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Surrender of Wilhelmstal in South Pare Mountains - 10 June 1916

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

The trolley route from Mkalamo south to Handeni.

The grave of Andrew Brooks Knowles in the English Cemetery, Tanga.

From Mkalamo the trolley line ran south to Handeni and the Germans withdrew down the line. The 17th Cavalry East Africa Squadron (Indian Army) and the 2nd Rhodesian Regiment were tasked with following up the enemy.

The dismounted Sowars engaged the German rearguard in thick bush at short range. Lieutenant A.B. Knowles was leading from the front, and was in the act of firing at the enemy, when he was shot through the neck and killed.

High in the South Pare Mountains above Mombo was the German hill-station of Wilhelmstal (now named Lushoto).

The German Bezirksamtmann (District Commissioner) was summoned to Mombo on 10th June to surrender Wilhelmstal which contained 500 German civilians and 70 male non-combatants, mostly recovering from wounds.

Fifty Askari from 3KAR were sent to garrison Wilhelmstal.

View north up the Pangani valley from the Wilhelmstal (Lushoto) Road.

The road up to Wilhelmstall follows this valley. It was a well-engineered road as the only lorry in German East Africa used the road to transport goods between Mombo railway station and Wilhelmstal.

The pleasant location and macademised approach road to Wilhelmstal ensured a steady stream of British sightseers, including General Botha when he visited from South Africa. The General left the town a happy man in possession of an old smooth-bore elephant-gun that had been surrendered by a German civilian.

(In his book “African Crossroads” Sir Charles Dundas describes the seizure of Mombo and the surrender of Wilhelmstal. Dundas, a BEA administrator and a war-time staff major, was then placed in charge of the hill station for a time.)

Sketch map of the Pangani Valley.

The German church at Wilhelmstal.

Brigadier Hannyngton now wished to seize the road and railway bridges across the Pangani intact, if he could. This task was allotted to 3 KAR with the KAR Mounted Infantry (MI) Company scouting ahead.

On 13 June 1916 the KAR MI Company approached Mauri and took 3 casualties from the Schutztruppe rearguard

German Askari training at Wilhelmstal before the war.

Mauri village and station in the trees.

The railway bridge at Mauri over the Pangani River that was dropped by the Germans.

3KAR moved up and reached the railway bridge to find it demolished.

The supply camp at Mauri railhead established by the British when the Indian sappers and miners repaired the line and bridges to the north.

British thoughts and energies were now focused on seizing intact the road bridge at Korogwe, further down the Pangani River.

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