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A Skirmish at Mbuyuni - 20 December 1914

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

A Military Cross to Lieutenant Edward Lionel Musson and a King’s African Rifles Distinguished Conduct Medal to Sergeant Aboukir Ahmed, both of 4th King’s African Rifles

The medal shown is a George V Military Cross with ribbon and presentation case.

The Military Cross (MC) was instituted in December 1914 as a gallantry award for junior officers and Warrant Officers; it ranked below the Distinguished Service Order. The first award of an MC in the East African theatre went to Lieutenant Edward Lionel Musson of 4th King’s African Rifles (KAR) for successfully attacking a group of German troops in British East Africa (BEA, now Kenya). When Edward was badly wounded he was rescued by Sergeant Aboukir Ahmed, who braved the enemy fire to get Edward to a place of safety. For this gallantry Aboukir was awarded a King’s African Rifles Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM).

In December 1914, after being repulsed in the Tsavo Valley, the German advances into BEA to attack the Uganda Railway concentrated on using bush trails that paralleled the old trade route from Moshi through Taveta to Voi. After fighting at Kissi (see earlier post) Edward and his 4th KAR Askari were deployed on a reconnaissance patrol near Mbuyuni. What happened next is described in the citation for the MC:

Whilst on reconnaissance duty on the 20th December (1914) in the operations against German East Africa, near MBUYUNI, although severely wounded, Lieutenant Musson, with a few men, attacked a hostile German patrol with such success that only one man escaped.

The Germans withdrew with heavy loss but they had seriously wounded Edward and they kept firing at his Askari. Aboukir then took command of the patrol and executed a plan to recover Edward. Aboukir’s citation for his DCM read:

For commanding a patrol near MBUYUNI (British East Africa) on 20th December 1914, and successfully driving off the Germans, after Lieutenant MUSSON had been wounded.

Edward’s Askari then carried him eastwards towards Voi, and they doubtless met up with an East Africa Forces motorcycle or lorry operating in the area that took Edward back to Voi more swiftly that a stretcher party could.

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