Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:16 AM
I found an account from a Corporal Norman Spedding outlining some of his thoughts on the campaign in German East Africa yesterday. Thought Forumites might find it of interest:
"While millions of armed men are fighting almost at the bayonet point in Europe, there is a handful of white men, assisted by our Ashans and Indians, who are struggling to hold their own in British East Africa. Beyond the one Bukoba raid, when a small expedition travelled some hundreds of miles by land and water, and so successfully raided the town, destroying the wireless station and much war-like stores, the fighting of the 25th R.F. has been confined to patrol work.
"God knows, we have searched diligently for our enemy, trained negroes from German East, who seem to combine the hate of the Germans with their own devilish cruelty; and enemy well versed in the trackless ways of the bush, and commanded by white officers. Occasionally we find them, and occasionally they find us, and there is a great difference between these two conditions, for bush fighting means nothing more nor less than ambushing one’s enemy or being ambushed.
"Besides our human enemy, we have to combat fever, heat and thirst, and what seems to us to be worst than all, the eternal waiting – waiting for more troops, so that we may once and for all put German East Africa under the British flag. As for the country itself, we have seen practically all there is to be seen within trekking distance of the Uganda Railway. Kilimanjaro, with its snow-capped peak thrusting itself above the clouds, seems to be like the poor, always with us, and with the temperature well over 100 in the shade, so that the very sand is unendurably hot, it seems almost unbelievable that we are looking on deep frozen snow. We have crossed the Victoria Nyanza Lake, hunted big game on the Masai Plains, gone hungry, sore-footed, and half-choked with thirst, across the burning soda lakes, and now we are entrenched in a huge, shadeless, waterless forest desert, the last British outpost, and facing us on the distant kopje tops are the German outposts.
"As for our regiment, the 25th Royal Fusiliers (Frontiersmen), we comprise all classes and all conditions of men. Besides the average stay-at-home Englishmen, there is more than a sprinkling of colonials and adventurers, men from Valparaiso to Alaska, from Rangoon to the Fiji’s. Amongst our officers are such mighty hunters as Captain Selous, Rider Haggard’s famous ‘Alan Quatermain,’ and Captain Outram."
'Worksop Guardian', 24th December 1915.