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East-Africa - German or K.u.K. - deserters & defectors?

Holger Kotthaus

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Holger Kotthaus

East-Africa - German or K.u.K. - deserters & defectors?


Are there in English documents the names of members of the Schutztruppe

who deserted and defected during the campaign in East Africa 1914-1918?


Cheers Holger

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There must be Holger, but it would take somebody living in London to be able to go through the National Archives documents.


Good Luck.  Harry

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Holger Kotthaus



I'm surprised. No army has certainly 'gladly' noted its defectors in its own documents.

But the opponent for sure. So I assumed that German defectors were well known in British documents.


I am looking for K.u.K. Ensign (officer candidate) der Reserve, Zeno Freiherr von Blumencron.

Already mentioned by AHF: https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=73&t=251007


I only saw this name in the documents during an event, March 1915 at the BNR / GEA border,

but not before and afterwards.


An alternative would be; he defected, and British forces clearly noted this rare occurrence.


Cheers Holger


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Holger Kotthaus



Many thanks for your reference. I have heard from this great source,

but never used this before. Will definitely be helpful in the future.


Now, of course, it took me some time to look through the entire list of A&H participants.

Entry_Zeno Freiherr von Blumencron.jpg

Serial Number: 173649 = ???

Reference No.: V 105 https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/List/5181677/968/105/ (Only Name was mentioned)

Reference No.: V 684 https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/List/5181677/968/684/ (Only Name was mentioned)

See S.N. 23763 C: = ???

List 96 (?) https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/List/5181677/968/96/

(No result)

Cairo 34840 (9/1) = ???

1289  = ???


But text column 8, with Place and Date of capture, wounds, etc., etc. was always empty.

Now I am not sure whether there are no entries or whether I have missed something.

But I suspect that there will be no further entries for Zeno Freiherr von Blumencron.


Cheers Holger

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173649 is just a serial number on the lists, he would appear to be the 173649 entry.

Cai 34840 (9/1) is his PoW number in the camp in Cairo, interned there on 9th January (1918)

1289 is another document containing his name which needs the prefix V to access i.e. V1289


For a reason I cannot explain he was first interned as a civilian https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/File/Details/4574647/4/1/ 

 his name is listed on List 96 as serial number (S.N.) 23763C which can be accessed here https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/List/4574647/977/2516/ or by entering *2516 in the search box. The document records that he was captured at Newala on 21.11.1917 presumably uninjured and held at Dar es Salaam from 2.12.1917.


To access the civilian records you will have to change the search criterion using the drop down lists - see attached



edit - I forgot to add that I can‘t find him in the A-H casualty lists - strange. http://des.genealogy.net/ou1wk/search



Edited by charlie2
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Holger Kotthaus

Dear Charly,


Great; - wonderful; - Thank you for your very effective help.

I know how time consuming such a search can be.


I still haven't got behind the last secrets of the ICRC; but probably I am not alone.


With the information that he was captured only on 11th November 1917 in Newalla; - now I

can start with a real and further search in the German documents and will insert the result.

Certainly I can’t list all 227 officers of the Schutztruppe 1914 - 1918 in GEA, but I knew straight

away that I did not heard this name any time before. It's nice to learn something every day!


Also good to know that he wasn't a defector. ( - :D - )

(But there were some; - I will add this information later.)


Again; - I am very impressed; - wonderful team work of GWF & AHF!


(Du hast was gut bei mir)

Cheers Holger


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Hi Holger

Gern geschehen :)


I should have checked the 1289 you asked about, it is actually V1269, which records him being held at Ludd in Egypt https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/List/5181677/968/1269/

14 hours ago, Holger Kotthaus said:

I still haven't got behind the last secrets of the ICRC; but probably I am not alone.

I don‘t think anyone has!


If you haven‘t already done so, it could be worth your while asking about Freiherr von Blumencron on the Feldgrau Forum https://www.feldgrau-forum.com There are many well informed people on the forum.



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Holger Kotthaus


(((I am amazed that the “Feldgrau Forum” still exists. Due to the increased pressure by the current German

government and the `political correctness´, I guess that several forums in Germany had to be closed:

“Forum of Traditionsverband ehemaliger Schutz- und Überseetruppen“, “Panzer-Forum“, “Forum Deutsches

Afrika Korps“. . . . and so one. Even Book-publishers such as “Glanz und Gloria”, “Wintersonnenwende

are also under increasing political pressure and have already received several warnings. Anyone who is

only interested in the period up to 1918 is also denounced unofficial as History falsifier, right-wing radical

or sympathizer. This gouvernment has reduced its support to the “Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge”

and is fulfilling its obligation to the “Commonwealth War Grave Commission” overseas only slowly and with

great delay. After discussions in the German Bundestag, this should be stopped completely. Nice to see that

the GWF is still independent and without this harmful Germen influence!)))


Back to the GEA campaign and Zero Freiherr von Blumencron (What for an impressive name!)

Thanks for the addition about his stay in Egypt. I will come back with a summary about his trace in GEA.


Cheers Holger

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  • 2 months later...
Holger Kotthaus

A colleague from www.traditionsverband.de researched intensive further details about this person.


Here are his results:


Zeno Maria Arpad von Blumencron was born on 12. July 1891 in Hareth / Böhmen (today the

Czech Republic) as the son and youngest of 2 children of the K.u.K. Officer Geza von Blumencron

(Gotha ancestral book).


His father died just 3 weeks after he was born. On 1. January 1913, Zeno became K.u.K. Ensign

d.R. appointed to the 4th Dragoons-Regiment. According to a newspaper report, he was registered

in May 1914 for an automobile event "To the Adria", which went via Vienna-Klagenfurt to Trieste.

It is believed that Zeno then travelled from Trieste directly to GEA, either for a hunting trip or for the

National exhibition in Daressalaam spring 1914.


At the beginning of the war in GEA, Zeno registered as an Austrian citizen with the `Schutztruppe´

as a volunteer, and was also employed as an officer candidate / deputy under his original rank.

There he was transferred at the end of 1914 to the `Detachment Bismarckburg´ in the south-west of

the colony. On 26. May 1915, this Detachment was integrated into the 29. Field-Company, and with

high probability, he also took part as a platoon leader in this Company, in the first attack on the British

fortification, Saisi / Jericho Farm on 28. June 1915.


Afterwards he was transferred to the 5. Field-Company and marched within the `Detachment

Markgraf´ to Langenburg at Lake Nyasa. When exactly there, the change to the 2. Field-Company

took place, could not be detected. On 3. July 1916 he was mentioned as Leader of the `Detachment

Bluemencron´ in a skirmish at Ubena (Between Mbeya and Iringa, GEA newspaper on 7. July 1916)


With the 2. Field-Company he took part within the `Detachment Lincke´ in the retreat, later as part

of the `West Troops´, south of Mahenge in the direction of the Portuguese border. Blumencron was

last time mentioned on 18. October 1917 during the fights at Lukuledi, as part of the Battle of Mahiwa,

in the far south-east within the 2. Field-Company. His Company moved on to Portuguese East Africa,

and was part of the `Schutztruppe´ until the armistice on November 25, 1918 in Abercorn.


Blumencron was taken prisoner on 18. November 1917 at Njambindinga (German Federal Archives)

or on 21. November 1917 in Newala (Red Cross), returned to Daressalaam and was afterwards

interned in Maadi / Egypt.


In November 1919 (newspaper) he returned to Hareth via Germany, where he was also recorded

in 1926 (Colonial handbook). He must have moved to Linz after that. In 1939, like his parents, he

married in Linz (Elisabeth Dietzer from Linz). In 1940 he was mentioned as bank-clerk in Linz and

still in 1960 registered as an "administrative lawyer" in Linz. His date of death is currently unknown.


Maybe also photos of him will appear.


Cheers Holger

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