Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Loyal North Lancashires in East Africa


bushfighter1

Recommended Posts

post-16018-1175684876.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Latema Summit

Sadly I have not been able to locate a War Diary for The Loyal North Lancashire Machine Gun Company.

However the fighting on the right flank appears to have been fierce during the night.

The bulk of the British assault units withdrew when the German fire became heavy, but courageous individuals kept going on through the confusion to secure & defend positions on Latema.

Two Loyal North Lancashire Machine Gunners were recommended for gallantry by the CO 2nd Rhodesia Regiment:

Corporal William Connor

"he with a small party of Rhodesians held off & defeated a superior body of the enemy who had called upon them to surrender. He used his Machine Gun efficiently & probably saved the situation. Has always behaved with credit in action."

Private Thomas Robertson

"he volunteered to help a Maxim gun of 2nd Rhodesia Regiment which was under heavy cross-fire & had suffered casualties. He acted as No 2 on the gun & helped to carry the gun out of action to a position of safety when the section was very short-handed. Has been previously wounded in action."

Corporal Connor received a DCM, Private Robertson did not.

Another Loyal North Lancashire soldier, Private J.T. Williams also won a DCM that night in the Nek.

He was attached to the Divisional Signal Company, called Zulu Company:

"For conspicuous gallantry & resource when in charge of linesmen. His party was reduced by casualties but he remained in the front line all night delivering messages."

The British HQ was unaware of their outposts still fighting on Latema & thought that the assault had failed altogether. However German resolve cracked first & a German withdrawal began.

British HQ then declared victory, won by a handful of fighting infantrymen who would not give in, & the road to Moshi was open.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The mounted Infantry Company was ordered on reconnaissance to the eastern flank of Reata, through what was then dense forest, where it came under enemy fire, returning fire with the company Machine Gun.

Harry

Excellent to be able to see where and what the Mounted Infantry Company were doing throughout the action, now I can see exactly what sort of terrain GGFather had to endure as part of that company.

This is absolutely fascinating, keep it coming :D, although I have to agree with Roop, work IS suffering.

Steve

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175693361.jpg

The Mombasa African Memorial

"This is to the memory of the Arab & Native African troops who fought. To the carriers who were the feet and hands of the army, and to all other men who served and died for their King and Country in Eastern Africa in the Great War 1914 - 1918

If you fight for your country even if you die your sons will remember your name."

The figures are:

A Scout, an Arab Rifleman, an Askari and a Carrier.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175696078.jpg

The Memorial to the Arab Rifles

By Fort Jesus in Mombasa are the Konigsberg & Pegasus Guns & this memorial to the Arab Rifles.

Major A.J.B. Wavell, the Welsh Regiment, an estate owner near Mombasa who had performed the Haj pilgrimage, formed the Arab Rifles from Yemeni & Hadhrami Arabs working in British East Africa.

The unit played a big part in Coastal Defence in 1914 & 1915. Administratively it was a part of the King's African Rifles.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175697170.jpg

Mkongani. The location of the Arab Rifles graves.

The Arab Rifles were based in Mwele Ndogo, which is now part of Shimba Hills Park just above the South Coast.

In January 1916 the unit moved to intercept German raiders at Mkongani but were surprised & heavily defeated, Major Wavell & 30 of his men being killed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175697566.jpg

Mkongani. Arab Rifles grave stone.

If this stone is not protected then it is likely to disappear.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175697957.jpg

Mkongani. The Wavell & Mackintosh grave enclosure.

Major Wavell & Lt JL Mackintosh are buried where they fell in a little enclosure at the end of an avenue of trees.

The Arab Rifles were then posted north to Jubaland in what is now Somalia, to work on internal security duties.

Later they were posted to duties on the GEA coast.

(This is an interesting, little-known unit that did some good work. I went through their folder in the Nairobi National Archives & was appalled at the almost total lack of beaurocratic interest in them. The BEA administration was responsible for them, & parts of that administration had little interest in the war generally.)

If you are on holiday on the Kenyan South Coast a trip to Mkongani can be pleasantly combined with a visit to the adjacent Shimba Hills Park, where the Mwele Ndogo defensive positions can be seen.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175747747.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Karungu Bay

On the Lake Victoria shore southwest of Kisumu, Karungu was the nearest British port to the GEA border on the east of the Lake.

On 9 September 1914 a German force supported by the "Muansa" landed at Karungu, moved inland to join another German force crossing the Mara River, & occupied Kisii.

The British police post at Kisii withdrew towards Kendu.

The German troops were tasked with demolishing viaducts on the Uganda Railway.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175749420.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Kendu Bay with Wire Hill in the background

Reinforcements had not yet arrived from India & German pushes down the Tsavo were occupying all available troops in BEA, except one Ugandan company from 4KAR in Kisumu.

Uganda was now emptied of troops, the Reserve Company 4KAR & 90 Uganda Police being sent across the Lake, escorted by the "Kavirondo", to Kisumu & then on to Kendu Bay.

These reinforcements met up with the company from Kisumu at Wire Hill, were joined by the Kisii police detachment & District Commissioner, & advanced on Kisii.

The force was commanded by Capt EGM Thorneycroft, King's Own Royal Regiment, the 4KAR Adjutant.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175750104.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Kendu old town

This street of shops, which would have been mostly operated by Asians who stayed on after constructing the Uganda Railway, runs down to the Lake which was the highway.

Now, with modern roads bypassing it, this resembles a Western "ghost town" & is an interesting backwater.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175751390.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Kisii - the British positions on the hills (on the skyline)

Capt Thorneycroft was on the extreme left hill with half of D Coy 4KAR.

Lt Musson was on the central hill with C Coy 4KAR.

Lt Lilley was on the extreme right hill with half of D Coy 4KAR, the Uganda Police & Lt Shorthose manning a Machine Gun.

The Germans were drilling on a square roughly where the communications mast is.

A German artillerypiece was in the valley right of Lt Lilley's hill.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175751870.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

The scene of Capt Thorneycroft's fight

The German troops soon stopped drilling & moved to seize the vital ground - Lt Lilley's hill.

By firing at extreme range with his Machine Gun Lt Shorthose took out the artillery gun crew after it had fired a few rounds (smoke from the black powder weapons used by the Germans gave away their positions).

Capt Thorneycroft put in an immediate attack, coming down from his hill & crossing the valley.

However he was met by a German counter attack which killed him & broke the British advance.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175752485.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

The old Kisumu road below Lt Lilley's left flank

German troops now vigorously attacked Lt Lilley's left flank, trying to gain the ridge over which ran the Kisumu road (visible in the image).

The Uganda Police, despite their conspicuous blue shirts, counter attacked down the left flank & held the line of the road.

As ammunition was expended & casualties were mounting the British troops withdrew at dusk to Wire Hill.

The German force, similarly exhausted, withdrew towards GEA leaving its wounded in Kisii.

During the night the local inhabitants went on the rampage, looting shops & stripping the dead & the wounded.

The following day Kisii was reoccupied by the British, & the District Commissioner restored his authority in a very direct manner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175753442.jpg

Captain Thorneycroft's Grave

The grave is in the grounds of the Kisii Sports Club, behind the Government offices in the town.

Its presence is tolerated by the Club members, but we must not assume that this will always be the case.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175753733.jpg

Capt Thorneycroft's headstone

After the battle, which was another fine example of the determination of the King's African Rifles to repel German invaders, Kisii was garrisoned, and during 1915 soldiers of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment served there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175754674.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Karungu Bay

A plan was devised at British HQ to cut off the German withdrawal from Kisii.

Two squadrons of the East African Mounted Rifles were entrained from the Magadi line to Kisumu & despatched on HMS "Winifred" to Karungu.

However the German garrison there, supported by the "Muansa", repulsed the landing.

The Germans then withdrew towards GEA & British forces garrisoned Karungu.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175771190.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Karungu Bay from the east

After the Kisii battle reinforcements arrived from India & local units such as the East African Mounted Rifles completed training & could be deployed more effectively.

(The colonial authorities resisted the expansion of the King's African Rifles for another two years, & it was not until white & Indian units became decimated by disease, climate & privation that the KAR was greatly expanded.

The KAR became the infantry force, along with the West Africans, that could be relied upon to endure the immense hardships of the Campaign.)

Karungu was garrisoned by Drought's Troop (formerly Ross's Scouts) of the East African Mounted Rifles.

Lt Drought raised a group of local irregulars nick-named "The Skin Corps" as they saw no use for clothing. These lads were effective on cross-border scouting & later led the ground advance to Muanza.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175772250.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Karungu Port

Not much has changed since 1915.

The ladies are drying small fish on the nets.

In early 1915, whenever German troops appeared to be threatening this stretch of the BEA border, companies of the Loyal North Lancashires would be entrained from Nairobi to Kisumu & then moved on the Royal Navy flotilla to Karungu or to small ports across the GEA border.

Most of the Bn served on the Lake at one time or another.

Sometimes Logan's Battery would accompany them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175772719.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Gori River southeast of Karungu

Before roads & bridges appeared, river crossings could be dangerous & had to be well planned.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175772906.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Looking south across the GEA border

Across the border on Mwaika Hill on 9 March 1915 Pte M Sullivan of The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment won a DCM whilst fighting with Drought's Troop of the EAMR:

"For conspicuous gallantry in bringing up ammunition to the firing line under close, heavy fire, and subsequently for carrying a wounded man of the 3rd King's African Rifles under heavy fire into safety."

This was an important little-known battle that lasted all day. 3KAR losses were similar to those sustained later at Latema-Reata Nek.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175773582.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Kuja River, southeast of Karungu

A ferry used to operate here, just north of the GEA border, & traces of it can still be seen on the banks.

The Loyal North Lancashires defended this crossing in early 1915.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175773876.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Nyesoku area, north of the GEA border

Many a young Loyal North Lancashire lad dug his trench near here, then quickly climbed out as the driving rain filled it up.

After the rain came the mosquitoes, & there was no respite until dawn.

(The mosquito nets issued in BEA - when there were any for issue - were so inferior that CO 2 Loyal North Lancashires ordered decent ones from India. But by the time they arrived the damage had been done.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175774515.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Karungu town, & the vital ground

The Lake was a popular place to serve. The lads could fish & hunt & the Royal Naval flotilla ensured resupply & swift casevac.

However exposure to malarial mosquitoes along the Lake shore wrecked the health of many men.

Only one Loyal North Lancashire detachment down here, commanded by Capt George Atkinson (who took over command of the Mounted Infantry Company after Capt Woodruffes' casevac) returned without incidences of fever. George was a fine field soldier & he knew how to achieve results & keep a grip on discipline & personal administration.

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175790993.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Early morning mist on a waterhole, Nyiri Desert

Link to post
Share on other sites

post-16018-1175791201.jpg

www.africahousesafaris.com

Dawn patrol, Nyiri Desert

The sun soon burns through the mist, exposing patrols that are not using cover

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...