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ShirlD

2nd Cape Corps, South African Army

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ShirlD

One of our relatives, Captain Christopher Martin Durrant, was with the Royal Marine Artillery and the 2nd Cape Corps and was killed by premature explosion of shell, July 25th (or 31st) in Macubi, Portuguese EA.

This information very kindly given to us by a Pal on the Forum (thanks again Chris :) ).

A search in google hasn't given me much, and I would like to know what sort of operations were going on in that field of battle, would he have been fighting in East Africa as well as Mozambique?

As luck would have it, I have a book ready to read, out of my local library called "The Forgotten Front" by Ross Anderson, would this be on the right track?

Cheers

Shirley

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SteveE
One of our relatives, Captain Christopher Martin Durrant, was with the Royal Marine Artillery and the 2nd Cape Corps and was killed by premature explosion of shell, July 25th (or 31st) in Macubi, Portuguese EA.

This information very kindly given to us by a Pal on the Forum (thanks again Chris :) ).

A search in google hasn't given me much, and I would like to know what sort of operations were going on in that field of battle, would he have been fighting in East Africa as well as Mozambique?

As luck would have it, I have a book ready to read, out of my local library called "The Forgotten Front" by Ross Anderson, would this be on the right track?

Cheers

Shirley

Shirley

I would hazard a guess and say it was highly likely that he served in the "East African" campaign prior to it moving into Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique) in November 1917.

After a period of what can best be described as a defensive strategy, protecting British East Africa (now Kenya) and Uganda from possible German invasion, the offensive into German East Africa (now Tanzania) commenced at the beginning of March 1916. It is possible that your relative served in this theatre from around that time as two Batteries of Artillery (numbered 9 & 11) manned by RMA personnel arrived in theatre in February 1916 for the beginning of this offensive.

I would think that it should be fairly easy (although I've had very limited dealings with records for RM personnel) to confirm this.

What must be remembered is that this campaign, unlike the European theatre, was a very fluid affair and covered a huge expanse. The Germans adopted very successful 'guerilla' hit and run tactics and would cede territory instead of fighting pitched battles in order to maintain a fighting presence and tie up British and Imperial troops.

The effect of this was that the 'British' force moved forward, the Germans retreated ahead of it until they 'ran out of room' and were pushed out of German East Africa. The Germans, in order to keep fighting and tie up forces on that continent simply 'hopped' over the border into Portuguese East Africa and the chase continued. This carried on until they re-entered German East Africa towards the end of September 1918.

Ross Anderson's book is very good as a general overview of the campaign as a whole so you won't go far wrong with it.

Hope this helps.

Steve

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ShirlD

Thank you Steve.

I am realising the 2nd Cape Corps is obviously a little known one, and was thinking the Royal Artillery would be the best link to it.

Thank you for the information regarding the EA campaign - what strikes me immediately is the difference between Gallipoli and the Western Front in terms of territory - still the same human problems, but not trenches, mud and freezing cold.

I grew up in Kenya, and honestly never knew anything of this, we certainly didnt cover it in any sort of history at school, which I find quite amazing. This in contrast to what our children and grandchildren learn today - I asked my little granddaughter (8 on sunday) if she would like to visit the WW1 graves in Fremantle Cemetary and go and see the tanks and guns at the Museum - and she nodded and asked if we could find the man who had put the injured people on his donkey and gave his life! She means "Simpson" the entry point for many aussie kids to the Great War.

I have rambled a bit, thank you again

Cheers

Shirley

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bushfighter1

Shirley

I'll come back to this site so as not to upset the Royal Marine specialists.

On page 325 of "They fought for King & Kaiser - South Africans in German East Africa 1916" by James Ambrose Brown there is a photograph titled:

"Men of the Cape Corps entrenched in training for the fierce jungle battles they took part in during the latter months of the campaign in 1917 - 1918. The German askaris learned to respect their tenacity & courage."

This book doesn't really help you further as the casualty list appear to be for the 1st Cape Corps only.

I'm sure that information relating to the death lies in South Africa. Look at the South African Military History Society & South African Military History Museum websites. I have found both organisations to be friendly.

You may find an enthusiast on the Cape Corps who can provide some more information.

Harry

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ShirlD

Thanks Harry,

All my local libraries are closed today, I was hoping to try and source some books locally, but may have to wait until our UK visit.

I have emailed The South African War Graves Project, and will get on to the others you have mentioned. Thank you. As I keep rereading the chapters (Forgotten War) and matching up the movements with the little map in there, I am getting a better "feel" of it all.

When you have completed this trip, Chris and I would love to pick your brains on the 10th Baluch!

Cheers

Shirley

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Chris Noble

Hi Chris.

Had a look around The Times as regards Christopher.

The Times, Saturday March 12th, 1904.

Official Appointments and Notices, London Gazette, Friday 11th March, 1904.

Royal Marine Artillery.

The undermentioned Sec. Lieutenants to be Lieutenants:- S. Cruddas, dated Jan., 1902 with seniority next below Lieut. R.W. Hutton; S.C. Wace, G. Rutledge, C.M. Durrant.

The Times, Thursday December 15th, 1910.

Naval Appointments.

Royal Marines.

Lieut. C.M. Durrant R.M.A., to the Neptune, on commissioning, to date Jan. 11th.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Neptune_%281909%29

The Times, Thursday Feb. 29th, 1912.

Naval Appointments.

Lieuts. R.M.A.- C.M. Durrant, to the Vanguard, and F.C. Willes to the Commonwealth, on recommissioning, to date March 28th.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Vanguard_%281909%29

The next entry i think i have already sent you Chris, having been promoted to Captain and then placed on the Retired List, London Gazette, May 14th, 1915.

After that, the trail sees to go a bit 'cold'.

Hope the information is of some use.

Kindest regards, Chris.

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ShirlD

Hi Chris,

You are a hero! Have just been trawling through pages and pages of stuff on a South African Military Archive site, so your information gives me other leads to look at.

Chris will email you tomorrow

Many thanks again,

Cheers,

Shirley

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Guest mruk

I'd like to say thanks too. This is an excellent and dedicated piece of research which goes beyond mere self-interest. It also reflects the same genorisity of spirit, and the commitment I know Chris holds dear to helping others-myself included. Cheers, mate.

Best Wishes,

Dave

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ShirlD

I have got the medal card online from the NA, and would like a little help deciphering it.

The regiment is Rho. Native R? which I understand to be Rhodesian Native Regiment

Under medal there is Rho N R Col 148b page 7 (this is on the Victory line)

Then Medals issued in bulk ....... minus 3 EF/5/6726

I have been trying to find files at the NA on the 2nd Cape Corps, South Africa, now it looks like it might be under a different name.

I would appreciate any advice, comments so that I can be incredibly efficient when I hit my day at the NA with my lists of 3 (at a time) files to view :rolleyes:

Cheers

Shirley

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bushfighter

Shirley

A new book: "MASODJA - The History of the Rhodesian African Rifles and its Forerunner The Rhodesian Native Regiment" by Alexandre Binda, published by 30 degrees South Publishers, ISBN 978-1-920143-03-9 is available.

(I obtained mine at a reduced rate through Amazon.)

Page 24 contains an account of Lt Durrant's death in the circumstances that you are already aware of. The RNR Roll of Honour at Appendix II of "Masodja" lists Temporary 2nd/Lieutenant Christopher Martin Durrant as being on-strength of the Rhodesia Native Regiment (RNR), as Tim Stapleton has suggested in my Loyal North Lancashire thread.

Apparently Lt Durrant was handing over the Stokes Mortar section prior to moving to the 2RNR machine-gun section when the fatal accident occurred.

Regards Harry

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ShirlD

Thanks Harry,

Really appreciate the interest you have taken in this uncle. A friend has the book you mentioned and that added to confirmation of the Rhodesian Native Regiment. Will check out Amazon.

Cheers

Shirley

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Holger Kotthaus
One of our relatives, Captain Christopher Martin Durrant, was with the Royal Marine Artillery and the 2nd Cape Corps and was killed by premature explosion of shell, July 25th (or 31st) in Macubi, Portuguese . . . A search in google hasn't given me much . . .

Cheers

Shirley

Shirley

I found in an old German map from the Adjutant of General Lettow Vorbeck; Lieutenant Boell, one village with the name

Macupi and one Mukubi in the southern part of the action areas during the Great War in PEA. I am not sure which was

the right place you are looking for. Maybe it helps.

Holger

jra3xd.jpg

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