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Full text of "With the Nigerians in German East Africa"



CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




Cornell University Library 
D 576.G3D74 



With the Nigerians In German East Africa 




3 1924 027 831 860 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924027831860 



WITH THE NIGERIANS 
IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 




BRIGADIER-GENERAL CUNLIKFE, C.B., C.M.O. 

COMMANDANT NIGERIA REtilMENT AND BKIGAUIER-GENERAL OP THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN 
GERMAN EAST AFRICA, 1916-1918 



WITH THE NIGERIANS 



IN 



GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



BY 



CAPTAIN W. D. POWNES. M.G. 

ROyAL SUSSEX REGIMENT AND NIGERIA REGIMENT 



WITH 31 ILLUSTRATIONS AND 5 MAPS 



METHUEN & GO, LTD. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.C. 

LONDON 



First Published in igig 






I HUMBLY DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO 

THE MEMORY OF ALL NIGERIANS 

IRRESPECTIVE OF COLOHR, RACE, CREED AND RANK 

WHO HAVE GIVEN UP THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE 

OF THE EMPIRE IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

FROM I916 TO I918 

W. D. DOWNES 
f 



ACKNOWLEDGMENT 

THE writer wishes to thank Mr G. H. Wilson of 
the Cape Times for most of the information 
coijtained in Chapter II ; ^ he also thanks 
Captain MUne-Home of the 3rd Nigeria Regiment, and 
Mr Stobart, late Intelligence Officer of the Nigerian 
Brigade, for all the assistance and information given by 
them, without which this book would never have been 
written. 

The writer's thanks are also extended to Mr Thomas 
Fraser Burrowes, C.B.E., and all officers of the Nigeria 
Regiment who have so kindly given the photographs 
with which this book is illustrated. 

All profits from the sale of this book will be given to 
the Nigerian branch of the British Red Cross Society, of 
which Mr Burrowes, Comptroller of Nigerian Customs, 
Lagos, is the Director. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 



INTRODUCTIOW 



CHAPTER II 

AN OUTLINED ACCOUNT OF THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN 
CAMPAIGN BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF THE NIGERIAN 
BRIGADE IN THAT THEATRE . . . . . 1 4 

CHAPTER III 

THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE IN EAST AFRICA . .. 42 

CHAPTER IV 

THE ACTION OF THE MGETA RIVER AND AFTERWARDS . 59 

CHAPTER V 

THE RUFIJI AREA AND THE NGWEMBE ACTION . . 68 

CHAPTER VI 

OPERATIONS DURING THE RA\NS ..... 89 

CHAPTER VII > 

THE NAUMANN PURSUIT II6 

CHAPTER VIII 

THE ACTION OF MKALAMA I3I 

CHAPTER IX 

THE RUFIJI FRONT AND THE FURTHER OPERATIONS OF THE 

3RD NIGERIA REGIMENT I44 

CHAPTER X 

THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN THE KILWA AREA . . l62 



X NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

PAGE 

CHAPTER XI 

THE MARCH TO THE LINDI AREA . . • • . 185 

CHAPTER XII 

THE 2ND AND 4TH NIGERIANS AND THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA . I96 

, CHAPTER XIII 

THE REMAINDER OF THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE AT THE 

BATTLE OF HJAHIWA 2^5 

CHAPTER XIV 

THE ACTION OF MKWERA ...... 229 

CHAPTER XV 

THE OPERATIONS OF THE MAKONDE PLATEAU . . 245 

I 

CHAPTER XVI 

BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION ...... 257 

CHAPTER XVII 

THE LAST PHASE OF THE CAMPAIGN IN GERMAN TERRITORY . 274 

' CHAPTER XVIII 

ENVOI ......... 287 

AN EPILOGUE ........ 293 

APPENDIX A f 

LIST OF FIGHTING TROOPS IN THE FIELD AT THE END OF 

I916 299 

APPENDIX B 

SUMMARY OF STRENGTHS OF INFANTRY BATTALIONS IN 
GERMAN EAST AFRICA, I9I7, ESTIMATED ON THE BASIS 
OF MAXIMUM " EFFECTIVE " STRENGTH . . . 301 

APPENDIX C 
AWARDS IN THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE FOR SERVICE DURING 

THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN . . . 304 

INDEX 345 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Brigadier-General Cunliffe, C.B., C.M.G., Command- 
ant Nigeria Regiment and Brigadier-General 
OF THE Nigerian Brigade in German East Africa, 
1916-1918 ....... Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

Germans at Home ....... 14 

A House at Tabora before the Arrival of the Allies 14 

A Gun-carrier in full " Marching Ordbr " carrying 
A Gun Wheel of the 2.95 Q.F.B.L., a very 
AWKWARD Load ; weight, 70 lbs. ... 44 

From " Nigeria and the Great War." 

On Trek 48 

The Germans in the Act of damaging the Central 

Railway before retiring South ... 48 

This photograph was taken by the Germans themselves. 

The Ngeri-Ngeri Bridge ...... 54 

As left by the Germans when they tetired south from the Central Railway. 

The Grave of Captain Selous, D.S.O. ... 64 

The Swinging Bridge over the Rufiji . . , 66 

Gun Captured by 2nd Nigeria Regiment at 

Tsimbe 66 

xi V 



xii NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

FACZMG PAGE 

A •• Bag " at Duthumi 74 

The Rufiji Valley near Kipenio . . . • 90 

Company Sergt.-Major Belo Akure, D.C.M., M.M. . 104 

From " Nigeria and^tlie Great War." 

morogoro . . . . . • - .110 

The German Wireless at Mahenge . . . .144 

From a German Pliotograpli. 

Sprockhoff Blindfolded, with his White Flag by 

HIS Side ........ 154 



A Sentry on Duty on the Nyangao-Namupa Road . 196 
A Machine-Gun in Action at Mahiwa . . . 204 



Nigerians in the Trenches . . . . .212 

From " Nigeria and the Great War." 

The Kashmir Mountain Battery in Actiqn during 

the Battle of Mahiwa . . . . .220 

A Stokes Gun in Action in the Lindi Area . . 224 

The Light Railway in the Lindi Area . . 236 

Another use for the Ford Car. 

A Machine-Gun in Action during the Battle of 

Mkwera ........ 236 

Reserve Ammunition Carriers crossing a Deep Valley 

on the Makonde Plateau ..... 246 

Bringing up Supplies at Ndanda .... 246 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xiii 

FACING PAGE 

The Advance on to the Makonde Plateau . . 250 

The Nigerian Guns being brought into Action on the 

Makonde Plateau 250 



A Street in Lindi 260 

General Von Lettow Forbeck ..... 282 

By kind permission of the lUustraied London News. 

Indian Cavalry Crossing the Rovuma into Portu- 
guese TerSitory 284 

Nigerian Troops embarking at Lindi . . . 284 



LIST OF MAPS 

Diagram Sketch-Map of the Battle of Bweho Chini 168 

Sketch-Map of the Nigerian Positions at the 

Battle of Mahiwa ...... ig6 

Sketch-Map of the Battles of Mahiwa and Mkwera 212 

Sketch-Map of the Battle of Mkwera . . . 230 

General Map At End 



WITH THE NIGERIANS 
IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

CHAPTER I 

/ 

' INTRODUCTION 

TO the average " man in the street " at home the 
letters W.A.F.F. convey nothing, so it is neces- 
sary for me formally to introduce the readers 
to the West African Frontier Force, for which the letters 
stand. In British West African colonies there are 
certain races and tribes that take to fighting as a duck 
takes to water. These are trained and led by officers 
and non-commissioned officers specially selected for 
service in the Tropics, who are seconded for a certain 
period from their British regiments to the various 
battahons of the W.A.F.F. This account deals entirely 
with the Nigeria Regiment of that Force. 

It is my hope that, when the reader has finished this 
book, he will be as convinced as the writer that these 
soldiers from the borders of the sun-scorched Sahara, 
from the banks of the Niger and the Benue, from Yoruba- 
land and Calabar, are second to none among the dark- 
skiimed sons of the Empire as fighting men. 

It will probably interest my readers if I set down for 
their information a short sketch of the history and doyigs 
of this gallant regiment, dating back as it does to the eairly 
days of the British Overseas Empire. 



2 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

On 9th October 1862 the Governor of British West 
African possessions, Stanhope Frftman, wrote from his 
headquarters at Sierra Leone to the Duke of Newcastle, 
then Colonial Secretary, pointing out the necessity of 
increasing the armed forces of Lagos. Up to this time 
one hundred men of the West India Regiment formed 
the garrison. Of these only thirty-six could turn out 
in aid of the civil power ; the rest were either " on 
guards " or on the sick list. Stanhope Freeman stated 
in his despatch : " Her Majesty's Government, in accept- 
ing the territory ceded by King Docemo, have bound 
themselves to assist, defend, and protect the inhabitants 
of Lagos ; to put an end to the slave trade in this and the 
neighbouring coimtries, and to prevent the destructive 
wars so frequently undertaken by Dahomey and others 
for the capture of slaves. With regard to the assistance, 
defence, and protection to be granted to the inhabitants 
of Lagos, I should wish to know what steps I should be 
authorized to take in the event of Lagos people being 
kidnapped and sold by the people of any of the surround- 
ing towns ? It would appear to me that we are bound 
to rescue them. It is an easy matter if the kidnappers 
belong to the places on the borders of the lagoon, where 
the mere appearance of a gunboat is sufficient to force 
the natives into submission, but in case of the kidnappers 
being from a town which a gimboat cannot reach, what 
measures am I to take ? Moral ihfluence in these parts 
depends upon physical force, ajid therefore the people 
of the interior do not acknowledge om- power, as they 
say we are very strong on the coast where we have our 
ships, but we can do nothing on land. If, therefore, the 
Lagos people should be kidnapped and this Government 
contents itself with protest, it would not only be failing 



INTRODUCTION 3 

in its duty towards its subjects, but would also be 
lowering the British name, for the natives would not 
attribute the action of the Government either to apathy 
or forbearance, but to lack of power to hold their rights." 
This striking letter was the first \ move towards the 
establishment of the W.A.F.F. 

In June 1863 the first Hausas were trained as soldiers. 
Thirty Hausa police of Lagos were armed and drilled 
that year. This force went by the nickname of " The 
Forty Thieves," but why I do not know ; nor have I 
any records of there being more than thirty all told. 
John Glover,^ Lieutenant-Governor of LagoSj wrote to 
the Colonial Ofiice on the loth June 1863, stating that 
this force of thirty was the pnly available force that could 
be looked upon in the light of an expeditionary force. 
It was the only force that could be moved out of 
Lagos in case of trouble within the " territory." In 
this dispatch Glover asked permission from the Colonial 
Secretary to increase this force to one hundred men. 
He stated : " They are very apt in their drill and 'are 
proud of being soldiers, and have shown on two recent 
occasions at Epe that they can fight faithfully and well. 

* Lieat. Glover, R.N., first arrived off the West Coast when serving 
on board the " Penelope." In 1857 he joined the Niger expedition 
with Dr Eaikie. On the 24th November 1862 he was promoted to 
Commander, when his services at sea came to an end. 

On 2ist of April 1863 Commander, or more often known as Captain, 
Glover was appointed Administrator of the Government of Lagos ; in 
May 1864 he became Colonial Secretary in the same place ; and was from 
February 1866 till 1872 again Administrator and lieutenant-Governor. 

In 1870 Captain Glover wjis actively engaged in suppressing the 
marauding incursions of the Asbantis in the neighbourhood of the 
Kiver Volta ; when war with the Ashanti became imminent in 1873, 
Glover volunteered for special service. He arrived at Cape Coast in 
the early days of September with three hundred trained Hausa soldiers. 
His troops materially assisted the work of the main forces under Sir 
Garnet Wolseley. 



4 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

They require no commissariat nor barracks, and would 
form the nucleus of a future permanent force should 
such a force ever be formed. I would take the liberty of 
suggesting to your Grace that our West India Regiment 
might be recruited from this force with much advantage 
to Her Majesty's service." ' , 

On the loth October the same year Lieut.-Govemor 
Glover again wrote to the Colonial Secretary asking for 
an additional force of six hundred Hausas to be added 
to the Hausa force of Lagos. These six hundred men 
were to be a form of militia, and they jvould come up 
for drill two months in each year. When their training 
was over they would return to their farms in the out- 
lying districts, where they would be stiU guardians of 
the peace. The hundred armed police already approved 
would continue as a permanent force. The Lieutenant- 
Governor states in his dispatch : " These seven hundred 
men, with the hundred and ninety-two men of the West 
India Regiment, will be a force which will make the 
Government respected both within and beyond the 
settlement." 

Governor Freeman was referred to upon the subject, 
and wrote on the 3rd December 1863 in the following 
words : "I cannot consider the force of six hundred 
poUce as being excessive when it is considered that each 
man is only called out for drill and training for two 
months during the year. Only one hundred will be 
embodied at a time, which number, with the permanent 
force of a hundred, will be sufficient for the requirements 
of the Colony in any but the most exceptional circum- 
stances ; but to have the power, on an emergency, of 
sending an armed and disciplined force of seven himdred 
men to aiy point in the settlement would be the surest 



INTRODUCTION 5 

way of guarding against the evils, and perhaps precluding 
the event, of such an emergency." Governor Freeman 
had, in fact, suggested the raising of a similar force for 
Lagos as far back as July 1862. He sums up his reason 
for asking the Colonial Secretary to advise* the Queen to 
confirm the ordinance for enrolling this force in these wq^ds : 
" The expense of this establishment is about one-fifth of 
what a similar number of regular troops would cost the 
Imperial Government, and the force is more efficient than 
the West India Regiment, one-fifth of the men of which are 
usually on the sick Hst in this place, while there is rarely 
more than one per cent, of the Hausa men ill ; besides 
this, they require no commissariat, little or no transport, 
and nourish themselves on the products of the country, 
which are always to be had. Wearing no shoes, they do 
not get footsore on long marches, and the simplicity of 
their dress renders it both convenient and economical." 

Thus the original suggestion for raising the first of the 
Hausa police force came from Commander Glover, who 
held the post of the first Commandant of this force. 

The extra force of six hundred was duly raised and 
placed imder the command of Commander Glbver. 
Glover must therefore be looked upon as the father of 
the W.A.F.FS. Little did he know that in fifty years' 
time the force which he nurtured in its^ infancy would be 
called upon to fight a great and powerfiil European nation 
in three different theatres of war, namely, Togolaiid, ttie 
Cameroons, and German East Africa, and'in each of these 
three theatres be victorious. 

In 1864 an attempt was made in Lagos to raise the 
5th West India Regiment out of the Hausas for foreign 
service, but the attempt was doomed to failure from- the 
first. To begin with, the Hausas of Lagos were very 



6 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

limited in number, their home being a two months' 
journey inland. Again, the pausas did not wish to serve 
overseas, far away from their own country. Governor 
Freeman wrote a long dispatch upon this subject, dated 
6th May 1864, at the end of which he states : " I would 
therefore strongly recommend that the War Office should 
not relinquish the scheme for the enlistment of Hausas ; 
but the regiment must be exclusively for African service ; 
and this settlement (Lagos) must be compensated for the 
loss of the regular force it now has at its command by a 
nucleus of the detachment of Imperial troops." 

This dispatch put an end to any idea of continuing the 
attempt to raise the 5th West India Regiment in Lagos. 

Eight months later, we find the Lieutenant-Governor of 
Lagos pointing out once again the absolute necessity of 
forming a sufficient force locally for the protection of 
the Colony. On the 9th April 1865 he again wrote to 
the Colonial Office, using in the dispatch the words : " I 
consider it my duty to have at my command a sufficient 
force for the protection of the settlement." 

About this time the Yoruba country was just beginning 
to be opened up, and the Lieutenant-Governor very 
rightly saw the tremendous possibiUties this country 
held for enriching the Empire, but without a sufficient 
force he was nearly powerless to open up the country 
north of Lagos owing to the unfriendly behaviour of lihe 
Egba tribe. In 1865 the Egbas suffered a heavy defeat 
at Ikorodu, having come within range of British artillery. 
At last the home Government sanctioned the raising of 
a regular armed force, known at first as the Lagos Hausa 
Constabulary, and the Hausa " Militia " became a force of 
the past. This force was destined to see much service both 
at home and overseas, taking a most active part under 



INTRODUCTION 7 

Captain Glover in the Ashantee War of 1873-74. The 
Hausa Constabulary, later the Lagos battaUon.^W.A.F.F., 
became the 2nd Southern Nigeria Regiment in 1905, the 
Southern Nigeria Regiment in 1911, and re-divided again 
in 1914 into the 3rd and 4th Nigeria Regiment. In its 
ranks have served many famous black warriors, from the 
time of the native officer Yakubu, who was known in 
1879 as the father of the Hausas, to Sergt.-Major Belo 
Akure, the hero of a dozen fights, and Sergt.-Major 
Sumanu with his five medals, both of our time. 

The Calabar battalion of the Southern Nigeria Regi- 
ment, descended from the forces of the Oil Rivers 
Protectorate and part of the Royal Niger Constabulary, 
later known as the 3rd Nigeria Regiment, prior to 1911 
was known as the ist Southern Nigeria Regiment, but 
was amalgamated in that year with the and Southern 
Nigeria Regiment into one regiment under the command 
of Lieut.-Col. CmiHffe, who becE^me Commandant of the 
Southern Nigeria Regiment. On the ist January 1914 
the battalion became the 3rd Nigeria Regiment. 

The chief actions that the Southern Nigeria Regiment 
have taken part in since 1899 ^^^ '■ The Ashantee War 
of 1900 ; the Benin River Patrol ; the Brass River 
Patrol ; the Benin City Massacre Punitive Patrol ; the 
Aro Expedition ; the Onitsha Hinterland and Asaba 
Hinterland Expeditions; various Muashi Expeditions; 
the Ijebu Ode Expeditions ; various Sonkwala and other 
pagan districts Expeditions and Patrols. 

The Northern battalions of the Nigeria Regiment date 
back to the days of the Oil Rivers Protectorate and 
the Niger Coast Protectorate. They were originally an 
irregular armed police employed by the Royal Niger 
Company to protect their trade both by land and river. 



8 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Later they became a disciplined rpgiolar force known as 
the Royal Niger Constabulary. At the end of December 
1899 Sir Frederick Lugard took over the administration 
and constabulary of the old Chartered Company, and on 
the 1st January 1900 the Union Jack was hoisted at 
Lokoja in the place of the Company's flag. The Royal 
Niger Constabulary was incorporated into the West 
African Frontier Force, and later became the ist and 
2nd Nigeria Regiment. 

1900 was to prove a most active year for the Northern 
Nigeria Regiment, owing to the outbreak of the Ashantee 
War. On the 15th April the first intimation of the turgent 
need for assistance reached Sir Frederick Lugard, and 
within a very short time an expeditionary force, con- 
sisting of 25 officers, 27 British N.C.Os., 4 doctors, 2 
nursing' sisters, with 1229 rank and file, and 300 carriers, 
represented Northern Nigeria at the Ashantee front. 

When it is remembered that the great South African 
War had already reduced the supply of Emropeans to a 
minimum, this was a notable effort for a five-months-old 
British possession to perform. There is no doubt that Sir 
James Willcocks, who commanded the troops in Ashantee* 
placed special reliance on the Northern Nigerian troops, 
to judge by the honours Ust of that campaign. Capt. 
Melliss was wounded no less than four times in three 
months, and was awarded the Victoria Cross and pro- 
moted to Lieutenant-Colonel. Colour-Sergt. Mackenzie 
was also awarded the Victoria Cross, whilst Bugler 
Moma and Private Ojo Oyo both received the D.C.M. In 
the King's Speech at the opening of Parhament, on the 
14th February 1901, reference was made to the endurance 
and gallantry of the native troops of Nigeria, so ably com- 
manded by Sir James Willcocks and led by British officers. 



INTRODUCTION 9 

On the 23rd July 1901 Col. Morlaxid became Commandant 
of the Northern Nigeria Regiment in place of Sir James 
Willcocks, who had resigned this appointment. 

In 1902 Northern troops were sent to assist the Southern 
Nigeria Regiment in the Aro Expedition, under command 
of Lieut.-Col. Festing, D.S.O. In 1903 the towns of 
Kano and Sokoto were captured by Col. Morland's 
expedition, and formed the subject of mention in the 
King's Speech at the opening of ParUamenI; on 17th 
February 1903. Col. Morland advanced on Zaria on 
29th January 1903, and in seven weeks had captured 
both these ' great towns, had fought four important 
engagements at Babeji, Kano, Sokoto, and ^gain near 
Rawia against a Kano army. The hardships during this 
expedition were very great, and many native soldiers 
and carriers died of cold and lack of water. During this 
year there first came into being the Mounted Infantry 
Battalion, which was later known as the 5th Nigeria 
Regiment. This year was a year of war for the W.A.F.F., 
for in addition to the Kano-Sokoto Expedition there 
were many minor operations, the most important being 
the Biumi Expedition, in which no less than 18 officers 
and 520 rank and file were engaged in the final attack. 
Major March and 12 natives were killed in this engage- 
ment, while 7 other officers and 137 natives were wounded. 

All was peaceful in Northern Nigeria till February 
1906, with the exception of minor troubles in the Munshi 
country, when without warning a new Mahdi (a Prophet) 
declared himself in the Sokoto district with the most 
disastrous results. The rising that followed could not 
have come at a more imfortunate moment. Sir Frederick 
Lugard, being assured of complete peace in the Protec- 
torate, had sent the whole mobile force on an expedition 



10 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

to the Munshi covintry in order to punish them for their 
attack upon the Niger Company's trade depot at Abinsi 
on the Benue. A mere handful of men remained at 
Lokoja. At Hadeija, half-way between Kano and Bomu, 
there was a garrison of a company of Infantry, and 
another company of M-I. (Mounted Infantry), but this 
force could not be used, as the Emir of Hadeija could^ 
not be trusted, EUtid therefore the removal of troops from 
this area would have been most dangerous. 

Major Burdon, the Resident of Sokoto, had just left 
in order to go on leave, and Mr Hillary had taken over 
the district. The circumstance which distinguished the 
Sokoto outbreak from all others was the degree of success 
its leaders gained at the outset. The rising had been 
plaimed some months before to take place at Satiru, 
after the Resident had left Sokoto, and was headed by 
MaUam Isa (the Preacher Christ). Mr Hillary, on 
hearing of the trouble at the village of Satiru, sent a 
messenger after the Resident to recall him, and then 
resolved to take the whole M.I. company, then quartered 
at Sokoto, to Satiru. When they arrived near the 
village he rode forward with Mr Scott, the Assistant 
Resident, who acted as his interpreter. Lieut. Black- 
wood, who commanded the troops, fearing that the 
two civil officers had detached themselves too far from 
the escort, came up at the gallop and formed square 
with ]^s company. The Satiru people began to charge, 
but the civil of&cers were still outside the square. Lieut. 
Blackwood made the unforttmate mistake of endeavouring 
to advance the square to the two civil of&cers— a fatal 
error with mounted troops. Before the square could 
re-form the enemy were upon them, the horses took 
fright, and a general m€16e ensued. Messrs Hillary and 



INTRODUCTION 11 

Scott, together with Lieut. Black\yood and twenty-five 
rank and file, were killed on the spot, and the remainder 
of the British troops were routed, but two troopers of 
the M.I. (Mounted Infantry), whose names I am im- 
fortimately unable to give, behaved most gallantly, and 
regardless of their own lives they nearly succeeded in 
saving Mr Scott, and later saved Dr EUis, who was Ijdng 
on the ground severely wounded. The Sultan of Sokoto, 
in, the meantime, had assembled his own people for the 
defence of the Sokoto fort and garrison. It was not till 
8th March that sufficient troops had managed to con- 
centrate at Sokoto to operate, against the people of 
Satiru. On the loth March Major Goodwin, in command 
of six hundred troops, marched out against Satiru. Here 
he found awaiting him two thousand immoimted men ; 
aU very indifferently armed. The rebels fought with the 
coiu-age born only of rehgious fanaticism, but all to no 
purpose. They made several brave charges, and resisted 
the troops of the Crown in a hand-to-hand fight in the 
village itself. The fugitives were pursued by the M.I. 
and by Sokoto horsemen, in which the rebels suffered 
very heavy casualties, This was the last big rising in 
the North against the Government. 

There were several minor operations during 1906 and 
1907, the best known of them being the cave fighting at 
Margki, imder command of Lieutenants Chappian and 
Chaytor. In this action the W.A.F.F. lost ten rank and 
file killed, two officers and forty rank and file wounded. If 
the hillsmen had held the caves and tunnels no force on 
earth without artillery could have removed them, as they 
were well suppUed with unhmited food and sufficient 
\ra,ter. In many cases poisoned arrows were shot at a 
range of from five to twenty yards through rocky aper- 



12 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

tures in the caves from unseen foes. It took three 
months' operating to break this unique robbers' den. 
In the report upon these operations it is written, " I 
venture to state my deliberate opinion that no military 
operations have taken place during the last seven years in 
which troops engaged had such genuine fighting to do under 
conditions extraordinarily difficult and nerve-trying." 

In 1900 up to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, 
Nigerian troops, both North and South, have constantly 
been employed on patrols and other forms of military 
operations. No other forces of the Crown have seen so 
much fighting in the same fourteen years. The following 
account of the doings of the Nigeria Regiment in East 
Africa is not intended as a serious history of the East 
African Campaign, but is just a story told by one who had 
the honour to go through this campaign with the W. A.F.F. 
— one who suffered and laughed, fought and trekked, 
worked and rested, starved and fed with this gallant 
' band of black volimteers from Nigeria, for it must be 
remembered that every Nigerian soldier that went to 
German East Africa volimteered his services for that 
campaign. I am sure that if those pioneers of Nigeria, 
Glover and Freeman, could have seen the regiment, of 
which they were the foimders, at Mahiwa, they would 
ha^e seen something of which they would have been 
justly proud. They could have honestly said to them- 
selves, "If we have achieved nothing else in our Uves, 
we have anyhow founded a regiment to be proud of." 
I hope that when my readers have read this account, 
poorly told as it is by an amateur writer, they^ will in 
future respect the fighting black man of Africa, for he 
has at least proved himself a man. We in England owe 
our negro brother-subject a great debt of gratitude for 



INTRODUCTION 13 

all he has done for pur beloved Empire. Many a native 
of Nigeria has trekked his last trek and fought his last 
fight far away from his own land for the sake of the 
Empire. Ruskin once said war was an injustice of the 
ignoblest kind at once to God and Man, which must be 
stemmed for the sake of them both. This story has been 
written for the express purpose of letting the outside 
world know how nobly the West African soldier has 
helped to stem this tide of injustice to civilization. The 
length of a man's Ufe is not told in words, but in actions, 
irrespective of colour, race, or creed ; and until the 
" Cease Fire " sounds upon all fronts the W.A.F.F. will 
continue to sacrifice themselves willingly upon the altar 
of duty, side by side with their different brothers of the 
Empire, for the sake of that Empire that has given them 
freedom, justice, and all that makes life worth living. I 
personally feel it an honour to have been given the 
opporttmity to have served with such gallant troops, 
who at all times have been brave, chiviailrous, and cheer- 
ful, in spite of all they have been called upon to undergo. 
One realizes the truth in those four hnes of Kipling after 
having served in action with these gallant fellows : 

" Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall 

meet. 
Till earth and sky stand presently at God's great judgment seat ; 
But there is neither East nor West, Border nor Breed nor Birth, 
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from 

the ends of the earth ! " 



CHAPTER II 

AN OUTLINED ACCOUNT OF THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN 
CAMPAIGN BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF THE NIGERIAN 
BRIGADE IN THAT THEATRE 

THE German flag was first established on the 
East Coast of Africa in the year 1884 by Dr 
Karl Peters, Dr Thehlke, and Count Pfeil. They 
crossed over from Zanzibar and began to negotiate 
treaties of annexation with local chiefs, who up to 
this time acknowledge the sijzerainty of the Sultan of 
Zanzibar. These treaties were endorsed by the Imperial 
German Government, who backed up Dr Peters by a 
German fleet. By the two Anglo-German Conventions 
of 1886 and 1890, the Sultan of Zanzibar was relieved 
of all his ipossessions on the mainland, as well as of all 
the contiguous islands except Zanzibar and Pemba, 
which in 1890 were definitely declared British Protec- 
torates. At the outbreak of war the German Pro- 
tectorate of East Africa was divided into twenty-four 
Administrative areas, and in 1914 the white population 
was estimated at about 6000, coloured population at 
15,000, and the native population at 8,000,000. The 
campaign can be divided into four main phases, each 
being capable of further sub-division. The first phase 
may be said to comprise the period from the outbreak 
of war to the beginning of 1916. The second phase 
begins with General Smuts' assumption of the command 
of the forces in the field to the crossing of the River 

14 




CKRM.WS AT HOMK 




A HOUS]': AT TAHORA 

lil-:[-i>|{Iv THIC AKKIV.M i>|-- THE ATI.IE^ 
Nfirii; TIfK GP.RMW N\TJ\K SOLDIER IN THE 1- UkKl , [;Ol' > 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 15 

Rufiji by the British troops. The third phase from early 
January 1917 till the Germans crossed into Portuguese 
territory. The fourth phase is the campaign continued 
in Portuguese East Africa. 

During the first phase, with one or two important 
exceptions, the British and Belgians were on the defen- 
sive. The second phase was chiefly composed of wide 
turning movements on the part of the British and Belgian 
troops, which led to the Germans falling back and being 
slowly forced to concentrate. The third phase, which 
chiefly concerns us in this account, was made up of a 
series of big fights, and a determined offensive on the 
part of the British. The fourth phase (which is just 
touched upon in this book) is von Lettow's (the German 
Commander-in-Chief) escape into Portuguese territory 
and the operations which ensued. 

The main geographical factors are readily discernible 
from the map. The eastern coast-Une is roughly some 
600 miles in extent from the Portuguese border to the 
border of British East Africa. The chief harbours are 
Dar-es-Salaam, the coastal terminus of the Central 
Railway ; Tanga, at the terminus of the Usambara Hne ; 
Kilwa and Lindi. German East Africa is about 384,000 
square miles in area. The Union of South Africa is 
about 473,000 square miles. Germany and Austria 
together are about the same area as the Union. This 
win give the reader some idea of the size of the country 
which formed the theatre for the East African Campaign. 

The chief strategic feature of the German Protectorate 
was the Central Railway, which was completed^ shortly 
before the outbreak of war, and spanned the coimtry 
from Dar-es-Salaam to Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika, a 
distance of 720 miles. Everything at the outbreak of 



16 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

war was highly favourable to the Germans for a prolonged 
resistance. They had the initial advantage of interior 
lines ; their Centi;al Railway was admirably planned for 
defensive purposes ; on the Great Lakes they had their 
gunboats, and at the outbreak of war their military 
forces far exceeded any possible force which coidd be 
brought against them on any border from those already 
on the spot. The very vastness of their territory offered 
an awkward military problem. Our total forces in 
British East Africa, Uganda, and Nyassaland were vastly 
inferior numerically to the troops the Germans could put 
into the field, and the majority of K.A.R. (King's African 
Rifles) were, in the early days of August 1914, far away 
on the SomaU frontier, deaUng with some native dis- 
turbance. A short time previously a battalion of K.A.R. 
had been disbanded for " economy." The K.A.R. were 
hastily recalled ; every able-bodied colonist, both British 
and Boer, volunteered for service — ^the latter forming a 
separate commando— and in due course the 29th Punjabis 
arrived as an advance guard of an Exp^tionary 
Force from India, which it was hoped would readjust 
the military balance as between British and German 
East Africas. Meanwhile actual hostilities had been 
opened by our naval forces under Vice-Admiral King 
Hall. Dar-es-Salaam was bombarded on 14th August, 
the object being to destroy the wireless station. A 
naval force landed for the purpose, and carried out 
its aim without resistance being offered, subsequently 
withdrawing. 

Late in August 1914 the Germans were observed to 
be concentrating north, and it was clear that their aim 
would be to cut the Uganda RaUway, which, running 
from Mombasa, passes through Nairobi and terminates 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 17 

on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria Nyanza, 584 miles 
irom the coast. The railway runs practically parallel 
with the German border throughout its, length, at 
distances var37ing from 50 to 100 miles, and presented 
a highly valuable objective for the German attack. 
Doubtless the bombardment of Dar-es-Salaam, couplpd 
with the complete uncertainty as to the direction from 
which the main British attack would come, hampered the 
German strategy in those early days, when the numerical 
advantage was so decidedly in their favour. 

It may be stated that the German offensive was 
singularly feeble, and with one or two exceptions quite 
futile. Their first offensive move was to seize Taveta, 
a smaJl poUce post 6n the British border, east of Kili- 
manjaro, which later was the scene of one of the first 
British successes. From Taveta many attempts were 
made to cross the Serengeti desert, with a view to 
destroying the railway near Maungu, but the damage 
done was never very serious, and on several occasions 
the raiders were captured, with their arms and explosives. 
On 4th September 1914: a more serious effort was 
made at Tsavo, near Voi — A place famous for a book 
called "The Man-Eaters of Tsa,vo." Fortunately the 
29th Punjabis had by this time arrived. Several small 
actions were fought in this neighbourhood, which is all 
dense bush country. The Germans led a force at least 
as large as any that could be brought against them. 
Lieut. Hardingham, who was in charge of an advanced 
post on the Tsavo river, reported that the enemy's 
strength was 1000 rifles, with two screw-guns and two 
machine-guns. The British troops fought with the 
greatest gallantry in country quite new to them, and 
after a somewhat severe action the Germans retreated 



18 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

by long marches along the Tsavo road, having sustained 
considerable losses. The Germans now turned their 
attention further west, and 400 rifles occupied Karungu, 
the Customs station on the eastern shore of Lake Vic- 
toria, without opposition. From here the enemy's force 
marched inland to Kisii, 160 nules west of Nairobi, which 
place they occupied on nth September. To meet this 
raid, 240 K.A.R. were sent down the lake, and after 
landing at Kendu Bay made a forced march on Kisii, 
where they heavily engaged the enemy. They fought 
till their ammunition was exhausted, but the Germans, 
unaware of this, abandoned Kisii ; in fact, they retired 
so quickly that they abandoned foiir machine-guns and 
a quantity of ammunition, as well as their dead and 
wounded. This retreat was chiefly due to the fact that 
they received the information that a strong British force 
was about to land at Karungu, and so cut off their 
retreat. This landing the Germans were able to prevent, 
but their position was so difficult that a few days later 
they abandoned Karungu and retired across the Isbrder. 
In the last ten days of September several attempts were 
made to invade British territory between Lake Natron 
and the sea, but these were all repulsed without difficulty. 
At the end of September 1914 the Germans attempted 
an attack on Mombasa. It was arranged that the 
German cruiser " Konigsberg," which had been in hiding 
for some weeks past, should bombard the port, effect a 
landing and occupy the island, while the land forces 
took the bridge connecting the island with the mainland. 
However, owing to Admiral King Hall's activity, the 
" Konigsberg " was unable to show herself in the open 
sea, but had to remain in hiding in the creeks. The 
land expedition succeeded in penetrating so far as Gazi, 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 19 

on the coast, but was repulsed during the first week of 
October, and forced back across the German border. 

This brings us to one of the greatest failures of the 
whole campaign — ^the first British attack on Tanga. 
I have been unable to get together many details of this 
regrettable incident, as no detailed ofi&cial accotmts have 
been issued on the subject. The Allahabad Pioneer Mail 
of i8th December 1914 gives the following account : — 

" The British force, which included both British and 
Indiem Regular troops, as well as Imperial Service troops, 
sailed from Bombay in October (1914), and arrived off 
Tanga, the place selected for a landing, at dayUght on 
November 2. Tanga being an qpen town and reported 
to be undefended by the enemy, it was apparently deemed 
right to give notice of the intention to occupy the place 
and to summon it to surrender before commencing a 
bombardment. This action was largely responable, as 
after events proved, for the failure of the attack. The 
summons to smrender made by H.M.S. " Fox," one of 
the two escorting warship ;, was refused by the German 
Governor, who, it appears, had already received news 
of the intended attack and energetically employed the 
respite thus afforded him in preparing the place for 
defence and in getting up reinforcements from the interior 
by raU. AU the troops were ashore by 9 a.m. on 
November 4, and an immediate advance on Tanga was 
ordered. Some indication of the extreme difficulty of 
this operation is afforded by the fact that, although the 
distance to Tanga was only if miles, it was 2\ hoius 
before our troops came under fire. Artillery support 
being almost impracticable owing to the density of the 
bush, it was decided to attack without waiting for the 
guns to be landed. The guns were accordingly left on 



20 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

board and fired from the deck of a transport in the outer 
harboiu' at such targets as could be made out. The 
advance was begun at noon, and at 2.30 p.m. the troops 
came under a heavy fire from rifles and machine-guns. 

" The loist Grenadiers, making a fine effort to fill a 
gap in the firing line due to the difficulty of advancing 
in line through the dense bush, came under exceedingly 
heavy cross-fire of rifles and machine-guns. They were 
unable to advance, but tenaciously held their own. The 
Loyal North Lancashire regiment and the Kashmir 
Rifles on the right hand meanwhile slowly gained groimd 
and entered Tanga, to the outskirts of which they held 
on, despite a heavy fire from the houses, which had been 
loopholed and strongly prepared for defence. Unfor- 
tunately the somewhat extended disposal of th^ troops, 
due to the thick bush, rendered it impossible to support 
these regiments at the moment when efiicient support 
might have enabled them to carry the town. Darkness 
coming brought the action to a conclusion, after which 
ovir troops withdrew unmolested to an entrenched position 
a quarter of a mile in the rear. In view of the extreme 
difiiculty of the country in the vicinity of Tanga, it was 
judged inadvisable to attempt a second attack without 
adequate reinforcements. Orders for embarkation were 
accordingly issued, and this was carried out without any 
interference on the part of the enemy." 

The British force consisted of one regular battalion of 
the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, four battalions of 
Indian Imperial Service troops, and one battalion of 
Indian Regular Infantry. All these battalions suffered 
heavy casualties, and after having failed in their attack 
were forced to retire and give up the unequal contest. 

Meanwhile the British forces had prepared an advance 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 21 

upon the German camp on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. 
The advance was timed to start on 2nd November. The 
German frontier was to be crossed by two columns 
working north-east and south-west of the moimtain. 
The Pimjabis stormed the position, taking three succes- 
sive lines. However, the two small flanking parties of 
the force encountered the enemy in considerable strength 
and were forced to retire. On 4th November the Germans 
retired from their camp on the Longido, a commanding 
feature in the main ridge, which cidminates in Kili- 
manjaro. But the British forward movement had been 
checked, and no further offensive movement was made 
during 1914. 

The first success in 1915 was gained by the enemy. 
The late Lord Lucas gave a brief accoimt of the affair 
in the House of Lords on 22nd April, and so I quote the 
following from his speech, as it covers adequately the 
course of the campaign up to the end of March 1915 : — 
" Early in December 1914 it was found necessary to 
institute operations against the German forces which 
had penetrated into our territory along the sea coast 
north of Tanga, and had there established themselves. 
With the aid of the naval forces on the East African 
Station these operations were successfully carried out, 
and by the .end of December we had driven the enemy 
out of British territory. On January 12, 1915, a strong 
German force, with guns and machine-guns, secretly con- 
centrated against Jassin, and, although every effort was 
made io reheve it, I regret to say that the post, after 
expending all its ammunition, was compelled to surrender. 
I am glad, however, to report that in these operations 
the Indian and African troops fought with great gallantry. 
On January 8 an expedition was sent from Mombasa 



22 NIGERIANS IN GEEMAN EAST AFRICA 

to occupy the Ge'fman island of Mafia, situated off the 
coast of German East Africa. This was successfully 
accomplished with sUght loss ; the island has now been 
placed under British rule. On January 9 a small 
British force attacked and occupied the German port of 
Shirati, on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria Nyanza. 
During December and January steps had been taken to 
arm the British steamers on Lake Victoria Nyanza, with 
the, result that on March 6 the steamer 'Winifred' 
drove ashore and totally disabled the ' Muanza,' the only 
German armed steamer on the lake. On March i a 
blockade of the East African coast was declared, and 
ample steps have been taken to make the blockade 
thoroughly effective. On March 12 a German raiding 
party of about 300 men was attacked near Karungu in 
the Victoria Nyanza district by a force of mounted 
infantry and King's African Rifles, and driven, with con- 
siderable loss, over the German border. Latterly, owing 
to the raiiiy season, no operations of any magnitude have 
been undertaken, although there have been several 
encounters with hostile patrols." 

The German accoimt of these operations was as 
follows : "A strong British force was beaten in a two- 
days' battle on January iSth-igth near Jassin. The 
British lost some 200 killed. Four companies were 
captured. The total losses of the British were about 
700 men, 350 rifles, one machine-gun and 60,000 rounds 
of ammunition. The German losses were 7 officers and 
II men killed, and 12 officers, 2 staff surgeons and 
22 men wounded, and 2 missing." 

The Isle of Mafia was occupied by British troops on 
loth-iith January. 

On 22nd January the British light cruiser " Astrsea " 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 23 

bombarded the Custom house on the Isle of Kwale, and 
on the 1st February the plain of Kipnje, without doing 
any damage. On 6th February the cruiser bombarded 
Kissiwami. 

The steamer " Adgital," which had been captured by 
the British after heavy fighting, was put out of use on 
6th February at the mouth of the Rufiji river, where 
she was engaged in making a recoimaissance. 

At Kirfurbira a British detachment of forty men were 
surprised by the Germans. The British retreated after 
losing seventeen dead. There were no German losses. 

All these events, though on a small scale, served to 
indicate that the conquest of East Africa would not be 
another Togoland, but would be a very formidable task. 
The of&cer who wrote home in these early days very 
rightly foresaw what was ahead for the British when he 
wrote : " We want as many Maxims with trained white 
gun crews as they can cram into the country. The 
Germans are simply bristling with Maxims, and use them 
like artists, and Maxims do 90 per cent, of the damage 
we suffer. If the Government think we can muddle 
through this show, they'll find that we'll get badly mauled. 
We are up against a powerful and determined enemy, 
who are not to be despised." I do not know the name of 
the writer of this letter, but should he ever read this book, 
I congratulate him upon his foresight. I must thank 
Mr G. H. Wilson of the Cape Times for the copy of this 
letter, as it is most interesting in the hght of after events. 

From the Jassin battle tiU March nothing of any great 
importance took place ; with the exception of small 
German raids on the Uganda railway, all was quiet in 
East Africa. 

In March 1915 there was an important operation on 



24 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Victoria Nj^nza. On the eastern shore of the lake, in 
the Karungu district, a German column under Capt. 
Hasethausen had managed to penetrate some distance 
into British territory. On gth March the invaders were 
badly defeated and scattered by a force of King's African 
Rifles, under Lieut.-Col. Hick^on. West of the lake our 
troops were in position along the River Kagera opposed 
to a German force which had been operating from the 
lake port of Bukoba. An attack was plaimed by our 
General Staff on this force so as to paralyse any further 
offensive move by the enemy in this area. The following 
account of these operations will be found in Mr John 
Buchan's history of the East African Campaign. I here 
quote from his book :^— 

" The plan was to send an expedition by steamer from 
the British port at Kisumu, on the eastern shore, about 
240 miles away, and at the same time to advance our 
forces across the 30 mUes which separated the Kagera 
river from Bukoba. The expedition sailed on June 20 
(19I5). It was under the command of Brigadier-General 
J. A. Stewart, and consisted of detachments of the King's 
African Rifles, the 2nd L6yal North Lancashires, and the 
25th Royal Fusiliers (the Legion of Frontiersmen), 
together with some artillery. Bukoba was reached on 
June 25, when the enemy's forces, some 400 strong, 
were defeated after a sharp action, in which the Arab 
troops fought bravely on the German side. We captured 
most of their artillery, and inflicted heavy casualties. 
As a sidelight on German poUcy, it may be noted that a 
Mohammedan standard of European manufacture was 
found in the house of the German Commandant. This 
action kept the Uganda borders more or less quiet dming 
the summer." 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 25 

Lord Kitchener telegraphed to Generals Tighe and 
Stewart his congratulations on this success. A short 
time before this successful British raid another im- 
portant operation had been successfully carried out by 
the Navy on Lake Nyassa. On 30th May the German 
^ port of Sphinxhaven was attacked by a naval force under 
conmiand of Lieut.-Commander Dennistoun, supported 
by field artillery and a landing party of King's African 
Rifles. The town was bombarded from the lake, and 
the enemy were forced to retire, leaving behind them 
arms, ammunition, and other military stores, ^^om- 
mander Deimistoun then shelled the German armed 
steamer " von Wissmann," and completely destroyed it. 
This gave us the naval command of Lake Nyassa. 

The next important operation was the destruction of 
the " Konigsberg," which had been hiding in the mouth 
of the Rufiji river since October 1914. For this in- 
formation I again quote from Mr Buchan's history : 

" When we discovered her, we sank a collier at the 
mouth of the river, and so prevented her Escape to open 
seas. E^rly in June Vice-Admiral King Hall, Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Cape Sta,tion, brought out two 
monitors, the ' Severn ' and the ' Mersey.' Our air- 
craft located the exact position of the ' Konigsberg,' 
which was surrounded by dense jimgle and forest. On 
the morning of July 4 the monitors entered the river 
and opened fire. The crew of the ' Konigsberg ' had 
made their position a strong one by means of shore 
batteries, which commanded the windings of the river, 
and look-out towers with wireless apparatus, which gave 
them the range of any vessel attacking. Owing to the 
thick jungle a direct sight of the enemy was impossible, 
and we had to work by indirect fire, with aeroplanes 



26 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

/ 

spotting for the guns. The bombardment of Jijly 4, 
which lasted for six hours, set her on fire. The attack 
was resumed on July 11, when the vessel was completely 
destroyed either as a result of our shelling or because she 
was blown up by her crew. The fate of this German 
cruiser, marooned for months far from the open seas, 
among rotting swamps and jungles, is one of the most 
curious in the history of naval war." 

The " Severn " and the " Mersey'" remained out in 
these waters during the whole campaign. 

Unfortimately for us the Germans managed to salve 
all the " Konigsberg's " guns, which later were used 
with much success against the British in their advance. 

On 28th-29th June the Northern Rhodesian Police and 
Belgian troops, under command of Capt. and Temp. 
Major J. J. O'Sullevan, were attacked near Abercom, in 
N.-E. Rhodesia, at an entrenched position at Saisi. The 
attack was repelled and the position strengthened. At 
the end of July the Germans again attacked Saisi in 
far greater numbers. This time the Allies were greatly 
outnumbered, but made a most heroic defence of the 
position. After suffering heavy casualties the enemy 
(under the command of General Wahle) were driven off, 
and on 3rd August they retired. General Wahle was 
on leave from Germany in East Africa when war was 
declared. He had with him the i8th, 23rd, 24th, and 
69th Field Companies ; also four other companies whose 
numbers are unknown, .besides the Tabora and Rukwe 
contingents of 400 Europeans and 200 Arabs. The war 
strength of a German field company at the commence- 
ment of the campaign was 10 officers and European 
N.C.Os., 10 European volunteers, and 200 native 
Ask^ris. The German strength in tl^ese operations at 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 27 

Saisi must have been about 1800 rank and file and about 
500 Europeans. O'Sullevan's strength was only 470 
native troops with 19 Europeans. His garrison had very 
little food, and could only get water at night from the 
neighbouring river. On 31st July the Germans sent out 
a white flag to O'Sullevan demanding his surrender. 
O'Sullevan would not consider any terms, so the Germans 
attacked the position, with the result that they had 40 
Europeans and 50 to 60 Askaris killed. It was estimated 
that the Germans fired about 216 shells and at least 
90,000 roionds of ammunition into the British perimeter. 
The whole operation was most creditably carried out by 
the defending forces. Capt. O'Sullevan was promoted 
to the rank of Major and awarded the D.S.O. in connec- 
tion with his services in this engagement. During the 
rest of 1915 there were only minor operations, such as 
occasional German raids in the direction of the Uganda 
railway, smaJl skirmishes along the Uganda border, and 
small engagements on the lakes. In August the enemy 
made one more determined attack on the Uganda rail- 
way, which was also repulsed. This brings us to the end 
of the first phase of the campaign. 

Gen. Sir H. Smith-Dorrien and his staff had arrived in 
South Africa at the end of 1915, but most unfortunately 
for the rapid completion of this campaign that gallant 
officer fell sitk at Cape Town and was unable to take over 
the appointment of Commander-in-Chief in East Africa. 
G«n. Smuts was therefore appointed in his place, and sailed 
from South Africa on 12th February 1916 in command 
of an Imperial Service contingent raised in South Africa 
for service in East Africa. On the same day Gen. Smuts 
assumed command of His Majesty's Forces in German 
East Africa. The situation in East Africa at this time 



28 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

is well explained in Gen. Smuts' dispatch published in 
July 1916. From this we find that the German forces 
in February of that year were estimated at 14,000 native 
rank an'd file, 2000 Europeans, 60 guns and 80 machine- 
gims, though the number of machine-guns and native 
rank and file was imder-estimated. This was subsequently 
proved by the known casualties and surrenders of the 
enemy, added to the number which escaped into Portu- 
guese East Africa. The enemy at the time were occupying 
considerable tracts of British territory. I quote now 
from the official dispatch : 

" At Taveta they had estabUshed a large entrenched 
camp with an advanced position at Sahta and an en- 
trenched camp at Serengeti, and an outpost at Mbuyumi. 
At Kasigau they maintained a garrison of 500 to 600 
rifles, with the object of delapng our concentration 1^^ 
blowing up the Uganda railway and the Voi-Taveta 
railway. In the coastal area they maintained a con- 
siderable garrison on the Umba river, and actually 
patrolled thence to the vicinity of the Uganda railway, 
Mwele, Mdogo, and Gazi. At numerous points along 
the 600 miles of land frontier the opposing troops were 
in touch, and the result was that Gen. Tighe had to 
disseminate widely his small force, and was unable to 
keep any large reserve in hand to meet a siidden call." 

Gen. Tighe had been put in charge of tl;ie preUminary 
operations before the arrival of Gen. Smuts and his staff, 
and to prepare for the offensive operations that were to 
follow. Thus Gen. Smuts was able to begin his offensive 
immediately on his arrival in British East Africa. Only 
five weeks remained to Gen. Smuts before the rainy 
season commenced in the Kilimanjaro district. A few 
days before the arrival of Gen. Smuts, Gen. Tighe had 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 29 

reconnoitred the German position at Salita with three 
battalions of the 2nd South African Brigade. The enemy 
were foimd to be strongly entrenched. The general plan 
of attack on this position and how it was carried out I 
give here word for word from" an unpublished article by 
G. H. Wilson of the Cape Times : " The plan was broadly 
to avoid frontal attacks against strongly held positions. 
\The 1st Division, based on Longido, was to cross the 
waterless bush between Longido and the Engare Nanjuke 
river, occupy .the latter and then advance between Meru 
and Kilimanjaro to Boma Jangombe. Hereafter it was 
to march to Kahe and cut the enemy's communication 
by the Usambara railway. The ist South African 
Moimted Brigade, 2nd Division, was to advance through 
the gap between KihmanjaroVnd the Pare hills against 
the enemy's main force, which was concentrated dn the 
neighbourhood of Taveta and at Salita. The enemy's 
total force in the Kilimanjaro area was estimated at 
6000 rifles, 37 machine-guns and 16 guns. The move- 
ments of the various divisions were so co-ordinated in 
accordance with a carefully drawn up time-table." 
Limitations of space compels a mere resum^ of operatioi^s 
which resulted in the clearing of the Kilimanjaro area, 
and only just fell short of bringing the whole campaign 
to a triumphal conclusion within a fortnight of the 
arrival of Gen. Smuts on the scene (of action. The ipap 
wiU show the general character of the plan, and how it 
was carried into effect. The ist Division, under Gen. 
Stewart, duly advanced on its great outflanking project, 
being given two clear days' start. At 2 p.m. on 7th 
March it had reached Gereragua. On the 9th it halted 
to reconnoitre and allow supplies to come up. On the 
loth, in Gen. Smuts' words, " Gen. Stewart considered 



80 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

it necessary to halt and reconnoitre for a road further 
west. On the 13th he was at Boma-Ja-Ngombe. On 
the 14th he joined hands with Gen. van Deventer in 
New Moschi. But he arrived too late. The enemy, 
after being driven from their position at Salita and 
Taveta, as will presently be described, had effected their 
retreat on the Kahe and the Ruvu river position. The 
splendidly conceived plan had just failed of the reward 
which was justly its due. Had the ist Division been 
able to keep to the allotted time-table, miUtary opinion 
in East Africa holds that although the movement 
demanded the greatest energy and decision, it was well 
within the capacity of Gen. Stewart's troops, and there 
can be little doubt that the course of the campaign 
would have been very different — ^the greater part of the 
German forces, including the whole of the staff, would 
have been caught in Gen. Smuts' skilfully flung net, and 
the war in East Africa might have been at an end in a 
month." Though these operations were only a partial 
success, they cleared the whole KiUmanjaro area of the 
enemy within a fortnight of the beginning of the British 
offensive. 

In the meantime the ist South African Mounted Brigade 
and the 3rd South African Infantry Brigade — ^both under 
Gen. van Deventer — ^were operating against the enemy's 
position at Taveta and Salita, and were endeavouring 
to turn the position from the west. These operations 
resulted in the enemy abandoning the Salita position 
on loth March. The Taveta position was occupied a. 
few days later after a hard fight. From here the enemy 
retreated to Latma Nek towards the south-west, and 
along the Taveta Moschi road to the west. The fighting 
at Latma Nek was most obstinate. The enemy held 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 31 

strongly prepared positions on the slopes of densely 
wooded hills. Portions of these hiUs were taken and 
retaken several times in the heavy fight of nth March. 
The Rhodesians and King's African Rifles gallantly 
pressed home an assault on Latma Ridge, but were 
imable to make the groimd good. Gen. Tighe ordered a 
night attack by the 5th and 7th South African Infantry. 
Col. Byron, the commander of the 5th South African 
Infantry, gained the Nek himself with eighteen men by 
midnight, but ^ding it impossible to hold his ground, was 
forced to retire. The 7th South African Infantry had in 
the meanwhile secured a firm hold north and south of the 
position attacked by Col. Byron, and maintained it imtU 
reinforced the following morning, when the enemy were 
seen to be retiring. The enemy's strength in this action 
was between 1500 to 2000 rifles. Fifty of their dead 
were foimd on the position. From here van Deventer 
advanced west and occupied Moschi without opposition, 
the enemy having retired south-east towards the Kahe. 
Much might be written here if space permitted of all the 
hardships encoimtered by white troops in a tropical 
cUmate. Before this campaign many men that took part 
in it did not know what it was to be ill. After a few 
weeks thousands of these once healthy men returned to 
the Union broken in health, not to know for months 
after leaving East Africa what it was to be really healthy 
and free from pain. Many never wiU get over their 
experiences, whilst again many a strong and healthy 
man never returned to his native land, but feU a victim 
to malaria, dysentery, black water, or enteric contracted 
in German East Africa. I do not know a more pitiable 
sight than a man that one has known as once a strong 
and powerful athlete, brought by sickness and privation 



32 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

to a poor and wretched thing of skin and bone — Fate's 
caricature of a man. Malaria takes many forms. Some- 
times just a shiver ; next a spUtting head and feverish 
body ; other times severe vomiting followed by aches 
and pains all over the body, and burning heat. Thus in 
the East African campaign, where^ sickness was as bad 
an enemy as the Germans to the soldier, the hospitals 
played a most important part. Malaria was at all times 
the chief enemy of the white soldier and the Indian. 
However, the ration question had much to do with the 
poor condition of many, thus igaking them an easy prey 
to malaria. I haye talked to several men who were with 
Gen. van Deventir during his advance, and all tell me 
that frequently they had to go aU day without any 
rations, and depended entirely on mealy cobs picked from 
local farms through which they passed. In these early 
days of the campaign the white soldier carried his pack 
and full kit — ^the same as if he were in Europe — ^but 
mosquito nets were an unknown part of the men's eqmp- 
ment, whilst the daily dose of five grains of quinine was 
not thou^t to be as necessary a daily ration as bully 
beef and biscuits. Much had to be gone through first 
before the soldier's condition was to any great extent 
improved. I do not think that any army coiild have 
suffered more than the first white troops that arrived in 
East Africa early in 1916. About 80 per cent, of the 
regiments was, after a few months, no longer fit for active 
service. 

On i8th March a general advance towards Ruvu was 
commenced. On 20th March Gen. Sheppard, in command 
of the Indian Brigade, had his camp at Store attacked 
by an enemy force of about 700 men. The enemy were 
repulsed. On the 21st March van Deventer occupied 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 33 

Kahe station and Kahe hill. As soon as this was com- 
pleted Gen. Sheppard, with the 2nd East African Brigade 
and the 2nd South African Brigade, pushed on to Ruvu 
river, and at dawn on the 22nd March, after severe 
fighting in dense bush, the enemy crossed that river, 
abandoning a 4.1 naval gun after they had blown it up. 
Gen. Smuts in his dispatch summed up his operations 
ia the following words : " The result of these operations 
from the i8th-2ist March was to drive the enemy out of 
the country north and along the Ruvu river. Aruscha 
had meanwhile been occupied by our mounted scouts, 
who drove off an enemy's company in a southerly direc- 
tion, and thus the conquest of the Kilimanjaro-Meru 
areas, probably the richest and most desirable districts 
of German East Africa, was satisfactorily completed. 
After his advance the British force had to be organized 
before any further advance could be made. The Ruvu 
river was held by a chain of outposts." 

The enemy had by this time split up into two 
portions : one had retired towards Tanga, and the other 
had marched south-west towards the Central Railway 
through Kondoa Irangi, making for Kilimatinde and 
Dodoma. 

In the middle of April van Deventer started his march 
to Kondoa. During this long advance this general did 
not trouble about his supply column and transport, but 
lived as far as possible upon the country. European 
troops were thus forced to live on meaUes, sugar-cane, 
sweet potatoes, cassava, etc., and in consequence suffered 
greatly from sickness. 

Van Deventer arrived at Kondoa by way of Kassile 
on 15th April, but with a very weak force. If the 
Germans had made a determined resistance tp the 

3 



34 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

advance about this date he would have found himself 
in a very dangerous position. But the luck of war was 
on his side, and the enemy, thinking they were opposed 
to a strong force, fell back towards the Dodoma and 
Kilimatinde district. The British force in this area was 
not more than 500 strong, with an ever-increasing daily 
sick return. Reinforcements were sent to Kqndoa as 
quickly as possible from the north, and by 9th May the 
position was consolidated. Thus the Grermans lost , a 
golden opportunity ; they did not discover their mistake 
till too late. On 9th May Col. von Lettow Forbeck, the 
German Commander-in-Chief, arrived on the scene, and 
immediately attacked the British position. For three 
days they continued the attack ; the German Askaris, as 
they did frequently at later dates, attacked with the 
greatest gallantry, and again and again advanced to the 
assault, each time suffering very heavy casualties, but 
at every attack they were repulsed. The nth battalion 
of the South African Infantry had to stand the brunt 
of the fighting during these three days. This battalion 
did most excellently, for it must be taken into accotmt 
that they had just finished a twenty-four dasrs' forced 
march in order to reinforce van Deventer. In their 
attacks the Germans lo^t 150 killed and a very large 
niiunber of wounded. They eventually retired, leaving 
Kondoa Irangi in the hands of the British. 

In the meantime, on the Northern Front the British 
forces were estabUshed at Kahe, with posts along the 
Ruvu. In this formation they remained until the end of 
May, when the advance was re-commenced. Columns 
under Brigadier-General Haimyngton and Major-General 
Hoskins pressed steadily south. On 15th July Gen. 
Hannyngton had taken Korogwe, on the Tanga railway. 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 35 

Generals Hoskins and Sheppard moved from here on to 
Handeni, a strong enemy position 60 miles due west 
of the mouth of the Pangani river. Gen. Sheppard 
manoeuvred the enemy out of their position without 
fightiag an action. However, on the following day the 
5th South African Infantry took part in a sharp action, 
in which they suffered many casualties. Xliis battalion's 
advanced guard walked into a skilfully prepared trap 
whilst marching along a narrow, bush path. Fighting 
continued till dark, when the Germans retired. Handeni 
was occupied on 19th June, and by 24th Jtihe British 
troops were 40 miles south of that place on the Luki- 
gura river, on the western side of which the enemy had 
taken up a position in the dense bush. The British 
deUvered a frontal holding attack on the morning of the 
24th June, while the main attack was delivered later 
against his left flank and rear. The attack was most 
successful, and the British, whose casualties were ex- 
tremely light, captured eleven Europeans, a pom-pom, 
two machine-gims, and a quantity of rifles and ammuni- 
tion. On 7th July the British marched into Tanga 
without serious opposition, but before the Germans 
evacuated the town they blew up the water-works and 
did as much damage as they could in the time. The 
capture of this place brought the whole of the Tanga 
railway into the hands of the British. From Tanga the 
enemy fell back on to Korogwe and Handeni. Sharp 
fighting took place at the former place on 15th July. 
On the same day Gen. Hannyngton attacked SaJsarre 
HiU, and captured a strong enemy position, together with 
a Hotchkiss gun. 

August saw a good many small engagements take place, 
chiefly carried out by South African mounted troops 



36 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

against small detached parties of the enemy which had 
been menacing Gen. Smuts' lines of commmiication. 

On 5th July Gen. van Deventer resumed the offensive 
towards the Central Railway. The advance was made 
by three roads, and everywhere met with success. On 
the central Une an entire German camp fell into British 
hands, whilst on the eastern road large quantities of 
German supplies and ammimition were seized. On 
29th July Dodoma — a. big station on the Central Railway 
— ^was occupied by van Deventer's troops. KiUmatinde 
and Kokombo, two other important railway stations, 
were captured. At Tschungi, also on the Central Rail- 
way, the enemy were again encountered, but after a hard 
fight they fell back on to Mpapua or Mpwapwa, 10 miles 
further east along the railway. 

During August the British force from Tanga, co- 
operating with the naval forces, occupied in succession 
Sadoni, Pangani, and Bagamojo— all |;hree places being 
coastal towns. At 9 a.m. on the 4th September Dar-es- 
Salaam surrendered to the same force. The capture of 
Dar-es-Salaam was most important, both from a strat- 
egical and political point of view, for in addition to being 
the capital of German East Africa, it was the terminus 
of the Central Railway and an extremely good seaport. 
A few days before its fall Morogoro was captured by 
van Deventer's force. The capture of this place was 
followed two weeks lajer by the faU of Tabora. This 
placed the whole of the Central Railway from Tanga to 
Dar-es-Salaam in the hands of the AlUes, togetlier with 
the entire territory north of this railway and east of a 
Hne drawn from Tanga north to Muanza on Lake Victoria. 

Tabora was taken by the Belgian forces on the 
19th September after very heavy fighting. During 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 37 

August Gen. Botha made an official visit to East 
Africa. 

I have now reviewed briefly the advance of Gen. Smuts' 
force from British East Africa to the Une of the Central 
Railway. There were two other forces distinct from 
Gen. Smuts' — Gen. Northey's and the Belgian contingent. 
The former force was based on Nyassaland and Rhodesia ; 
the latter on the Belgian Congo. During 1914 and eariy 
in 1915 the Rhodesian border was constantly being 
threatened by small raiding parties. At the outset of 
the campaign the British forces available to defend this 
border were very small, but had most gallantly held a 
200-mile frontier for all these months. 

Gen. Northey had accompanied Gen. Sir Horace Smith- 
Dorrien from the United Kingdom to Capetown, arriving 
at the latter place on Christmas Eve, 1915. Gen. Northey 
was a regular soldier, and had seen much service in 
France during the early weeks of the war, where he had 
been badly wounded. After a few days spent at Cape- 
town and Pretoria he left for Rhodesia. On 23rd January 
he was at Beira, where he had a consultation with the 
Portuguese governor, and on 19th February he reached 
Karonga on Lake Nyassa. Up to May 1916 his time 
was spent in reorganizing and distributing the forces 
along the border, converting the garrisons between Lake 
Nyassa and Lake Tanganyika into mobile columns, and 
arranging for supplies and transport. A proof that the 
administrative services of these forces were extremely 
good is found in the fact that never on one day did Gen. 
Northey's troops go without their rations. I here quote 
from Gen. Northey's dispatch, dated loth March 1917 : 

" Arrangements were made by which we were able, in 
a feW^ months, to deploy, feed, and ammunition columns 



38 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

operating loo miles north of Bismarckberg, east of 
Irangi, and 50 miles east of both Lupembe and 
Songea. The distances by road from Bismarckberg to 
New Langenberg, thence to Irangi, and from Irangi to 
Songea, are each about 200 miles. None of the roads 
are more than improved native paths ; the country is 
bad — Chilly and moimtainous, much of it being dense 
bush and very unhealthy. 

" It must be remembered that up to our own frontier 
all supphes had to be brought either through Rhodesia, 
some 600 miles from the nearest railway, by native 
bearers, or from Chinde up the Zambesi thrpugh 
Nyassaland and up the lake, a distance of 700 miles, 
with constant transfers from a sea-going ship to a stem- 
wheeler, railway, motor, carriers, and lake steamer. 

" In addition to the troops of the columns, many 
thousands of carriers had to be fed, and it must be borne 
in mind that each carrier eats the equivalent in weight 
of his own load in three weeks. 

" This colossal task was considerably helped later by 
the arrival of hght motor lorries. ... In six months 
450 miles of motor road were made, and from Mwaya to 
the Poroto hills, just north of New Langenberg, the road- 
level varied from 1500 to 8000 feet above sea level. 

" On 25th May we attacked the enemy all along the 
frontier, and by the end of July had cleared him out of 
the whole of the New Langenberg and Bismarckberg 
districts, occupying about 20,000 square miles of their 
rich and fertile country, and captured many prisoners 
and much war material. During August and September 
we made a complete wheel to the eastward, pivoting on 
the north end of Lake Nyassa and driving our enemy, 
who had now been reinforced, from the north eastwards 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 89 

from the districts of Irangi, Ubena, and Songea, the 
occupation of Irangi being synchronized with the arrival 
of Gen. vaji Deventer at Eilossa. 

" From October to February the troops under my 
command had some hard fighting. In addition to our 
original opponents we had to deal with Major Kraut (the 
late adversary of the 2nd Division) on our right, while 
the Tabora forces under Gen. Wahle, ordered to join 
Kraut, came down on our left, and across our Unes of 
communication. Kraut, in his attempt to block Colonels 
Hawthorne and Murray, suffered very heavily on the 
Ruhudje river, and the Tabora forces lost about half their 
numbers in getting across. 

" Between 30th October and 26th November we in- 
flicted over 600 known casualties on the enemy. . . ." 

Gen. Northey's force at the commencement of his 
offensive was organized in four columns. His force 
included the 1st and 2nd South African Rifles, the ist 
King's African Rifles, the Northern Rhodesian PoUce 
(native), the British South African PoUjie (Rhodesians), 
and some naval guns. 

In August 1914 the Germans had opened hostilities 
against the Belgian territory by bombarding Albertville 
on Lake Tanganyika, the terminus of the Belgian-Congo 
Railway. At the time the Belgians were not able to 
take the offensive against the Germans. 

At the beginning of 1916 the Belgians began to assemble 
on the extreme north-west border of German East Africa. 
This force was under the command of Gen. Tombour; 
his sphere of operations was from Ujiji on Lake Tangan- 
3dka to Tabora, a distance of 250 miles ; from Lake 
Tangan3dka to Lake Kivu ; from the Belgian Congo to 
Victoria Nyanza ; from Muanza to Tabora. 



40 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

In April the Belgians advanced in two columns, and 
by the end of May had made a big advance eastward 
towards Victoria Nyanza. On 12th August a Belgian 
brigade occupied St Michael south of Lake Victoria, 
having thus completed an advance of 312 miles. During 
this advance the Belgians had defeated the enemy in 
five engagements, th^ actions of 3rd July and 13th July 
being very successful, and costly to the enemy. At 
St Michael the Belgians established touch with the 
British who had occupied Muanza, and had advanced 
south along the main Tabora road. The Germans took 
up a strong position 50 miles south of Muanza. In the 
meantime another Belgian column closed Lake Tangan- 
yika and seized Ujiji, the western terminus of the Central 
Railway. By 29th July this column had advanced east 
for 62 miles along the railway. The enemy stubbornly 
resisted this advance, and many sharp engagements 
were fought, in which the Germans lost over a himdred 
killed. The Belgians captured two 4.1-inch naval guns 
off the " Konigsberg." Another of these guns was 
taken at Muanza. 

The German force south of Muanza, fearing that their 
line of retreat was in danger, fell back on Tabora, on 
which place the Belgian columns from the north, south, 
and west were converging. At Usoke a three-day battle 
was fought from gth September to nth September by 
Col. Molitor's Belgian column, the main German force 
retiring on Tabora. The enemy, seeing that their position 
was desperate, began a hurried evacuation of the town, 
whilst they held the ever-increasing force of the Belgians 
at bay for a week. On 19th September the Belgians 
entered Tabora. In the advance on this place the 
Germans lost at least 50 Europeans and 300 native 



THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN 41 

soldiers killed, in addition to loo unwounded European 
prisoners, the Belgian losses being not nearly as heavy. 
On entering Tabora the Belgians released 189 European 
prisoners of war or interned civilians of the Allied Powers. 
In these operations the Belgians had conquered a terri- 
tory nearly four times as large as Belgium In Europe. 
Of a portion of the German forces that retired froni_ 
Tabora we shall hear more later, as the Nigerian troops 
were destined to come in contact with them north of the 
Central Railway during June 1917 (see Chapter VII.). 

The completion of these operations placed the whole of 
the Central Railway in the hands of the AUies from ter- 
minus to terminus. From the line of the railway the 
Germans feU back towards the Rufiji river. 

For two months there was very Httle activity to be 
noted on either side. The British position was con- 
solidated, the brigades re-organized, the Central Railway 
almost relaid, and food dumps established. 

The British column from Morogoro had pressed forward 
to Tulo, and later to Duthumi. . There was sharp fighting 
near the latter place on the i6th September igi6, in 
which both sides suffered several casualties. 

In the middle of December Gen. Beves, of the South 
African Infantry Brigade, left Morogoro for the Duthmni 
front. On the nth December the first Nigerian troops 
landed in German East Africa. 



^f 



CHAPTER III 

THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE IN EAST AFRICA 

BEFORE going any further it is necessary to leave 
East Africa for a time and turn to Nigeria itself. 
The following few remarks on the formation of the 
Nigerian Brigade are not intended to reflect badly on 
any individual, for at one time it was never expected 
that Nigerian troops would be called upon to take part 
in operations away from the West Coast of Africa. There 
are a number of things to be taken into account to answer 
for the state, that the Brigade iound itself in when it 
sailed for East Africa. That it was able, in spite of aU, 
to give a good account of itself within a few days of dis- 
embarking only speaks the better for the West African 
as a fighting man. 

Most of the Nigeria Regiment had taken part in the 
Cameroon campaign, which did not officially come to 
an end before the 31st March 1916, but by this date the 
greater part of the Nigeria Regiment had returned to 
their different peace stations in the Protectorate and 
Colony, That the regiment had done most excellently 
during that campaign is proved by the fact that in a 
comparatively short period of eighteen months the 
German Cameroons had been completely conquered and 
the German flag removed from the whole of the West 
Coast of Africa. Prior to this, it never had entered the 
heads of the average European living in West Africa 

42 



THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE 43 

that the services of the W.A.F.F. would be required in 
any other theatre of war. In May 1916 it was first 
nunoured that troops might be sent away from the 
West Coast to take part in the German East African 
campaign. In June the Gold Coast regiment of the 
W.A.F.F. sailed for East Africa, arriving there in time 
to take part in the operations . of July and onwards, 
already referred to in the previous chapter, I would 
like to write more upon the wonderful work performed 
by this regiment, but am sorry that the doings of the 
Gold Coast regiment cannot form any part of this 
chronicle, for the reasons both of time and space. Their 
gallaniry is beyond praise, and the Protectorate of the 
Gk)ld Coast must be indeed proud of" possessing such a 
regiment. The Gold Coast has set an example which 
other British dependencies of Africa should be proud to 
follow, from the point of view both of its regiment and 
of the cooperation and assjstance rendered by all in 
that Colony so that their troops might want for nothing. 
The Gold Coast Regiment has suffered most heavily 
both in officers and men. The gallant Capt. Butler, who 
was awarded the V.C. for his services in the Cameroon 
campaign, is unfortunately amongst the many of that 
regiment that will return no more. He was killed on 
the Ruvu river, not long after the arrival of that regi- 
ment in East Africa. The Gold Coast Regiment volun- 
teered for service overseas soon after their return to the 
Gold Coast from the Cameroons. Their services were 
promptly accepted by the Imperial Government. In 
July 1916 the estabhshment of most of the Nigerian 
infantry companies was reduced. Time-expired men, at 
the close of hostilities in the Qinieroons, were permitted 
to take their discharge. From these and from many 



U NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

other signs the average man in Nigeria deduced that as 
far as Nigeria was concerned that country would not be 
called upon to make any further sacrifice for the Empire. 
About this time the mihtary authorities in East Africa 
had decided that the use of European troops in that 
theatre was most wasteful owing" to the heavy sick 
returns ; thus native troops were badly needed to rejplace . 
the white troops. The Gold Coast Regiment had already 
made its name, and the fact was proved that, as far as 
that regiment was concerned. West Africa could produce 
excellent fighting material. The authorities therefore 
turned the^ eyes towards Nigeria, where the soldier was 
enhsted from very similar people to those that filled the 
ranks of the Gold Coast Regiment. 

It was not tiU the end of August 1916 that instructions 
were issued for raising a Nigerian overseas contingent. 
One of the chief conditions laid down in these instruc- 
tions was that the men serving in the Nigeria Re^ment 
should be called upon to volunteer for service overseas. 
The result of this call for volunteers was most gratifying 
in the northern provinces. In some cases companies 
volunteered to a man, when only between 50 and 60 per 
cent, were required from each company ; but in the south 
matters were not nearly so good, as there volunteers were 
not forthcoming nearly as well as was expected. The 
men of the two southern battalions cannot be blamed, for 
lack of courage or of a proper sense of duty. A certain 
native N.C.O., when asked by me why the men of the 
south were not coming forward in the numbers required, 
explained the case very clearly when he- stated that 
black soldiers would go anywhere where they were ordered 
to go ; but aj man was a fool to leave his wife and family, 
home and comfort, for war and discomfort. If the white 




A GUN-CARRIKR IN' FUM> "MARCHING ORDER" 

CARK'YINd A C;UN' WHEEL Ol'' SUV. 2'g5 Q.r.U.I-.; A \"EKV AWKWARD [.(IAD ; WKK.Hr 70 LUS. 



THE NIGERUN BRIGADE ARRIVE 45 

man required the black man's services he had only to 
order, and the order would be obeyed ; but when it was 
left to a man, soon after the completion of an eighteen 
months' campaign, to choose between wife, children, 
good food and a comfortable home, and shortage of 
food, rain, marching, fatigue, and hard work in a foreign 
country, it was hardly to be expected that many would 
choose the latter in preference to the former. To my 
mind it is a wonder that so many men volunteered for 
further active service, far away from their own homes. 
To the native mind it was quite impossible to foUow any 
reason in asking a man, who was required for certain 
work, to volunteer for that work when it would have 
been so much easier to give an order for that work to 
be done ; for as the sergeant just referred to said, " Are 
we not all soldiers ^" 

In the original scheme it was intended that 52 men 
should be allowed to volunteer from eath company in 
Nigeria. These companies were to be linked together 
in pairs, and then re-niunbered i to 16 inclusive, so that 
in each company there would be 104 trained soldiers. 
The balance of 26, to make up the strength to 130 rank 
and file, was to be taken from reservists' and recruits 
who were willing to go on active service. The scheme 
of linking the companies together was not good at first, 
as native soldiers do not like serving imder N.C.Os. of 
another company. It therefore took some time to get 
the companies to have the necessary cohesion required 
to make a rSdly good fighting machine. Further, the 
company commanders in many cc»npanies did not know 
the N.C.Os. and men of the company, as these officers 
were transferred ^ many cases from companies they 
knew to these mixm servicejcompanies. 



46 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

The concentration of the overseas contingent com- 
menced on the 1st October. It had been decided that 
the. Nigeria Overseas Contingent should consist of four 
battalions numbered i, 2, 3, and 4, commanded respec- 
tively by Lieut.-Col. Feneran, Lieut.-Col.West, Lieut.-Col. 
Archer, and Lieut.-Col. Sargent, and in addition there was 
to be a 4-gun mountain battery under the command 
of Major Waller, D.S.O. Each battaUon was to have 
four companies, niunbered consecutively throughout the 
Brigade from i to 16. The Brigade was to be commanded 
by Brig.-Gen. ''CunUffe, C.B., C.M.G., with Lieut.-Col. 
Mann, D.S.O., as brigade-major, and Captain the Hon. J. 
Crighton as staff captain. The total number of the force 
was 125 officers, 70 British N.C.Os., 240Z native rank 
and file, and 812 machine-gun and battery-gun carriers. 
This force later received substantial reinforcements. 

MobiUzation was completed by the end of October, 
with the exception of the rifles. Up to this time, except 
for a few companies of the northern battaUons and three 
companies of the southern battahons, all the men had 
been armed with the old long rifles. The short rifles did 
not arrive tiU the transports arrived from England, and 
these were not handed over to the men till they had 
actually embarked. ' Thus the Contingent found itself 
actually embarking for active service in possession of 
rifles which most of the men had never used before, with 
the result that during the voyage the rank and file had 
to learn the use of an entirely new weapon. 

A great many of the younger officers and British 
N.C.Os. of the Contingent had never served with native 
troops before j yet many of these turned out to be most 
useful members of the Brigade after a few months of 
active service. 



THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE 47 

On the 15th November H.M.T. "Berwick Castle" 
sailed from Lagos roads with the ist and 4th battalions 
on board. For some reason or other the Deputy- 
Governor, Mr Boyle, C.M.G., and other high officials 
were miable to give these battalions a send-oft, which 
fact was rather a disappointment to all on board, for this 
ship contained the very first Nigerian troops ever to leave 
Nigeria for an overseas campaign. The 15th November 
1916 was therefore a red-letter day in the history 
of the Colony and Protectorate. The H.M.T. " Seangbee," 
with the 2nd Nigeria Regiment, two reserve companies, 
and the battery gim-carriers on board, followed on the 
i6th November. On the 27th November H.M.T. 
" Mendi " left Lagos for Calabar. She had on board the 
Brigade Headquarters and the Nigerian battery. At 
Calabar she picked up the 3rd Nigeria Regiment, where 1 
that battalion had a most enthusiastic send-off. There 
had been a farewell service conducted by the Rev. Mr 
Wilkie on the previous day, which was attended by all 
the officers and British N.C.Os. The whole European 
population was on the wharf to see the " Mendi " off. 
The Governor-General, who had only just lately arrived 
from England, was able to see the " Mendi " oft at Lagos 
in person, and though there was not a big gathering of 
Europeans present with him, the lutive population 
turned out in large numbers. The H.M.T. " Malukuta " 
left Lagos also on the 27th November, with the telegraph 
section and the remainder of the personnel of the Brigade 
on board. All four ships travelled to East Africa inde- 
pendently. I, personally, was on board the " Berwick 
Castle " with the 4th BattaUon. Most of the men on 
board had never been on the sea before, except just round 
the coast of Nigeria from one port to another, when they 



48 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

were not once out of sight of land. Quite 40 per cent, 
of the native rank and file had never seen the sea before. 
Great was their astAnishment, therefore, when they 
found that for two weeks on end they were out of sight 
of land. They were constantly asking how the white 
man knew the road, and how the " jirigi " (canoe) was 
able to walk so far without rest ; for to the black man 
of Nigeria everything that moves upon its own internal 
power is a " jirigi," be it a motor, locomotive, ship, or 
aeroplane, the last-mentioned being always called a 
" jirigi bisa," which literally means a canoe that lives in 
the air. The log hne over the stem of the ship was said 
by the natives to be the wire communicating back to 
Lagos from the ship, by which we were able to find our 
way. Great was the consternation of all when the log 
cord was cut by a bullet one day when musketry instruc- 
tion was being carried out over the stem of the boat ! 

Much time was spent on board instructing the men in 
the use of the short rifle, empty barrels being thrown 
over the stem to act as targets both for machine-gim 
and rifle fire. 

Sleep in the aftemoon was often a little difiicult at the 
after end of the good ship " Berwick Castle," owing to 
rifle fire being carried out on one side, machine-gim fire 
on the other, and bugle practice by all the buglers of 
both battaUons in the centre. These were the main 
disturbing elements, but there were lesser troubles to 
compete with, such as the armourer-sergeant hammering 
on what sounded like a tin tray, and the musical element 
holding concerts in the after dining saloon. Whatever 
can be said against the old tub, it was packed full of some 
of the best fellows it was possible to find in even the 
good old days of " before the war." They took all these 




ON tri;k 




THK CKRMW^ \N IHE ACT Of DA.MACIVi; IHE CKXTRAl, RAILWAY 
liEFORE RKTlKINf; SOUTH 

(IHIS I'Horiir.KAI'H WAS TAKKN HV THE (.r.KMAiNS TH EMSKrAES) 



THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE 4d 

discomforts as a joke ; the voyage was therefore one 
long laugh. The old steward, usually called " Asquith " 
by his friends, once said that he had been at sea for over 
twenty years, but never travelled with such a light- 
hearted lot in all his hfe. By the way, Asquith was not so 
named after his poUtical convictions, for he always said 
" he did not hold with any of them wait and see crowd," but 
rather his remarkable Ukeness to the famous poUtician. 
The Ukeness, I am sorry to say, was a httle bent after the 
worst of three falls with a drunken fireman at Diurban. 

All four ships stopped for a few days at Durban. 
The people of this place were most kind and 
hospitably inclined towards the Nigerians, notwith- 
standing the fact that they had for months past been 
inundated with troops of all kinds. The men were 
taken to the local Zoo, picture palaces, and other places 
of amusement, and thoroughly enjoyed their first taste 
of civilization as known in Europe. Whilst at Durban 
the men \frere taken for a route march, which unfortun- 
ately for aU, led past a whale house. I do not know if 
my reader has ever been to a blubber factory, but if he 
or she has not, my advice is, " Don't ! " you are better 
off in remaining innocent. Without going into harrow- 
ing details, " the stink was 'orrible," enough to make the 
most hardy " stink-fish lover " wish to be a little 
sick — ^which, by the way, many of the dehcate Nigerians 
were forced to be. On returning from the march many 
of the officers were asked by their 'dusky warriors if this 
was the place where the white man made the " bully 
beef " ! (the rationed canned beef). 

The visit to the picture palace will be talked of for 
many years to come, for the negro stUl wonders if Charhe 
Chaplin is typical of the white man at home, and if his 
4 



60 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

antics with feet and crook stick are usual in London and 
other great cities ; but then all white men are mad ; for 
if they were not mad, they would stay at home in com- 
fort — at least, so thinks the Nigerian native. The men 
stood up in their places and shouted at the top of their 
voices when that wonderful little man managed, simul- 
taneously to hook by the neck and kick in the stomach, 
a fat rival, who aspired to the company of a charming, 
though rather eccentric, young lady. 

The monkeys in the Zoo never failed to please their 
black soldier cousins. To me there is nothing more 
amusing than to watch a black man with an ape, making 
faces at each other ; one then reaUzes that there must 
be something in Darwin's theory. 

The voyage was fated to be the last to be performed, 
without mishap, by the " Mendi," for after leaving East 
Africa she returned to South Africa, and took on board 
a large number of native coloiued labour for France. 
She had completed her voyage to the United Kingdom, 
but when crossing to Havre she collided with another 
vessel in a fog off the Isle of Wight on 2ist February 
1917. Ten European officers and N.C.Os. and 615 South 
African natives lost their hves. Only 10 European 
officers and N.C.Os. and 191 natives were saved. She 
was a well-known Elder Dempster liner, and as such had 
carried her load of palm oil and officials between Liver- 
pool and Lagos or Forcados, for many a long year. 
Every Nigerian was distressed when later they heard of 
her tragic end. Both the " Berwick Castle " and the 
" Seangbee " left Durban on the 3rd December, arriving 
respectively at Dar-es-Salaam on the nth and loth 
December. When anchored off Dar-es-Salaam the 
Brigade was first introduced to aeroplanes, several of 



THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE 51 

which were fl3dng around the harbour. Words will not 
describe the wonder of the men at this white man's 
" Ju-ju " ! At first they declined to beheve that any 
man could possibly be inside them ; they were more 
inclined to believe that they v^ere some great flying 
mammal, not known in their own coimtry. 

At the end of this book will be found a list of all the 
troops operating in East Africa at the time of the arrival 
of the brigade in that theatre. 

The move to the Front was commenced almost at 
once by the 2nd Nigeria Regiment, who left for Mkesse 
on the I2th December, followed by the ist BattaUon on 
the 13th, and two companies of the 4th Battahon on the 
14th ; the remainder of the 4th BattaUon left two days 
later. 

The " Mendi " arrived at Dar-es-Salaam on the 19th 
December, the troops from her left that place so quickly 
after their arrival, that many officers and British N.C.Os. 
had hardly time to separate the kit that they would 
require up country from that they wished to leave behind 
at the base. 

When at Dar-es-Salaam we heard that Gen. Smuts was 
shortly to commence a big offensive, which everyone at 
that time believed would end the whole campaign. The 
journey to Mikesse — a distance of a hundred miles from 
Dar-es-Salaam — ^is most interesting from an engineering 
point of view. Only a few months previous to our 
arrival the Germans had done all in their power to damage 
the permanent way and rolling stock before thy were 
forced to retire south of the Central Railway, As usually 
happens on a military railway in an enemy's country, 
there was not too much roUing stock, with the result that 
the men were most shockingly overcrowded. The iron 



52 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

cattle trucks became veritable ovens in the heat of the 
day — ^these being the only accommodation for all troops. 
As for a first-class coach, I can truthfully say I never 
saw one in East Africa. The men, in consequence of 
the overcrowding, longed for the comfort of the rounded 
iron roofs of their waggons. During the day six men 
from each coach were given permission to chmb on to 
the top. Several local carriers, commonly called 
" Hapanas " by the Nigerians, travelled on the roof 
of the 3rd Nigeria Regiment's train during the whole 
journey, for fear that if they travelled inside with the 
soldiers, the latter would eat them ! Those who have 
only travelled on home railways, including those of the 
Isle of Wight and Ireland, sometimes grumble at the tm- 
pimctual nature of their own lines, but for unpimctuality 
personified I commend them to the Central Railway of 
German East Africa. The train I travelled in on this oc- 
casion was twenty-four hours late — ^not bad for a 120-imle 
journey \ There can be no slowness like the progression 
of those troop trains. They started lat^, they \ came to 
a standstill before they reached every culvert or bridge ; 
these they passed over going dead slow, only to halt 
again on the other side. They stopped at every station* 
waiting whilst the Babu station-master calls up on &e 
telephone the stations east and west of him. If the 
train was lucky, it was permitted to proceed to a certain 
siding in between two stations, and there rest for an 
hour or so, waiting for another train to pass it. The 
engines ran out of water miles away from the nearest 
station, so that a number of men had to be detrained to 
carry water up by hand, in any old available tin, to the 
engine from the nearest stream. They stopped to take 
on wood for fuel; they stopped to generate steam in 



THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE 58 

sufficient quantities to take them up the slightest gradient. 
They were the most wonderful, if somewhat annoying, 
means of travelling to be met with on earth. Almost 
every gully passed over on this journey had a derailed 
truck or engine lying overturned at the bottom. In one 
place a deviation had been made, at what had once been 
a fine bridge. The Germans, before retiring, blew up the 
centre span, and then drove train after train into the 
deep valley, so that one train lay on top of another, till the 
pile of wreckage was flush with the old bridge level. 
The Germans had damaged almost every bridge and 
culvert between Dar-es-Salaam and Mikesse. The Indian 
Pioneers had done the most wonderful work on this line, 
which they nearly had to relay ; they had built temporary 
bridges, cleared the line of wreckage, and reopened the 
line in record time. Rolling stock had been imported 
from India to replace the German stock, which was 
chiefly lying in the many dongas and at the bottom of 
high embankments all along the line. On 22nd December 
Gen. Cunhfie and his staff left Dar-es-Salaam for Mikesse, 
proceeding thence by motor to Tulo and later to Duthumi. 
The latter place was Gen. Smuts' headquarters. 

On arrival at Mikesse each battalion or detachment 
of the Nigerian Brigade was ordered forward to Ruvu- 
top camp. A few words roight be said here in passing 
on this our first march in German East Africa, for it 
was a most miserable undertaking. No troops in these 
days were allowed 'to leave Mikesse except early in the 
morning or in the evening, so that they should not march 
in the heat of the day. The first march out was about 
twelve miles, but owing to the heavy rains the condition 
of the road from the very first was terrible. The country 
passed through was hilly and only thinly wooded. 



64 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Water along the road was not procurable. The weather 
was extremely hot, and both Europeans and natives 
were^ver soft after the long sea voyage. The road was 
packed with other troops and guns all going the same 
way as ourselves, whilst very large motor supply convoys 
and motor ambulances wer^ constantly passing through 
the ranks of the marchers. The road being unmetalled 
became very quickly put up with all this traffic, and at 
the end of the twelve miles everyone was too tired even 
to talk. Added to the troubles of the day it rained 
heavily that night, yet by 5 a.m. on the following day 
we were all on the road again. Soon after our reaching 
the bivouac. Gen. Beves' Brigade arrived from Morogoro 
and encamped a mile from us. It was therefore necessary 
for us to get on the road as early as possible so as to be 
clear of this brigade, which was also on its way to 
Duthimii. The coimtry passed through the second day 
was more interesting than the first march — ^with its 
wealth of forest, wonderful colouring, and rushing streams, 
— and we were also in better condition for a march. 
About II a.m. we arrived at the Ruvu camp, where we 
met the ist and 2nd Nigeria Regiments. Here the 
Nigerian soldiers first mixed with their brothers-in-arms 
from India, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. 
The South Africans always call 0ll African natives " boys," 
regardless of their age. This led to a certain misimder- 
standing, for a " boy " is looked down upon by Nigerian 
soldiers, who regard all boys, or "^oy-boys " as they 
are commonly called in the barracks, as menials. A 
Nigerian water-party under the command of a native 
sergeant was asked by a South African motor driver to 
give him a hand with his car, but he imfortunately called 
out to the sergeant, " Hey, boy, give us some water for 




THE ngeri-nc;er[ kridge 

AS LEFT BY THB tJERMANS WHEN THKV RETIRED SOUTH I'KOM THE CENTRAL RAILWAY 



THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE 55 

my car," with the result that the sergeant was infuriated, 
and, ordering his party back to camp, declined to help the 
driver in any way. Should this be read by any South 
Africans, I hope this will explain away any discouriesy 
they may have met with from Nigerian soldiers. They 
really must not call soldiers of His Majesty, be they 
black or white, by the term " boy," as it is most resented 
by black soldiers generally, and therefore the cause bf 
much annoyance to their ofl&cers. This seems a Uttle 
matter, but it really is much more important than it 
first appears. 

At Ruvu the Nigerian Brigade got the nickname, by 
those who were envious of them, of the " bed and bath 
brigade." This title needs a Httle explanation. Up to ' 
date no troops in German East Africa, had been allowed 
any kit except the active service kits as used in Europe. 
The Nigerian Principal Medical Officer maintained that 
Europeans in the tropics must have a certain amount of 
kit if they are to keep fit. This had been very con- 
clusively proved in the Cameroon campaign. The result 
was that the Nigerian Brigade held out from the very 
first to be allowed at least two loads, not including food, 
per European. This was finally agreed to by the Com- 
mander-in-Chief. Therefore a bed-load and a tin bath, 
filled with kit, was carried by almost every Eiuropean in 
the Brigade. Hence the second Hne transport was made 
up largely of beds and baths. The sight of all these beds 
and baths greatly amused the South African troops, and 
many were jealous of this privilege. Thus the name 
stuck to us for many months after our arrival. But 
" the bed and bath brigade " was able later to show 
that these same West African troops were men who were 
not afraid to fight, and were therefore not to be despised as 



56 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

being just so many " Kaffirs," led by officers who thought 
so much of their comfort that they could not be separated 
from their beds and baths. I hope my South African 
readers will read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest these 
last two paragraphs, for in these matters South Africans 
and West Africans did not see eye to eye. 

An elaborate camp was being laid out for the Brigade 
at Ruvu, as it had been given out that the Brigade 
would concentrate there and would be some da37s in 
camp. But this was not to be. The ist, 2nd, and 4th 
Battalions were ordered forward to Tulo on the 22nd 
December. The first march to Summit camp was fifteen 
miles, but it was a most trjdng up and down hill march 
in the most tropical weather. On the 23rd Tulo was 
reached after a thirteen-mile march. A cheerful 
Christmas Day was spent here by these three battaUons. 

The language question was at all times difficult in 
German East Africa. This federation of languages 
included EngHsh, French, Dutch, Flemish, Hindustani, 
Swaheli, Hausa, and other West African languages, and 
Arabic. From time to time a German batch of prisoners 
was added to the Babel. 

On the 29th December the 3rd Nigeria Regiment 
joined the Brigade at Tulo. All the officers belong- 
ing to battahons other than the 3rd BattaUon that 
had come round on the " Mendi," rejoined their own 
units on this day. Every afternoon for the past week • 
it had rained extremely hard, so everyone in the ist, 
2nd, and 4th BattaUons was glad of the rest in good grass 
huts at Tulo, but the 3rd Nigeria Regiment and guns 
had a most tmpleasant march from the rail-head, as it 
rained incessantly during their journey. 

At 5.30 p.m. on the 29th the 4th Nigeria Regiment 



THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE ARRIVE 67 

marched six miles south along the main road and bivou- 
acked for the night. The march was continued at dawn 
the following day to Duthumi — a. distance of seven miles. 
The 1st Nigeria Regiment had completed the same 
march on the 29th. On the 28th Gen. CunUffe took 
over the command of the forces at Duthumi, consisting 
of the Cape Corps, the 2nd Rhodesian Regiment 
(Europeans), the 30th Punjabis, the African Scouts 
(which later became a battahon of King's African Rifles), 
and the ist and 4th Nigeria Regiment. 

On the 30tii December the Nigerian battery arrived 
at Duthumi. On the same day the 4th Nigeria Regi- 
ment took over the advanced Une of trenches and dug- 
outs from the Cape Corps. This desirable site was known 
locally as " SheU Camp." At this place we arrived at 
twelve noon. Shell camp was about a mile and a half 
from the German position on the MJgeta river. •For five 
weeks before this British ''troops had lain passively in 
this water-logged camp imder an irregular, but very 
accurate, fire from a 4.1 naval gim off the " Konigsberg." 
The range of this gun was about eight miles. It was so 
carefully hidden in the bush that our aeroplanes could 
not possibly spot it, and it therefore had ever3H;hing all 
its own way, as none of the British guns up at this front, 
up to date, had a range of more than four miles. On 
the 28th December two 4.1-inch British naval guns were 
brought into action against the " Konigsberg " gun. 
By the time the 4th Nigeria Regiment took over this 
position this gim had been removed, but there was still 
a 4-inch Howitzer in this area that gave trouble from 
time to time. The Cape Corps had a good many casualties 
at Shell Camp from both gun and, rifle fire, and on the 
29th December three of their men were killed whilst 



58 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

patrolling in this neighbourhood. We were therefore 
justified in feeling that we had at last arrived at a battle 
front. 

On the 30th December the 2nd Nigeria Regiment 
joined Col. Lyle, who commanded a Kashmiri battalion. 
This column, consisting of Kashmiris and Nigerians, left 
Tulo on the same day on a special mission. 

This brings us to the eve of a general advance, which 
for want of a better name is called the action of the 
Mgeta river. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE ACTION OF THE MGETA RIVER AND AFTERWARDS 

ON 31st December Col. Lyle was at Kiruru ; 
Gen. Beves with the South African Brigade 
at Kissaki, Gen. Sheppard with an Indian Brigade 
at Dakawa-Kissaki, and Gen. Cunliffe at Duthumi. The 
3rd Nigeria Regiment in reserve remained at Tulo. 
The object of the coming advance was to drive the enemy 
from his entrenched positions on the Mgeta river, and 
seize the fords of the Rufiji before the enemy could con- 
soUdate in a new position. On the 31st the 4th Nigeria 
Regiment moved to a more forward camp known as the 
' ' Old Baluchi ' ' camp. This was the most forward position 
occupied by British troops facing the Mgeta river at this 
date. During the day a battery of field guns arrived at the 
" Old Baluchi " camp. In the afternoon " 13 " company, 
under the command of Capt. Green, was sent forward to 
make a recoimaissance and improve the forward lines of 
commtmication. Whilst so employed a few shots were 
exchanged, with the result that two privates of this 
company were wounded. Thus the first blood of the 
Nigerians was drawn. This httle trouble was brought 
about by a certain gentleman named Private Jack Warri, 
who, being inquisitive about a certain grass hut that he 
discovered close to the Mgeta river and out in the open, 
put his head through the window to ascertain who the 
occupant might be. Slightly to his surprise, but still 



60 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA, 

greater to the consternation of the occupants, he found 
three German Eiuropeans sitting round an improvised 
table having an afternoon meal. The Boches were not 
pleased at the interruption, and much shooting was the 
result, but the innocent always. get punished for the 
guilty. Jack Warri escaped without a scratch, but two 
of his friends were " punctured." 

On 1st January 1917 the main operations commenced. 
The enemy's position lay on both banks of the Mgeta 
river, and was separated from the British lines by a belt 
of swamp and bush two or three miles in width. The 
front trenches of each opposing side lay in swampy 
ground. At 7.45 a.m. the ist Nigeria Regiment took 
over the 4th Nigeria Regiment trenches, and the 4th 
Nigerians advanced a thousand yards south-east under 
cover of the thick bush, and there dug in. 

At 10.30 a.m. the British howitzers and naval guns 
opened fire on the enemy's trenches on the north bank 
of the river ; at 11.30 a.m. the 4th Nigeria Regiment was 
ordered to advance to 'the attack with three companies in 
the firing Une and one in support — ^the 1st Nigeria Regi- 
ment being in reserve. This operation was cajried out 
irtore for the purpose of attracting the enemy's attention 
than of driving him out of his trenches. The Baluchis 
on the right near Dakawa had been heavily attacked by 
a very strong force that dehvered three bayonet charges 
against them. The Baluchis' casualties had been heavy, 
thirty-five being killed in the action, but they had pre- 
vented the enemy breaking througjh, and in fact had 
driven him back with heavy losses. It was of the utmost 
importance that the enemy in this area should not be 
reinforced, and therefore the 4th Nigerians were ordered 
to carry out this attack in order to pin him to the groimd. 



ACTION OF THE MGETA RIVER 61 

or force him to retire, but in any case to prevent him 
reinforcing his left. The attack was originally ordered 
to take place at a- much later hour, but this German 
attack on the Baluchis forced Gen. Cunliffe to accelerate 
his programme. Immediately the 4th Nigerians ad- 
vanced they became engaged from their left flank, but 
the enemy retired almost at once. After this the 4th 
Nigerians were not engaged again for some time, but 
when within a short distance of the Mgeta river, progress 
having been slow, our advance was held up by the enemy 
across the river who were able to direct a heavy rifle and 
machine-gun fire on to the advancing troops, whilst they 
were crossing an open " vlei." ^ 

At 3 p.m. the whole hne retired 600 yards from the 
river, and a quarter of an hour later the British again 
opened fire on the enemy's position south of the river. 
After half an hour's heavy sheUing. the enemy were 
reported by aeroplane to be retiring. During this retreat 
the same plane dropped bombs on the retiring enemy's 

^ "safari." 2 

About 4 p.m. three companies of the 4th Nigerians 
succeeded in crossing the river and establishing bridge- 
heads at the two bridges left intact by the Germans to 
the east of the Duthumi-Kiderengwa road. No further 
advance was possible on this day, as the troops were 
exhausted, having been without food since the previous 
day. 

The artillery in this section did excellent work, and it 
was thanks to them that the 4th Nigeria Regiment had 
so few casualties in this frontal attack. The guns were 

controlled from the top of a hill close to the camp of 

* Grass-covered plain, sometimes swampy. 

* A string of porters ceurying loads. 



62 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Duthumi. Here was a wireless station in addition to a 
signal and air line section of R.E. The burning of some 
huts on this hill was the signal for the commencement of 
the offensive, timed to start at 7.30 a.m. 

During the advance of the 4th Nigeria Regiment, 
Lce.-Cpl. Suli Begaremi of 16 Company received four 
bullet holes through his clothes from a German machine- 
gun. On his own initiative he crawled back and reported 
that he could point out to. the guns where this machine- 
gtm was in hiding. Not|ung daunted he went forward 
again with the forward observing ofl&cer and gave the 
exact position of the gim to him, with the result that the 
British guns opened fire on to the spot, forcing the 
machine-gun to retire, and thus permitting the infantry 
to advance without being fired on again. For .this 
Lce.-Cpl. Suli Begaremi was afterwards awarded the 
Military Medal. 

At the end of the .advance the 4th Nigerians took up a 
position south of the Mgeta river, covering the bridges. 
The night was quiet with one exception. When a certain 
officer was going round the sentries about midnight, one 
of them must have thought he had seen the devil, for he 
opened his mouth wide and let forth one great scream of 
terror. The result was pandemonium let loose. Every 
one jumped up from where they were lying, thinking the 
Germans had arrived. Some of the officers were sleeping 
on camp beds along the main path ; a crowd of men fell 
over them, with the result that officers and men roUed 
together in the dust. A certain British N.C.O. suddenly 
wakened up in this abrupt manner made certain that his 
orderly was a German, and fired point blank at him with 
his rifle, but luckily missed him. This " jolly " lasted 
for about five minutes, in which time everything was 



ACTION OF THE MGETA RIVER 68 

upset and everyone was waked up. That sentry was 
the most " popular " man in the camp for the next half- 
hour, till sleep once again descended upon the camp, and 
all alarms were forgotten in the land of the unreal, where 
mind and matter have no part, and where all is peace to 
a tired soldier after a long day. 

We must now return to the doings of the 2nd Nigeria 
Regiment. At 5.30 a.m. on the ist January Lyle's 
column advanced on Kiruru. Two companies of the 
2nd Nigeria Regiment formed the advance guard. At 
about I p.m. these companies engaged the enemy who 
were retiring from the Mgeta river. Some sharp fighting 
ensued, in which the enemy were roughly handled and 
were forced to retire in haste, leaving behind them a large 
amount of stores and ammunition. A party of the 
advance-guard, under the personal leadership of Capt. 
Gardner, charged with fixed bayonets a party of Germans 
that were forming the escort to the 4-inch howitzer, 
already referred to, which was being man-dragged back 
from the river. The result was that the howitzer was 
captured together with three Europeans and some natives. 
For this act of gallantry Capt. Gardner was afterwards 
awarded the Military Cross. Near to where the howitzer 
was captured one German European and meuiy natives 
were killed. 

After this action the advance guard was reinforced 
by another company of the 2nd Nigeria Regiment. These 
three companies then commenced to dig themselves in 
across the road, but before this was completed they were 
attacked by a strong enemy's force at 3.30 p.m. A sharp 
action was fought, but the enemy, being unable to break 
through and recover their lost gun, retired at dusk. The 
2nd Nigeria Regiment was most fortimate, for notwith- 



64 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

standing the fact that two sharp engagements had been 
fought this day, the battalion's casualties were only 
Lieut. J, Dyer wounded, two native soldiers killed, and 
one other wounded. There is no doubt that the Germans 
lost heavily in both engagements, for on the following 
day the bodies of over twenty German soldiers were found 
and buried. That there were many unburied in the bush 
in this neighbourhood was certain — ^to judge by the stench 
a few days later. On the 2nd January the 2nd Nigeria 
Regiment remained in the position they had held the 
previous day. A German patrol came close to them but 
returned without firing a shot. This introduction of the 
Germans to the Nigeria Regiment was never forgotten 
by the former, who on every possible occasion did their 
best to avenge the heavy losses they suffered on this day 
at the hands of the Nigerians ; also they did not think it 
fair of the Nigerians to use matchets ^ as a lethal weapon, 
for many a good-looking German this day had suffered 
from a tap on the head from one of these weapons. 

On the 2nd January.the 1st and 4th Nigeria Regiments 
moved to Kiderengwa. 1 Later in the day the advance 
was continued to Tsimbe in order to get in touch with 
Lyle's coliuim. When this was achieved, this force 
returned to Kiderengwa. Near to this place there was 
a large German camp which had only been evacuated the 
day before. Evidently the Germans had kept Christmas 
Day here, for in several huts manufactured Christmas 
trees were found. On the ground near here were found 
many complete cUps of German .311 cartridges, in which 
every bullet had been reversed, so that the buUet would 

* A long and heavy knife used for cutting bush and felling small 
trees. It is earned in a leather case suspended from the belt by all 
rank and file of the W.A.F.F. 



ACTION OF THE MGETA RIVER 65 

enter base first and thus make a wound similar to a 
dum-dum bullet. This was our j5rst introduction to the 
German methods of warfare in East Africa, but we were 
yet to learn much more of the ways of war as practised 
by the Boche in (jerman East. 

On the 3rd January both the ist and 4th Nigerians 
returned to the old Baluchi camp. This return to com- 
parative comfort was most unexpected, but was forced 
upon Gen. CunHffe on account of lack of transport and 
the difficulties of getting supplies forward. On the same 
day Lyle's column advanced towards Beho Beho at 5.30 
a.m. By 10.30 a.m. they were in touch with the enemy's 
rear point. Again the 2nd Nigeria Regiment formed the 
advance guard. By 2 p.m. the vanguard was in thick 
bush country and was suffering casualties from the 
enemy's snipers. At last the 2nd Nigeria Regiment's 
point was completely held up by a strong German position 
held by about two hundred rifles and three machine-guns. 
The advance guard deployed, and got within 400 yards 
of the position, but was unable to advance any nearer. 
A heavy fire was kept up on both sides till dark. The 
2nd Nigeria Regiment was therefore forced to dig in and 
hold their groimd. Lieut. Strong was killed in this 
advanced guard engagement. ' 

On the 4th January Lyle's column was still held Up. In- 
termittent firing continued on both sides all the morning. 
About noon very heavy firing was heard from the south, 
which was no doubt Gen. Sheppard's Brigade in action, 
en route to the Rufiji, having pressed forward along the 
main Kissaki-Kibambawe road. Gen. Sheppard's Brigade 
had to engage in a series of actions against a strong 
German rearguard. In one of these actions Capt. 
Selous, D.S.O., the famous African traveller and hunter, 

5 



66 NIGERIANS IN GERlilAN EAST AFRICA 

and the original Allan Quatermain of fiction, was killed 
whilst commanding a company of the Royal Fusiliers 
(Legion of Frontiersmen) . The sound of this firing doubt- 
lessly led to the withdrawal of the Germans who were 
opposing Lyle. About 2 p.m. the 2nd Nigeria Regiment 
occupied the German position. Gol. Lyle, as soon as he 
had discovered the enemy had withdrawn, received orders 
to advance to Beho Beho and there join Gen. Sheppard's 
Brigade. That night it was reported that the Germans 
were everywhere retreating in haste to the Rufiji river. 
Between the ist and 4th January the right flanking 
column of Gen. Sheppard's Brigades had been most of the 
time heavily engaged. The Baluchis in particular did 
most excellent work and inflicted heavy casualties upon 
th^ retreating enemy, but unfortunately suffered heavily 
in return. 

On the 4th January the ist and 4th Nigerians with the 
Nigerian battery were withdrawn to Duthumi, where 
the 3rd Nigeria Regiment had meantime arrived. With 
the withdrawal of the enemy from the Mgeta river the 
first objective had been gained. Nigerian casualties in 
this four days' action were sUght when it is taken into 
account what had been achieved. Besides the casualties 
already mentioned the Nigerian Brigade had twenty-nine 
natives killed and forty-nine wounded. On the 5th 
January the 2nd Nigeria Regiment left Beho Beho at 
5.30 a.m. and inarched south towards the Rufiji. On 
the 6th January a few Indian soldiers crossed the river 
during the night and formed a covering party to the 30th 
Punjabis that had crossed the river at dawn on the 
7th January. The crossing was aided by the covering 
fire of British artillery. 

It is now necessary to go back a few days and follow 




THK SUINCINT. HRinOK OVER J H K KITIH 




C.UN CAPTrUKI) i;V 2.111 NICKRIA RECIMKX'I AT TSIMIll- 



ACTION OF THE MGETA RIVER 67 

the doings of Gen. Beves's South African Brigade. This 
Brigade left Duthumi on 30th January, and did not take 
part in the Mgeta river action. Gen. Beves's object was 
to make a wide detour to the east, aad cross the Rufiji 
river at a point about 30 miles up-stream above the 
crossing by which it was expected that the enemy retiring 
from Mgeta would cross. This Brigade had some very 
hard marching, and had httle rest for several days, during 
the 70-mile march. Without opposition Gen. Beves 
succeeded in crossing the river at Kipenio, where he took 
up a position on the south bank. 

On loth January the ist and 3rd Nigeria Regiments and 
the Nigeria battery left Duthumi under the command of 
Gen. Cunhffe in person. The 4th Nigeria Regiment was 
kept at Duthumi as a reserve. The Rufiji was reached 
and crossed by this force at Kipenio on the night of the 
15th January. 

At the end of the dry season the Rufiji river is about 
300 yards wide, and was crossed by a swinging bridge, 
constructed and worked by the Faridkhot sappers and 
miners. This march of the ist and 3rd Battalions was 
almost as trying as the march from Mikesse. There was 
no water at all at Kissengwe, the camp after Kissaki, 
and " giggers " (Ford Ught motor cars) had to be sent 
back to Kissaki, 9 miles, carrying relays of ch§gls,i 
and some companies did not get watered till late in the 
evening. When the 3rd Nigeria Regiment was crossing 
the Rufiji on this occasion Pte. Awudu Elo, of this 
battalion, won the Meritorious Service Medal *or gallantry 
in life-saving. 

» Indian water carriers. 



CHAPTER V 

THE RUFIJI AREA AND THE NGWEMBE ACTION 

THIS brings us to another phase of the campaign. 
By the 15th January a strong British force 
was on the south bank of the Rufiji at Kipenio, 
From the 7th to the 14th January the 2nd Nigeria Regi- 
ment remained in position on the north bank of the river 
at Kibambawe. Desultory firing took place on both 
sides during these few'aays. On the 14th January Gen. 
Smuts arrived at Kibambawe, and on the following day 
one company of the 2nd Nigeria Regiment crossed the 
river in the evening without any opposition. However, 
one of the boats used for the crossing was upset and bitten 
in two by an infuriated hippopotamus, but fortimately 
this accident did not result in any casualties. On the 
17th January the remainder of the 2n(J Nigeria Regiment 
crossed the river after dark at about 9 p.m. This 
battaUon now concentrated on a sandbank across the 
main stream, but cut off from the mainland by a swamp 
and a small backwater of the river. The General Head- 
quarters Staff ordered the 2nd Nigeria Regiment to advance 
from this position at 4 a.m. on the i8th January, in the 
formation of each company in lines of sections. A 
machine-gun was to be on each outer flank of each 
company. On looking at the formation in which the 
advance was to be carried out, in the Ught of after events, 
it is doubtful if this was the best formation for the time 



RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 69 

and place. The chief objection to it was the possibility 
that if attacked the sections would lose touch in the 
dark and swamp, and woiild fall back upon each other, 
and so cause confusion. Again if the and Nigeria Regi- 
ment had been attacked, only the equivalent of one 
company, and less than half the machine-guns of the 
battalion could come into action at a time ; all the 
remaining companies and guns of the battahon being 
useless. Owing to a difference of opinion as to the sound- 
ness or likely success of this operation, between the 
General in command of the whole force and Colonel 
West, the former directed Major Uniacke to take over 
command, and the latter left the Battalion and Brigade, 
and returned to the United Kingdom. Major Uniacke 
continued in the command of this battaUon diuing the 
remainder of the campaign. 

When the 2nd Nigerians next advanced it was pitch 
dark. The advance through the swamp in the dark was 
very difficult and most trying to all ranks. Luckily no 
opposition was met with ; in fact, not a sign of the enemy 
was seen till 8 a.m., when a few scouts were observed. 
At noon the Cape Corps arrived to reinforce the and 
Nigerians. By the evening of this day most of Gen. 
Beves's colunm had arrived. 

On the 17th January the Nigerian force at Kipenio left 
for Mkindu, where an enemy's force was reported. All 
baggage was left behind at Kipenio. This column 
bivouacked for the night at some water holes. During 
the night a certain amount of firing took place, which 
resulted in one European being woimded and one native 
soldier being killed. On the i8th the march was con- 
tinued at 3.30 a.m. At 7 a.m. *' the point " reported 
that they were dose to the enemy's position at Mkindu. 



70 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Mkindu is a low table-tdpped hill about half a mile square 
in area. It is faced by an abrupt escarpment on the 
north, west, and east about 50 feet high, whilst it slopes 
gently away towards the south. The Mkindu stream 
flows close to the hill on the north side and passes round 
the western end of the hill. The hill itself is covered 
with bush and trees and w^s a fine position for a defending 
force to hold. The column was halted whilst two com- 
panies of the 1st Nigeria Regiment under Major Badham 
were detached, with orders to cross the Mkindu stream 
higher up on the right and attempt to outflank the enemy. 
As soon as Major Badham had moved off he became 
engaged, and a sharp action was commenced. The 
enemy's position was a strong one, and as usual the 
machine-guns played an important part, but the enemy 
were afraid of being cut off from their main body, which 
had fallen back some miles towards Ngwembe. They 
therefore gave up a strong position without a determined 
fight and withdrew south. By 11 a.m. the ist Nigeria 
Regiment occupied the position. Major Badham's 
casualties were hght, and consisted of Lieuts. Ngwton 
s, and Young wotmded, one native soldier killed, and seven 
others wounded. Mkindu was destined to be the home 
of the Nigerian Brigade for many weeks to come. 

In the meantime the Germans at Kibambawe, who 
were being opposed by Gen. Sheppard, retired when they 
found that the Nigerian force occupied Mkindu, as this 
force threatened their line of retreat. 

On the 19th the 2nd Nigeria Regiment, the Cape Corps, 
and two guns of the Kashmir battery — all under the com- 
mand of Lieut.-Col. Morris (Cape Corps) — ^marched to 
Mkindu, arriving there about 10.30 a.va. In the evening 
of that day heavy firing was heard from the direction of 



RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 71 

Kibongo, to which place the Germans, who had held 
Mkindu, had retired. At the same time a British aero- 
plane which had been engaged in bombing the enemy's 
position seemed to be in trouble, and suddenly crashed 
to the ground half-way between the enemy position and 
the Nigerian advanced post. Both sides tried to get the 
machine, which had been brought down by having the 
petrol tank pimctured by an enemy bullet. The machine 
was eventually brought into Mkindu in a very damaged 
condition. The pUot was none the worse for his fall, and 
walked into the Nigerian camp shortly after the action. 
A curious incident occurred on this day to a wounded 
and sick convoy, when on its way back from Mkindu to 
the river. It serves to illustrate what the woimded 
frequently have to put up with in German East Africa. 
As the convoy neared the river it was suddenly' greeted 
by a very heavy rifle fire, which everyone took to be the 
enemy. Lieut. Mills, who was in charge of the convoy, 
was placed in a very awkward dilemma, as he had with 
him some very serious cases, including Lieut. Newton, 
who was suffering from a dangerous stomach wound. 
After a little while Lieut. Mills came to the conclusion 
that it was not the enemy firing, but the Baluchis, which 
turned out to be the case. He immediately showed great 
presence of mind by cutting out a red cross from a ham- 
mock curtain and deliberately walking over to where the 
sound of the firing was coming from. The whole of the 
white men, other thsin the stretcher cases, and a few of 
the walking cases of wounded natives, thinking that 
Lieut. Mills was surrendering to the enemy immediately 
cleared out into the bush. One " very serious case " 
that was being evacuated by stretcher, as it had been 
stated that the pallient could not possibly walk, was seen 



^2 NIGERIANS m GERMAN tlAST AFRICA 

to get up and run like a greyhound as soon as the firing 
commenced, which proves the truth of the old saying 
" all that gutters is not gold," and that " all are not 
dying men who are evacuated." He was what would be 
commonly called in East Africa a " lead swinger." 

When Lieut. Mills was seen by the Baluchis the firing 
was stopped and the Baluchis came out of their trenches. 
The whole trouble was caused by the fact that no notice 
of any sort had been sent back to inform our troops of 
the probable arrival of a sick and^woujided convoy; 
and even the hospital authorities had received no warning 
of the convoy leaving Mkindu. As al^ the stretcher- 
bearers had bolted as soon as the firing commenced, 
thinking that the Germans were upon them, the Indians 
had to send out carriers to bring in the stretchers. How- 
ever, all's well that ends well, and luckily the convoy 
received nd further casualties, in spite of the heavy firing 
that had been directed at them. But it was very hard 
on some of the seriously wounded cases, who had to get 
up out of their stretchers and crawl into the bush. 

On the 20th January the 2nd Nigerians, the Cape 
Corps, and the two Kashmir guns moved forward from 
Mkindu at 4 a.m., the Cape Corps leading. At 9.15 p.m. 
the previous eyening the ist Nigerians and a section of 
the Nigerian guns, all under Lieut.-Col. Feneran, left 
camp with the object of making a night march and taking 
up a position in rear of the enemy at Kibongo. The 
night was dark, and the country difficult, owing to the 
bush and dong^as that had to be traversed. It was 
broad daylight before Col. Feneran gained his objective. 

Col. Morris was therefore delayed so as to give Col. 
Feneran sufficient time. Almost directly he commenced 
his advahce he came in touch with small pg,rties of the 



X RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 78 

enemy who fell back after firing a few shots. He ad- 
vanced two and a half miles from Mkindu before he was 
seriously held up. At 9.30 a.m. Col. Feneran informed 
the Brigade Headquarters at Mkindu that he had been 
unable to find a good position for a camp. He also stated 
that, from information he had received, the enemy in 
this neighbourhood had been greatly reinforced from 
Mawa, and were now quite thirteen companies in strength. 
About the same time it became evident that Col. Morris 
was not strong enough to advance further on this frontal 
attack. Col. /Feneran was therefore ordered to deUver 
an attack against Kibongo and thus threaten the eneihy's 
left flank. These tactics were most successful, and by 
3 p.m. Col. Morris was able to continue his advance. 
By 4 p.rii. the two coliuims were in touch with each other. 
The Cape Corps had a sharp fight about this time, which 
was altogether successful. Soon after Kibongo was 
occupied by them, the enemy retired south towards 
Ngwembe. The Cape Corps did exceptionally well this 
/day, and were later thanked on parade for their work 
by Gen. Cunhffe. Once again luck was on our side. 
Taking into account the determined nature of the day's 
fighting, the British casualties were slight, being only 
one oflicer killed and two woimded, and eight native 
soldiers kiUed and fourteen wounded. The number of 
the enemy's casualties could not be ascertained, but one 
European was captured, and 170 cases of 4-inch howitzers' 
ammimition was later found buried in the old German 
camp. This ammunition would subsequently have been 
most valuable to them. The ist Nigerians remained at 
Kibongo ; the Cape Corps, all guns, and the 2nd Nigerians 
returned to Mkindu, which place had been held all day 
by the 3rd Battalion. On the 22nd January the 



74 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

3rd Nigeria Regiment tried to get- in touch with the 
enemy south and south-east of Kibongo. There was a 
small patrol engagement which resulted in the capture 
of one German-European and three Askaris, for which 
Col.-Sergt. Russell of the 3rd Nigeria Regiment was 
awarded the D.C.M. In the meantime the 4th Nigeria 
Regipient had left Duthumi on 19th' January for Kibam- 
bawe via Beho Beho. The weather during this march 
was terribly hot, the path dusty and bad beyond words, 
and water very scarce. To add to the general discom- 
fort of the march, the carriers were of most miserable 
physique. They fell out- continually, and at the end of 
every day's march a considerable number were added to 
the sick list as being medically imfit to carry their load. 

Whilst the four battalions were at Duthumi a certain 
amount of shooting and hunting was indulged in. The 
country all roimd simply teemed with game of every kind. 
One huge " vlei " ^ in this district resembled a private 
park more than virgin bush, so plentifvd was the game 
wandering about upon it. 

The 4th Battalion arrived at Kibambawe on the 
morning of the 21st January and immediately commenced 
to cross the river. One company had to be left behind 
for a day to escort stores, etc., to the front. The remainder 
of the battalion arrived at Kibongo on the 22nd, having 
passed through the main Nigerian camp at Mkindu 
en route. 

On the morning of the 24th January Capt. Green left 
his company, handing the command over to Capt. Barclay, 
in order to take up the duties of " second in command " 
of the 2nd Battalion. Early in the morning a section of 
the guns of the Nigerian battery arrived at Kibongo from 

> Grass plain. 



RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 75 

Mkindu, while the 3rd Nigerians were in camp about 
400 yards south of the 4th Battalion. Soon after 
the arrival of the guns they left with the 3rd Battalion 
and their baggage, with the intention of first making 
a reconnaissance in force of the German position at 
Ngwembe. Later they were ordered to attack the 
German position there, which was reported to be held by 
two companies only. The guns were escorted by 16 
Company of the 4th Battalion, the whole detachment 
being under the command of Lieut.-Col. Archer. The 
enemy were encountered in strength about 7 miles 
from Kibongo, and Major Gard'ner, with two companies 
of the 3rd Battalion, was dispatched in order to get roimd 
the enemy's right flank. I will now quote word for word 
from my own private diary, which, being written at the 
time, will give the best account of the actioh that now 
occurred. 

" Our ' point ' came in touch with the German position 
at II a.m., about i n^le from the objective (the water 
holes at Ngwembe on the N37andote Road) ; 15 Company 
of the 4th Nigeria Regiment had in the meantime moved 
over to the 3rd Nigeria Regiment camp at Kibongo and 
received orders at midday to reinforce Lieut.-Col. Archer's 
force. 

" Capt. MUnelsHome's company of the 3rd Nigeria 
Regiment was advance guard. Soon after 11 a.m. this 
company was driven back from the hne on which they 
had deployed when the action was opened, then 50 3^rds 
from the objective, and feU back about 200 yards. Major 
Gard'ner, second in command of the 3rd Nigeria Regi- 
ment, was ordered to take Capt. Cooke's and Capt. Dudley's 
companies and drive the enemy out of his position by 
making a left flank movement. After a heavy fight of 



76 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

one hour's duration, they successfully captured two 
machine-guns and one European, having also inflicted 
heavy casualties on the enemy, thirty dead being cotmted 
between the two gun positions. After this success Major 
Gard'ner was continuing with the advance when he was 
heavily coimter-attacked. He himself was woimded, and 
both Capt. Cooke and Capt. Dudley, with Lieuts. Ewen 
and Harrison were killed. The two companies became 
disorganized and fell back in disorder, but managed to 
get back the two captured enemy machine-guns, but in 
the coimter-attack these companies lost three of their 
own machine-guns. About the time that Major Gard'ner 
moved out to the left flank, the baggage and baggage- 
guard reached the main body. It was not long before 
the enemy reaUzed that Major Gard'ner's flank attack 
had failed and that his two companies had been dis- 
organized, and they took every advantage of the occasion. 
They' opened a heavy fire, and pressed on with their 
counter-attack. These disordered companies retired 
through the bush, and did not strike the road till far 
behind the main body. As soon as Col. Archer reaUzed 
that his fl^k attack had been unsuccessfvd he wired 
back for reinforcements. 15 Company left to reinforce 
at 1.45 p.m., but they had a 7-mile march to complete 
before they could be of any use. They did not meet 
Col. Archer till 4. 15 p.m. By this time he had commenced 
to withdraw. Capt. Maxwell, commanding 15 Company, 
was ordered to turn back the way he had come and dig 
in at a small stream 3 miles in rear. This movement 
was done so hurriedly that the company had no time to 
reform. After retiring for about ten minutes, the 
company carriers that were now in front of the company 
met the advanced guard of the 4th Nigeria Regiment 



RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 77 

under Lieut.-Col. Sargent, that was hurrying from 5 
Kibongo to reinforce the 3rd Nigeria Regimfent. In the 
confusion that followed these carriers got out of hand 
and made for the bush ; they were not seen again that 
day. Col. Sargent had with him most of the battalion 
baggage, but only one company. The remaining com- 
pany of the 4th Battalion had to remain behind to help 
garrison Kibongo. At about 4.30 p.m. Col. Sargent 
met Col. Archer. The latter stated that he would take 
up a position with his battalion at, the stream, already 
referred to, and would there dig in for the night. This, 
for some reason or other unknown to the writer, he never 
did, but continued his retirement to Kibongo. 

" Col. Sargent immediately ordered No. 15 Company to 
again advance. Major Roberts (second in command of 
the 4th Nigeria Regiment) was put in command of half 
13 Company and 15 Company, with instructions to form 
a rearguard, and cover the retirement of the 3rd Nigeria 
Regiment. 

" By 5 p.m. these six sections were in position, the 
whole of Col. Archer's force having passed through them 
with the exception of one company, the section of the 
battery with its escort of 16 Company being the last to 
retire. No sooner had the guns passed throu^ this 
party than the enemy opened a very heavy fire with 
rifles and machine-gims, and delivered a counter-attack. 
Col.-Sergt. Lamb of 13 Company was killed at the first 
burst of this fire. In Lamb's death the Nigerians lost 
one of their best British N.C.Os. He was a man of un- 
limited pluck. He had seen service in two other theatres, 
and had been awarded the D.C.M. and a bar for his 
services in GaUipoli. At the first sound of this firing 
all the carriers of both battalions stampeded. The con- 



78 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

fusion was added to by a few of the enemy working round 
both flanks and sniping at the already demoralized 
carriers. No. lo Company of the 3rd Nigerians, under 
Capt. Robinson, had up to this time been the rearguard. 
They now became part of Major Roberts' force. The 
firing Une was now built up on each side of the road. 
Major Roberts held this position for half an hour, when 
he was at last forced to retire owing to the enemy having 
worked rotmd his right flank and opening a machine-gun 
fire from the right rear into his firing line. No sooner 
had the two sections of 13 Company (that had up to then 
been in advance of the main firing Une) turned about 
and commenced the retirement, than Capt. Barclay was 
shot through the back. He died of wounds an hour or 
so later, having only commanded his compahy for a few 
hours." 

The description of this action would not be complete 
if the doings of a machine-gun carrier of 13 Company 
were not recorded. Gun-carrier Awudu Katsena, a 
Munchi by birth, was during this action carrjdng Capt. 
Barclay's field glasses, haversack, water bottle, etc., when 
his master fell mortally wounded. There was not a single 
soldier near to help him get his master back to a place of 
safety. The Germans were by this time advancing very 
rapidly on each side of the path on which Capt. Barclay 
was lying. Awudu Katsena picked up a rifle that was 
lying beside a dead soldier, and whilst kneeling over his 
mortally wounded master, opened a rapid fire upon the 
oncoming enemy. In the ordinary course gun-carriers 
are not expected to know an3^hing about the use of a 
rifle ; they are, to all intents and purposes, non-com- 
batants. So rapid and effective was his fire that the 
enemy were momentarily bhecked in their advance. 



RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 79 

These few moments were suiiicient time for a party of 
13 Company to arrive back an(J get Capt. Barclay away. 
For this most plucky act Awudu Katsena was later 
awarded the MiUtary Medal. (See also reference to this 
gun-carrier at the Battle of Mhiwa, Chapter XII.) 

To return to the diary account. " During the first 
200 yards of 13 Company's retirement these two sections 
were under continual heavy fire from both rifle and 
machine-gims. The men behaved wonderfully well and 
carried out this most difiicult manoeuvre in perfect order, 
and their discipUne was beyond praise. Luckily the 
enemy's fire was wild and inclined to be very high, especi- 
ally the machine-gvm fire, the bullets from which 
frequently struck the branches of the trees above the 
heads of the retiring troops. Lieut. Hilton assumed 
command of the rear ' point ' after Capt. Barclay was 
wounded. The bush was so thick that in spite of the 
fact that the enemy were within 50 to a 100 yards of 
Lieut. Hilton, he did not see a single German soldier." 
This is t5T)ical of the fighting in East Africa. Several 
times in my own experience a considerable force of the 
enemy were quite near to me, yet I was unable to see a 
single man to fire at. The consequence was that a heavy 
fire had to be kept up in the direction of where the enemy 
were thought to be, with the hope that a few bullets 
would find a billet. 

" Throughout the action the Nigerian gims imder Major 
Waller were unable to come into effective action, owing to 
the nature of the ground and the heavy and accurate 
machine-gun fire of the enemy. 

" Pomeroy was wotmded about twelve noon, during the 
advanced-guard operation ; Thompson was woimded 
during Gard'ner's flank attack in the morning ; Winter 



80 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

was wounded at 5 p.m. during the German counter- 
attack. Jeffries was captured in the retirement of Nos. 9 
and 12 Companies, with Gard'ner, whom he was at the 
time helping to ' dress.' Col.-Sergt. Speak was wounded 
and captured in the first advanced-guard withdrawal, 
Sergts. Wroe and WooUey were both wounded and cap- 
tured in Gard'ner's flank show. Sergts. Dickson and 
Care were alSo wounded. At a later date Sergt. Woolley 
was returned to the British lines by the Geitnans. He 
informed me that this counter-attack was most disastrous 
to the Germans, as their casualties were most heavy. 
Sergt, Woolley remained out in the bush half the night 
and saw wounded men being earned back in a continuous 
stream. The British fire had been most effective. When 
the British woxmded prisoners had been collected by the 
enemy they were immediately carried back to Maba, as 
the Germans were in a deadly fear of being attacked again 
on the 25th. If they had been so attacked by fresh 
troops they would certainly have broken." 

At this crisis of the campaign it is quite possible that 
if the British had got through to Mawa the whole cam- 
paign might have taken very different Unes, and possibly 
been greatly curtailed. But " ifs " cannot be taken into 
account in war, and for some reason or other the battle 
was not continued on the 25th. 

" At 6.15 p.m. the enemy ceased firing. About this 
time Lieut. Hilton met Lieut.-Col. Sargent on the road ; 
the Colonel came up himself in command of 15 Company 
and half 16 Company ; this force was to form a new rear- 
guard. Lieut. Hilton's retirement had left No. 10 Com- 
pany by itself to hold the enemy's advance. It was 
Col. Sargent's intention to relieve this company which 
had borne the brunt of the fighting throughout the day. 



RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 81 

This company, imder Capt. Robinson, had done extremely 
good work during this trying action ; their discipline had 
been msiintained imder the most trying conditions." 

Capt. Robinson was later awarded a very well earned 
Military Cross. The M.C. was also awarded to Capt. 
Armstrong of the 3rd Nigeria Regiment and Lieut. Winter 
of the 4th Nigeria Regiment, whilst Lieut.-Col. Sargent 
was awarded the D.S.O. There is no doubt that it was 
through Col. Sargent's personal leadership in this action 
that the 3rd Nigeria Regiment and the Nigerian guns 
were saved. 

"Col. Salient advanced with 15 Company and half 
16 Company for a distance of half a mile, where a firing 
line was established, covering the retreat of No. 10 Com- 
pany. After seeing that this company was safely with- 
drawn he handed over the coromand of this force to 
Major Roberts. When Col. Sargent left the firing line 
he was within two miles of the water holes of Ngwembe." 

There is little doubt, in the fight of after events, that if 
this firing line could have been considerably reinforced 
during the night that followed, and an attack had been 
defivered at daybreak, this action would have been 
turned into a decisive victory for the Nigerians, as the 
Germans were very disorganized. Oberleutnant Otto, 
who later became one of the German chief leaders, was 
woimded in this action. 

" Capt. Robinson and Lieut. Hilton were now ordered 
to retire to Col. Archer's position at the stream three miles 
in rear. At the time neither Col. Sargent nor any of 
the troops that formed the front line had any idea that 
Col. Archer had retired right back to Kibongo, but all 
thoroughly beheved that an entrenched position was being 
prepared at the stream for them to faU back upon. Thus 
6 



82 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

it transpired that these companies, together with the 
Headquarters of the 4th BattaUon, were forced to retire 
to Kibongo. 15 and 16 Companies held their position 
mitil dark, when they retired the best part of a mile, 
where they again estabUshed a firing line. No. 15 Company 
forming the advance picquet. The night was spent by 
them in collecting the 3rd and 4th Nigeria Regiments' 
loads that had been discarded by the carriers when they 
stampeded ; a good many of these and a few wounded 
men were recovered. At 10.30 p.m. Col. Sargent arrived 
back at Kibongo. At 12.15 a.m. on the 25th January Major 
Badham left for Ngwembe in command of a reUef force, 
with a large number of carriers to bring io all the recovered 
loads. Only two companies were available for this duty 
— one from the 4th Battalion and one from the ist 
Nigerians." 

To describe this march so as to do it full justice would 
be impossible. It turned out to be the most uncomfort- 
able march that troops could be called upon to perform. 
The night was pitch dark — a. darkness that could almost 
be felt. A white handkerchief hung upon the pack of 
the man in front could not be seen at the distance of 
one foot. The only possible way to keep touch, was for 
each man actually to hold on to the man in front of him 
in the column. At 2.30 a.m. it came on to rain in a 
manner that is only possible in the tropics — a. deluge 
that is imknown in more temperate climates. The 
path at first became greasy, so that one sHpped back half 
the distance that one went forward. Later the path 
became a stream several inches deep in water and mud. 
Great credit is due to Company Sergt.-Major Morakinyo 
Ibadan, the Acting Regimental Sergt.-Major of the 4th 
Battalion, for the way in which he guided this column. 



RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 83 

On looking back it seems almost a miracle how he 
managed to retrace the path to Major Roberts' position, 
7 miles distant from Kibongo, through an almost trackless 
bush. For his services on this night he was awarded the 
D.C.M. 

The head of Major Badham's column reached Capt. 
Hetley's company (i5 Company) at 3.50 a.m. The 
return march was commenced at once, as it was absolutely 
necessary to get all loads away under cover of the darkness. 

About 4.3a a.m. something or other frightened the 
carriers, and they commenced at once to stampede. As 
there were quite three hundred of them, matters began 
to look serious, but thanks to the large number of 
Europeans present the stampede was stopped in time. 
The last load that could be found left the 16 Company 
position at 6.30 a.m. 15 Company remained in position 
till all the loads were away in order to cover this with- 
drawal in the event of the enemy again becoming active. 
Fortunately for all, the Germans had had enough the 
day before, and were only too glad to let the Nigerians 
withdraw uninterrupted. Not a shot was fired by the 
other side, though without doubt they knew what 
was going on. The whole of Major Badham's column 
got back safely to Kibongo. Though many loads were 
saved, both the 3rd and 4th Battalions lost a very large 
amount of private kit and suppUes in this action ; also 
a fair number of boxes of ammunition were never 
recovered. 

It is estimated that the enemy's force that took part 
in this action niunbered about six himdred rifles and 
many machine-guns. This was afterwards verified by 
Major Gard'ner and captured Huns. There were in 
addition two companies in support. The number of their 



84 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

casualties is unknown, but it must have been very large. 
Three Europeans were actually seen dead, and thirty 
Askaris were found Isdng on the ground apparently dead 
between the two captured naachine-guns in Major 
Gard'ner's flank attack. The British casualties, in 
addition to those already mentioned, were forty-three 
native soldiers killed, forty woimded, and eight taken 
prisoners or missing. The failure of the flank attack was 
partially due to the large European casualties at the 
outbreak of the German counter-attack. Deprived of 
the majority of their officers, the men were unable to cope 
with the enemy's determined counter-attack, deUvered 
as they always were in East Africa, with great strength 
and fierceness, and supported by well-directed machine- 
gun fire. ' 

There is not a shadow of doubt that the enemy's native 
soldiers bayoneted or, in other ways, murdered many 
of the Nigerian wounded. It was subsequently ascer- 
tained that only eight men had been taken alive, six of 
whom were later sent into the British Unes under a flag 
of truce, being too severely wounded to be able to take 
any further part in military operations. On the 
25th January the Germans sent in, imder a white flag, 
a letter from the Grerman Commander stating that forty 
wounded men were in their hands, and requested medical 
stores for their use. Either they Ued, in order to get 
from the British for their own use much needed medical 
necessities, or thirty-two NigerlEin soldiers were subse- 
quently murdered. 

Though this action could not be called a success, it 
proved to the authorities that Nigerian troops could give 
a good account of themselves imder the most unfavotirable 
conditions. That this action was not a British victory 



RUFIJI AREA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 85 

was no fault of the native soldier as a fighting man. The 
fortune of war was not with the Nigerians in this action. 
On the 23rd and 24th January the enemy had been 
greatly reinfotced at Ngwembe," unknown to the British 
Intelligence Department. I think that these reinforce- 
ments came fr6m Kibaihbawe as much as anywhere, for 
at least two companies had withdrawn from before 
Sheppard and Pomeroy's patrols. The force sent to 
take the position was not nearly strong enough, and the 
available reinforcements were too far away to be of use 
when most needed. On the same day as this fight took 
place 40 German Europeans and 200 Askaris, with 
I field gun and 2 machine guns surrendered at Likuju 
to a detachment of Gen. Northey's force. 

On the 27th January the Nigerian Brigade was con- 
centrated at MMndu, leaving only a post at Kibongo. 

We, now enter on a period of comparative inaction. 
The rain had started in real earnest, and the 120 nules 
of road from the railhead (Mikesse) to the front was 
already in so bad a condition that motors and all other 
wheel transport could no longer use it. The Nigerians 
now experienced what it was to be dependent on a single 
line of commxmication, in a country so badly infected by 
the Tsetse fly and horse sickness, that every ounce of food 
had to be carried for 85 to 90 miles by carriers. I would 
here refer the reader to Lieut.-Gen. Hoskins' official 
dispatch, dated 30th May 1917. but not published till 
the 27th December 1917, an extract of which is given 
below : — , 

" All seemed to be going weU when on 25th January 
heavy rain began to fall, ushering in the wettest season 
known in East Africa for many years. By the 27th the 
lines of commxmication from Mikesse to Kibambawe were 



86 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

interrupted by the washing away of bridges and the 
flooding of roads ; and operations in all areas were hence- 
forward seriously hampered by the untimely rain. 

" It is perhaps hard to realize the difficulties which the 
rainy season in East Africa entailed for a force acting 
from such widely separated bases, with several different 
hues of communication running through every variety 
of difficult coimtry and necessitating in some cases as 
much as 130 nules of porter transport. In the Mgeta and 
Rufiji vallejTS, roads constructed with much skill and 
labour, over which motor transport ran continuously in 
January, were traversed with difficulty and much hard- 
ship a month later by porters wading for miles in water 
above their waists. The Dodoma-Iringa line of com- 
mimication crossed the great Ruaha in the dry weather 
by an easy ford ; when the rain had really set in supplies 
had to be transported not only over a flooded river, but 
also a swamp on each side of it 6 feet dedp and as many 
miles wide. Considerable anxiety was caused by this 
extensive flooding across the Dodoma-Iringa communica- 
tion, and every effort was made to cope with this. The 
Iringa Column was kept as small as possible, and special 
flat-bottomed boats were prepared, but eventually it 
became necessary to switch on to a new line along the 
road which runs south from the railway at Kilossa. The 
valley of the Rufiji and its various tributaries became a 
vast lake, in which the true courses of the streams were 
often only discernible with difficulty, if at all. Patrol 
worit had to be carried out for some time in canoes, and 
the men found themselves making fast to the roofs of 
houses which had lately formed their quarters. 

"The conditions of the Kilwa area were equally 
trying, as roads became impassable for motor transport. 



RUFIJI AEEA AND NGWEMBE ACTION 87 

and animals died a few weeks after )3eing landed. An 
even more serious factor, perhaps, was the sickness 
amongst the troops. The coastal belt and the valleys 
of the Mgeta and Rufiji even in dry weather are unhealthy 
for all but the indigenous African ; and during the rains 
there is a great increase in malaria, while dysentery and 
pnevunonia strike down even the African native. 

" In 1916 many of our troops in East Africa spent the 
rain season in high and comparatively healthy localities. 
It was impossible to do this in 1917 without withdrawing 
from groimd which had been hardly won and out of which 
the enemy would have to be driven again with equal 
difficulty, should he be allowed to re^occupy it. 

" That the enemy had also to contend with sickness, 
and with sameness, if not with scarcity, of food, is cer- 
tain ; but in a minor degree, since his white men were 
more accHmatized to German East Africa, and his native 
soldiers indigenous to the country. He had the advan- 
tage of falling back on interior Unes ; of veteran tropps 
from whose ranks nearly all waverers had by this time 
been eliminated ; and of his power of Uving on the 
country as he retired. This last was accentuated by 
the fact that whereas we are accustomed to take and 
pay for only what the villagers can spare, the Germans 
have no scruples about taking all. And after using men, 
women, and children as porters so far as they require, 
they send them back in a starving condition, thus in- 
creasing the difficulties of our advancing troops." 

Gen. Hoskins took over the forces in East Africa on 
the 20th January 1917. At this time the effective 
strength of the enemy's forces was put down at iioo 
Europe^s and 7300 Askaris, with 4 guns of 4-inch or 
4.1 calibre, 16 smaller gims, and 73 machine-gims. In 



88 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

the light of what took place later, I think these niunbers 
were under-estimated. 

At one time it was hoped the supply question would 
be solved by using the Rufiji river for tran^wrt purposes, 
but this idea was very soon given up, for the river rose 
into a huge torrent with a speed of 20 miles an hour. 
At the end of January the situation of the Rufiji was 
most gloomy. The supply and transport situation was 
bad ; there was no reserve of food ia the advance depot ; 
the number of carriers was not nearly sufficient ; pack 
animals died after a single journey, if not • before ; 
mechanical transport drivers far back on the lines of 
communication were so rapidly falling sick that himcteds 
of Hght cars stood for days without doing one journey. 
Gen. Hoskins therefore withdrew from the river area all 
the troops he could. 



CHAPTER VI 

OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 

" This is no land for the white man ; none can esteem her good, 
But good, bad, indifierent, the warriors belong to the same brother- 
hood, " 
With this one exception only — ^that none but the strong shall thrive, 
And all that are weak shall perish, as only the best can survive." 

I DO not know where the above quotation comes 
from, but it is a good description of the Rufiji area 
during the rains. 
Towards the end of January the question of suppUes 
at Mldndu became most acute. On 30th January the 
Nigerian Brigade was put on half rations ofiicially. On 
reading my diary I find that full rations had become a 
thing of the past some days earUer, though the belt was 
not felt to pinch too badly tiU 13th February, when the 
troops were placed on quarter rations. The total weight 
of all food issued tjiis day was rather less than 13 oimces 
per man. The Europeans' food was very little better 
than the men's. Fresh meat for a long time past had 
not been seen at Mkindu. When we were lucky, its 
place was taken by bully beef, which appeared on the 
table in every form of " camouflage." The men, driven 
by hvmger, started to dig up roots, or picked herbs from 
the bush to eat, with disastrous results on many occasions. 
Crime became more common, as the men, seeing the 
supplies arrive by convoy from the river, used to try to 
take rice and biscuits out of the dump or the battalion 



90 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

quartermaster's supply stores. February, March, and 
April 1917 were aU black months for the Nigerian Brigade. 
The hardships passed through during thesQ three months 
must be unparalleled in miUtary operations of our time. 
Our condition could not have been worse even if we had 
been in a siege. The men got terribly thin and wretched, 
till they became almost unfit to take the field in any 
active operations. The men went sick, and many died 
from eating poisoned roots and herbs, twelve men dying 
in the 2iid BattaUon early in May from this cause. To 
give an instance or two of the state the men got into, 
will no doubt interest the reader, besides, if they were 
omitted, this record would be most incomplete. 

A donkey died of horse sickness and was buried. Two 
days later the body was dug up a!nd eaten by certain men. 
This happened several times with condemned cattle, till 
it was found necessary always to bum carcases. 

A bridge was built over a stream between the main 
position at Mkindu and a detached position known as 
Stretton Hill. The spars forming the bridge were lashed 
together with strips of raw hide, dating back to the days 
of plenty, when a li[irge herd of cattle supplied the meat 
for the troops at Mkindu. The bridge had been standing 
about two months, when one night all the hide was stolen, 
and the bridge left in a very tottering state. The hides 
were cooked down into soup, and so disposed of by the 
starving men. 

Below is given a fair example of a day's rations for 
Europeans. The following was issued to the officers of 
the 4th BattaUon on 4th April: Bacon, ^ oz. ; jam, 
I oz. ; condensed milk, | oz. ; onions, f oz. ; fresh 
meat, 2f oz., the total weight of each officer's ration 
being i lb. 2^ ozs. On the same day to the men was 




& r 



THE RUFIJI VALLEY NEAR KIPENIO 

A TYPICAL SCENE 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 91 

issued half a pound of rice, with nothing in addition. 
Before leaving this doleful subject I quote a paragraph 
out of a brother-officer's diary of the 2nd Battalion, 
dated the i8th April : " The men are getting thinner 
daily ; Europeans are up against it now, and honestly 
have barely enough to keep body and soul together. 
Rations for Europeans for six dasrs from I5th-20th April 
inclusive : flour, 3 lbs. ; bacon, | lb. ; dried fruit, | lb. ; 
sugar, I lb. ; tea, i| oz. ; salt, i| oz. ; tinned meat, 
2 J lb. ; onions,' I lb. ; ghee,^ i oz." The troops during 
all this time of semi-starvation were called upon to carry 
out many arduous duties, such as trench-digging, con- 
struction of ^ug-outs, house-building, patrols, and other 
mihtary duties. That they performed their duties cheer- 
fully and thoroughly speaks well for the credit of the 
black soldier. I am convinced that no other troops, 
whether they be Indian, East African, or White, could \ 
possibly have done better. Whilst on the subject of 
rations, when a fuU ration was issued it was ample, for 
it consisted of i lb. of meat, i lb. of bread or flour, abund- 
ance of vegetables, tea, coffee, cocoa, milk, sugar, salt, 
rice, condiments, lime juice, and, last but not least, 
" dop " (Cape brandy). 

I have written at length upon this subject of rations, 
but so far have written nothing of how certain of us in- 
creased our food supply from local resources. I doubt 
if the reader has ever tasted monkey's brains on ration 
bisciiits, bush rat pie, or stewed hippo's sweetbreads, but 
all three were consumed by the more daring Europeans 
of the Brigade, and thoroughly enjoyed. If any readers 
should doubt the' truth of the above, I refer them to 
certain companies of the 3rd Battalion. Whenever food 

• A fonn of Indicin butter. 



92 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

is scarce prices for all commodities rise out of all pro- 
portion. A good example of this is seen in the Klondyke 
gold rush. Thus on the Rufiji, at a sale of effects of 
Europeans killed in the action at Ngwembe on the 
24th January, a bottle of brandy (Hennessy's three star) 
was knocked down at £10, and a tooth-brush for the 
remarkable price of £1, 13s. 4d. Everj^hing else was 
sold at proportionately high prices. 

Whilst the Nigerian Brigade was entrenched at Mkindu 
several small engagements took place, the first of these 
was at Luhembero Hill, a well-defined and isolated hill 
about 6 miles east of Mkindu. No. 13 Company, now 
under the command of Capt. Norton-Harper, went to 
this hiU as escort to the Nigerian Brigade signalling ofiicer, 
Capt. Williams. The escort consisted of 75 native rank 
and file, i machine-gun, and 2 officers, including Capt. 
Norton-Harper. The party arrived at their destination 
at 8.45 a.m. A strong position was taken up covering 
the signalling officer, who was at the highest point of the 
sugar-loafed hill. About i p.m. a sentry group north 
of the main position was rushed by a party of the enemy, 
but they managed to fall back on to their picquet. The 
enemy next attacked the picquet, but were driven off. 
Capt. Norton-Harper discovered that the enemy were 
attempting to work round his left flank, and delivered a 
bayonet charge against the oncoming Germans, who 
retired in disorder. As it was impossible to know the 
strength of the enemy, Capt. Norton-Harper could not 
press home his advantage and follow up the retiring 
enemy, for to do so meant leaving Capt. Williams im- 
protected. The whole action lasted about twenty 
minutes. The enemy's casualties and strength are 
unknown. 13 Company had one man killed and two 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 98 

wounded. The enemy in this attack disguised them- 
selves with gTcLss and branches of trees, and were thus 
indistinguishable from the bush. In this way they were 
able to get quite close to the sentry group before being 
discovered. On 25th February the Nigerianx detached 
post at Kibongo was attacked during the night, but the 
enemy never pressed home his attack. On 2nd March 
Capt. Pring's company of the ist Battahon was fired 
upon when on patrol duty south of Kibongo, with the 
result that he had a few casualties. 

On 1st March the 2nd Battahon left Mkindu at 5.30 
a jn. and marched via Kibambawe to Nyakisiku, 17 miles 
distant, where they joined the Cape Corps and Kashmiri 
battery. An attack on Tindwas had been planned for 
the 2nd March. The guide proved to know very httle 
about the country, and in many places the water was 
waist-deep along the road. The position of the enemy 
was thought to be 4 mUes distant, but the force advance(| 
8 miles before a shot was fired at them. A few rounds 
were exchanged before the enemy retired. One German 
Askari was kiUed and two were taken prisoners. Our 
casualties were nU. The force pushed on through swamp 
and elephant grass, and at last arrived at an evacuated 
enemy's trench. The British force returned the same 
day via Nyakisiku, at which place they arrived at 10 p.m., 
having to go through water neck deep on the retvun 
journey. On the 3rd March the 2nd Battalion returned 
to Mkindu, having marched 50 miles in 16 hours, 
through swamp, water, elephant grass, and mud. On 
arriving back at Mkindu the men received the magnificent 
ration of i lb. of rice only. 

By the 5th March the supply question at Mkindu had 
temporarily improved. Gen. CunUffe therefore issued 



94 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

orders for an attack on Ngwembe. The Nigerian Brigade 
was reinforced by the Cape Corps and the Kashmiri 
battery. The date of the attack was fixed for the 
8th March — ^all troops having concentrated by the 
previous day. Later on during the 7th March, the Com- 
mander-in-Chief countermanded the attack on the grounds 
of suppUes. On the 8th all troops returned to Mkindu 
or their own respective stations. A British aeroplane 
flew over Mkindu soon after the troops had arrived back, 
and dropped a message stating that Ngwembe was still 
occupied by a strong enemy force, and that they were 
waiting for us. , 

Before going further it is necessary to record in short 
what was taking place in the other part of the theatre. 
At the beginning of February Gen. Northey's force was 
distributed as follows : A small column at Likuju 
moving towards Kibinda was following up Wintgens' 
force that had been strongly reinforced. Col. Byron 
was at Songea ; Col. Tomlinson at Kitande, opposing 
Wintgens, Col. Murray was between Ifinga and the 
Htu river, opposing Kraut's force, that at about this 
time reinforced Wintgenp. Col. Hawthorne with a 
column near Alt-Langenburg was marching towards 
Wiedhaven. 

Gen. Northey, thinking it possible that Wingtens was 
preparing an attack on his Une of communication, ordered 
Col. Murray to move to Tandala. A small mobile column 
under Capt. Anderson, i8th Hussars, was attacked by a 
much stronger force north of Milow on i6th February, 
and fought a most gallant action, but had to retire under 
cover of darkness. In this action Col. Fairweather of 
the South African Motor Cyclist Corps was killed. 
Another small force, consisting of a company of K.A.R., 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 95 

on i8th February, 6 miles from Tandala, was nearly 
cut off by the main body of Wintgens' force, but managed 
after a most desperate fight to cut a way through, and 
retired on Tandala. Luckily for that place Col. Murray's 
column arrived in the nick of time, and Wintgens, not 
wishing to fight a general action, moved north, abandon- 
ing a small calibre gim. Wintgens' force towards the 
end of February consisted of about 550 native rank and 
file and 60 Europeans. Col. Murray followed him d.t 
once. On 25th, February began a long chase in which 
the Nigerians were later destined to join. Wintgens was 
thus able to make his escape from Gen. Northey, chiefly on 
account of that general's force having to be so spUt up to 
deal with the numerous enemy detachments in this area. 

A concentration by the enemy near Lindi was taking 
place aU February. Brig.-Gen. O'Grady was reinforced 
in this area, and as soon as he was strong enough he 
immediately began to worry the enemy. The port of 
Lindi was prepared for the big offensive that was to be 
based on that place, and was to commence as soon as 
the rains came to an end. 

At the end of February the ist Division, under Gei^. 
Hajonyngton, held a line in the Rufiji area from Utete 
to Chemera, through Mamatews. Chemera was an im- 
portant place on accoimt of the light railway that was 
being constructed behind it from Kilwa towards Liwale. 
By the end of February the north bank of the Rufiji 
river was clear of aU enemy. 

In Gen. Hoskins' dispatch up to 30th May the following 
paragraph, which explains itself, appeared : — 

" Meanwhile the feeding of the various columns was a 
source of much anxiety to me and to all my column 
commanders. 



96 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

" As the rains increased in the Kilwa area the animals 
died of fly, and Ught mechanical transport work became 
impossible ; porter transport had gradually to be adopted 
inland, and a system of dhows and boats up to riverhead 
on the Matandu river was instituted. Portions of the 
1st Division located at Mohoro and subsequently at 
Utete were suppUed by river transport up the Rufiji, 
under arrangements \jdth the Navy, and the river became 
the main line of supplies for all troops in that area. 

" The maintenance of the troops in the Iringa area by 
the Dodoma-Iringa line had become so precarious that 
in March the Kilossa-Iringa line had to be adopted, 
though it involved heavy casualties among porters and 
donkeys and much sickness among the white personnel. 
It was not imtil May that weather conditions again per- 
mitted of the Dodoma-Iringa line being used. 

" Difficulties of supply through the low-l37ing country 
between Kibambawe and the Uluguru uplands steadily 
increased, so that the troops were frequently on half 
rations. I therefore hastened the withdrawal of the 
remainder of Gen. Beves' force to recuperate and 
refit. 

"Sickness amongst Europeans and South African 
units had assumed such proportions as to necessitate 
their withdrawal to recuperate. I decided to send as 
many as possible to South Africa and to recall them in 
time for offensive operations after the rains. 

" The hardships of the campaign and the brunt of the 
fighting since 1914 had been borne by some Indian units 
and by the King's African Rifles. Those had also suffered 
severely from sickness, especially the Indians ; but units 
were so weak as to make it impossible to withdraw any 
of the King's African Rifles, and only certain of the 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 97 

Indians were able to be sent to healthier ground to 
recuperate." 

The 3rd Division, composed only of South African 
troops, had left .the country early in January 1917. It 
was now decided to return the 2nd South African Division 
to South Africa. So by the time the offensive was re- 
commenced there were very few combatant white troops 
left in East Africa. The strength of the King's African 
Rifles was raised to twenty battalions, which fact makes 
one regret the. more the previous disbandments in this 
force. As this force at the outbreak of the war con- 
sisted of only three battaUons, this effort speaks very 
weU for British East Africa, and is an example to other 
African colonies. With the withdrawal of these two 
divisions the division organization was done away with, 
and columns were formed, varying in size according to 
the requirements of the operations to be allotted to each. 

An organized Carrier Corps was now estabUshed, as 
it had been proved that it was essential that the white 
personnel who were to handle porters should understand 
the natives imder their control, and be able to speak to 
them in their own language. 

In March the Compulsory Service Act was put in force 
in British East Africa for both natives and Europeans. 
The Carrier Corps greatly improved the conditions imder 
which the native served. Up to this time the wretched 
carrier had to look after himself, and serve under c6n- 
ductors who did not know a word of his language. The 
carriers' conditions in the early part of this campaign 
were most unenviable, and they died by thousands 
monthly. 

To return to Mkindu. On 13th March, shortly after 
midnight of the I2th-i3th, the Kibongo post was attacked 
7 



98 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

by a strong force. The enemy got within 150 yards of 
the trench^, but did not approach nearer. On the 13th 
the Brigade Headquarters moved to Mpangas on the 
Rufiji, orders having been given out that the 2nd and 
4th Nigeria Regiments, imder the command of Col. 
Sargent, would remain at Mkindu, and all other troops 
would be withdrawn to the river. The Commander-in- 
Chief had decided that the Nigerian Brigade should 
take over the whole of the upper Rufiji Une. AH South 
African and Indian troops, who for a long time past had 
been suffering severely from the climate and feeding, 
were withdrawn to a more healthy station. On the 
14th March half the Nigerian battery, the signalling 
section, and a certain number of stretcher cases, together 
with 700 carriers, left Mkindu at 6 a.m. for Mpangas. 
This long convoy had for its escort three officers and 
forty-nine rank and fUe, with two machine-guns. The 
advance guard consisted of twelve rank and file, under 
the command of Lieut. Buchanan-Smith. This had to 
be divided again into the vanguard and main guard. 
Capt. Milne-Home, with two sections and two machiae- 
guns, remained with the guns as escort ; the remaining 
section of twelve rank and iUe formed the re^guard. 
There had been a fairly long halt at 6.4^ a.m. to allow 
the long column to close up. At 7.30 a.m. two shots 
were heard in front, which Capt. Milne-Home took to be 
some one shooting game. This idea very soon proved to 
be wrong, as several German rifles were heard to answer. 
The convoy immediately halted, and the two available 
sections, numbering about twenty-four rifles and one 
machine-gun, formed up in a crescent formation round 
the guns. The German flring became very heavy, but 
the main body was unable to reply, owing to the advance 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 99 

guard being out in front. Shortly afterwards the main 
guard of the advance guard, numbering in all five rifles, 
fell back and joined the main body. Lieut. Buchanan- 
Smith came back himself from the vanguard, and reported 
that he had seen five white men and a number of Askaiis, 
and that every man in his vanguard had been knocked 
out. A number of Askaris were observed by Capt. 
Mflne-Home breaking back through the bush on his right. 
They received the best part of a belt from the machine- 
gun with the ifiain body. Many of them were seen to 
fall. During this period all the 3rd Nigerians who were 
wounded crawled back with their rifles and equipment 
complete, notwithstanding the fact that several of them 
were badly hit, and in fact one of them, Pte. Ahaji 
Maifoni, was shot through both thighs. Pte. Dodo 
Jalingo was shot through the limgs, and later died of 
his woimds, whilst a third soldier was woimded in eleven 
places. 

Whilst the machine-gun was in action, one of the team, 
Pte. Suberu Ilorin, got a bullet through his arm, but he 
never ceased serving the gun, and only laughed when 
some one suggested he should go to the dressing station. 
The second machine-gun had been sent forward from the 
rear, but before it arrived Major Waller had been 
dangerously woimded, and Lieut. Vise had taken over 
the command of the gims. 

Lieut. Buchanan-Smith, who was now in chattge of the 
firing line, had been instructed that whatever happened 
this line must stand firm. Lieut. Vise, at about 8.20 a.m., 
discharged two roimds from his guns, with the fuses set 
at zero. After that there was only some desultory firing, 
the whole affair having lasted for one hour. The Nigerian 
casualties were Major Waller and his native battery- 



100 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

-sergeant-major, both dangerously wounded, three rank 
and file killed, and nine others wounded ; in aU, fourteen 
casualties of all ranks. 

Lance-Cpl. Awudu Kadunu in this action won the 
D.C.M. When with the advance guard early in tl?^e fight 
he captured an Askari, and while in the act of disarming 
him was attacked by another German soldier, whom he 
killed, afterwards shooting his original captive who was 
trying to'run away. Later he killed a German Eturopean. 
Lieut. Buchanan-Smith accounted for two other Euro- 
peans, whom he shot with his revolver at point-blank 
range when the vanguard was first attacked. Thus ended 
what might have been a very unpleasant little show. 
The Nigerians were outnumbered, and were further 
hampered with a very long convoy and many carriers, 
who are always an anxiety to an escort commander. 
That the guns and loads were all saved was due to the 
personal valour and leadership of Lieuts. Vise and 
Buchanan-Smith, who were both awarded the Military 
Cross for the parts they took in this action. The (lermans 
suffered many casualties. There were only three 
Europeans and three Askaris actually accounted for, but 
that they erected a dressing station and put up a Red 
Cross flag during the action is known, and further, when 
a careful examination of the groimd was made later 
ifiuch blood and pieces of first field dressings were dis- 
covered around in the bush — ^from which facts it is 
beUeved that their casualties must have been quite heavy. 
The total loss of material to the Nigerians in this action t 
was only on? rifle and a hundred rounds of ammimition, 
both taken by the Germans from the body of a man who 
had been killed, arid whose body could not be got back. 

There were several differences of opiriion as to what 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 101 

the Germans were doing on the Mkindu-Mpangas road. 

on this day. In the opinion of many people they cotdd 

not be lying up for a food convoy, as they were facing 

towards Mkindu instead of Mpangas. If they had 

meant to ambush a supply convoy, it stands to reason 

they would have dug in facing the way that the convoy 

would come, instead of which all their firing pits were 

dug facing Mkindu. They were actually about sixty to 

eighty in strength, to judge by the volume of fire. It 

was later proved that they had taken up. their position 

on the old road the night before the action, and had 

remained out all night watching the Mkindu road. It 

had been at first intended that Gen. Cunliffe and his staff 

should move back to the river on the 14th. At the last 

moment this was changed to the afternoon of the 13th. 

The last of the Headquarters to make the journey was 

Major Booth, who could only have passed the scene of 

the fighting an hour or so before the arrival of the Germans. 

If the Germans had intended to take the battery — that 

is, assuming that they knew the move was to be made on 

the 14th — ^they would have sent out a much stronger 

force than seventy rifles with no machine-guns. This 

fact proves that they never expected the battery with an 

escort to pass over this road on the morning of the 14th. 

It is equally certain that they were not lying up for a 

British supply convoy. It is therefore thought by many 

that they must have been " l5ang up " for the General 

and his staff, but by the greatest good luck, owing to the 

change of plans. at the eleventh hour, their attempt to* 

capture the whole of the Nigerian staff was frustrated. 

Information of their probable move from Mkindu must 

have got through to the Grermans by a spy who probably 

was living in the British camp, disgmsed as a Swaheli 



102 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

carrier. Capt. Milne-Home was handicapped by the 
feeling of over-confidence in the safety of the road, that 
had sprung up generally at Mkindu. Only a few days 
before this action I was watching a big convoy arriving 
from the river, under the escort of about twelve rifles. 
Turning to a certain officer, I remarked, " What a fine 
bag a convoy of this description would be for the enemy." 
The officer laughed and said that the road to Mpangas 
was as safe as any country road in England^^ and he 
jvould feel quite safe walking down it with his mother 
and aunts with umbrellas up to act as his escort. This 
well describes the opinion that every one had at the tin^e 
of the Mpangas road. The reader can judge how great 
must have been the consternation of every one at Mkindu 
when this fight was heard to be going on not more than 
three miles from the Nigerian camp. On reading through 
a certain officer's diary who took part in this scrap, I was 
much amused to read an entry made on this date. " Our 
company eventually went khead and got to Mpangas 
about 4.30 p.m. Later in the evening a small mail 
arrived, which contained amongst other letters one from 

Mother and O congratulating themselves on my 

being out of France at a nice safe place where the 
show is over ! ! " 

Whilst the. whole Brigade were at Mkindu there were 
several attacks on the Kibongo post.^hich gave rise to 
many false alarms. On a certain night the gatrison of 
Mkindu were disturbed late in the evening and had " to 
stand to arms " for the remainder of the night, whilst 
silence reigned supreme at Kibongo. What had happened 
to the j)ost no one knew. All was wrapped in the deepest 
mystery. Later it was discovered that the officer in 
charge of the post had been disturbed by a curious sound 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 103 

as of a great force moving between Kibongo and Mkindu. 
" My God," he thought, " I am cut off ! " The silent foe 
could be seen moving from east to west in dark, shadowy 
batches, and as they moved they were seen to be driving 
in stakes. " They're putting up an obstacle between me 
and Mkindu," thought the officer ; " surely I am undone." 
By making a big circular toiir through the bush he 
managed to escape with his detachment from the 
" enemy." Next day when the ground was examined 
the spur of many hartebeestes was seen on the exact 
spot where the " enemy " had been seen the night before. 
The driving in of stakes turned out to be the hartebeestes 
grazing, and as they moved forward they hfted up their 
heads, and as they halted so they put their heads down 
to graze. The " enemy " was a great herd of these 
antelopes, and the stakes were their horns ! Owing to 
this false alarm four battaUons stood to arms all night. 
It might have been a laughing matter if it had not been 
so sad ! ! 

TaUdng about alarms, real and false, I wonder if my 
reader has ever encountered driver ants ? They are 
more terrible than any German ; they can make a reason- 
able being do the Marathon in record time ; they will make 
a sane man jump into a stream or ffing off his clothes and 
roU in the grass as naked as when he was bom ; they 
wiU take up residence in a house and no one will enter, 
whilst the rightful tenant of the house wiU gladly remain 
outside in the cold and rain rather than share his dwelling 
with the intruder. A whole company will take up their 
beds and walk on. their arrival. Saintly men will rage 
like fiends when by chance a dozen or so of these " drivers " 
have the whim to wander up his trousers ; whilst calm 
and self-possessed men will dance better thcin the average 



104 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Dervish at the very thought of one or two down his 
neck. Their power to disturb is immense. They are 
invincible. I once thought that I, a mere hipnan, could 
" straf " the driver ants that had honoured my house 
with a visitation during the night, but the " straf er was 
strafed," and the house remained the sole property of the 
ants till at dawn they decided to go elsewhere. 

On the i6th March a small patrol was sent out to the 
Kibongo neighbourhood by the 4th Battalion. The post 
had been withdrawn the day before. Company-Sergt.- 
Major Belo Akure was sent out in charge of this patrol, 
which included no Europeans. 

This sergeant-major is a most remarkable native. He 
obtained the D.C.M. for extraordinary gallantry in a 
pagan expedition on the West Coast some years previous 
to the outbreak of the Great War. Dxiring the Cameroon 
campaign he obtained a bar to his D.C.M. He was most 
highly recommended by his captain and battalion com- 
mander for a second bar during the same campaign. 
He was awarded his bar for covering the retreat of a 
party of Nigerians by checking the enemy's advance by 
himself. He was ordered to conduct the retirement of 
an advance post that was being heavily attacked. The 
post was separated from the main position by an unford- 
able river 35 yards in width. He got his men into the 
only available canoe, and finding that it would founder 
if he got in himself, he lay on the bank and covered their 
retirement, being all the time subjected to heavy fire 
himself, one bullet actually cutting his sleeve. When his 
men landed he ordered them into the trenches on the 
other side of the stream, and then swam the river himself 
under heavy fire to join them. I have several times seen 
this sergeant-major in action, and can honestly state 




.iSi.-^-' i ^■^- 



COMPAXV ^i-:r(;t.-major f.et.o aklrk. ji.c.m.. m.-M. 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 105 

that I have, never seen a braver man. It makes one feel 
quite ashamed of oneself when that nasty feeling of fear 
catches one deep down inside and has to be expelled, for 
one realizes that this native does not know what the 
feeling of fear is. His one idea is that his officers must on 
no account nm into unnecessary danger ; on no accoimt 
will he let an officer go in front of him on a road. Any 
cover that is handy must be reserved to conceal his 
officers, even if he himself must lie down in the open. 
I have seen him deKberately get in front of a European 
so that if anyone should be hit it would be himself. 

To retmn to the doings of Belo's patrol. During the 
night the sergeant-major with three privates returned to 
the old perimeter at Kibongo. About 6.45 a.m. he saw 
a party of Germans approaching, which he estimated to 
be about fifty natives led by two Europeans. The enemy 
extended about 600 yards from the old Kibongo camp, 
and sent forward a few scouts. The two Europeans 
remained together in the centre of the extended line. 
They were marked down by the sergeant-major to be for 
his own private " bag." He ordered the three privates 
on no account to fire till he had taken a deliberate and 
well-aimed shot at the fatter of the two Germans ; the 
other he was not interested in, as he was only a thin 
man ! From that moment poor " Mai Tombi " (the fat 
man) was as good as dead. The enemy's scouts had now 
approached the sergeant-major's position to within 
100 yards. " Mai Tombi " was 50 yards in rear of the 
scouts. Belo Akure drew a careful bead on the poor 
fellow's "equator." As he afterwards explained the 
case — " I shoot him 6 o'clock for belly." The German 
was seen to throw his arms up into the air and fall back- 
wards. Immediately after the sergeant-major had fired 



106 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

his small party opened rapid fire into the crowd. A good 
deal of confusion took place, but when Belo saw that the 
enemy were fixing bayonets, he thought it about time 
that he and his friends got clear away, so he ordered the 
men to retire through the bush back into Mkindu, whilst 
he remained alone for another minute to cover their 
retreat, and to have one more shot at the Boche. Both 
he and his party got safely back to camp after a very 
pleasant morning's shooting ! 

On the 25th March Sergt.-Major Belo Akure had another 
Uttle adventure, and for the part he took in both he was 
later awarded the Military Medal. 

On this day Lieut. Travers of the 4th Battalion, with 
twenty-four rank and file, including the sergeant-major, 
went out on patrol duty in the Kibongo area. For some 
6a.ys past small parties of the enemy had been moving 
about in this district. Lieut. Travers intended laying 
up for one of these detachments. He therefore placed 
his patrol in smal groups around in the bush near to the 
paths that' had been lately used by the Germans. He, 
Sergt.-Major Belo Akure, and two other soldiers formed 
one group. At 1.30 p.m. a German patrol was heard 
coming through the bush. They actually passed within 
15 yards of the sentr^ over the officer's group. The 
enemy's patrol, whose exact strength is unknown, was 
under a European. As soon as the European presented 
a good target the sergeant-major fired at him, wounding 
him in the leg. The fire was immediately taken up by 
the rest of the group, but owing to the long grass it was 
difiicult to see the Germans, but one German soldier was 
killed. He must have been a magnificent specimen of 
animal when alive, for he was at least 6 feet 4 inches in 
height. The trouble was now how to get the Etiropean 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 107 

away as a prisoner, as his iqends were all round in the 
bush. Sounds of infuriated German Askaris, who fre- 
quently discharged their rifles at nothing, were to be heard 
in all directions. Once again Belo came to the rescue. He 
left his place of safety and went out to the German who 
was lying on the ground. History does not relate what 
he said to the wretched man, but badly wounded as he 
was, he got up and followed the sergeant-major to a 
place of safety. When he met Lieut. Travers he was 
about three shtides paler in colour than a good-looking 
corpse. Sergt.-Major Belo Akure has a way with him ! 
Wheif he went out to the German he was liable at any 
moment to have been fired on by the enemy from any 
direction at a close range, as the bush was full of them. 
Having had their morning's fun, Lieut. Travers' party 
with their wounded prisoner got back safely to Mkindu 
through, the bush. I have told these two anecdotes at 
full length in order to show the style of fighting indulged 
in during the rains in the Rufiji area. This sort of thing 
was the " daily round and common task," and kept us 
all from dying of boredom. 

The Nigerians were incessantly patrolling, doing con- 
voy duty on supplies, or evacuating hospital cases. In 
these days the sickness both amongst black and white 
was very heavy. Every evening would find of&cers con- 
gregated at each others' huts, notwithstanding the fact 
that whisky was nearly an imknown luxury, and the 
ration of " dop " was, more often than not, conspicuous 
by its absence, though it was sometimes drawn together 
with a biscuit and a handful of rice and an occasional 
tin of meat between two or three Europeans. Life 
in these days was terribly monotonous and dull. I do 
not think we received more than one mail (certainly not 



108 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

more than two) during the whole time we were at Mkindu. 
We therefore suffered from a reading-matter fataiine is 
well as from hunger. The only thing to do when not 
actually working was to sleep. I spent more hours in 
a week in these days in the prone position than I have 
ever done before or since when not actually sick. On 
Good Friday 1917 an aeroplane came over Mkindu, and 
after dropping bombs on the enemy at Ngwembe it 
eventually returned to Tulo. All of us at Mkindu hoped 
that our friend the Boche enjoyed his Easter eggs ! 

From Easter onwards events need no detailed descrip- 
tion. The supplj» question became weekly more and 
more acute. Shooting parties were organized to obtain 
meat for the troops, but game was scarce, whilst lions 
were plentiful. Between the lions and the shooting 
parties the little game that was in this area went up into 
the hiUs, too far away to be of any use to the hunter. 
Taking this part of the theatre as a whole, there was to 
all intents and purposes a complete lull in active opera- 
tions. That the enemy were also suffering badly for 
want of food was the Nigerians' only consolation. As a 
proof of this, on nth April two German Europeans and 
three native soldiers were brought into the Mkindu camp 
from the British post at Kipenio. The wire being 
damaged between that post and the British extreme' 
right flank post on the river, a small wire party of one 
European and three native soldiers set out to repair the 
damage. This party had not long left Kipenio before 
they came upon a party of the enemy in the bush, con- 
sisting of two Europeans and seven Askaris. As soon as 
the Germans saw the small British party they surrendered. 
They were in a perilous condition. Their native soldiers, 
suffering from hunger, had all eaten a poisonous root 



OPERATIONS DXJRING THE RAINS 109 

that they had dug up in the bush. One of these wretched 
men had just died, and all the rest were in great pain, 
and no doubt dangerously ill. Three more died the same 
night at Kipenio. One of the three who were brought 
into Mkindu died the day after he arrived. This party 
were in a more 6r less semi-moribund state when fovmd 
by the wire party, for they had been wandering in the 
bush for days. 

On i6th April the question of suppKes was getting 
even more serious. Orders were therefore issued for the 
Nigerian battery and the 4th Battalion to withdraw 
from the river and return to Morogoro on the Central 
Railway — ^the most cheerful news I think I have ever 
received in my life. On 30th April the ist Nigeria 
Regiment was also evacuated to the railway. 

The march back to the railway needs describing at 
length, for it would be quite impossible to find a worse 
road than that followed by the troops anywhere in Africa. 
The following account is taken from a diary written at 
the time the journey was made by the 4th Battalion : 
" On the i8th April, owing to the lack of suf&cient accom- 
modation on the lines of communication, only half the 
battalion could march together down them. Therefore 
the battalion was spUt up, and later, when Capt. Maxwell 
went sick, 'I myself was in command of the first party. 
Col. Sargent, with the Battalion Headquarters and the 
rematader of the battaUon, followed two days later. The 
crossing of the Rufiji commenced at noon on the i8th. 
Capt. Maxwell's company completed the crossing with- 
out mishap. The ferry was able to accommodate ten 
men at one time, though the same boat had often taken 
as many as twenty armed men at once. At about 
5.45 p.m. there were left of 14 Company oply eleven 



110 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

men and three officers to cross. The Indian native 
officer in chatge of the ferry ordered, all the eleven men 
to get into the boat, and thus complete the crossing of 
all the native rank and file. All went well till the ferry 
was nearly across, whep, to the horror of all who were 
standing on the banks, the ferry was seen to "capsize. 
Out of the eleven soldiers and the three Indians only 
one soldier and two Indians were saved. This company 
lost on this day three non-commissioned officers, all of 
whom had the D.C.M. The Rufiiji at the time was more 
like a nullrace than a river, and was quite 300 
yards broad. This was the very first accident of its 
kind that had ever occurred, though thousands of troops 
had crossed the ferry during the past few months. On 
the 2ist April the detachment left Wiransi at 6.30 a.m., 
arriving at Dakawa at 5.30 p.m., a distance of twelve 
miles. The road was good to within a mile of the Mgeta 
river, when it became swampy. The bridge over the 
river was washed away a week before. The crossing was 
therefore made by means of a trolley on an overhead . 
wire, which carried six men at a time. It took four 
hours to cross the river by this means. From the Mgeta . 
riVer to Dakawa is only two miles, but the road through- 
out was never less than two feet under water and thick 
black bog. At some' places the water was waist deep. 
Near Dakawa crocodiles had been seen actually on the 
track itself, and had been known to have killed or muti- 
lated carriers whilst they were walking along this road. 
Dead mules and donkeys and eVen dead carriers littered 
the road on each side in various degrees of putrefaction. 
The whole of the detachment was in a wet and exhausted 
condition ; it had rained very hard most of the day to 
add to all our other troubles. 




o 

o 

o 
o 
a 
o 
S 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 111 

" On 22nd April we left Dakawa at 9 a.m., arriving 
at Duthumi at 3 p.m., a distance of ten miles. The road 
was fair except at one place where there were about 
five hmidred yards of quagmire. 

" 23rd April we rested at Duthumi. The detachment 
was in a very bad condition, and there were very many 
sick. 

" 24th April we left Duthumi at 6.30 a.m. for Tulo. 
It is doubtful if there could be a worse piece of road in 
the coimtry or even in the whole of Africa. The distance 
is not more than twelve miles, but for nearly the whole 
way the road led through the worst sort of black stinking 
mud, it was throughout knee-deep in water, and some- 
times the water was above the waist. To make matters 
worse large numbers of cattle and donkeys had died in 
the swamp, and having rotted, the stink was too bad 
for words. Two weeks before over eighty head of cattle 
had died in this swamp, togethet with several natives. 
The party arrived at Tulo at 3 p.m., after the worst trek 
up to date. 

" 25th April the party left Tulo for Suimnit at 6.30 a.m. 
Much water was passed through during the first trek ; 
in fact the road was frequently more Hke a rushing 
mountain stream than anything else. The party arrived 
at Mua riyer at 10.30 a.m. It took nearly five hours to 
cross this river by means of the overhead trolley. First 
the rope gave out that drew the trolley across the wire ; 
then the trolley itself went out of order. The detach- 
ment did not arrive at Bottom camp until 3.30 p.m. ; 
from Mua river to this camp was only two and a half 
miles. At this point of the journey the carriers were 
replaced by motor transport. It was impossible to get 
all the loads up f o the Simunit camp the same evening. 



112 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

therefore a guard was left to look after all the loads left 
behind. It was dark when the detachment arrived in 
camp. The whole distance traversed this day was only 
sixteen miles. 

" 26th April : Lieut. Travers left Summit at 8 a.m. in 
charge of the detachment. He did not arrive at Ruvu 
top until after dark ; the journey was about sixteen to 
seventeen miles over a fairly good road. The detach- 
ment was greatly troubled with heavy rain all day, and 
arrived in camp in the most exhausted condition. Nearly 
half the loads had been left behind at Summit owing to 
lack of transport, and these followed the next day. 

" 27th April : A very large number of sick had to be 
admitted to the hospital at Ruvu ; the detachment 
rested at Ruvu during the whole of this day. 

" 28th April : The detachment left for Mikesse at 
6 a.m. Its strength was now only 152 ; 74 rank and file 
had been left in hospitals along the line of communica- 
tion. The party rested for the night at a haJf-way house 
nine miles from Ruvu. 

" 29th April : The detachment continued the march 
to Mikesse at 6 a.m., and after a thirteen-mile trek arrived 
at that place at 2 jp.m., without any further casualties. 

" 30th April : Col. Sargent's party arrived at Mikesse ; 
they were nominally half a battalion in strength, but 
when they had completed the march they were only 
119 strong. The effective strength of the whole battalion 
on the evening of the 30th was only 212, present at 
Mikesse. All this sickness was due to the starved con- 
dition that the men were in when they left the river." 

The state of the road, as seen by us during this march, 
explained for itself the shortage of rations on the Rufiji. 
There cannot possibly be any other theatre of war 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 113 

possessing so difficult a line of commimication. In 
order to feed three thousand native troops, Europeans, 
and various departmental units, an army of at least 
twelve thousand men had to be employed. Mechanical 
transport drivers fell sick so frequently that in one 
month there was nearly a complete change of the per- 
sonnel. These drivers had to work seven days a week 
without rest, and with insufficient time to even get their 
food. Their work was never finished till after dark, 
and it commenced almost before daylight. 

Taking the road as a whole from Mpangas to Mikesse, 
words to describe it fail me. From Mikesse to Summit 
camp it was nominally passable for mechanical transport, 
but the only form of mechanical transport that could 
cope with this road was the Ford car. This fact is the 
most wonderful advertisement that any maker could 
wish to have. In many places the cars were up to their 
axles in mud, and in other places the cars Hterally bounded 
from rock to rock. Nowhere did a car get a dear run 
for more than a hundred yards at a time, yet these Ford 
cars managed to get through where no heavier make of 
car could possibly stand the road for even one journey. 
In East Africa the Ford car was nicknamed a " jigger," 
after the jigger flea, for like the insect it can get 
anywhere ! From Summit to Mpangas the transport 
generally used were porters, but donkeys were used in 
addition between Tulo and Dakawa. These wretched 
little beasts seemed to be a failure in those parts owing to 
the tsetse fly, from the effects of which they die at the 
rate of about a hundred a week. The porters obtainable 
in this part of Africa were not altogether satisfactory, 
as they were only able to carry a 50 lb. load at most. 
Taking into account all these difficulties it seemed little 
8 



114 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

less than a miracle that the Brigade actually ever got 
the little rations that they did receive when at 
Mkindu. 

On the 2nd May the wjiole of the 4th Battalion moved 
by train to Morogoro, where the fJigerian gmis had 
moved a few days previously. Towards the middle of 
May the Rufiji began to go down, and the rain in this area 
came to an end in June, though it actually rained on 
every day in May except one in the Rufiji area. When 
the river had gone down a considerable amoimt of equip- 
ment of all kinds was found in the river bed, such as 
carts, harness, and even motors, aJl of which had been 
caught at the end of the last dry season when the river 
rose suddenly. At the end of the rains suppUes at Rufiji 
greatly improved, till once again every one was on full 
rations ; thus the end of May saw the end of the famine 
in this area. The troops during these months behaved 
in the most exemplary maimer. One must remember 
that in the native's mind his daily food is the most im- 
portant tiling of all. For this he has been accustomed 
for centitries past to fight, and it has been the ruling 
factor in all the hundreds of tribal wars that have taken 
place throughout the length and breadth of Africa. If 
a native is denied his food, his chief pleasure in Ufe is 
taken away from him, and he becomes morose and dis- 
contented. A happy nigger is he that has his belly full. 
The way these half-starved men carried out their duties 
would be a fine example to the best white battalions in 
any theatre. Though the last few months had been a 
very severe trial to both Europeans and natives, the 
Nigerian Brigade had fulfilled its allotted task of hoidiog 
the Une of the upper Rufiji.' It is doubtful if any other 
available troops in this theatre could have kept going, 



OPERATIONS DURING THE RAINS 115 

let alone take the ofiensive again when called upon to do 
so at such short notice and with little or no time to 
recuperate. The result of the Nigerian Brigade holding 
this line throughout the rains was to force the enemy 
to retire still further to the south. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE NAUMANN PURSUIT 

WE must now return to Gen. Northey's opera- 
tions in the West. We left Col. Murray 
pursuing Wintgens, and on the 13th March 
Wintgens was at Alt Utengule. On the i8th he had 
reached St Moritz mission. Col. Murray, though con- 
tinually attacking Wintgens, never could bring his main 
body to a decisive action, though many rearguard actions 
were fought. Wherever Wintgens went he stripped the 
country of food so that in rear of him the country appeared 
as if a plague of locusts had passed that way. In this 
way the pursuers were always dependent on their supply 
train, whilst Wintgens lived on the country. A British 
force was sent to Tabora to be prepared to move against 
Wintgens should he break north. 

On the 2ist March Col. Tomlinson with an advanced 
detachment was within three miles of St Moritz when he 
was heavily attacked and forced to retire after a sharp 
fight. Col. Murray tried to encircle Wintgens ^t the 
mission, but once again the Germans were too sharp and 
slipped away to the east, where they got into a rich and 
fertile district. From here they next turned north-east, 
and by the 15th April were at Nkulu. Major Mont- 
gomery of the King's African Rifles, commanding the 
detachment which had been sent into Tabora, now 
marched to ^undu, at which place he arrived on the 
ue 



THE NAUMANN PURSUIT 117 

26th, but Montgomery's force was too weak to be able 
to do anj^hing against the main body of the enemy. 
He was therefore forced to fall back upon Sikonge. At 
Itigi, on the Central Railway, a mobile column had been 
formed. This force reached Koromo on the 30th April. 
Murray in the meantime was delayed in his advance by 
his ever-increasing line of communication. He only 
reached Sikonge by the end of April. 

At this crisis of the pursuit Brigadier-Gen. Edwafds 
was placed in command of all these columns so as to 
ensure their co-operation. Luck was, however, not with 
this General from the very first. A battalion of Indian 
troops had been despatched by train from Morogoro, 
soon after the 4th Battalion had arrived at this place, 
in order to reinforce Gen. Edwards. A railway bridge 
between Morogoro and Kilossa collapsed on the 7th May 
when this troop train was crossing it. The casualties 
amongst the troops were heavy, but what was almost 
as bad, the coUapse of this bridge greatly delayed the 
whole of Gen. Edwards' operations. 

Wintgens remained in the Kitundu district till the 
middle of May. The greater part of his troops were 
recruited from the Tabora and Muanza districts. This 
fact was of great importance in the campaign, for no 
doubt Wintgens should have gone south to reinforce 
the Grermans in the Mahenge district, but his Askaris 
refused to go south, and to show their determination a 
few of them deserted. This is the only incident of its 
kind on record, where the Askaris did not blindly obey 
their German masters, but in spite of this their morale 
never suffered. 

Again, it was a known fact that Wintgens was very 
jealous of von Lettow. It appears that when the two 



118 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Grerman blockade running ships successfully rushed the 
blockade with rifles, etc., on board, Wintgens was never 
given his fair share of modem rifles. Thus most of his 
force was still armed with old .450 rifles of 1871 date. 

Murray reached Kitundu on the 19th May only to find 
Wintgens had evacuated that place three days previously, 
and had marched north-west. It now looked as if 
Wintgens' objective was Tabora ; and in fact, deserters 
amongst his Askaris and carriers corroborated this. 

About this time Wintgens became seriously ill and 
surrendered himself to the Belgians after handing over 
his command to* Naumann. Naumann now moved 
rapidly by night, and instead of marching on Tabora 
as expected, he turned slightly to the east and so eluded 
the Belgian commander and Gen. Edwards, who were 
now in close touch with each other and prepared to co- 
operate with each other. 

From the i8th-22nd May the 4th Nigeria Regiment 
were resting at Morogoro. Most of the senior of&cers 
had gone on leave to Zanzibar. On the 23rd, about 
midday. Major Webb, now temporarily in command of 
the battalion, received orders to be in readiness to entrain 
at a few hours' notice for Tobora. Unfortunately, en- 
training orders were delayed for twenty-four hours, in 
spite of the fact that a train was at Morogoro ready to 
take the first half of the battalion to Tabora. 

At 9 p.m. on the 24th May Major Webb entrained in 
command of half the battalion. Five hoixrs later the 
remainder of the battalion entrained under myself. 
Thus began the long and trying purstdt of the most 
elusive Naumann by the 4th Nigeria Regiment. 

We will now follow the adventures of the two troop 
trains separately. Major Webb commanding the first 



THE NAUMANN PURSUIT 119 

train received orders to detrain at Nyuhua, a small 
station 30 miles east of Tabora. By this time Gen. 
Edwards had learned of the change of direction in 
Naumaim's advance. Major Webb, on reaching Nyahua 
on the evening of the 26th May, detrained. No sooner 
had he done so than he received orders by wire to re- 
entrain and proceed back along the line for 26 miles 
to Malongwe. 

Naumann was now known to be very close to the 
Central Railwgiy. Major Webb expected to have this 
train attacked at any moment during the return journey. 
The train had only passed Kilometre Stone 744 by about 
two nulometres when it came to a standstill. The engine- 
driver reported to Major Webb that he would be unable 
to reach Malongwe, then only a few kilometres distant, 
without taking on some wood at the wood stack close 
to kilometre 742. It was then just before dawn. All 
the information went to show that the advance guard 
of the Germans could at most be only a few kilometres 
distant ; in fact the train had only stopped a short while 
before in order to pick up a wounded British native 
soldier who was Ijdng by the side of the track, who stated 
that he had received his wound from a German patrol. 
A most imcomfortable halfrhour was therefore spent 
beside the wood stack ; as it afterwards came out that 
the very moment when the troop train was " wooding," 
the enemy's advance guard was actually passing under 
the line by means of a big culvert at kilometre 744. 
There is little doubt that the Germans saw the troop 
train, and deliberately left it alone, as their chief object 
was speed ; thus they let go an opportunity of inflicting 
heavy damage upon British troops with little danger to 
themselves. Major Webb arrived at Malongwe at day- 



120 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

break on the 27th and immediately detrained. A small 
patrol was sent back along the line towards Tabora with 
orders to make a careful reconnaissance as far as the 
next station. This patrol saw a large party of Germans 
at Kilometre Stone 744 at about 7 a.m. The party, 
under Lance-Corporal Moma Adija, fired on a group of 
Europeans that had crossed the Une ajtid were sitting 
down to eat an early breakfast a few yards north of the 
permanent way. Two white men were either kUled or 
woimded by the fire of this patrol who shot at them at 
a range of only 30 yards. This incident put the 
Germans on the alert, and it was not long before they 
were able to repay the deed with interest. 

As already stated, the second train left Malongwe 
about 2 a.m. on the 25th May. This journey was to 
turn out to be a chapter of misfortunes in itself, but it is 

typical pf a railway journey on the Central Railway in 

those days. All went well as far as Dodoma, where 
several coaches of the first train were found waiting, 
owing to their train being too heavy to proceed further 
with all its coaches. All were croiyded with troops. 
These trucks were attached on to the rear of our train. 
The engine was an old German locomotive that had 
avoided destruction with her sisters when the Germans 
retired from the Central Railway. She did her best to 
draw this long troop train, but during the night of the 
25th-26th she came to a standstill. Early in the morning 
the driver came to see me to report that he could go no 
further without water. The men were turned out of 
their coaches, and with any vessels at their disposal, not 
even despising their canteens, they commenced to water 
the engine from a stream near by. This process of water- 
ing took about two hours A further delay was caused 



THE NAUMANN PURSUIT 121 

by something going wrong in the interior of the beast. 
By the time this was put right most of the water had 
boiled away, so that once again the men had to water 
the engine from the stream. It was nearly lunch time 
before a move was made, when with much puffing and 
blowing the engine came to rest at a small station, not 
more than four or five miles from where we had just 
watered. 

Here the train waited for four hours till another engine 
came to the rescue. About 5 p.m. another long halt was 
made owing to there being another train on the next 
sector of the line. By 6 p.m. Ititi was reached. Here 
the first local news of Naumaim was received by us. 
German troops were reported to be in the neighbourhood 
of Kitarara — a station about fifteen miles west of Ititi. 
Owing to this, orders had been issued that no trains 
were to go west of that place after dark. Kitarara was 
reached about 8 p.m. It was then dark, so all the 
troops were detrained, and picquets were put out round 
the station, where the troops bivouacked. The night 
was uneventful. The engine had been forced to proceed 
to the next station from Kitarara, as the water supply 
at this place had given out. Our engine was supplied 
with a truck heavily weighted with sand, which she 
pushed in front of her in case of bombs having been 
placed along the line by the enemy — ^the idea being that 
the truck would explode the bomb, and thus save the 
engine. The engine did not return till 7 a.m. the follow- 
ing day, and the journey was continued without further 
delay to Malongwe, which place was reached by 10.30 a.m. 
Here the Headquarters of the battalion were waiting 
imder the command of Major Webb. Half an hour before 
our arrival Lieut. Kellock, with a strong recoimoitring 



122 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

patrol, had left the station and patrolled down the line 
as far as the wood stack at kilometre 742. As soon as 
the second train had finished detraining half a company 
was sent to reinforce Lieut. KeUock's patrol, but before 
these reinforcements had left the station, heavy firing 
was heard from 1000 yards' distance down the Une. 

The Germans at kilometre 744, having been disturbed 
by Lance-Corporal Moma Adija's patrol, sent a strong 
right flank guard towards Malongwe. This force moved 
through the bush on each side the permanent "way, and 
lay up a thousand yards away from the station in order 
to ambush any patrols passing across the guarded bridge, 
600 yards up the line. The Indian guard on the 
bridge had seen nothing of the German party, and 
Lieut. Kellock's " point " walked right into this ambush, 
with the result that two rank and file were killed and 
five more wounded. It was quite impossible for this 
patrol to fire even one round with effect, as the Germans 
were so well concealed. After this the Germans fell back 
and Lieut. KeUock was able to proceed towards the 
wood stack. About 8 a.m. the Germans cut the wire 
between Tabora and Malongwe at kilometre 744, after 
having tapped into the wire so as to get all information 
possible of the British movements and position of troops. 
Thus Malongwe was isolated from Headquarters during 
most of the 27th. About midday a wire repairing party 
was sent on a motor tractor from Tabora to inspect and 
repair the line. This work was completed by 2 p.m., 
and the fine once more reopened at about 3.30 p.m., 
the tractor being between kilometre 741 and 742, when 
it was seen by Company Sergt.-Major Belo Akura, who 
was on patrol duty near the railway, under orders from 
Lieut. Kellock to stop any engine or tractor proceeding 



THE NAUMANN PURSUIT 128 

from the direction of Tabora, and who held up his hand 
with this idea in view, and called upon the driver to halt. 
The linesmen inside the tractor were in a very jumpy 
condition, having been fired upon early in the day by 
a small party of Germans. Nigerian troops had not 
operated in this area before, with the result that Belo 
Akure was taken for a German. The driver of the 
tractor tried to reassure his passengers, but to no purpose, 
and Belo Akure was fired upon at a range of about only 
50 yards. Tbi^ immediately convinced the sergeant- 
major that the occupants of tlie tractor must be Germans, 
ajid he reported this to lieut. Kellock, who was greatly 
puzzled by the whole incident. It seemed qmte certain 
to him that in some way or other the Germans held the 
line to the west, and had captured some rolling stock. 
He therefore ordered his patrol to return immediately 
to Malongwe, as he wished to warn Major Webb of these 
facts, and he was also aware that Malongwe was held 
only by a small party, and therefore felt it his duty 
to return immediately so as to reinforce the garrison in 
case of a German attack. Thus through a chapter of 
accidents the whole German force had managed to cross 
the line to the north without opposition. On the night 
of the 27th-28th May this force camped near a stream 
10 nnles north of the railway. During the same night 
Major Webb received orders by wire from Gen. Edwards 
to pursue the German column. However, up to this 
time there was stiU some doubt as to whether the whole 
of Naumann's colimm had crossed the line or not. To 
this fact is due the delay in definite orders being issued 
by Gen. Edwards. During this night two companies 
of the 13th Belgians arrived at Malongwe from Tabora 
under the command of Major Larsen, the Belgian Com- 



'124 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

mandant. The rest of this battalion arrived during the 
morning of the following day. 

At 6 a.m. on the 28th the pursuit commenced in earnest. 
The pursuing column, on arriving at kilometre 744, 
turned north from the railway and followed the German 
tracks. Large patches of blood marked the spot where 
the German Europeans had had their breakfast the day 
before. Several carrier deserters were caught by the 
4th Battalion "point," and these were able to give 
useful information as to the Germans' movements. The 
Allied column, consisting of the 4th Nigeria Regiment 
and the 13th Belgians, camped for the night about two 
miles north of the German camp of the previous night. 

Early on the morning of the -29th Lieut.-Col. Sargent 
arrived back from leave and took over the command of 
the Malongwe column, as it was afterwards officially 
known. On this day the march was continued,- but the 
pursuing column failed to reach the second German 
camp north of the railway this day. From information 
received, Naumaim was at this time very short of supplies, 
and was making extra long marches, partly to gain 
distance on any troops that might be sent to pursue him, 
and partly to reach a rich country as soon as possible, 
and there collect suppKes for all his force. 

On the 30th the Malongwe column reached the second 
German camp, after a comparatively short march. 
Here the Germans must have lolled their last herd of 
cattle. To judge by the large number killed every man 
in Naumann's force must have received a big ration, 
and doubtlessly all ranks had been informed that no more 
rations would be available till the rich country was 
reached. At this camp Col. Sargent decided to halt 
with his main body, whilst I was sent forward with one 



THE NAUMANN PURSUIT 125 

and a half companies with orders to try to get in touch 
with the enemy's rearguard, and failing that I was to 
push on to^a villager named' Ikungu KawA Segela, for 
which place the enemy were known to be making. This 
advanced detachment marched from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
without seeing a single German or arriving at the village. 
We therefore bivouacked in the bush and continued the 
march at daybreak on the 31st. At 8 a.m. one German 
soldier and two carriers fell into our hands. From these 
some very useful information was gleaned. The main 
German colmnn, we learned, was stili twenty-four hours 
ahead of us, having left Ikungu the day before, at which 
place they had spent one day in raiding the country for 
cattle and supplies. Having collected aU they required 
for their immediate future, they had continued the 
march towards Sangenla,,leaAmig behind them a small 
party who were unable to keep up on these forced 
marches. AU this information was confirmed on reaching 
the outl3dng farms of Ikungu at 9 a.m. 

From leaving the railway right up to Ikungu, the whole 
country passed through was dense elephant bush. In 
places the country had been pathless before the advance 
of Naumann except for innumerable tracks of hundreds 
of elephants. These great beasts had cut up the 
whole of the grovmd with the impression of their giant- 
like feet. 

At 10 a.m. om: point took prisoners two German 
Europeans, eight Askaris, and forty-two other natives. 
The wretched natives of the Ikungu had had everything 
looted from them by the Germans, including cattle, 
sheep, goats, and chickens ; and after being roped together 
by their necks had been forced to carry these loads of 
loot for Naumann's force. The head man of the village 



126 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

was in despair when we arrived, and was only too glad 
to do anj^hing in his power to help us, and furnished 
us with any information of the Germans' movements. 
On going through the prisoners' kit I found eleven 
poimds in silver, and was very pleased to be able to hand 
this sum over to the head man in the presence of the 
prisoners, as part-pajmient for the two hundred head of 
cattle that had been taken from him without one rupee 
having been paid towards their value. The Germans 
had descended upon the viUage without the least warn- 
ing, had spUt up into small raiding parties, and in this 
way entered every farm for some miles round the Ikungu 
village. If only the AUied colmnn had been a Uttle 
quicker in starting from the railway, and been able to 
make march for march with the Germans, we should 
have arrived at Ikungu when, the enemy were spUt up 
and engaged in looting the neighbourhood, in which 
case most of the Europeans would have fallen into our 
hands. As it was, the main German force had left the 
previous morning, knd the rearguard about midday. 
On arriving at Ikungu I sent forwajrd a strong patrol 
under a native sergeant with instructions to try to over- 
take the enemy's rearguard. 

Evidently the Germans were not too well off in .311 
ammunition as they had abandoned two machine-guns 
at the village after having rendered them useless. To- 
wards the evening the main body of the Malongwe 
column began to arrive at Ikimgu, and continued to 
arrive till well after dark. 

During the next two days the pursuit was continued. 
On the evening of the 2nd Jime the Malongwe colmnn 
was only eight hours behind the German rearguard, 
whilst a patrol sent out by myself from Ikungu must 



THE NAUMANN PURSUIT 127 

have been within six hours of the Germans. During the 
3rd and 4th June the forced march was continued. These 
two days were the most trying, as the country was now 
very undulating, and the weather had become very hot. 
Many of the Europeans of our column were by this time 
suffering from small attacks of fever. 

By midday on the 4th the column overtook our advance 
patrol, which had halted at a small village on the 3rd, 
their reason for halting being that the Germans had been 
reported to have divided into two parties at this place. 
However, this information was not correct. No doubt 
our advance patrol had lost one more opportunity of 
taking the enemy's rearguard by surprise, for when they 
halted they must have been within two hours of the 
wily Him. This failiure of the advance patrol to gain 
touch with the enemy was a great set-back for the 
Malongwe column. By midday we arrived at Sangenla 
only to find that the enemy's rearguard had left that 
place the same morning. In these eight days the 
Malongwe column had marched oyer 120 miles, and 
both Eiuropeans and natives were beginning to show 
signs of fatigue. Col. Sargent therefore decided to give 
his column a rest before continuing the advance. It 
was also necessary to collect suppUes from the neighbom:- 
hood. Whilst at Sangenla news came in that a party 
of Germans, believed to be one company, had marched 
on to Singidda, whilst the main body had marched direct 
to Mkalama. At both places there were forts, but at 
the former there were not six rifles present to defend it 
against attack. The consequence was that Singidda 
surrendered without a shot being fired. The Germans 
treated the two British officials here most politely, and 
let them keep all their own property and money, but 



128 NIGERLINS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

they took all the money away that was in the Govern- 
ment safe. 

During 5th June the AUied column rested at Sangenla. 
In the course of this day many native reports came in 
of the enemy's doings in the neighbourhood. Pillage 
and rape seemed to be the order of the day with 
Naumann's troops, while several cases of murder were 
also reported. The Germans in East Africa were not 
far behind their brothers in Europe for frightfulness. 
Whilst on this subject, the few cases might be referred 
to that have already appeared in the EngUsh newspapers 
of the doings of these same troops in and about Tabora. 
Archdeacon Woodward, who was one of the civilian 
prisoners at Tabora in the German's hands, stated that 
prisoners of war, apart from all hardships, insults, and , 
privations that they had suffered at the hands of the 
guard, had been subjected to such a course of treatment 
as was calculated to lower the prestige of the British 
race in the eyes of the native, and, further, when an 
appeal was made against such treatment the prisonerg^ 
were informed that they had no rights. Service men on 
several occasions, imder native guards, were compelled 
to drag a handcart from the prison court at Tabora for 
some considerable distance from the camp, and there 
collect, with their naked hands, cow dung, and place 
the same in sacks which were deposited on the cart, and 
then forced to drag back the handcart to the camp. 
This manure so collected was for the use of the garden 
belonging to their European guards, and was collected 
from places frequented by natives. This was done not- 
withstanding the fact that there were many native 
prisoners available for this purpose. Again, service 
men on numerous occasions under native guards were 



THE NAUMANN PURSUIT 129 

forced to carry raw ox hides from the prison at Tabora 
to a cattle kraal some distance away, and there forced 
to scrape and bury the skins in manure, and subsequently 
to draw water at a neighbouring weU and wash these 
skins. After a certain lapse of time these skins were 
dug up and scraped when in a stinking condition, and 
the white men were compelled to carry these to Tabora 
and to pass on their way through the Askaris' barracks 
and Indian encampment. Again, service men, for a 
considerable period of their internment at Tabora, were 
forced to dean out the closets of native soldiers. These 
same European prisoners were continually being forced 
to drag a lorry through the town under a native guard, 
when in many instances their clothing, on account of 
its scarcity, was hardly decent, and, further, they were 
without boots or shoes. The worst case of all that I 
have in my possession is told by the Rev. A. B. HeUier, 
Inspector of Schools at Zanzibar, who was also an in- 
terned prisoner at Tabora. He states that on 22nd April 
1916 forty-nine European prisoners, nearly all British, 
thirty-four of whom were ladies, twelve of whom had 
babies in arms, were taken by Dorrendorf, the German in 
charge, from Buigiri to Tabora. All these prisoners, after 
marching some considerable way, were placed in an iron 
goods-shed at the station, together with forty-one native 
prisoners, armed Askaris being posted all round the 
four sides of the shed. In this condition the European 
ladies and native prisoners were shut up all night. 
Dorrendorf gave orders that the ladies only were to be 
allowed to go to the lavatories, two at a time, imder 
escort of Askaris. No one else was allowed to leave the 
shed all night. The Askaris at once assumed an insolent 
tone. After a time they actually refused to conduct 

9 



180 NIGERUNS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

any more ladies to the lavatory, but later relented. At 
about 2 a.m. the Askaris became very noisy, and some 
European in the party called out in Swaheli, " Silence I " 
One Askari was very insulting, and brought Dorrendorf 
and another German named Gerth — who incidentally 
was drunk, Dorrendorf himself being by no means sober. 
The former abused the English nation, and turning to 
one Exuropeaa prisoner said : " Wait till I get you to 
Tabora ; but I don't suppose you will reach Tabora 
alive." He abused most violently a Catholic Sister of 
Mercy, and said all EngHsh women make more trouble 
than men, and finally instructed the guard to shoot at 
sight anyone who moved. As they left the shed they 
called the English occupants " swine." For twenty- 
two hours this party was left without food. It is har(Uy 
decent ^p go further with this narrative, but the insults 
these ladies had' to put up with during the night were 
intcderable. I do not ititend to go into details, but I 
have never seen natives treated in the same way as 
these white ladies were by these Sons of " Kultur." 
If my readers can hold any brief for the Germans, I 
commend them to read the parliamentary papers on this 
subject, but what I have already written is sufficient 
to prove that Grerman " Kultur " in East Africa was on 
much the same level as it has been in Europe. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE ACTION OF MKALAMA 

ABOUT 3 p.m. on the 5th June I was sent for by 
Col. Saxgent, and received orders to take com- 
mand of an advance detachment, and do all 
in my power to regain touch with the Germans. This 
party was to leave Sangenla the same night, and was 
to consist of two hundred picked men from both the 
Belgian and Nigeriail Battalions, with four machine-guns. 
Native runners from Singidda had come into Sangenla 
during the day and reported that a small party of the 
enemy was still at the former place. It was to be the 
first objective of the advanced detachment to reach the 
jimction of Singidda-Mkalama and Sangenla-Mkalama 
roads, before this German detachment arrived at this 
point, and there He in ambush for them. 

It was a very long and tiring night march. At the 
end of every hour a ten-minutes halt was made, during 
which time most of the detachment usually managed 
to faU asleep. Men nearly went to sleep whilst marching, 
and would wake up with a start as they stumbled on the 
track. At 8 a.m. the detachment had a rest for about 
three-quarters of an hour at an old German camp, which 
had been evacuated only a few hours before. Shortly 
before dawn the march was continued. If this accoimt 
should ever be read by my companions on this march, 
I wonder if they wiQ remember the dawn of the 6th June. 

131 



182 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

At the time I well remember how struck we all were by the 
beauty of the scene, as we neared the village of Mbaba 
Iramba Kingangira — a long name for so small a village. 
Dawn in the Tropics is always wonderful, but I never 
remember being so impressed as I was on this particular 
morning after a long night march. From the thick belt 
of timber that follows the Mbaga stream we^ emerged 
on to the edge of a great plain, bounded on the north 
and east by mountains of the most pecuUar rugged 
shapes ; in fact, if I may be permitted to coin an adjective, 
almost " Heath Robinson " in contour. As we came 
out from the thick bush, already a pearly glimmer had 
caught the tops of *these mountains. Hill after hill 
awoke from darkness to shadowy purple and grey, each 
standing out silhouetted against the ever-changing and 
brilliantly tinted sky. Away across the plain, where 
night still brooded, the jagged ridges, serrated and 
wonderful of contour, made a massive boundary of 
dark shadow to the great plain of the foreground. The 
tropical African dawn is as brief as it is beautiful. One 
after another pink-tipped hills passed from a shadowy 
pallor to the yellow glow of the young day, and then 
the full splendour of the day broke. Shafts of light 
pierced the purple shadows and engulfed the village- 
dotted plain, where gradually the last shadows were 
dispersed, and night had given birth to a new day. With 
the coming of day all tiredness and sleeplessness were 
gone, and aJl felt how good it was to be aUve, exhilarated 
and hungry on such a morning. 

At the village we halted for six hours, in which time 
we had killed and cooked some local chickens, and had 
rested in the shade of our ground sheets, rigged up on 
sticks. Unfortunately the village bees could not agree 



THE ACTION OF MKALAMA 133 

to us putting up oyr beds and resting under some big 
trees in which they had nested. 

At midday Lieut. Fox vdth two sections of the 4th 
Battalion and one machine-gun proceeded to the road 
junction, seven miles distant. Here he prepared a 
position in which to ambush any party of Germans 
which should fall back along this road. However, a 
few horns after he had left I received news from the local 
natives that a German detachment from Singidda had 
passed the road 'junction at 5 p.m. on the 5th. About 
4 p.m. the main body of the detachment continued the 
march, meeting Lieut. Fox on the main Singidda-Mkalama 
motor road at about 7 p.m. In the meantime Cole 
Sargent had sent on instructions for the advance detach- 
ment to push on with all speed, as he had just received 
information that the Mkalama fort was to be attacked 
by the whole German force on this day. The march 
was continued till midnight, when a five-hotu: halt was 
made. During the halt two messengers got through 
to me from Col. Sargent. From them we learnt that 
l^kalama fort was only held by six Europeans and thirty 
ex-German Askaris. There was therefore no room for 
any doubt as to what the advance detachment must do. 
The march was re-continued immediately to Mkalama ; 
it was our own first intention to help, as far as we could, 
the besieged Europeans in the fort. By 5.30 a.m. on 
the 7th the detachment was once again on the road. 
Lieut. Fox was in command of the advance guard, and 
he had with him Sergt. Element and one machine-gun. 
At 6.30 a.m. it was confirmed that the Germans had 
effected a concentration at Mkalama, and were daily 
attacking the fort, and that they had given out to aU 
the natives of the district that they intended to take the 



134 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

fort before continuing their march north. At 7.30 a.m. 
a local chief informed me that there was a German 
Eiiropean in his village,, marked on the map as Jumbe 
Showish. He pointed out to me a tree in the distance 
imder which, he stated, the European and his Askaris 
had encamped the previous night. An attempt was 
made to capture this party, but to no purpose, for only 
a few shots were exchanged before the German made 
good his escape minus his donkey and loads, which fell 
into our hands. After firing some roimds the Germans 
were seen to be retiring towards Mkalama, From this 
time (8 a.m.) to 2.30 p.m. the " point " and vanguard 
were continually having to deploy, and £ank guards had 
to be sent out to picquet the high ground commanding 
the line of advance. The general contour of the country 
greatly favoured a small rearguard action on the part 
of, the enemy, as the country was very rugged and the 
road frequently passed through narrow defiles. It is due 
to the most excellent work performed by the advance 
guard that the detachment was able to continue the 
advance at a speed of two and a half miles per hour 
without suffering a single casualty, notwithstanding 
the fact that the enemy's rearguard was continually 
sniping the detachment. One Belgian soldier received 
a bullet through his pack, which was the nearest any of 
our party were to being hit during the advance, though 
bullets kept on knocking up the dust along the road. 
At 2.30 p.m. the main body of the advance detachment 
was within two and a half miles of the fort, so that in 
thirty-six hours we had marched fifty miles, and fought 
an advance guard action for the last six hours of the 
march. The advance detachment had marched alto- 
gether 170 miles since leaving the railway ten days 



THE ACTION OF MKAXAMA 135 

previously — ^that is to say, we had averaged seventeen 
miles a day. It must be remembered that this was 
done, as far as the 4th Nigeria Regiment was concerned, 
after a rest of only twenty-two da}^ at Morogoro, to 
recuperate from the bad effects of the Rufiji area and 
weeks of semi-starvation. 

By this time (3.15 p.m.) the detachment was about 
to debouch from a nsirrow valley on to a broad and open 
plain. Mkalama occupied a position on a low rise in 
the middle of this plain. At this point the whole detach- 
ment was deployed. lieut. Fox was ordered to continue 
the advance of the point and vanguard towards the fort 
that was then clearly visible. The main body was to 
continue the advance a thousand 5^rds in rear of Lieut. 
Fox. During the time necessary to carry out this de- 
plo5?ment, I, with the senior Belgian ofScer, scrambled 
up a large rocky under-feature in order to get a better 
view of the plain and Mkalama fort. From here one 
tent could be seen about a thousand 5^ards to the right 
of the fort. This, the guide said, marked the position 
of the Grerman camp. It offered a wonderful range 
mark for guns, but alas ! we had no guns with us. All 
was extremely quiet, which shortly proved itself to be the 
quiet before a storm. The Belgian officer was inclined 
to think that it was only a smaU rear party of the enemy 
at Mkalima, and that the rest had continued their march 
north. He had only just given this out as being his 
opinion, when without the least warning the enemy 
opened up a very heavy fire on to the rock upon which 
we were standing from, a mac&ne-gun on our right front, 
and by infantry fire along our front. We came down 
that rock, only obeying the law of gravity, which does 
not permit a body to exceed a velocity of thirty-two feet 



136 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

per second in the first second. Lieut. Fox was now 
very hotly engaged. Sergt. Shefu Katagum, who was 
in command of the point, did most excellent work. 
Holding his small party in the firmest control, he gradu- 
ally withdrew his men from the advance position, and 
being amongst the last to retire himself, fell back on to 
the vanguard. The whole of the Belgian company went 
up to reinforce the vanguard, whilst the three remaining 
sections of the Nigeria Regiment were held back as 
reserve. I was at one time greatly tempted to reinforce 
the left flank, which was throughout this action the 
heaviest engaged, but to do so would leave me with no 
reserves in hand to resist a counter-attack. By 4 p.m. 
the enemy's fire greatly increased, and the Belgians' 
left was being seriously threatened. There was little 
doubt that the enemy were reinforcing their right flank, 
and were preparing a strong counter-attack against this 
flank. The AUied position was extremely good, but 
owing to the short front taken up by these sections 
(130 rifles and 3 machine-guns) it was very Uable to be 
turned. At first we had it all oiu: own way, and though 
the enemy's fire was extremely heavy, our firing line only 
suffered from distant machine-gim fixe on the right 
flank, where a concealed gun enfiladed part of ova line. 
Most of the casualties that occurred were caused by this 
one gun. By 4 p.m. it was quite evident that the de- 
tachment was being opposed by the main body of the 
enemy and we were therefore hopelessly outnumbered. 
At 4.10 p.m. the Belgian machine-guns were doing very 
useful work, but it was only a matter of time before their 
left would be enveloped. At one place on the Belgian 
front a party of Germans and a party of Belgians were 
actually hunting each other round the same great boulder. 



' THE ACTION OF MKALAMA 187 

So near were the opposing sides to each other on the 
left. At 4.15 p.m. I issued orders for the Une to with- 
draw gradually to a prepared Une in rear. In the mean- 
time Lieut. Hilton had retired with the three reserve 
sections about four himdred yards. 

At 4.30 p.m. Lieut. Fox greatly helped the retirement 
of the Belgians by inflicting heavy casualties upon the 
enemy with his machine-gun. A party of German soldiers 
under a European was seen by that officer to be grouped 
together about t|iree hundred yards to his front, appar- 
ently quite imaware of the near presence of British troops. 
Sergt. Element, who was personally working the gun, was 
able to give them the best part of a belt, with the result 
that the European and many natives were seen to fall. 
This incident had the effect of stopping the enemy's 
advance on the left flank for a few minutes, which enabled 
the left Belgian section to disengage themselves and 
withdraw to the new position. Lieut. Riedemarkers, 
the Belgian officer in command of this section, was 
wounded about this "time when trying to get back a 
woimded native soldier to the rear. By 5 p.m. the 
whole of the firing line had been withdrawn to the new 
position. Throughout this retiremerft the men were 
subjected to a very heavy rifle fire from the enemy. 
Dming the action the enemy from time to time treated 
us to a few rounds from a pom-pom, which greatly 
amused the men, being quite harmless, and apparently 
only able to make a great deal of noise. Soon after 
5 p.m. all firing ceased except for a few shots from the 
direction of the fort. At 5.30 p.m. the scouts reported 
that the enemy were again trying to work round our 
flanks ; and owing to the exhausted condition of the 
troops we decided to retire another thousand yardsj and 



138 NIGERIANS IN GEEMAN EAST AFRICA 

take up a safe position for the night, covering the main 
road by which we had advanced, and by which we 
expected reinforcements to arrive. A position was now 
taken up along a high and rugged ridge, which com- 
manded all the country to the north for a thousand 
yards or more. The position was naturally a strong 
feature, with good water in the rear, and a safe place 
near to the water in which to put the woimded. 

Both officers and men were too fatigued to take the 
offensive again that night ; we were all too tired even 
to eat, and fell asleep just where we sat down after the 
final retirement had been completed. The detachment 
had been extremely lucky throughout the whole engage- 
ment, and had only suffered twenty casualties in all, of 
which only five were killed or afterwards died of 
wounds. 

There is no doubt that the enemy's casualties were far 
in excess of our own. They certainly had more than one 
European casualty, according to local native reports. 

At I a.m. on 8th June Col. Sargent arrived with the 
whole of, his column, less three sections, which were still 
collecting food in the district. At 5.30 a.m. a Belgian 
patrol was sent forward to recoimoitre. At 12 noon 
the whole of the column advanced to the fort. To the 
great reHef of all, when within a mile of the fort a small 
Union Jack, about the size of a large pocket handkerchief, 
could be discerned flying over the building. Thus we 
learnt that the enemy had not managed to take the fort. 
The garrison of six Europeans and thirty Askaris, under 
the command of Capt. Holland, had managed to last 
out the siege which had conunenced on the 5th. Capt. 
Holland only arrived at Mkalama twenty-four hours 
before the siege had commenced, and had brought with 



THE ACTION OF MKALAMA 139 

him, to the otherwise unprepared people in the fort, the 
news of the German advance. The 4th Jmie was spent 
in preparing for the arrival of the Germans. The water 
tank in the fort was filled, stores were laid in, and all 
windows made bullet-proof by the use of sandbags. 
When the Germans evacuated the fort in 1916 on aceoimt 
of van Deventer's mounted brigade's advance south, 
they had laid large amoimts of dynamite at certain places 
in the fort walls. It is not known if this was done with 
the intention of .blowing the fort up before they left, or 
if they had looked forward to the day when they would 
return, and, by firing a single shell into the walls, detonate 
all the charges of dynamite, and thus blow up the fort 
together with the British garrison. Luckily the dynamite 
had been discovered by Col. Kitchener, brother to the 
late Kitchener of Khartoum, soon after the German 
evacuation. The Colonel had had each place where 
there was a concealed charge of dynamite marked clearly 
with a black arrow. Owing to his foresight Capt. 
Hollemd was able to have all the dynamite removed 
within a few hours of the Germans' visit to Mkalama. 

On the 5th June the German advance guard appeared 
on the plain. A white flag party under a German 
European was sent to the fort walls, and called upon 
Capt. Holland to surrender the fort to them. Capt. 
Holland, in the words of the Classic, informed the 
Germans that he would see them all danmed fii^t. 
Capt. Holland was informed that, as soon as the Germans 
got into the fort they would hang every Askari in it, 
as they were all German renegades. This threat failed 
to frighten Capt, Holland, who told the German they 
would have to get inside the fort first. He was able to 
give them the cheerful news that the Americans had 



140 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

declared wax against them, of which fact up to this time 
they were not aware. 

The attack on the fort was commenced at once by 
several i-poimder shells being fired into the west end of 
the fort at the very place from where the dynamite had 
just been removed. The i-pounder failed to make any 
impression on the walls of the fort, which were extremely 
well built, having only been completed in 1910. Capt. 
Holland reassured his Askaris by informing them that 
a reUef column was weU on the way. However, the three 
days and nights that followed without any signs or news 
of rehef began to tell upon them. Matters began to 
look serious on the morning of the 7th, when the Askaris 
found themselves with only seventeen rounds left apiece. 
If reUef had not arrived on the 7th, it is doubtful if the 
fort could have held out for another day, as the Askaris 
would have deserted during the night, knowing that they 
could expect no mercy from their late German masters 
if they should ever fall into their hands. The noise of 
the action of the 7th was therefore most welcome to the 
gallant holders of the fort. 

The Germans had evidently had all they could wish 
for in this action, for they spent the night in packing up 
and clearing out of Mkalama. They had no wish to get 
themselves into a general action on the following day. 
Owing to the condition of the troops after this long march, 
a rest had to be made at Mkalama. This enforced rest was 
most unfortunate, for it gave the Boche the chance he 
wanted of getting away and showing us all a clean pair 
of heels. 

On loth Jime Capt. Norton-Harper, with a company 
of the 4th Battalion, moved to the Subiti river in order 
to try and harass the enemy in crossing this imfordable 



THE ACTION OF MKALAMA 141 

river, but he was too late, for the Germans had got across 
in boats, which they had afterwards destroyed. On this 
day the first aeroplane arrived over Mkalama fort, but 
thinking that we were Germans, dropped darts upon us, 
with the result that one cow was killed. Altogether it 
was a most imfortunate affair, for if the pilot had only 
inown who we were, we could have told him that the 
Germans were ^.t the very moment crossing the Subiti 
only jiine miles away. If he had gone on to the river 
he could have bombed them and dropped darts to his 
heart's content and to the Boche's great aimoyance, for 
most of the German carriers were local men and had 
never seen a plane before. If a few bombs had been 
dropped upon them they would have certainly stampeded 
and left the Germans in the lurch. On 15th January the 
pursuit was recommenced, but during the remainder of 
the time that Col. Sargent was in command of this column 
we never once again came up to the enemy. 

The country north of Mkalama was most deUghtful. 
Here there was ever3^hing a man could wish for — open 
and healthy country, wonderful shooting, and an abund- 
ance of fresh food and milk. This coimtry in times of 
peace would be a veritable Paradise for the himter. 
Elephant, giraffe, antelope, buck and every kind of wild- 
fowl were all waiting to be shot. We, for our sins and 
Navunaim, were unable to take advantage of what the 
gods had put in our way. From the I5th-22nd June 
the colimin continued the advance, having arrived on 
the latter date as far north as Tirimo. This place was 
destined to be the end of our march north. Here Col. 
Sargent received orders by aeroplane to return to Tabora 
via Shinyanga. 

The country north of the Sibiti was friendly to the 



142 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST' AFRICA 

Germans, thus they were kept well informed of all our 
movements. There is no doubt they had meant to march 
to Muanza on Lake Victoria, but on arriving at the 
Simiyu river they learned that the Allies were prepared 
to meet them in strength at that place, and they there- 
fore turned off north-east and marched on to Mashachi. 
From here they went due east to Ikoma, where they 
rested and awaited developments. 

After the 4th Nigeria Regiment left the column to 
return south the XIII. Belgians marched with all speed 
to Ikoma, where they imfortunately met with a bad 
reverse. 

From Ikoma, Naumann marched south, when the 
1st Nigeria Regiment imsuccessfidly took up the piusuit. 
Naumaim was not eventually forced to sturender till 
mounted troops were used against him, in conjunc- 
tion with the Cape Corps, some months later. The 
4th Nigerians had a long but imeventful return march 
to Tabora, where they arrived on the loth July, having 
covered five hundred miles on foot in thirty-six marching 
days. We arrived back at Morogoro on 14th July with a 
good deal better knowledge of German East Africa than 
we had when we left Morogoro seven weeks before. 
Up to that time our ideas of East Africa had been limited 
to a perfect knowledge of the Rufiji area and the railway 
from Dar-es-Salaam to Morogoro, but beyond that we 
had seen nothing. Gen. van Deventer referred to the 
Naumann episode as being a remarkable German raid. 
Naimiann with his six himdred followers, wandering over 
the northern part of the country, had proved exceed- 
ingly troublesome, and they were not finally disposed of 
unta 2nd October, when the last remnants, consisting of 
three Europeans and fifty-three Askaris, were captured. 



THE ACTION OF MKALAMA 148 

Naumann had from start to finish covered about two 
thousand miles. There is no doubt that the force which 
carried out this raid was composed of first-class Askaris, 
thoroughly well led. After heavily engaging the Belgians 
at Ikoma, Naumann moved westward towards the Magadi 
Lake, south of Kondoa Irangi, near which place he 
narrowly escaped capture. After threatemng Handeni, 
he was next heard of as being near Moshi, but on finding 
Allied troops ready for him there he doubled back along 
his own tracks, jie-crossing the Kondoa-Irangi-H&ndeni 
railway, where he was finally brought to bay. Such a 
raid could only have been carried out in bush coimtry 
like German East Africa, where the bush is often so thick 
that two considerable forces might pass within a mile of 
each other, both being unaware of each other's presence. 
It must also be remembered that the Germans lived on 
the country, being quite indifferent to the feeUngs of the 
local inhabitants, as they have alwa}^ been, whether in 
European, African, or any other theatre of war. The 
seal of the German must at all times be set upon the 
enemy's cotmtry ! The grey wolves of war are ever 
willing to do their work of slaughter and destruction, be 
it in Emrope or Africa. The peaceful villagers of East 
Africa have, like the villagers of the Ardennes, suffered 
murder and outrage, whilst frenzied ferocity has raged 
through both. Biunt and ravaged homesteads are the 
paw-mark of the grey wolf either in civihzed Europe or 
in darkest Africa. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE RUFIJI FRONT AND THE FURTHER OPERATIONS 
OF THE 3RD NIGERIA REGIMENT 

DURING April the Intelligence Department 
patrols had gradually worked down the river 
and had succeeded in getting into touch with 
similar patrols pushing up stream from the Delta. The 
work of the I.D. was done chiefly by canoes. On 8th May 
the combined patrols succeeded in occupjdng Mtarula, 
Loge-Loge, and Mpanganya. These were the last remain- 
ing enemy positions on the south bank of the Rufiji. A 
number of enemy Europeans and Askaris, comprising 
the enemy's rearguard, were captured at Mpanganya, 
while a large hospital full of sick and wounded enemy also 
fell into the hands of the I.D. The 2nd and 3rd Nigeria 
Regiments had been left at the Rufiji Front, when the 
remainder of the Brigade had returned to Morogoro. 
The general situation in German East Africa at the 
commencement of the dry weather in 1917 was as 
follows : — ^The enemy had been cleared from^ both banks 
of the Rufiji and were holding the Kitope line, approxi- 
mately 35 miles south of the Rufiji delta to the junction 
of the Luwegu and Rufiji rivers. British troops held the 
coast-line from the Rufiji delta to the north mouth of the 
Rovuma river. The enemy held Mahenge and had posts 
along the upper Ruaha river at Kidode, Kidatu, and 
Ipakara, from which places it had been impossible to 

144 




THE GERMAN WIRELESS AT MAHENdE 

FROM A GERMAN I'HOTOGRAl'H 



THE RUPIJI FRONT US 

drive them owing to the early arrival of the previous 
rainy season, ^he Belgians held the western portion of 
the.covmtiy, with Tabora as their centre. Gen. Northey's 
columns from Rhodesia had occupied Songea. Songea 
to Tabora was clear of the enemy, whose forces in this 
area had broken north across the Central Railway, as 
just described in the last two chapters. 

German raiding parties had crossed the Rovuma 
river and penetrated into Portuguese East Africa. The 
German civil administration had moved to Liwale, on 
which place a large number of troops were based. 

At the end of the rains in May active operations in the 
Rufiji area became more possible, but until the road to 
the Central Railway via Duthtraii could be made fit for 
motor transport, the supply situation rendered a general 
advance impossible. Patrol work on both sides became 
increasingly active, and there were several minor engage- 
ments. In one instance a patrol of the 2nd Battalion, 
with a few I.D. scouts, succeeded in surprising and rush- 
ing an enemy's camp 35 miles south of the river. The 
attack was quite unexpected, and the camp was captured 
with all the food suppUes and personal kit. The enemy 
fled to the bush, leaving behind them one European and 
several Askaris. Other patrols of the 2nd and 3rd Nigeria 
Regiments pushed down the Maba road and succeeded 
in teaching that place after several small engagernents, 
but the Nigerians were imable to remain here owing to 
lack of supplies, and to the fact that the enemy were in 
strength at Kitope, 15 miles south of Maba. 

The enemy were therefore encircled and confined to 

the southern ^)art of the country. They were cut off 

from communication by sea, not only by the blockade, 

but by reason of our troops being in possession of the 

10 



146 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

coast-line. The Germans, however, so it was reported, 
were still able to receive wireless messages at Mahenge from 
Germany via Damascus. They certainly had a wireless 
almost to the very end of the campaign in Grertnan East 
Africa, by which they received instructions from Europe, 

On the south of the German forces lay Portuguese 
East Africa, with a Portuguese force close to the Rovuna 
river. On the north lay our columns operating from the 
Rufiji river and the Central Railway. On the west and 
south-west Gen. Northey's columns were operating from 
Rhodesia ; on the north-west were the Belgians based 
on Tabora, whilst from the east strong British forces were 
operated from Kilwa and lindi. 

Many costly experiences have proved how impossible 
it is to make certain of enveloping an enemy's force in 
the African bush. In German East Africa the difficulties 
are greatly accentuated by the vastness' of the theatre 
in which the forces are operating. The enemy were well 
armed and were numerous. They were fighting in their 
own country with their backs to the wall, and they were 
led by a general who was a genius, in whose abiUty to 
hold out indefinitely against the Allies both Europeans 
and Askaris had unhmited beUef. The conquest of 
German East Africa was far from being a completed fact, 
notwithstanding that the English newspapers had for 
months past stated, much to the disgust of the troops 
taking part in the campaign, that this, the last German 
colony, was conquered. 

In conformity with the general plan of operations a 
composite column under Lieut.-Col. Uniacke, consisting 
of the 2nd and 3rd Nigeria Regiments, was to demonstrate 
strongly against the enenay's forces on the Kitope line. 
Lack of water made a direct advance impossible, and the 



THE RUFIJI FRONT 147 

columns were obliged to follow the Rufijij which here- 
abouts makes a complete right-angled turn to the south. 
On the 5th July the 2nd and 3rd Nigeria Regiments left 
Kipenio and marched to Nyangandu. This march south 
was continued on the 8th to Mswega, on the Kitope river. 
Up to this time it is doubtful if the enemy knew of the 
Nigerian advance in this area. On the loth July the 
3rd BattaUon and one company of the 2nd attacked the 
Grerman camp near Mswega. The German occupants 
escaped through the thick bush, leaving the camp, 
supplies, and European kit in the hands of the Nigerians. 
The Nigerian casualties were light. 

On the 13th July Col. Uniacke's column advanced to 
Mswega. Patrols reported that the enemy had evacuated 
Itete and Kitope. A sharp engagement took place on 
the 15th between an enemy patrol and a company of the 
2nd BattaHon. The Germans suffered several casualties 
before retiring. A company of the 3rd Battalion occupied 
Kitope on the 21st, after the enemy had put up a small 
rearguard action. The column then moved south on the 
23rd, and after making a demonstration, returned to 
Mswega, drawing a certain number of the enemy after 
them. On the 25th July the enemy attempted to ambush 
a 3rd Battalion company, but were driven off. However, 
on the following day they attempted the same again, 
with some success. The enemy on this occasion were in 
strength, and included a large proportion of Europeans. 
On the other side two companies of the 3rd Battalion 
were engaged. It was necessary to drive the enemy out 
of their position on the ro£id, so as to permit the remainder 
of the column to get through without being harassed. A 
sharp fight ensued, in which the Nigerians were successful 
and managed to dislodge the enemy from their position 



148 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

after a two-hours' fight. The 3rd Battalion companies 
suffered seventeen casualties in this engagement, of which 
five rank and file were IdUed, The Germans did not get 
away without their quota of casualties, and at least one 
European was killed and majiy Askaris were either killed 
or wounded. This Uttle engagement was a most crediiP' 
able piece of work on the part of the two 3rd Battalion 
companies. The thickness of the bush and the strong 
position^ taken up by the enemy made thejr success all 
the more creditable. The 3rd Battalion's comparatively 
small losses in this engagement were due entirely to the 
excellent leadership of the two company commanders 
engaged, and to the exemplary behaviour of the men. 
Re. Joseph Williams got wotmded in about half a dozen 
places during this action, of which the destruction of his 
lower jaw was not the worst, and yet three days later he 
was seen in hospital at Mpangas with a cigarette stuck 
in his remaining upper Hp, and asking for food. At the 
time of writing this native is at Sidcup getting a new face. 
All that know him wish him lufek, and hope that he will 
enjoy his " chop " as much with his new face as he did 
with his old. 

On the 29th July this column, having accomphshed 
the object for which it had been sent forward, fell back 
to the Rufiji, arriving at Kipenio on the 31st July. A 
small party of the 3rd BattaUon were left out in the 
Kitope district in order to watch the enemy's movements. 
Active operations in this Rufiji area having now come to 
an end, the 2nd BattaUon was ordered back to Morogoro 
en route for the Kilwa area. The 3rd Nigeria Regiment 
was left behind to watch the Kitope line and to prevent 
any attempt on the part of the enemy to break back 
north across the Rufiji river. 



THE RUFIJI FRONT 149 

The rest of this chapter now deals only with the doings 
of the 3rd Battalion, from the time the 2nd Nigeria 
Regiment moved back to Morogoro until the 3rd Battalion 
rejoined the Brigade in the Lindi area at a most oppor- 
tune moment during the battle of Mahiwa. Though this 
is a digression, it forms a most important Unk in the whole 
story. 

The month of August on the Rufiji was quiet and 
comparatively peaceful. The British West India Regi- 
ment gradually took over various posts from the 3rd 
Battalion. At last, much to the joy of all ranks, that 
battalion moved back to Dar-es^Salaam, arriving there 
during the second week of September, and embarking 
on the " Hong Wan I " on the i8th for Lindi. " Hong 
Wan I " is more fully described ia the following chapter. 
It is enough, therefore, to say that the 3rd Battalion did 
not sufiFer from being more comfortable or the reverse 
during their journey roimd the coast than the 4th 
Battalion. 

Two days later Lindi was reached. Lindi is just 9. 
typical African coast town. All such towns really differ 
only in size from each other. If I were to write a descrip- 
tion of Tripoli, I should also have described Kilwa or 
Lindi. The chief buildings are the Boma (fort); the 
barracks, prison, and various hospitals. Along the quay 
there stands an assortment of European houses of different 
shapes and sizes. The town itself stands on the south 
side of a creek that runs two or three miles up into the 
interior. 

On the 2ist the 3rd Battalion marched 14 miles to 
Mingoyo, a small European settlement at the top of 
the creek. The march to this place was very hot and 
trying, as the road led through acres of sisal and deep 



150 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

sand. The Lindi force headquarters were at this time 
at Mingoyo, which place was very overcrowded and un- 
comfortable, so that all were pleased to move on the 
following day to Schaedels farm, 2 miles out of Mingoyo, 
where a comfortable camp in a plantation was awaiting 
the arrival of the battaUon. 

The fighting line was only 8 or 9 miles from Schaedels 
farm. Here the enemy had made a prolonged stand. 
On the 23rd the battalion moved forward to a camp, 
which for want of another name is known as C 23,, after 
the square on the map in which it happened to be. This 
camp was very congested, and to add to other incon- 
veniences was under Grerman sheU-fire from a 4.1 naval gun 
off the " Konigsberg." Though forty to fifty shells fell 
into the camp there were scarcely any casualties, but 
the very fact that shells fell into the camp at all greatly 
increased the excitement of Ufe generally, and kept all 
ranks alert both by day and night. Whilst at this camp 
the 3rd Battalion received the first news of the battle of 
Beho Chini, which is described at length in the next 
chapter. Great was the joy and pride of all Nigerians 
at the great doings of their sister battalions of the Brigade, 
but the joy was not unmixed with envy of the opportunity 
of being able to deliver so great a blow at the Hun. So 
far the 3rd Nigeria Regiment had not had a fair chance 
of giving back all that they owed the Boche for the 
24th January. 

In the meantime an attack upon the German position 
at Nrunyu was being deUvered by No. IV Colunrn, under 
the command of Col. Thomson ; Col. Taylor was the 
Column commander, but he was at the time sick and did 
not return till the 26th September ; whilst No. Ill Column, 
under Gen. O'Grady, made a flanking movement. The 



THE RUFIJI FRONT 151 

enemy's position was heavily shelled from near Camp 
C 23. An infantry attack was attempted through fields 
of sisal.i which in itself forms a better obstacle than any 
abatis ever thought of. The attack could not be pressed 
home, but the enemy could not stand the accuracy of the 
British gun fire, and were forced to evacuate their position 
at Nnm5m on the night of the 25th-26th September. 

The 3rd Battalion now formed part of Col. Taylor's 
column. Mtua was now the next immediate objective. 
The 3rd BattahoB, with the rest of No. IV Coltmm, passed 
through the enemy's lately evacuated position at Nnmyu 
without any further opposition. The coimtry in this 
neighbourhood was very thick bush. Mtua was entered 
at 7.30 p.m. on the 26th. The next day the battalion 
moved to the Nongo stream, where they encamped. The 
Grermans had now taken up a strong position on the 
Nengedi stream. 

At daybreak on the 28th No. IV Column left camp, with 
the 3rd Battalion leading. After a short distance the 
Nigerian advanced guard gained touch with the patrols 
of Coltmm III. A Uttle later the vanguard became engaged 
with some of the enemy's posts, and drove them in. 
This small action had only just occiuxed when Gen. 
O'Grady suddenly appeared on the scene, and stated, in 
lemguage that uiunistakably had its origin in " that 
most distressful country," that this was Colmnn Ill's 
battle, and had nothing to do with Column IV. Only 
those who have met Gen. O'Grady, of know him by 
reputation, will understand that when he sa37s that it is 
his battle— well, it is his battle — " enough said." The 

1 Sisal has the same appearance as an aloe, but is of taller growth and 
much stifier substance. Several blows with, a sharp matchet are required 
to sever even one spike. Its commercial value is high, as it is used for 
the best rope fibre, etc. 



152 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

3rd Battalion were therefore withdrawn from the fight, 
and the advance guard was reheved by Column III. The 
battaHon remaiaed on the road in reserve, while a big 
battle raged about two miles or less ahead. The Kashmiri 
Mountain Battery was in action just in front of tte 
3rd Nigeria Regiment ; rifle and anachine-gun fire ahead 
was very heavy and continuous till about 4.30 p.m., 
when a message came back for support. The 3rd Battalion 
immediately moved forward, but by this time the firing 
had considerably died down, though to make up for this 
it had come on to rain in torrents. Lieut.-Col. Badham, 
commanding the 3rd Battahon,'' was shown the position 
and the state of affairs, which was more or less as 
follows : — ^The Germans had been holding a crescent- 
shaped hiU covering the Nengedi water. Gen. O'Grady's 
column, consisting of ist/2nd and 3rd/2nd K.A.R., and 
Bharatpur Imperial Service Infantry, after having had a 
hard fight " and suffered pretty severe casualties, had 
gained the crest line, but could not push on along the 
level ground beyond. The object of the 3rd Battalion 
was to continue the line on O'Grady's right, search for 
the (jerman left flank, and, after turning it, drive it back. 
The Nigerians now advanced through the densest under- 
growth that they had experienced up to date in German 
East Africa. It was most difiicult to keep direction, 
especially as the guides had run away in the dense bush. 
The enemy, by holding their fire, gave the 3rd Battalion 
no idea of the he of their position. However, at last the 
point of deployment was reached, and the two leading 
companies of the 3rd Nigerians were ordered to go forward, 
Capt. Armstrong on the left and Lieut. Buchanan-Smith 
on the right, and get touch with the enemy. Owing to 
the dense nature of the Country it was very hard to keep 



THE RUFIJI FRONT 153 

the line, with the result that the centre was well forward. 
Col. Badham was actually informing the Brigadier of the 
position of his battalion when the action started afresh, 
and at very close quarters. To judge from the sound the 
enemy were round the Nigerians' right rear as well as on 
their right flank. On account of the dense bush and the 
fact that darkness was setting in, it was difficult at the 
time quite to appreciate the situation, but it transpired 
that most of the leading company had deployed, followed 
by half the second company, when they were not only 
fired upon from the front, but also from the extreme right 
and right rear. It was therefore necessary that Lieut. 
Buchanan-Smith's company should right-form, so as to 
conform to the enemy's movements, and be able to meet 
this unexpected development. Thus the two leading 
companies were more than at right angles to each other 
in formation. The movement was well carried out. 
The Germans were preparing a coimter-attack upon 
O'Grady, and had no idea of the presence of the 
3rd Battalion. Just before this Counter-attack was 
launched the leading half company of Nigerians walked 
right into the surprised Germans. This wedge had been 
driven into the enemy's troops when they were awaiting 
the order to advance to the counter-attack. So taken 
aback were the Germans that the^ counter-attack was 
completely broken up, anlj the troops dispersed all over 
the bush. At 7.30 p.m. the enemy's bugles were heard 
from all quarters, soxmding what was presumed to be 
the " assembly " or " rally," in order to collect all the 
scattered parties. Amongst other calls that sounded 
that evening was the regimental call of the Royal DubUn 
Fusiliers, but how the German native buglers had ever 
got hold of this call will remain a mystery to the Nigerians 



154 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

till the Day of Judgment. Both Capt. Armstrong and 
Lieut. Buchanan-Smith were wounded whilst leading 
their companies in this action, together with three other 
officers, whilst twenty-five rank and file of these two 
companies were either killed or wounded. These casual- 
ties were very Ught when taking dnto account the extra- 
ordinarily close range and the density of the enemy's 
fire, doubtlessly the failing Ught saved these two com- 
panies from many more casualties. It is also thought 
that the bursting in of these two companies, in this wedge 
formation, on a prepared countefr-attack, greatiy upset 
the morale oj the enemy's troops, who were " rattled," 
and consequently their fire was inclined to be wild, and 
was not carefully controlled. 

The Nigerians " dug in " for the night of the 27th-28th 
on the same ground that they had gained. 

The following day was spent in clearing up the battle- 
field and burying the dead. The only excitement that 
broke the monotony of the 28th was the return of the 
German, Sprockhoff, who had arrived in the British lines 
with a white flag of truce shortly before this action. A 
regular " Brock's benefit " was indulged in by all, coi^- 
mencing about a quarter of an hour before he was sent 
back to the German lines. Every gun, machine-gun, 
Lewis gun, and rifle was discharged with the greatest 
rapidity, to the utter astonishment of the Hun, who 
expected every moment to be attacked. Suddenly every 
gun and rifle ceased firing as Sprockhoff emerged from the 
British line with a cloth over his eyes, and commenced to 
walk the hundred yards that separated the opposing sides. 
Unluckily the practical joke was a little spoilt by some 
" kiU-joy " Boche putting his face above the parapet when 
Sprockhoff was only a short distance from his own lines, or 




c 
w 
n 

o 

b 
Q 

g 
3 



O 

u 

o 
Pi 



THE RUFIJI FRONT 155 

he might have walked right on to a friendly bayonet 
point that was awaiting the arrival of the supposed 
British attack, as he stepped over the German parapet. 
At 6.30 a.m. on the 30th September the 3rd Battalion 
marched off to a point that had been dictated to them 
on a map. , Owing to a guide not materiaUzihg, two hours 
were lost in getting on to the right track. Two roads 
led to the objective ; the 3rd BattaUon were to advance 
by the right of the two tracks, whilst the 3/2 King's 
African Rifles proceeded along the left track, or the 
trolly line. The two battalions were to keep touch with 
each other throughout the operation. The delay of the 
3rd BattaUon was unfortunate, as the K.A.Rs. got ahead, 
and came into action before the Nigerians could co-operate 
on the right against the German's left. As so frequently 
occurred in the East African campaign, the map in no 
way showed the coimtry of which it was reputed to be a 
picture. Except for the fact that some of the names 
occurred on the map that were known to exist in reality, 
there were no other points in common between the map 
and the country. A nice map of Switzerland with a few 
East African names upon it would have been just jab«)ut 
as useful. The map in question was a " Missionary " 
map, and the absence of veracity on the part of the map 
was merely a reflection of a similar trait noticeable 
among those of Germaji persuasion who gave the map its 
name ! Tlie order of the companies as they finally 
arrived upon the road was No. 10 Company, under Capt, 
Robinson, advance guard ; Nos. 12 and 9 Companies, 
Capt. Ambrose and Lieut. Southby respectively, main 
body ; half No. 11 Company climbed Chirumaka Hill in 
order to watch the right flank ; one section of this com- 
pany acted as connecting files between the Nigerians and 



156 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

the K.A.Rs., whilst the remaining section of this company 
stayed in camp in charge of the transport. 

At 10 a.m. the advance guard got in touch with the 
enemy's patrols, which they drove in, and an hour later 
the advance guard was heavily engaged. 

The enemy was strongly holding all the approaches to 
the Nyengedi stream. The coxmtry was chiefly composed 
of thick bush, with here and there a farm clearing. Thus 
all extended order movements were difficult and most 
irksome. About a mile and a half beyond, where the 
advance guard had first gained touch with the enemy, 
they were finally held up, and a line of hasty entrench-, 
ments were dug. Lieutenant Sutherland-Brown and Capt. 
Carson were sent forward with two sections of No. 12 
Company in order to reinforce the advance guard line. 
In the meantime the main body in the rear dug in a 
strong defensive line. The firing now became very 
heavy in front, and the advance guard suffered heavy 
casualties. They fought with the greatest gallantry and 
held on to their position in spite of everj^thing that the 
enemy did to drive them out of it. The Hausa and the 
pagan Afikpo district carriers did excellent work diuing 
this fight by keeping the advance guard supplied 
with ammunition and water, showing the greatest con- 
tempt for danger throughout the day. With the advance 
guard the ammunition began to run short owing to the 
necessity of keeping as big a reserve as possible in hand 
for the main position. Owing to this fact, and that the 
casualties incurred by the advance guard were very heavy, 
their position began to get very serious. Capt. Robinson 
now had to think of withdrawing his company, and this 
retirement was accelerated by thfe Germans commencing 
to shell their position with some accuracy, and at the 



THE RUFIJI FRONT 167 

same time attempting to turn their right flank. Capt. 
Robinson therefore stated his views to the CO., but 
whilst he was at the telephone at 1.30 p.m. he was hit. 
He immediately ordered the withdrawal to commence. 

The retirement was carried out with the remnants of 
No. 10 QompEiny in single file along the narrow bush 
path — the only line that could be taken owing to the 
denseness of the bush. The last to retire was Capt. 
Robinson, sitting on the back of his orderly, Pte. Afolabi 
Ibadan, whilst the bugler carried the orderly's rifle and 
kit. Company Sergt.-Major Sumanu deliberately following 
in the rear of his woimded captain so as to shield him 
with his own body. He was hit on the way back, so the 
bugler had to stop behind to help the sergeant-major, 
with the result that he himself got hit in turn. For this 
action Capt. Robinson's orderly, Pte. Afolabi, was decor- 
ated with the Military Medal, and the company sergeant- 
major was mentioned in dispatches. Eye-witnesses of 
this retirement by No. 10 Company described it as being 
as fine a sight as any soldier could wish to see. The men, 
in single file, walked steadily back along the road that 
gradually rose all the way to the main position. Not- 
withstanding the fact that the enemy were sniping the 
road, and the men were getting knocked out aU the time, 
there was not the least confusion. The men themselves 
were full of fight, and kept on turning round in order to 
shout " terms of endearment " at the Huns. On reach- 
ing the main body every European of the advance guard, 
except one, had been made a casualty. The remnants of 
No. 10 Company, and the two sections of No. 12 Company 
that had supported them, after having been given as 
much water and ammunition as could be spared, took 
their place in the firing Une, which had already been dug 



158 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

for them. The Germans now made two determined 
efforts to turn the right of this position, but both were 
finally repulsed by No. 9 Company. Lieut. Southby, 
for his most excellent work and gallantry on this day, 
was later awarded a very well-earned Mihtary Cross. 
The Germans, finding they could not turn the right, 
deKvered a continuous frontal attack up the road, but 
were heavily repulsed. Owing to the fact that the 
3rd Battalion had by this time a certain amount rf cover, 
they suffered fewer casualties in the afternoon than they 
had in the morning when their advance guard had been 
fighting only in the open, but even so Capt. Collins, their 
adjutant, was badly wounded, whilst one other of&cer 
was killed and another wounded. This fight had been 
one of individual initiative, and several very conspicuous 
acts of gallantry occurred, two of which are here recorded. 
The first was the case of two recruits who had joined the 
3rd Battalion at Morogoro on 17th September. They 
asked leave " to go over the top " and shoot some German 
Europeans who were beUeved to be collected round 
a machine-gun on the road. At the time all was quiet 
in front. Leave being granted, out they went through 
the bush till they came close to their objective, into 
which they emptied their magazines at point-blank range, 
eventually returning unscathed. They claimed to have 
shot several Europeans, but whether this was the case 
or not, their example had the best possible effect upon 
their comrades, more especially on the old soldiers, who 
could not think of being outdone by recruits. 

The second case was that of an enlisted gun-carrier 
named Abudu Dinga, who had spent the whole moraing 
passing backwards and forwards along the bullet-swept 
road, quite regardless of danger, to the advance guard 



THE RUFIJI FRONT 159 

line with water and ammmnition. In the evening, when 
food and water had to be sent out to the top of Chiru- 
inaka Hill for the detachment four miles distant, Abudu 
Dinga volunteered for the job, in spite of the fact that he 
had been working hard all day in the extreme heat and 
constantly under fire. 

The action was broken off about 6.45 p.m. On check- 
ing the ammunition, it was found that the men averaged 
only fifteen roiinds each, whilst there were only two belts 
left to each machine-gun, and four drums to each Lewis 
gun. But the Germans had had enough, and they 
retired across the Nyengedi, sadder but wiser men, after 
a pleasant day spent with the Nigerians. The Nigerians' 
method of fighting was not understood at all by the Him. 
At a later date a German officer personally asked one of 
the Intelligence Department who were these new Askaris 
that had arrived, for they neither advanced nor retired, 
but just sat down tight and defied anyone to move them. 
This method of fighting was most particularly brought 
out at Bweho CMni, in this fight at the Nyengedi stream, 
and again later at Mahiwa. At 9 p.m. the 1/2 King's 
African Rifles arrived in support of the 3rd Battalion. 
The night was quiet except for an outburst of firing at a 
Nigerian bfearer party that had gone out to bring in the 
wounded. The first meal of the day was partaken of at 
10.30 p.m. ; for the Eurppeans it was tea and various 
tinned foods provided by the CO., whose cook box had 
arrived at the firing line ; and for the men it was rice 
and bully beef. 

Gen. O'Grady arrived early on the ist October. When 
walking round the position he remarked that the men did 
not seem the least bit " rattled," which, from a leader of 
his calibre, was more than just a complunentary remark. 



160 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Once again I am forced to put upon record the un- 
chivalrous doings of the enemy on this day. Early on 
the 1st, bearer parties had been sent out to bring in the 
dead and wounded. It was found that both had been 
stripped of all their clothing, whilst one dead officer had 
been robbed of his ring and identity disc. Should this ever 
be read by the friends of any officers who were killed in 
this day's action, it will be some httle recompense to 
them to know that- the Nigerian Brigade, at a later date, 
took heavy toll in exchange for these acts of " Kultur." 

During the ist October the 3rd Nigerian Regiment 
marched back to a camp on the Lukuledi river after six 
days spent in the bush. ^ 

In this action the enemy had employed six or seven 
companies, that is to Say, about 750 men, against the 
advance guard of the 3rd Battalion, who numbered at 
most 180 men. The strength of the whole 3rd Nigeria 
Regiment was not more than 400 rank and file. The 
casualties in the 3rd Battalion in this action were regret- 
tably high, consisting of three officers kiUed and nine , 
other European? wounded, and ninety-eight rank and 
file kUled and wounded. 

In the actions of Nyengedi and Nengidi the enemy 
had been dislodged from two successive strong positions, 
and in both actions the 3rd Nigeria Regiment had played 
a most important part. On the 2nd October the 
3rd BattaHon rejoined Column IV at a most congested 
camp near the scene of the Nengidi fight. On 6th October 
there was a good deal of shelling on both sides, but neither 
side seriously damaged the other. This was continued 
on the following day. On 8th October a German patrol 
managed to fire about a hundred rounds into the anununi- 
tion dump, having got round to three miles in rear of the 



THE RUFIJI FRONT 161 

whole of Column III and a certain portion of Column IV. 
One bullet actually was alleged to "have entered the 
Coliunn Commander, Col. Taylor's, hut. On this date 
the 3rd Nigeria Regiment left Column IV and proceeded 
to Chirumaka, and there formed with the 6ist Pioneers, 
the " Reserve Column." This was rather a misnomer as 
the battaUon was abreast of Column III and No. 11 Com- 
pany held a ridge on the west of the Nyengedi, which was 
more advanced than any other post in the force. 

On loth October patrol encoimters were numerous, and 
a section of No. 12 Company of the 3rd Nigeria Regiment 
had a small brush with the enemy during the morning. 
At I p.m! quit:e a number of shots were exchanged at 
the British watering-place, but little damage was done. 
On 12th and 13th October the British gims shelled the 
Grerman position at Mtama. This bombardment was 
very pretty to watch, as shells were seen bursting all 
over the Mtama HiU. The Germans returned the fire 
with a few rounds from their 4.1 gtms and 4-inch howitzers, 
but to no purpose, and they were finally forced to fall 
back from their Mtama position without a decisive fight 
— ^which position was occupied by the British on the 
I4th-i5th October, the 3rd Nigeria Regiment moving into 
Mtama on the later date. 



II 



CHAPTER X 

THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN THE KILWA AREA 

ON the return of the 4th Battalion to Morogoro 
they found a large draft of over 150 men await- 
ing them under the cormnand of Major Gibb. 
Major Gibb arrived at Dar-es-Salaam from Nigeria on 
the 30th May 1917 with the European and native rein- 
forcements for the Brigade. The men he had brought 
round were excellent material, and did very good work 
in the heavy fighting later in the Kilwa and Lindi areas. 
The Gambia Company, under the command of Capt. 
Law, M.C., arrived at the same time from the Gambia 
via Sierra Leone, together with a large munber of carriers 
from Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The opportunity was 
taken, when at Morogoro, to put Etiropeans and natives 
through various courses of machine and Lewis gun, 
Stokes gun, and bombing. Many native soldiers were 
foimd to be very useful as bomb throwers. 

On the and August the ist Nigeria Regiment was 
ordered to entrain for Dodoma, and from there take up 
the pursuit of Naimiann, who at that time was reported 
to be moving south. However, after a short period this 
battaUon was recalled, as orders were issued, during the 
second week in August, for the Nigerian Brigade, less 
the 3rd Battalion, to concentrate at KUwar. On the 
loth August the 2nd Nigeria Regiment left Mp^gas 
/ for Morogoro, their posts being taken over by the 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 163 

3rd BattaKon. This battalion had just completed eight 
months in the Rtifiji area. After six days at Morogoro, 
spent in refitting, they entrained for Dar-es-Salaam. 
Here the men were all advanced a pound each, and the 
three days before embarking were spent in shopping and 
other forms of amusement. The men thoroughly en- 
joyed these few days of relaxation, but it was unfortunate 
that the 2nd BattaUon could not have spent a few more 
da37s resting in this way before embarking. For a few 
daj^ in August there was a great gathering of Nigerians 
in Dar-es-Salaam, and a few cheerful evenings were 
indulged in at the Burger Hotel and the Roumanian Ca.i6, 
where the Scottish element made itself heard in the shape 
of ultra-Scotch songs. A wonderful people, the Scots ! 
If any nation has earned for itself the motto " Ubique," 
the Scottish race should have it. In my many wanderings 
roimd the earth I have always foimd that where two or 
three white men are gathered together, there is a Scots- 
man in their midst ! 

The 4th Nigeria Regiment, the Nigerian Battery, the 
Gambia Company, the West African Field Ambulance, 
a section of the 300th Field Ambulance, and the Nigerian 
Brigade Headquarters embarked on the s.s. " Hong 
Wan I " at Dar-es-Salaam. The " Hong Wan I " — ^more 
commonly called "the One Lung," was a Chinese-owned 
ship, and was therefore no ordinary vessel. " One Lung " 
she was to aH who knew her and who wished to be polite 
to her, but I fear she suffered from every disease that a 
ship could suffer from. It is hardly fair to laugh at her, 
for she is, or was forty years ago, the pride of the City 
Line, when she was then known as the " City of Edin- 
burgh." She was then one of the fastest and finest 
ships afloat, but now — ! Dar-es-Salaam to Kilwa by an 



164 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

ordinary ship is only a few hours' run down the coast ; 
by the " One Lung " it developed into a three-day 
voyage. As she was only victualled for a short run, 
food and drink became a little short before the journey's 
end. To add to other discomforts of overcrowding, short 
rations, etc., she was inclined to be " lively," so that all 
and sundry had something to do in their spare time for 
several days after disembarking. For some reason or 
other she used to carry in her bows two pigs. No doubt 
they were the pets of some Chinese member of the crew, 
as they were never kiUed" and put to their best use on 
the table, for food was at all times scarce and uninterest- 
ing, consisting mostly of tinned beef. The " pets " were 
encouraged to sing the overcrowded passengers to sleep 
in the afternoon, when they were wont to quarrel over 
the rations served out to them by their Chinese master. 
This, added to the crowing of a cock that nearly met a 
violent death many times upon the voyage, rendered 
sleep often difficult. The " Hong Wan I " was not all a 
bed of roses, as my reader has doubtlessly discovered by 
this time, but we must not laugh at her, for she is now an 
old lady of the sea, though by her behaviour she some- 
times made one forget the fact. But in her old age she 
has done her bit on the East Coast of Africa to damn the 
Potsdam crowd. 

From Kilwa-Kisiwani, the anchorage, to Kilwa town 
is an easy two-da}^' march. The troops from " Hong 
Wan I " arrived at Redhill or Ssingino — ^a camp near to 
Kilwa — on the 26th August. The ist Battalion arrived 
a few days later, and the 2nd Battalion arrived on 
3rd September. This completed the concentration of 
the Nigerian Brigade, with the exception of the 
3rd Battalion, whose doings have already been described 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 165 

in the previous chapter. The first week of September 
was employed by the Nigerian Brigade in field training. 
The coimtry rotmd Kilwa readily lends itself to practising 
infantry manoeuvres, being open and very undulating. 
On 8th September the Brigade commenced its march 
to the front, which was destined not to come to an end 
till some miles south of the Rovuma river, three months 
later. Little did any of us realize what was before us 
as we marched away from RedhiU Camp. On the whole 
we had enjoyed our few days' rest at Kilwa. It was nice 
to be altogether once again, and we had aU made the 
best of the opportunity of enjojdng Ufe. In the Kilwa 
area the Nigerian for the first time had a chance to become 
acquainted with his brother of the East, with the result 
that the Nigerians became fast friends with the " Hapana " 
soldier, as he was usually known to the Nigerian Brigade. 
When a patrol of Nigerians met a patrol of King's African 
Rifles they would always greet each other by the Nigerians 
saying " Jambo ! " which in Swahili means " Cheerio," 
or " Good morning," and being answered by the term 
of endearment " Yum3mm ! " which being interpreted 
means " cannibal ! " The SwahiHes, to the very end, 
always thought the Nigerian soldiers were man-eaters,, 
but this never gave offence, but was looked upon as a 
huge joke and rather after the nature of a complimept by 
the light-hearted sons of the West. To the Nigerians 
the Swahih race generally were either known as 
" Hapjinas " or " Jambos," the former word being the 
Swahili for " No," which was about the first Swahili word 
picked up by the average Nigerian. 

The Nigerian Battery, the ist, 2nd, and 4th Nigeria 
Regiments, the Gambia Company, the Nigerian Pioneer 
section, the Nigerian Stokes gun section, the Nigerian 



166 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Signal section, and the two field ambulances, together 
with a supply and ammunition colimin, had concen- 
trated at Mssindyi, the temporary headquarters of Gen. 
Hannyngton, by the 17th September. Mssindyi itself 
was an uninviting spot set in the bush 80 miles from 
Kilwa, and reached after five hot and dusty days' marching 
along the newly-cut motor road. A few days before the 
arrival of the Nigerian Brigade the Commander-in-Chief, 
Gen. van Deventer, had arrived at Mssindyi, and had 
there established his headquarters. 

On the 15th September two sections of the 4th Nigeria 
Regiment with two Lewis gims, under the command of 
Lieut. Griffiths, left for a few days' patrol duty to Luale, 
in search of water for a brigade camp.- On the 12th Sep- 
tember a big draft of 1800 recruits arrived at Dar-es-Salaam 
from Nigeria. A thousand of these were now ordered 
to join the Brigade immediately, as they were urgently 
required to act as carriers in the forthcoming offensive. 
On i6th September news reached the Brigade that 
Naumann had sust^ileed a bad defeat at the hands of 
the Cape Corps, imder the command of Col. Dyke, and 
that about half the German column had been forced to 
smrender. The Commander-in-Chief inspected the 
Brigade on the 17th. On the following day the advance 
was commenced. The enemy were strongly entrenched 
at Mihambia and Ndessa, barring our advance by the 
main road, and covering the only reliable water holes 
in that immedi^e neighbourhood. The object of the 
operations was to drive the enemy from their position, 
and at the same time cut off their line of retreat to the 
south and east by a wide flanking movement, which was 
to be undertaken by the Nigerian Brigade. 

Scarcity of water was the great problem, but a small 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 167 

supply was reported by Lieut. Griffiths at Luale Kati, 
some 20 miles south of Mssind}^. 

On i8th September the Brigade concentrated at 
Msuras. The following day was timed to be the first 
day of the offensive, which was destined to continue till 
the end of the campaign in German territory. It was 
now decided that a Nigerian Column, consisting of the 
Brigade Headquarters, the ist and 2nd Nigeria Regi- 
ments, and the Signalling section, should advance to 
Luale Kati at dawn on the 19th. The 4th Nigeria 
Regiment with the remainder of the Brigade, with all 
the loads and baggage, was to follow as soon as the water 
supply was assured, and when the road had been cleared 
to enable the supply cars to get through. 

The 4th Battalion moved into the Msuras fort on the 
evening of the i8th, having taken over from a detach- 
ment of King's African Rifles. The ist and 2nd Nigeria 
Regiments moved forward en route for Luale early on the 
19th. Heavy gtm fire was heard by the garrison of the 
Msuras fort during the morning of the 20th, which lasted 
for about five hours. 

At 6.30 p.m. the 4th Battalion of the Nigerian Battery, 
with all supply and ammimition columns, proceeded to 
Luale. The 25th Indian Cavalry moved forward an 
hour earlier. Both Gen. Hann37ngton's No. I and II 
Colimms were in action during this day. The night was 
very dark and the column was extremely long. The 
night march that followed was therefore slow and tedious. 
About 1.30 a.m. a sharp engagement was heard to be in 
progress in the neighbom-hood of the Lungo-Ldedda road. 
The head of the column reached Luale at 6 a.m., after 
having completed a very trying march. 

Most of the 1st and 3rd Nigerians had moved forward 



168 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

from Luale before the arrival of the supply column ; aad 
the remainder of the ist Nigeria Regiment followed, as 
soon as the 4th Nigeria Re^ment had taken over the 
picquets and wireless station that had been established 
at Luale. 

The 1st and 2nd Battalions caaiped for the night of 
the 2ist-22ttd at Luale Chini, in a wild and desolate 
cluster of hills, overlooking some miserable watef holes 
filled with water that appeared to be a cross between 
pea-soup and ink. When at Luale Chini everything 
possible was done to avoid the detection of the enemy, 
who were now retiring before the pressure of Columns I 
and II. The Nigmaais were threatening their main line 
of retreat south. 

The enemy had^ as they always had, the great advan- 
tage of knowing the country, whereas the guides with the 
Nigerian Column were imreliable. Everything depended 
upon the Nigerians being in the right place, i.e. well 
across the <Jerman line of retreat, at the right time, so 
as to be able to offer battle before they could decide on 
another line of retreat — ^not an easy piece of tactics to 
bring off in a wilderness of unknown bush. 

The Battle of Bweho-Chini 

At dawn on the 22nd the 'column moved off from Luale 
Chini, the ist Nigeriaas leading. To quote from the 
Intelligence Officer's report of the action : "It was a 
steamy, misty morning, and the start was greatly delayed 
by the difficulty of extracting the different units from the , 
tangle of kopjes, bush, and elephamt grass in which they 
had taken up position overnight." By 8.30 a.m. the 
leading company of the ist Nigeria Regiment was about 







^v^ 



Diagram -Sketch -Map 

OF THE B/tHLE OF 

BwehoChini. 



250 Yds. 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 169 

two nules from the village of Bweho-Chini, where it 
became engaged with what subsequently timied out to 
be a strong enemy's picquet. The enemy were driven 
out after a short engagement, and at 9.30 a.m. the advance 
guard entered Bweho-Chini. It was merely a farm hamlet 
with a few scattered huts, but through it ran a number of 
tracks, along which it was hoped some pibportion at 
least of the enemy's forces would retreat, as it was on 
their most direct line of retreat south, and water existed 
farther along the road. 

Hie Brigadier was left quite in the dajk as to the 
enemy's movements, owing to the field telegraph line, 
back along his line of communication, having been cut 
during the night. Further, he had no idea of the where- 
abouts of other British Columns, or of their abiUty to 
co-operate with him, in the event of the Nigerian 
Colimm becoming engaged with the main body of the 
enemy. 

At 10 a.m. the ist Battalion was concentrated in the 
neighbourhood of Bweho-Chini, where breakfast was 
cooked. After an hour's halt this battalion received 
orders to move back along the road by which they had 
just arrived for a short distance. They moved out of 
the village as the 2nd Battalion moved in. The 
1st Battahon then proceeded to dig in lying trenches 
facing north and north-east. The front taken up by 
this battahon was rather congested owing to the shortness 
of the front allotted to them. In the meantime, after 
the and Battalion had had their breakfast, they com- 
m^Ked to dig in facing east and west, whilst No. 5 Com- 
pany was kept in support. The 2nd Battalion front was 
very extended, so much so that the south face was not 
occupied except at the south-east comer, no trenches 



170 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

were dug to fill the gap between the east and west izces 
of the perimeter on the south. 

Gen. Cunliffe gave out that it was his intention to 
attack the enemy at Mawerenye. Shortly before noon 
aU companies were ordered to cease digging defences 
and to form up into close formation. By noon both 
battalions were drawn up awaiting orders to move out 
to the attack. In the meantime a party, imder Lieut. 
Hobson, had moved out along the Bweho-Kati road 
with all the baggage of both battalions. His orders were 
to hand over this baggage to the 4th Battalion, that were 
thought to be at this village on this day. A picquet 
had been sent out along the Bweho Ju road early in the 
day. 

Soon after midday Lieut. Hobson returned with a 
German European, three Askaiis, and forty loads of 
ammunition, of which six were .303. These six boxes 
came in most useful before the end of the day; he 
reported that the 4th BattaUon were not at Bweho-Kati, 
as that place was occupied by a big German hospital. 
Not long before this ofi&cer returned another European 
had been brought in by the picquet on the Bweho Ju 
road. The fact that both Eiu-opeans were making their 
way towards Mawerenye, when taken prisoners, was 
proof enough that the enemy waa still at that place, 
while documents found on the white prisoners gave 
conclusive evidence that the proposed line of retreat 
to the south was through Bweho-Chini itself. When 
this fact was proved Beyond doubt, the G.O.C. gave up 
the idea of making an attack upon the enemy's position 
at Mawerenye. All the troops were therefore instructed 
to return to their places in the perimeter and continue 
improving their defences. 



NIGERIAN BEIGADE IN KILWA AREA 171 

In order to clear up the situation two companies of 
the 1st Battalion, under Capts. Pring and Stretton, were 
ordered to move out along the Mawerenye road in order to 
to make a reconnaissance. It was 12.30 p.m. when 
these two companies moved out. Soon after this the 
reconnoitring party had left the perimeter, an aeroplane 
flew over the British position and dropped a message 
at the Brigade Headquarters. No sooner had this 
happened than Capts. Pring and Stretton became heavily 
engaged about 700 yards from the main perimeter. 
Some people who were present think that the Germjins 
opened fire upon the aeroplane, but this is doubtful. 
In any case the volxmie of fire was so great that everyone 
realized at once that they were being opposed by a very 
strong force. In fact it was afterwards learnt that the 
German strength at Bweho-Chini was 6 single and 2 
double companies, in £ill about iioo men, with 20 to 
25 machine-gims, and over 100 Exiropeans. 

The Germans were heard to sound the charge on their 
bugles. Immediately afterwards the two ist Battahon 
companies were almost enveloped. There is Uttle doubt 
that the Germans were not in the least aware of the fact, 
when they first commenced the attack, that two battalions 
were blocking their main line of retreat. They attacked 
imder the impression that they were oppposing a recon- 
naissance-in-force, consisting of one or two companies. 
They had been warned early on the 22nd that a force of 
this strength was in the neighbourhood by the small action 
of that morning, when their picquet had been driven in. 

The two 1st Battcilion companies fixed bayonets and 
met the German charge with a heavy bmst of fire. The 
German onslaught was in this way momentarily checked, 
but these two companies were practically surrounded. 



172 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

A most one-sided fi^t now ensued. The tvro Nigerian 
companies were attacked on all sides by a numerically 
much stronger fosce, but for all that they held their own 
most gallantly, and gradually fell back upon the main 
Nigerian poation. This action of these two isolated 
comjeLnies was one of the finest pieces of fighting that 
ever occurred in the Brigade throughout the whole of 
the campaign. Every man fought like a Trojan, the 
most perfect discipline being maintained throughout the 
action. They eventually regained their original position 
in the line, but not before ttey had suffered very heavy 
casualties. The attack upon these companies com- 
menced at I p.m. The first attack upon the main 
perimeter was delivered against the ist Battahon from 
the east, and gradually worked roimd to No. 7 Company 
on the west. 

No. 8 Company of the 2nd Battalion, tmder the com- 
mand of Capt. Fowle, was very heavily engaged within 
half an hour of the commencement of the fight, and as 
their left was in the air, Capt. Gardner, commanding 
No. 5 Company, then in reserve, was asked to prolong 
No. 8 Company's line to the left with half a company. 
In the meantime the O.C. 2nd Battalion, reahzmg the 
dan^r of having the south face of the perimeter left 
open and unguarded by troops, had ordered half No. 5 
Company, with one machine-gun and one Lewis gun, 
under Lieut. Studley, to ipove to poation " B " on the 
diagram sketch, and there dig in facing south. No 
sooner was this compdeted than lieut. Studley received 
orders to move up to Capt. Fowle's left, marked in the 
diagram as " D," so once again the south face was left 
with an ugly gap in it. 

By 3 p.m. the Germans were attacking finiously from 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 173 

the north, north-west, and east, and had commenced to 
feel round the other sides of the perimeter for a weak 
place. At 3.30 p.m. Sergt. Maifundi Shua^ the native 
sergeant commanding No. 3 section of No. 5 Company, 
seeing a small party of the enemy, under two German 
Europeaiis, actually in the act of feeling for a weak spot 
in the jmimeter, ordered his section to charge with fixed 
bayonets. In this charge the gallant native was severely 
woimded, but not before he had buried his bay^et a 
foot deep in oine of the Europeans. This sergeant had 
several times before showed the greatest devotion to 
duty. The Mihtary Medal which he received after this 
battle was most deservedly won. 

By 4 p.m. the enemy completely encircled the Nigerians 
and were attacking from the south with the greatest 
determination, having very rightly decided this to be 
the weak side of the perimeter. This attack was sup- 
ported by three machine-guns, the firing of which was 
chiefly directed upon a big white tree at " D." 

Just before the attack had developed Lieut. Studley 
was once again moved. This time he was ordered to 
bring a machine-gun and one section to " D," and there 
deploy in the open, no trenches having been dug in this 
part of the line. Capt. Gardner brought his remaining 
half company from " A " to the trenches lately dug by 
Lieut. Studlejy at " B." Thus the whole of No. 5 Com- 
pany, with the exception of one section stiU at " C," now 
faced south. 

The Germans kept on reinforcing the troops attacking 
the south face of the perimeter, where without doubt 
they hoped to break through, but they were just too late 
to accomplish this, for No. 5 Company, having got into 
position in the nick of time, were prepared to resist Ihe 



174 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

attack. The enemy, at last finding it impossible to 
break through, contented themselves with keeping up a 
terribly heavy fire against the troops lying in the open 
near tree " D." This tree offered a splendid aiming mark 
for the enemy, who with " combined sights " searched to 
the right and left of this mark. The casualties to No. 5 
Company were now thirty-three, of which one European 
was killed and another wounded. These casualties 
mostly occurred in one hour's fighting. Simultaneously 
with the attack on No. 5 Company, No. 6 was also heavily 
engaged near the T)ig tree " F " by a German force 
operating from the south-east. This company also 
suffered heavily, receiving eighteen casualties in less than 
half an hour. 

The Germans pressed their attack with the greatest 
bravery, not seeming to trouble what casualties they 
incurred, but the Nigerian troops never moved from their 
position. It was by far the heaviest firing any Nigerians 
had ever been called upon to face up to date ; further, it 
was their first experience of this kind of fighting. 

At one time matters began to look pretty bad, as 
ammunition was rapidly running short. At the end of 
the fight about twenty-five roimds per man was aH that 
was left, all reserves having been used up. 

The enemy seemed to have vmhmited ammunition, and 
a preponderance of machine-gunsi which they worked 
with the greatest skill, moving up to within 60 yards of 
the Nigerians' perimeter in some places. However, their 
shooting was very high, or the Nigerian casualties would 
have been far heavier. One great lesson was driven 
home to the Nigerians in this action, and that was the 
great danger of depending on lying trenches ; a very large 
proportion of casualties ^ere caused by reverse fire. At 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 175 

Bweho-Chini everyone made up their mind that in future 
kneeling trenches would always be dug, with a high 
parados tp stop reverse fire. The fighting continued 
with varying intensity up to 8 p.m. During this time 
the German bugles were constantly heard soimding the 
rally and charge. At 8 p.m. there was a lull in the 
fighting, lasting up till 9.15 p.m. 

The defenders took the opporttmity offered them by 
the luU to improve their defences. Many of the local 
carriers, as usual, had bolted during the day, preferring 
the chance of getting shot when leaving the perimeter 
to car^ong ammimition from the quartermaster's dumps 
to the different parts of the firing line. Those carriers 
that remained in the perimeter were now collected and 
placed under cover. The dressing station, marked " E " 
on the sketch, had suffered badly dming the day, being 
in a very exposed position, and so an attempt was made, 
under cover of darkness, to improve the cover around it. 

At 9.15 p.m. the enemy recommenced their attack. 
This night attack continued till 11.50 p.m. At first they 
had the dim hght of a young moon to guide them, though 
later the opposing sides fought in inky darkness, but the 
sting had gone out of the attack. The enemy's Askaris, 
primed with raw alcohol, and fighting with immense dash 
and determination, began to falter, though unceasingly 
tu-ged to the attack by their European N.C.Os., many of 
whom. were seen flogging them unmercifully with sjam- 
boks and rifle butts. By midnight the firing had died 
down, and the enemy withdrew the remnants of his force, 
and contented himself for the rest of the night with a 
certain amount of sniping, while the Nigerian Ustening 
posts could clearly hear the enemy busily engaged in 
removing their wounded and burying their dead. The 



176 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

dawn broke without any further attack being made ; 
the enemy having failed in his attempt ta break through, 
now found themselves threatened in the rear by Gen. 
Hannyngton's columns. They therefore split up into 
two small parties, abandoned considerable quantities of 
stores and anmaunition, and made the best of their way 
south to Nahungu, which place lay on their previously- 
arranged line of retreat. On the night of the 22nd- 
23rd September, Lieut. Trengrouse of the 4tlvBattaUon 
had tried to get through to the ist and 2nd Battalions 
from Laale with medical stores and a detachment of the 
300th Field AmbulaJtice, but to his surprise, on approach- 
ing Bweho-Kati he found a German camp on the road, 
which put an end to his attempt to get there. A wire 
Unesman was sent out the same evening to repair the 
telegraph line to Bweho-Chini. He found the place where 
the Germans had cut the wire, and repaired it, only to 
find it was cut at some other place as well. He attempted 
to find the second break when he came upon a German 
patrol. He was pursued half the night before he finally 
got clear away. 

Unfortunately, as only too often happens in East 
Africa, the German troops had not behaved well. It is 
true that most of the Askaris were excited with drink, 
as water bottles picked up after the fight contained strong 
hquor. This might account for a certain amount of their 
barbarism, but the Europeans should have tried to hold 
the natives in check. The following quotation is from 
the Cape Times of 2nd March 1918 : " Renter's agent 
learns that Gen. Sir Jacobus van Deventer, commanding 
in East Africa, has officially brought to the knowledge of 
the German Ex-Governor the following outrages conmiitted 
by German troops : After the fight at Bweho-Chini on 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 177 

22nd September, when the ground on which they had 
been fighting, and which had been occupied by German 
troops, was regained by our troops, the bodies of two 
officers who had been left on the groimd wounded, and 
had so fallen into the hands of the German troops, were 
found stripped, and there could be no doubt that these 
two officers had been murdered. The original wotmds 
which disabled these officers were in one case in the arm 
and ia the other in the leg. When their bodies were 
fotmd the head in one case had been smashed by a blow 
with some blunt instrument, eind in the other a rifle had 
been fired through the neck with the muzzle almost 
touching. There could be no doubt whatever that in 
these cases the officers had been foully murdered by 
German troopsi." 

Both the officers referred to above belonged to the two 
companies of the ist BattaJion that had had to fight their 
way back to the perimeter early in the fight of Bweho- 
Chini. However, this most regrettable incident is only 
typical of the general behaviour meted out to British 
troops, if imfortimate enough to fall into German hands. 
In this action sixteen German Europeans and eighty-seven 
Askaris were actually buried by the British, whilst three 
Europeans and three Askaris were taken prisoners. 
After a fight with German troops, either in East Africa 
or the Cameroons, it was most unusual to find any dead 
German A^caris, still less was one likely to find any 
Europeans left behind on the battle ground, as it was a 
point of honour with them to always remove their own 
dead. The fact of finding so many dead at Bweho- 
Chini proves that their losses there must have been most 
severe. From later information it was estimated that* 
the Germans lost about forty Europeans killed, woimded 
12 



178 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

and prisoners, and at least three hundred native rank and 
file casualties. 

The 1st and 2nd Nigeria Regiments' casualties were lo 
Europeans, and 124 rank and file killed, wounded, and 
missing. The officers killed in this action were Capt. 
Higgins, Lieuts. Jose, Stephenson,, and Oliver. 

The Commander-in-Chief granted the following awards 
in the field for this action : Lieut.-Col. Uniacke, com- 
manding the 2nd Nigeria Regiment, the D.S.O. ; Capt. 
Gardner, 2nd Nigeria Regiment, a bar to his Military 
Cross ; Capts. Waters and Bumey and Lieut. Studley, 
the Military Cross ; Sergts. Tanti and Badger, the D.C.M., 
and fom: native rank and file were awarded the Military 
Medal. This long list of awards wiU show the reader 
what great importance was put upon the action by the 
General Headquarters Staff. 

This battle of Bweho-Chini finally established the name 
of the Nigeria Regiment in East Africa as being a first- 
class fighting imit. A woimded German officer in one 
of our hospitals once said to a British officer in the next 

bed : " We Germans don't mind Regiment in the 

least, but we respect the men who wear green caps, and 
we take no liberties with them." Both the Nigeria 
Regiment and the Gold Coast Regiment wear green caps. 
One's enemies should be the best judge of these matters. 
During the long battle of Bweho-Chini everyone from 
the General downwards took an active part with rifle and 
entrenching tool. The men had fought magnificently 
throughout this day with a coolness beyond praise. 
Scarcity of ammunition, and urgent need of food and 
water, rendered pmrsuit impossible. Further, there were 
insufficient porters remaining with these battalions even 
to carry away the wounded, let alone the supplies that 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 179 

would be required to continue the advance. A number 
of German stragglers were, however, rounded up by 
patrols, while the remainder of the force were engaged in 
bmying the dead. All the British were bmied at the 
spot marked " cemetery " in the sketch. 

On the 24th September a King's African Rifle patrol 
from one of the main colimms gained touch with a Nigerian 
patrol, and telegraphic communication wels re-established. 
Later in the day it was fovmd possible to evacuate the 
wounded via Mawerenye, which had by that time been 
occupied by the Gold Coast Regiment. 

Having biuied the dead, evacuated the wounded, and 
destroyed such captured enemy ammunition and stores 
as could not be removed, the column moved to Bweho Ju 
on the evening of the 24th. The remainder of the Brigade 
moved to this place direct from Luale on the sajne day, 
having cut a motor track through the bush as they 
advanced. 



The Battle of Nahungu 

Early on the 25th September lieut. Stobart, the 
Nigerians' InteUigence Officer, had gone out in order to 
investigate the water supply at Nakin river, eight miles 
south of Bweho Ju. He, however, was unable to carry 
out his personal reconnaissance, as the water holes were 
in the hands of the enemy. He was fired upon by a* 
German patrol, but was fortunate to be able to get away 
with no more serious a loss than one of his Indian escorts 
having his horse shot down under him. 

At II a.m. lieut.-Col. Sargent left Bweho Ju in com- 
mand of the 1st and 4th Nigeria Regiments, in order to 



180 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

clear up the situation and take the water holes. By the 
evening two companies of the 4th Battalion were within 
three miles of the objective. On the 26th the advanceVas 
continued to the water holes, the vanguard meeting with 
sUght resistance. The enemy, who were,' as far as could 
be judged, only three Europeans and twelve Askaris in 
number, retired after firing about twenty rounds at " the 
point." There were no casualties. * 

The 1st and 4th Battalions camped at the Nakin 
stream for the night 26th-27th. The advance had been 
slow ; at no time had it exceeded more than a mile an 
hour. This was due to the very dense nature of the bush 
and to the large number of nullahs which had to be 
crossed. Gen. Hannyngton's force was heard to be in 
action early on the 26th, away to the left of Col. Sargent's 
coliunn. During this day half the Nigerian Battery 
reinforced Col. Sargent. / 

The 27th September was the day ordered for the attack 
on the enemy's position at Nahtmgu. The attack was 
carried out by three columns. Gen. CunUffe with the 
2nd Nigeria Regimpnt, Col. Freith's battalion of the 
King's African Rifles, the Nigerian Pioneers, and the 
Nigerian Brigade headquarters formed the right column. 
One company of the 127th Baluchis later joined this 
column. The ist and 4th Nigeria Regiments, and one 
section of the Nigerian Battery, under Col. Sargent, 
formed the centre column. The Gold Coast Regiment, 
.a battalion of King's African Rifles, a section of Indian 
Mountain Battery, and a section of Stokes guns, com- 
manded by Col. Orr, formed the left colmnn. 

AU three columns were to attack simultaneously 
Nahungu Hill, where the enemy had taken up a strong 
position. The advance was carried out on three con- 



NIGERIAN BRIGADE IN KILWA AREA 181 

verging roads, commencing early on the morning of the 
the 27th. 

Col. Orr met with the greatest resistance, whilst the 
right was allowed to advance without much opposition. 
At 3 p.m. Col. Orr met the enemy in strength, and a 
sharp engagement was fought, but Col. Freith's battaKon, 
reinforced later by the 2nd Nigeria Regiment on the 
right, had by this time made themselves felt, with the 
result that the enemy on the left slowly fell back. By 
2 p.m. all three columns were in touch with each other, 
and were approaching the objective. The action now 
became general all along the British front, the enemy 
slowly falling back on to their prepared entrenched 
position on Nahungu Hill, from which thfey brought into 
action two guns against Col. Orr's column. One of these 
guns the Indian Moimtain Battery put out of action by 
obtaining a direct hit upon its emplacement. The 
Nigerian Battery was able to do some useful work against 
the enemy's position at a range of 2500 yards. Though 
the German position was strong, it was Uable to suffer 
from artillery fire, as it was on a very defined hill. 

At about 6.30 p.m. the enemy deUvered a strong 
counter-attack against Col. Orr, but the Gold Coast 
Regiment after a stubborn fight drove them back. The 
action continued all along the front till 8 p.m., when the 
filing died down, but up to 2.30 a.m. on the 28th the 
Germans still kept up an intermittent fire. 

The Germans, feeling that they were being opposed 
by a strong force, and fearing for the safety of their line 
of commimication, retired from Nahtmgu during the 
night of the 27th-28th, leaving behind them a field 
ambulance containing a number of European and native 
wounded. 



182 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

The British casualties in this engagement were in^ 
considerable. The enemy, who were evidently shaken 
by the rapidity of our advance, and the severe handling 
they had previously received at Bweho-Chini, fell back 
without putting up a determined fight. 

British reinforcements came up on the 28th, consisting 
of four Indian regiments, three battahons of King's 
African Rifles, and the 25th Indian Cavalry. The whole 
of the Kilwa force was now assembled at Nahungu. The 
supply arrangements here were wonderfully carried out. 
Within six hours of the enemy retiring a great dump 
had commenced to grow, supphes being brought up via 
Luale by hundreds of motors. The feeding of such a large 
force so far from the base was only overcome by means 
of unhmited motor transport, for the use of which the 
4th Battalion and the Nigerian Pioneers had cut a wide 
track through the bush almost as fast as the columns had 
advanced. The staff work generally was exceptionally 
good in the Kilwa area. 

During the previous ten das^ the whole of the Kilwa 
area had been cleared of the enemy, whose forces, with 
the exceptions of those in the Mahenge district, were now 
all confined to the country south of Mbenkuru river, 
which comprised what was known as the Lindi area. 
The approach to Lindi itself was best by sea via Kilwa, 
owing to the mountainous district that separated the 
Kilwa and Lindi areas from each other. 

From the 29th September to the 2nd October the 
Nigerian Brigade rested at Nahungu. Whilst here the 
Brigade received the good news that Naumann had 
given himself up with 14 Europeans and 150 Askaris. 
We were all glad to hear that Naumann was now at an 
end. His capture had been effected by Col. Bre5d:enbach's ' 



CHAPTER XI 

THE MARCH TO THE LINDI AREA 

ON the 3rd October the march south commenced. 
The Nigerian Brigade had been taken over by 
lieut.-Col. Mann. D.S.O., owing to Gen. Cimhffe 
having been put upon the sick hst. It consisted of the 
ist, 2nd, and 4th BattaUons of the Nigeria Regiment, 
the Gambia Company, Pioneer section, the Stokes gun 
section, a Wireless section. Signal section, 300th Field 
Ambulance, a section of the West African Field Ambu- 
lance, and supply and ammunition columns. Major 
Pretorius, who knew the country well, was attached 
to the colimm in the capacity of Chief Intelligence 
Of&cer and Guide. 

The actual distance from Nahungu to the nearest point 
occupied by the lindi force (always known by the 
abbreviation of Linforce), was about 80 miles in a direct 
line over the hills. The main difi&culty was the scarcity 
of water along the road, and the fact that rations must 
be taken with the Brigade for eight days, the whole 
necessitating a very large mmiber of carriers who would 
greatly add to the already unwieldy length of the column, 
which apart from the supply transport numbered 
several thousand men. This dif&culty was partly over- 
come by the substitution of several thousand donkeys 
for a large number of carriers. These, though partly 
obviating the difficulty, greatly increased the water 

185 



184 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Tunduru. Murray is expected shortly at Abdtialla- 
Kwa-Nangwa, and in conjunction with the Nangano 
force, will block the enemy's retreat southwards from 
Mahenge and Liwale areas. Mahenge : Faire is pushing 
on to Saidi to co-operate in the Mahenge operations and 
prevent the enemy breaking westwards. Hawthorne is 
operating against Otto, and will co-operate in the Mahenge 
operations. In the event of the enemy breaking south- 
wards he will pursue him, keeping to the west of tiie 
Belgians. The mutual object of the Belgian and British 
forces is to break up the enemy's opposition in the western 
areas. Speed is of the utmost importance." 



THE MARCH TO THE LINDI AREA 187 

route arrived at its destination at 3.30 p.m. The rear- 
guard did not arrive in till sunset. The country passed 
through was very undulating and hilly. Tlie Tschip- 
wadwa river rises in these hills and runs through a deep 
valley for the first few miles of its course. The path 
leading into Narumbego followed the stream from its 
source for about 4 miles. Owing to the undulating 
nature of the road, the march was most trying, and 
resulted in five Europeans and many natives becoming 
hors de combat. 

The hills were densely covered with bush and long 
grass, which added greatiy to the difficulties of the advance 
guard commander, who was forced to proceed with the 
greatest caution. From Narumbego an Intelligence 
Officer was sent out to Waholo and another to Mtete to 
watch the enemy's movements, and if possible, in the 
latter case, capture the post, which was reported to be 
quite small. Narumbego lay at the bottom of a deep 
valley, the sides of which were nearly precipitous. The 
main body of the colimm camped in the deep valley — a 
strong line of outposts holding the ground on each side. 
If the previous day had been hard, it had been a hoUday 
compared with the 8th. On this day the advance guard 
left the valley of the Tschipwadwa river at 4 a.m. After 
an hour's hard climbing they reached the plateau to the 
south. The distance to the Mirola stream was only 
I3f miles, yet the advance guard did not arrive in till 
late in the afternoon, whilst the ammunition column was 
still coming in at i a.m. on the 9th. Owing to the diffi- 
culty of getting the donkeys up the Very steep hills, the 
donkey supply colimon did not reach their destination 
till well after daylight on the 9th, and even then 
five himdred carriers had to be sent back to help in the 



186 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

problem and decreased the pace of the march by nearly 
half. 

On the 3rd October the 4th Nigeria Regiment and 
Pioneer section left Nahimgu for Mhulu — a. small village • 
9 miles distant, which was to be the motor road terminus. 
From here to the south everything would have to be 
carried on donkeys or carriers. On the 4tft the 
4th Nigeria Regiment moved forward, leaving behind 
them the Pioneer section to improve the water supply 
for the Brigade by digging extra water holes. Thus at 
the very first halting place troubles began. The 
4th Battahon marched 7 miles to Lihero, where it was 
joined by the rest of the Brigade on the 5th. On the 
6th October the march was continued to Nahanga, a 
distance of 14 nules through a waterless track of bush. 
The information received this day was that the enemy 
had a post at Mtshinsdri, which had lately been rein- 
forced, and another post at Mtete, 12 miles southwards 
of Nahanga. It must be clearly imderstood that during 
this march aU Contact Xvith the enemy was to be avoided 
if possible, for the double reason of speed and secrecy. It 
was therefore decided that the march south would be 
continued via Tschipwadwa to the Nyengedi stream, and 
thus escape all German posts. A wireless message 
received on the 6th stated that the Lindi offensive would 
recommence on the 8th inst., and that the turning move 
from the south would synchronize with the move from 
the north. On 7th October the Brigade marched to 
Narumbego. The advance guard left Nahanga at 5 a.m. 
The distance was only 8 nules, but owing to the local 
guide leading the Brigade wrong, the distance was greatly 
increased. The direct road was due south, but the 
advance guard moved out due east, and by a circular 



THE MARCH TO THE LINDI AREA 189 

the sick behind to the tender mercies of a wandering 
party of the enemy's Askaris, as they often did with their 
own sick. 

On the 9th, whilst the colmnn was still at the Mirola 
river, a British aeroplane managed to locate us, and 
dropped a message to the effect tnat the Nigerians were 
now under orders of Brig.-Gen. Beves. At 10 a.m. a 
wireless message was received from Gen. Beves, ordering 
the column to proceed to Mahiwa via Mpembe and 
Mtshinyiri. The message stated that the column was to 
live on the country, and no longer be dependent upon a 
supply train. Col. Mann, in answering this message, 
pointed out the present condition of affairs in the Brigade, 
and added that the Intelligence Ofi&cer, Major Pretorius, 
had pronounced this route quite impossible, owing to the 
scarcity of waier along it. 

The column halted by the Mirola river during the night, 
and very glad were all ranks for the rest. Sounds of 
heavy firing were heard from time to time during the day, 
which turned out to be Linforce approaching Mtama. 
Early on the morning of the loth a wireless message was 
received from Gen. Beves, in which he stated that he 
quite realized the difficulties and he therefore x:£inceUed 
his orders of the previous day. However, he directed 
that every pos^ble effort was to be made to arrive at 
Mahiwa in rear of the main enemy's forces operating in 
the lindi area. The ration situation was now becoming 
acute, and it had become more and more urgently neces- 
sary to gain early touch with the main JLindi forces. The 
whole coimtry in front was reported to be as bare of food 
as that we had already passed through. There was, 
therefore, no chance of obtaining food locally for so large 
a force. Tlie march was continued at 5.30 a.m. on the 



188 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

donkeys by carrying their loads for them. Numerous 
donkeys had died on the way, and a number of Europeans 
and natives fell out on the road owing to the heat and 
the length of the march. 

In the early part of the day heavy gunfire was heard 
far away to the south-east ; this being the first fighting 
heard by us in the lindi area. The Intelligence patrol 
that had been sent out from Nahanga sijcceeded this day 
in rushing and captimng three German Europeans at 
Mtete. They evidently had no idea that troops were in 
the neighbourhood, so great was their surprise when 
they were brought in as prisoners to see this huge column 
winding its way through the hills. 

Not till 10 a.m. on the gth did the rearguard eventually 
arrive from Mirola river, having been twenty-eight hours 
on the road. The road between Nahanga and the Mirola 
river is simply a native bush track, along which it was 
quite impossible to proceed in any other formation than 
single file. Although Intelligence patrob were out in 
front and on the right flank of the column, it was neces- 
sary to be continually on the alert, as the enemy were 
within easy striking distance. As this long unwieldy 
column of men, carriers, and donkej^ slowly^ wended its 
way through this most difftcult and hilly bush country, 
it offered a most vulnerable object for a German raiding 
party ; hence every military precaution had to be taken 
at all times. 

The length of the column was by this time greatly 
increased by the mmiber of stretcher cases that had to 
be carried up and down this terrible country. Europeans 
and natives were beginning to go sick at an alarming pace, 
due to the heat and fatigue. Knowing^ the Germans as 
well as we did, it was quite out of the question to leave 



THE MARCH TO THE LINDI AREA 191 

baggage did not get in till 7.30 p.m., whilst the anununi- 
tion column did not arrive till after 11 p.m. Before this 
climb to the top of the Rondo plateau was commenced, 
all the donkeys had been sent back to the coast at Liadi 
via Lake Lutimba ; also 130 loads of ammimition, for 
which there were no carriers. The remaining boxes of 
ammimition had been handed over to the supply porters, 
as all supplies had by this time been issued. The coimtry 
for some da}^ past had been quite impracticable for 
donkeys, whidi had throughout the whole march greatly 
delayed the column. On arriving at Rupiagine, after a 
very hot march, there was found to be no water, and to 
obtain it the men had to descend to the valley about 
1200 feet bdow. However, the wonderful view across 
the Lutimba lake, to a small degree, made up for the 
discomfort of this hot climb. After a day spent in the 
hot bush, it was a great relief to look down upon so fine 
a panorama, and feel the cool fresh air of a higher altitude. 
The Brigade crossed the Rondo plateau on the 12th, 
arriving about midday at the Nyengedi, where two days* 
rations were awaiting us, in charge of the two companies 
of the 2nd Battalion ; but the 300 carriers that had 
brought these rations had been sent back in error. 
Telephonic communication was established with Gen. 
Beves's headquarters, and orders were received to move 
on as soon as possible. By this time all Europeans and 
natives were utterly done up, and rest was badly needed, 
but owing to Gen. Beves's orders this was quite impossible. 
Accordingly, orders were issued for all sick and as much 
baggage as possible, to be sent from the Nyengedi to 
Mtua. No less than 283 sick were thus evacuated, of 
which II Europeans and 38 natives were stretcher cases. 
Personal loads were cut down to one per European. 



190 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

loth. Tshitishiti stream was reached at 4 p.m. It had 
taken ten and a half hours to complete the 13-niile 
march. This march was nearly as trying as that of the 
8th. The ammiinition and supply donkejre did not 
arrive in before midnight, and the rearguard did not 
arrive in till the following morning.. The length of the 
march in a direct line was not 5 miles, and at places 
the head and tail of this great column were almost doubled 
round into a circle, so that there was only a compara- 
tively short distance of almost impassable hiUs separating 
them. The actual number of miles, however, marched 
could not have been less than 15 miles owing to the 
configuration of the coimtry. 

A wireless message received from Linforce stated that 
two days' rations woiild be sent out to the Nyengedi to 
arrive there by the evening of this day. From the 
Tshitishiti stream to the Nyengedi is 18 miles. It was, 
therefore, quite out of the question for the column, in its 
present state of fatigue, to reach there in time to meet 
the convoy, and a wireless message to this effect was 
sent back to Gen. Beves early on the morning of the nth. 
Two companies of the 2nd BattaUon were sent forward to 
the Nyengedi with instructions to meet the supply column. 

In the Intelligence Report issued this day it was given 
out that von Lettow with twenty-six companies had 
concentrated between Nyangao and Massassi. Gen. 
Hannsmgton's force was slowly pushing south to the 
Lukuledi river by the main road via Ruponda, which 
place had been evacuated by the enemy. 

At 12.30 p.m. the coliunn continued the march — ^the 
advance guard arriving at Rupiagine on the Rondo 
plateau at 3.30 p.m. The distance was only 5 nnles, 
but owing to the hard going and steep dimbing the 



THE MARCH TO THE LINDI AEEA 193 

that place was very strongly held, and, further, that von 
Lettow himself with his mobile force was rapidly march- 
ing to Mzihiwa from the north-west, but none of this 
information was credited by Gen. Beves, who was most 
insistent as to the necessity of rapidity of movement, 
in order that the Nigerian advance should synchronize 
with the frontal advance of Linforce, which was timed 
to commence on the 15th October. 

SmaU patrol engagements on the 12th and 13th were 
in themselves sufficient information to the Nigerian 
Headquarters that the enemy were well aware of our 
flank move, yet orders were received at the Rondo Plateau 
camp to send one battalion across the Lindi-Massassi 
road at Nyangao, and to attack Mahiwa itself with the 
remaiuder of the force at dawn on the 15th October. 

Tlie Nyangao river was reached by 8.30 a.m. on the 
14th. At 12.30 p.m. the column left the river, reaching 
Namupa Mission at 4.30 p.m. There was a small patrol 
action en route that led to the captin-e of one European 
and the death of one Askari. Later eight Europeans 
were taken at the Mission by the advance guard, of which 
two were Greeks and the rest Gelmaji non-combatants. 
Two of the enemy food-stores were captured en route, 
containing in one case fifty and in another seventy loads 
of grain. 

The advance was continued at 5.30 p.m., but the 
wrong road was taken, resulting in the column having to 
return to the Mission and there dig themselves in for the 
night, as it was impossible in the dark to pick up the 
correct road to Mahiwa from amongst the many roads 
that led out from the Mission, like spokes from the hub 
of a wheel. The colimm this day had marched from 
3 a.m. till lO'p.m., whilst the rearguard weis on the road 

13 



192 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

The column had now been on the road for nine days, and 
was abready two days late in arriving at Nyengedi, but 
no troops could have made a greater effort to get through 
up to time. The road, however, had been quite heart- 
breaking, and the niunber of sick that had to be evacuated 
will testify to the hardships the Brigade had gone through 
in these nine days. 

On the 13th October the Nigerians left the Nyengedi 
at I p.m. for Ngedi on the Rondo plateau, arriving at 
this place, after a steep cUmb over a bad road, at 4.30 p.m. 
Again the rearguard was delayed by the bad condition of 
the road, and did not even leave the Nyengedi till after 
dusk, owing to the slow pace the carriers were forced to 
go when descending into the Nyengedi valley. Though 
it was late at night, and bitterly cold by the time the 
rearguard arrived in, the column was under orders to 
continue the march at 4.30 a.m. the following morning. 
The strength of the Nigerian battahons by this time had 
been greatly reduced, and the three battahons together 
did not muster much more than a thousand odd rifles. 
The enemy's force was known to be at least two thousand 
Askaris, with three or four hundred Europeans, and 
several guns. In addition to this it was known that von 
Lettow had with him a mobile force of about six hundred 
picked men, which at any time he could throw into any 
part of his front or flanks as reinforcements, or be able 
to use them as a striking force on the offensive, while 
further reserves of about six hundred rifles were known 
to be at Mahiwa. Mahiwa was the key to von Lettow's 
position, as it was his central food depot. Reports 
received from G.H.Q. by wireless stated that Mahiwa 
was only Ughtly held, but. this did not agree with local 
reports. Major Pretorius' iaformation indicated that 



THE MARCH TO THE LINDI AREA 195 

times during this march, they poisoned themselves by 
eating ijncooked Cassava. 

The route from the Kilwa to the Lindi area will never 
be forgotten by those that had the misfortune to take 
part in it. For general discomfort it was only eclipsed 
by the Rufiji, and the months of semi-starvation passed 
through in that area. 



194 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

from 5.30 a.m. till i a.m. on the 15th. The heat during 
the day had been intense, so that both Eviropeans and 
natives were absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. 
To add to aU this, the G.O.C. Linforce instructed the 
Coltmm Headquarters to press on immediately. How- 
ever, this was impossible, for the bush all round was 
thick, and the guides were not only terrified in the dark 
but also wilfully stupid, and in the inky darkness of the 
night it would have been out of the question to wind this 
long columniout again so as to get it into any military 
formation. When at the Mission I think we all realized 
that something big was going to take place shortly. One 
could not help thinking of those few hues from Henry V. 
between Westmoreland, Exeter, and Sahsbury : " Of 
fighting men they have three score thousand." " There 
is five to one ; besides they all are fresh." " God's arm 
strike with us ! It is a fearful odds." 

An uncomfortable few hours' rest was now snatched 
by the hungry and blanketless troops on the damp ground. 
As no suppHes had arrived before dark had set in there 
was no food to issue to the men, thus the long march 
from KUwa area ended as it had begun — ^in utter 
discomfort. I 

On almost every day of this march the supplies and 
baggage had arrived in hours after the arrival of the 
advance guard, thus the troops, scorched by the heat 
dming the day, were frequently forced to suffer cold by 
night. Rations were usually short, and when obtainable 
often not good. Cooking after dark was usually im- 
possible owing to the necessity of secrecy and the close 
proximity of the enjemy ; therefore no fires could be lit. 
The men were in consequence frequently forced to eat 
uncooked rice and cereals, or, what happened many 



Sketch Map of the Nigerian Positions at ™e Battle of Mahiwa. 

I5*t0 ia*0ct.l9l7. 



yj 



(NUOmpi 



^ ^^ :• V Comp 




j4aj(J'r noBERTS ZVPosibon 
\,^ I Comp 



TunSunaand 

-7+^* „ W3C? ketinbiaa mlC9 
iVteGombiaCo, -t 

- « ' ^ MAJOR ROffiRT^ V^Position 

/ / 



I Mile 





Directiwt of Main 

German)^ttack on 

i6*f'0ct. against 

Cot.Manrfs PosiVon 






MREMBA HILL 



PosiUon taken up by the 
Nigenan Advanced Guard on tS "'Oct. 
These Trenches were later occupied 
by German Troops 



CHAPTER XII 

THE 2ND AND 4TH NIGERIANS AND THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 

I STATED in the last chapter that orders had been 
received by the G.O.C. Nigerian Brigade, to detach 
one battaUon from the column and send it to Nyangao 
in order to block the road lying to the east of Mahiwa, 
by which it was thought that the enemy might try to 
retreat. The ist Nigerians, the Gambia Company, and 
two Nigerian guns were detailed for this duty. They 
left early on the morning of the 15th October. The 
2nd and 4th Nigerians, with the remaining half of the 
Nigerian Battery, together with the Stokes gun section 
and Brigade Headquarters, left at 5.30 a.m. in order to 
make the attack on Mahiwa. The advance guard con- 
sisted of two companies of the 4th Battalion and the 
Stokes gim section, under the command of Major Gibb. 
Almost as soon as the head of the column was clear of 
the Mission station, Capt. Maxwell, who was commanding 
the leading company, became engaged, but he managed 
to press back the enemy who were only a strong rear- 
guard left to watch the road. The main body followed 
the advance guard at 7.30 a.m., and were in their turn 
followed an hom: or so later by the wireless section and 
rearguard. 

One company of the ist BattaUon and the Pioneer 
section remained behind at the Mission with the Brigade 
baggage, reserve ammunition column, and ambulances. 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 197 

The position of affairs at dawn on the 15th October was 
therefore as follows : A column of Nigerians was ad- 
vancing south on to Mahiwa, which place was situated 
on the main Lindi-Massassi road, and about 10 miles 
south-west of Mtama ; another Nigerian Column was 
marching on to Nyangao, also on the Lindi-Massassi road 
in order to block the Nyangao-Namupa road. Nyangao 
was about 3 miles north-east of Mahiwa. Linforce, con- 
sisting of Columns III and IV, were operating against 
the enemy at Mtama ; another force, consisting of 
Columns I and II, was moving down upon Massassi from 
the north ; cavalry patrols were already operating south 
and west^of Mahiwa. The object of the G.O.C. Linforce 
was for the Nigerian Column to occupy and hold Mahiwa, 
which he maintained was very Hghtly held by the enemy, 
and so cut off the retreat of the enemy's forces retiring 
south from Mtama ; as he so aptly put it, " The Nigerians 
were to be the cork in the bottle ! " The Germans' 
retreat north-east was denied by the presence of ist 
BattaHon at N5^angao. As stated in the last chapter, 
the Acting Brigadier of the Nigerian Brigade had very 
different information as to the strength of the enemy at 
Mahiwa than that given to him by the Linforce Head- 
quarters. He therefore held very different views as to 
the possibility of success in the part allotted to him. 
At 8.20 a.m. Col. Mann received a telephonic message 
from Gen. Beves ordering him to press on in spite of all 
opposition. About this time the advance guard was 
again held up, but Major Gibb, on receiving these orders, 
instructed Capt. Maxwell that he was to press forward 
in spite of receiving casualties, and that he must be 
prepai;ed to take greater risks. From this time forward 
15 Company was continually in touch with the enemy. 




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198 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

engaging them with varying success till ii a.m., at which 
time " the point " was approaching the MaMwa river. 
Here 15 Company was finally held up, and by the volume 
of fire that was deUvered against them it became certain 
that the enemy were here in strength, and no longer 
ccmsisted of only a strong rearguard. A sharp fight 
ensued in which 15 Company suffered several casualties, 
including Sergt. Spratt, who was killed. 14 Company, 
smd later half 16 Company, reinforced 15 Company, and 
three sides of a perimeter were formed, which was later 
strengthened by the addition of a company of the 2nd 
Battalion, which had been sent up to reinforce the 4th 
Battalion at 12.30 p.m. Kneeling and standing trenches 
were prepared, and the Nigerians waited developments. 

At 4.15 p.m. Col. Maim decided to try to locate and 
turn the enemy's right flank, as he had again received 
orders from Gen. Beves that the advance must be pushed 
on. It was quite impossible to continue the mardi 
straight ahead, as Capt. Maxwell was right up against a 
strong force of the enemy, who were well entrenched. 
No. 16 Company, under the command of Capt. Hetley, 
was detailed for this duty, and moved out due east at 
4.45 p.m. One of his sections was deployed so as to 
form a screen of scouts. Later the two flanks of this 
screen were strengthened, whilst the rest of the company 
moved in single file through the bush, with flank guards 
and a rearguard out. After marching in this formation 
for about one mile a path was met with which led towards 
the south. The screen was wheeled to the right, and the 
advance continued in a southerly direction. After pro- 
ceeding with great caution for about half a mile, Lieut. 
Fox, who was in charge of the screen, reported that the 
enemy were in front. The screen was halted and was 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 199 

rdnforced, so that a firing line was built up, whilst the 
left half of the company was ordered to deploy to the 
left and right of the path in a semi-circular formation, so 
as to be prepared for an attack from the front or either 
flanks. Whilst this movement was being executed the 
enemy opened fire from the front, followed almost immedi- 
ately by heavy fire from the right and left front. At this 
stage Corporal Abdulai was Idlled. He had throughout 
the advance shown the most marked abihty in working 
the men under his command in the Screen, and had been 
the first scout to spot the enemy. Two Lewis guns and 
a section were hastily pushed up to reinforce the scouts, 
and the enemy's fire was returned. Within five minutes 
the company was being fired into from the left flank, and 
within ten minutes from the left rear. The two machine- 
guns, under Sergts. Element and Hervey, came into 
action facing left, and Lieut. KeUock, with one section, 
formed a firing line facing in this direction. At this 
sudden burst of heavy fire practically every unenlisted 
carrier bolted, taking with them most of the reserve 
ammunition and entraiching tocds. The company was 
now up against an overwhelming force, and was nearly 
surroimded. From the rapidity with which the enemy's 
fire had opened and increased in volume, it would appear 
that i6 Company had met a very strong enemy's force 
that was probably in the very act of moving up to attack 
the Nigerian Brigade. 

The enemy were checked by the hot fire that was kept 
up by i6 Company, but soon the lack of reserve ammuni- 
tion began to make itself felt. First the machine-guns 
had to be put out of action for lack of ammimition, 
followed soon afterwards by the Lewis guns. A retire- 
ment became absolutely necessary. This movement was 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 201 

clean white right through, except for his skin. The am- 
mtinition in the men's pouches was exhausted before the 
retreat was completed, so the machine-guns and Lewis 
guns, except one, were aU sent to the rear. The few 
rounds left in the belt boxes and magazines were collected 
and distributed eimongst a dozen men. These twelve 
men with the one remaining Lewis gun now formed the 
rearguard. This small party kept up a most determined 
reaipiard action, whilst the woimded were collected. 
Poor Seigt. iJiley was never foimd, so had to be left to 
the mercy of the enemy. He has never been heard of 
since. One by one the woimded and the ammunition 
and tool boxes were foxmd and carried back. Lieut. Fox, 
who was in charge of this small rearguard, was hi^ when 
actually working the Lewis gun. This officer had through- 
out borne the brunt of the j&ghting and had acted with 
the greatest gallantry. The command now fell upon 
native Corporal Sali Bagirmi, to whom must be given 
much of the credit for the magnificent way in which this 
smaU rearguard fought and held a force at least ten times 
their own strength, and prevented them from breaking 
through on to the defenceless wounded and men without 
a roimd of ammimition between them. The casualties 
in i6 Company in this action were very heavy, being 
quite 40 per cent, of the total strength. Three officers 
were wounded, one British N.C.O. was missing and 
bdieved to be killed, and another British N.C.O. was 
wounded, whilst no less than fifty-eight rank and file 
were either killed or wounded, the proportion of kUled 
to wounded being very high. 

This company had behaved magnificentiy under the 
most trying circmnstances, and notwitlstanding their 
very heavy casualties, and the fact that most of the 



200 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

carried out by alternate sections, and was only rendered 
possible by the gaUant behaviour of the Nigerian troops 
that were outnumbered by three or four to one. Sergts. 
Element, HeSrvey, and Trollop greatly assisted this with- 
drawal by the bold maimer in which they handled the 
machine-guns and Lewis guns. Lieut. Mulholland and 
Sergts. Riley and Eley were hit early in the fight. Special 
mention should be made of the devotion to duty and 
gallantry shown by Company-Sergt.-Major Tukeru 
Bouchi and Sergt. Awudu Katsena. Both these native 
N.COs., by holding their men in the most perfect control 
and putting up a fight that will always be remembered as 
being amongst the most brilUant achievements ever taken 
part in by Nigerian troops. As the sections retired, so 
the wounded were carried back, whilst old Tukeru Bouchi, 
by his personal example of indifference to danger, kept 
up the men's fighting spirit. A retirement of this kind, 
by sections, is alwas^s very difficult for native troops to 
carry out, as one section does not like to see another 
retiring whilst they themselves are left to stand the brunt 
of the fighting ; they prefer to sink or swim all together. 
On this occasion, however, as soon as the troops under- 
stood what was required of them, they carried out this 
difficult manoeuvre with the utmost steadiness, and 
supported each other by properly sustained and directed 
volley firing. Twice overwhelming nmnbers of the enemy 
attempted to charge, but twice they were driven back 
with heavy casualties. The company had nearly com- 
pleted the retirement when Lieut. Kellock was hit, and 
the faithful Tukeru Bouchi fell mortally wounded. Both 
were got away to the rear, but the gallant old sergeant- 
major died cursing the Hun two dajrs later. In his death 
the 4th Battalion lost a most gallant man, who was 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 203 

The withdrawal was carried out without further fighting. 
The night was quiet except for a few smpers. Up to 
dusk the telephone wire back to the Mission was intact, 
as a message was received by the Brigade Headquarters 
from the ist Battalion, stating that they were also held 
up at Nj^angao by a strong foree of the enemy. The 
party that had brought up the cooked rice from the 
Mission were fired upon on their return journey. Thus 
ended the first day of the battle of Mahiwa, which was to 
turn out to be one of the biggest battles that has taken 
place on A&ican soil. 

At dawn on the i6th patrols were sent out in all direc- 
tions, and reported that the enemy were in strength on 
the south-east and west of our position. Before day- 
break the troops were busily employed in improving their 
defences, and standing trenches were dug aU round the 
perimeter. Col. Mann received a wireless message early 
in the morning from Linforce, stating that von Lettow, 
with four companies and two field guns, was on his way 
to reinforce the troops engaged in attaddng the Nigerian 
position. 

Water parties were fired on soon after it was li^t, and 
were thus imable to get down to the Mahiwa river to 
obtain water. At lo a.m. a telegram was written out 
ordering the ist Battalion immediately to proceed back 
to the Namupa Mission, and from there reinforce the 
Brigade, but this wire was never dispatched, as the line 
had been cut during the night. The enemy, during the 
morning, contented themselves with holding the water 
supply with machine-guns. Desidtory firing continued 
all round the .perimeter throughout the morning. The 
two guns of the Nigerian Battery, which had be^ in 
action most of the afternoon of the 15th, had, together 



202 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

carriers had run away, i6 Company saved every machine- 
gun and Lewis gun and brought in all the wounded that 
could be found. That this company had walked right 
into a prepared position, held by a strong German force, 
and had managed to escape still a fighting unit, speaks 
excellently for their fighting qualities and to the personal 
leadership of their commander, Capt. Hetley, who for 
this action was awarded the Military Cross. 

Simultaneously with i6 Company's action a most 
determined attack was delivered against the front and 
right of the Nigerian main position. This attack lasted 
for about one hour, but was repulsed at 6 p.m. The 
firing on both sides was extremely heavy. Half a com- 
pany of the 2nd Battalion was sent out to cover Capt. 
Hetley's retirement, and eventually returned, having 
suffered only a few casualties. 

At dusk the enemy recommenced their attack upon 
the right front corner of the Nigerian position, and a 
most determined fight on both sides ensued, the bulk of 
the fighting falling to the lot of half 14 Company. By 
7.30 p.m. the enemy withdrew. The 4th Battalion 
casualties on this day were heavy, mmibering about 
eighty of all ranks. The enemy had done their utmost 
to break through this battalion, and must have suffered 
very heavily in their"attempts. Owing to the fact that 
the reserve ammunition colmnn was still back at the 
Mission there was now a danger of the firing line running 
short. Further, no rations existed , except those that 
were actually carried on the men, and a small amoimt 
of cooked rice that had come up from the Mission shortly 
before dusk. Owing mainly to these two reasons, it was 
decided to withdraw the advance guard, and dig in for 
the night m the position already held by the main body. 




D 
■J 

m 
z 



204 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

with the Stokes mortar, greatly helped to drive back the 
enemy's forces, but both the gtins and mortars had used 
up much ammunition in so doing. It was now foimd 
that the enemy were across the road- in rear, and that all 
touch with the Mission had been lost. This was most 
serious, as it put both the guns and mortar out of action 
for want of ammunition. Further, the heavy infantry 
fight of the 15th had used up much of the first-line reserve 
ammunition, and it was impossible to get up any more 
from the reserve ammunition column back at the Mission 
owing to this unexpected action of the enemy. 

At 2.30 p.m. our real period of trial commenced, for 
at this time the enemy commenced to shell the Nigerian 
position. At first only a 4.1 naval gim put over an 
occasional roimd, all of which failed to do any damage, 
but at 3.30 p.m. a 70 mm. gun came into action from the 
high grovmd on our right at a comparatively short range. 
At first there was no great cause for alarm, as the enemy 
had failed to get the range correctly. The 4.1 continued 
to lob its projectile over the perimeter, the gim itself being 
so far away that there was time to fight a cigarette between 
the sound of the first report reaching us and the arrival of 
the projectile. The 70 mm., however, was a very different 
proposition, and by 4 p.m. it began to get the range of 
the 4th BattaUon trenches, most particularly the left of 
14 Company's line, with most disastrous results. The 
troops were helpless as the small mountain guns of the 
Nigerian Battery were useless against this modem 70 mm. 
quick-firer, and btesides, our guns had very few rounds of 
ammunition left. Though standing trenches had been 
dug, no elaborate preparation had been made against 
modem shell fire. To those who are used to a bombard- 
ment as known in France, this kind of bombardment by 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 205 

two guns may seem ridiculous, but it is all a matter of 
preparation. One well-directed modem gun, firing high- 
explosive shells at the rate of one round a minute, against 
troops who are not prepared for shell fire, who cannot 
change their position, and cannot reply to that g\m, is 
as bad as a heavy bombardment for troops thoroughly 
prepared for shell fire, and are either imder cover or 
can drop back to another line of trenches out of shell 
fire. I maintain that the latter axe, if anything, the 
better off, foy nothing can be worse for the morale of 
troops who were situated as the 4th Nigeria Regiment 
was on the 16th October. Again and again th^ 70 mm. 
shelled these imfortunate companies. A sector of 
14 Company trenches at one time received three direct 
hits upon it in succession. There were no alternative 
trenches to retire to, and no safe " dug outs " to shelter 
in. Every direct hit found its human^ target ; the trees 
above this trench were dripping blood for two days after- 
wards from limbs and trunks of men that had been blown 
up and been wedged between the branches. It was a 
most ghastly quarter of an hour. Nigerian troops, 
before this, had never been exposed to heavy shell fire 
either in the Cameroons or in East Africa. The casualties 
in 14 Company became so heavy that the bombardment 
at last began to tell upon the morale of the men, and it 
became evident that it would be madness to attempt 
to keep this company in these trenches exposed, as they 
were, to certain death. Col. Sargent ordered the with- 
drawal of this company to a position 100 yards in rear 
of their trenches. Her©^ the sections were reformed, and 
the men made to He down whilst everyone awaited the 
orders to return to the firing line. Sergt. Evans was 
killed during this bombardment, together with a large 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 207 

of danger ; loyal to the finger tips, Awudu Katsena is 
a man who sets an example to both black and white alike 
of what a soldier should be. 

The men of 14 Company, seeing the Europeans running 
back to the firing line, immediately competed against 
each other to be back first at their respective posts in 
the trench. In five minutes from the time that the order 
had been given to retiun to the trench to repel the 
infantry attack, every mother's son that could walk 
was in his place. Many of the men had been woimded 
by the bombardment, but if they could walk and use 
their rifles they had, on their own account, returned to 
the trench, never knowing that the shell fire would not 
at any moment recommence. Many of these men had 
already been ordered to report themselves at the dressing 
station. The indomitable loyalty and pluck of the men 
of this company should be handed down to generations 
jret to be in Nigeria as an example of what the true 
Nigerian soldier is made of. It is too horrible to con- 
template what would have been the fate of the 2nd and 
4th Battalions, not to mention the wretched and defence- 
less wotmded, if this company had not returned to its 
position in the line, but had left the gap open for the 
enemy to pour into the perimeter. The line was so formed 
that it would have been impossible for 15 and 16 
Companies to have stopped the enemy by means of 
cross fire. 

The Germans in this infantry attack, delivered at 
4.30 p.m., must have suffered most heavily. Confident 
that their guns had so shaken the 4th Battalion, they 
came on ia close formation against 14 and 15 Companies, 
and must have been mown down by machine-gun and 
rifle fire. The spirit of the men in these two companies 



206 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

number of the men of 14 Company, whilst the whole of 
this part of the line was Uttered with broken and 
wounded men trying to crawl back to the dressing 
station. 

Fomrteen Company had only retired a few minutes 
from the firing line when the bombardment suddenly 
stopped, and was followed immediately by a determined 
infantry attack. This was quite expected. The com- 
pany commander of 14 Company half expected trouUe, 
as he knew that his company had had more than enough 
to shake their morale, so he called upon all the Europeans 
to get back to the firing line, and carry forward with them 
the machine-guns and Lewis guns of the company. 
Capt. Norton-Harper, who was at the time battalion 
signalling officer, was amongst the first to respond, only 
to be killed by a fragment of shell a short while later, 
lieut. Crowe, Sergts. Hunt and Stamp carried the guns 
back to the filing line themselves, and immediately 
opened fire upon the rapidly approaching enemy's 
in&uatry. When I personally arrived back at the trench, 
I found that the machine-gun carrier, Awudu Katsena, 
had already arrived back at the trench, and was sitting 
up cross-legged on top of the parapet, giving the advanc- 
ing enemy rapid fire with my own private .333 JefEreys 
rifle. This machine-gun carrier, the reader will probahly 
remember, has already been mentioned in this narrative 
in connection with the fighting on the 24th January, for 
which he earned the MiHtary Medal. He is one of the 
most plucky men it.has/beoi my good fortune to meet ; 
though he is Uttle more than a boy in years, he does not 
know the meaning of the word " fear." He promises to 
be another Belo Akuie or Tukuru Bouchi. Always 
kuighing and cheerful ; alwajrs the first to be in a place 



THE BATTLE OF MAHtWA 209 

the end of the German attack, been reinforced by a 
sectkai of the 2nd Battalion. One of these shells was 
responsible for Capt. Norton-Harper's end, whilst the 
and Battahon's section and 14 and 15 Companies all 
suffered casualties firom this gun during the attack. 
Many machine-guns and Lewis guns had been put out 
of action this day by shell fire, especially in 14 and 
15 Companies. 

At the same time, whilst this fierce fight had been 
going on, very heavy firing had been heard from the 
Mission side of the perimeter, which everyone correctly 
judged to be the ist Battalion in action. I will therefore 
in another chapter give in detail all that occurred to this 
battaUon after it parted company from the rest of the 
Brigade on the 15th October. 

The 2nd and 4th Battalions had repulsed the enemy's 
onsla\ights, but at a heavy price to themselves. Casual- 
ties had been most heavy, but, what was worse, the 
ammunition was rapidly giving out. Everyone was 
banking upon the timely arrival of Major Roberts' column, 
consisting of the ist Battahon and the Gambia Company, 
and the night of the i6th stUl found us trusting in relief 
from this quarter, httle knowing that Major Roberts had 
met with a reverse, and had been forced to retire. Just 
before dusk the enemy again made a half-hearted attempt 
to break through the Nigerian perimeter on the 14 and 
15 Company face, but they met with no better results 
than in their first big attack. A ciuious thing happened 
in this action. It was passed round the 4th Battahon 
that the ist Nigerians were approaching, and would 
come into the perimeter from the west. No one has ever 
learnt the origin of this message, but I strongly suspect 
the Germans themselves of having got this message passed 

14 



208 NIGERIANS IN GERMM^ EAST AFRICA 

was wonderful. They seemed to revel in the excitement. 
I have never before, or since, seen the men with their 
tails so up as they were immediately after the commence- 
ment of the German infantry attack. They sang and 
shouted war cries, whilst one or two men — -fooHshly I 
know — stobd on the perimeter and danced, shaking their 
rifles above their heads at the already hesitating enemy. 
It was a sight for the gods, and one never to be forgotten 
by those who saw it. The Germans came to within 
150 yards of the Nigerian trench at the double, then they 
began to hesitate, then to halt, and then turn round, 
and were last seen ruiming like " long dogs." By this 
I do not mean to infer that the enemy were wanting in 
courage, for they had already achieved wonders by 
getting up to within 100 yards of the Nigerians in the 
face of so deadly a fire. But they found themselves 
opposed to troops that were as good as themselves, and 
they had taken on the impossible. To advance further 
would have meant for them destruction and victory for 
the Nigerians. I take off my hat to one German 
Emropean. He was foolhardy, but he was what the 
Americans would call " some man." He, riding on a 
grey horse, personally led his men to the attack, and 
when they checked, he rode up and down their front 
encouraging them to continue the advance. In this way 
he got within 150 yards of 15 Company before he dis- 
appeared, never, I should think, to lead his troops on 
this earth again, for no less than two machine-guns and 
two score of rifles were aimed at him. In less than an 
hour the enemy retired in silence, and their great efEort 
to break through was doomed to utter failure. During 
the attack the 70 mm. put two or three high explosive 
shells into the 4th Battalion's front, which had, before 




NICIF.RIANS IN IHK TRFXCHK- 



210 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

round. The result was that 14 Company lost a golden 
opportunity of catching a large party of the enemy at 
close range out in the open, but in the bad Ught it was 
impossible to see whether they were friend or foe, and as 
the 1st BattaHon were expected, orders had been given 
not to fire imless one was certain at whom one was firing. 
As this party of men did not come straight forward, but 
were seen dodging about in the bush, one's suspicions 
were aioused. At last it was certain that they were 
enemy, but by this time it was almost too late to do them 
any serious damage. Rapid fire was again o^ned, and 
a section of 14 Company charged the place where the 
enemy had last been seen, but with no good results, as 
they had already scattered. The night of the i6th- 
17th October was quiet, but great excitement was caused 
by the enemy lighting hundreds of small fires about 
1000 yards away to the south, so that they resembled a 
long and well-hghted street in a civilized country. No 
one has ever learnt what the wily Boche was doing, but, 
as it seemed so self-evident that they wished us to fire 
at them, we restrained ourselves, and the peace of the 
night was not disturbed. Thus the weary soldiers lay 
down and rested as they were in the trenches. Every- 
one was hungry, as rations had long run out. Ammuni- 
tion was very short. All the officers knew that if help 
was not forthcoming soon and the Germans gave us 
another day like the one just passed through, all would 
be up with us. No one knew what the next hour would 
bring forth, but luckily native soldiers do not look far 
ahead. " Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof " is a 
very true motto for the Hausa soldier. The following 
few lines from Punch describe the feelings of all of us on 
the night of the i6th-i7th October : — 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 211 

" Soldier, what of the night ? 
Vainly you question me ; 
I know not, I hear not, nor see. fn 

The voice of the prophet is dumb 
Here in the heart of the fight ; 
I count not the hours on their way, 
I know not when morning shall come ; 
Enough that I work for the day." 

The i6t]i October was the most disastrous day to the 
Nigerians since the formation of the force, the ist- and 
4th Nigeria Regiments and the Gambia Company having 
suffered between them three hmidred casualties in one 
day, not to mention the loss of a gim, described in the 
next chapter, and a number of machine-guns put out of 
action. The 2nd Battahon entirely escaped, and most 
curiously only suffered ten casualties dining the whole 
of the two days' fighting. A patrol sent out early on the 
morning of the 17th reported that the Nigerians were 
surrounded except on the east, and that the enemy were 
entrenched. No news could be got from the ist Battahon. 
The men had had no food, except half a pound of rice each, 
since the 14th October, and as already stated, ammunition 
was running very short. The G.O.C. Linforce asked 
by wireless if the column could retire on to Namupa 
Mission. He was informed that to do so would mean 
instant attack by a very strong enemy's force that was 
waiting for this on every side. Further, the column was 
handicapped by having a very large niunber of stretcher 
cases to evacuate, which in themselves would form a 
column nearly 1000 j^ards long. To quote from a diary 
written at the time : " Hie early part of the day was most 
depressing. We (the 2nd and 4th Nigeria Regiments) 
find ourselves hterally besieged ; ammunition is very 
scarce, and the men have eaten their emergency ration. 




Kaunpona 
il 



Sketch Map of the Battles ofMahiwa and Mkwera. 



i — ' ' ' ' 

X » « I Mil, 



212 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

To add to all these troubles, the enemy have got a 
machine-gun and snipers posted aloAg the water, so that 
oiu: m&i are continuously getting hit whilst tr3dng to 
obtain water. As our trenches are dug in sand, more or 
less out in the open, the heat in them is terrific, and the 
men are willing to risk anything in order to quench their 
thirst. No news of the ist Battalion, and as far as our 
Brigade Headquarters know, oiu: convoy is entirely in the 
air; there is no news of any reinforcements or of a 
relieving column. At lo a.m. we received news that the 
1st Battahon and Gambia Company met with reverse 
yesterday in trying to break through to reUeve us. In 
this attempt it is rumoured that they lost two hundred 
casualties and one of the Battery gims. News is also 
received that oiu: cavalry have suffered a severe reverse. 
These reports, on top of a lack of sleep and food, have 
not helped to raise our spirits. Matters are extremely 
critical, and if we are not reUeved shortly we shall meet 
with disaster." This quotation will give my reader a 
very good idea of how matters stood on the morning of 
the 17th October. Everyone was asking, " Where can 
Beves's force be ? Why have we not heard his guns at 
all during the past two da37s ? " Our questions were 
answered at 10.30 a.m., when heavy firing could be heard 
away to the south-east. What a reUef to aU of us whose 
nerves had been stretched almost to bieaking-point 
during the last forty-eight hours ! By the volume of 
fire one could judge that there was a big battle in progress, 
which lasted throughout the whole day, getting neater 
to us every hour. In spite of the approach of General 
O'Grady's Column, the enemy never left us alone, but 
kept up a steady machine-gun fire, continuously aiiping 
our water parties. It was impossible to reply to this 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 218 

fire owing to the shortage of anunumtion, and, for the 
same reason, out of the question for us to make a sortie 
from the perimeter and help O'Grady, by falling upon 
the rear of the troops opposing him. At 4 p.m. our 
wireless aerial was cut away by a bullet, so that we were 
entirely cut off from the rest of the world. At 4.30 p.m. 
the fighting on the south-east became much nearer, so 
that our hopes were raised as we saw a possibihty of our 
getting out of the awkward position in which we had 
been landed. .Patrols from the and Battalion under 
officers were now sent out to try and get in touch with the 
1st Nigerians and No. Ill Column. 

On the 17th the 3rd Baftalion arrived at the Mission 
from Nyangao, in order to reinforce Major Roberts. 
Early in the afternoon of that day the whole of this 
column left the Mission and marched back to Nyangao ; 
thus the 3rd Battalion retmned to the Brigade after 
many days, at a most opportune moment. Under cover 
of darkness Col. Mann's wireless was repaired, and at 
10 p.m. a wireless message was received from Major 
Roberts stating that the 2nd Battalion's patrol had 
arrived safely, and was returning with twenty boxes of 
ammunition. By night time Gen. O'Grady was within 
one mile of the Nigerian position at point " Y " on the 
sketch. Though he was so near to us we were still besieged. 
When day broke on the i8th October the food situation 
was very serious indeed ; the men would soon be falling 
sick and dying of starvation. Patrols reported that the 
enemy was entrenched on every side except the south- 
east, and were between Gen. O'Grady and our position. 
Orders were received from Gen. Beves to withdraw from 
the perimeter to the south-east. In spite of the previous 
discomforts endured and the heavy casualties sustained. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THE REMAINDER OF THE NIGERIAN BRIGADE AT THE 
BATTLE OF MAHIWA 

THE jst Nigeria Regiment, the Gambia Com- 
pany, and a section of the Nigerian Battery, 
under the command of Major Roberts, moved 
out from the Namupa Mission at 7 a.m. on the 
15th October, and commenced the advance towards 
Nyjingao. They did not advance more than 600 yards 
before the advance guard was held up by a German 
patrol. A few shots were exchanged and the enemy 
fell back. The advance was continued for the next two 
hours with great caution, until the column was so heavily 
engaged that the advance was perforce brought to a halt 
half a mUe from its objective. Major Roberts therefore 
ordered a position to be prepared on knoll " Z," where a 
perimeter was dug. The ist Battahon suffered several 
casualties in this advance, amongst them being Capt. 
Rickards, who was with the advance guard. No fmther 
attempt was made to advance to Nyangao this day, as 
the object of the advance had been secured already when 
the perimeter had been formed at " Z," — ^that is to say, 
the Namupa-Nyangao, road was blocked by a strong 
force capable of denying this line of retreat to the enemy, 
who were then falling back from Mtama. To advance 
further would have in no way improved the situation 
or helped in the general plan of action £is laid down by 

915 



214 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST APRICA 

many regrets were felt on the receipt of this order, for all 
we required was food and ammunition, for it seemed that 
we were giving up all that had been so dearly bought 
by us. Both Gen. O'Grady, in his magnificent effort to 
break down all obstacles in order to gain touch with us, 
and Col. Mann had suffered most -heavily, and now we 
were called upon to retire and abandon our gains. 

Col. Maim's Column was in the act of preparing to 
withdraw — ^in fact, the advance guard had already left — 
when a company of the 3rd BattaHon suddenly appeared 
from the south-east, having been sent up to cover our 
retirement. Our column got clear only just in time, for 
as the rearguard was leaving, the enemy began to suspect 
the Nigerians' move, and again opened fire upon the old 
perimeter, which had now been taken over by the 3rd 
Battalion company. The 2nd and 4th Battahons, with 
all the wounded aad the two guns, arrived back safely 
at Nyangao without any further fighting, though the 
battle was raging upon our right flank during the whole 
time that we were retiring, and in fact, one or two men 
were hit during our retreat by stray shots. 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 217 

time, as he is already engaged with Maim, and we shall 
fall upon him in rear." He was so confident that he 
was right in this surmise, that he immediately increased 
the speed of his company, that had up to this time been 
proceeding with the utmost caution, and marched as 
quickly as possible to the sound of the firing in front. 
He never even sent back a report to Major Roberts of 
wJiat he intended doing, and to this action was due the 
partial dis£ister that followed. Von Lettow, who had 
been waiting for the approaching company on the high 
ground to the west of the road, was able to fall upon 
Capt. Stretton shortly after he crossed the second of 
the two small streams, marked on the sketch, at a point 
only a mile from Col. Mann's Column. Capt. Stretton 
found himself surrotmded, and narrowly escaped being 
annihilated. The remnants of his company managed 
to force their way back to the main body by rushing the 
enemy at the point of the bayonet. They suffered most 
heavy losses, leaving behind them their gallant com- 
mander, Capt. Stretton, and Lieut. Miller-Stirling, who 
were both killed. Thus the Brigade lost one of their 
veiy best company commanders — ^at all times a most 
gallant of&cer, a loyal friend, and a good sportsman — one 
who was beloved by his men, and endeared to every 
European in the B:9gade that knew him. Capt. Stretton 
had been by no meatus fortunate whilst serving with the 
W.A.F.FS., as he was also taken prisoner by the Germans 
in the Cameroon campaign, but in the Cameroons the 
Germans did not suffer from so much Kultur as their 
brethren in the east, and on the whole Capt. Stretton was 
treated with the utmost courtesy by his captors. 

This most imfortimate affair greatly handicapped 
Major Roberts, who had received no information from the 



216 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Gen. Beves, wMst very heavy casiialties wotild have 
resulted if a further advance had been attempted. 
Eiarly in the morning of the i6th October orders were 
received by Major Roberts to return to the Namupa 
Mission, and from there reinforce Col. Mann's Column, 
No opposition was encountered on the return march, 
and the Mission was ^-eached at about ii a.m. After 
rations had been cooked, the advance was continued 
from the Mission down the Mahiwa road. No. i Com- 
pany of the 1st Battahon, tmder the command of Capt. 
Stretton, left the Mission at i p.m., followed by two 
companies of the ist Battalion and a section of Nigerian 
artillery, with the Gambia Company as escort to the 
guns ; the supply and baggage column of the whole of 
the Brigade and the reserve ammunition column followed 
later with No. 4 Company of the ist Battahon as rear- 
guard. The advance guard met with no opposition 
during the first two miles of march, but they had no idea 
of what was lying in wait for them, nor did they know 
that Col. Maim's Column was, to aU intents and pur- 
poses, besieged. 

A German force of foiu: companies, under the command 
of Gen von Lettow himself, had arrived on the morning 
of the 16th at Mremba Hill, where there was already a 
strong force opposing Col. Mann. .From the top of 
Mremba, with a pair of good field glasses, the Germans 
coxM have almost cotmted the number of men in Major 
Roberts' Colimm as they left the Namupa Mission and 
descended the hill to the Nakadi river. 

As Capt. Stretton advanced nearer to Col. Mann's 
position he could hear the heavy firing of that column 
as it was engaged with ^he enemy. He turned round to 
his subaltern and said, " We have got the Boche set this 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 219 

orderlies, and a small baggage guard were left with the 
loads. 

At 4 p.m. the firing was at its worst, and the two 
Nigerian guns came into action on the extreme right, 
firing with their fuses set at zero, so close were the enemy 
upon them. The remnants of No. i Company had fallen 
back on to the main firing line. The enemy were now 
attacking chiefly on the right front, and matters were 
becoming critical. The half company of the Gambia 
Company tl^t were acting as escort to the guns were 
hopelessly outnumbered, and, after suffering terrible 
casualties, broke, and fell back in disorder. Both guns 
were put out of action through having their biiffers per- 
forated by the enemy's bullets, whilst the entire team of 
one gun were either killed or woimded, with the result 
that the gun had to be abandoned, and imfortunately 
fell into the enemy's hands. The second gun was also 
damaged, and as nearly as possible also feU into the 
Germans' hands, but was sa\ied by the personal gallantry 
of Sergt. Tasker, who drove the rapidly approaching 
enemy off with a Lewis gun. The enemy, who had been 
attacking in the open, had some very heavy casualties, 
but they were the pick of the whole of the German force 
in East Africa, and were led in person by von Lettow. 

The weight of nmnbers thrown in against Major 
Roberts' right flank was irresistible, and so orders were 
issued to No. 2 Company gradually to retire on the left 
to a distance of about 250 yaids, and there dig in a line 
of firing pits. Li this position they remained till dusk. 
Half the Gambia Company were still with No. 2 Company, 
but they had lost touch with No. 3 Company. 

The whole of the Brigade baggage and most of the 
ammunition were now on, or near, the road, in front of 



218 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

advance guard commander, and was therefore unable to 
appreciate the situation till most of the damage had 
been done. However, No. 3 Company was sent up in 
support to the right of the road, and No. 2 Company to 
the left of the road. Half the Gambia Company were 
sent to occupy a position in this line, across the road, in 
between these two companies. The other half of the 
Gambia Company was dispatched to the extreme right 
of No. 3 Company with the two Nigerian gxms. No. 4 
Company remained on the north bank of the second 
stream, on the left of the road. 

By 3 p.m. aU the companies except the rearguard were 
heavily engaged, chiefly from the front and right flank. 
By this time the entire rearguard had crossed the second 
stream. The baggage train was delayed on the right of 
the road, and the carriers were ordered to put their loads 
down and He down themselves. There was a lull in the 
firing for a few minutes soon after 3 p.m., and the baggage 
column again commenced the advance up the road, but 
on the renewal of the heavy firing aU baggage was again 
put down, and nothing further was done for about ten 
minutes, when a note addressed to the O.C. rearguard 
was received by the baggage officer. This note never 
reached its destination. It instructed the rearguard 
commander and the O.C. of the baggage to advance to 
a perimeter that was being constructed by the Pioneers. 
On the carriers being ordered up they took fright, the 
bullets falling very thickly amongst them and hitting 
many of them, with the resiilt that they stampeded to 
the rear, and were only checked at last by No. 4 Company, 
who had formed a line across the road, and with fixed 
bayonets were able to turn the carriers back to their 
loads. Until their return only four Em-opeans, a few 




H X 



z 

o 



D 
M z 

< o 

--i. p 

* o 



220 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

the line taken up by No. 2 Company. This was a very 
dangerous state of affairs £ls it was Uable to be cut ofE at 
any moment from the new main position, and there were 
actually no troops out in front of No. 2 Company's line 
on the main road. Thus if the Germans had only known, 
they could have advanced along the road and taken the 
whole of the baggage without opposition. In fact, 
lieut. Shaw of the Carrier Coi^, who walked down this 
road with fifteen cases of ammunition, found himself 
before he knew where he was in amongst the Germans, 
and was forced to give himself up. 

A number of carriers were sent up to the front and 
gradually most of these loads were withdrawn to No. 4 
Company perimeter. 

Major Roberts' second position became untenable, and 
orders had to be given for a general retirement to the 
Mission. Luckily for the Nigerians, the enemy had had 
all that they wished, and were not desirous, for any more 
fighting this day. They therefore did not follow up 
Major Roberts, who was permitted to complete his 
retirement without further fighting. The Namupa 
Mission was reached at 7 p.m. Thus von Lettow had 
achieved his object, for Col. Maim was now left isolated 
without any immediate chance of assistance. No doubt 
the German Commander-in-Chief regarded Col. Maim and 
his troops as good as defeated, and looked upon it as only 
being a matter of time before he took the whole of 
them prisoners. The previous chapter shoWs how this 
catastrophe was avoided. 

On the 15th October the 3rd Nigeria Regiment was 
ordered to be in readiness to move from Chirumaka 
towards Mtama as a reserve to Linforce. Further orders 
were to be issued later by the G.O.C. of that foice. 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 221 

Colmim IV had moved out two days before, and had 
made an outflanMng march south of the Lukeledi, with 
orders to cut the Massassi road south-west of Mtama and 
to move to that place from the west, whilst Column III 
advanced from Nyengedi south-west on to Mtama. 
Orders were received by the 3rd Battalion to follow 
Column m. The Nigerians on the 16th October had 
received considerable reinforcements, and this battalion 
now consisted of twenty-five Europeans and five hundred 
and twenty native rank and file. They arrived at Mtama 
at about 8 a.m., and there gained touch with Columns III 
and IV, who previously had met at Mtama, the enemy 
having retired towards Mahiwa. The march was resumed 
at about 9.30 a.m. and Nyangao was reached about i p.m., 
the distance being about six miles. Later in the day the 
G.O.C. linforce placed the 3rd Battahon under the 
orders of Gen. O'Grady. Colunm IV had moved out of 
N37angao towards Mahiwa, and had almost immediately 
got into touch with the enemy — Column III remaining 
in support during that night. Native information was 
received to the effect that Nigerian troops (ist Battalion 
and Gambia Company) had been engaged with a party 
of the enemy just north of N37angao early on the i6th, 
but had moved back again towards the north-west before 
the arrival of Columns III and IV. 

The 3rd Nigerians moved at 7 a.m. on the 17th, in 
advance of Colunm III, along a track running north-west 
from Nyangao, which was the same path that had been 
followed by the ist Battalion on the i6th. Less than a 
mile from Nyangao the camp that had been occupied on 
the night of the I5th-i6th October by the ist Battahon 
was passed by the 3rd Battahon. This battahon pro- 
ceeded on for about another mile till they came to some 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 223 

the bush was very thick and thorny, it was decided to 
return to the spot from which Gen. O'Grady had turned 
off, and to follow his telephone wire. On reaching this 
spot the InteUigence Of&cer of Column III was found 
waiting to guide the 3rd Battahon to Column JII, but 
as it was now 11 p.m. and the ipen were tired, and as 
firing had completely ceased for some time, it was decided 
to bivouac there for the rest of the night, and to join 
Coltunn III early the next morning. Gen. O'Grady 
was informed of this, and approved. 

Early on the i8th food and water arrived, and a start 
was eventually made at about 7 a.m., and touch was 
gained with Coliman III by 7.30 a.m. Orders were now 
received to proceed west along a track and endeavour to 
gain touch with the 2nd and 4th Battalions, who were on 
the Mahiwa river without food and ammTmition, and to 
escort them back to Nyangao. This was accordingly 
done, and one company of the battalion arrived at the 
camp and formed the rearguard to the 2nd and 4th 
Battalions, just leaving for their march to Nyangao — ^as 
stated in the last chapter. The battalion proceeded 
west along this track after having met the 2nd and 4th 
Battahons, as they were at the time under orders to 
attack some high ground west of the Mahiwa river ; these 
orders, however, were cancelled, and one company of the 
battalion was now told to dig in across the track leading 
west -to Mahiwa, and there to protect the right flank of 
Column III, while the other three companies were given 
a compass bearing to march on so as to bring them to 
the Headquarters of Coliman III, which was then about 
one mile distant. They were instructed to attack any 
enemy whom they met and who might be endeavour- 
ing to outflank Column III, and in the event of not 



222 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

cross roads at which a halt had been previoxisly ordered, 
and here information was received from Gen. O'Grady 
that Colmnn III had turned off west from the late 
1st Battalion camp, and so the 3rd Battalion was ordered 
to continue the march north-west, and to do their utmost 
to extricate the ist Battalion and Gambia Company, who 
were reported to be at Namupa Mission. News had 
already been received that the Nigerians had suffered 
heavy casualties the previous day. The ist Battalion 
had reported that their patrols were unable to get out 
of the Mission station towards Nyangao on the morning 
of the 17th, owing to the presence of the enemy. By this 
time Columns III and IV were both heard to be heavily 
engaged with the enemy, and accordingly the 3rd Battalion 
moved on and reacfted the Mission station at about 
I p.m., without encotmtering any opposition. The 
1st Battalion was found to be entrenched at the Mission 
and with them the whole of the second line transport of 
the Brigade. During the afternoon the move back to 
Nyangao was successfully carried out. 

At about 5 p.m. the Staff Captain of Column III 
arrived with orders from Gen.i^O'Grady, instructing the 
3rd Battalion to follow on and join Colunp III, who by 
this time had suffered extremely heavy casualties, as soon 
as the 1st Battalion with all their wounded had safely 
returned to Nyangao. 

The 1st BattaUon was clear soon after 5 p.m., and 
in consequence the 3rd Battalion moved back, and on 
reaching the cross roads at which the first halt had been 
made that morning, turned off south-west according to 
orders, and marched towards the sound of Column Ill's 
firing. The track eventually got lost in bush, and, as it 
was now quite dark and the firing had died down, and 



^^^ 



r. 

r 







A STORES (iUX IN AC'IIOX IN THK LINDI ARFA 

Mil E THE PURST 



224 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

encountering any hostile forces, to report themselves to 
Gen. O'Grady at his Headquarters as soon as possible. 

On arriving kt Column Ill's Headquarters without 
having met any opposition, the battaUon, less one com- 
pany, was ordered to continue the firing hne of Colmnn III 
to the left, towards Column IV, whp were in action some 
500 to 1000 yards further to the left. 

Matters began to appear somewhat critical at this 
moment, so two companies advanced at the double, and 
took up a positicm on the left of Column III, leaving only 
one company in support. Later this company was com- 
manded to take up a position on the right of Colimm III 
with the light flank well thrown back. A gap between 
the left of Colmnn IV and the right of the two companies 
of the 3rd Battalion was first filled by a himdred Kash- 
miris, but these were eventually withdrawn and their 
place was taken up by the Gambia Company, who had 
arrived at about i p.m. 

At 3 p.m. the O.C. of the 3rd Battalion was informed 
that it was the intention of the G.O.C. to withdraw 
Column III to some high ground just north of Nyangao, 
and that the 3rd Battalion was to cover the withdrawal, 
for it was his intention to get all other troops out of the 
firing line as soon £is possible. The company that was 
stiU out on the track leading to the Mahiwa was to remain 
there till 2 a.m., and was then to send one section forward 
on patrol while the other sections withdrew. The 
3rd BattaUon, less this one compaity, was to remain in 
position till 11 p.m., by which time the new position would 
have been taken up. 

At 5 p.m. the King's African Rifles and Gambia Com- 
pany were withdrawn from the firing line and the 3rd 
BattaHon's company on the right was extended out to 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 225 

the left, till they gained touch ^vith the 3rd Battalion's 
companies on that flank. This company was digging In 
a new line When the enemy made a strong counter-attack 
at about 5.15 p.m., which lasted tiU 6.30 p.m., and dining 
the whole time was most determined. It was, however, 
successfully driven off, and the enemy withdrew at 6.30. 
This 3rd Battalion remained in position according to 
orders, and did not retire till 11 p.m., when it fell back 
to its position in the new line at about 2 a.m., without 
any fresh disturbance from the enemy. 

The casualties sustained on the i8th by the 3rd 
Battalion were Lieut. Ryan and Sergt. Tomlin killed, 
about six other Europeans wounded, fifteen rank and file 
killed, and a further fifty natives wounded. 

The compeiny which was left on the Mahiwa road, 
though they were in touch with enemy patrols all day, 
suffered no casualties. 

On the morning of the i8th the ist Nigeria Regiment 
and the Gambia Company were encamped at Nyangao 
when they received orders to move out at 9 a.m. in 
support of the King's African Rifles. They were to use 
the same path by which they had arrived from the 
Mission, passing through their old perimeter at " Z " (see 
sketch). From near " Z " they deployed and advanced 
east for about 300 yards, when further orders were 
received instructing them to move about 1000 yards 
south, and there support a K.A.R. battalion that was in 
dif&cvdties. During the day the ist Battalion remained 
in support, but No. i Company was later in the afternoon 
pushed up into the firing line. The Gambia Company, 
however, did some very useful work, as already described, 
with the 3rd Battfdion. It is most regrettable that 
Capt. Waters was mortally wounded in this action 

15 



226 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

when in command of the ist Battalion's advance com- 
panies. For his services in this action he was awarded 
a posthumous bar to his .Military Cross. 

In the fighting at Mahiwa, between the 15th and 
i8th October, the Nigerian Brigade suffered 528 casual- 
ties of all ranks, of which 38 were Europeans. The 
percentage of casualties was extremely high, for it 
must be remembered that the Brigade w^s by no means 
up to strength when it went into this action ; but the 
Nigerians did not suffer such a heavy proportion of 
casualties as the Legion of Frontiersmen (Roya l 
Fusiliers ), who went into this acti on on the 17th 
October laoTtrong, and came out only 50 strong. Their 
casualties occurred mostly when trying to cross the 
Nakadi river near point " Y " on the sketch. In this 
action Lieut. Ryan of the 3rd Battalion lost his brother, 
who was killed when leading his platoon of Royal Fusiliers. 
Thus both brothers were killed within a very short 
distance of each other on the same day and ia the same 
action. 

This battle was one of the biggest engagements ever 
fought on African soil from the point of view of casualties 
on both sides — 'not excluding the great Boer War, the 
various campaigns in Egsrpt and the Sudan, and the 
Italian Abyssinian campaign. At Mahiwa the British 
lost ^00 casualties out of a total strength of 4900 infantry 
emplojTed ; thus the British losses were above 50 per cent, 
of thfe number of troops engaged. 

Though the various columns were meant to be eqioi- 
valent in strength to infantry brigades, their numbers 
were only — Column III, 1500 strong; Column IV, 1700 
strong; and the Nigerian Brigade, 1750 strong. The 
Qenam casualties in this action were also extremely 



THE BATTLE OF MAHIWA 227 

heavy, as they suffered especially in their attacks on 
Col. Mann's position and against the ist Battalion and 
Gambia Company on the i6th October. In fact, their 
losses were so serious that they suffered later in morale, 
and with one exception never again made a determined 
stand against the British. I hope that some day a 
detailed account of the whole battle of Ma^wa will be 
written, as it is deserving a place in mihtary history, for, 
besides being one of the greatest battles ever fought in 
Africa, it had far-reaching results on the rest of the 
campaign in German East Africa. In it whole companies 
of Germans were wiped out, and others so broken up 
that they were forced to amalgamate two or three com- 
panies into one. But from the point of view of this 
narrative, Mahiwa proyed the indomitable courage of 
Nigerian native troops in action ; though various units 
of the Brigade withdrew from the j&ght battered and 
bleeding, never was the spirit of the men better nor their 
morale so high as it was at the end of this battle. Those 
who had gone through this action unscathed were now 
seasoned soldiers, and, as such, fit to face anything they 
were likely to , meet in East Africa. In these few days 
they had beep through hunger, thirst and fatigue, had 
been exposed to high explosive shell fire and mathine- 
gun and rifle fire from every side, and yet never once 
were they depressed in spirit — a. fact that the Hims learnt 
to their cost, for the pick of the German forces had been 
used against the Nigerians, with the result that they 
had been denied the fruits of victory, and been forced' 
to withdraw Ucking their sores. 

The result of this battle, which lasted without inter- 
mission for four days, and was the most serious ever 
fought in the whole campaign, was indecisive. Though 



228 NIGERIAJfS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

our casualties were heavy, we could better afford to suffer 
losses than the Germans at this stage of the campaign, 
and though the enemy had fought with the desperation 
and courage of despair, they were only able to check 
temporarily the British advance. 

During aU this fighting around Mahiwa, the Nigerian 
Brigade saw a good deal of Gen. G'Grady. His personal 
example in the firing line did much to inspire the men of 
his column, for wherever the fighting was heaviest/ there 
the General would always be found, personally inspiring 
all rajiks by his presence in the front line, and inciting 
aU "to give the bhghters brass, Begorra ! " It was 
during the battle of Mahiwa, when matters were looking 
at their worst, that Gen. G'Grady was seen walkijig up 
and down the line accompanied only by an orderly and 
inquiring of every one if they had seen O'Mara, his dog. 
Such coolness under fire does more to inspire native 
soldiers to do big things than anj^hing else on earth. 
The gallant General is a most remarkable son of Erin, a 
bom leader of men, who appears to revel in a real hot 
fight and to thrive on the smell of powder. 

The i8th October was the last day of the Mahiwa 
battle, though a demonstration was made against the 
enemy's position during the 19th. 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE ACTION OF MKWERA 

DURING the night of iSth-igth October the 
ofl&ce^ commanding the Nigerian Brigade received 
orders from Gen. Beves that the Nigerian Brigade 
was to attack the enemy's position at dawn on the 19th. 
Fortmiately for the Brigade this order was cancelled 
by the G.O.C.-in-C, otherwise I doubt if this book 
would ever have been written, as it is quite possible 
that if the Brigade had attacked again they would have 
suffered extremely heavy casualties. j 

On the 19th October the command of the Lindi Force 
was taken over by Gen. CunHfEe, who had rejoined the 
Brigade earher on this day at Nyangao. Col. Mann 
continued temporarily to command the Nigerian Brigade, 
whilst Lieut.-Col. Sargent reHnquished the command of 
the 4th B^ttaHon in order to accompany Gen. Cimliffe as 
his General Staff Officer. Later, Capt. Milne-Home of 
the 3rd Battalion was appointed Staff Captain to the 
Lindi Force. Gen. Cunhffe returned to Mtama, which 
was then the Linforce Headquarters. A big draft joined 
the Brigade on this day, consisting of 16 officers, 
8 British N.C.Os., and 512 rank and file. Thus the 
battalions were once again brought up to their original 
strength. 

During the 19th a demonstration was carried out 
against the German position by the British artillery and 



230 NIGERIANS IN GEEMAN EAST AFRICA 

a battalion of King's African Rifles. The demonstration 
was extremely noisy, but I doubt if it achieved much. 
Except for patrol encounters the last ten days of October 
were uneventful. Advantage was taken by the lull to 
allot the new draft to the different battalions. A centre 
at Lindi was formed for the training of recruits who up 
to this time had not passed musketry. Reinforcements 
were hurried up from the base to the Mahiwa position, 
and all preparations were made for the final offensive. 

On the 22nd the enemy returned three wounded 
Nigerian soldiers. These stated that after the battle of 
the i6th October they were picked up by the enemy 
and taken to a field hospital, in which there were quite 
k hundre4 German Askaris, amongst whom during the 
night of the I7th-i8th October between fifteen to twenty 
deaths occurred. One of these returned soldiers was a 
Cameroon man, who had at one time been a German 
soldier, and knew a certain amount of the German lan- 
guage. All the Europeans, he stated, seemed to be 
deploring their very heavy casualties, and the impossi- 
bility of breaking through the British. The fact that 
these three men were decently treated by the enemy 
does not mean that the Germans were canying out their 
usual role, but rather that these men were exceptions 
to the rule. After the battle of Mahiwa on the 20th, 
and on other dates, search parties went out all over the 
old scenes of fighting, and all brought back the most 
terrible reports of German brutality. Indian a'nd Nigerian 
soldiers, whio had obviously been wqjinded in the different 
actions, had been bayoneted later, in the most indecent 
manner, as they were crawUng to places of safety. Any 
number of men were in this way obscenely murdered by 
the enemy. This kind of treatment of woimded would 



Sketch-Map of the Battle of Mkwera. 




THE ACTION OF MKWERA 231 

be expected in savage warfare, but it was hardly counted 
upon when fighting another so-called civilized nation. 
It is impossible to set down here the German brutality 
in detail, as mi^ch is not fit for print, but it is enough for 
me to say, that when some years ago I was in an action 
against a cannibal tribe in Nigeria, the canmbals' treat- 
ment of the woimded was not much worse than the 
Germans' treatment at Mahiwa. Capt. Stretton's small 
Nigerian "boy," aged ten years, was found with his 
body a mass «f bayonet wounds-r-a victim of foul murder. 
Close to the boy's corpse was found the ist Battalion's 
pet monkey, which had been shot at close quarters and 
then had a bayonet driven through its body. These are 
only examples of the brutality of a nation tha^ can sing 
a Te Deum over the sinking " Lusitania," and in cold 
blood shoot the master of the " Clan MacTavish " because 
he had tried to defend his ship. They are just hall-marks 
of the " Beast." 

The biggest patrol encovmter that took place d\uing 
the last few days of October occurred on the 24th, when 
a reconnaissance consisting of the 2nd BattaUon and one 
gun of the Nigerian Battery proceeded out north-west 
from Nyangao, with the object of ascertdining the 
strength of the enemy in position west of the scene of 
the 1st Battalion's action of the i6th. The enemy were 
encoimtered near the Mahiwa river. They opened a 
heavy fire upon the reconnoitring force with guns, 
machioe-guns, and rifle fire. Capt. Gardner of the 
2nd Battalion, Lieut. Edwards of the Nigerian artillery, 
and six rank and file were wounded ; the first-mentioned 
was wounded seriously. Similar patrols, but on a smaller 
scale, went out on the ,22nd, 23rd, 25th, 28th and 29th. 
On the 28th a ^arp engagement ensued between a 



232 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

3rd Battalion company and a strong party of the enemy 
who were entrenched in their old position at Mahiwa. 
The enemy's machine-gun was silenced, but Capt. 
O'Connell was wounded, and four rank and file were 
also either kiUed or woimded. All the time that the 
1st Battahon were in camp with Column IV they never 
had a dull moment, as the German had a " daily hate " 
consisting of the putting over of a few shells uncomfort- 
ably close to their camp. One morning I went to break- 
fast with Major Roberts, and during the meal our party 
went to ground twice hke rabbits, whilst the Boche shells 
lobbed over the camp, bursting just outside the perimeter. 
Every one in the ist Battalion seemed quite used to this 
pastime, for they informed me that it was good for the 
appetite to have a little exercise during the meals, and 
further, it encouraged the men to dig good trenches, and 
trained every one to take cover. 

By the 6th November everjrthing was ready for the 
renewal of the offensive. The enemy was still in strength 
at the Mahiwa position, but they were being threatened 
in their rear by a flying column of Gen. Hannjmgton's 
force, and were in danger of having their communications 
^o the south cut by the cavalry, who were working round 
in that direction from Ruponda towards Massassi. The 
Linforce too had been considerably reinforced since the 
action of Mahiwa, the Cape Corps being amongst these 
reinforcements. 

On the 5th November a startling rumour got about 
that a German airship had left Europe for German East 
Africa. At first it was thought to be merely somebody's 
joke, but later these rumours were confirmed, and there 
was no doubt that an airship did start from Europe, and 
actually managed to get some distance into the Sudan 



THE ACTION OF MKWERA 233 

before it gave up the attempt. What has since happened 
to the Zeppelin no one knows, and if it ever got back 
to " The Happy Fatherland " or not is still a mystery. 
During the 5th November the Brigade, less the ist 
Battalion and the Gambia Company, concentrated at 
Njrangao preparatory to commencing the offensive on 
the following day. The ist BattaHon, for the time being, 
remained attached to Column IV. The Gambia Company 
had by this time moved back to Mtama, and as from this 
date they cea^d to form part of the Nigerian Brigade in 
the field they no longer figure in this narrative. This 
withdrawal was due to their weakness in numbers and 
the necessity of retaining a unit with the Ijnforce Head- 
quarters for duty as " guards " to signal stations, dumps, 
etc., and to dig up abandoned German ammimition and 
stores, and to perform the thousand and one necessary 
and valuable, though xmromantic, duties connected with 
an advance. The advance was commenced at 4 a.m. on 
6th November. The 3rd BattaUon was in front, and 
advanced via point " Z " (see sketch) across the Nkadi 
river, from thence across the Namupa-Mahiwa road. 
On arriving here the direction was changed to south-west, 
and after crossing the Mahiwa river they arrived on the 
Mremba ridge by 11 a.m. During this advance the 
advance guard twice encountered some small enemy 
parties, but in both cases speedily drove them in. The 
cotmtry was dif&cult, and the bush near to the rivers 
particularly thick, so that progress was slow. On arriv- 
ing at Mremba the 3rd Battalion proceeded south along 
the river in order to gain touch and co-operate with 
Column IV, but this they failed to do. During all 
this time Colmnn III, with the Cape Corps, had been 
heavily engaged at Mahiwa itself, but the Germans were 



234 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

at last forced to retire from this posiMon owing to shell 
fire and the fear of the cutting of their line of communi- 
cation by Nigeriarts operating on their left flank. The 
enemy now took up a position at llkwera, to which place 
they were followed by Gen. O'Grady. At 2.50 p.m. 
orders were received by Brigadier-General Mann to pro- 
ceed towards Mkwera and co-operate with Gen. O'Grady, 
who was then heavily engaged. There was some delay 
in carrying out these orders through the 3rd Battahon 
having to be withdrawn from a position they had taken 
up on the Mahiwa river south of the Mremba Hill, and 
also because the 4th Battalion had been instructed to 
water at the Mahiwa river. The Brigade, therefore, was 
not ready to move till 4 p.m., the 2nd Battalion remain- 
ing behind at Mremba, where they had to take up a 
position. The main road at Mahiwa was not reached 
till 6 p.m., whilst the rearguard did .not arrive in till long 
after dark. The Nigerians were thus too late to be able 
to give assistance to Gen. O'Grady this day, during which 
time the Cape Corps had had a very sharp action, and 
had suffered heavy casualties. It was most unfortunate 
that the Nigerian Brigade had been forced to spend so 
barren a day, in spite of the fact' that they had marched 
from 4 a.m. tiU 6 p.m., seemingly to httle purpose. 

Soon after our arrival at Mahiwa it came on to rain, 
£&id promised to be a poisonous night. The terrors of 
the night, as far as I was concerned, were greatly increased 
by the " buffalo bean." It is quite possible that my 
reader has never heard of this vegetable. It grows on a 
low shrub, and as one walks through the bush one brushes 
off the short hairs which cover it with a velvet-Uke down. 
At first the presence of the bean is not even noticed, then 
slight irritation is felt round the bare knees and naked 



THE ACTION OF MKWERA 235 

arms while the hairs of the bean work their way into the 
skin. The irritation gets rapidly worse as the hairs are 
blown by the breeze up the legs and all over the body, 
till the whole body is smothered in the dreadful thing. 
The more one scratches the worse the irritation becomes, 
and the more quickly it seems to spread. The only cure 
known by myself is to rub dry earth into the skin, but this, 
on a wet night, is impossible. The wet makes this dread- 
ful complaint a himdred per cent, worse, till, maddened 
with irritation, one roUs on the ground and curses the 
bean, the bush on which it grows, and the coimtry that 
has the audacity to produce such a bush. In my agony 
I remembered once laughing on a former occasion at a 
poor brother officer, who had been unwise enough to 
take an alfresco bath under a bufialo bean bush. The 
wretched man jmnped about as naked as God had made 
him, yelling out aU the time for mercy. The sight was 
so ridiculous that I, in my arrogance, laughed and mocked 
the one in pain. I was judged and punished for my sin 
that night at Mahiwa. This brings us to the end of " a 
perfect day" that had consisted of a fourteen hours' march 
Mnthout food, followed by a wet night and no sleep, all 
brought to a climax by " the bean." 

Early in the morning the Nigerian Brigade, less the 
1st and 2nd BattaUons, moved off towards Mkwera, 
the 4th Battalion leading. At 7.30 a.m. the advance 
guard reported meeting a post of the Cape Corps which 
was situated on the main road. From them we learnt 
that the Cape Corps were in a perimeter camp 400 
yards to the left of the road, and that Column III were 
dug in about 500 yards to the left of the Cape Corps. 
Orders were given to halt, and the 4th Battalion " dug 
in " a line of trenches across the road, with one section 



236 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST* AFRICA 

on the left and the other three sections on the right of 
the road. The remainder of the Brigade entrenched 
themselves in the rear of the 4th BattaHon. The 3rd 
Battalion patrol set out along the main road, but-they 
had not passed the 4th BattaUon picquet by more than 
100 yards before they came under teavy fire from the 
enemy's post south-west of Hatia, losing four native rank 
and file wounded. A patrol sent out to the north-west 
met an enemy's patrol, and a few rounds were exchanged 
before the enemy retired, leaving behind them one 
dead Askari and one imwounded carrier. During the 
day the ist Battalion rejoined the Brigade. An old 
German camp was found at Mkwera in which had been 
buried a considerable quantity of abandoned rifles and 
machine-guns. 

The enemy evidently left Mkwera on the previous night 
in a great hurry, as the road in front of the 4th BattaUon 
picquet was strewn with loads abandoned by German 
carriers. One load contained the records and papers of 
the 25th and 15th Field Companies, which documents 
had only just lately been brought up to date. Another 
load contained a brand new Prussian officer's field-grey 
overcoat, which I still have in my possession, while 
several other loads contained chickens and preserved foods 
of aU kinds. It was noticed that some of the canned 
food bore Portuguese marks, showing that they had been 
lately looted from our southern AUy. Several papers 
foimd in these boxes had been signed by von Lettow, and 
by Muller, von Lettow's Chief of Staff. 

On the 8th November Column III intended to advance 
to Nangoo, but the road was held at Hatia hy what was 
reported to be a rearguard of one or two companies of 
the enemy. The 3rd Battalion was therefore ordered to 







THK LU'.HT RAILWAY IX THE I.lXPl ARKA 

ANOTHER rsK KOR THK F >Rn CAR 




A MACHIXF tax IN AC! ION 

DCRING THE i ATTLK OF M-CUERA 



THE ACTION OF MKWERA 237 

dear up the position so as to allow Column III to advance 
without interruption. As there was no water at Mkwera, 
Column III and the Cape Corps, both of whom had not 
been watered for twenty-four hours, were imable to move 
tin the afternoon, as it was necessary for them to obtain 
water from Mahiwa before advancing. In the meantime 
the 3rd Battahon, supported by the 4th Battalion, both 
under the command of lieut.-Col. Badham, were ordered 
to clear up the situation. At the time most of us were 
very sceptical as to the truth of the I.D.'s report upon 
the enemy's strength. 

At 11.15 a.m. the 3rd Nigerians moved out of the 
Nigerian perimeter, leaving the main road before they 
arriA^d at the 4th Battahon picquet, and following a 
path that led off half right into the bush towards the 
Lukeledi river, due north of Mkwera. Here the river 
flowed through a grass-covered " vlei " about 300 yards 
across, which was heavily timbered on both sides. No. 10 
Company, under lieuts. Hawkins and Catt, was advance 
guard. As this company reached the " vlei " they 
formed into extended order. A few rounds were fired 
at them from the south, and orders were issued to halt, 
since lieut. Hawkins could clearly see the line of the 
enemy's position on the Mkwera Hill. This officer had 
not long given his order when the enemy dehvered a 
powerful counter-attack against his right, which was 
repulsed by noon. The enemy immediately began to 
feel for his left flank with the idea of driving a wedge 
in between No. 10 Company and the main body. HaU 
No. 12 Company was sent up to prolong the line of 
No. 10 Company to the left. Shortly after the remaining 
half of No. 12 Company, under Capt. Luxford, was 
ordered to follow and to prolong still further the line to 



288 NIGERIAJJS IN GERMAN EAST APRICA 

the le^. This half company lost touch and direction, 
with the result that they emerged in the open to the left, 
and well in front of the remainder of the line. They 
were immediately received by a tremendous volley from 
the German main position, and suffered heavily before 
they could fall back and regain touch with the left of the 
3rd Battalion firing line. This mistake cost this company 
50 per cent, casualties. At about 1.30 p.m. Capt. Ford, 
who commanded No. 11 Company, moved up to the 
firing Une to prolong the Une to the left. No. 9 Company 
remaining with Col. Badham in support. Major Green 
was in command of the whole firing line. 

The enemy now began to feel along the Nigerian front 
for a weak link in the defensive Une. Owing to the 
temporary shortage of ammunition in the centre the 
volume of fire had died down here. This misled the 
Germans, who immediately deUvered the most deter- 
mined counter-attack against the centre, coming out into 
the open to a distance of fifty yards from the 3rd Battalion 
line. At this close range they managed to get a machine- 
gun into action and opened up a most deadly fire. The 
machine-gun was, however, an excellent mark for the 
3rd Battalion, and the two Europeans working the gun 
were hit almost immediately. An attempt was then 
made to capture the gun, but the enemy had machine- 
guns on each flank of their position, which kept up a 
heavy cross fire in front of the derelict gun, making it 
impossible for anyone to come up to it. 

An urgent message was sent to the ofiicer commanding 
No. 14 Company, whose company was extended on both 
sides of the main road, to co-operate with the 3rd BattaJion 
by demonstrating against the German position on the 
hill. This was carried out with three macMne-gims, two 



TECE ACTION OF MKWERA 289 

Lewis guns, and all the available rifles of the company, 
and a most heavy fire was kept up for three-quarters of 
an hour. At 3 p.m. 14 Company advanced another 200 
yards, and from this new position reopened a very heavy 
fire upon the enemy's position. They inflicted several 
casualties on the German post at the bottom of the 
Mkwera Hill on the main road. This demonstration 
greatly reheved the pressure on the 3rd Battahon ; but 
by this time the 3rd Battalion were being hardly pressed, 
and Col. Badham, fdio had most of his battalion in the 
firing hne, called upon Col. Gibb, the officer commanding 
the 4th Battahon, to support him with a company. 
16 Company, that had up to this time divided the distance 
between 14 Company and the left of the 3rd Battalion, 
moved up to the 3rd Battalion Headquarters. 

The Nigerian battery and Stokes guns were in action, 
but their F.0.0. had up to this time Mled to pick up 
the target. By 3.30 p.m. the situation was by no means 
cleared up. One thing was certain, and that was the 
enemy were holding Mkwera in fcur greater strength than 
was ever supposed possible earher in the day. 

Capt. Hetley (16 Company) was ordered to send two 
sections forward to support Col. Badham's left. lieuts. 
Balnave and Dean were in command of these sections, 
and had with them one machine-gun. No sooner had 
they moved forward than Capt. Hetiey was ordered to 
reinforce the right with his two remaining sections. 

At this time the Nigerian and German firing lines were 
within 100 yards of each other, and even closer than this 
in the centre. The 3rd Battahon had suffered so many 
casualties that they were unable to dehver a counter- 
attack. At 4 p.m. the enemy's bugles sounded and a 
determined counter-attack was deUvered against CoL 



240 NIGERUNS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Badham's right. At first the enemy were partially 
successful and managed to gam a foothold on the extreme 
right flank of the Nigerian Hne, from which they poured 
in a heavy enfilade fire upon the whole Nigerian front, 
but after a fierce fight the enemy were driven back. 

No. 10 Company had been in action on the right of 
the line all day, and had suffered most heavily, every 
European except Lieut. Catt having been hit. Great 
credit is due to this oflftcer for his gallantry and leader- 
ship during this day, for which he was later awarded the 
MiUtary Cross. Lieut. Catt had been promoted from 
the ranks only a few months before, and within six months 
of gaining his commission he was appointed an Acting 
Captain and awarded the Military Cross. It is most 
regrettable that this brilliant career should have been 
cut short so soon after this date, for within a few months 
of Mkwera Lieut. Catt died of enteric at Lindi. His 
death deprived the 3rd Battalion of one of their most 
useful ofiicers. 

At 4.30 p.m. Capt. Bumey brought up a company from 
the 1st Battalion to reinforce the firing hne, and was 
followed shortly afterwards by 14 Company, and later 
again by 15 Company — ^both of the 4th Battalion. Just 
before dark No. 2 Company of the ist Battahon arrived. 
E|sidently the enemy had been badly punished in this 
counter-attack, for shortly afterwards they withdrew, 
being threatened by the Cape Corps on the east of the 
main road. They retired in disorder, leaving behind them 
a nimiber of rifles and much equipment. Their retreat 
was accelerated by a party of the Cape Corps suddenly 
faUing upon their ^right, and capturing a machine-gun 
with very Uttle opposition. 

The German casualties in this action were very heavy, 



THE ACTION OF MKWERA 241 

but the 3rd Battalion had also suffered badly, having 
lost 133 casualties, including Major Green, who died of 
vTOunds the same day. The 4th Battalion also suffered 
17 casualties in this action. 

The 4th Battalion, just before dusk, made good the 
ground between the Liikeledi and the main road. After 
meeting a patrol of the Cape Corps and another patrol 
from the King's African Rifles, this battalion, followed 
later by the remainder of the Nigerians, returned to their 
old camp at Mkwera. The rough sketch of the Mkwera 
fight may help the reader to foUow this action more 
easily. Taking this action all round, it was one of the 
most determined that the Nigerians ever took part in 
during the East African campaign, and it was the last 
determined stand made by the Germans in German 
East Africa, for after it they usually contented them- 
selves wiih strong rearguard actions only. Towards the 
close of the day our heavy batteries got . into action 
against the Mkwera position, but it is doubtful if they 
served any useful purpose, as the fight was all but over 
by the time they started firing. 

I am not superstitious, but it is a melancholy fact, that 
with the death of Major Green, 13 Company lost three 
officers who at one time or another had commanded them 
in East Africa; first Capt. Barclay, who was killed on 
the 24th January ; then Capt. Norton-Harper, who was 
killed at Mahiwa ; and lastly Major Green, who was their 
original commander when the contingent sailed from 
West Africa. 

All the Nigerian dead after this action were broilght 

in and buried inside the Nigerian camp, between Mkwera 

and Mahiwa, on the north ade of the road. I sincerely 

hope that the spot in which they are buried will some 

16 



\ 



242 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

day be permanently marked in lasting memory of the 
Nigerian Brigade. General Cimliffe read the funeral 
service over the two Europeans, while the i3-poimders 
were thundering away about 200 yards in rear, and 
Gen. O'Grady's column was heard to be in action on the 
Nangoo road. The mise en seine was most impressive. 

The Germans were in force at Mkwera, and very Hkely 
intended attacking the Nigerian camp, but were them- 
selves attacked first. There were probably from ten 
to twelve German companies in this action — ^rather a 
different thing from the one or two companies that were 
reported to be present here by the Intelligence Depart- 
ment ! Thp enemy, after the fight, fell back on to a 
prepared position at Hatia, where they intended holding 
the road again. 

On the 9th November Gen. O'Grady attacked the 
enemy's position at Hatia, but after a sharp fight he 
failed to dislodge them. At 4 p.m. on ihe same day two 
4-inch howitzers and two 13-pounders shelled the enemy's 
position from the Nigerian camp, the range being about 
2\ miles. At the same time Column III opened a heavy 
machine-gun fire and Stokes mortar bombardment upon 
the Hatia position. For one hour the guns continued 
shelling this position as fast as they could be loaded. 
At 5.30 p.m. Gen. O'Grady developed an infantry attack 
upon the position, in which he suffered only six casualties 
and gained his objective almost without opposition. 
The enemy were completely demoralized by the gun-fire, 
and retired, leaving many dead behind them. 

During the past few day^ the Germans had abandoned 
one 4.1 naval gun, over ten machine-guns, several hun- 
dred rifles, and much ammunition. 

On the 8th November a force from Gen. Hannyngton's 



THE ACTION OF MKWERA 248 

Division arrived at the Lukeledi, which had already been 
evacuated by the enemy. Gen. Northey had had further 
successes in his area, having captured 150 German 
Europeans and 180 Askaris. A 4th Battalion patrol 
brought in an enemy's Askari, who stated that he had 
run away from Hatia during the bombardment on the 
9th. Evidently from his story the Germans must have 
suffered Hell in their entrenchments from our guns. 

On the nth November the Brigade marched early in 
the morning to Chikalala in order to support Column III, 
which were ittacking Nangoo that day, but Gen. O'Grady 
walked into that place without opposition. The march 
was continued on the following day : the Nigerian Brigade 
passed -through Gen. O'Grady's column at Nangoo about 
II a.m. and arrived at Ndanda at 3.30 p.m. Ndanda had 
been occupied by Column I of Gen. Hannyngton's force 
on the loth of the month. Here we found 21 sick and 
wounded Europeans, in natives, 17 German European 
women, and 24 white German children. These had been 
left behind by the chivalrous Boche. The Germans at 
least paid us the compliment of trusting us with thdr 
women and children, which is more than the British 
would do in the case of the Germans in the light of what 
had taken place at Tabora and other places in German 
East Africa, where women prisoners with children were 
subjected to every abominable insult. When the Germans 
f ouiid their women or sick and wounded a tie to them they 
never thought twice of abandoning them to the enemy 
and Fate. Thus again and again German women had 
to be taken over, fed, and cared for by the British. 
Many of these same women were frequently most lax 
in their morals, and were a constant source of annoyance 
to the Provost-Marshal at the base. At Nangoo the 



244 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Germans had abandoned 3 other wounded Europeans 
and 63 Askaris. 

The Nigerian casualties during the fighting of the past 
seven weeks had been 305 killed and 725 wounded of 
all ranks, of which casualties 77 were Europeans. These 
numbers do not include casualties in the Nigerian and 
Sierra Leone Carrier Corps, which were attached and 
accompanied the troops through all these actions. 

At Ndanda direct touch was gained with Gen. Hannyng- 
ton's force. The arrival of Column I from the Kilwa 
area accounted for the fact that the Grermans never made 
a stand between Hatia and the Makonde Plateau. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE OPERATIONS OF THE MAKONDE PLATEAU 

EARLY on the moming of the 14th November 
orders were received by the Nigerian Brigade 
Headquarters to send two battalions and a section 
of guns as early as possible towards Giiwata, in order to 
gain touch with Colunm II. If necessary, the G.O.C. 
was to be prepared to reinforce this colunm. The ist 
Nigerians left Ndanda soon after dawn, followed by the 
4th Battalion, a section of artillery and the Stokes gun 
section. Progress after the first two miles was very slow 
because of the steep-sided dongas that had to be crossed 
and the mountainous nature of the country. It was only 
possible to advance in single file. Four miles out from 
Ndanda the road passed over a succession of steep hills, 
mostly commanded by greater hill features on the south 
and south-east. Owing to the close proximity of the 
enemy, every hill that commanded the road had to be 
picqueted, which entailed very hard work for the advance 
guard, and greatly delayed the advance. By 11.30 a.m. 
the 1st Battalion had reached a point on the road about 
6| nules south of Ndanda, where the road, after descend- 
ing a steep hiU, turned west and led up a spur to the 
escarpment of the Makonde Plateau. The country to 
the east of this road was almost precipitous. Here the 
advance guard conunander reported that the enemy were 
holding the high ground, over which the road passed, 

2«S 



246 NIGERLLNS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

with two machine-guns. The Germans were in a position 
quite unapproachable from the front. To continue the 
advance this way would simply mean that whole com- 
panies' would be mown down by machine-gun fire. It 
was therefore necessary to develop a wide turning move- 
ment, which was not complete until late in the afternoon. 
By this time it was too late to contitiue the advance, so 
the 1st Battalion bivouacked at the top of the Plateau, 
and the 4th BattaUon, together with the remainder of the 
main body, spent the night at the foot of this steep climb. 
The small party of the enemy, who had been holding the 
road with two machine-guns, retired as soon as they 
discovered that the ist BattaUon had turned their position. 
The patrols that had been sent out to the south-east 
reported that they had failed to gain touch with Column II, 
under Csl. Ridgeway. The reason was afterwards found to 
be a fault in the map, which showed the distance between 
Chiwata and Ndanda to be about three miles short of what 
it was in reaUty. All the patrols that followed the map 
must have gone north of this Column. 

On 15th November tqe attack upon Chiwata was timed 
to commence. Column III. blocked the eastern line of 
retreat. Column II. had orders to advance along the 
high ground to the west, whilst Brig. -Gen. Mann with 
the Nigerians was to advance on Chiwata itself by the 
centre route. The advance continued at daybreak, the 
4th Battalion leading. After a slight resistance the 
advance guard arrived at the outskirts of Chiwata at 
noon. Gen. O'Grady was heard on several occasions to 
be heavily engaged on our left. Some pretty artillery 
work was witnessed about this time, when Col. Ridgeway's 
guns on one ridge supported Gen. O'Grady on the opposite 
ridge, the two ridges being about three miles apart. The 




ikf^i^ 



RESERVE AMMUNITION CARRIERS 

CliO'iSrNG .\ DEEl' VAl.Ll-V i'\ THE ^l\Kl>M:i: IM.ATEAU 




liRINIlING UP SUPPLIES AT XDANDA 



OPERATIONS OF MAKONDE PLATEAU 247 

shells could be seen bursting along the edge of the precipice 
that faced this ridge, along which Gen. O'Grady was ad- 
vancing. Chiwata was a mass of Red Crosses, and where- 
ever one looked one covld see them. They were painted 
cm the roofs of houses, laid out in bricks upon the ground, 
fluttered from tree-tops and flag-stafb, and later, on enter- 
ing Chiwata, a Red Cross armlet was seen on every Boche 
that one met. That the Red Cross was hopelessly prosti- 
tuted, both here and at many other places in German 
East Africa, there is not a shadow of doubt. At Chiwata 
von Lettow's telegraph station was situated between two 
hospitals. Though the Cross was not displayed over this 
building, it was floating over the building on each side, 
so near that it really made no difference. Hence Col. 
Ridgeway, who had been in position within artillery range 
for over twenty-four hours, had been imable to shell the 
place, which at the very time was sheltering the German 
Commander-in-Chief and his stafi. One must give credit 
• to whom credit is due, and it is a known fact that the 
German Principal Medical Officer had violently quq^relled 
with von Lettow at Chiwata for his misuse of this hospital. 
The Germans had only evacuated Chiwata that same 
moming, leaving behind them all the British non-com- 
missioned prisoners of war and both Indian and African 
natives. The of&cers they had taken with them, with 
the exception of one RA.M.C. ofl&cer, who had been left 
behind to look after the sick. There were 67 prisoners 
of war liberated here, of which 33 were Europeans. 
Three of these Europeans had been in German hands for 
three years. There were also found in the different 
hospitals of the neighbourhood 96 German Europeans 
and 510 Askaris. A very large proportion of these were 
not sick ; though left behind in hospital, they were only 



248 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

suffering from tiredness. The German Hospital staff, 
which also fell into our hands, consisted of two medical 
of&cers, seven European dressers, two European nurses, 
and one priest. 

I had the opportunity of personally talking to many 
of these released prisoners. They aU agreed that until 
comparatively recently their treatment had been by no 
means good, but when compared to that meted out to 
the native prisoners of war, they agreed that they had 
Uttle to complain of. These wretched men had been 
systematically bullied, and had been at all times forced 
to work in chains, on the very poorest of rations — ^their 
task-master being one Tsetse (I have spelt the name 
the same as the insect, this being the way it was pro- 
nounced). Tsetse he was by name and also in char- 
acter. This creature, reputed to be made in the image 
of his Maker, was a brute of the worst kind. The follow- 
ing story is told about his brutality to a Hausa prisoner 
of war. One of the prisoner's ankles was damaged by 
the leg-iron, and a sore developed that at first only 
lamed him. Instead of being handed over to the medical 
authorities he was forced by Tsetse to continue working 
till the ankle became so bad that he became a drag upon 
the other prisoners on the same chain. He was there- 
fore taken out of the chain and forced to go on working 
by himself. When, owing to the bad state of his leg, 
he was forced to sit down and rest, he was beaten and 
kicked by this gentle son of the Fatherland. The sore 
became worse, so that frequently the Hausa feU down 
exhausted, only to be driven on again with blows. At 
last death, in the shape of gangrene, released the wretched 
man from further suffering. Tsetse's treatment of natives 
was too bad even for the Boche, for he was later reheved. 



OPERATIONS OF MAKONDE PLATEAU 249 

being put in charge of the British European non-com- 
missioned prisoners. These he also bulUed ; but Fate 
had a surprise in store for friend Tsetse. When he was 
in turn made a prisoner of war, his escort to Lindi con- 
sisted of a few of his own ex-pri^ners. I hope that 
during this long march he was taught to repent of his evil. 
Another beast that was taken prisoner at Chiwata was 
an tmder-officer named Schutz. His sphere of activity 
was chiefly Tabora, where he had been in charge of 
the European prisoners of war, whose treatment has 
been described in another place. Schutz and Tsetse 
alike were on our black Ust, both being wanted for acts 
of cruelty. I beUeve they were both tried by a court- 
martial at Dar-es-Salaam. I only hope that the punish- 
ment they received was adequate for all the crimes they 
had committed against civilization. It is a pity that 
when one has to deal with wretched brutes of this kind 
one cannot put them through the identical treatment 
that they hafve meted out to others. I always think 
Tsetse would have been a most beautiful sight with a 
nice gangrene leg ! 

The advance of the three columns was continued on 
the i6th November, the Nigerian Brigade less the 2nd 
Battalion continuing to be in the centre, with the ist 
Battalion leading. 

The advance guard became engaged at 6.40 a.m., two 
miles south-east of ChlAvata. The enemy had a strong 
rearguard on the far side of a steep donga, and when 
the screen of scouts arrived at the near side of this the 
enemy disclosed two machine-guns. The Stokes guns 
came into action immediately, and the enemy retired. 
The advance was continued for another three miles, and 
the advance guard arrived at the dry beds of the Mpangula 



250 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

and Mwiti rivers at 8 a.m. Here there is a wide aoad deep 
ravine, the far side of which had been reached before/the 
enemy opened a very hot fire on the advance guard, who 
now became heavily engaged. The column was held up, 
which led to the ist Battalion being deployed, and the 
section of the Nigerian artillery and Stokes guns came 
into action. The enemy, fearing they would be out- 
flanked, retired eastwards at ii a.m. 

The Nigerian Coltimn continued advancing at 11.30 
a.m. The advance guard from this time onwards was 
always in touch with the enemy's rearguard, and shots 
were continuously being exchanged. The advance was 
necessarily slow, as the enemy disputed every yard. 
At 2 p.m. the advance was checked by the enemy, who 
were entrenched in a position west of Ngororo, and 
covering the water supply — their left resting on the high 
groimd on the west of the road. 

A company of the ist Battalion was sent out to clear 
this ridge at 2.30 p.m., but met with considerable resist- 
ance, necessitating the G.O.G. reinforcing this flank 
with another company at 3.30 p.m. The remaining two 
companies of the ist Battalion became more closely 
engaged as they came in touch with the enemy's main 
position -on the road. At 5 p.m., as the enemy counter- 
attacked the Nigerian left, 14 Company of the 4th 
J BattaUon was sent as a reinforcement. The enemy 
were repulsed and driven off at 5.45 p.m. The Stokes 
guns did most useful work this day, and greatly assisted 
in repeUing the German counter-attack. 

Von Lettow ordered up two fresh companibs, with 
instructions that the Nigerians must be driven back at 
all costs, but his troops were tired of the imeven contest. 
It was reported that the German Commander-in-Chief 




THK AIlVAXCF. OX TO THIC MAKONOK PLATEAU 




THE N[(;KR1AN CUX^ llEIN'l, l:RUUGHT INTO ACTION ON THE 
MAKONUK PLATKAU 



OPERATIONS OF MAXONDE PLATEAU 251 

had a violent quarrel that evening with some of his 
subordinate leaders, who as good as declined to continue 
the attack against the Nigerians. It is said that these 
same leaders, with their following, composed the iorce 
that surrendered to the Nigerians two days later. The 
Nigerian Brigade gained touch during the evening with 
the 55th (Coke's) Rifles, which battalion formed part 
of Column I, and had themselves lost touch with 
their own column commander. Col. Orr. In this entirely 
successful day the Nigerians lost only two killed and 
thirteen wounded, whilst the German casualties are 
known to have been far heavier — ^five of their Askaris 
being buried by us. 

We had only one white casualty in this day's fight — 
Lieut. Winter, who was Adjutant of the 4th BattaUon, 
and received what is commonly called a " BUghty " in 
the leg. He was sitting down resting in the shelter of 
a native hut whilst the ist Nigerians were in action over 
a mile in front, the only parts of his anatomy that were 
exposed being his legs. I personally was strolling up 
to him in order " to pass the time of day," when to my 
amusement lieut. Winter jumped up, 'and, after running 
round in a circle like one possessed of an imclean spirit, 
said, " Who did that ? Something has stung my leg." 
On careful examination is was found that a kindly bullet 
had lodged in his caJf, and had not had the indecency 
even to draw blood. This meant for the lucky receiver 
no more marching, work, or incessant fear of being 
plugged by people who evidently did not wish one weU. 
It was reported that others sat down in the place vacated 
by this officer, with their legs out waiting for another 
" Blighty " to arrive, but all in vain. Thus this officer 
was for the second time in this campaign carried off 



252 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

in triumph to the hospital and to the flesh-pots of 
the base. 

This reminds me of a few verses of a Rubayat that I 
came across in' East Africa, written by a tired and weary 
of&cer in the lean days of the Rufiji : 

Awake ! A German in the hour of night 
Has fired a shot that puts all sleep to flight, 
And lo ! the leaders of the W.A.F.Fs. have caught 
Fright of attack, thus all await the light. 

Dreaming of peace, of plates with food piled high, 
I heard a voice outside my hut to cry. 
Awake, my little one, and man your trench, 
'Tis raining, yet I leave my hut that's dry ! 

Here with a loaf of bread beneath the bough, 
A flask of " dop," a tin of jam, and thou 
O Boche, far banished in the wilderness. 
East Africa is Paradise enow. 

How often in this force " The Black Brigade," 
Whose oflicers are working night and day. 
Has leader after leader with his pomp 
Abode his hour or two, then went his way ? 

Lo ! some who fought and loved the fighting best, 
After a while back to the base were pressed. 
And there have drunk their cup, with bellies full, 
Have one by one crept silently to rest. 

And we, that now are working in the room 

They left, to double hours and extra duties' doom. 

Ourselves wOl go to D.-S.-M. some day. 

And when away ourselves make room — ^for whom ? , 

Oh, eat your rations, and your " dop " defend, 
Lest " pinched " is that on which your joys depend. 
Then rest, and lay yourselves on Hunger's bed, 
Sans dop, sans bacon, flour and milk — sans end. 

It is a pathetic little poem, and, though a parody, 
well describes the feelings of all in those trying times. 



OPERATIONS OF MAKONDE PLATEAU 253 

But this is a digression, and we must return to the story. 
The scouts sent out at dawn on 17th November found 
that the enemy had evacuated their position on the 
evening before. The 4th Nigerians were the leading 
battalion, of which 16 Company, undfr Capt. Hetley, 
formed the vanguard. The coimtry palsed through was 
still very broken, and this necessitated a slow advance. 

After proceeding for about three miles the vanguard had 
arrived at a narrow spur that ran down towards the east 
from the high ground forming the plateau. This spur 
was conunanded both on the north and east by far higher 
ground, and was situated a Uttle to the west of the 
Luchemi. At 11.30 a.m. Capt. Hetley's " point," which 
had descended nearly half-way down the valley, was 
fired upon from the high ground on the east and north- 
east, but by this time they had nearly managed to gain 
the Luchemi valley, before they were finally forced to 
halt. The road was commanded to the north-east, east, 
and south-east by under features of the Makonde escarp- 
ment. The enemy held the path with several machine- 
guns and rendered the road impassable. This country 
leading down to the Luchemi was far more difficult for 
an advancing force than- anjrthing yet experienced in 
German East Africa, and the fighting had now developed 
into regular moimtain warfare. ' / 

As the 2nd Company in the advance (No. 14) arrived 
at the top of the spur, down which 16 Company had 
already descended, a party of the enemy could be seen 
retiring up the hills on the opposite side of the Luchemi 
valleyi at a range of about 1500 yards. Two machine- 
guns were immediately brought into action, and opened 
up covering fire upon the hillside, on which the enemy 
could be seen moving. Capt. Hetley had in the mean* 



254 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

time been reinforced by half No. 14 Company. This 
half company was sent out to the left flank at about 
I p.m. with the idea of dislodging some snipers who had 
taken up a 'position on the high ground north-east of 
Capt. Hetley. They had a very bad experience owing to 
the appalling nature of the coimtry, and instead of dis- 
lodging the snipers they were nearly dislodged off the 
earth themselves ! They came under very heavy fire, 
and were extremely fortunate not to suffer any casualties. 
A section of the 2nd Battalion who were sent out to 
support this half company had one man lolled and another 
wounded. 

By 4.30 p.m. it was evident that it would be quite 
impossible to advance any more tropps into the valley 
without incurring very heavy casualties. Orders were 
therefore given to two companies to work out on to the 
high ground to the northrcast and establish themselves 
there before dark, with the idea in view of working round 
the enemy's right at dawn on the i8th. The Kashmiri 
and Nigerian batteries meantime came into action and 
tried to silence the enemy's machine-guns, but without 
success. At 5 p.m. heavy firing was heard from the 
south-east, which was apparently Column I in action. 
The firing lasted till 5.45 p.m. The Nigerian Brigade 
co-operated as far as possible with gun and machine-gun 
fire. At dusk the Nigerians gained touch with a patrol 
of the i/3rd King's African Rifles from Column I. The 
enemy, now finding that they were threatened from the 
.south-east, retired from the water in the Luchemi vaUey; 
Shortly before dusk Gen. O'Grady was heard to be in 
action far away to our left. 

Throughout the day the Nigerian advanced troops had 
been in a very exposed position on the spur, and suffered 



OPERATIONS OF MAKONDE PLATEAU 255 

in all three of&cers wounded and thirty-five other casual- 
ties, but luckily none of the Europeans were serious 
cases. These were the very last casualties to be received 
in action in the Nigerian Brigade during this campaign. 

On the i8th November the advance was continued 
by the ist BattaHon. The enemy had retired during 
the night. The two companies that had gone out to 
the flank on the previous evening had to work over 
very difficult country, but they met with no opposition. 
Scouts that had crossed the stream at the south-east 
end of the Luchemi valley were in close touch with 
the i/3rd King's African Rifles on their right. This 
battaUon had taken up a position covering the' water 
after their action of the previous night. 

The two remaining companies of the ist Battalion 
were ordered to advance down the spur on which all the 
fighting had occurred the day before, and take up a 
position covering the water. From there they were to 
send out patrols north-east and east, so as to gain touch 
with Column III, and locate the enemy's hospital, which 
was known to be in the Luchemi district. 

At 9 a.m. one of the ist Nigerian companies was ordered 
to advance along the north-east side of the escarpment 
above the Luchemi, whilst a strong patrol was dispatched 
east along the Kitangari track. 

The patrol that had been sent out to gain touch with 
Column III met with some slight opposition, but after 
a few shots had been exchanged the enemy retired. 
By II a.m. this patrol had gained touch with the Cape 
Corps from Column III and the Beluchis from Column I. 
Lieut. Hart of this patrol now went forward north-east 
along the plateau. At 1.30 p.m. his advanced scouts 
reported that they had met a white flag party consisting 



256 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

of a British offtcer prisoner of war and a German officer. 
These officers informed Lieut. Hart that there were 
259 German Europeans and 700 German natives wishing 
to give themselves up to the British, and also that there 
were 25 British, 2 Belgian, and 5 Portuguese officers, 
all prisoners of war, waititig at the hospital to be released. 
The Germans were taken over as prisoners of war, whilst 
the officers of the Allies were Uberated. The following 
ibJigerian' officers on this day were set free : Major 
Gardner and Lieut. Jeffreys of the 3rd Nigeria Regiment 
and Lieut. Shaw of the Nigerian Carrier Corps. 

A scouting party in the vaUey collected 299 rifles, of 
which 159 were British, all in good condition, but the 
enemy had managed to bum a considerable number of 
other rifles. There was every sign that the enemy had 
retired in great haste on the previous evening from the 
Luchemi valley, for they had left behind them a com- 
plete armourer's shop, a distilling plant, and much 
ammimition and suppUes. 

This was the very last time that any Nigerian troops 
were destined to cross swords with the enemy in the 
German East African Campaign, though stiU much 
remained for the Brigade to do before their active part 
in the campaign was to come to an end. 



CHAPTER XVI 

BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 

ON reading through this account the reader will 
be struck with the serious st^e in which it is 
written, which will be misleading, because West- 
Coasters generally are not inclined to be too serious. 
Whatever one can say for or against Nigeria, it is a 
country where laughter, rather than the reverse, is the 
order of things. One seldom meets a down-hearted 
Nigerian, be he either black or white. For instance, 
when a master receives a letter like the following from his 
late servant, he is not likely to be moved to tears if he 
still has any sense of humour left in him. This letter 
was written by a " boy " in Nigeria to his master, who 
was an officer in East Africa : — 

" My dear Master, — ^I hasten to write to you chiefly 
to ask after your normal health. It is my greatest 
pleasure to write you this letter in order to bring to yomr 
understanding that I am still aUve thinking of you day 
after day. Excuse me it will not be out of the way if I 
relate to you various circumstances that happened to me 
soon after you were sent away from Calabar. It was 
about two weeks after you left me in the hands of Colour- 
Sergeant X., then to the war in the service of the 
Crown, that Sergt. X. terminated my appointment a 
fortnight after without any reason being given. I left 
here in Feb. 1917, and so to Lagos in search of work. I 
17 ^ 



258 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

am now a passenger in this colony, a stranger in a strange 
land. I shall be very glad if you will let me hear from 
you because of the kindness which you have bestowed 
upon me, since my Hfe is still in existence in this life of 
battle. Remember that the post that you are now 
holding is a patriotic and promineat one, and I am proud 
o^ you, that I have a lawful master, who is now pushing 
forward in this world, and also in this terrible war. 
Remember, again, that you are now fighting for the right 
and for the Crown, as well as to keep your people from 
being fugitives. 

" I was too pleased to hear that you are now entitled 
to the title of Distinguished Service Order. May we pray 
that you may one day be entitled to a higher title such 
as General, etc., — I remain, Yom: old steward, 

" John ." 

The above letter may sUghtly amuse the reader, but it 
must be remembered that it was written by a son of Ham 
in all sincerity to his master in German East Africa, and 
is therefore an insight to the native mind, and shows his 
attitude towards the war. 

No reference in this account has yet been made to the 
pleasant days spent by most of the ofiicers of the con- 
tingent in Zanzibar, where ten days' leave was from time 
to time granted. Pages might be written on the curious 
old town, which is half Arab and half European, with its 
spike-studded doors, said to be reUcs of the days when 
elephants were used as battering rams, the spikes being 
so placed in the d^ors to give the poor beasts a headache 
should they attempt to charge them. The pomp and 
circmnstanCe of the old days are gone, but the old-world 
atmosphere is still there. Of the kindness of the people 



BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 259 

of the island to the Nigerian officers on leave one cannot 
write too much. Many a happy hour was whiled away 
on the " Stoep " of the dub in gazing over the blue 
Indian ocean, and drinking cold drinks at pre-war prices. 
But let the poet of the W.A.F.Fs. speak to us upon this 
subject. The poor pen of the author gladly gives place 
to the real geniiis of the bard : — 

AN EPISODE IN THE CAMPAIGN IN 
GERilAN EAST AFRICA 

May- June 191 7 

I. The Lament \ 

Squatting (not by our choice) on the Rufiji, 
Foodless at times, and very melancholy. 
Rolled flat as cyclostyles beneath a squee-jee. 
Sufferers most frequent from the wobUes-oolly, 
We of the " Nig.-Brig." felt not over skittish 
When we went forth to hunt the elusive Boches, 
Neck deep in swamps, with words robustly British 
We cursed the Ordnance who issued no goloshes. 

n. The Hope 

To us repining thus Brigade Headquarters 
Spake, " Ye who'd have ease awhile from Hun Askaris 
Iifay now up-stick and leave this waste of waters. 
And revel ten days with the Zanzibaris. 

m. The Jouhnby 

So up-sticked those to whom the word " Ndio " * 
Had been vouchsafed by powers that be, God bless 'em. 
And padded cheerful hooves past Behobeho * 
Until they reached that beauty spot, D.SJf.' 

1 Ndio in Swahili— Yes. 

^ Behobeho— Scene of the axrtion of the 2nd Battalion early in 
January, and captore of the gnn. 
* D.SJL — Das-es-Saiaam, local abbreviation. 



260 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

From thence the brave in dhows propelled by breezes, 
The timorous in steamers made the crossing, 
And all planned pleasures with wild wondrous wheezes-— 
All that at least were not sea-sick from tossing. 

IV. The Hope Fulfilled 
(a) The Town 

Nor are we disappointed in our fond hopes. 

Walk the bazaar and watch the vendors selling, ' 

See how the ancient beggar with his wand gropes. 

Blind in the eyes, he finds his way by smelling ! 

All picturesque in whites, blues, reds, and yellows, 

Indians and Africans with clove and mango 

Mingle their scents, and then the cheap-jack fellows 

Show to what lengths experts' extortion can go ! 

Leave the bazaar — and mind you're wary at 

Guides importuning — ^past the mart of shrill hens. 

You will debouch before the Secretariat, 

With jewels once resplendent — now with quill pens. 

Still it retains some relic of its glory. 

Spacious its halls and stout its doors brass studded. 

We can well picture round it battles gory,^ 

And the great heads of elephants being blooded. 

Pass to the Fort where guns of every nation 

Show how the Dutch and Portuguese and Spanish, 

Seeking in turn Colonial inflation. 

Come, leave their marks behind, and simply vanish ! 

(ft) The Life 

Are you fond of your sport or a glass of old port. 
Or is it merely the spending of pennies 
Which will make you forget the bullets and wet. 
Would you sooner have cricket or tennis ? 
You can get all these things, live richly like kings. 
Play your bridge, sing in quartet or solo. 
Kick a Rugby football, dance in the Club Hall, 
Or show off your prowess at polo, 

> It is alleged that all the doors were so studded to combat the use of 
elephants as battering rams. 




A STRKET IN I.INIU 



BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 261 

Disguised as a toff, you can sampl6 the golf. 

To your hand you'll find ready each plaything ; 

Quite peeled of your bark you may swim about stark. 

Or when draped take a turn at mixed bathing ; 

And when those are over, return to your clover. 

In which at the Qub you're residing ; 

Gossip on the verandah or go and philander. 

The war and its worries deriding. 

After which my advice is — at still pre-war prices — 

To sample gin, cocktails, or sherry. 

And you won't have to try and enjoy every viand 

From the soup to the crystallized cherry. 

For perfection and plenty's purveyed to the twenty 

Who sit in a state of hysteria- 

At the yams they are told by the gallant and bold 

F. G. C.,1 the " Old Man " of Nigeria. 

V. Envoi 

Now Nigerians all, pray list to my call. 

And I don't think our feelings will vary. 

Drink a bumper of gratitude for all the beatitude 

Conferred on us all in club, field, and hall. 

By lesser and greater, from the lowest club waitef 

To the Hon'rable Chief Secretary. 

Those days spent in the Island were the greatest gift 
the gods could give a poor weary soul in the Rufiji area. 

Whilst the Brigade was still in the Rufiji area great 
alarm and despondency was caused amongst the " Brass 
Hats " by the frequent use of the Nigerian code by 
officers of the Brigade when writing to each other. It 
was noticed that certain groups of letters were alwajre 
recurring. Experts were called in to decipher these 
mystic letters ; India, South Africa, and the United 
Kingdom sent their astrologers to make plain these 
hieroglyphics. At last one mighty man of letters read 

* F. G. C.°=Brig.-Gen. CnnUfEe, Commanding the Nigerian Brigade. 



262 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

the hidden meaning to be : " Send more whisky." 
High officials of the lines of communication and tele- 
graphs nearly died of shock, the war was aJl but lost, and 
great was the " hate " that followed. Then an edict 
was pubHshed in which any future user of this wicked 
code was cursed by bell, book, and candle to eternal grief, 
and East Africa knew the code no more ; however, the 
officer in Zanzibar who informed a brother-officer on 
the Rufiji, by means of this code, that he had at last 
taught his little dog to swim, was excused the extreme 
penalty of the law on accoimt of possessing so merry 
a wit. 

When the ist and 4th BattaJions, the Battery and 
Gambia Company were all together at Morogoro that 
station was anj^thing but dull. In those days the 
4th Battalion and Gambia Company were out at Grut's 
Farm, three miles from the township itself. The " Powers 
that Be " were imder the firm impression that the enemy 
were signalling to each other from near the farm by 
means of lights, so two companies of the ist Battalion 
were sent out tp camp for a week near to the Gambia 
Company, their orders being to hunt the countryside 
for the unauthorized lights. ThoSte were very cheerful 
times. The officers of these two companies were out to 
enjoy themselves, and there was never a dull half-hour. 
Their camp was on the main road, frequented every 
evening by " joy riders." The occupants of these cars 
were sisters from the Morogoro hospital, who for the 
benefit of their health were sent out motor rides every 
evening. Great was their astonishment one evening 
when they found facing them notice-boards and danger 
signal of the A.A. pattern, which had been set up on the 
roadside, asking chauffeurs to drive slowly, and to beware 



BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 263 

of the school, etc. The travellers were also informed 
that teas were provided. The iiltimate result of these 
notices was to hold up all the cars on the road, whilst 
the occupants were taken to a spot in the wood where 
there was a big camp fire burning, and roimd the fire 
had been arranged a circle of chairs, where all comers 
were served with cocktails "dla Gambia " and other forms 
of light refreshment. A most cheery evening was spent, 
and the sisters were not among the least to enjoy them- 
selves. The bush resounded with the laughter of the 
fair sex, whilst the elves and gnomes nodded their heads 
at each other in horror at the invasion of their ancient 
home. 

Talking about gnomes and other weird creatures of 
the bush, I shall never forget my fright when I was first 
introduced to the local Eve of the Rovuma area. My 
first impression of her was a creature that resembled a 
cross between a snouted pig and a good-looking Dachshund. 
The upper lips of these Rovuma maids have been pushed 
forward, in some cases over two inches, by inserting a 
small black saucer-like object into the lip itself, just 
where the male beast grows a moustache. It gives a 
snoutish appearance to the local beUe, that is regarded 
by the Rovuma beau as most fascinating, but is rather 
terrifying to the stranger. If the lady is keen on her 
personal appearance, she still further adds to her beauty 
by slitting the lobes of the ears, and by means of attach- 
ing weights to the lower portions, greatly increases them 
in length, till they fall gracefully upon her shoulders. 
She has reached her zenith of beauty when her lips are 
pressed out two or three inches in front of her face, so that 
her face is distorted out of all recognition, and her ears 
reach down below her shoulders. It is wonderful what 



264 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

the daughters of Eve, irrespective of colour, wiU do to 
be in the fashion. 

Another cheery period was spent at Eilwa when all 
the Brigade, less the 3rd Battalion, were assembled there. 
TMs was the last time that the happy family were together 
in a place where enjoyment was possible. We were to 
lose many of our best in the near future, but at the time 
the sky was cloudless, and no one was depressed by evil 
forebodings of what was in store for us. An attack on 
the gimner officers' lines was planned one night, the chief 
idea being to procure the wine of Scotland which was 
badly needed by the Gambia Company and their guests, 
who at the time were sufEeijng from thirst. I regret to 
report that the gimners did not wait for the attack to 
be developed, but prematurely retired into the bush, 
abandoning their camp. The Gambia Company won a 
bloodless battle, and returned to their own camp in 
triumph, bearing with them the fruits of victory in the 
shape of one bottle of port and another of " dop " — ^thei|- 
only casualty being one officer damaged by falling into 
a bath full of water. Those were happy dajTS, and we 
thoroughly appreciated them. The relaxation was good 
for all after the lean and dull days of the Rufiji. It 
was good to find out that we had not forgotten how to 
laugh. The chief pastimes at the Redhill Camp at ICilwa 
were bathing and eating, whilst Uquid refreshments and 
childish games of chance, such as " chase the ace " and 
"whisky poker," were sometimes indulged in. The 
geography book of one's youth would describe KUwa as 
standing on the shores on an inlet of the Indian ocean, 
its chief products being smells and tropical diseases ; its 
exports Sisal and Germans ; its imports guns, ammuni- 
tion, supplies, and British. The town is not financially 



BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 265 

sound, as the value of its imports is far in excess of the 
value of its exports. Looking down upon Kilwa from 
the camp, the contrast of the white buildings from the 
vivid blue of the water, the bright green of the vegetation 
from the deep red of the rocks and cUflEs, all went to form 
a beautiful picture ; but, like all tropical seaports of 
Africa, it is more beautiful from a distance than at close 
quarters. The local Town Coundl do not seem to trouble 
themselves too much about sanitary matters and the 
congested areas problem. Many of the chief buildings 
of the town have suffered badly from shell fire, and 
general signs of decay are to be seen everywhere. 

Many references have been made in this narrative to 
" dop " or Cape brandy. It must be explained that 
this was a ration in East Africa, though its issue was 
somewhat of a mysterious nature, only understood by 
members of the supply corps and the more brilliant of 
our quartermasters. " Dop " was said to be issued on 
three days a week, but try as hard as one could, one could 
never arrive at a station on a " dop " day. The old 
saying that " to-morrow never comes " was equally true 
of the " dop " issue. " ' Dop ' yesterday and ' dop ' 
to-morrow, but never ' dop ' to-day " is a quotation fiom 
that extremely clever work " Jambo," by Capt. Lloyd of 
the Legion of Frontiersmen (25th Royal Fusiliers) and of 
Punch fame. We hope that his woimd received on the 
17th October, during the action at the Nakadi river, in 
the battle of Mahiwa, has in no way taken from his 
cunning ! Again, the quantity of " dop " that consti- 
tuted a ration could be weU described by Euclid's defini- 
tion of a point — " It had position, but no magnitude." 
Its colour was also curious, for one day it was pale brandy 
in tint, and the next was a cross between ink and gum in 



266 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

appearance. When the supply people wanted to give 
the troops a real treat " dop " was issued in old kerosine 
tins, which greatly improved its bouquet. It varied so 
in quantity, colour, taste, and smell that one could almost 
write a thesis on this one subject alone. However, " dop " 
when obtainable, regardless of its various attributes, was 
always welcomed. 

A certain regiment, who were all brave men and true, 
had a most wonderful liking for " dop " in any form. 
Now a few men in this battahon were fellows of the baser 
sort and they were not satisfied with the ration that they 
were receiving, so they put their heads together in order 
to devise a plan by which to increase the Supply. They 
noticed a cask of the precious nectar standing outside 
a certain supply " dump " not a thousand miles from the 
Rufiji. Now the keeper of the " dump '■' was a man 
that Uked flattery and a friendly talk in the evening with 
anyone who came along. On this particular evening 
he was especially flattered by a visit from several men 
of this distinguished regiment, who engaged him in con- 
versation, whUst one bold spirit attached a long rope to 
the cask, taking the other end of the rope away into the 
bush near by. After dusk that evening, should anyone 
have been near, he must have wondered at the strange 
noise of something rolling over the hard groimd in the 
neighbourhood of the " dump " when no wheeled vehicle 
was visible. Next day the cask was conspicuous by its 
absence. 

- On looking back through all that I have written, it 
is an interesting fact to remember that when we were 
fighting hardest in East Africa the English papers were 
maintaining that the campaign in this theatre was at 
an end. On turning over a few " cuttings " I came 



BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 267 

across one dated i6th March 1917 from The Times. It 
is an abbreviated report of a speech deUvered by Gen. 
Smuts in England soon after he gave up the command 
ill German East Africa. It is so remarkable in the light 
of after events that I give it in toto : " Regarding East 
Africa," Gen. Smuts said, " the campaign in German 
East Africa may be said to be over. What is delaying 
the absolute end is the fact that March and April are 
the heavy rainy season. After April the Germans will 
have to surrender or go into Portuguese territory. They 
cannot hold out in German East Africa, and the Portu- 
guese are quite perpared to deal with them. The German 
Governor and his Stafi, the Commander-in-Chief and 
other ofl&cers are still doing their best to keep things 
going, but it is merely the remnant of an army that is 
left, and not a formidable fighting force. 

" All South African white troopl> have, with a few 
exceptions, left the country, and the tampaign will be 
brought to an end by the native battalions that I have 
trained. I soon saw that white troops could not long 
stand the climate. The native troops, who make splendid 
infantry, have proved very good fighters ; they have done 
magnificent work, and when the campaign is over will 
be available elsewhere. In May they can move, and the 
thing wiU be finished. ..." 

It is hardly necessary for me to say that when we in 
German East Africa read this speech we were a little taken 
aback. It only helps to prove how our best statesmen 
and soldiers can sometimes be misinformed, and are thuS 
guided to be overbold in their statements. 

Another remarkable misstatement that appeared in 
the newspapers about the time of the battle of Mahiwa 
requires contradiction. The statement was to the effect 



268 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

that a greater proportion of European troops were taking 
part in the campaign than either Indian or African 
natives. In Appendix B will be found a complete sum- 
mary of all vmits that were in German East Africa at the 
time of the Mahiwa action in October 1917. The pro- 
portion in the infantry in the field during this month 
works out to be as follows : — 

European .... 4 per cent. 

Indian Infantry ... 29.8 „ 
African Native BattaHons . . 63.4 „ 
West Indian Troops . . .2.8 „ 

The proportion in the mounted troops were : — 
European . . . .34 per cent. 

African Natives . . .16 „ 

Indian . . . . • 50 „ 

The Appendix shows which troops were actually at the 
front, and which were on the lines of communication at 
about this period. 

Whilst upon this subject, I will call attention to 
Appendix A, which gives the names of every unit in 
German East Africa at the time of the arrival of the 
Nigerian Brigade in this theatre. It is interesting as it 
shows how white troops were replaced by natives in the 
-field. However, on the lines of communication and at 
the base there were a very large number of Europeans 
employed even up to the time that the Nigerian Brigade 
left East Africa, as the following two facts will show. At 
Ndanda on Christmas Day 1917, 1000 Em^opeans attended 
a concert. They consisted of motor drivers, signallers, 
supply units, medical detachments, and the divisional 
headquarters. Early in September 1917, 2000 Europeans 
attended a boxing contest at Dar-es-Salaam. 



BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 269 

It is grossly unfair to both Indian and African troops 
for English newspapers to make statements of this kind, 
which are calctdated to diminish in the public eye the 
great efforts and sacrifice made by the coloTured races of 
the British Empire in this last and greatest of all crusades. 

Whilst on the Rovuma a tragedy occured to a sentry 
belonging to a 15 Company picquet. At 4 a.m. on the 
22nd December the sentry was heard to call out. At 
daybreak Sergt. Whittingham went out with two or three 
soldiers in ordpr to find out what had occurred. To his 
horror he saw at about 500 yards in front of the sentry's 
post the man's corpse, and near to it was a han, lioness, 
and cubs. When the brutes were disturbed they quickly 
left their " MU " and the body was brought into camp. 
On inspection it was found that the body had been badly 
mauled and the back had been broken. This was the 
third case in the Brigade of men losing their lives in 
this way since the Brigade disembarked in East Africa. 
Another case occmxed in No. 11 Company, 3rd Battalion, 
when they were quartered in the Rtifiji area. On that 
occasion a private on the extreme left of a line of scouts 
was killed by a leopard. When his body was found it 
had one paw mark on the face, and the skull had been 
badly fractured internally. From the above it will be 
seen that besides having to be constantly on the look-out 
for the enemy, the men were frequently in danger from wild 
beasts. In German East Africa everything possible that 
a man could be up against, except cold, existed : Germans, 
wild beasts, sickness, heat, hunger, flood. 

In no other camjMiign could sickness have played so 
important a part. Out of curiosity, on Christmas Day 
1917, I compared those Europeans present in the 4th 
Battalion with those tha^ had been present on Christmas 



270 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Day 1916. There were only nine out of forty-two 
Europeans present on both dates, and of these nine three 
had constantly been on the sick Ust. That is to say, that 
the personnel had almost been completely changed in 
twelve months. The 4th Battalion was far better off in 
this respect than any other battalion in the Brigade. 

From time to time mention has been made of the In- 
telligence Department, the agents of which at all times 
were called upon to do most difficult and dangerous work. 
Many of these officers were Dutchmen from South Africa 
who had worked in German East Africa before the war. 
Major Pretorius had hunted elephant all over this colony, 
and knew as much of it as a man would know of his own 
back garden. Many of these I.D. agents were exception- 
ally brave men. I believe I am right in stating that both 
the Victoria Crosses given during this campaign were 
earned by I.D. officios. 

Lieut. Harman, who was with the Nigerian Brigade 
for most of the time that we were on the Rufiji, was 
constantly patrolling rotmd the flanks of the enemy's 
position, gleaning information first-hand of their doings. 
He was a fine ts^pe of an old-fashioned Dutchman, brave 
and as tough as a " trek " ox. He would go out for three 
or four days at a time in order to make a personal recon- 
naissance, with just enough food to last him and a ground 
sheet to lie on, his only escort being half a dozen I.D. 
scouts, usually ex-German Askaris. This Httle party 
would get right round to the rear of the German position 
and there lie up in the bush and watch the doings of the 
enemy. But the Intelligence Department had its black 
sheep like all departments, though most of their ofiicers 
were really brave men. I have heard of one who, to 
put it in the language of the Coast, " feared too much." 



BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 271 

Many amusing tales were told about this unfortunate 
man by some of these hard-headed old Dutchmen. The 
following anecdote I have tried to set down on paper as 
near as possible as it was told me by an old South African 
belonging to the Intelligence Department. He tells the 
story about a senior officer, but one who was many years 
his junior in the knowledge of bushcraft and war. The 
two were out together on a patrol. " When we start 
the Captain is all the way asking — ^Where is the escort ? 
Where is the escort ? and I reply alwajre that if I see 
the escort it is no good, and if I do not see them it means 
they do their work ia the bush and it is good. When we 
come to some water the Captain asks — ^Is it safe to cross 
over ? I answer that he is my Captain and it is for him 
to say, but always he ask the same question of the escort 
and if it is safe to go on. At last I get tired, and when 
again he ask at a water crossing, I say : ' Look the 
German foot ; he come, he go, he wUl come agiin.' He 
ask again if it is safe to go on. I just say : ' He come, 
he go, he will come again.' Then the Captain stop — ' We 
will go back.' So we go, and I tell you that on the way 
out his ass is eating the tail ofi my ass, and on the way 
back my ass camiot catch up with the shadow of his 
ass ! ! ! " 

History does not relate the tenor of the report on the 
above reconnaissance. 

At times Uke those spent by us on the Rufiji when 
m£tils were very few and far between, a few of the letters 
that were received from home were a little trjong to us 
hungry people. Try to picture a scene, kind reader, like 
the following : An emaciated soldier dressed in rags of 
khaki, dully eyeing the ration issue for the day, namely, 
a little mealie meal and very little else, on which he has 



272 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

eked out a meagre existence for weeks. The locality, 
needless to say, was the Rufiji. To the wretched creature 
— ^a scarecrow of rags and bones — ^is deUvered a mail. 
He reads his letters. For a short moment he forgets his 
troubles ; his whole being quivers with emotion only to 
become Ustless again. One sentence in his letter from 
the kind-hearted old aunt far away has had this effect. 
My reader and I will glance over his shoulder and read 
his letter (by the way I am not in the habit of doing this 
sort of thing). We read : " We have found all sorts of 
substitutes for ordinary food, which is now difl&ciilt to 
procure ; for instance, instead of oatmeal at breakfast 
in the morning we eat mealie meal porridge ; when you 
come home you must try it ! " 

In this book little has yet been recorded of the doings of 
the personal boys of Emropeans. These young Nigerians 
are worthy of special mention, for without them the lot of 
the European would frequently have been made doubly 
hard. As a class they were hard-working and faithful 
to their masters. At the end of a long day's march or 
fierce fight their work began. Diimer had to be cooked 
and a bed had to be made. When everyone in camp had 
a day's rest, the boys had to wash their masters' clothes 
and do a hundred small things for their personal comfort. 
Nor did they escape the dangers of the fight. Two were 
kUled at Bweho Chini and another was murdered at 
Mahiwa. I have seen boys cooking food for their masters 
during the heat of a fight, only a few yards from the 
firing line itself. For fifteen months many of these 
youngsters never had a day's rest, and without grumbling 
served their masters as only a black man knows how to 
serve, with almost a doglike devotion, through hunger 
and wet, long days and heat, hard fighting and long 



BY WAY OF A DIGRESSION 273 

marches. At the end of the day's work they were always 
ready to laugh over the inisfortimes of the past twenty- 
four hours. Theirs was faithfulness personified. Some 
people in their ignorance maintain that black men have 
no real affection. This I hold to be untrue, and only 
proves that he who makes such a statement does not 
really know the black man. I have known boys sit up 
night after night within call of a sick master, ready to 
do anj^thing in their power to lighten his suffering. One 
boy I know of who of his own free will carried a machine- 
gun into action after the team had all been shot down. 
By this action he greatly helped to check the enemy's 
advance. A few masters, I fear, do not sufficiently 
appreciate all that their boys did for them during the 
fifteen months spent in East Africa, and because a few 
boys were thieves or scoundrels, they suspect every boy 
of being the same, and forget that they would be in a 
very awkward position if they had had no boy to work 
for them. Seeing all that I have seen I take off my hat 
to the boy that faithfully served his master through all 
these long months. His life was no bed of roses ; he had 
much to contend with ; he was often hungry, sick, and 
tired, but his day was never over till his master was 
comfortably in bed. He had always to rise in the morn- 
ing an hour before his master, in order to make the early 
morning tea or cocoa before the real work of the day 
began. Truly he has earned the motto : " Semper 
fideUs et unpiger." 



i8 



\ 



CHAPTER XVll 

THE LAST PHASE OF THE CAMPAIGN IN GERMAN TERRITORY 

VON LETTOW'S movements after his action ai 
the Luchemi were shrouded in mystery. His 
strength was thought to be 300 Eiiropeans and 
about 1200 Askaris. That he intended to cross the 
border into Portuguese territory was a foregone con- 
clusion, but before he finally went south it was equally 
certain that he would attempt a junction with Tafel's 
force, which was then known to be in the act of breaking 
south from the Mahenge district. To prevent this 
junction of the two main German forces^ was the first 
consideration of the Higher Command, after which to 
prevent von Lettow's escape south would be Gen. van 
Deventer's objective. 

On the 19th November the Nigerian Brigade com- 
menced a concentration at Mwiti, whilst the 4th Battalion 
was sent forward to Kitangeri. It is interesting to note 
that this place was reported to be the site chosen by the 
Germans as a landing place for the Zeppelin which was 
due to arrive at about this date. 

Column I was on the 19th November en route tot 
Newala. 

For the first time in the East African campaign the 
German forces were known to be in full retreat. They 
had been forced to give battle day after day for more 
than two months, in which time they had been given no 

274 



THE LAST PHASE OF THE CAMPAIGN 275 

chance to rest. The result was that their morale and 
strength was begiiming to fail, but it would be unfeur if 
they were not given all the credit due to them for their 
dogged resistance, faced as they were by invariably 
superior numbers, except in the early part of the battle 
of Mahiwa, continually being compelled to give groimd 
even after fighting a successful action, and always losing 
heavily in casualties, especially in their European ranks. 
In spite of all this, to the very end they kept their tails 
up, and fought a one-sided contest with indomitable 
courage and exemplary dash, and they never failed to 
leave their marks on their opponents. 

In the seven weeks ending 17th November the Nigerian 
Brigade alone out of an effective strength of 170 Europeans, 
2246 native rank and file, suffered 78 Europeans and 
842 rank and file casualties ; that is to say, over 45 per 
cent. Europeans and nearly 38 per cent, of other ranks 
of the Brigade were put out of action during this period. 
Added to this a very large percentage of the Brigade 
were already out of action through sickness and casualties 
received in action dtiring the previous eight months. 
Other columns had fared no better than the Nigerian 
Brigade, and in fact Column III had suffered even more 
heavily. 

On the 22nd November, owing to Tafel's movements, 
the Brigade was ordered to concentrate at Massassi. 
This was completed on the 23rd November, and at about 
the same time the enemy had made a further surrender 
at Newala, consisting of z6o Europeans and 75 Askaris. 

A part of the 4th Battalion had marched over 50 miles 
in three days. The heat diuing this long march had 
been teirrific, and the whole Brigade was suffering greatly 
from fatigue. 



276 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

An abandoned 4.1 German naval gun was passed by 
the Brigade on the road near to Massassi. 

Up north, Tafel had ha4 some minor successes recently 
against Gen. Northey's troops, which had included the 
captiure of two British food and ammunition convoys. 

On the 24th the Nigerian Brigade and the Kashmiri 
Battery continued to march south from Massassi, and 
arrived on the 26th at a point on the main southern road, 
13 miles south of Gongonuchi on the Bangalla river. 
The disposition of other British troops on this date were 
as follows : the 129th Baluchis were 6 miles west of 
Luatala, having just completed a 40-mile march. 
They had received orders to continue the march to 
Luatala. The mounted column, consisting of the 25th 
Indian Cavalry and a regiment of South African Horse, 
both under the command of Lieut.-Col. Breytenbach, 
were a few miles west of the Baluchis ; a patrol under 
Capt. Nethersole and the 25th Cavalry at the Mwiti 
river were in touch with the 129th Baluchis. Colimin I 
was at the confluence of the Bangalla and Rovuma rivers ; 
Column II at Naurus ; Colimm III at Gongonuchi ; 
and Column IV was in reserve and split up on the lines 
of communication with their headquarters at Nangoo. 
On this day parties of the enemy were reported to be 
in the Nawbingo, a hilly district north of the Bangalla 
river. 

At the time the 129th Baluchis were only 120 strong, 
under the comn^iand of two of&cers in addition to their 
commanding officer. The battaUon was also consider- 
ably hampered by a large convoy, the carriers of which 
were appreciably fatigued after a very long march. 

The patrol of the 25th Cavalry under Capt. Nethersole 
had been sent to investigate what had been reported as 



THE LAST PHASE OF THE CAMPAIGN 277 

being an action between Tafel's force and a small British 
Intelligence post at Tshrimba HilL The cavalry reported 
that on the 25th November several companies of the 
Germans attacked this post, but owing to the impregnable 
position taken up by the I.D. the enemy gave up this 
attempt to take the position, but unfortunately Capt. 
M'Gregor, the I.D. agent, who was in conunand of the 
post, was killed by a chance shot. The cavalry patrol 
was on its way back to Breytenbach's Column on the 
26th, when they met the rearguard of the 129th Baluchis 
en route for Luatala. They accompanied the infantry 
for some Uttle distance, Capt. Nethersole's intention 
being to leave them at the Mwiti stream after he had 
watered his horses, but they had not followed the Baluchis 
for more than a few minutes when the Indians' vanguard 
was heard to be in action. The vanguard had been 
ambushed, and came imder very heavy fire from the front 
and both flanks, and almost- immediately afterwards 
the whole colmnn was in action. The Germans delivered 
a bayonet charge against the Baluchis' left flank, in 
which they inflicted heavy casualties upon them, and 
partially broke their flank. The enemy attempted to do 
the same against the right flank, but their attempt was 
frustrated by the cavalry. On this flank the Germans 
were caught by mounted troops in close order, in the 
open, at a short range. Heavy casualties were sustained 
by the Germans in this quarter, whilst they were in the 
act of assembling to deliver a bayonet charge. The 
commanding officer of the Baluchis was wounded about 
this critical time ; the Indians being hopelessly out- 
nmnbered by the enemy were forced to retire, which 
they did in good order under the cavalry's patrol covering 
fire. They managed to take up successfully a new 



278 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

position, which they were determined to hold tillHhe last, 
but for some unknown reason, at the very moment when 
matters looked most desperate for the Indians, who had 
suffered over 40 per cent, casualties in a few minutes' 
fighting, the Germans retired south and commenced to 
cross the Rovmna river on the same day. 

To everyone's utter amazement a large party of Tafel's 
force, consisting of 30 Europeans, 180 Askaris, 640 
carriers, and 220 native women, came into the British 
camp the same afternoon in order to surrender. Early 
in the morning of the 27th a flag of truce was sent into 
the Baluchis by Tafel, who offered to siurender with 
62 Europeans and 1000 Askaiis. Tafel, Lincke, and 
Schenfeld were amongst the Europeans wishing to ^ve 
themselves up. The surrender was accepted and carried 
out on the 28th. Otto had been with Tafel up to the 
time of his surrender, but during the night of 26th-27th 
he, with 5 other Europeans and 20 Askaiis, broke away 
south in order to join von Lettow ; thus 95 Europeans and 
about 1200 Askaris surrendered, after fighting a success- 
ful engagement, to about 100 Indian soldiers. No one 
was more surprised at this turn of events than the Baluchis 
and the 25th Cavalry patrol. 

Tafel's siurender must be put down to the fact that on 
his arrival at Newala, where he expected to find von 
Lettow waiting for him, he foimd that he had been 
abandoned to his fate, von Lettow having evacuated that 
place some days previously. He was thus isolated and 
out of touch with any other Grerman column, and without 
supplies. Had he crossed the Rovimia he would have 
found himself in no better a position, as he could never 
know when he would be attacked by overwhelming num- 
bers. So iar as he knew von Lettow might have already 



THE LAST PHASE OF THE CAMPAIGN 279 

been forced to surrender, or in order to avoid that had 
bolted south into Portuguese territory. 

Otto's action shows the style of man that he was. When 
he left Tafel he cut himself adrift with only a handful of 
faithful followers in order to go into the imkaown, not 
even being aware from where he would get his next 
suppUes. Otto, it will be remfembered, was an "old 
friend " of the Nigerians, having taken a leading part in 
the action of the 24th January, when he had been wounded 
in the arm. ,News of this big surrender readied the 
Nigerian Brigade on the same day on which it had 
occurred. 

On the 20th November Major Pinto, in command of 
about 900 Portuguese native troops, arrived at Ngomano 
from the south in ordw to prevent von Lettow breaking 
across the Rovimaa at this place. Instead of preparing 
a position for defensive purposes, this , column busied 
themselves in laying out an elaborate camp near to, and 
south-west of, the old Portuguese fort that stands on the 
south bank of the Rovuma commanding the confluents 
of that river with the Lugenda. The Portuguese appeared 
to have had a picquet at the fort and another a few 
hundred yards up the Rovuma river. On the 25th No- 
vember von Lettow appeared on the Rovuma river a short 
distance upstream from the confluence. The Portuguese 
do not seem to have tried to prevent him crossing the 
river. In any case the enemy worked round to the west 
and attacked Major Pinto's force from the south, south- 
east, and west. A few rounds of high explosive were 
fired into the Portuguese perimeter from the north bank 
of the Rovuma. The Portuguese hastily entrenched 
themselves in rifle pits, which were, for the most part, ' 
not even bullet-proof. What the actual strength of the 



280 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Germans was in this action it is hard to say, but it could 
not have been more than 1500 rifles, and probably a good 
deal less. The Germans appeared to have brought only 
four machine-guns into action, and these were used at a 
very close range. Our AUies fired at least 30,000 to 
40,000 rounds from about 350 rifle pits. Major Pinto 
was killed early in the fight, together with eight other 
Eiuropeans. Judging by the graves, the Germans only 
seemed to have lost one European killed in the action — 
a Sergt. Bachmann. The Portuguese native casualties 
were very heavy, and they were at last forced to smrender 
with 700 Askaris, 6 machine-guns, a quantity of ammuni- 
tion, and six days' rations for 150 Europeans and 1000 
natives. ' 

TJie Portuguese were immediately relieved of all their 
clothing, and the Germans, who were at this time in rags, 
replenished their wardrobes. Von Lettow did not dare 
to remain at Ngomano one hotu longer than absolutely 
necessary for fear of the arrival of British troops. He 
therefore left Hauptmann Klinkhardt, with one com- 
pany as rearguard, at Ngomano, and he himself marched 
south, using the Portuguese soldiers as carriers for all the 
arms, ammunition, and supplies that bad fallen into his 
hands. Before leaving Ngomano von Lettow smashed 
up all his own machine-guns and rifles for which he had 
no longer any ammmiition, and took into use Portuguese 
rifles and British machine-guns, with which Major Pinto 
had been armed. Every box and package that the 
Portuguese had possessed the Germans looted. The 
Boches' treatment of their Portuguese prisoners was very 
different from that meted out to the captured Germans 
at the Liishimi by the Nigerians. At the Lushimi not a 
single German's load was looted. Carriers were supplied 



THE LAST PHASE OF THE CAMPAIGN 281 

for their baggage, and their property was respected as 
much as their persons. As long as a German was not 
on the " black list " he was at all times treated with the 
utmost courtesy, and given every latitude possible with 
due regard to Ms safe custody. 

Thus von Lettow escaped, together with the Ex- 
Governor of the Colony and a force of about 1500 of 
all ranks. A Berlin semi-official wireless reported that 
1700 German Europeans and 9500 native troops had 
escaped into Portuguese territory; this, it is needless 
to say, was a gross misstatement of fcicts. 

News of this disaster to the Portuguese reached the 
Nigerian Brigade on the 2gth November, when they were 
at Naurus. It is useless to comment further on these 
fcicts. The reader must be left to draw his own con- 
clusions on the whole aSair. On the 30th November 
the Brigade moved to the Makanya river, cutting a motor 
road for themselves as they advanced. This brings us 
to the end of the campaign on German soiL By this 
date there was not a German soldier at liberty in the 
whole colony, and German East Africa was, a few days 
later, dedaied a British and Alhed Protectorate. During 
the month of November no less than 1115 German 
Europeans and 3382 Askaris were either IdUed or cap- 
tured, together with two 4.1 naval guns, one 4.1 howitzer, 
one 70 mm. gun, forty-three machine-guns, and a large 
number of rifles and much ammunition. Tafel's forces, 
before surrendering, destroyed one 60 mm. gun, one 
37 mm. gun, thirty machine-guns, and about 1300 rifles. 

On the 30th November His Majesty the King sent the 
following cable of congratulation to Gen. van Deventer : 
" I heartily congratulate you and the troops under your 
command on having driven the remaining forces of the 



282 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

enemy out of German East Africa." On the 6th Decem- 
ber Gen. van Deventer answered his Majesty's cable in 
the following terms : " I beg to tender the loyal and 
heartfelt thanks of the East African forces for your 
Majesty's most gracious message, which has given the 
liveliest satisfaction to all ranks, and has more than 
compensated us for the hardships and difficulties of the 
East African campaign." On the 5th December Field- 
Marshal Sir Douglas Haig wired to Gen. van Deventer : 
" On behalf of the British Armies in France I send you 
and the gallant troops under your command our heartiest 
congratulations on having completed the conquest of the 
last German colony. The perseverance, patience, and 
determination required for this achievement are fuUy 
realized by all of us here in France, and command our 
admiration." Gen. van Deventer's answer to this wire 
was greatly appreciated, and endorsed by the whole of 
the Nigerian Brigade : " I thank you most sincerely for 
your congratulations. We foUow the splendid achieve- 
ments of the British Armies in France with the greatest 
interest and admiration, and are proud to think that 
the East African force has played its part, however small, 
in the great struggle." 

An attempt was now made to catch up von Lettow. 
Col. Bre5i:enbach's moimted colmnn was at this time on 
the banks of the Rovtuna. A 25th Cavalry patrol had 
actually gained touch with von Lettow's rearguard under 
Klinkhardt. This officer had remained on the Rovuma 
as long as he dared in order to cover Tafel's crossing 
when he should arrive, and he was therefore some dis- 
tance behind von Lettow's main body. The patrol, 
thinking that they were in touch with a big force, with- 
drew. It seems, however, unfortunate that they were 




(;rnerai, vox lettow-i orf.kck 

A\VAHr>En THE IKiW CKOSS, ItV WIRELESS, FOR HIS SEKVICES. 
IN i:A^T AFIv1C,\, ami rWOMOTKI) MAJOR-GENERAL IN THE- 
llEKWIAN" r.MI'EKIAL AK.MV 



THE LAST PHASE OF THE CAMPAIGN 288 

not greatly reinforced, for had they continued to trouble 
Klinkhardt that officer would most probably have been 
forced to surrender. He had with him only eighty 
Askaris, who were greatly hampered by having with them 
a large amount of heavy baggage, which included von 
Lettow's own private kit and papers. The porters 
carrying these loads were exhausted, and all were very 
short of supplies. 

Klinkhardt a few days later gave himself up on 
account of ill-health. He stated after his capture, that 
if all this baggage had been lost, very likely von 
L«ttow would have been forced to surrender, and in 
any case most of his European followers woiild have 
done so. 

We must now turn our attention to von Lettow. After 
he had fought the Portuguese at Ngomano he marched 
south. The nearest British troops to him were the 
Nigerian Brigade at Gongonuchi, 55 miles by road to 
Ngomano. AU other British troops were well to the east, 
on the look-out for Tafel. Von Lettow at the worst 
could count on two dear days' start of any pursuing 
troops. His force was, however, very short of food and 
ammunition, even taking into account that which they 
had seized from the Portuguese. On or about the 
8th December the Germans attacked a Portuguese post 
on the Ukula mountains. This post had mov^ out 
from Nanguri fort a few days previously, leaving behind 
them at that place only a small guard over a very big 
" dimip " of supplies and ammunition. The Portuguese 
force on the Ukula surrendered after a stiff fight. All 
the Europeans of this force were immediately set at 
liberty after giving their parole that they would not fight 
against the Germans again in Africa. After this surrender 



284 NIGERIANS IN GEBMAN EAST AFRICA 

the Germans marched to the Nangoar fort, which place 
they took miopposed on the 12th December. Here they 
captured 100,000 rations and vast stores of ammmiition. 
This Portuguese fort was a well-built redoabt standing 
in the ceatre of a huge clearing. The Lujenda river 
flowed within a mile of the fort. It is therefore rather 
hard to understand why these supplies and ammunition 
were not thrown into the river before the arrival of the 
Germans. 

At Nangoar fort the German force broke up into two 
parties, one marching towards Port AmeUa and occupying 
Medo Boma and Meza, and the other column continuing 
the march south along the Lujenda river, and eventually 
during the latter half of December, occupying Mwembe 
near the Mchinga Hills. 

All this time the British forces were not by any means 
resting on the British border, but were actively trying 
to assist the Portuguese. The ist and 3rd Nigeria 
Regiments crossed the Roviuna during the first week 
in December, and immediately conmienced patrolling 
south in conjunction with the moimted column and 
the Intelligence Department scouts. An of&cer of the 
3rd Battalion was sent to the Ex-Governor, von Schnee, 
under a flag of truce on the 4th December, with a letter 
from the British Commander-in-Chief informing the 
Ex-Governor that, as aU the German troops had evacuated 
the German colony, that colony was formally annexed 
by the Allies. During the second week in December the 
Nigerian Brigade and the Kashmiri Battery got up a 
race-meeting for two silver cups presented by Brigadier- 
General Mann and Colonel Badham. I should imagine 
that it was the first time in history, and probably the last 
for many decades to come, that a race-meeting of this 




INTilW CAVALRY CROSSING; THE ROVU.MA INTO PORTUGUESE 
TERRITORY 




XIGKRIAV TRO()l'> KMI'.AKKIXC. AT I.INDI 



THE LAST PHASE OP THE CAMPAIGN 285 

sort had taken place on the German-Portuguese border 
of East Africa. There were in all three races — a flat race, 
a steeplechase, and a mule race for the natives. The 
last was the most amusing to watch, for most of these 
diaboUc animals behaved just as they wished, and went 
where the spirit moved them. The whole country for 
some acres round was covered by native Indians and 
Nigerians who had been forced to give up the uneven 
contest. After a day or two most of the mules were 
collected, but not more than two or three mules ever 
finished the race. 

The ration question during the early weeks on the 
Rovuma was not too satisfactory. Early on Christmas 
morning parties were sent out from each company of the 
4th BattaUon to shoot for " the pot." The hunter of 
i6 Conipany distinguished himself by shooting an M.I. 
horse in mistake for an antelope, much to the annoyance 
of the M.I. Mills' bombs proved themselves most useful 
in Ueu of dynamite for kiUing fish in the river. A bush 
pig and a pigeon constituted the total bag of the com- 
bined efforts of aU companies, not to mention the horse. 
Very late on Christmas Day i6 Company's hunter re- 
estabHshed his popularity by bagging two buck. The 
Christmas diimer was not a great success in spite of all 
that was done to try to make things go off well. One 
could not help looking round the table and thinking of 
the jolly crowd that spent Christmis Day together in 
1916, at Ttilo. Only eight of the original ofiicers of the 
4th Battalion were present on both Christmas Days. 
No less than twenty-two Europeans in this battalion, 
out of the original contingent, had either made the extreme 
sacrifice, been woimded, or fallen a victim to the many 
diseases which affect that distressful country; but the 



286 NIGERIANS IN 6EBMAN EAST AFRICA 

4th Battalion was a great deal better ofi than most of 
the other battalions in this respect. 

Some weeks before Christmas the Gold Coast Regiment 
had been sent round by sea to Port Amelia, whilst Gen. 
Northey had moved south, and by this time had a strong 
force operating against von Lettow through Nyasaland. 
On the I2th Janary all the British troops operating from 
the Rovuma, except the I.D., began to evacuate Portu- 
guese territory owing to the rains having commenced, 
thus making the Rovuma dangerous for crossing. 

This sees the end of the campaign as far as the Nigerian 
Brigade was concerned, and all the battalions were gradu- 
ally withdrawn to Mtama. There cannot be a worse 
country to be found in Africa than that in which the 
Nigerians operated from the Rovuma into Portuguese 
East Africa. It is most unhealthy, uninteresting, and 
devoid of all native population. No desert could pro- 
duce less than this country did during the Nigerian 
occupation of Portuguese territory. When the Nigerians 
were withdrawn, two strong coltmms were in the act of 
operating from Port Amelia and Nj^asaland, whilst a 
brigade of King's African Rifles were placed in a good 
central position commanding the line of the Rovuma. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

ENVOI 

WITH the crossing of von Lettow into Portu- 
guese territory the enemy lost their last colony, 
and now not one square mile of territory out- 
side Europe does Germany hold. In 1913 she was the 
third greatest colonizing power after Britain and France. 
Whatever will be the final result of the Great War, 
Germany will have to rebuild her Colonial Empire once 
again from the bottom. At all costs Germany should 
never be allowed to hold one yard of territory in Africa, 
for this we owe to ourselves as well as to the native 
populations of the late German states. 

The African native has proved himself to be made of 
first-class fighting material — ^just as good as the best 
Indian soldier when properly trained and officered. The 
British Government cannot afford to open to the Prussian 
General Stafi this vast recruiting ground from which 
tens of thousands of the best trained negro soldiers could 
operate against Europe or our Asiatic or African posses- 
sions. Gen. von Freytag, for some time Deputy Chief 
of the German General Stafi, has lately pubUshed a book 
entitled " Deductions of the World War." In it we learn 
that if bis deductions are correct, the Union Forces of 
South Africa will be powerless against the German- 
trained hordes of Africans to be, and the conquest of 
North Africa and Egypt will follow the fall of South 

287 



288 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Africa. This, the General maintains, will be accomplished 
without the deflection of any white troops from Europe ; 
and further, a great army wiU be planted on the flank of 
Asia, the influence of which will be felt throughdut the 
whole of the Middle East as far as Persia and beyond. 
From these facts, as seen by the Germans, it is self-evident 
that the ciyjlization of the African native and the economic 
development of the whole of this vast continent, will at all 
times take a second place to the German schemes for 
world power and world conquest. The African native 
will be used in future, if the Germans have their way, as 
a tool in the hand of (ierman Militarism. For over three 
years negro troops under white officers have kept em- 
ployed a vast British and Allied army. This fact alone 
proves what could be done with a greater and better- 
equipped negro force. It is wonderful to think how von 
Lettow has managed to hold his force together in spite of 
privations of every kind, shortage of ammunition, and a 
constant state of being driven from one place to another. 
Through aJU this the German native soldier has served 
his master most faithfully. I doubt if any other soldier 
than an African would have put up with so much dis- 
comfort for so many months. If the Germans ever get 
back theiplost colonies we and the rest of the world are 
courting disaster ; for the German, having found out 
what a wonderfully fine soldier the negro makes, will at 
the first opportunity form a vast colonial black army, 
which will be a menace, not only to the rest of Africa, 
but to the whole of the world. 

Without the aid of negro troops the Allies would never 
have been able to drive von Lettow out of German East 
Africa. The Empire owes more recognition than has up 
to date been given to the negro soldier for all that he has 



ENVOI 289 

had to endure and all the appalling hardships in East 
Africa and the Cameroons he has gone through for the 
sake of the Empire. Their deeds have not been done in 
the Umelight, and the pubHc have heard very Uttle of 
their doings. None of the battles fought by them will 
ever be really famous in the world's history, as many 
lesser battles in the past have been, but, my reader, they 
have fought and conquered, suffered and died, for the 
British -Empire. " There be of them that have left a 
name behind them that their praises might be repcnrted, 
and some thereby which have no memorial, who are 
perished as though they had never been bom." I 
sincerely hope that aU the negro has done for the 
British race will not be forgotten, and that the wel- 
fare of the African will be one of Britain's first con- 
siderations after the war ; to continue in the words 
of the Book of Ecclesiasticus, let it be that " their 
seed shall remain for ever, and their glory shsdl not be 
blotted out." 

The Brigade eventually embarked for West Africa on 
the "iSaxon," the " Briton," and the " Kinfauns Castle " 
during the second week of February 1918. AU' these 
ships arrived, after a comfortable but uneventful voyage, 
at Lagos on the i6th March. The Overseas Contingent 
had a tremendous reception, headed by the Governor in 
person, on their arrival back in their native land. If 
our send-off from Nigeria had been lacking somewhat 
in enthusiasm, the home-coming was the very reverse. 
Wherever the different imits of the Overseas Contingent 
went after landing they were received with open arms 
by the people, both black and white, of Nigeria, who did 
all in their power to show their appreciation of the 
regiment that bears the name of their colony. 

19 



290 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

'The enemy's stubborn defence of his last colony has 
been a great military feat, and Nigerian soldiers are the 
first to admire their pluck and endurance, but I thinlr 
I shall be voicing the opinion of aU Nigerians if I express 
a fervent hope that German East Africa, a land where so 
many of our best of both colours have lost their lives or 
their health, might never be allowed to become a menace 
to our Empire in future by being prematurely or unwisely 
returned to its late German owners. I hope this account 
has given my reader a little insight into the natmre of the 
Nigerian soldier. He is one of the best fellows on earth 
when properly handled. His loyalty to his officers is 
profound ; he is no saint, but then what other soldiers 
are saints ? In many ways he is utterly childish, and 
can only be treated as an overgrown child. To know 
him is to love him in spite of all his bad habits. He 
is a bom gambler, and cannot help playing char-char 
(gambling) whenever he has any money/but he is generous 
to the point of foolishness, for he is willing to share 
his last shilling with a friend or fellow-countryman at 
any time. 

Ttere is no doubt that the East African Campaign 
has been a great education to the native Nigerian. 
He has seen much in East Africa, Durban, and Cape 
Town that he will never forget, the most important 
being the tremendous power and resources of the British 
Empire. His mind is no longer bounded by the sea, 
bush, and desert of Nigeria ; he is an older, but a much 
wiser, soldier now, on his return from the East African 
Campaign, than he was when he embarked for that 
country. 

Nigeria has proved that, besides producing palm oil and 
ground nuts, she can produce Men. It remains to be seen 



ENVOI 291 

if she is going to make the best use of this — ^the world's 
most valuable product — ^but now is her opportunity. 
Never before in the history of the world has man-power 
been at so high a premiima as it is at present. 

May the Uves of aU those that have fallen in German 
East Africa not have been given in vain, but by their 
sacrifice shall yet another great tropical coimtry be added 
to ova vast Empire. May Prosperity and Peace reign 
in the future in this our youngest Colony as they have 
done in the past in all other British possessions through- 
out the world. I would conclude this book in the words 
of Rudyard Kipling's poem, " The Settler," i written at 
the end of the Boer Wax : 

Here, where my fresh-tumed furrows run, 

And the deep soil gUstens red, 
I will repair the wrong that was done 

To the living and the dead. 
Here, where the senseless bullet fell 

And the barren shrapnel burst, 
I wfll plant a tree, I wUl dig a well. 

Against the heat and the thirst. 

Earth, where we rode to slay or be slain, 

Our life shall redeem unto life ; 
We will gatiier and lead to her lips again 

The waters of ancient strife. 
From the far and fiercely-guarded streams. 

And the pool where we lay in wait. 
Till the com cover our evil dreams 

And the yomig com our hate. 

Bless then our God, the new^yoked plough. 

And the good beasts that draw. 
And the bread we eat in the sweat of our brow 

According to Thy Law ! 

^ From The Five Nations (Methuen). 



292 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

After us comes a multitude — 
Prosper the work of our hands. 

That we may feed with our land's food 
The folk of all our lands ! 



" Ue unqttam virtus fereemt animusque Nigenmsis 1 



AN EPILOGUE 

Since completing this book in the spring of igi8 many 
dianges have taken place in Nigeria. 

From the ashes of the old Nigerian Brigade which 
had seen service in Togoland, the Cameroons, and East 
Africa, a new Brigade had been bom and in turn has 
passed away. On the ist June 1918 this new miit 
came officially into being under the title of the ist 
(Nigerian) West African Frontier Force Service Brigade ; 
at the same time the 2nd West African Frontier Force 
Service Brigade was formed in the Gold Coast Colony. 
It was hoped that the 3rd (Nigerian) W.A.F.F. Service 
Brigade would be formed at a later date. On the com- 
pletion of the 3rd Brigade, British West Africa would 
be in possession of a Service Division. It must be 
remembered that in addition to these service troops 
the garrison of the various Colonies had to be maintained. 
The 1st (Nigerian) W.A.F.F. Service Brigade, known 
locally as the ist West African Service Brigade (ist 
W.A.S.B.), was placed under the command of Brigadia:- 
General F. H. G. CunliSe, C.B., C.M.G. His StaiE con- 
sisted of : Captain A. C. Milne-Home, M.C., Brigade 
Major ; Captain J. H. Naumann, StafiE Captain ; lieut. 
W. E. Burr, Staff Quartermaster ; Captain H. Bourne, 
Paymaster ; Lieut. A. C. £. Darke, D.C.M., Officer in 
Charge of Records ; lieut. B. R. Harrison, in Charge of 
the Clearing Depot ; with Lieut.-Col. T. M. R. Leonard, 
D.S.O., as Principal Medical Officer. The Battalion 



294 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Commanders were : ist Battalion — Lieut.-Col. C. E. 
Roberts, M.C. ; 2nd Battalion — ^Lieut.-Col. G. L. 
Uniacke, D.S.O. ; 3rd Battalion — ^Lieut.-Col. J . A. Stewart ; 
4th Battalion— Lieut.-Col. J. Sargent, D.S.O. The other 
Unit Commanders were : Major T. A. Vise, M.C., R.A. 
Battery Commander ; Captain C. G. Evans, in Command 
of the Pioneer Company ; Captain E. F. Carson, Stokes 
Gun Battery Commander ; Major W. D. Downes, M.C, 
in Command of the Brigade Machine Gun Company. 

Of these officers all had been vdth the old Nigerian 
Brigade in East Africa, and many of their names already 
figure in the foregoing narrative, with the exception of 
Lieut.-Col. Stewart, who up to this time had been Com- 
manding a Training Centre in Nigeria. 

In addition to aU these various units there was an 
Overseas Depot of 1800 native rank and file under the 
command of Major F. H. Hawley, composed of recruits 
who had passed through the Training Centres, and the 
Training Centres themselves, which were all placed under 
the command of Lieut.-Col. E. C. Feneran. 

The old Single-Company system which had been in' 
vogue since the formation of the W.A.F.F. now dis- 
appeared, and its place was taken by the Double-Company 
system, &s in the army at home. 

Bombing, Trench Warfare, Scouting, Machine and 
Lewis Gimnery, Double Company Drill, etc., occupied 
the time of every one from the day of the return of the 
Brigade from East Africa tmtil the outbreak of the Egba 
rising in June. It is quite impossible to write here of 
all that befell the W.A.S.B. during this Expedition in 
the forest country of Southern Nigeria, as this would 
necessitate a volmne to itself. 

During this Exj^dition tl^e battalions were more or 



AN EPILOGUE 295 

less split up, and companies operated individually. The 
Brigade suffered the better part of one hundred casualties 
whilst enforcing law and order on the unruly people of 
the Egba Province. 

The natives of this country chiefly contented them- 
selves in pulling up long stretches of the permanent 
way of the Nigerian Government Railway, cutting 
telegraph wire, and destroying the property of European 
traders. The work of the troops was strenuous, but 
the Brigade liyed up to its reputation of efficiency smd 
discipline. 

At last the rebels were forced into subjection early 
in August, and the various imits of the Brigade retijrned 
to their training stations. 

Prom this time onwards the most vigorous training 
was carried out by all ranks, so that by the end of 
September the Brigade had arrived at a very high state 
of efficiency, and was fit for service in any theatre of 
operations to which it might be required to proceed. 
About this time definite orders were reqeived for the 
ist W.A.S.B. to proceed to Egjrpt ; but, alas, Fate was 
against this ! Two tfansports out of the five which 
had been allotted by the Shipping Controller to move 
the Brigade east arrived off Lagos during the last week 
of September. Just before their arrival the epidemic 
of Spanish influenza, which had invaded two-thirds of 
the globe, crept down the West Coast to Nigeria. The 
troops and dvil population went down like ninepins 
before it, and within a few days of the commencement 
of the epidemic in Nigeria over half of the W.A.S.B. 
were in hospital. The epidemic was no respecter of 
persons. Europeans and natives went down similarly 
before it. The medical authorities of Nigeria pronounced 



296 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

that it was quite impossible for the Brigade to embark. 
Thus the transports continued their journey south to 
Cape Town without the troops. ■ 

The move to Eg3rpt was postponed for a month. 
In the meantime the Allies had signed an Armistice 
with Bulgaria, Turkey, and Austria. Early in November 
the move to Egypt was definitely cancelled, and pre- 
liminary orders for the demobilization of the Service 
Troops of West Africa were received. 

The last day of 1918 saw the end of the ist W.A.S.B. 
On the 1st January 1919 this fine body of men ceased 
to exist. 

This is nearly the end of the story of the doings of the 
Nigerians in the Great War, but my account would not 
be complete if I did not quote the Brigade Order which 
was published on i6th December 1918 by Brigadier- 
General F. H. G. Cunliffe, C.B., C.M.G. : 

" Before the demobiUzation of the ist (Nigerian) 
W.A.F.F. Service Brigade is completed, the Brigadier- 
General Commanding wishes to bid farewell to all ranks. 

" Whereas none can but feel reUef that hostilities are 
ended, yet there cannot but be a sense of personal dis- 
appointment iiat such a fine body of men as the Service 
Brigade contains did not get the opportunity of helping 
to administer the cotip de grace to the enemy in the 
field. 

"As is now known, the Brigade was destined for the 
Eg3T)tian Expeditionary Force with a view to operations 
in Palestine under General AUenby, to whom a very high 
recommendation of the Nigerian Brigade was dispatched. 

"To all Units, Departments, and Individuals of the 
Brigade who have assisted to bring the Brigade to the 
high state of efi&ciency to whjch it has undoubtedly 



AN EPILOGUE 297 

attained, the Brigadier-General wishes to tender his 
deepest gratitude. He wishes to take this opportunity 
of expressing his sympathy with the relatives of those 
who have given their hves for their country while serving 
with the Overseas Contingent and the Service Brigade, 
and with those who from wounds or sickness are Ukely 
to suffer from lasting effects, and he wishes to offer his 
heartiest congratulations to all who have been granted 
awards or mentions in dispatches. 

"He wishes, the best of luck to all ranks into what- 
ever sphere of hfe they are about to enter, whether the 
Army, the Civil Service, or private emplosnnents, and 
finally hopes that all will spend a happy Christmas and 
many prosperous New Years." 

Before finally putting down my pen and writing the 
words " The End " I shoidd Uke my reader to turn to 
East Africa once again. There are some men in this 
world whom one is compelled to admire, be they friend 
or enemy. General Von Lettow Vorbeck is such a one. 

When the Nigerians left Portuguese East Africa and 
returned to Lindi, they left Von Lettow with a handful 
of men in a desolate, swampy country south-west of 
Port Amelia, with the rainy season in front of him. 

His native troops were far away from their own country. 
He had seen his force dwindle from an army in being to 
a handful of outcasts in a strange land. 

On the i6th February 1918, as we, on board the Union 
Castle steamer the "Briton," watched the low shores of 
East Africa sink away below the horizon, we were tempted 
to believe that Von Lettow's days were numbered and 
that the tragedy of a brave leader's defeat was aU but 
completed. To the amazement of ourselves and the 
world in general, a few months later Von Lettow led 



298 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

his handful of men back across the Rovuma and marched 
north again through what had once been a German colony. 
When last heard of he was marching towards Tabora, 
but when he gave himself up, on 14th November 1918, 
he was south of Kasama, in Northern Rhodesia. His 
end only came with the fall of the German Empire. 
In the . Allies' terms of the Armistice with Germany 
Von Lettow was honoured with a clause all to himself, 
in which he was allowed a month to give himself up, 
I do not think that in the whole history of the war there 
has ever been a more striking character than General 
Von Lettow Vorbeck. He was a genius in the art of 
bush warfare, a man of indomitable spirit — a most 
remarkable leader of men, who did not know what it 
was to be beaten. T6 him discomfort, hunger, heat, 
shortage of ammimition and supplies were all as nothing. 
He had one object in life only, and that was never to be 
taken by the British. He has at least earned for himself 
imd37ing fame for being a brave man and a worthy 
enemy. 

This is the end — ^Armageddon has been fought and 
won — ^the British Empire has made good I It has 
proved once again in history that it is invincible and 
can never be broken into from the outside as long as it 
stands together. It is as the City of Mansoul referred 
to in John Bunyan's "Holy War," which could only be 
broken into at the will of the townsmen : 

" For here lay the excellent wisdom of him that built 
Mansoul, that the walls could never be broken 
down nor hurt by the most mighty adverse 
potentate unless the townsfnen gave consent 
thereto." 



APPENDIX A 



LIST OF FIGHTING TROOPS IN THE FIELD AT THE 
END OF I916 



2nd L.N. Lanes. 
25th Royal Fus^iers. 
2nd Rhodesian Regt. 
5th S.A. Infantry. 
6th „ 

7th » 

8th „ 

loth „ 

98th Infantry. 

63rd P.L.L 

6ist Pioneers. 

57th Rifles, 

129th Baluchis. 

40th Pathans. 

Indian Vol. Maxims. 

17th Indian Infantry. 

30th Punjabis. 

130th Baluchis. 

2nd Kashmirs. 

3rd Kashmijp. 

Bharatpar Infantry. 

3rd Gwaliors. 

Jhind Infantry. 

Kapurthala Infantry. 

Rampur Infantry. 

5th Light Infantry. 

ist Nigeria Regt., W.A.F.F, 

2nd „ „ 



3rd Nigeria Regt., W.A.F.F. 

4th » » 

Gold Coast Regt., „ 

1/2 K.A.R. 
1/3' » 
2/3 ,. 
2/2 

2/4 » 

5th „ 

African Scout Battalion. 

Cape Corps. 

2nd W.I. Regt; 

British W.I. Regt. 

4th S.A. Horse. ■" 

7th „ 

9th „ „ 

K.A.R., M.I. 

No. I S.A. Field Battery. 

No. 2 

No. 3 

No. 4 

No. 5 

No. 6 

No. 7 

No. 8 

No. 12 „ 

No. 12 „ 

(Howitzer Battery.) 



299 



300 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

No. 13 S.A. Field Battery. No. 27 Mountain Battery. 

No. 14 „ „ No. 28 

No. 15 „ „ 134th Howitzer Battery. 

(Heavy Battery.) Naval Gun Detachment. 

No. 16 S.A. Field Battery. Gold Coast Regt. Battery. 
Kashmir Mountain Battery. Nigerian Battery. 
* No. 22 



APPENDIX B 

SUMMARY OF STRENGTHS OF INFANTRY BATTALIONS IN 
GERMAN EAST AFRICA, I917, ESTIMATED ON THE 
BASIS OF MAXIMUM " EFFECTIVE " STRENGTH 



I. European Battalions : 








25th Royal Fusiliers 


. 200 


870 — of whom 400 


259th M.G. Coy. . 


• 70 


permanently, and 


6th S.A.I. . 


. 200 


200 (6th S.A.I.) 


7th S.A.I. . 


. 200 


mostly, were on 


8th S.A.I. . 


. 200, 


L.ofC. 


2. Indian Battalions : 




(a) Imperial: 


' 




5th L.I. 






30th Punjabis 






17th Infantry (The Loyal Regt.) 


Maximum aver- 


33rd Punjabis 




age effective 


40th Pathans 




• strength, 450. 


55th (Coke's Rifles) 
57th (wade's Rifles) 




10 Battalions 




=4500. 


127th Baluchis 






129th Baluchis 






6ist K.G.O, Pioneers 


* 




(b) Imperial Service : 




Bharatpur Infantry 


' 


Maximum aver- 


Gwalior Infantry 




age effective 


Jhind Infantry 




■ sti<ength, 400. 


Eapurthala Infantry 




5 Battalions 


* Rampur Infantry 


^ 


»=2O0O. 








Ml 



802 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



3. African Battalions : 

K.A.R., 20 Battns. 
N.R., 4 Battns. at 
*Gambia Company 
Gold Coast Regt. 
Cape Corps 

4. West Indian Troops : 

W.I. Regt. 
B.W.I. Regt. 



at 



/ 
500^ 

500 

100 

700 

1600, 



14,400 



} 



600. Both on L. of C. 
latterly. 



Total Strength — 21,770 

European Battns. 4.0% /^"^"P"-^ ^^1 ^«o, 
IndiaSTBattns. z^.%%[ q«asi- Euro- | 6.8% 

African Battns. 63.4% /Natives pure "» ' „, 
W.I. Battns. 2.8% \ and simple /93-2/o 

5. Mounted Troops : , 

1. Europeans, iothS.A.H., 200 t^ -j Europ^ns, 34% 

2. Indians, 25tb Cavalry, 300 -{ ■§ >■ Indians, 50% 

' J Africans, 



3. African, K.A.H., M.I., 100 



Artillery : 

(i) Europeans — 

No. 3 S.A.F.A. 

No. 5 S.A.F.A. 

No. 15 R.M.A.H.B. 

Cornwall H.B. 

HuU H.B. 



5 Batteries 
14 Guns 



16% 



Percentage of 
Batteries, 45.4 
Percentage of 
Guns, 36 



(2) Indians 
22nd M.B. 
24th M.B. 
27tli M.B. 
29th M.B. 
K.M.B. 



5 Batteries 
20 Guns 



Percentage of 
Batteries, 36.3 
Percentage of 
Guns, 42 



Nigerian Battery 
Gold Coast Battery 



APPENDIX B 808 

(3) Africans — 

,/• -v Percentage of 

2 Batteries Batteries, , 18.3 
8 Guns Percentage of 

Guns, 22 

Percentage of Batteries — ^European . 45.4 

Native . 54.6 
Percentage of Guns — European . 33.33 

Native . 66.66 

7. Technical Troops : ' 

(i) Indian — Faridhkot Sappers and Miners, and one 
other unit. 

(2) African — ^E.A. Pioneers (2 sections). Road Corps 

(2), Nigenan Pioneers (i Coy.). 

(3) European — Nil. 

8. Administrative Services (non-combatants) : 

A.S.C., S.A.S.C.. R.A.M.C., E.A.M.S., W.A.M.S., 

S.A.M.C., Transport and Supply Departments, 

G.H.Q., Staffs, Signals, etc. — almost entirely 
European. 



304 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



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PA 




t> 




Pi 



APPENDIX C 



307 



sag 



3 — ■© 






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I S - fe>'2 ^- "* "* " 







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III l-l>§. 
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h l-i CO H 

CO CO H N 



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308 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



I 

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APPENDIX C 



809 

















i rd n 






:? 



s* g 
8 -s "ts 



■ p<" 



> be 









„ -0 bar? 




3 >.P" 






' a 



MB^$_^'i^t^$M 



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310 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 






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APPENDIX C 



811 







B 
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a o 



o .o 



l-a^ 1 



3||sJ. 



ir-lUH 



., — 0,5" 



frsg.joilg.gg|o 

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d d s H 






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m go oW uUiO.a c4 u u 10 gv M.D53 a 






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312 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 









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APPENDIX C 



818 



"r *^ . o\53 ^ <H -a tj +■ rt -S 



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314 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



I 

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;-^if^i'^«,X' 



APPENDIX C 



815 




-in-- 



■a 



.3_ «* b5 Sg g'd'2'a dtj'd 

l!fe!ili fin,' 

•^ 9 § ffcis a ow e-a a '"^ > P-i 














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816 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



■I 



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APPENDIX C 



317 



03 

K 



O 

o 

CO 

o 

h 
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n 




n . 




pq 


n' n 




d 


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t^ t~ r~ t~ t^ t^ t~*- 1^ P» iv 


1 





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d ". d d d d d d d d ". 




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318 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 







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APPENDIX C 



319 







•s-sg 






III 










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^ 73 






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d -^ 






a s a 






S^l 






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marked 
:h Oct. 


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tion to dut 
ion. Most 
HiwA on 151 
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820 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



I 



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ci 



f imam 






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APPENDIX C 



321 






?. § 



BOW ofja- 

S 5 3 a : 



•9 °. ieii^-S 



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20m.a5 ^ (3 9 3 (a-oCg o 



c/i 



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tM S P 'i 

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322 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



■^ 



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l 






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APPENDIX C 



323 






I 



to 






I 



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o 



o o o o o o 
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s M << r" & o 



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M>l K1 u >J L^ u 



324 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



a 




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APPENDIX C 



825 






q> eg 

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s^ "-a "3 . 
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SokS 
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326 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 






ci 

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13 
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APPENDIX C 



327 










Isle's IS 

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340 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



APPENDIX D 



CASUALTIES 



Below is given the Roll of Honour of the Nigerian 
Overseas Contingent for the whole period that we were 
in East Africa : 



Officers Killed in 
Major Green. 
Capt. Barclay. 
Capt. Cook. 
Capt. Dudley. 
Capt. Higgins. 
Capt. Stretton, M.C. 
Capt. Norton Harper. 
Capt. Waters, M.C. 
Lieut. Strong. 
Lieut. Ewen. 



Action or Died of Wounds. 

Lieut. W. H. Harrison. 
Lieut. F. OUver. '" 
Lieut. Joseland. 
Lieut. Stevenson. 
Lieut. F. H. Robinson. 
Lieut. H. W. Robinson. 
Lieut. Miller-Stirling. 
. Lieut, Ryaii. 

Lieut. Sutherland-Brown. 



British Non-Commissioned Officers Killed in Action 
or Died of Wounds. 

C.Q.M.S. Lamb, D.C.M. Sergt. Tomlin. '^ 

Sergt. Spratt. Sergt. Packe. 

Sergt. Evans, D.C.M. Sergt. Riley. 
Sergt. Booth. 

Officers Died of Disease. 

Capt. the Hon. R. E. Noel. Lieut. Baker, 
lieut, Huddart. Lieut. Catt, M.C. 

British N on-Commissioned Officers Died of Disease. 

Sergt. Powter. Sergt. Whitaker. 

Sergt. S. Walker. Col. Sergt. Duggan. 

Sergt, North. Sergt. Major Dwyer, 
Sergt. Kelly. 



APPENDIX D 841 

Officers and British N on-Commissioned Officers Wounded 
and Prisoners of War {suhsequentty released uncon- 
ditionally). 

Major Gard'ner. Col. Sergt. Wroe. 

Lieut. Jeffries. Sergt. Wooley. 

Col. Sergt. Speak. 

Officers severely Wounded. 

Major WaUer, D.S.O. Lieut. Thompson. 

Capt. and Adj. Collins, M.C. Lieut. Winter, M.C. 

Capt. A. C. Robinson, M.C. Lieut. M3d;ton. 

Capt. Carson. Lieut. Southby, M.C. 

Capt. O'Connell. Lieut. Buchanan-Smith, M.C. 

Capt. Budgen. Lieut. Spaxman. 

Capt. AUen (twice). Lieut. Graydon. 

Capt. Armstrong, M.C. Lieut. Fox. 

Capt. Rickards. Lieut. KeUock. 

Capt. Pring, M.C. Lieut. MulhoUand. 

Capt. Gardner, M.C. Lieut. BoviU. 

Capt. Finch. Lieut. Cuimingham. 

Lieut. Newton. Lieut. Hawkins. 

Lieut. Yotmg. 

Officers slightly Wounded. 

Lieut.-Col. Feneran. Lieut. Grandfield. 

Lieut.-Col. T. M. R. Leonard. Lieut. HiUman. 
Major Gibb. Lieut. Edwards. 

Capt. O'Connell. Lieut. Snape. 

Lieut. S.tudley, M.C. Lieut. Jerrim. 

Lieut, and Adj. Winter, M.C. Lieut. Dyer. 
Lieut. Steed. Lieut. Pomeroy. 

British N on-Commissioned Officers severely Wounded. 

Sergt. Reilly. Sergt. Care-. 

Sergt. Dixon. Sergt. Groom. 



342 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 

Sergt. Trandark. Sergt. Ward. 

Col. Sergt. Kerry. Sergt. Darke, 

Col. Sergt. Watldns. Sergt. Manad. 
Sergt. M'Knight. 

British Non-Commissioned Offic&rs slighUy Wounded. 

Col. Sergt. Hunsworth. Sergt. Hunt, M.M. 

Sergt. Fraser. Sergt. Tanner. 

Sergt. Booth. Sergt. Empringham. 
Sergt. O'Bergin. 



Accidentally Wounded. 
Capt. Drake. 

Officers invalided out of German East Africa from Diseases 
contracted on Active Service. 

Lieut, and Act. Adj. Travers. Lieut. R. F. Forrest. 

Lieut. H. de B. Bewley. Lieut. Rutland. 

Capt. R. R. Taylor. Lieut. W. E. Burr. 

Lieut. R. H. Wortham. Lieut. W. B. Preston. 

Capt. H. C. Faussett. Lieut. Avary. 

Capt. E. T. P. Ford. Lieut. Marlow. 

Lieut. Harris, M.M. Lieut. Hobson. 

lieut. B. G. Cavanagh. Lieut. Wood. 
Lieut. Harrison. 

British N on-Commissioned Officers permanently invalided 
out of German East Africa from Diseases contracted 
on Active Service. 

B.S.M. Thorogood. Sergt. Grinyer. 

Armourer Sergt. Collins. Sergt. Taylor. 
Sergt. Pearce. 



APPENDIX D 



848 



The following table gives the numbers of native rank 
and file killed or died of wounds, or died from the result 
of accidents incurred by Active Service conditions, died 
of disease, and wounded, during the whole campaign. 
In addition many deaths occurred during the return 
voyage to Nigeria, which are not included in this table. 
This Ust does not include deaths to men repatriated on 
account of woimds or disease, who died after leaving 
East Africa : — 



Company. 

No. I 

2 

3 
4 
5 
6 

7 
8 

9 

10 

II 

12 

13 

14 

15 

i6 . 
Battery - 
Pioneer Section 
Drafts 



aued. 


Died. 


Wounded 


38 


10 


52 


17 


8 


38 


15 


16 


63 


7 


8 


II 


7 


12 


47 


II 


II 


33 


13 


14 


24 


9 


7 


26 


35. 


5 


76 


41 


16 


75 


16 


10 


24 


32 


7 


86 


22 


15 


38 


14 


II 


19 


13 


18 


26 


22 


IQ 


49 


23 


17 


22 


3 


3 


6' 


12 


56 


31 



INDEX 



Note. — See also Appendices A, B, C, and D for Lists of Units, 
Awards, and Casualties. 



Abdualla-Kwa-Nangwa, 184 | 

Abdulai, Cpl., 199 

Abercorn, 26 

Abudu IHnga, 158, 159 

"Adgital," 23 

Aiolabi Ibadan, 157 

African Scouts, 57 

Ahaji Maifoni, Pte., 99 

Albertville, 39 

Allenby, General, 296 

Alt Utengule, 116 

Ambrose, Capt., 155 

Anderson, Capt., 94 

Arclier, Laeut.-Col., 46, 75, 76, 77, 

81 
Armstrong, Capt., 81, 152, 154 
Aruscha, 33 
"Astraea," 22 

Awudu Kadunu, Lance-Cpl., 100 
Awudu Katsena, 78, 79, 200, 206, 

207 



Bachmann, Sergt., 280 

Badger, Sergt., 178 

Badham, Lieut.-Col., 70, 82, 83, 

152. 153, 237i 238, 239, 240, 284 
Bagamojo, 36 
Balnave, Lieut., 239 
Baluchi Camp, 59, 65 
Ealuchis, 60, 6x, 66, 71, 72, 180, 

255, 276, 277, 278 
Bangalla, 276 

Barclay, Capt., 74, 78, 79, 241 
Beho Beho, 65, 66, 74 
Belgian Congo, 37, 39 
Belgians, 15, 26, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 

118, 123, 124, 131, 136, 137, 138, 

142, 143, 145. 146, 183, 184 
Belo Akure, Company-Sergt.-Maj., 

7, 104, 105, 106, 107, 122, 123 



" Berwick Castle," H.M.T., 47, 48, 

50 
Beves, Brig.-Gen., 41, 54, 59, 67, 

69, 96, 189, 190, 191, 193, 197, 

198, 212, 213, 2i6, 229 
Bharatpur Imperial Service In- 
fantry, 152 
Bismarckberg, 38 
Boma Ja-Ngombe, 29, 30 
Booth, Major, loi 
!6otha. Gen., 37 
Bottom Camp, iii 
Bourne, Capt., 293 
Breytenbach, Lieut.-Col., 182, 276, 

277, 282 
British South African PoUce, 39 
British West India Regiment, 149 
" Briton," 289, 297 
Buchanan-Smith, Lieut., 98, 99, 

100, 152, 153, 154 
Buigin, 129 
Bukoba, 24 

Burney, Capt., 178, 240 
Burr, Lieut., 293 
Butler, Capt., 43 
Bweho Chmi, 150, 159, 168, 169, 

170, 171, 17s, 176, 177. 178, 182, 

272 
Bweho-Ju, 170, 179 
Bweho-Kati, 170, 176 
Byron, Col., 31, 94 



"C 23" Camp, 150, 151 
Calabar, 47 

Cape Corps, 57, 69, ^o, Ti, 73, 93, 
94, 142, 166, 183, 232, 233, 234, 

235. 237> 240. 241, 255 
Care, Sergt., 80 
Carrier Corps, 97, 220, 244, 256 
Carson, Capt., 156, 294 
Catt, Lieut., 237, 240 

345 



346 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



Central Railway, 15, 16, 33, 36, 

37. 40. 41. 51, 52, 109, 117. 119. 

120, 145, 146 
Chemera, 95 
Chikalala, 243 
Chinde, 38 

Chirumaka, 155, 159, 161, 220 
Chiwata, 245, 246, 247, 249 
Coke's Rifles, 251 
Collins, Capt., 158 
Cooke, Capt., 75, 76 
Crichton, Capt., the Hon. J., 46 
CroT^e, Lieut., 206 
CunUfie, Brig.-Gen., 7, 46, 53, 57, 

59, 61, 65, 67, 73, 93, loi. 170. 

i8o, 185, 229, 242, 293, 296 



D 

Dakawa, 60, no, in, 113 
Dakawa-Kissaki, 59 
Dar-es-Salaain, 15, 16, 17, 36, 50, 

51, 53. 142. 149. 162, 163, 166, 

249, 268 
Darke, Lieut., 293 
Dean, Lieut., 239' 
Dennistoun, Lieut.-Comdr., 23 
Deventer, Gen. van, 30, 31, 32, 

33, 34, 36, 39, 139, 142, 166, 176, 

274, 281, 282 
Dickson, Sergt., 80 
Dodo JaUngo, Pte, 99 
Dodoma, 33, 34, 36, 86, 96, 120, 

162 
Dorrendorf, 129, 130 
Downes, Major, 294 
Dudley, Capt., 75, 76 
Durban, 49, 50 
DutUumi, 41, 53, 54, 37, 39, 6i, 

62, 66, 67, 74, III, 145 
Dyer, Lieut. J., 64 
Dyke, Col., 166 



£ 

East African Brigade, 33 
Edwards, Brig.-Gen., 117, 118, 

ri9, 123 
Edwards, Lieut., 231 
Egba, 294,295 

Element, Sergt., 133, 137, 199, 200 
Eley, Sergt., 200 
Engare Kanjuka, 29 
Evans, Capt., 294 



Evans, Sergt., 205 
Ewen, Lieut., 76 



Fairweather, Col., 94 

Faridkhot Sappers, 67, 183 

Faire, 184 

Feneran, lieut.-Col., 46, 72, 73, 294 

Ford, Capt., 238 

Fowle, Capt., 172 

"Fox," H.M.S., 19 

Fox, Lieut., 133, 133, 136, 137, 

198, 201 
Freith,,Col., 180, 181 
Freytag, Gen. von, 287 



Gambia Company, 162, 165, 183, 
196, 209, 211, 212, 215, 216, 
218, 219, 221, 222, 224, 225, 
227, 233, 262 

Gard'ner, Major, 73, 76, 79, 80, 
83, 84, 256 

Gardner, Capt., 63, 172, 173, 178, 
231 

Gazi, 18, 28 

Gereragua, 29 

Gerth, 130 

Gibb, Col., 162, 196, 197, 239 

Gold Coast Regiment, 43, 44, 179, 
180, 181, 286 

Gongonuchi, 276, 283 

Green, Major, 59, 74, 238, 241 

Grenadiers, 20 

Griffiths, Lieut., 166, 167 



H 

Haig, Field-Marshal Sir Douglas, 

282 
Handeni, 35, 143 
Hanforce, 183 
Hannyngton, Brig.-Gen., 34, 33, 

95, 166, 167, 176, 180, 190, 232, 

242, 243, 244 
Hardingham, Lieut., 17 
Harman, Lieut., 270 
Harrison, Lieut., 76, 293 
Hart, Lieut., 233, 256 
Hasethausen, Capt., 24 
Hatia, 236, 242, 244 



INDEX 



347 



Hawkins, Lieut., 230 
Hawley, Major, 294 ^ 
Hawthorne, Col., 39, 94, 184 
Hellier, Rev. A. B., 129 
Hervey, Sergt., 199, 200 
Hetley, Capt., 83, 198, 202, 239, 

, .253, 254 

Hickson, Lieut.-Col., 24 

Higgins, Capt., 178 

Hilton, Ijeut., 79, 80, 81, 137 

Hobson, Lieut., 170 

Holland, Capt., 138, 139, 140 

" Hong Wan I," 149, 163, 164 

Hoskins, Lieut.-Gen., 34, 35, 85, 

87. 88, 95 
Hunt, Sergt., 206 



Ifinga, 94 

Ikoma, 142, 143 

Ikungu Kawa, Segela, 125, 126 

Indian Brigade, 59 

Indian Cavalry, 167, 182, 276 

Indian Imperial Service Troops, 

20 
Indian Mountain Battery, 180, 

181 
Indian Regular Infantry, 20 
Intelligence Dept., 144, 145, 159, 

188, 237, 242, 270, 271, 277, 284 
Ipakara, 144 
Eangi, 38, 39 
Ijringa, 86, 96 
Itete, 147 
Itigi, 117 
Ititi, 121 



Jambe Showish, 134 
Jassin, 21, 22 
JefBties, Lieut., 80, 256 
Jose, Lient., 178 



K 

Kagera, 24 

Karangu, 18, 22, 24 

Kasama, 298 

Kashmiris, 5, 8, 20, 70, 72, 93, 

94, 152, 224, 254, 276, 284 
Kasigan, 28 
Kassile, 33 
Kate, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34 



Kellock, Lieut., 121, 122, 123, 199, 

200 
Kendu, 18 
Kibambawe, 65, 68, 70, 74, 83, 

93, 96 
Kibinda, 94 
Kibongo, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 

81, 82, 83, 85, 93. 97, 102, 103, 

104, 105 
Kidatu, 144 
Kiderengwa, 61, 64 
Kidode, 144 
Kigoma, 15 

Kilimanjaro, 17, 21, 28, 29, 30, 33 
Kilimatinde, 33, 34, 36 
Kilossa, 39, 86, 96, 117 
KUundu, 116 
Kilwa, 15, 86, 95, 96, 146, 148. 

149, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 182, 

194, 195, 244, 264, 265 
Kilwa-Kisiwauii, 164 
" Kinfauns Castle," 289 
King Hall, Vice-Admiral, 16, 25 
King's African Rifles, 16, 18, 22, 

24, 25, 31, 39, 94, 96, 116, 152, 

155, 156, 159, 165, 167, 179, 180, 

182, 224, 225, 230, 241, 254, 255, 

286 
King's East African Rifles, 97 
Kipenio, 67, 68, 69, 108, 109, 147, 

148 
Kirfurbira, 23 
Kiruru, 59, 63 
Kisii, 18 

Kissaki, 59, 65, 67 
Kissengwe, 67 
Kissiwami, 23 
Kisumu, 24 
Kitande, 94 
Kitangari, 255, 274 
Kitarara, 121 
Kitchener, Col., 139 
Kitope, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148 
Kitundu, 117, 118 
Kivu, 39 
Kiyinje, 23 
Klinkhardt, Hauptmann, 280, 282, 

283 
Kokombo, 36 
Kondoa Irangi, 33, 34, 143 
" Konigsberg," 18, 25, 26, 40, 57, 

150 
Korogwe, 34, 35 
Koromo, 117 
Koronga, 37 
Kraut, Major, 39, 94 
Kwale, 23 



348 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



Lamb, Colour-Sergt,, 77 

Laxsen, Majo^, 123 

Latma, 30, 31 

Law, Capt., 162 ^ ^ 

Ldedda, 167 

Legion of EVontieTsmen, 24, 66, 

226, 265 
Leonard, Lieiit.-Col., 293 
Lettow-Vorbeck, von, 15, 34, 117, 

190, 192, 193, 203, 216, 217, 
219, 220, 236, 247, 250, 274, 
278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 
286, 287, 288, 297, 298 

LJhero, 186 
Likuju, 85, 94 
Lincke, 278 

Lindi, 15, 95, 146, 149, 150, 162, 
182, 183, 183, 186, 188, 189, 

191, 193, 195, 197, 229, 230, 297 
Linforce, 183, 185, 189, 190, 193, 

194, 197, 203, 211, 220, 221, 229, 

232, «33 
Liwale, 95, 145, 183, 184 
Lloyd, Capt., 265 
Loge-Loge, 144 
Longido, 21, 29 
loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 

20 
Luale, 166, 168, 176, 179, 182 
Luale Chini, 168 
Luale Kati, 167 
Luatala, 276, 277 
Luchemi, 251, 254, 255, 256, 274 
Lugenda, 279 
Luhembero, 92 
Lujenda, 284 
Lukuguru, 35 
Lukuledi, 160, 190, 221, 237, 241, 

243 
Lungo, 167 
Lupembe, 38 
Lusbimi, 280 
Lutiniba, 191 
Luwegu, 144 
Luxford, Capt., 237 
Lyle, Col., 58, 59, 63. 64, 65, 66 



M 

M'Gregor, Capt., 277 
Mafia, 22 
Magadi, 143 

Mahenge, 117, 144, 146, 182, 184, 
274 



Mahiwa, 12, 149, 159, 189, 192, I93i 

196, 197, 198, 203, 216, 221, 223, 
224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 230, 231, 
232, 233, 234, 237, 241, 265, 267, 
272, 275 

Maifundi Shua, Sergt., 173 
Makanya, 281 

Makonde, 244, 245, 246, 253 
Malongwe, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 

i24» 126, 127 
"Malukuta," H.M.T., 47 
Mamatews, 95 
Mann, Brig.-Gen., 46, 185, 189, 

197, 198, 203, 213, 214, 216, 217, 
220, 227, 229, 234, 246; 284 

Masbachi, 142 

Massassi, 183, 190, 193, ^97, 221, 

275, 276 
Matandu, 96 
Maungn, 17 
Majwa, 73, 80, 145 
Mawerenye, 170, 171, 179 
Maxwell, Capt., 76, 109, 196, 197, 

198 
Mbaba Iramba Kingangira, 132 
Mbaga, 132 
Mbenkuru, 182 
Mbuyumi, 28 
Mchmga, 2S4 
Mdogo, 28 
Medo Boma, 284 
"Mendi," H.M.T., 47, 50, 51, 56 
"Mersey," H.M.S., 25, 26 
Meru, 29, 33 
Meza, 2S4 
Mgeta, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 

66, 67, 86, 87, no 
Mhnlu, 186 
Mihambia, 166 
Miller-StirUng, Lieut., 217 
Mills, Lieut., 71, 72 
Milne-Home, Capt., 75, 98, 99, 

102, 229, 293 
Mikesse, 51, 53, 67, 85, 112, 113 
Milow, 94 , 

Mingoyo, 149, 150 
Mirola, 187, 188, 189 
Mkalama, 127, 131, 133, 134, 135, 

138, 140, 141 
Mkindu, 69, 7°, 7^, 72, 73, 74, 75, 

85, 89, 90, 92, 93, 94, 97, 98, 

loi, 102, 103, 106, 107, 108, 

109, 114 
Mtwera, 234, 235, 236, 237, 239, 

241, 242 
Mohoro, 96 
Molitor, Col., 40 



INDEX 



349 



f f 



Moma Adija, Lance-Cpl., 120, 122 
Mombasa, 16, 18, 21 
Montgomery, Major, 116, 117 
Morakmyo Ibadan, Company- 

Sergt.-Major, 82 
Morogoro, 36, 41, 54, 109, 114, 

117, iiS, 135, 142, 144, 148, 
158, 162, t63, 262 

Morris, Lieut.-Col., 70, 72, 73, 183 

Moschi, 31 

Moshi, 143 

Mpangaaya, 144 

Mpangas, 98, loi, 102, 113, 148, 

162 
Mpangula, 249 
Mpapua, 36 
Mpembe, 189 
Mremba, 216, 23^ 234 
Mssindyi, 166, 167, J83 
Msnras, 167 
Mswega, 147 
Mtama, 161, 183, 189, 197, 215, 

220, 221, 229, 233, 286 
Mtamla, 144 
Mtete, 186, 187 
Mtsbinyiri, 186, 189 
Mtua, 151, 191 
Mua, III 
" Muanza," 22 
Muanza, 36, 39, 40, 117, 142 
Mulholland, Lieut., 200 
Muller, 236 
Murray, Col., 39, 94, 95, 116, 117, 

118, 184 
Mwaya, 38 
Mwele, 28 
Mwembe, 284 

Mwiti, 250, 274, 276, 277 



N 

Nahanga, 186, 188 

Nahungu, 176, 179, 180, 181, 182, 
183, 185, 186 

Nairobi, 16, 18 

Nakadi, 216, 226, 265 

Nakin, 179, 180 

Namupa Mission, 193, 194, 196, 
197, 202, 203, 204, 209, 211, 
213, 215, 216, 220, 222, 225 

Nangano, 183, 184 

Nangoar, 284 

Nangoo, 236, 242, 243, 276 

Nanguri, 283 

Narumbego, 186, 187 

Natron, 18 



Naumann, Capt., 118, 119, 121, 123, 
124, 125, 128, 142, 143, 162, 166, 
182, 293 

Naurus, 276, 281 

Ndanda, 243, 244, 245, 246, 268 

Ndessa, 166 

Nengedi,*i5i, 152 

Nengidi, 160 

Nethersole, Capt., 276, 277 

Newala, 274, 275, 278 

New Langenberg, 38, 94 

New Moschi, 30 

Newton, Lieut., 70, 71 

Ngedi, 192 

Ngembe, 82, 94 

Ngomano, 279, 280, 283 

Ngororo, 250 

Ngwembe, 70, 73, 73, 81, 85, 92, 
108 

Nigerian Battalions, 131 

Nigerian Battery, 46, 57, 67, 72, 
74, 79, 81, 98, 99, 109, 114, 163, 
l6s, 167, 180, 181, 196, 203, 204, 
215, 216, 218, 219, 231, 239, 245, 
250J 254, 262 

Nigerian Brigade, 46, 47, 50, 51, 
53, 55, 56, 66, 70, 85, 89, 90, 92, 
94, 98, 114, "5, J44, 149, 150, 
162, 165, 166, 167, 183, 186, 189, 
192, 199, 203, 226, 227, 228, 229, 
233, 234, 235, 242, 243, 249, 251, 
254. 255, 264, 268, 26Q, 274, 275, 
276, 279, 281, 282, 283, 284, 286, 
289, 296 

Nigerian Government Railway, 295 

Nigeria Overseas Contingent, 46, 
289, 297 

Nigerian Koneer Section, 165, 180, 
182, 185, 186, 196, 218, 294 

Nigeria Regiment, 7, 12, 42, 63, 
64, 136, 178 

Nigeria Regiment, ist Battalion, 
8, 47, 51, 54, 56, 57, 60, 64, 65, 
66, 67, 70, 72, 73, 82, 93, 109, 
142, 162, 164, 165, 167, 168, 
169, 171, 172, 176, 177, 178, 
179, 180, 185, 196, 197, 203, 209, 
210, 211, 212, 213, 215, 216, 
221, 222, 225, 226, 227, 231, 232, 
233, 236, 240, 245, 246, 249, 250, 
251, 255, 262, 274, 284, 

Nigeria Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 
8, 47, 51, 54, 56, 63, 64, 65, 66, 
68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, 90, 91, 93, 
98, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 
162, 163, 164, 165, 167, 168, 169, 
172, 176, 178, 180, 181, 185, 190, 



350 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



196, 198, 202, 207, 209, 211, 213, 
214, 223, 231, 254 

Nigeria Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 
7. 47. 52, 56, 58, 59, 66, 67, 73, 
74. 75. 77. 78. 81. 82, 91, 99, I44. 
145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 
152. 155. 158, 159, 160, 161, 163, 
167, 213, 214, 220, 221, 222, 223, 

224, 225, 232, 233, 234, 236, 237, 

238, 239, 241, 269, 284 
Nigeria Regiment, 4th Battalion, 

7. 47. 51. 56, 57. 59. 60, 61, ei2, 
64, 65, 66, 65, 74, 75, 76, 77, 81, 
82, 98, 104, 106, 109, 114, 117, 
118, 124, 133, 135, 140, 142, 
149, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167, 168, 
170, 176, 179, ifio, 182, 185, 186, 
196, 198, 202, 204, 205, 207, 208, 
209, 211, 214, 223, 235, 236, 237, 

239, 240, 241, 243, 246, 250, 253, 
262, 275, 285, 286 

5th Nigeria Regiment, 9 
Nigerian Signal Section, 166, 185 
Nigerian Stokes Gnn Section, 165, 

185, 196, 239, 245, 249, 250, 294 
Nkadi, 233 
Nkalu, 116 
Nongo, 151 

' Norttiem Nigeria Regunent, 8, 9 
Northern Rhodesian Police, 26, 39 
Northey, Gen., 37, 39, 85, 94, 95, 

116, 145, 146, 243, 276, 286 
Norton-Harper, Capt., 92, 140, 206, 

209, 241 
Nrunyn, 150, 151 
Nyahua, 119 
Nyakisiku, 93 
Nyandote, 75 
Nyangandu, 147 
Njrangao, 183, 190, 193, 196, 197, 

203, 213, 214, 215, 221, 222, 223, 

225, 229, 231, 233 
Nyassa, 25, 37, 38 
Nyassaland, 16, 37, 38, 286 
Nyengedi, 156, 159, 160, 161, 186, 

190, 191, 192, 221 



O'Connell, Capt., 232 

O'Grady, Brig.-Gen., 95, 150, 151, 
152. 153, 159, 212, 213, 214, 221, 
222, 223, 224, 228, 234, 242, 243, 
246, 247, 254 

Oliver, ueut., 178 

Orr, Col., 180, 181, 251 



Otto, Oberleutnant, 81, 184, 278, 

279 
Overseas Depot, 294 



Pangani, 35, 36, 57 

Pare, 29 

Pinto, Major, 279, 280 

Htu, 94 

Pomeroy, Lieut., 79, 85 

Poroto, 38 

Port Amelia, 284, 286, 297 

Portuguese, 279, 280, 281, 283, 

284 
Portuguese East Africa, 15, 28, 

145, 146, 286, 297 
Pretorius, Major, 185, 189, 192, 

270 
Pring, Capt., 93, 171 
Punjabis, 16, 17, 21, 66 



R 

Redhill, 164, 165 
Rhodesia, 37, 38, 146 
Rhodesians, 31, 57, 145 
Rickards, Capt., 215 
Ridgeway, Col,, 246, 247 
Riedemarkers, Lieut., 137 
Riley, Sergt., 200, 2or 
Roberts, Major, 77, 78, 81, 83, 

209, 213, 215, 216, 217, 219, 

220, 232,294 
Robinson, Capt., 78,181, 155, 156, 

157 
Rondo, 190, 191, 192, 193 
Rovuma, 144, 145, 146, 163, 263, 

269, 276, 278, 279, 282, 284, 285, 

286, 298 
Ruaha, 144 
Rufiji, 15, 23, 25, 41, 59, 65, 66, 

67, 68, 86, 87, 88, 89, 92, 95. 96, 

98, 107, 109, 110, 112, 114, 135, 

142, 144. 145. 146, 147. 148, 149. 

163, 261, 269, 270, 271, 272 
Ruhudje, 39 
Rukwe, 26 
Rupiagine, 190, 191 
Ruponda, 190, 232 
Russell, Colour-S^gt., 74 . 
Ruwu, 30, 32, 33, 34, 43, 54, 55, 

56, 112 
Ruwutop, 53 
Ryan, Lieut., 225, 226 



INDEX 



351 



Sadoni, 36 
Saidi, 184 
St Michael, 40 
St Mbritz, 116 
Saisi, 26 

Sail Bagirmi, Cpl., 201 
Salita, 28, 29, 30 
Sangenla, 125, 127, 131 
Sargent, lieut.-Col., 46, 77, 80, 
81, 82, 98, 109, 112, 124, 127, 

131. 133, 138. 141, 179, 180, 

205, 229, 294 
" Saxon," 289 
Schaedels, 150 
Sche&feld, 278 
Schnee, von, 284^ 
Scbul^, Under-omcer, 249 
" Seaagbee," H.M.T., 47, 50 
Segara, 35 
Selous, Capt., 65 
Serengeti, 17, 28 
" Severn," H.M.S., is, 26 
Shaw, Lieut., 220, 256 
Shefu Katagum, Sergt., 136 
Shell Camp, 57 
Sheppard, Gen., 32, 33, 35, 59, 

65, 66, 70, 85 
Shinyanga, 141 
Shirati, 22 
Shorthose, 183 
Sibiti, 141 
Sikonge, 117 
Simiyn, 142 

Singidda, 127, 128, 131, 133 
Smith-Donien, Gen. Sir H., 27, 

37 
Smuts, Gen., 14, 27, 28, 29, 30, 

33. 36, 37. 51. 53. 68, 267 
Songei, 38, 39, 94. ^45 
South African Brigade, 33, 59, 67 
South African Horse, 183, 276 
South African Infantry ^gade, 30, 

31, 34. 35, 41 
South African Motor Cychst Corps, 

94 
South African Mounted Brigade, 

29, 30 
Soulh African Rifles, 39 
Southby, Lieut., 155, 158 
Southern Nigeria Regiment, 7, 9 
Spe^k, Colour-Sergt., 80 
Sphinxhaven, 25 
Spr4tt, Sergt., 198 
SprackhofE, 154 
Ssingino, 164 



Stamp, Sergt., 206 

Stephenson, lieut., 178 

Stewart, Major J. A., 24, 25, 29, 

30, 294 
Stobart, Lieut., 179 
Stofe, 32 

Stretton, Capt., 171, 216, 217 
Stretton Hill, 90 
Strong, Lieut., 172, 173, 178 
Studley, Lieut., 172, 173, 178 
Suberu Ilorin, Pte., 99 
Subiti, 140, 141 
Suli Begaremi, Lance-Cpl., 62 
O'SuUevan, Major J. J., 26, 27 
Sumanu,' Company-Sergt.-Major, 

7, 157 
Summit Camp, 56, in, 112, 113 
Sutherland-Brown, Lieut., 156 



Tabora, 26, 36, 39, 40, 41, 116, 
117, 118, 119, 120, 122, 123, 
128, 129, 130, 141, 142, 145, 146, 

243. 249, 298 

Tafel, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 
281, 282, 283 

Tandala, 94, 95 

Tanga, 15, 19, 20, 21, 33, 34, 35, 36 

Tanganyika, 15, 37, 39, 40 

Tanti, Sergt., 178 

Tasker^ Sergt., 219 

Taveta, 17, 28, 29, 30 

Taylor, Col., 150, 131, 161 

Thehlke, Dr., 14 

Thompson, 79 

Thomson, Col., 150 

Tighe, Gen., 25, 28, 31 

Tindwas, 93 

Tirimo, 141 

Togoland, 5, 23 

Tombour, 39 

Tomlin, 225 

Tomlinson, Col., 94, 116 

Travers, Lieut., 106, 107, 112 

Trengjrouse, Lieut., 176 

TroUop, Sergt., 200 

Tsavo, 17, 18 

Tschipwadwa,' 186, 187 

Tschungi, 36 

Ts^e, 2^8, 249 

Tshitishiti, igo 

Tshrimba, 277 

Tsimbe, 64 

Tukeru Bouchi, Company-Sergt.- 
Major, 200 



352 NIGERIANS IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA 



Tulo, 41, 53, s6, 58, 59, 108, III, 
^ "3. 285 
Tunduru, 184 



U 

Ubena, 39 
, Uganda, 16, 24, 27 
lUganda Railway, 16, 23, 27, 28 

Ujiji. 39, 4° 
Ukula, 283 

UlugUTU, 96 

Umba, 28 

Uniacke, LJeut.-Col., 69, 146, 147, 

178, 294 
Usambara, 15, 29 
Uspke, 40 
Utete, 95, 96 



Victoria Nyanza, 17, 18, 22, 24, 

36, 39. 40. 142 
Vise, Lieut., 99, 100, 294 
Voi, 17, 28 



W 

Wahle, Gen., 26, 39 

Waholo, 187 

Waller, Major, 46, 79, 99 



Warri, Pte. J., 59, 60 

Waters, Capt., 178, 225 

Webb, Major, 118, 119, 121, 123 

West African Frontier Force, i, 3, 
5, 8, 9, II, 12, 13, 43, 217, 293, 
294, 296 

West AJxic^n Frontier Force Ser- 
vice Brigade, 293 

West African Service Brigade, 293, 
294, 295. 296 

West,JJieut.-Col., 46, 69 

Whittingham, Sergt., 269 

Wiedhaven, 94 

Williams, Capt., 92 

Williams, Pte. J., 148 

"Winifred," 22 ^ 

Winter, lieut., 79, 8i, 251 

Wintgens, 94, 95, 116, 117, 118 

Wiransi, 110 

" Wissmann, von," 25 

Woodward, Archdeacon, 128 

Woolley, Sergt., 80 

Wroe^ Sergt., 80 



Young, lieut., 70 

Z 

Zambesi, 38 
Zanzibar, 14, 118, 258 



PviniediH Greui Britain 
iji TimiiuU&' S fears, Edinito^k 




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Light Freights. W. W. Jacobs. 

Lodger, The. Mrs. Belloc Lowndes. 

Loi^g Road, The. John Oxenham. 



C. N. and A. M. 



LovB Pirate, The. 

Williamson. 
Mary All-Alone. John Oxenham. 
Master op the Vineyard. Myrtle Reed. 
Master's Violi^, The. Myrtle Reed. 
Max Carrados. Ernest Bramah. 
Mayor op Trov, The. 'Q.' 
Mess Deck, The. W. F. Shannon. 
Mighty Atom, The. Marie CorellL 
Mirage. £. Temple Thurston. 
Missing Delora, The. E. Phillips Oppen- 

heim. 
Mr. Gkex of Monte Cahlo. E. Phillips 

Oppenheim. 
Mr. Washington. Maijorie Bowen. 
Mrs. Maxon Protests. Ailthony Hope. 
Mrs. Peter Howard. Mary E. Mann. 
Mv Danish Sweetheart. W. Clark 

Russell. 
My Friend the Chauffeur. C. N. and 

A. M. Williamson. 
My Husband and I. Leo Tolstoy. 
Mv Lady of Shadows. John Oxenham. 
Mystery of DK. Fu-Manchu, Thb. Sax 

Rohmer. 
Mystery of the Green Heart, The. 

Max Femberton. 
Mystery of the Moat, Thb. Adeline 

Sergeant. 
Nine Days' Wonder, A B. M. Croker. 
Nine to Six^Thirty. W. Pett Ridge. 
Ocean Sleuth, The. Maurice Drake. 
Old Rose and Silver. Myrtle Reed. 
Paths of the Prudbnt, The. J. S. 

Fletcher. 
Pathway of thb Fioheer, Thb. Dolf 

Wyllarde. 
Peggy of the Bartons. B. M. Croker. 
Pboflb's Man, A. E. Phillips Oppenbeim. 
Peter and Jane. S. Macnaughtan. 
QuBST of Glory, Thb. Marjorie Bowen. 
Quest of the Golden Rose, Thb. John 

Oxenham. 

Regent, Thb. Arnold Bennett. 

Rehincton Sbntvnce, The. W. Pett 
Ridge. 



Fiction 



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Return of Tarzah, The. Edgar Rice Bur- 
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Round the Red Lamp. Sir A. Conan Doyle. 

RovAl. Ceorcib. S. Baring-Gould. 

Said, the Fishbruan. Marmaduke Pick- 
thall. 

Sally. Dorothea Conyers. 

Salvihg of a Derelict, Thb. Maurice 
Drake. 

Sandy Masribd. Dorothea Conyers. 

Sba Captain, Thb. H. C Bailey. 

Sea Lady, The. H. G. Wells. 

Search Party, The. George A. Birmingham. 

Secret Agent, The. Joseph Conrad. 

Secret History. C N. and A. M. William- 
son. 

Secret Woman, The. Eden Fhillpotts. 

Set in Silver. C N. and A. M. William- 
son. 

Sevastofol, and Other Stories. Leo 
Tolstoy. 

Severins, Thb. Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick. 

Short Cruises. W. W. Jacobs. 

Si-Fan Mysteries, The. Sax Rohmer. 

Spanish Gold. George A. Birmingham. 

Spinner in the Son, A. Myrtle Reed. 

State Secret, A. B. M. Croker. 

Street called Straight, Thb. Basil 
King. 

Supreme Crime, The. Dorothea Gerard. 
Tales of Mean Streets. Arthur Morrison. 
Tarzak of the Afbs. Edgar Rice Bur- 
roughs. 



Teresa of Watling Street. Arnold 
Bennett. 

There was a Crooked Man. Dolf Wyllarde. 

Two Marys, The. Mrs. Oliphant. 

Two WoMBN. Max Pemberton. 

Tyrant, The. Mrs. Henry de la Pasture. 

Under the Red Robe. Stanley J, Weyman. 

Under Western Eyes. Joseph Conrad. 

Unofficial Honeymoon, The. Dolf 

Wyllarde. 

Valley of the Shadow, Tab. William 
Le Queux. 

Vengeance is Mine. Andrew Balfour. 

Virginia Perfect. Peggy Webling. 

Wallet of Kai Lung. Ernest Bramah. 

Ware Case, The. George Pleydell. 

C. N. and A. M. 



War Wedding, The. 
WilKamson; 

Way Home, The. Basil King. 

Way of these Women, The. E. Phillips 
Oppenheim. 

Weaver of Dreams, A. Myrtle Reed. 

Weaver of Web.*;, A. John Oxenham. 

Wedding Day, The. C. N. and A. M. 

Williamson. 
White Fang. Jack London. 
Wild Olivb, The. Basil King. 
Woman with the Fan, The. Robert 

Hichens. 
WO2. Maurice Drake. 

Wonder of Love, Thb. £. Maria Albanesi. 
Yellow Claw, The. Sax Rohmer. 
Yellow Diamond, Thb. Adeline Sergeant. 



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IX. yl. ntt 

Mother's Son, A. B. and C. B. Fry. 

Pomp of the Layilbttbs, The. Sir Gilbert 
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Profit and Loss. John Oxenbam. 

Red Dbrbuct, Thb. Bertram Mitford. 



printed by MORRISON AND GIBB LTOw, BDINBURGH 



THE POETICAL WORKS OF 

RUDYARD KIPLING 

Barrack- Room Ballads 197th Thousand 

The Seven Seas 152nd Thousand 

The Five Nations i20ih Thousand 

Departmental Ditties 94th Thousand 
The Years Between 

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