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Luambala, Mozambique


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A man (Scottish sergeant serving with 2/1 King's African Rifles) I am researching died of dysentery at Luambala (Mazmbique) at the end of March 1918 and was buried in the cemetery there. The cemetery was closed in 1920 and all the men were reinterred in Mangochi Town Cemetery (Malawi).

 

I wonder why the Luambala Cemetery was closed.

Was it too remote for the IWGC to maintain; or perhaps it was felt to be easier to maintain the graves if they were in what was then British territory?

 

How much was there  at Luambala in 1918? (Indeed how much is there now?)

(According to Moyse Bartlett British Forces captured Luambala on 15 January 1918 "after slight opposition" but found there was less to the post than they had expected: "a few huts walled and floored with brick and surrounded by a mound of turf and a ditch".)

RM

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The London Gazette has 2 pages of a report from C&C  East Africa covering the events

 

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31069/supplement/14794 and next page

 

There are a number of newspaper reports, but they appear just to be edited versions of this

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1 hour ago, corisande said:

The London Gazette has 2 pages of a report from C&C  East Africa covering the events

 

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31069/supplement/14794 and next page

 

There are a number of newspaper reports, but they appear just to be edited versions of this

Thank you.

That is very useful. I suspect that it was one of Moyse-Bartlett's sources.

 

It may also answer my question about the closure of Luambala Cemetery. On the previous page it says:

"The portion of Portuguese East Africa bounded by the Rovuma and Zambesi Rivers, - Lake Nyasa and the sea, is but little smaller than France. Much of this vast area was a  terra incognita to Europeans, and no accurate maps were available. In some parts, the natives were as yet unsubdued, while in others they were in more or less open rebellion."

RM

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  • 1 year later...
On 01/07/2020 at 14:07, rolt968 said:

How much was there  at Luambala in 1918? (Indeed how much is there now?)

Quote

 

Hi RM

Currently I collect some backgrounds, to prepare for Mozambique in 2023. That’s the reason,

I come back to your post and followed then my questions about where Luambala is, and what

information are available in German sources from 12/1917 to 01/1918 in northern Mozambique.

 

The village of Luambala or Mluluca was located on the upper reaches of the Lugenda-River,

on both river-banks and is at the same time the name the left-hand tributary with the same name,

Luambala (also written Luumbula on the old map of the second link).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luambala_River#/media/File:Ruvuma_River_basin_map_OSM.png

https://maps.lib.utexas.edu/maps/ams/east_africa_500k/txu-pclmaps-oclc-6590061-mahua-sd-37-1.jpg

 

 

Map of Portuguese Nyasaland, In: Admiralty Naval Intelligence Division Geographical Staff.

A manual of Portuguese Nyasaland. Naval Intelligence Division I.D. 1161. London: HMSO, 1921.

https://pictures.abebooks.com/inventory/30505242044_5.jpg

 

 

Luambala is also shown on the lower Belgian overview map from 1932:

“Les campagnes coloniales belges : TOME III, 1914-1918 / Royaume de Belgique,

Ministère de la Défense Nationale, État-Major Général de l'Armée, Section de l'Historique“

 

01_África Oriental Portuguesa - Províncias do Norte.png

Original source : https://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/kolonialbibliothek/content/pageview/7788362

 

According to the Google position (13° 26'09.7 "S - 36° 18'19.3" E); - nowadays abandoned:

02_Google Position - Luambala-Lugenda.png

Original source : https://www.google.de/maps/place/Lugenda/@-13.4355363,36.2998084,3222m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x18dd8cc96df5f183:0x756dc4bb88d32cf!8m2!3d-12.6611913!4d37.153616

 

 

The village of Luambala or Mluluca appears in almost all maps of the time and was on the main route to

northern Muembe. British, Portuguese and German sources spoke of a Boma in Luambala, i.e. a smaller

fortified base. Skirmishes and fighting took place here from late December 1917 to mid-of January 1918.

 

 

Here is the report of an eyewitness: First Lieutenant Karl Goering, Company and Detachment commander:

 

“On 24.12.1917 the 21st Field-Company under the leadership of Lieutenant Walter von Ruckteschell was ordered to march from Chirumba towards Luambala.

[ . . . ]

Hannibal ante portas; - Soon after Christmas, our old opponents, the British, who we had not seen since

Newalla, came forward again. From Lake Nyasa they pushed eastwards, meanwhile von Ruckteschell

occupied the post of Luambala and found much food. In the last days of December 1917, Lieutenant Colonel

Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck gave me the order to march with the 4th Field Company also to Luambala and from

there to secure the food magazines and buying-posts we had set up in the upper Lugenda-Valley. The 21st

Field Company under Von Ruckteschell was also placed under my command. The commander ordered me

furthermore to report to him daily.

[ . . . ]

In the meantime the little rainy season had started and it rained for several hours day and night. The advance

to the Luambala-River therefore turned out to be somewhat difficult because the river valley was very

swampy and temporary bridges had to be built repeatedly over the highly swollen Lugenda River.

[ . . . ]

After four days I arrived with my company in Luambala and took over the leadership of the small detachment

there. (4th and 21st Field-Company) The Portuguese station buildings were clearly visible on a bare hill with a

good field of fire, in the acute angle between the Luambala- and Lugenda-Rivers.

 

All fixed stations (boma) in Portuguese East Africa were laid out and mostly connected in a straight line by

wide, carved paths. The buildings from Boma Luambala made of wood and clay shone with their white lime

paint over the whole area. Von Ruckteschell informed me about the situation, but little was known about the

opponent and his intentions. Enough food was delivered and stacked in the magazine. This magazine was

located opposite the Boma Luambala on the eastern, right bank of Lugenda. Such food magazines consisted

of one or more large grass huts in which the stocks were protected from the weather. Furthermore, our

hunting-patrols provided us with enough game meat.”

 

 

A typical small fortified Portuguese post / Boma in northern Mozambique at the beginning of the 20th century.

RM2482_1258.jpg

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Original Source: https://www.revistamilitar.pt/recursos/imagens/imgs2008/RM2482_1258.jpg

 

 

“I had connected the Boma Luambala on the left bank of Lugenda to the magazine by a temporary bridge.

Due to the rising water in the Lugenda River, this bridge had to be reinforced repeatedly. As a result of the

rising water in the Lugenda River, this bridge had to be reinforced repeatedly. The two Feld-Companies

camped below the Boma Luambala, also on the left bank of the Lugenda. In the station building itself I had

moved into quarters with my little staff and a guard. The infirmary was also within the boma. Patrols went west

and south and reports were made to the command on a daily basis.

[ . . . ]

On the night of January 6-7, 1918, one of the patrols reported the arrival of a stronger British enemy from the

direction of Fort Johnston (Lake Nyasa). We immediately got ready for action and awaited the enemy. The

21st Field-Company received immediately orders to stop the enemy on his approach southwest of the Boma

and to prevent the British from crossing over to the eastern bank of the Lugenda, so that our food store would

not be endangered. I kept the 4th Field Company in reserve near the Boma for the time being.

 

The 1st and 2nd battalions of the 1. The Kings African Rifle Regiments under the command of British Colonel

G.M.P. Hawthorn attacked Luambala vigorously in the early hours of January 7; - two battalions against two

companies. Again, the opponent was 3 to 4 times superior. In addition, that was a different opponent than the

sloppy Portuguese. The brave Von Ruckteschell had skilfully positioned his proven Company in a field of

bushes and gave the attacking enemy a warm welcome, which forced him to develop his entire strength right

from the start. Our well-served and covered M.G. inflicted losses on the opponent and forced him to make

sweeping movements.

 

When I received the message in the boma of Von Ruckteschell that the enemy was threatening to embrace his

right flank; - the left flank was leaned against the Lugenda-River; - Around noon I deployed the only reserve,

the 4th Field Company, and brought them up against the left wing, of the energetically attacking enemy. It was

a very unequal fight; - The British were four times superior at this point; - Beyond that, well armed and skilfully

managed. We had a difficult position and could not withstand the pressure of the far superior opponent in the

long run with our two weakened companies (235 riflemen).

[ . . . ]

We had to stop the superior enemy until darkness fell, so that the necessary transition to the right bank of the

river could be carried out under cover of the night without loss. The Boma Luambala, located in the river

triangle as a mousetrap, could not be kept in the long run. This is also because the Lugenda and Luambala-

River in our back swelled significantly as a result of the rain of the past few days and made an evasion

impossible at an important moment.

 

The 21st Field Company received orders to move immediately to the eastern bank of Lugenda and protect the

Field-Magazine there. With the 4th Field Company, I first moved near the Boma to the north, to cover the river

crossing of our comrades and protect the bridge. After the wounded and sick were transported away first, the

4th Field Company finally followed on the right bank. In order to deceive, and to stop the enemy as long as

possible, I left Vice-Sergeant Wilhelm Durst with a group in the Boma Luambala.

 

Durst was supposed to defend this until the last moment and thereby stop the enemy and then withdraw to us

either north over the Luambala-River or with the help of the bark boats, east over the Lugenda-River. Not an

easy job, and I might have to reckon with the loss of this small group. But to be in the interest of the whole,

and the experience of war has proved that there is no situation so desperate, that a way out cannot be found

after all.

 

During the night of January 7/8, 1918, my detachment gathered at the Field-Magazine on the right bank of the

Lugenda River, opposite the Boma Luambala. After crossing the Lugenda River, we destroyed the temporary

bridge and took a defensive position on the river bank. It had been a difficult day and our Askaris had fought

bravely. Unfortunately, we also suffered losses. The brave NCO Curt Ellersdörfer and my brave combat

orderly, the Askari Mgoni, who had been a loyal animal caretaker for many years, both from the 4th Field-

Company, had fallen. Furthermore three Askari from the 21. Field-Company.  

 

In the next few days, we worked intensively on the expansion of our new defensive positions. The area offered

us a good field of fire in a south direction, and over the river in a west direction. We dug trenches and M.G.-

nests for the different groups in the area and connected them together. In order to build as strong reserves as

possible and to spare the people, our positions were only weakly occupied during the day. Our own patrols,

which crossed the Lugenda-River and driven north and south, reported that weak opposing forces were also

proceeding cautiously north of the Luambala-River, towards the Boma. But the enemy stayed at a respectful

distance from the Boma with its good field of fire.

[ . . . ]

A few days after the battle, Vice-Sergeant Durst had to leave the Boma Luambala. With an old dugout canoe,

he and his people crossed the Lugenda-River at night.

( Vice-Sergeant Wilhelm Dursthttps://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/210978-unusual-find/)

[ . . . ]

In order to stop the advance of the opposing Colonel Hawthorn (I., II. + III. / 1. KAR) on the right, eastern bank

of the Lugenda River, the Commando sent Captain Otto with the 14th and 19th Field-Company in mid-January

to strengthen the front on the Luambala- and Lugenda-Rivers, so that 4 Germans faced 9 British companies.

As senior officer, Captain Otto then took over the joint command.”

 

Original German Source (translated):

“Deutsch Ostafrika - Kriegserlebnisse 1914-1920 von Karl Ernst Göring Führer der 4. Feld-

Kompanie unter Lettow Vorbeck“, (Tagebuchabdruck, verfasst Erfurt 1925-1927) Seite 170-176

https://www.abebooks.de/Deutschostafrika-Karl-Ernst-G%C3%B6ring-F%C3%BChrer-Feldkompagnie/17262739090/bd

 

 

In the next few days, Colonel Hawthorn was limited to patrol activities, but reinforced by his 3rd Battalion.

The Detachment Otto, arriving on January 12 on the west side of the Lugenda River, north of Luambala,

crossed the river to the east on January 15 and 16, 1918 and approached to support the Detachment Goering.

 

On the west bank there was no longer any food to be found and the increasing flooding of the Lugenda-River

made it difficult to support the Detachment Goering from the east. For this reason, the crew of the Boma

Luambala was withdrawn to the east bank on the evening of January 16. However, the enemy only occupied

the Boma two days later, on January 18, 1918, without a fight. [. . . ] The Detachment Goering was withdrawn

from Luambala to Kitembere, the Detachment Otto remained north of the Luambala-River until January 22nd

and then went back to the Lukuledzi-estuary.

Cheers Holger

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On 01/07/2020 at 14:07, rolt968 said:

A man (Scottish sergeant serving with 2/1 King's African Rifles) I am researching died of dysentery at Luambala (Mazmbique) at the end of March 1918 and was buried in the cemetery there. The cemetery was closed in 1920 and all the men were reinterred in Mangochi Town Cemetery (Malawi).

Dear RM,

Regarding your mentioned information, this soldier died March 1918 in Luambala and was later

buried in Mangochi / Malawi, I found only one Person:

Serjeant A Ramsay - Scottish Horse - Died 28 March 1918, Age 28 years old

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/904668/a-ramsay/

 

On the search about further background, I am a little confused, because I found a Soldier with the

same name, same rank, died on the same day and also a member of a Scottish unit:

Serjeant Alexander Ramsay – Royal Scots - Died 28 March 1918, But, Age 20 years old

https://astreetnearyou.org/regiment/202/Royal-Scots

   (Now I am be aware that´s another person.)

 

My background is; - to find further information about any results about the losses and funerals of the British opponents.

Could you be so kind and provide me with the source of this information as a base for further investigations.

 

Very best regards

Holger

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Holger

Many thanks for the fascinating translation and pictures that reveal yet another forgotten small slice of the East Africa campaign! I hope in due course to wargame these actions using miniatures - my way of appreciating and respecting times long past!

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Hello Holger

Thank you for all the excellent information. I am still reading it very carefully.  The man I am researching is Sergeant Alexander Ramsay, 150420, Scottish Horse, He is commemorated on the war memorial in Oathlaw, Angus. (The war memorial is no longer in Oathlaw as it was in the church which has become a house. It is now in the church at Tannadice.)

I will send you a personal message with more details.

RM

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Dear zaalf and rolt968,

Many thanks for your reply.

With the translations of the old German texts, I have to adapt a few things. Of course. 100 years ago, the colloquial language showed quite large differences. Without additional explanations, these old German text passages, taken out of context, would really make no sense. Therefore, as far as comprehensible, I add data, locations and positions information, and the completion of the respective names and ranks for all persons, which are mentioned.

I also always work with different and additional maps in order to get later on site, a more precise idea of the course of the situation. Of course, this also increases the likelihood of finding remains. (Although I never take anything with me in 30 years).

When I've finished the detailed map of the battle, I'll post it here. Maybe helpful for wargames.

Cheers Holger

 

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On 01/07/2020 at 14:07, rolt968 said:

A man (Scottish sergeant serving with 2/1 King's African Rifles) I am researching died of dysentery at Luambala (Mazmbique) at the end of March 1918 and was buried in the cemetery there. The cemetery was closed in 1920 and all the men were reinterred in Mangochi Town Cemetery (Malawi).

Good morning RM,

Regarding Serjeant Alexander Ramsay, the Data sheet mentioned that he was killed in action (K./.A.) at

Luambala on 28. March 1918. But I suspect your statement that he died of dysentery is correct, because

as far as I know, there were no more fights at Luambala on March 28, 1918.

 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/904668/a-ramsay/#&gid=1&pid=2

 

Regards

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5 hours ago, Holger Kotthaus said:

Good morning RM,

Regarding Serjeant Alexander Ramsay, the Data sheet mentioned that he was killed in action (K./.A.) at

 

Luambala on 28. March 1918. But I suspect your statement that he died of dysentery is correct, because

 

as far as I know, there were no more fights at Luambala on March 28, 1918.

 

 

 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/904668/a-ramsay/#&gid=1&pid=2

 

 

 

Regards

 

Hello Holger

I had seen that. There is another source about Alexander Ramsay's death. A return was made about Scottish soldiers' deaths to the registry office of Scotland. It's a bit like a brief death certificate. Sometimes it tells you a lot including place of death and an accurate cause of death. Others simply say "killed in action" and "France and Flanders".

The entry for Sergeant Alexander Ramsay says that he died of dysentry.

RM

 

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17 hours ago, rolt968 said:

The entry for Sergeant Alexander Ramsay says that he died of dysentry.

Okay; - understand; - thanks.

 

Let me add some further information about Luambala; - in this case some German photos:

Pictures of the very few proven photos, in this case of, from the second unit which are involved in front of

Luambala. The 21. Field-Company in Portuguese East Africa, under Lieutenant Walter von Ruckteschell,

but exact date and location are unknown. Certainly more than one on the photos was involved at Luambala.

 

Koloniales Bildarchiv Universität Frankfurt

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8 hours ago, Holger Kotthaus said:

Okay; - understand; - thanks.

 

 

 

Let me add some further information about Luambala; - in this case some German photos:

 

Pictures of the very few proven photos, in this case of, from the second unit which are involved in front of

 

Luambala. The 21. Field-Company in Portuguese East Africa, under Lieutenant Walter von Ruckteschell,

 

but exact date and location are unknown. Certainly more than one on the photos was involved at Luambala.

 

 

 

Koloniales Bildarchiv Universität Frankfurt

 

 

 

Thank you again Holger.

They are remarkable photos.

RM

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On 27/11/2021 at 12:11, rolt968 said:

Hello Holger

I had seen that. There is another source about Alexander Ramsay's death. A return was made about Scottish soldiers' deaths to the registry office of Scotland. It's a bit like a brief death certificate. Sometimes it tells you a lot including place of death and an accurate cause of death. Others simply say "killed in action" and "France and Flanders".

The entry for Sergeant Alexander Ramsay says that he died of dysentry.

RM

 

It's interesting. The registry office entry for Sergeant Ramsay is not so good about where he died. It says "East Africa". Strictyly speaking I only know he was buried at Luambala, not that he died there, although it cannot have been far away.

RM

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Hello RM,

I am aware of the problems of conflicting sources. It is a shame that Charles Hodern could not finish his second volume (1917-1918) about the campaign in East Africa.

 

British and German losses at Luambala – January between 7. - 16. 1918 in PEA

To complete the overall background about the situation at Luambala, here first, the losses of both opponents:

(German summary will follow)

 

British losses

Killed in action (K./A):

Capt. W.J. Clachan – 4./Mdx.Regt. att. II./ 1.K.A.R. – 11.1.1918 – Luambala, 8.3.1920. to Ft. Johnston

Lieutenant F.G. Tofts – E. Surrey Regt., att. II./1. K.A.R. – 7.1.1918 – Luambala 8.3.1920. to Ft. Johnston

Wounded / injured: . . . . . . . Currently not known

 

Askari killed in action: . . . . . Currently not known

Askari wounded / injured: . . Currently not known

 

Died by other reasons in Luambala:

C.S.M. H. Parish – 3./Lincoln Regt. att. II./1. K.A.R – 18.4.1918 – Poison – Luambala, 8.3.20. to Ft. Johnston

Sgt. A. Ramsey – 2./Scott.Horse att. II./ 1.K.A.R. – 28.3.1918 – Dysentery – Luambala, 8.3.20. to Ft. Johnston

Source:https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/904668/a-ramsay/#&gid=1&pid=1

 

Cheers Holger

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Holger

You may be interested in this Ross Anderson abstract which, although not dealing in specifics about Luambala, does give an overview of that part of the campaign. 

Section 9. The drive into Portuguese East Africa: December 1917 – May 1918 is the relevant section... https://www.ajol.info/index.php/smsajms/article/view/151026/140604

Steve

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Steve

Thanks’ for this link. It´s now in my source-list. I will come back with a summary. Do you know any British primary source about the 1st K.A.R. in the GW? I always like to compare different positions. The Portuguese were not involved before Luambala, so no statements are to be expected here. There is only one very informative online source with names and dates of when which Portuguese Boma / fortified base was conquered, occupied or left.

 

Os Alemães – Combates de tropas alemãs em território moçambicano

Luambala (Mluluca) – 28 de Dezembro de 1917 – Destacamento Göring – Evacuado

Source: https://www.momentosdehistoria.com/MH_05_02_Exercito.htm

 

German losses

(German losses on 7th (- 16th) January 1918: Death: 1 European, 4 Askari & 1 Boy.

/ Injured: 9 Europeans, 11 Askari & 4 Porters, Missed: 1 Porter with M.G. Mount)

Source: “Die Operationen in Ostafrika, Weltkrieg 1914-1918“, Ludwig Boell (Footnote, page 403)

https://www.zinnfigur.com/Buecher-Medien/Buecher/1914-1932-1-WK/Deutschland/Boell-Ludwig-Die-Operationen-in-Ostafrika-Weltkrieg-1914-1918.html

 

Killed in action (K./A):

N.C.O. Curt Ellersdoerfer – 4. Field-Company – 7.1.1918 – Luambala P.E.A. Grave not known

Source: “Onlineprojekt Gefallenen-Gedenkmaeler für Deutsch-Ost-Afrika”

http://www.denkmalprojekt.org/2014/bremen_kolonial-ehrenmal_gedenkbuch-teil-deutsch-ostafrika.html

 

Wounded / injured:

Master-Sergeant Augusto V. Beselin – 21. FC. – 7.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Master-Sergeant Paul K. Braun – 4. FC. – 12.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Vice-Sergeant Wilhelm Durst – 4. FC. – 12.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Vice-Sergeant Paul F.H. Gerke 21. FC. – 7.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Chief Boatswain-Maat Theodor J.F. Schuett – 21. FC. – 7.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Boatswain-Maat Friedrich K. Tabbe – 4. FC. – 7.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Sergeant Hermann M. Valett – 4. FC. – 7.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Chief Machine-Maat Karl H. Weslau – 21. FC. – 7.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Chief Maat Ernst H. Zeits – 21.FC. – 7.1.1918 – Luambala – active to 14.11.1918

Source: “Die Angehörigen der Kaiserlichen Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Ostafrika zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkriegs“

(Complete biographical directory with all Europeans of the `Schutztruppe´ 1914-1918, Sönke Clasen, 2021)

https://www.lehmanns.de/shop/sachbuch-ratgeber/56888486-9783752690347-die-angehoerigen-der-kaiserlichen-schutztruppe-fuer-deutsch-ostafrika-zur-zeit-des-ersten-weltkriegs

 

Killed in action (K./A):

Askari Mgoni – 4. Field-Company – 7.1.1918 – Luambala P.E.A. – Grave not known

Three Askari – 21. Field-Company – 7.1.1918 – Luambala P.E.A. – Graves not known

Wounded / injured: 11 Askari – Names not known

 

Volunteer Friedrich Breithaupt – 21.Field-Company – 15.1.1918 – P.O.W. at Luambala or Kitembwi-East (?)

 

Cheers Holger

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4 hours ago, Holger Kotthaus said:

Thanks’ for this link. It´s now in my source-list. I will come back with a summary. Do you know any British primary source about the 1st K.A.R. in the GW? I always like to compare different positions. The Portuguese were not involved before Luambala, so no statements are to be expected here. There is only one very informative online source with names and dates of when which Portuguese Boma / fortified base was conquered, occupied or left.

Holger

Primary source material, by which I mean battalion war diaries for the 1/1st and 2/1st K.A.R. for the beginning of 1918, would appear to be lacking.  There is some detail covered in the 3/1st K.A.R. diary who were also part of Hawthorn's column and there is a general overview of the campaign in both the Norforce (Nyasaland & Rhodesia Frontier Force) HQ and East African General Staff GHQ diaries.  Links to the diaries are below and these can be downloaded free of charge if you simply create an account on the National Archives site... 

3/1st K.A.R. War Diary...  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/f81fc39789c44b9aae57ba479145b273

Norforce War Diary... https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/4c342fa6a7814db7bfd9b5c730229e3b

East African General Staff GHQ War Diary... https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/6434583f145a4796b69cc797d74a3711

 

Regards

Steve

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1 hour ago, SteveE said:

Holger

Primary source material, by which I mean battalion war diaries for the 1/1st and 2/1st K.A.R. for the beginning of 1918, would appear to be lacking.  There is some detail covered in the 3/1st K.A.R. diary who were also part of Hawthorn's column and there is a general overview of the campaign in both the Norforce (Nyasaland & Rhodesia Frontier Force) HQ and East African General Staff GHQ diaries.  Links to the diaries are below and these can be downloaded free of charge if you simply create an account on the National Archives site... 

3/1st K.A.R. War Diary...  https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/f81fc39789c44b9aae57ba479145b273

Norforce War Diary... https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/4c342fa6a7814db7bfd9b5c730229e3b

East African General Staff GHQ War Diary... https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/6434583f145a4796b69cc797d74a3711

 

Regards

Steve

Thanks for this. As you will see from my post above, I thought that the East Africa war diaries had not been digitised.

RM

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1 hour ago, rolt968 said:

Thanks for this. As you will see from my post above, I thought that the East Africa war diaries had not been digitised.

RM

RM

No problem, glad you've found it useful and thankfully the East African war diaries have been digitised and are available to download.  There are quite a few 'gaps' in what is available from that theatre but something is clearly better than nothing.

The Adjutant General (Base)'s war diary is a useful record to find East African casualty details but unfortunately this only goes up to August 1917, doesn't apparently survive to cover the remainder of the war and is therefore not at all helpful when trying to track Alexander Ramsay's cause of death in March 1918 (although you know from other sources it was dysentery).  I haven't yet noted any other war diaries that cover these later 1918 casualty details amongst the extant records.

Steve   

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Steve,

Many thanks for this really support.

I have been registered with the National Archives for years and I regularly receive notifications. However, I haven't been able to find anything so far. As I continue my search, I turn a little in circles; - or endless loop. I'm curious whether Colonel Hawthrone’s III. Battalion of the 1st K.A.R Regiment was still deployed in front of Luambala.

Regards Holger

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On 30/11/2021 at 15:40, Holger Kotthaus said:

I'm curious whether Colonel Hawthrone’s III. Battalion of the 1st K.A.R Regiment was still deployed in front of Luambala.

Holger

As we know place names have changed in East Africa and what they were called in 1918 bears little or no relation to their current name.  However, if I've got the right places then the 3/1st K.A.R. were some 160km to the south of Luambala in January 1918, being centred on Namwera with companies located in the surrounding district on what is now the Malawi/Mozambique border and about 40km from Fort Johnston.

Steve

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Only the entries were listed in which Luambala (Boma or river) mentioned. Some words could not be identified (?) and German references and results have been added in green.

WO-95-5331-10_ Norforce Colonel Hawthorne’s Column; III./1. Battalion Kings African Rifles - 1918 Jan.- July

 

January 2nd

HAWTHORN reports that on 31st December a patrol o I./ 1. K.A.R. North of LUAMBALA killed 1 askari of German Patrol. 6 Enemy whites with 2 coys + 1 M.G reported at LUAMBALA, and a larger forces at MTARIKA. Von Otto with 13rd, 14th + 28th FK´s reported north of MWEMBE going towards NEWARA. (Captain OTTO´s Detachment consisted at that time only of the 14th and 19th FK. The 28th FK. capitulated already on April 6th, 1916 on Lolkissale-Hill /GEA under First-Lieutenant A. HERRGOTT and the 13th FK. stayed in the first 3 weeks in January 1918 with the Commando near CHIRUMBA, south of MTARIKA)

 

January 3rd

Patrols under Ltd. PRYDE and SWALES returned. Sgt. MALONE (D Coy) with 15 ranks + filz left to North of LAKE AMARAMBA. HAWTHORN reports (???) patrol of I./1. K.A.R. north of LUAMBALA on 1st January. Our casualties, 2 officers, 1 white signaller + 2 askaris killed, 2 askaris wounded. Known enemy casualties, 1 white + 5 askaris killed. 3 Coys II./1.K.A.R ordered to LUAMBALA. (The opponent was the German Patrol from Detachment K. WAHLE, 4th S.K. under Sergeant J. NORDENHOLZ, 3 Europeans, 40 Askari and 1 Lewis Gun. There were no European deaths in whole January 1918 listed, and Askari losses on this day are not known, however, most likely.)

 

January 4th

[No entry about LUAMBALA on this day]

 

January 5th

Enemy forces at LUAMBALA now said to be 2 whites, 150 askaris and 4 M.G´s and reinforcements submitted from MTARIKA.  1 enemy Coy processing to MWEMBE, and 1 in (?) of MAKUA + MALAKOTERA. MAJ.GEN.NORTHEY stayed at NAMWERAS night of the 5th/6th. (The opponent was the 21.F.K. under Lieutenant W. von RUCKTESCHELL, but with about a dozen Europeans and 120 Askari.) 

 

January 6th + 7th

[No entry about LUAMBALA on these days]

 

January 8th

D Coy under Lt. DILLON (Less patrols under Lts. MYLES + TRAILL and Sgts. CLARK + MALONE) proceeded to MWAVA. D. Coy to establish an entrenched camp (?) or nearer the LUJENDA if sufficient healthy, and to send patrols 20 or 30 miles across river, watching the main paths to MAHUA, LUAMBALA + MALOKOTERA. The main force of the company to (?) needs to move to prevent any scummy (?) to cross LUJENDA within 2 days of MWAVA.

 

January 9th

[No entry about LUAMBALA on this day]

 

January 10th

Lt. TRAILL´s patrol returned from the LUJENDA. Lt. MYLES recognises “D” Coy. HAWTHORN reports 2nd, 4th, 21st F.K at LUAMBALA, OTTO with 13th + 14th F.K. at LIKOPOLWE and to proceed (?) via MWEMBE to reinforce MTARIKA. 9th F.K. to be at LIKOPOLWE on 9th January. Enemy in position East + West of LUJENDA at LUAMBALA. 1 Coy II./1.K.A.R. attacked on position morning 7th without success, but inflicted causalities on (?) in two counter attacks. Arriving (?) of I./1.K.A.R. + II./1.K.A.R. attacked and captured 1 position. Captain CLACHAN and Lieutenant TOFTS killed. (As already mentioned, the 4th + 21st FK. belonged to the Detachment GOERING. Several sources confirm also that the 2. FK. under First-Lieutenant Albert MERENSKI belonged official to this Detachment in January 1918. This is correct, however, the 2.FK wasn´t involved directly at LUAMBALA, but secured west of the Lugenda-River, further north of the LUAMBALA-River. See later also entries by Major-General E. NORTHEY.)

 

January 11th

Lt. TRAILL´s platoon left to rejoin D Coy at MWAVA. Sgt. CLARK´s patrol rejoined NAMWERAS. Sgt. PERKINS + 15 askari of C Coy left to patrol MTONYA road. Enemy at LUAMBALA withdrawn to positions in and around BOMA. 1 Coy II./1.K.A.R. on left bank of LUJENDA watching crossing, remaining coys holding ground between LUJENDA and LUAMBALA.

 

January 12th

[No entry about LUAMBALA on this day]

 

January 13th – 17th  

[No entry about LUAMBALA on these days]

 

January 18th (4 a.m.)

HAWTHORN´s column entered LUAMBALA without opposition.

January 19th – 24th  

[No entry about LUAMBALA on these days]

 

January 25th

Col. CAMPOS, Portuguese commandant MALOKOTERA reports enemy at MAHUA, and that a force of 3 coys with 25 Germans an 3 maxims were at METENUE 8 hrs North West of MAHUA which has believed was proceeding to reinforce LUAMBALA.

 

February 24th

Maj. MASTERS with 1/2 B. I./1.K.A.R. passes through on route for Ft. JOHNSTON. Maj. MARKNAM, A.D.C.T. visited NAMWERAS and arranged that MALOKOTERA who to be (?) by III./1.K.A.R. 1st line carriers, as it was classified by (?) food arrived at LUAMBALA for which purpose all 2nd line carriers would be required.

 

February 28th

Maj. ORR + Lt. GIBBS with 20 askari C Coy left for MALOKOTERA. Maj. ORR (?) the situation in that area.

9 a.m. C Coy under Capt. PAYDE left for LUAMBALA to relieve C Coy I./1.K.A.R.

1 p.m. Wirrs resured (?) from Col. HAWTHORN cancelling march (?) of 1 coy to LUAMBALA ordering it to support Maj. ORR if required, and directing that enemy parties in MALOKOTERA area should be harassed as much as possible in order to encourage dissertation.

 

(A summary will follow after the other entries and statesments)

Regards Holger

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30 minutes ago, Holger Kotthaus said:

Only the entries were listed in which Luambala (Boma or river) mentioned. Some words could not be identified (?) and German references and results have been added in green.

 

WO-95-5331-10_ Norforce Colonel Hawthorne’s Column; III./1. Battalion Kings African Rifles - 1918 Jan.- July

 

 

 

January 2nd

 

HAWTHORN reports that on 31st December a patrol o I./ 1. K.A.R. North of LUAMBALA killed 1 askari of German Patrol. 6 Enemy whites with 2 coys + 1 M.G reported at LUAMBALA, and a larger forces at MTARIKA. Von Otto with 13rd, 14th + 28th FK´s reported north of MWEMBE going towards NEWARA. (Captain OTTO´s Detachment consisted at that time only of the 14th and 19th FK. The 28th FK. capitulated already on April 6th, 1916 on Lolkissale-Hill /GEA under First-Lieutenant A. HERRGOTT and the 13th FK. stayed in the first 3 weeks in January 1918 with the Commando near CHIRUMBA, south of MTARIKA)

 

 

 

January 3rd

 

Patrols under Ltd. PRYDE and SWALES returned. Sgt. MALONE (D Coy) with 15 ranks + filz left to North of LAKE AMARAMBA. HAWTHORN reports (???) patrol of I./1. K.A.R. north of LUAMBALA on 1st January. Our casualties, 2 officers, 1 white signaller + 2 askaris killed, 2 askaris wounded. Known enemy casualties, 1 white + 5 askaris killed. 3 Coys II./1.K.A.R ordered to LUAMBALA. (The opponent was the German Patrol from Detachment K. WAHLE, 4th S.K. under Sergeant J. NORDENHOLZ, 3 Europeans, 40 Askari and 1 Lewis Gun. There were no European deaths in whole January 1918 listed, and Askari losses on this day are not known, however, most likely.)

 

 

 

January 4th

 

[No entry about LUAMBALA on this day]

 

 

 

January 5th

 

Enemy forces at LUAMBALA now said to be 2 whites, 150 askaris and 4 M.G´s and reinforcements submitted from MTARIKA.  1 enemy Coy processing to MWEMBE, and 1 in (?) of MAKUA + MALAKOTERA. MAJ.GEN.NORTHEY stayed at NAMWERAS night of the 5th/6th. (The opponent was the 21.F.K. under Lieutenant W. von RUCKTESCHELL, but with about a dozen Europeans and 120 Askari.) 

 

 

 

January 6th + 7th

 

[No entry about LUAMBALA on these days]

 

 

 

January 8th

 

D Coy under Lt. DILLON (Less patrols under Lts. MYLES + TRAILL and Sgts. CLARK + MALONE) proceeded to MWAVA. D. Coy to establish an entrenched camp (?) or nearer the LUJENDA if sufficient healthy, and to send patrols 20 or 30 miles across river, watching the main paths to MAHUA, LUAMBALA + MALOKOTERA. The main force of the company to (?) needs to move to prevent any scummy (?) to cross LUJENDA within 2 days of MWAVA.

 

 

 

January 9th

 

[No entry about LUAMBALA on this day]

 

 

 

January 10th

 

Lt. TRAILL´s patrol returned from the LUJENDA. Lt. MYLES recognises “D” Coy. HAWTHORN reports 2nd, 4th, 21st F.K at LUAMBALA, OTTO with 13th + 14th F.K. at LIKOPOLWE and to proceed (?) via MWEMBE to reinforce MTARIKA. 9th F.K. to be at LIKOPOLWE on 9th January. Enemy in position East + West of LUJENDA at LUAMBALA. 1 Coy II./1.K.A.R. attacked on position morning 7th without success, but inflicted causalities on (?) in two counter attacks. Arriving (?) of I./1.K.A.R. + II./1.K.A.R. attacked and captured 1 position. Captain CLACHAN and Lieutenant TOFTS killed. (As already mentioned, the 4th + 21st FK. belonged to the Detachment GOERING. Several sources confirm also that the 2. FK. under First-Lieutenant Albert MERENSKI belonged official to this Detachment in January 1918. This is correct, however, the 2.FK wasn´t involved directly at LUAMBALA, but secured west of the Lugenda-River, further north of the LUAMBALA-River. See later also entries by Major-General E. NORTHEY.)

 

 

 

January 11th

 

Lt. TRAILL´s platoon left to rejoin D Coy at MWAVA. Sgt. CLARK´s patrol rejoined NAMWERAS. Sgt. PERKINS + 15 askari of C Coy left to patrol MTONYA road. Enemy at LUAMBALA withdrawn to positions in and around BOMA. 1 Coy II./1.K.A.R. on left bank of LUJENDA watching crossing, remaining coys holding ground between LUJENDA and LUAMBALA.

 

 

 

January 12th

 

[No entry about LUAMBALA on this day]

 

 

 

January 13th – 17th  

 

[No entry about LUAMBALA on these days]

 

 

 

January 18th (4 a.m.)

 

HAWTHORN´s column entered LUAMBALA without opposition.

 

 

 

January 19th – 24th  

 

[No entry about LUAMBALA on these days]

 

 

 

January 25th

 

Col. CAMPOS, Portuguese commandant MALOKOTERA reports enemy at MAHUA, and that a force of 3 coys with 25 Germans an 3 maxims were at METENUE 8 hrs North West of MAHUA which has believed was proceeding to reinforce LUAMBALA.

 

 

 

February 24th

 

Maj. MASTERS with 1/2 B. I./1.K.A.R. passes through on route for Ft. JOHNSTON. Maj. MARKNAM, A.D.C.T. visited NAMWERAS and arranged that MALOKOTERA who to be (?) by III./1.K.A.R. 1st line carriers, as it was classified by (?) food arrived at LUAMBALA for which purpose all 2nd line carriers would be required.

 

 

 

February 28th

 

Maj. ORR + Lt. GIBBS with 20 askari C Coy left for MALOKOTERA. Maj. ORR (?) the situation in that area.

 

9 a.m. C Coy under Capt. PAYDE left for LUAMBALA to relieve C Coy I./1.K.A.R.

 

1 p.m. Wirrs resured (?) from Col. HAWTHORN cancelling march (?) of 1 coy to LUAMBALA ordering it to support Maj. ORR if required, and directing that enemy parties in MALOKOTERA area should be harassed as much as possible in order to encourage dissertation.

 

 

 

(A summary will follow after the other entries and statesments)

 

Regards Holger

 

Many thanks, Holger!

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