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This is to the memory of the native African Troops who fought;
to the carriers who were the hands & feet of the army;
& to all other men who served & died for 
their King & 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.

On the African War Memorial in Nairobi.

Words written by Rudyard Kipling

EXPLORING THE EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN

The war in East and Central Africa was one of the longest running of the Great War. It started on 8 August 1914 when the wireless station at Dar es Salaam was bombed and ended on 25 November 1918 when the Germans officially surrendered at Abercorn. 

 

At least 177 nations participated in some way in the conflict, which was fought over, and in, seven African territories. It involved the lakes, islands in the Indian Ocean and the air. *

 
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We are the Porters who carry the food,

for the porters who carry the food,

for the porters who carry the food,

From a Marching Song for the
Ugandan Buganda Carrier Corps

Discover the Personalities 

The diversity of troops and countries involved in East and Central Africa was unrivalled in any other single theatre of the First World War. For those involved it was a struggle for survival against nature and man

 

Around 75 percent of those serving died from malnutrition, malaria, dysentery and blackwater fever; this was before the Spanish flu took its toll in 1918. *

Kabaka Daudi Chwa 4KAR & Prince Yusuf Suuna Kiweewa.jpg
 
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The sand of the desert is sodden red, 
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; 
The Gatling's jammed and the colonel dead, 
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.

The river of death has brimmed his banks, 
And England's far, and Honor a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks, 
"Play up! play up! and play the game!

Extract from 'Vitai Lampada'

By Sir Henry Newboldt

 
3KAR Stretcher bearers at Longido.jpg

The "Hands & Feet"
of East Africa

All forces used local labour, commandeered or otherwise, to carry food, equipment and ammunition. The German forces used an average of two carriers per soldier, whereas the Allied forces had up to six carriers per soldier.

 

Loads of up to sixty pounds were carried by an individual who also had to carry his own blankets and other equipment. 

 

It is estimated that over 1 million porters, including 45,000 German East Africans, served the British forces, of whom 95,000 died. The Belgians used 260,000 porters. Of these, 20,000 accompanied the troops for the duration of the war; 6,600 lost their lives. An estimated 60,000 porters supported the Portuguese with an additional 30,000 recruited to support the British forces.  An estimated 191,719 porters worked for the Germans. *

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They went with songs to the battle,
they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye,
steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end
against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

Extract from 'For the Fallen' an Ode to Remembrance

By Laurence Binyon.

Article Key Words

* Samson, Anne: East and Central Africa , in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2016-03-03. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.10851.