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NigelS

The truth of the naval 'coup on Lake Nyasa' ?

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NigelS

An interesting piece in today's (6th July) Sunday Telegraph 'Discover' (travel) section, 'First World War centenary: the battle on Lake Malawi' ('A Long Way from the Front' in the print version), tells of how a 'battle' on Lake Nyasa (Malawi today) wasn't quite how it was made out to be in the press reporting of the day, or as told by the local museum's Curator, as, apparently the Captains of the two ships involved (the Guendolen & Hermann von Wissmann) were drinking partners who weren't going to let the small matter of a war interfere with their social arrangements. Couldn't help wondering how much truth there might be to this version though.

NigelS

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bushfighter

Nigel

Greetings

There is a little truth in the article. The Official History does not mention guns being fired but a similar conversation took place. The German crew were apprehended and 'vital' parts were removed from the Herman von Wissmann.

However when it was learned that the Germans were trying to repair their ship another attack (or 'raid') took place on 30 May 1915. KIng's African Rifles Askari were landed and this time guns were fired at the Herman von Wissman, which was still beached and definitely not repaired. Explosives were then used to wreck her propeller and boilers.

In March 1918 Herman von Wissman was repaired and taken into the British service as the King George.

Harry

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NigelS

Thanks Harry. The drinking partners story struck me as odd, as I doubt that even there fraternizing with the enemy would have gone un-acted upon.

NigelS

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Martin Bennitt

This story also features in the current edition of History Today, which was published before the Telegraph item. Coincidence?

http://www.historytoday.com/janie-hampton/victory-lake-nyasa

Cheers Martin B

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