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Bill Woerlee

Australians in Africa

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Bill Woerlee

Mates

While our Pals have correctly pointed out that the British operations in Africa [outside of Egypt of course] have had little coverage, it will be of no surprise that the British have received more coverage than the Australians who participated in the very same campaigns. Indeed, I doubt if more than a handful of people knew about these men detailed below until published here.

Cheers

Bill

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Bill Woerlee

Mates

The first fellow is Lieut L.W. G. Buchner-Malcolm, was an officer in the Royal Garrison Artillery, who in September 1915, was attached to the Nigeria Regiment, West African Frontier Force. He was educated at the Katoomba Superior Public School, and later went to Melbourne University, where he was a Victorian Government Research Scholar for two years. He was awarded the 1851 Exhibition Scholarship in 1914, and when war broke out was completing his studies for the Doctorate in philosophy at Zurich University. He had spent some months in Berlin at the University there, his research work being anthropology. Lieut. Buchner-Malcolm went to France with the Imperial Expeditionary Force in August, 1914.

post-7100-1175935869.jpg

In November 1915 he took part in the capture of Banyo Mountain with Brigadier-General Cunliffe's force. Here is his story:

The enemy, completely demoralised by the determined advance of our men despite heavy losses, broke up into small scattered parties and fled in several directions. Owing to the darkness of the night, rain and thunder, and their knowledge of the intricate nature of the country, several enemy parties managed - to worm their way down the hill without being intercepted by our infantry, only, however, to run up against the detached posts of our mounted infantry, who were guarding all roads in the vicinity. A white flag at last could be seen on the top of the hill. On reaching the summit, at extraordinary sight presented itself. Scattered in all directions were broken furniture, burst open trunks and tin boxes, blankets, bedding, clothes, tins of food, broken bottles of wine and beer, smashed up rifles, gramophones, telephones, and a medley of every conceivable sort of thing. The Germans had built several good mud houses, with glass doors and windows, good furniture, carpets, pictures, etc., in them. Signposts erected, pointing the way to defensive posts and pickets, two fine cement-built reservoirs of water, a vegetable garden, caves converted into granaries, and filled with mealies and guinea corn. Cattle, pigs, and sheep browsing about and chickens galore. This was very clear and conclusive proof of the conviction of the Germans that the mountain was impregnable, and their intention to either make it a point d'appui in case of a reverse of their troops in the south, or, at any rate, a position they meant to hold indefinitely and from where they could continually worry us. The food supply for troops and carriers proved of great value to the British. Every possible approach up the mountain was commanded by loopholed 'sangars,' and the whole defence of the position carefully thought out and arranged for. It was only due to the defective shooting of the enemy that our losses, which were severe, were not far heavier."

Buchner-Malcolm remained with the arillery making it to Temporary Captain in 1919.

Cheers

Bill

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Bill Woerlee

Mates

We are also lucky to have two pix taken by 1660 Gunner Harold Lester of the Calcutta Volunteer Battery.

The first is of Lester's gun in action:

post-7100-1175942017.jpg

Gunner H. Lester writes:

I Iive at Stanmore, Sydney; but, being in Calcutta at the out-break of war, I Joined the Calcutta Volunteer Battery which was ordered to British East Africa. The photograph of the gun was taken when actually firing in action at Serengiti, a German camp, which we attacked at the beginning of our advance into German East Africa, and is one of six belonging to the Calcutta Volunteer Battery. The other photograph shows four of our men decorated like Red Indians. We are ordered by the general to put grass into our helmets when going into action; The bush here is so dense that we very rarely see the enemy, even when only 50 yards away. The man on the left of the picture is Corporal Sivbright, [editor's note: possibly 86 Bombardier JS Seivwright] who won the D.C.M. in the action of Lateema, outside Taveta.

post-7100-1175942122.jpg

DCM Recommendation for 86 Bombr. JS Seivwright, No. 8 Fd Bty. (Calcutta Vol. Bty).

For conspicuous gallantry when bandaging a wounded man under fire and removing him to a place of safety. He also went back across the open for water for the forward observation post under heavy fire.

[extracted from the DCM recommendations, Supplement to the London Gazette, 27 July 1916, p. 7452.]

Cheers

Bill

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bushfighter1

Bill

Thank you. Your information is very interesting.

Trooper James Arthur Gilbert of the Australian Light Horse is commemorated in Dar Es Salaam War Cemetery. (07/07/1917, grave 3.C.5)

I had assumed that he was put ahore sick from a passing troopship, but do you know anything more about him?

Over 60 other Australians are commemorated in WW1 cemeteries in South Africa.

Regards

Harry

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KONDOA

Chums,

The contingents of South African untis raised for East Africa contained quite a mixture of nationalaties particularly NZ miners, there would no doubt be a similar number of Australians.

Roop

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stevebecker

Mate,

I can give you the following on him,

GILBERT James Arthur 142 Pte

A Sqn/12 LHR att 01 LHR Gallipoli RTA 21-1-16 MU enteric reembarked Cpl 11R/12 LHR to T/Sgt 4 LHTR RTA 21-5-17 MU DoD 7-7-17 died cyats of liver in East Africa buried Dar Es Salam Cemetery East Africa

It appears he was RTA due to illness and got worst during the return trip which with some ships went via Cape Town instead of India. He must have been put off the ship at Dar Es Salam and pasted away.

I should these men who are known to have served in the ALH but had served in German SW Afica

BELL Leslie Coates 2/Lt 7R/12 LHR served in German West Africa 1914/15 with Imperial LH,

JENKINS Edward John 720 Pte 2R/1 LHR (German West Africa 1905-07)

MOUNTJOY Ernest Lindsay Lt 15R/4 LHR (9 months in German SW Africa with Gen Botha 1914-15), and

STOCKS Reginald Bede 2433 A/Cpl 17R/8 LHR Ex Natal LH in German Sth West Africa 10-10-14 to 15-6-15,

Cheers

S.B

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bushfighter

Bill & fellow Australian Researchers

From the IWM I obtained a photocopy of a postcard photo of Chaplains in East Africa, taken during the visit of the Bishop of Uganda to Dar Es Salaam from July to August 1917.

One man is listed as "Major Walker (Tasmania) Chief of Staff & Management of YMCA Dar Es Salaam".

Has anyone any more information on Major Walker or other Australian Padres in East Africa?

Regards

Harry

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Bill Woerlee

Harry

G'day mate

I had a look through the Chaplain resources and cannot find anyone who fits the profile mentioned here. As for Padres in East Africa, I couldn't find any passing through at that time.

Obviously there was one such fellow. I am just wondering if the name Walker is not short for "Ghost who walks."

Cheers

Bill

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bushfighter

Hello Bill

More info on Major Walker, extracted from an IWM document giving notes from the Dar Es Salaam Supply Depot:

"Padre Major Walker MC (Australia). Dar Es Salaam.

He was in charge of the YMCA & Senior Chaplain.

On September 2nd 1918 he gave an interesting lecture illustrated with lantern slides, SAFARI INTO THE EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN ..."

Regards Harry

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Helen Bachaus
Mates

We are also lucky to have two pix taken by 1660 Gunner Harold Lester of the Calcutta Volunteer Battery.

The first is of Lester's gun in action:

post-7100-1175942017.jpg

Gunner H. Lester writes:

post-7100-1175942122.jpg

DCM Recommendation for 86 Bombr. JS Seivwright, No. 8 Fd Bty. (Calcutta Vol. Bty).

For conspicuous gallantry when bandaging a wounded man under fire and removing him to a place of safety. He also went back across the open for water for the forward observation post under heavy fire.

[extracted from the DCM recommendations, Supplement to the London Gazette, 27 July 1916, p. 7452.]

Cheers

Bill

Thanks for sharing this information here. Does anyone know what artillery piece these fine fellows are using?

God Bless

Helen

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bushfighter

Helen

The Official History describes No 8 Battery's guns as:

"(arrived October 1914): The Calcutta Volunteer Battery, six 12-pounder Breech Loading (6 cwt) with ox transport. Manned by The Calcutta Volunteers, under Major G. Kinloch."

Farndale's "The Forgotten Fronts & the Home Base 1914-18" (part of his History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery) just reiterates this & adds that Kinloch served in the RFA.

Regards

Harry

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Helen Bachaus

Thankyou Harry, very much appreciate the information provided.

God Bless

Helen

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bushfighter
post-20901-1215589457.jpg

James Gilbert's grave in Dar Es Salaam

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bushfighter
post-20901-1227784827.jpg


Bill & Mates, here's one to be proud of:

Lt Col Robert Gordon DSO


Robert Gordon was born in Queensland and educated at the Brisbane Grammar School and the High School, Hobart, Tasmania.
He joined the Queensland Mounted Infantry in 1891, serving in the Tirah Campaign attached to the Gordon Highlanders 1897-98 (MiD, Medal & two clasps).

He went to South Africa with the 1st Queensland Contingent and was transferred to 1st Gordon Highlanders in 1900. By the end of the war he had been severely wounded, received an MiD, a DSO (LG 19 April 1901) and the Queen’s Medal with six clasps.

Robert Gordon was in Northern Rhodesia during the early days of the Great War, raising the Northern Rhodesian Rifles. He moved to intelligence duties and commanded a party of Northern Rhodesian Scouts that tracked and captured an enemy group of eight Germans and a South African rebel (mounted on five camels and a horse), that was attempting to reach German East Africa from German South West Africa.

Moving to British East Africa in February 1916 Robert became a Remount specialist commanding the Mombasa Remount Landing Depot, the Maktau No 1 Base Remount Depot, and further Remount Depots at Dar Es Salaam, Kilwa and Lindi.

For his Great War Service Robert received two MiDs, was given an OBE in 1918 and created a CMG in 1919.

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Bill Woerlee

Harry

G'day mate

Good post and excellent information. Much appreciated mate.

Cheers

Bill

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thesamsonsed@gmail.com

I was quite surprised to see the number of Australians buried in SA and involved elswhere. My initial reaction was that there weren't Australians in SA as Prime Minister Louis Botha had rejected Australian troops being used in GSWA and in the Boer Rebellion of 1914.

On reflection though, it makes sense that there would be some Australians who had settled in SA after the Anglo-Boer War or due to the mining industry (including in the Rhodesias). Presumably these men reacted to the outbreak of war in the same way the British did - some went home to fight for their motherland, others joined up to support their country of residence whilst others, particularly in South Africa, felt they should not enlist to ensure there were some supporters of the government to fight the election in 1915 (to keep the anti-war Nationalists out).

Thanks for the fascinating insight.

Anne

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SBW

I have read this thread with interest and hope you, or others, may be able to help.

I am trying to find information regarding a NZer who may have served in the East Africa. A family grave notes; EAEF Trooper J Sarich d 26 Nov 1915. This information is alongside two brothers; NZEF 4/1388 Spr A E Sarich d 21 Aug 1929 & NZEF 43733 Trooper N M Sarich 3 May 1932. One of these men was in the NZ Tunnelling Coy. J Sarich may have also been a miner/mining related. J Sarich does not appear on the CWGC or on NZ sites. According to council records, he is not buried at the cemetery, just remembered there as well as on the local town war memorial. Although other members of this family do, J Sarich does not appear on NZ BMD. I don't have access to Aussie BMD records but he may have been born in Aussie. I would also be very interested in learning more about any NZ's involved in the East Africa campaign, especially NZ miners. Any help much appreciated.

Chums,

The contingents of South African untis raised for East Africa contained quite a mixture of nationalaties particularly NZ miners, there would no doubt be a similar number of Australians.

Roop

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KONDOA

If the grave nformation is correct it would suggest he joined the DeVenters 1st South African Horse, possibly at Potchefstroom. t would appear he ded before embarkation. I am surprised he is not listed on CWGC? Where is he buried?

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SBW
If the grave nformation is correct it would suggest he joined the DeVenters 1st South African Horse, possibly at Potchefstroom. t would appear he ded before embarkation. I am surprised he is not listed on CWGC? Where is he buried?

Thank you for your reply;

I understand from family who have now been in contact that Sarich; 'Anthony John was born in 1877. He died in Johannesburg, South Africa 26/11/1915 SA Tropper EAFF'. I have no other information at this stage, the family grave used the initial J Sarich, but a search on CWGC under Sth Africa, A Sarich, has shed no further info. Any help would be greatly appreciated, the NZ family especially would welcome news and would also like to know where he is buried. As far as we know, he is currently remembered only on the family grave in NZ.

Many thanks

Sueatkatikati.co.nz

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SBW

Family advise that they have the following info on a memorial sheet; Jack Sarich (this is Anthony John) late 2nd Light Horse, General Both's Campaign, German West Africa. Died at Johannesburg Hospital, November 26, 1915, Aged 36 years.

Any info about possible grave location or service would be much welcomed.

Regards

Sue

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KONDOA

Sue,

Theres an outside chance that Ralph @:

http://www.southafricawargraves.org/

may have photos for the graves in the Josy area. Give hima try, he may have a volunteer nearby to have a look around.

Also possible service records available at South African Museum of Military Hostory I believe, in Saxonwald, Joburg.

Roop

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SBW

Thanks Roop, have followed up your leads. Would be nice to have Sarich listed on CWGC database if his enlistment is verified as well as locate his burial details for family. Thanks for your help.

Sue

Sue,

Theres an outside chance that Ralph @:

http://www.southafricawargraves.org/

may have photos for the graves in the Josy area. Give hima try, he may have a volunteer nearby to have a look around.

Also possible service records available at South African Museum of Military Hostory I believe, in Saxonwald, Joburg.

Roop

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KONDOA
Family advise that they have the following info on a memorial sheet; Jack Sarich (this is Anthony John) late 2nd Light Horse, General Both's Campaign, German West Africa. Died at Johannesburg Hospital, November 26, 1915, Aged 36 years.

The confusion here then is why it says EAEF on his gravestone? At this date the SWA campaign was over (May 1915) so the conundrum is wether your man was actually under arms at the time of death given that the Union did not actually start to raise troops for East Africa until after 26th November 1915 upon the return of SA offices from a fact finding tour of East Africa. My view is that your man was a civilian at this time and thus the death registers for the Joburg area are your best shot.

(Ref: South Africa and the Great War 1914 - 1918)

Roop

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SBW

Roop, thanks again. Another line of family has written to say that Sarich served in Boer War and stayed on after the war. There is no Sarich in NZ boer War enlistments. His name is on a WW1 memorial listing. Don't know about any others, but I'm confused:-)

Can you advise where I can get list of SA Boer War enlistments? Joburg Death Registers.

The confusion here then is why it says EAEF on his gravestone? At this date the SWA campaign was over (May 1915) so the conundrum is wether your man was actually under arms at the time of death given that the Union did not actually start to raise troops for East Africa until after 26th November 1915 upon the return of SA offices from a fact finding tour of East Africa. My view is that your man was a civilian at this time and thus the death registers for the Joburg area are your best shot.

(Ref: South Africa and the Great War 1914 - 1918)

Roop

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SBW

Roop, the grave inscription differs from the memorial info as you have pointed out. One side of the family also suggests that his service was Boer War and he was serving with SA forces. Another family side suggests he was WW1 but in SA at the time. Regarding SWA campaign before Nov death of J Sarich; I have read, 'The capital, Windhoek, was occupied on 12 May... the campaign continued with the German forces gradually being squeezed into the northwest corner of the territory. They were defeated at Otavi on 1 July and surrendered at Khorab on 9 July 1915.' Is it likely/possible that Sarich was part of the SWA action but died from injuries in Joburg.

Family have indicated today that another brother also served in SA forces. They have a pic of brothers in uniform. I have asked for copy. Would it be possible to tell from the uniform if they served in Boer War or WW1?

Sue

The confusion here then is why it says EAEF on his gravestone? At this date the SWA campaign was over (May 1915) so the conundrum is wether your man was actually under arms at the time of death given that the Union did not actually start to raise troops for East Africa until after 26th November 1915 upon the return of SA offices from a fact finding tour of East Africa. My view is that your man was a civilian at this time and thus the death registers for the Joburg area are your best shot.

(Ref: South Africa and the Great War 1914 - 1918)

Roop

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