Posted 18 February 2009 - 02:02 pm
I have only just 'found' this thread, but hope that my Fathers' brief Memoir will be of use. He wrote it down in 1973 and was a bit 'crook' at the time, so details are not for the pedant. I have just picked a few bits out.
Sailed from Southampton December, 1915. Troopship[Trafford Hall]. Reached Las Palmas in 7 days. Ship took on coal and then set off for journey to Durban, South Africa, which lasted 5 weeks. By-passed Capetown, but had a wonderful view of Table Mountain.
Arrived at Kilincline[?] Mombassa, where we were concentrated into a Division, and proceeded by slow train to Voi, a journey taking 24 Hours.
VOI. We split into tracking units, and moved to Maktau, with our 4 guns, ammunition, etc., 12 Oxen pulling each gun, and 10 Oxen pulling the ammunition wagons plus rations.
First engagement in action took place at Sailita[?] Hill. We did not have any casualties; these were confined to the infantry, whose losses were slight. My particular work was forward observation, seeking out exact positions of machine gun units, not easy by any means. We pushed forward to Tavita Hills where the Germans were strongly entrenched and put up a very strong resistance. Casualties were heavy on both sides, but after 5 days of continuous fighting, we were able to advance and capture the hills.
I committed my first murder of a German soldier here. I felt quite sick after it, but it was war and a case of kill or be killed in order to survive.
ARUSHA---Lower slopes of KILIMANJARO---MOROGARO---REPUGI RIVER.
Enemy firing was rather heavy here but by good fortune I was able to direct our Battery fire on the machine gun nests...........
One of my best friends, Dick Pooley, who came from Penzance killed in this action. [Dad was MID].
Lions, Hyeanas, wild dogs, baboons, monkies, elephants, poisenous snakes.[Plus his story of being kept up a tree all day with a Rhino underneath]
There are two and a bit A4 pages of his East African War, and these are just a taster. The usual stuff about food and water shortage,foot slogging, clothes boiling with lice, is in there too. He even learnt Swahili, and taught my brother.