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Ceinwen

Kings African Rifles

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Ceinwen

Hi

I recently went up to Kew to do some research and found my great uncle on the Medal Roll. I already had a copy of his Medal Index Card which showed he was in the Monmouthshire Regiment (no Battalion number or date of entry etc). My Aunt has always maintained that he served in German East Africa but none of the Monmouthshire Regiments appeared to do so. I kind of assumed my Aunt was wrong as she's in her 90's now and has severe memory issues. However, mystery kind of solved by the Medal Roll - it shows alongside his name 'Attached Kings African Rifles'. Unfortunately have no other information!

I'd be interested in trying to find out more if it's possible. His name was Ernest Henry Pitts, regimental number 290497. Medal Index Card and Medal Roll both show he was a Sgt. Numbers either side of his for Monmouthshire Regiment were all in the 3rd Battalion so assuming he was originally as well.

Anybody got any ideas as to where I could find any other info? Also any idea why he would have been attached to the KAR from the Monmouths?

Can post a copy of the medal roll and medal index card if any help.

Thanks!

Ceinwen

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rolt968

I can answer the last question, but can't think of anything very helpful for the rest.

All the officers, warrant officers and white senior NCOs of the KAR were attached from British units. The KAR expanded a lot during WW1 so there were a lot of extra places. My late father's cousin although commissioned into 3 HLI, served his war with 3/4 KAR. The regiments to which officers were attached appear in the Army Lists, but that won't help for a sergeant.

KAR war diaries are available at Kew, but that probably won't be any help at the beginning.

I've an idea that there is a WW1 East Africa forum?

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bushfighter

Ceinwen

Jambo!

Ernest served in the 6th Battalion of the 4th King's African Rifles - the Uganda-recruited regiment of the KAR. He was attached to the KAR (as were many other British officers and senior ranks) in November 1917. His name is on a list of British personnel serving with the KAR at the end of September 1918.

He would have been stationed at the 4KAR Depot at Bomba, north of Kampala in Uganda. The 6th Battalion of 4KAR never saw active service as it was the training battalion for the other five battalions of the regiment who were in the field. He would have been employed on instructional duties once he had learned to speak Kiswahili, the military command language in East Africa.

Harry

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rolt968

Hello Harry,

I had feeling that there was more KAR stuff somewhere. Could you please tell me where that list is?

R.

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bushfighter

rolters

Greetings.

It's in TNA KEW as one of the KAR documents.

I can't provide the file reference but the title page reads:

NOMINAL ROLL OF WARRANT AND NON COMMISSIONED OFFICERS SERVING IN THE KING'S AFRICAN RIFLES. Quarter ending September 1918.

Be aware that the list is only for the Nairobi-based regiments. The Nyasaland regiment, 1KAR, was administered from Zomba, Nyasaland and British personnel attached to it do not appear on this list.

However 1 KAR attached South African Army personnel when necessary.

(The other Nyasaland regiment, 2KAR, was formed in Nairobi and so its British personnel are listed.)

Harry

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Ceinwen

Ceinwen

Jambo!

Ernest served in the 6th Battalion of the 4th King's African Rifles - the Uganda-recruited regiment of the KAR. He was attached to the KAR (as were many other British officers and senior ranks) in November 1917. His name is on a list of British personnel serving with the KAR at the end of September 1918.

He would have been stationed at the 4KAR Depot at Bomba, north of Kampala in Uganda. The 6th Battalion of 4KAR never saw active service as it was the training battalion for the other five battalions of the regiment who were in the field. He would have been employed on instructional duties once he had learned to speak Kiswahili, the military command language in East Africa.

Harry

Wow, thanks Harry, so much info, really appreciate it.

Bit of a coincidence that you're a 'Harry' as that was what Ernest was always known as in the family! (From his middle name Henry - bit of a family thing being known by your middle name and not your first!!)

Thanks again, much appreciated.

Ceinwen

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rolt968

rolters

Greetings.

It's in TNA KEW as one of the KAR documents.

I can't provide the file reference but the title page reads:

NOMINAL ROLL OF WARRANT AND NON COMMISSIONED OFFICERS SERVING IN THE KING'S AFRICAN RIFLES. Quarter ending September 1918.

Be aware that the list is only for the Nairobi-based regiments. The Nyasaland regiment, 1KAR, was administered from Zomba, Nyasaland and British personnel attached to it do not appear on this list.

However 1 KAR attached South African Army personnel when necessary.

(The other Nyasaland regiment, 2KAR, was formed in Nairobi and so its British personnel are listed.)

Harry

Many thanks Harry!

Another on my list for my next visit to Kew!

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Sturmey

Hi all

I'm following up this chap for some friends --

Claude B Wellingham, Sgt in Norfolk Territorials, no battalion mentioned, but number 200320. According to the family, he transferred with his senior officer to the KAR, and on the medal card, right enough it says he is 'blue-ringed' on the KAR roll p39.

To make a start, I wondered if I could possible ask Harry if this man is on that nominal roll?

many thanks

Jonathan

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bushfighter

Jonathan

Greetings

Claude is listed as coming from the 2/4th Battalion the Norfolk Regiment from England on 28th November 1917.

He was a Platoon Sergeant in the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Regiment KAR based in Zomba, Nyasaland (Malawi today). (This contradicts my comment in Post #5 above, and it is the first time that I have noticed a 1KAR European on the list.)

I have described the battalion in action in 1918 in Portuguese East Africa here:

http://www.kaiserscross.com/188001/255601.html

Harry

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Sturmey

Harry

Many many thanks, you'll make my chum's day - not to mention mine!

all the best

Jonathan

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anderston

Hi,

I hope that you learned ladies & gentlemen will be able to help me to flesh out the Army Service of my grandfather,Dr.JOHN CAMERON from Glasgow,in the Kings African Rifles.

According to his AB439(Officer's Record of Service),he enlisted in late 1915,and with the commission of Lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corp,he was sent to Africa on attachment to the "38th Brigade RGA" (Royal Garrison Artillery?) in April 1916.

In September 1916 he was moved to the King's African Rifles,and whilst with them was promoted to Captain on 12 December 1916.He remained with the KAR till 28 January 1918,when he returned to Europe on the hospital ship "Dunluce Castle".

My grandfather had died before I was born (reputedly from the long-term effects of being seriously ill with Black Water Fever in Africa),and rarely talked with his family about what he got up to during the War.His two medals were untouched inside their boxes,and the boxes were never taken out of their envelopes.

I intend to vist the National Archives at Kew sometime,and consult the War Diaries (or other documents),to get more detail on his 16 months with the KAR,but I want to make sure that I can consult the right documents.Could anyone help me identify which Battalion/Regiment of the KAR he was attached to?The links to "Harry's Africa" have been very illuminating,and the mention of various Medical Officers helps me narrow down the options a wee bit.Any ideas?

Regards,

Chris,

Glasgow.

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KONDOA

Chris

Interesting !

Your grandfather is in the Nominal Roll of officers for the 38th Brigade / 11th Hull Heavy Battery ( see Road to Lindi).

September 1916 was effectively the end of the RGA involvement near the Central Railway, operations continuing further south on the Mgeta River. The Nigerians of the KAR were involved in the Mgeta operations and your grandfathers move would coincide with these events.

For his embarkation and arrival in East Africa, there are War Diaries for the 38th Brigade RGA and the 11th, 13th and 14th Howitzer Batteries which were formed from the 38th Brigade in East Africa. Cameron is not mentioned in any of these unfortunately.

Harry may provide the suitable references and time line for the KAR.

Roop

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anderston

Hi Roop,

Thank you for clarifying who the 38th Brigade were,and where they were active - something solid for me to research now,and follow my grandfather's activities in his first few months in Africa.I hope Harry is able to come across him in his records.

Regards,

Chris.

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KONDOA

Forgot to mention there is also the diary of 11th Heavy battery too at TNA.

Roop

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bushfighter

Chris

Greetings

Going through every KAR War Diary will be a massive task to find Dr. John Cameron, and even then he may well have been employed in the big KAR Depot at Mbgathi, Nairobi whose units did not produce war diaries.

If I ever come across him during research then I will advise you.

Good Luck Harry

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anderston

Hi Harry,

Thank you for your reply.I am certainly now realising that the KAR is a much bigger,and much more complicated Regiment than I had first thought.Tracking down my grandfather is certainly going to be tricky,whether he was always on the move,or based at the Depot in Nairobi.

The Depot,I would imagine,would have had good postal connections,and given the lack of letters home from my grandfather (one in 20 months),would maybe suggest that he was in more remote areas.

The one letter that reached home in Scotland,and written by him whilst in Africa,was dated 4 April 1916 - 3 weeks after he arrived.He wrote to his father informing him that "he was under canvas,in medical charge of a large Rest Camp"(the RGA presumably).He went on to tell him that "we are moving up country in a week or so,and are expecting to go inland and south through German East Africa".He finished off by saying "this is a rotten place to get letters,and as I go more inland,it is possible I may not be able to send any myself".

Here's hoping that you come across him in the course of your Research,and thank you in advance.

Regards,

Chris,

Glasgow.

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KONDOA

The rest camp was at Mombasa, the move up country would undoubtedly be Mbuyuni as a first place.

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anderston

Hi Roop,

Mombasa definitely concurs with the Memoirs of John Edward Burnham,11th Hull Heavy Battery,RGA,which I came across recently whilst browsing around the Internet.

He tells how the 38th Brigade embarked from Devonport on 7th January 1916 on a captured German vessel "Derflinger",renamed "Huntsgreen",and landed in Killindini,Mombasa on 14 March 1916,via Cape Verde and Durban.They remained in Camp at Mombasa for further acclimatisation and training,and joined No.1 Artillery Group of General JC Smut's Army.

The Brigade was broken up on 15 May,and after joining the 2nd Division,they "trekked 17 days across the arid bush,swamps,and mountains" before joining General De Venter at Kondoa Arangi.

All fascinating stuff,which I must follow up on a map.Thanks again.

Chris.

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KONDOA

Yes, there are lots of maps and pictures in my literary effort, including John Burnham :)

Roop

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Guest bohemian

Hi

I recently went up to Kew to do some research and found my great uncle on the Medal Roll. I already had a copy of his Medal Index Card which showed he was in the Monmouthshire Regiment (no Battalion number or date of entry etc). My Aunt has always maintained that he served in German East Africa but none of the Monmouthshire Regiments appeared to do so. I kind of assumed my Aunt was wrong as she's in her 90's now and has severe memory issues. However, mystery kind of solved by the Medal Roll - it shows alongside his name 'Attached Kings African Rifles'. Unfortunately have no other information!

I'd be interested in trying to find out more if it's possible. His name was Ernest Henry Pitts, regimental number 290497. Medal Index Card and Medal Roll both show he was a Sgt. Numbers either side of his for Monmouthshire Regiment were all in the 3rd Battalion so assuming he was originally as well.

Anybody got any ideas as to where I could find any other info? Also any idea why he would have been attached to the KAR from the Monmouths?

Can post a copy of the medal roll and medal index card if any help.

Thanks!

Ceinwen

I am interested in a birth date for Ernest Henry Pitts. My father and his father both army men had that name so it really all depends on birth date if a possibility. Diana Pitts

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Guest bohemian

Ernest henry Pitts, my grandfather...my father Ernest Henry Pitts a soldier in the Canadian Army. Trying to find out more of my grandfather, I am hoping he is the same man who is posted on here as being in the Kings African Rifles. There are 3 Ernest Henry Pitts' in the family. My father also named his son....being Ernest Henry Pits 111. Diana Pitts,

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Ceinwen
On 25/02/2015 at 18:01, Guest bohemian said:

Ernest henry Pitts, my grandfather...my father Ernest Henry Pitts a soldier in the Canadian Army. Trying to find out more of my grandfather, I am hoping he is the same man who is posted on here as being in the Kings African Rifles. There are 3 Ernest Henry Pitts' in the family. My father also named his son....being Ernest Henry Pits 111. Diana Pitts,

 

Hi Diana

 

So sorry it's taken so long for me to reply to you, so much has happened in the 3+ years since you posted my family research ground to a halt!  'My' Ernest Henry Pitts was Welsh born and bred, born June 1887, so I don't think it's the same one as yours. His father's name was Alfred.  Hope you have / have had some success finding him!

 

Ceinwen

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