• Harry Fecitt


As the military branch railway line moved westwards from Voi towards Taveta on the German East African border a big camp was built half-way along the route at Maktau.

The 2nd Battalion, the Mounted Infantry Company, The Loyals Machine Gun Company and Logan’s Battery all used the camp along with thousands of other troops and local workers.

Stores were stockpiled, hangars were built for aircraft and a landing strip was constructed.

High above Maktau Camp was Picquet Hill which gave a splendid view of the surrounding countryside.

The view from Picquet Hill.

The hill had to be occupied by picquet parties day and night – if a couple of German machine gun crews had infiltrated onto the hill they would have caused chaos in the densely packed camp below.

Remains of the old structures on Picquet Hill.

The Battalion War Diary notes that the night-time perimeter guards at Maktau Camp often fired at shadows or wild animals throughout the night – except the 2nd Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

Colonel Jourdain ordered that rounds had not to be fired until the identification of an enemy was certain.Thus the Battalion gained popularity with the other residents of the camp who knew that they could expect a good night’s sleep when the Loyal North Lancashires were on guard!

Water came through a 1.5-inch pipe from the Bura Hills 40 miles to the east. Guarding the water supply and defending Maktau Camp became regular duties for the 2nd Battalion.

A local resident (and the road that is being watered down wasn't constructed in 1915 !) - Telegraph poles had to be higher that giraffe.

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