The South African
Military History Society

Die Suid-Afrikaanse Krygshistoriese Vereniging

Military History Journal
Vol 7 No 5 - June 1988

A Machine Gunner's Odyssey Through German East Africa:
The Diary of E S Thompson, Part 2.
25 May - 17 September 1916

by Col E S Thompson, ED

In Part 1 of Col ES Thompson's diary published in Vol 7 No 4 of the Military History Journal the participation of the 7th South African Infantry Regiment in the advance on, and the action at, Salaita Hill; the battle for the Latema-Reata hills; the march to Aruscha and thence to Kondoa Irangi, were described. Kondoa Irangi had been occupied by a small force under command of Maj-Gen JL van Deventer, which found itself beleaguered. Maj-Gen van Deventer was in urgent need of ammunition and reinforcements. 7th SAI were among the reinforcements and arrived at Kondoa Irangi on 24 May after a march of 225 km from Aruscha. The additional troops in Kondoa Irangi, while stabilizing the tactical situation, posed a logistical problem particularly with regard to rations.

First photo
Maj Gen J L van Deventer seated at the controls of a "Reo" truck fitted with
flanged wheels for employment on the railway during the East Africa campaign.
In the ensuing diary the conversion of motor transport for this purpose is alluded to.


25 May (Thursday)

Slept late. Had coffee and 3 spoonfuls of kaffircorn porridge which was very nice but too little. The doctor examined me and I got my discharge. Cleaned my rifle and bandolier. ... Dick and I had a walk through the town which is quite a neat one with a sandy river running through the centre. When we got back to camp we had our stew which was a good one but I had to leave some of mine as I was not feeling too well again. Washed up and packed everything by 6 pm [18h00] ready to move off. At 7 [19h00] we started on the march going through the town. We marched along the main road then along the sandy river bed for about 3 miles [4,8 km] which was very heavy going. We at last came to a halt, sat down and waited for the carts to come up with our spare kits, tents and overcoats. While we were waiting for the wagons Mr Parsons explained to us that we were taking up a position on Battery Hill and that we were not to show ourselves above the skyline as the Germans had the range to a nicety. We began climbing and in a quarter of an hour arrived at a fairly flat place, so off-saddled and dossed down for the night. I found a fairly level patch and slept comfortably with the exception of cold legs and feet.

26 May (Friday)

Reveille 6.30 [06h30]. Helped to get the breakfast ready. ... After breakfast just as we were packing up to take our positions the Germans began shelling one of our A3 carts which was crossing the open. One of the shells went quite near the cart and another quite near us and we were expecting them to come on to our hill but we were lucky. We were moved round the side of the hill and the 2 guns placed in position. Dick, Smith and I then made an oven in the ground to bake our bread and scones in, after which I had a look at the German position through Mr Parson's field glasses. The Germans evidently have put up a dummy trench as it is so clear and the hill they are on affords ample cover without the necessity for trenches. They use a huge rock as outlook and it commands a good view. Had lunch late consisting of flour porridge which though rather thin was enjoyable. When rations had been issued Alf made some bread and scones which after being allowed to rise were baked in the oven and were a success. I cut up the meat and found it a bit of a job as everybody wanted a bit of bone. Anyway I managed alright and got a good bit of fat for our mess. ... I slept under a rock near our kitchen to look after the grub. The Germans began shelling the 10th Regiment's trenches before tea with shrapnel and we had a good view of it from our look-out. Slept comfortably.

27 May (Saturday)

Woke up at daylight and lit the fire and cut the steaks for breakfast. The Germans must have brought up one of their big guns during the night as they began hombarding the town as soon as it was light enough. They were shooting at a very long range and fired a good many shots. ... After breakfast I cut up the fat and put it on the fire to melt. While pouring the fat from the dixie to the tin I managed to spill half of it down my shin and into my boot. Alf thoughtfully rubbed flour over the burn at once and the doctor put vaseline on and bandaged it up. All the morning it burnt and gave me particular 'jip'. Later on the foot got swollen and a big blister formed on the leg. ... The Germans began shelling again at noon. Heard that the Germans had shelled our hospital at Kondoa Irangi and that the hospital cook had been killed. ... The Germans shelled the trenches of the 10th Regiment at about 4 o'clock [16h00] with shrapnel but could do no damage. ... Went to bed under my rock and was wakened by big black ants squeaking round my head. After some time they moved off and I slept well. The Regiment were awakened at 3 am [03h00] to build stone walls in front of the hill.

28 May (Sunday)

Reveille 6.45 [06h45]. Sent the boy for water but as he was away for 1.5 hours we had to make our breakfast out of bread, dripping and coffee. ... As it is Sunday the Germans only shot 3 shells into the town, only one of which burst. ... My foot has swollen a good deal and gave me no little pain so I loosened the bandage and eased it a bit. I noticed there were big blisters down the side of my leg. Had an interesting talk with a 2nd S.A. Horse signaller, who told us that the Native Gommissioner of Moschi had been captured and that he had said that in 5 months there would be no British army in German East Africa. Of course this is his version but half our men are sick with fever, dysentery, etc. The Germans shot a shrapnel shell at the 10th Regiment at about 4 o'clock [16h00] and another a quarter of an hour later. The boys brought the water for the stew late so the meat could not be boiled much and was rather hard but I managed to finish my share. Wrote a ten page letter to Mother in the afternoon. Slept fairly well though my leg troubled me a lot.

29 May (Monday)

The doctor said that I had to expect pains in my leg and that it must be left to cure itself. Breakfast of bread and dripping which was lovely. Had to hop 50 yards [46 m] to the latrine, a very tiring business and rather painful when my leg touches the ground. Crushed up our rock salt then wrote another letter to Mother enclosing my pictures and cigarette packet. Alf and Rose went for a wash and brought back some kaffircorn heads which we shelled and put on to boil for lunch. Leg giving me much pain so went into the tent and lay down. At 10 o'clock [10h00] the Germans fired 7 shells into the town. Double ration of meat. Could not finish my kaffircorn at lunch time. Cut up stew meat and pumpkin then, as there was no reading matter, lay down and did nothing.... Men paraded at 6 o'clock [18h00] and made to run to their shelters in case of shell fire. Just after dark my leg gave me agonizing pain and I did not have a good night's rest.

30 May (Tuesday)

Had a lot of trouble getting to the latrines again. Took me over half an hour before I got back to the tent and when I did I was utterly fagged out. Lieutenant Parsons asked me if I could ride his mule as he wants me to take Paddon's place in town. At first I said I could go but later on changed my mind as I could not hop around cooking my own skoff and it would be painful work riding a mule. Leg gave me a good deal of pain after breakfast Our artillery opened fire on the enemy during lunch and there was a sort of duel for some time. Mitchell was sent to town to relieve Paddon instead of myself. Read most of the morning. Fried steak for lunch. Bacon issued with the rations. Played Patience in the afternoon. More artillery duels. The Germans sighted the artillery mules grazing and put a good many shots among them, stampeding them, but as far as we could see no damage was done. They were using one of their long range guns and we could hear the shells whistling over our heads. Our artillery put in 6 shells just before dark meaning them to be the last for the day but the enemy fired 3 shells towards town just as dark fell. Nice stew for dinner. ... Had been in bed about 2 hours when Paddon turned up with nothing but a stick of sugar cane. He told us that our long range guns' were expected tonight and that the Germans had shelled them when 8 miles [13 km] away. He also told us that the church which was being used as a hospital had got 3 shells into it, 2 of which had burst on the altar and the other knocking 2 legs off a bed but not injuring the patient. He gave me a crust of bread he had made which was quite tasty. Heard that Bibby is at Lolkissale and that Legg has something from him for me.

31 May (Wednesday) (Union Day)

... Took the bandage off my leg and had a look at the blisters which were like young kopjes. Dick took me on his back to the doctor who said he would send up and have it dressed. After an hour's waiting Basson, one of the stretcher bearers, came up with wadding and bandages. He cut the blisters and removed the loose skin which was a very painful job, the leg being so tender and still swollen. About half a breakfast-cupful of water must have come from the blisters. He put on more vaseline and bandaged it up again. My leg was easier after a while but later on began to smart. Dinner of boiled flour and bread and dripping. Just after breakfast our guns fired at the Germans but no reply was forthcoming. Played Patience all the afternoon during which there was an artillery duel. Stew and coffee for dinner. Leg gave me much pain during the night and kept me awake some time.

1 June (Thursday)

Rather a chilly morning. As my foot was still hurting I kept the blankets on till 11.30 [11 h30]. ... Dozed most of the morning. The Germans' 2 big guns fired a good many shells into the town. Woken up by hearing 4 or 5 Germans sniping at the 10th Regiment. ... Played Bridge all the afternoon. At about 4 o'clock [16h00] an exciting artillery duel began. Our artillery first opened fire using shrapnel and the Germans replied with high explosives. One of their shells landed in the mountain battery camp but no damage seems to have been done. Another shell landed in a herd of native sheep killing a few. ... Dick got a sore throat so went to the doctor who told him he had quinzy. Slept in George Cooper's place and spent a fairly good night, my leg not giving much pain.

2 June (Friday)

Woken up by our guns opening fire on the enemy. A good many shells were put in but they [the Germans] only replied with one from their far-off, long-range gun. ... Short rations issued. Germans shelled the town. Played Patience. ... A few pairs of boots, socks, shorts and shirts issued to those who needed them. I got nothing as my kit is still in good condition. ... Some of our men sent out to capture a German spy. Brought back a native who after being questioned by the colonel was found not guilty, humbly apologized to and released. ... Suffered awful pain from my leg and would not get to sleep for a long time. Corporal Bell went to town in the morning and returned with goodies.

3 June (Saturday) (King's Birthday)

Woken up by everybody wanting cigarettes so Rose went to Corporal Bell and got my things which Bibby sent me. They consisted of 200 cigarettes in tins, 8 packets of matches, a tin of chocolates and a tin of sardines. Corporal Bell also had my purse from Legg with 6 brand new rupees in it. We all had a cigarette each at once and the smokers didn't half enjoy them. A few chocolates also disappeared. Legg told Ball that he had seen a letter in a 'Sunday Times' saying that Jock Young, Bob Thompson and 17 others of the 7th Regiment were prisoners and safe. All glad to hear it. ... Sent the boys out to get a fat-tailed sheep for 2 rupees. Played Patience and Casino with Alf, Dick and Paddy before lunch. Dick went to have his throat attended to and asked the doctor to come up and have a look at my leg. ... Lunch over Paddy went and brought Basson and the doctor to the tent. As soon as the doctor saw the condition of my leg he said 'Oh, you must go to the hospital, sorry'. I wasn't at all cheered when he said that I would very likely have to wear splints and one foot would be a bit shorter than the other At 4 o'clock [16h00] a stretcher came up for me so I packed up my things and was taken down to the medical lines. Ate sugar cane till Rose brought my stew down. Carried down to the river bed by 4 natives and aroused much interest among the men who were lined up for a service which the bishop was holding. Even the bishop, colonel, major and adjutant gazed at me interestedly. I was deposited on the river bed after being jolted about a bit by the stretcher bearers due to the rough path. ... A young chap from the artillery came and talked to us for quite a long time. When he had gone we went to sleep. I had to get up to go to the rear and the cold striking my foot gave me an agonizing quarter of an hour. I managed to get to sleep again but not long afterwards was woken by 2 shells from the Germans bursting 500 yards [457 m] off. Five minutes later our wagons turned up with A & C Gompanies and the Nos. I & 2 machine guns of our regiment. Arthur Hassett gave me a letter from Bibby and told me Bibby was quite well again and was coming in as soon as possible. Also saw Waldeck. Saw a lucky meteor which I at first thought was a German rocket. There must have been some spies about as that is the first time I have known the Germans fire at night and they certainly fired at our men. Much to my chagrin 6 bags of mail were off-loaded and it may be 3 to 4 days before I get my letters. I was made comfortable on one wagon but later on was transferred to another. Gave Paddy's note and rupee to Jimmy Wishart.

Hospitalized in Kondoa

4 June (Sunday)

The wagons started back after midnight. It was very smooth going in the thick sand but we had no sooner started when we heard the far-off, long-range gun go [off]. I wondered where the shells were meant for but they never came near us. After about an hour's travelling we got on to the road which was very rough and stony and I was chucked about a good deal. Another hour of this brought us into town but our cart got stuck in the river. I tried to ride Jimmy Wishart's mule but it made my leg too painful so I was put on the next wagon when we had gone 500 yards [457 m] I was again transferred, this time to an A.T. cart and then taken to the hospital about 3 miles [4,8 km] off. I was put in a tent and given a cup of coffee which was very acceptable as it was so chilly. It was about 4 o'clock [04h00] when we arrived at the hospital and I was naturally tired, not having had much sleep. I managed to have about 2 hours' sleep when I was wakened and moved off to another tent. My name, age, religion and church, number, regiment and rank were taken and I was given breakfast. ... The doctor came round and when he saw my leg shook his head and said it was very bad and would take some time to heal. The medical orderly then put a fomentation [pad] on and from then I got 'jip'. I got hold of 2 'London Opinions' and an 'Answers' to read. Decent curry and sweet potatoes for dinner. Leg hurt practically all day. ... Another fomentation [pad] was put on my leg after dark and I spent a good night.

Second photo

5 June (Monday)

Waking up, felt a bit stiff in the body. ... Very painful having my leg dressed especially when the matter had to be wiped off but it felt much easier after it had been bandaged again. ... Very glad to get letters again. ... Just before dinner we could hear a heavy artillery duel going on, the far-off German guns joining in. It was kept up well into the afternoon. Read my letters from home 3 times during the day. Took buckle off and sewed a button on my shorts after which read my 'Sunday Times'. Bread and butter for tea. Chilly wind began blowing early in the night but dropped towards midnight. Spent a good night.

6 June (Tuesday)

After waking up had a wash. Big ration of porridge and bread and butter for breakfast. Most agonizing having my leg dressed and it was painful for a long time following. The medical orderly said the leg was in much better condition than before. ... During the afternoon 2 aeroplanes arrived. They could be heard a long while before coming into sight. No guns fired during the day but we could hear a Maxim going. Read all afternoon. Usual tea. Got a rotten stomach-ache during the night. ... The night orderly brought me a lovely cup of warm milk which was very acceptable. Heard our fleet had smashed the main German fleet.

7 June (Wednesday)

Awakened by our big guns firing on the enemy. Had a wash then breakfast of kaffircorn porridge, coffee, bread and butter, bacon and bacon fat. This is the best breakfast I have had since being in the hospital. Read till my leg was dressed, still an awfully painful operation and promises to be one for some time. ... Leg very tender and it bleeds when the orderly tries to remove the green matter with wadding. A most hateful job to [have to] undergo. It is the one thing I dread for the day. Our big guns kept on firing most of the day and the aeroplanes went out scouting. Could hear a machine gun going every now and then. ... Two wounded officers of the 8th admitted to the hospital. Heard the 8th Regiment had been scrapping and that their machine gun officer Lieutenant Bowden was killed yesterday. Heard also that the 7th Regiment had gone out. Spent a fair night.

8 June (Thursday)

Saw an aeroplane out scouting and dropping smoke bombs over the enemy position. When the aeroplane descended the Germans put 2 shells into the aerodrome. ... Leg feeling a bit tender but did not hurt so much as yesterday when being dressed though it was agonizing for an hour after it had been bandaged. ... Not much shelling during the morning. Spent an enjoyable afternoon. Usual thing for tea. More wounded men brought in. ...

In early June two British naval guns and a crew from HMS Pegasus, several other guns and two aircraft arrived at Kondoa. The aircraft provided aerial observation for the guns and also bombed the German positions.

9 June (Friday)

Woke up to find a dull morning. ... Had a shave and changed my shirt. Leg getting better, did not hurt so much when getting it dressed. Read 'Illustrated Star' of May 6th about Dublin Rebellion. Lunch of boiled meat and sweet potatoes. Short ration. Afternoon passed uneventfully. Tea as usual, during which an aeroplane went over the German lines, and, on its return, was greeted with heavy fire from rifles and machine guns but it continued flying unperturbed. Spent a fair night. Several wounded of the 7th and 8th Regiments brought in.

10 June (Saturday)

Dull and chilly morning. ... Morning passed rather slowly as there was nothing to read. Aeroplane dropped some bombs on the Germans. Owing to the wounded men having to be dressed first my leg could not be dressed till after lunch. ... Better ration than usual and thoroughly enjoyed it. Had my leg dressed it is getting on very well.... Took a laxative pill. Could not get to sleep for some time as my leg pained. Sober (Dopey) was put into our tent during the night. He is suffering from fever. Did not spend a very good night.

11 June (Sunday)

Woke up early with a pain in the stomach due to the laxative pill and sour bread I presume. Had to call for the bed pan and it was ages before it arrived during which time it was awful restraining myself. Mealie-meal and good bread for breakfast. Sober told me Bibby had rejoined the regiment and that a few days after I left Battery Hill the Germans shelled the top but no one was hurt. Leg getting on very well. Sent Bibby's letters by Johnston who went to the 'rest camp'. Usual tea. Found difficulty in getting asleep so took some pills. Fair night.

12 June (Monday)

Cold morning and chilly wind. Aeroplane went over German lines and was shelled but not hit. Pretty sight watching the shells burst in the air. Breakfast as usual. Germans began shelling the aerodrome after breakfast as a reprisal, the aeroplane having dropped 3 bombs on them earlier in the morning. ... Leg doing well. The letter which I wrote to Mother was returned by the censor as I had mentioned the slackness on the part of the regimental doctor when my leg was first bad. Tea as usual. Spent a good night but very chilly early in the morning.

13 June (Tuesday)

Lovely but chilly morning. Breakfast as usual. Had a shave and fine wash. Dick Heard came in to see me and told me Bibby is looking very fit. Moved into a larger tent with Young. Sorry our party was broken up as they were all very decent people.... Leg still better. Heard there will be an advance against the enemy in a fortnight's time. This from Colonel Taylor of the 8th Regiment.

14 June (Wednesday)

Had a wash. Aeroplane went out and was fired at but it managed to drop some bombs. Our artillery started bombarding the enemy and later on the far-off, long-range gun of the Germans replied. ... Tried to stand but my ankle and leg are too weak so had to give it up. Leg getting on famously but it has got much thinner than my right leg. During the night a native and one of the 7th Regiment by name of McCrae died, both of dysentery. McCrae's was another case of neglect...

15 June (Thursday)

Had a good night. ... Leg still getting on well. Read all the morning. Good stew for lunch. Read all the afternoon. Tea as usual. Lovely night but found it hard to get asleep. Troubled with itching over the body. Good many sick came in during the night making a noise and waking us up.

16 June (Friday)

Heard Sergeant Mallet of B Gompany of the 7th Regiment died during the night. His leg was amputated at the knee. Had a wash. ... Read news of Kitchener's death and Russian and naval victories. Rumours to the effect that Brits and his men had linked up with us and that an ultimatum would shortly be sent to the enemy by Smuts. Walked to the latrine and back. My leg hurt somewhat and made me feel washed-out by the time I got back to the tent. Leg not feeling nor looking as nice as usual. Heard kit bags have been brought up to Ufiome. Nice stew for lunch. Cut all superfluous cloth out of my shorts so as to lessen the breeding places for lice. Sent shirt and shorts to be dipped in the disinfectant tank. In the morning the Germans began shelling in our direction and it was funny seeing the natives and men ducking when the shells screamed [overhead]. Am getting quite used to them now. Bread and jam for tea. Official news was read to us that the railway bridge over the Pangani River had been captured. General Sheppard was at Kilimanjaro Village and that 2 Krupp guns and stores had been captured. This is the first time news has been officially read out, due, I suppose to the rumours which are spreading about. After dark and before going to sleep had an interesting chat with Ritchie about Calcutta and India. Spent a good night, sleeping like a log.

17 June (Saturday)

Lovely morning. Had a wash. Each man was issued with a loaf of bread but no butter or jam. ... Read most of the morning. Sober got his discharge. Leg looking better when dressed than what it did yesterday but hurt a bit after it had been re-bandaged. Small ration of stew and 2 slices of bread for lunch. Prefer having my loaf of bread each day as it goes further and we get more than what we got before. ... About 10.30 [10h30] two shells burst in the air very near the hospital. Read all the afternoon. Tea and dry bread passed as tea. Spent fair night. Three weeks since my leg got burned.

18 June (Sunday)

Woke up before dawn and was presented with a cup of milk by the night orderly. ... Had a shave and got my shirt and shorts back from the disinfectant tub. Packed up spare kit and tidied haversack. Leg looking very clean when dressed and skin growing over nicely. Two weeks today since admitted to hospital. ... Mr Parsons called and paid me 15 rupees (1 Pound) in brand-new 1915 coins. Told me comforts had arrived for our regiment so will very likely get mine the day after tomorrow. Captain Ashley, the chaplain of the S A Motor Cycle Gorps held a service in the afternoon, before which he told us that General Northey's lot were 70 miles [113 km] from Kilimatinde, and that we were 30 miles [48 km] from Tanga. Walked to the latrine and back. Leg smarts when I walk and I cannot bend my ankle yet. ... Had a fair night but troubled with itching all over my body, interfering with my sleep.

19 June (Monday)

Had a wash. Only half a loaf of bread dished out as something went wrong at the bakeries. ... As all reading matter is finished the morning passed slowly so in order to help pass the time I scraped my dixie and cleaned my cup properly. Walked to the latrine and round the camp a bit. Leg still smarts. When my leg was dressed I noticed that there is new skin almost over the instep but that the raw sore on my leg is still big and looks blue. ... There is a mail in as Ritchie got some papers from home. The Roman Catholic chaplain of the 7th Regiment looked in and told us that we had captured Tanga and that Northey's lot were 150 miles [241 km] south of Kilimatinde when last heard of. This contradicts yesterday's rumour. There is also a rumour to the effect that the German General [officer] Commanding their forces had been killed by one of our shells and that 600 askaris and some white Germans had surrendered. Only rumours I suppose. Further rumours were to the effect that betting at Headquarters was 20 to 1 on peace being declared before the 28th of this month. ...

20 June (Tuesday)

Can walk fairly well now but leg a bit weak from the knee downwards and cannot bend ankle properly yet. ... Found my spoon had disappeared but it turned up later. ... More reading matter came in after lunch.... Moved to a smaller tent near the operating tent. Spent one of the most rotten nights out as I could not get to sleep and was troubled with itchings all over the body and wind in the stomach. Must have been past midnight when I managed to doze.

21 June (Wednesday)

Woke up feeling tired and head-achy.... Not feeling at all well so got a quinine pill. Think I must have just missed another attack of fever. Received letter from Doris and one from Bibby enclosing some writing paper and envelopes. Heard that Douglas Waugh(2) had been found at Wilhelmsthal wounded and left there by the Germans. Leg getting on nicely though still bleeding a bit. ... Troubled with wind and pains in the stomach in the afternoon. Ritchie and Mitchell sent back to Ufiome. ... Spent a good night but rather chilly. General van de Venter [van Deventer] visited the hospital.

22 June (Thursday) (midwinter)

Chilly morning. Short ration of porridge and half a loaf of bread with coffee for breakfast. Got a touch of diarrhoea. Aired blankets. ... Colonel Taylor of the 8th Regiment came round and visited the tents. He said that he expected to be going home by the middle of next month.... Dipped my slacks and shirt in the disinfectant tub to annihilate the 'greybacks' [lice]. Usual tea. Chilly evening so got under the blankets soon. Spent a fair night. A man of the 8th Regiment by the name of Walker died from eating cordite.

23 June (Friday)

Lovely morning. ... Mr Parsons came to the hospital to see me. Told me De Bruin had come back also Wackrill and explained to me where the different forces were. He thinks it won't be long before the campaign will be finished. Some more papers were given to us to read. Chilly wind blowing all the morning.... Truly starvation rations. Tobacco, matches and cigarettes handed out. (4 cigarettes per man, 1 box of matches and 4 ounces of tobacco.) Wrote a letter to Bibby. Dry bread for tea as usual. Chilly evening so went to bed early again and spent a fine night. Mr Parsons also told me that the 5th and 6th Regiments had sustained 17 killed and 70 wounded at Kilindi.

24 June (Saturday)

Beautiful morning. No porridge and dry bread and coffee for breakfast. Littleton moved to the next tent so I took his place next to the tent flap. Major Thompson and Lieutenant Dare visited us and promised to look into our food question. Lodged a complaint to the doctor about our food shortage. Leg getting on well still. Zinc ointment applied. Four weeks to day since I burnt it. Good sized lunch for a change. ... Dry bread and tea with condensed milk for tea. The taste of tea reminded me of home very much. Young gave me a bit of tongue which he got from the cook and which I enjoyed very much. Lay awake a long time thinking of home and other different things. Spent a good night.

25 June (Sunday)

Three weeks since I came into hospital. Breakfast same as yesterday. Heard rumours that the Germans had retired. Our big guns fired a good deal during the morning but got no reply from the enemy. Very chilly wind blowing and the sky overcast all day. New bandage put on my leg. Watton, who was shot in both feet, is being sent back to Nairobi tonight. Decent lunch but no sweet potatoes. Miserable, dull afternoon. Heard the Germans had started to retire 4 days ago and that we had captured their observation post. The artillery kept on firing all through the day. Usual tea. Watton left for Nairobi on a transport wagon. Chilly wind blowing so turned in straight away. 'Mac' Young went round foraging and managed to get hold of a big piece of lovely tender roast beef but slightly burnt. Later on he got hold of some bread and gave me some of both. 'Mac'(3) the naval gunner brought some fine chicken broth. Had a good 'tuck-in' and felt satisfied the first time since coming into hospital. Slept well but dreamt that a German shell smashed me on the back, due I suppose to the good 'tuck-in'.

26 June (Monday)

All woke up rather late. Found my cup full of milk put there by the night orderly. Had a wash. Put the milk into our coffee for breakfast. No porridge only dry bread. Aired blankets and tidied up. Had a shave. The doctor (major) went in to town to see if more food could be got from the supplies. Only the lower part of my leg was bandaged after dressing. The top part of the leg shows a first class scar now. ... Heard officially that the Germans had bolted. ... Had some chicken broth and mealie-meal and took a vegetable laxative pill. Troubled during the night by wind and had to go to the latrine 3 times. Slept fairly well afterwards. Soup for lunch.

27 June (Tuesday)

Chilly morning with overcast sky. Porridge, bacon, coffee and bread for breakfast. Only a small ration of the first two but a thankful addition. Aired blankets and had a wash. Doctor looked at my leg and said it had got on very well. Read most of the morning. Nice lunch of roast beef, rice and potatoes. Gave Bibby's letter to Jimmy Wishart who told me the 9th were coming into town tomorrow so very likely Bibby will be coming out to see me. Soup, tea and bread constituted tea after which we stood round talking. When it got dark and cold we adjourned to the tent and started a feed on 4 roasted chickens which MacGregor had bought and cooked. Wetton & Barritt were invited and after a very tasty meal and some coffee we talked on different things especially music. Had an enjoyable evening and slept well afterwards.

28 June (Wednesday)

Woke up a bit late again. Breakfast of porridge, coffee, cold meat, fowl dripping and bread. Short ration of porridge but a very enjoyable breakfast on the whole. Aired blankets and had a wash. Lovely morning with the sun shining, the first decent one for about a week. Leg was not dressed today but the doctor had a look at it. ... Felt very lazy in the afternoon. Heard that Colonel Freeth paraded the regiment and made a speech in which he said that they were going into town to be re-equipped and that the hard work was over now and we would soon be homeward bound. He also thanked them for doing their duty so well. Major Hazeldene visited the hospital. There are rumours that the 7th and 8th Regiments are to be disbanded but I think it very unlikely at this stage...

29 June (Thursday)

Woke to the strains of Mac's voice shouting, 'Show a leg, lash and stow!' Aired blankets and had a wash. Got a good deal of porridge for breakfast by working points on the orderlies. Also a bigger bread ration than usual. Stew for breakfast but did not have any. Leg nearly healed over now. Mac (Young) and Bill Flitcroft discharged from hospital. MacGregor borrowed my helmet to go to town with. This is my first day with the splints off. Heard the S.A.H. [South African Horse] returned to Kondoa last night with one of their men wounded. They have been having a few skirmishes with the enemy. ... Bibby and George Cooper came in to see me bringing an 'Illustrated London News' and 3 letters. ... Walked across the river on their homeward way with them. Colonel Freeth told them that some ladies of Johannesburg had asked him what sort of reception he would like his men to have. They collected forty-two pounds and are going to present us with a colour on our return. That is the reason why he was giving us ceremonial drill now so as to get us ship-shape. ...

30 June (Friday)

Washed the dixies in the river. Porridge and bread and cold meat for breakfast.... Changed my bed to the other side of the tent. Boiled my sock to get the fat out of it. Saw a white nun, the first one since leaving Voi in January. Quite good looking and a feast for the eyes. Alf Storm came into hospital on the ration wagon. He chipped a bit of bone out of his shin. ... Managed to get my left boot on, this being the first time since my leg was burnt. Much nicer than walking about barefoot. ... Filled water bottles then hunted for 'greybacks' and found a few. ...

1 July (Saturday)

Bob Patrick's birthday. . . bought 4 fowls to celebrate. ... Doctor looked at my leg. Read most of the morning after having a shave. Bert Moon admitted to hospital with dysentery. ... Had an enjoyable bath. ... Made some tea to drink with our supper. When all was ready we took the fowls and tea to the tent, got a lamp and started. The visitors were Ernest Barritt, Jack Wetton and Walkie Newman. After serving out the tea I dished out the fowl and started the meal by toasting Bobby, the King, the ladies, etc. The meal was very enjoyable and after a chat about naval matters we went to bed and spent a good night.

2 July (Sunday)

Very chilly morning with a cold wind blowing but got lovely after breakfast ... Littleton, much to our enjoyment, returned to his regiment. Heard that our kit bags had been sent back to Durban and that our mails had been stopped. Read all the morning. ... Had a chat with Ben Moon when Paddy came up bringing me some books. ... Grape jam issued. Alf and I strolled about after tea chatting on photography, etc. Made a lamp from a milk tin and a piece of rope. After Barritt had given us some paraffin it worked quite well.

3 July (Monday)

Chilly morning. Had a thorough wash. Bond operated on and it was rotten hearing him groaning as he was going under the chloroform.... Saw the telegram from General Beves about the 6th Regiment surprising the enemy the 5th being heavily engaged and losing 17 killed and honours to the Fusiliers and Lancashire machine guns. Walked to the 4th Field Ambulance with Alf to get some sugar from the Quartermaster. Surprised to find Percy Forbes looking like a skeleton. He has been in hospital about 3 weeks suffering from another attack of fever. He was remarking that this is the rottenest campaign out. The German West campaign was a picnic to this! Have never seen a man look so pulled down as he was. After leaving him saw George Ingram who is one of the orderlies and had a chat with him. The Quartermaster promised to bring us some sugar this afternoon. Tried to buy a lamb from an adjoining native kraal but met with no luck. Very tasty sea-pie for lunch with soup and rice. Paddy's brother who is in the 10th [Regiment] machine guns came to see Alf. Read all the afternoon. Bread and dripping for tea, after which we cooked some burgoo, then proceeded to bed. A cold wind sprang up blowing clouds of dust about, but it died down later on. Nose began bleeding copiously in the middle of the night and suffered a bit from wind. Tobacco issued .5 lb [500 g] per man.

4 July (Tuesday) (Independence Day)

Anniversary of the July Strike.(4) Cold morning. ... Shook blankets and had a good wash. Bought 4 chickens for supper tonight. Mac went to see his pals in town. Rest during the morning and had a shave. Paddy's brother came along again and told us he was being sent back to the Union. He is suffering from heart disease. ... Read again during the afternoon and examined my clothes for 'greybacks' finding a good few. ... Mac returned bringing Alf and I a piece of shell each fired from the 4.1 [inch] German gun. He told us that the 'Supplies' were betting that peace would be declared on Thursday. An armistice is supposed to be on. Bert Moon gave me his change of address. Saw Dunston's photos. Gave Bert Moon and sergeant of the howitzer battery some chicken broth and divided 4 chickens between 6 men having a fine feed. Spent a rotten, restless night.

5 July (Wednesday)

Woke up feeling tired and thick-headed. Had a good wash and felt refreshed after it. Shook out blankets. ... Nose bled again just after my wash. After breakfast changed into my slacks and other shirt. Scoured dixie and chicken pot and returned latter to cook. Orderlies' tents visited by a swarm of black ants. ... Very hot afternoon. Ralph came to see me bringing a friend. Made me laugh by telling me what he wanted to buy when he got home. He is looking fit as ever and just the same as when he was in Johannesburg. Walked a bit of the way back with them and they promised to come in again on Friday. Had no sooner got in when Paddy's brother who had been into town came in and dumped a bundle of letters and papers on my blankets, also some on Alf's. Joy of joys. I received a 'Sunday Times', 'Daily Mail' and [an] April 'Railway Magazine', also 9 letters. ... They were mostly old letters ranging from April 12th till May 22nd. Spent a very happy time reading news.... Read about the 7th being presented with colour on their return in the 'Mail'. ... Alf and I pinched a cake of soap each from the Quartermaster's, we want to wash our clothes with it. Quite a warm night and could not get to sleep for some time but slept well. In spite of the afternoon being so hot, Ralph's visit and the letters made it a very enjoyable one. Mac was very much upset by finding a big 'greyback' on his shin.

6 July (Thursday)

Woken up by Mac making a great noise and indulging in a big-game hunt through his shirt. His total bag was 8 'greybacks'. Had a wash. A little sugar in the porridge for a change but none in the coffee. Have decided to go to town this morning to try and cadge some sugar and dripping from the mess. The doctor is going to discharge me in 3 or 4 days time. Mac, Bobby and I started for town and arrived there after 50 minutes' walk. Hadn't gone half a mile before my ankle began to hurt but I stuck it and managed to get to the regiment. Hurts when I walk on sandy or uneven ground. Mess-mates glad to see me. Bibby and Paddy were out on wood fatigue and I did not see them. Got 6 more letters and the May 'Railway' magazine. Invited Bobby to lunch. ... I have received 15 letters in 2 days, a fine record. Saw Mr Parsons about Alf's pay book and he got it. Got a little sugar and said good-bye. We left at 3. Bobby and I going to the 8th [Regiment] camp where I found a bit of 3.5 inch [75 mm] German shell. We then went to the Paymaster and Bobby drew 15 rupees. We walked back to the hospital up the river and arrived to find a good many returning to their units. ... Mac returned a bit later with a loaf of bread, some dripping, coffee, tea and sugar. Laid in our tent talking of mines, etc. till 9 o'clock [21h00] when we went to bed but I did not get to sleep till after 12 o'clock [24h00] on account of thinking of home and the news I had received in my letters.

7 July (Friday)

Woke up feeling tired and thick-headed. Had a wash and shook out my blankets. ... Tidied out haversack. After leg was dressed Bob bought a fowl for tonight then went amongst the kraals trying to buy another but had no luck. Went across the river to hunt through our shirts. Mac's score was 12, mine 7 and Bob's 5. Tried to get a native to wash my clothes but had no luck. Got one of Mac's marine buttons and sewed one of mine on his overcoat. Lunch of skilly as usual. Read until 3 o'clock [15h00] and was going up to see the football match but found it was too far so stopped and went across the river and washed my handkerchiefs, towel, shirt and shorts. Bought 1 rupee's worth of mealie-meal. Made a good job of my washing but the soap got finished. ...

8 July (Saturday)

Woke up with a stomach-ache and did not have a wash. ... More patients sent to town.... Skin grown right over raw patch on leg but instep still a bit painful. Six weeks since I burnt it. Helped Barritt roll his pugaree. Shirt and shorts looking nice and clean. Saw details coming into the town. The aeroplane went up but soon came down again. Zinc ointment put on my leg and fomentation [dressing] left off. Not too much skilly for lunch. Read through my latest 6 letters then had a shave and a bath. ... Could not get to sleep for some time on account of thinking when peace would be declared and of home.... Had to go to the latrine twice during the night. Slept well later.

9 July (Sunday)

Very chilly morning. Had a wash then got back into bed. ... Bobby returned to the regiment. Shook out my blankets also Mac's then took his photo. Filled in Alf's pay book for him. Macdonald came in and told us what a strenuous time the colonel gave them yesterday when they stormed the old German position. All this hard work is making the men very cross again, especially as they are on short rations. Heard several reports that we may have to do some more fighting and trekking yet which made us feel rather gloomy. Made some tea for Macdonald who stayed to lunch. ... Mac told us some very amusing stories of Maloney in his platoon. Read 'Railway Magazine' all the afternoon. Heard the 7th [Regiment] are moving off tomorrow morning and having a kit inspection this afternoon. Had a hunt through my shirt but only found 2 'greys'. Toast and dripping for tea after which we went for a stroll and watched some natives milking their cows. ...

10 July (Monday)

Chilly morning and found it hard to get up and have a wash. Nice porridge and minced meat for breakfast. Had the usual morning hunt and found 4. Usual skilly for lunch. Read all afternoon. Told I was to go to the unit tomorrow. Only half a loaf of bread for the day. ... Alf's leg not too comfortable.

Discharged from Hospital

11 July (Tuesday)

Got up early and had a good wash. Changed my clothes and packed up. ... Left in the ration wagon after saying goodbye at about 9 o'clock [09h00]. Rather crowded on the wagon and somewhat bumped up. Dumped down at the 8th [Regiment] camp and lugged my kit across to our camp. Dick met me and kindly carried down my kit. Glad to be back and others glad. Helped to fill some belts. Paddy showed me a bit of tree with 'Gott straf England' written on it by the Germans on their position. Got my web equipment and Bibby helped me put it together. Had a fine lunch of 'fat koekjes' of kaffir meal, steak and tea. I presented each with a small piece of bread. Bibby and I went to see Smith in the clearing hospital and got 2 letters and a 'Sunday Times'. Smith feeling better now. Went to the military cemetery which is a very neat one and then back. Picked up a German pointed bullet. Leg feeling stronger. ...

12 July (Wednesday)

Cold morning. Reveille 5.30 [05h30]. ... After tea a stray bullet from the lake hit a man of the 10th Heavy Battery who was in the latrines. The bullet entered below the heart and the man was so bad that he could not be moved.

13 July (Thursday)

Reveille and roll call as usual. Put kits outside then had a fine breakfast of mealie-meal and koekjes. Went to town with Dick who was having a tooth drawn. Took Sourie to the hospital to get Smith's kit. Afterwards went to see Alf and on the way saw Jack Wetton and Ernie Barritt. On entering the church heard somebody call 'Eric' and, going over, found poor Percy Forbes thinner than ever now down with dysentery. He looked so bad that it made me feel awfully upset. After chatting with him for a while went to see Alf who's leg is better now but he is going back to Ufiome. Had just got out of the church when I met Ralph and Whitticombe going in to see Percy so I took them to him. After cheering him up for about half an hour we walked to the 9th [Regiment] camp going through the native town. There were a good many double-storied buildings and I saw a lovely carved door in one building. Ralph changed me a German rupee. Was asked to stay to lunch so accepted. The 9th Regiment are moving off tomorrow. Went to buy some mealie-meal from Ralph's dusky damsel. Lunch consisted of tea, mealie-meal, sweet potatoes and steamed meal pudding. Told Ralph of our changes at home and he was very interested. Said goodbye after afternoon tea then went to see Greathead who told me about their new range-finding instrument and stretchers for carrying the guns. Found my dinner waiting for me on my return and the others getting ready to go on guard in town. Finished my stew, drew some water and washed the dishes. Went to bed at 8 and slept well.

14 July (Friday)

... thoroughly cleaned my rifle, then dubbined my boots. Marked my web kit.... Smith returned from hospital and told us that Alf had been sent to Ufiome. Stew for tea. Bibby off his feed. Legg paid us a visit. He is now on General v d Venter's [van Deventer] staff. Bibby and I slept outside and found it alright till early morning when it got rather cold.

15 July (Saturday)

A very cold reveille. Bibby and I cooked the mealie-meal for breakfast and John Stirling fried the bacon. After breakfast put Bibby's clothes on to boil and helped him put his kit out as he was not feeling too well. Scraped surplus dubbin off my boots then helped Smikky break up a log of wood with a pick. Nearly full ration of sugar and tobacco issued. Nice 'unger'(5) koekjes and tea for lunch. Wrote letters. ... Saw an aeroplane loop-the-loop 3 times. It was a fine sight against the lovely sunset. Made a lamp out of a tobacco tin, a piece of rope and a cartridge case. All went to the 8th Regiments' concert which was a very feeble one.

16 July (Sunday)

Chilly morning. Usual reveille and roll call. 'Unger' porridge, coffee and koekjes for breakfast. Put the kits out. Helped Dick clean his gun after stripping itto re-pack the barrel. Shaved Bibby and Dick and then Bibby shaved me and gave me a scraping. ... Shortened my slacks into shorts making a fair job of it. ... Went to the river for a bathe and washed my handkerchief and socks. Put Zambuk on my leg. This is the first time I have washed my leg since leaving Ufiome. Coming back through the town saw Legg in his new Reo motor, who gave me a cup of tea with milk and lots of sugar, the most enjoyable for a long time. He also gave me a little comforts tin of acid drops and some cigarettes for Dick, Hersett, Smikky and Rose. He walked back to the camp with me to see Mr Parsons and when I told him that we might be getting a motor soon, he asked me to let him be the agent then he could teach me to drive also. Found Dick had bought in some dripping, 2 loaves of bread, some tinned beef and vegetables. Minced meat for tea with nice soup and coffee. Divided out the acid drops and gave Leo some. Put on the badges which Legg's friend had given me for my belt, I gave him a Union button in exchange. Saw the aeroplane loop-the-loop again. Had a chat with Lonsdale about the naval battle at Alexandria in 1882 in which he took part. Went to bed at 8 [20h00] and spent a good night.

17 July (Monday)

Cold morning again. Reveille as usual after which got under the blankets again. ... Began beating out a rupee to make a machine gun badge. Machine guns did some firing. ... After lunch John and I went foraging, first of all going to Ralph's lady's house but could not get any meal. At another kraal we got over 15 lbs [7 kg] for 5 rupees and in the town about 10 lbs [4,5 kg] of monkey nuts for 2 rupees. Bought some tobacco at the market and some fat from the butcher's. Nice beef pudding and rice for dinner but paraffin in the flour spoilt the pudding. Heard Brits and most of his men are down with the fever and that the British had advanced 4 miles [6,4 km] in Flanders. Had a great sing-song, Waldeck acting as conductor. After we had gone to bed Smikky and Paddy came back from town and told us that Brits had 5 motor lorries and some light cars captured from him by the Germans and burnt. The mechanical transport casualties were 14. Looks very much as though we shall have to spend another rainy season on this campaign. Slept well.

18 July (Tuesday)

Not as cold this morning, but just before breakfast a cold damp wind sprang up. Regiment have a field day during which I roasted some monkey nuts. Settled down to write letters. Section got back very late. ... Finished letters. ...

19 July (Wednesday)

Reveille as usual. ... After breakfast re-arranged my web equipment then boiled the beans for a few minutes and then left them to soak. ... Bobby came to see me and told me Mac is starting on a 150 mile [241 km] trek tomorrow. Melted some fat and made dough-boys. ... Nos. 3 and 4 guns on headquarters guard tonight. Received a letter.... Settled down and had a read. Paddy brought some poles for firewood and got some bread and dripping to take back to those of our mess on guard. I also had some. MacGregor came in with Bobby to say goodbye. His guns are leaving for Dodoma district tomorrow. After chatting some time he went and I read a bit then went to sleep.

20 July (Thursday)

My day for wood fatigue so started off with Sykes and 8 boys and went 6 miles [9,6 km] along the road to Dodoma. Passed the lake and the road was very dusty and hot. When we arrived at a woody part Sykes and I climbed the hills to have a look at the German trenches which were about half a mile [804 m] off the road. The trenches were mostly dug-outs and bomb-proof shelters. Bandas were very prominent and well made especially the hut which was used as the officers' mess room. There was a fine wide table of sticks and grass and the poles supporting the roof were all padded with plastered grass. It was a beautiful position and nothing but artillery would have moved them. I saw some yellow powder on a rock and thinking it was curry smelt it and it made me sneeze, but it wasn't. I fired 3 shots from Smikky's revolver. Leo amusing me by holding his fingers in his ears. After having a good look round we re-joined Jimmy Wishart and soon started on the return journey. The advance on Dodoma started today, the howitzers and Pegasus's naval guns going forward as well as the S.A.H. On the way out General van de Venter [van Deventer] passed us in his motor and also Legg driving some staff officers. On the way back a captain of the Veterinary Corps came up to us with a native who picked out 2 of our machine gun boys and said that they had stolen a goat and then hit him in the eye with a stick. We brought him into camp with us but the native disappeared before anything could be done. After going about 2 miles [3,2 km] I saw the 4th S.A.H. camped beside the road and I went to see Nighty but they told me he had been sent back 3 weeks ago with the fever as he could never shake it off. We passed transport all the way along the road and saw Mac under a tree. I showed him the yellow stains on my hand and he told me that the yellow powder which I thought was curry was Lyddite and advised me to wash my hands as soon as possible. After I left him my nose began to bleed and continued [to do] so till we got back to camp at about 3.30 [15h30]. Had some koekjes and water for lunch. Tea of koekjes and coffee after which fooled about with Paddy and watched the machine gun boys imitating the colonel on parade and had a good laugh at them. Went to bed after teasing Sykes and slept well. ...

21 July (Friday)

... Major Thompson examined the kitchen and told me not to throw water about. Had a good shave then drew rations. Lunch of bread and steak with tea. Washed up and paraded at 2.30 [14h30] for a firing demonstration. Marched down to the donga and 12 men were picked from our section as inexperienced firers also 12 men from the regiment experienced; when firing the difference was noticeable. Heard we had captured another 4.1 [inch] German gun and that the Germans were retreating down to the Pangani. Smith and Sterling tried to 'lift' a bag of flour and mealie- meal but were found out and after biffing [an African], fled.

22 July (Saturday)

Chilly morning. Atta-meal porridge, steak, coffee and bread. Pay this morning at 11 [11h00] and no parade. The latest rumour is that we are going back to Moschi. Loafed about doing nothing in particular all morning. ... Paid at half past 2 [14h30]. Shortened and sewed my shorts before lunch. Bibby and I went to the village and got 2 rupees worth of mealie-meal and 3 rupees worth of monkey nuts. Roasted some monkey nuts round the fire then went to bed early and slept quite well.

23 July (Sunday)

... Bibby and I played 'Crown and Anchor' at Tomen's board. We both started with 5 rupees. Bibby won 8 then lost the whole 13, I won 5 then lost the 10 and an extra one. Started making a machine gun [badge] from a German rupee. ... Orders came out to get ready to move at a moment's notice. Got the stew on then went on cutting out my machine gun badge. Later on moving orders were cancelled. Put some pumpkin in the stew which was quite tasty. Went on filing at my machine gun [badge] till dark then turned in but could not get to sleep for some time, but slept well all the same.

24 July (Monday)

Reveille as usual. Put my blankets out then went on filing my badge but spoilt it so will have to make another. Attended my first parade this morning since coming out of hospital. Quite enjoyed it although we got some weird orders. Got orders to stand by for moving. Made 3 slices each of toast for lunch which we had with some lovely dripping melted from an ox hump. Started a letter to mother. Went for a most enjoyable bath and on the way back had a game of 'Crown and Anchor', coming out even. Nice stew cooked by Rose, the first he has made by himself. Went to bed early and talked of musical instruments. Slept well.

25 July (Tuesday)

Reveille as usual then got into bed again. ... Went on with my machine gun then went on parade and did the same silly drill as yesterday. After parade bored holes in a 1 1/2d tram coupon and heller(6) to hang round my neck. Made a 'meat ticket'(7) out of an English rupee and stamped my name, etc. on it. Chatted most of the afternoon with Wackrill about old times. ... Went to bed and after chucking pumpkins and a few other mad things went to sleep.

26 July (Wednesday)

Reveille as usual. Cooked the breakfast. ... Cleaned rifle. Taken to the river for a bathe instead of the usual morning parade. Wallie shaved his whiskers off and looked quite decent again. Had an enjoyable wash then returned to camp. Jam issued so made a mealie-meal steam pudding, which went down fairly well at lunch time. D Company went on outpost near the aerodrome. Cut out the tripod for my machine gun badge and began filing it. ... Could not eat all my dinner and went to bed early and had a 'rough and tumble' with Toerin and Bibby who lodged his elbow in my eye. Nearly split my sides laughing at Leo Sykes. Slept fairly well.

27 July (Thursday)

Reveille 5.30 [05h30] but lay in bed till breakfast was up. Packed up my valise and kit then washed up dishes. The whole camp was moved 200 yards [183 m] north east of the old site. Pitched our tent well and levelled the floor. Lunch of steak, tea and bread and dripping. Cold wind blowing all day. Fine stew and dumplings for dinner and after washing up got some sugar cane and went to bed early.

28 July (Friday)

Went to bed again after reveille. Had a huge breakfast of porridge and honey and bread. Mail of newspapers came in got a 'Sunday Times' and 'Railway Magazine' for June. Chilly wind still blowing.... The machine guns [section] and motor returned from Moschi but without machine guns. Heard that there had been scrapping ahead and that the motor machine guns had got into it. German prisoners say that they cannot last out 20 days. Dick went out foraging and brought back tomatoes, pumpkins and milk. Owens, the driver of the motor, brought us 8 [tins of] golden syrup, 8 lbs [3,6 kg] of sugar, 3 boxes of cigarettes and matches. Pinched a tin of bully beef off the motor. Lovely tomato stew for dinner and bread and dripping. Went to bed early and slept well, but it was a 'dirty night'.

29 July (Saturday)

Cooked the breakfast. ... Very windy day. Paddy went to hospital with the fever. After parade Smikky made a protest for us to Mr Parsons against doing the colonel's fatigues as machine gunners are exempted from fatigues. Drew rations. Heard we are going back to Moschi on Monday and I hope so too as it is very slow doing nothing here. Lunch consisted of steak, coffee, bread and syrup. The motor returned with the 2 new machine guns with auxiliary tripods, new chain belts, battle-sights, etc. Put the stew on to boil then started filling the belts using the cartridge cases [wooden ammunition boxes] as fuel. Afterwards Bibby and I went for a bath which was cold as there was a chilly wind blowing. Got back to camp to find the dinner of stew, pumpkins and tomatoes served. Dick teased us saying we had been put on different guns, but Bibby got him beat properly. Soon got into our overcoats as there was a cold wind blowing, and, later on, into bed.

30 July (Sunday)

Woken up at 2 [02h00] by Hassett waking up the 2 next tents saying there was a night adder. It turned out to be a belt wound round a stick, much to our disgust. Slept again till morning and after reveille went to bed again. ... Our new gun teams are No.1 gun; Jones and Moon. No.2; Hassett and Clarke. No.3; Smith and Storm. No.4; Heard and Rose. Heimann, myself, Cooper and Lonsdale. No.5; Waldeck and Pintlebury. No.6; Paddon and Hayes. Nos. 2, 5 and 6 guns went out on harmonizing firing. Major Thompson and the orderly officer came around and kicked up a row about our tents. Rose made some 11 'o clock [11h00] coffee. Short ration of bread so drew mealie-meal to make up. Heard our troops are on the Dar-es-Salaam line, also about C Company Officers' 'beans' and the colonel's talk with Owens. Steak for lunch. Helped with the stew. Went to bed early. Dick and Smith got some wine and salt from his uncle.

31 July (Monday)

Went to bed after reveille. ... Fatigue dress parade in which we picked out our porters and mules and marked our ammunition boxes. As soon as the parade was over I started for 'Black Rock', a German position. I arrived after 1,5 hours' brisk walk and had a good look around. Saw the observation post and the splendid look-out it held, also the well-dug trenches. Pieces of our shells were lying all over the place and there were many big holes which they had made. Saw the first howitzer shell that was fired and didn't burst. Picked up a good many shrapnel balls then started back for home at 1.30 [13h30] arriving at 3 [15h00]. ... Took some time to pick the black-jacks out of my puttees. ... Hassett got hold of some kaffir beer and, after imbibing some, got very excited so we had a sing-song in his tent. In the middle of the proceedings the tent nearly caught alight amid great excitement. Cold wind blowing. Slept well.

1 August (Tuesday)

Porridge again for breakfast. My wash-up as Smith and Dick are going foraging after parade. Got letters. ... Went for a bathing parade and had a good laugh at the porters doing rifle drill. Did not have a wash. ... Went to the hospital with Wackrill to see Paddy. Percy Forbes not there so must have been sent back. Arrived back in camp to hear the rumour that we are moving to Mpwapwa tomorrow. ... Finished washing up then chopped wood for tomorrow morning. Had a chat with Wallie about the 'Leader'(8) and 'Mail' then to bed and slept well.

2 August (Wednesday)

Parade as usual. Moving the day after tomorrow. Finished my slack-shorts then cooked the tea for lunch. ... Paddy and Piet paid us a visit from hospital. ... While having our dinner we saw some German prisoners coming in on the transport. There were about 10 whites and 8 askaris. The Germans looked fat and well but a bit pale. Great excitement in camp especially among our native porters. They were captured near Dodoma. Funny sight watching them breaking in bullocks for our transport. After dark, Rose and I got some telegraph poles for wood. Fairly warm night and slept well.

3 August (Thursday)

Pretended I was 'indisposed' so stayed in bed to miss roll call. Had breakfast in bed. Had a shave before parade which was a bathing one preceded by 'surprise attack' tactics. Had some naked races along the sands then a fine bath. 'Baai', a porter, got cuts for refusing to carry ammunition boxes. Heard the sergeant and colonel of the East African machine guns were shot for refusing duty and others given long terms of imprisonment. Got our orders for marching tomorrow. Three tents for the section going to a place 30 miles [48 km] from Mpwapwa. ... Laid our waterproofs when Pintlebury came in and started a 'rough and tumble' making our blankets and ground sheets in a frightful mess. After he left we paid him a return visit and ruffled his tent and 6 of them packed on to 4 of us. Slept well. Paddy returned from hospital. Heard officially of Dodoma being taken on the 31st.

4 August (Friday) (2nd Anniversary of the Great War)

Reveille as usual. Fairly mild morning but went to bed again. Parade as usual, after which made a wrist strap for my watch. Steak for lunch, after which our transport arrived so I suppose we will start tomorrow. Received letters from Doris and Mother mentioning Papa's accident. Wrote to Mother and Doris in the afternoon and took the letters up to be censored. Stew very nice as it was flavoured with leeks and meat very tender also pumpkin fritters. Made a raid on Pintlebury's tent during which we got orders that we are moving tomorrow at 8 [08h00]. Rations and a full tot of rum issued. Went to bed afterwards and slept well.


Maj-Gen van Deventer was able to resume the offensive on 24 June. His plan involved the capture of a large portion of the Central Railway. His force was to advance from Kondoa Irangi and fan out in three columns; that on the right with Kilimatinde as its objective; the centre column to occupy Dodoma and that on the left to take Kikomba, thus denying the Germans 160 km of the Central Railway line. This was achieved, with the three columns reaching their objectives virtually simultaneously. The 7th SAI later formed part of the occupying force at Dodoma.

Third photo

5 August (Saturday)

Reveille 5 am [05h00], still dark. Lit our lamp and cleared the tent out. Had breakfast when it was light enough, packed up our skoff and dropped the tent. Took our letters to the 9th Regiment's detail orderly room and asked the Sergeant-Major to post our letters which he did. Got back in time to get my kit ready and saddle up. Moved at 8.05 [08h05] and did 7 miles [11 km] having 2 surprise attacks on the way for practice. Halted at 10.40 [10h40] and started a big fire and had some tea. Lost our tent and very much fed up with the sergeant for not allowing us to use the water out of our red tins.(9) Mean to have our own back one day. Very nice day for marching. Sky overcast. Kit inspection and a row made as the sergeants carry too many pots and pans on the motor Got permission to use the water in our cans. ...

6 August (Sunday)

Reveille 4.30 [04h30]. Had a cup of coffee and some scones then packed and started on the march at 6 o'clock [06h00], marching 3,5 hours doing 9 miles [14 km]. Fine cool morning and we started whistling but it got hot later so we stopped. Road very dusty. Passed several German graves on the road. Camped in a good place. ... Heard 6 lions were shot not far from here last night. Read most of the afternoon helped with the stew which was enjoyable. Chopped down a big tree for firewood and made a lovely big camp-fire. Made some coffee before going to bed and took an aspirin as I had a headache. Slept well. Dick troubled with ants.

7 August (Monday)

Reveille 4.30 [04h30]. ... Packed up and left at 6.30 [06h30] marching 3 hours and doing 8 miles [13 km]. Road awfully dusty and very dry country. Off-saddled and made porridge and tea. Lonsdale and Rose pinched the sergeants' mess canvas water bottle and they made a row about it. Had an argument with Dart. Sergeant de Bruyn made us annoyed by telling us to saddle-up then cancelled the order. Moved off at 12 [12h00] and took the road to Jumbu, marching 4 miles [6 km] to some dirty water holes. Feeling tired and stiff and very dirty. ... Only dirty water obtainable. Got on the march again at 7.30 [19h30] and marched to the Aneti road doing 3 miles then camping in an open space. Total for the day 15 miles [24 km]. Got some firewood, cooked some coffee then went to bed and slept well.

8 August (Tuesday)

Reveille 6[06h00]. ... Moved off at 8 [08h00] doing 7 miles [11 km]. Road awfully dusty and the country very hot and dry. Camped at 10.45 [10h45]. Made some tea out of dirty yellow water which made nearly every one in the section feel queer for a while. The boys drew no water and were very dry. Had a rest and aired our feet. Saddled up and moved off at 1[13h00] doing 5 miles [8 km] to Aneti. A snake was found in one of our ammunition pack saddles and promptly despatched. Camped in an open plain, very dry and tired. Some of the men made a rush for the waterholes, but the colonel stopped them. Smikky, Dick, Bibby and I went for wood and a big branch of a thorn tree fell on me, tearing my shirt a bit. Drew some water and boiled some flour and tea. John managed to get a full red tin extra. ... Went to bed at 10 [22h00] and did not unpack our kits so Bibby and I shared the blanket, rather cold in the morning. Total for the day 12 miles [19 km]. Colonel sick in the motor car as a result of the water, I suppose.

9 August (Wednesday)

Reveille 4.30 [04h30]. ... Moved off at 6 [06h00], doing 7 miles [11 km] to the junction of the Dodoma road where we halted and had breakfast. Road extremely dusty and dense bush as usual. Saw a good few lion spoors. After we had gone 5 miles [8 km] Dick went back to get his spare parts wallet which he had forgotten. Breakfast of boiled flour and tea. Colonel swore at us for our porters were making an awful row. Found our wallet on No.6 gun mule. Paddon arrived having walked all the way. Natives made a great commotion drawing their water. Moved off again at 11.30 [11h30]. Roads fearfully dusty and awfully hot. After 5,5 miles [9 km] arrived at Tchenee. Big hills all round. Mules taken to the water straight away as they had been 48 hours without it. We were given some water out of some Mark V 1916 water carts. Made ourselves some tea then started a stew. Dick and Paddy arrived, Dick having done 22 miles [35 km]. Cut the pumpkin and meat up. Stew and coffee for dinner at 7.30 [19h30] Drew rations. Rum issued, very small ration and diluted. Went to bed early and spent a good night. Two graves of the 11th Regiment here [of men] killed in action. Water grey in colour and muddy. Total mileage for the day 12 miles [19km].

10 August (Thursday)

Stayed in bed till breakfast... sewed my shirt and trousers. Cleaned my teeth,shaved and washed my hands, face, neck and arms in half a cup of water. Put on water fatigue. ... Valises examined before packed. I had to take my camera out. ... Made the ammunition packs secure and in order. Forty-five men left behind for garrison work. Marched off at 4.30 [16h30] marching for 4 hours and doing 10 miles [16 km]. Road still quite dusty but much nicer marching in the cool of the evening. Off-saddled at 7.30 [19h30] and quickly drank 2 cups of coffee each. Had 2 hours rest and, as I was rather stiff, massaged myself. Moved off again at 9.45 [21h45] and marched for 3 hours doing about 8 miles [13 km]. Marched through a native village called Mia Mia, where a signaller told me that Morogoro was taken. Arrived at our destination at 12.40 [00h40] feeling very tired and footsore. Made a cup of coffee and then settled down to bed. Suffered acute pain from muscle cramp in the thighs and calves. Slept well but not too warmly. Went to bed 2 am [02h00]. Total for the day 18 miles [29 km].

11 August (Friday)

Slept late. Had a narrow escape from boiling porridge falling on my face as half a dixie full upset. Sewed patches on my shorts and packed my valise putting my camera in again. Still feeling a bit stiff and footsore. ... Got orders to move at 4 [16h00]. Made doughboys for the stew and had it at 3.15 [l5hl5]. Marched 3 hours doing 7,5 miles [12 km], then halted for 2 hours and made some coffee. Feet very sore from little splinters in the left foot. Marched on again for 4,5 miles [7 km]. Total for the day 12 miles [19 km]. Collected some wood and made some porridge and coffee. Very resting getting into bed. Went to sleep at about 11.45 [23h45]. Slept well.

12 August (Saturday)

Woke up at 9 [09h00]. Had breakfast and then stopped in bed till 10.30 [10h30]. Not feeling very well, having a tired and heavy feeling... took aspirin tablet which made me feel much better. Read a bit then saddled up and moved off at 4 [16h00] marching 2,5 hours doing 6 miles [10 km]. Off-saddled for coffee then moved off again after 2 hours doing another 5 miles [8 km] into Dodoma. Total for the day 11 miles [18 km]. Touched the railway line as we walked over. Camped on a square opposite the station and next to the hospital. Went to get the kits but somebody had found them by mistake. After a lot of enquiring found them and went to bed.

13 August (Sunday)

Mealie-meal and tea for breakfast, after which looked round the place a bit. Station quite a neat but foreign-looking one. Saw Reo lorries with flanged wheels running, also a Ford car.(10) Quite neat houses near. The water tank had been knocked over and destroyed. Weighed on the station scale weighing 58 kilograms (127 three-fifths pounds). Got back to camp and found we had to go to our posts shortly, so packed up and went west up the line about 500 yards [457 m] from camp. Made our abode under a shady tree and started getting comfy. Had tea and porridge for lunch during which John arrived with a sow. After lunch cleared out a place for a kitchen and got some stones from a cemetery nearby. Rose and Bibby brought some sweet potatoes back. Motor Cycle Corps left for Kilossa making a great noise. Ali and the other Mohammedan boys much disgusted with the pig. George stuck it for us and it died quite calmly. Skinned and cleaned it. Fried the steak with which we had sweet potatoes for dinner. Mouth very sore. Got into bed early. Had to do an hour's guard each, mine was from 4 [04h00] to 5 [05h00] in the morning. Birds singing nearly all night.(11)

14 August (Monday)

Got up about 7 [07h00], my mouth and tongue feeling very sore so washed it in permanganate. Pork chops, kidneys and liver for breakfast with porridge. Had a shave and washed my hands and face. Sent back to camp to get 6 'kisus' (machette) then started making a bomer [sic] around our position. Hot and tiring work and got pricked any amount of times by thorns. One of the natives told me that the Germans had marched down the line to Morogoro and that they had taken most of their poultry, meal, oxen, etc. Fried pork chops and sweet potatoes for lunch. Went to get our meat then went shopping with Bibby. Bought 20 soap balls at 5 hellers each, some envelopes at 26 per rupee. Writing paper at 10 cents per sheet and a pencil for 25 cents. Watched them repairing the bore-hole then went to the station and saw the first lorry load to go down the line. Read the news that Sadani was taken on the 1st.... Rose and I went to the station to look for a petrol drum but couldn't find one.

15 August (Tuesday)

Made the porridge for breakfast. John went foraging and returned with an old sofa for a bed. Bibby and I went afterwards and brought back one each.(12) They were rather heavy but we managed to get them in. Went to town to get a long bamboo and pinched one from our camp. ... Fine boiled pig and sweet potatoes for lunch. Went to a German house and got a door for a table, a shutter for a shelf and some planks. Building bomers for the rest of the afternoon. Major Thompson and Colonel Freeth made an inspection and were quite pleased. Nice stew and mashed sweet potatoes. Started to mount guard but were relieved by B Company later. Went to bed soon and slept very well.

16 August (Wednesday)

Dick and Smikky went to town, coming back with a chair, some salt, sugar and unger. Smikky baked some good bread. ... Pains in the stomach during the night. Heard we had captured 2 trains and 4 engines from the Germans.

17 August (Thursday)

Bibby and I went out shooting. Bibby shot at a plantain-eater. I had 2 shots at 2 gazelles at about 50 yards [46 m] range, but missed both shots. Porridge, bread and tea for breakfast. After breakfast John returned with a gazelle which he had shot with a revolver. Cleaned my rifle. Wrote letters. ... Did my examination post guard from 10 [10h00] to 12 [12h00]. ... Wrote letters most of the afternoon. Funeral of Sergeant Yates passed our post while Bibby was on guard. ... Went to bed fairly early and did guard from 10 [22h00] to 12 [24h00] during which I halted Mr Parsons when coming out to the post from town. Dick discharged his rifle while unloading. ...

18 August (Friday)

Got up at 5 o'clock [05h00] and went out shooting with Wackrill and Currie. We parted at the German farm house and I had a shot at a grey hyena but missed.(14) Went straight on westwards for about a mile [1,6 km] and only saw a hare. Later on went across some cultivated lands and ran across some guinea fowl and a herd of large buck, which I followed up and came across later so shot at one and think I hit him as he did not run away as fast as the others. I sent 3 shots after this lot. After walking around in a large circle I bagged a guinea fowl and in following up the flock put another shot at them, but missed. When going to see the result I suddenly came across a herd of about 8 koodoo. One saw me, gave a bellow and turned to run but I let him have it and the bullet went between his hind legs, hit him in the stomach and came out at the breast. He scampered off and I thought I had missed him but, afterwards, I heard him grunting and throwing himself about, so I went up to him and watched him die. I would have put another shot into it but my cartridges were finished. When it was nearly dead and stopped kicking I cut its throat then started back to camp. Great excitement when I brought in the guinea fowl and greater excitement still when I told them about the koodoo. After having some breakfast and cleaning the guinea fowl John, Smikky, Rose and I with 2 boys started out, having a few shots on the way, but hitting nothing. As soon as we arrived at the koodoo we 'gutsed' it and cut it up into 4 quarters, keeping the liver, kidneys, heart and tongue. The rest of the entrails and the neck we gave to the boys. Rose and I carried one of the quarters and Smikky and John the other, the 2 boys carrying the forequarters. We went back through the bush nearly getting scratched to death by the thorns and arrived back at the camp very thirsty. We kept a hindquarter for ourselves and gave the other to the other 3 messes, a forequarter to Paddy, the other forequarter to the natives; a sirloin cut to Mr Parsons and another to Dick's Germiston friend. Fried buck cutlets in batter and tea for lunch. Paddy and Mary tried in the orderly room for deserting their posts and discharged. Cleaned my rifle and had a shave. Heard No.4 platoon of the Motor Cyclists had been ambushed. Paddy found my bullet in his portion of the buck and returned it to me through Bibby. Did clerk duty on the post for about 2 hours. Fried koodoo liver and heart and stew for dinner. Two chillies [were put] in the stew which made it rather hot. Mashed potatoes and coffee also. George divided out his hind leg of meat and it panned out about 8 lbs [3,6 kg] of meat to 2 men. Went to bed fairly early and slept fairly well but had pains in the stomach during the night.

19 August (Saturday)

... Went digging for sweet potatoes with John, but could not find many. Dick for orderly room this morning for firing his rifle the night before last and Clifford Jones for losing his on the trek. Heard that if no convoy comes in today or tomorrow we will be without food except for flour and meat. Jones got 21 days and Dick was discharged. Did my guard from 11.30 [11h30] to 1.30 [13h30]. Motor tractor No.2 went down the line towards Kilimatinde and didn't return till we were asleep. ... Had another shave and then a bath, also washed my towel and socks. My first bath since Kondoa 15 days ago. Wopping stew and potatoes for dinner. Moved our beds over to the guard post. Talked about music and holidays then went to sleep. Slept well but had pains in the stomach. ... Bibby and I did the last guards from 4 [04h00] to 6 [06h00].

20 August (Sunday) (Coming of Age birthday)

Complimented on it being my birthday. Went to draw the meat. Nos. 5 and 6 doing quarterguard. Saw Shenton who told me about Austin dying from dysentery at Aruscha. ... Read during the afternoon then went to get the rations, which were full. Read the news at the station that Bagamoyo had been taken, another 4.1 [inch] gun captured and 2 more at Ujiji. Chaps betting that it will be over in 2 weeks. Stew for dinner. Dished out rations. Had a long chat with Cyril Wackrill and Clifford Jones about the Robinson Deep and mining matters. Slept very well.

21 August (Monday)

Fooling about with Bibby. Put my foot on a tree stump and skinned it. Rather painful for a while. ... Rather chilly wind sprang up so put on my overcoat and started a letter to Mother. Mossy Green came in to see me, but could not stay long as he is leaving for Kilossa this morning. Started on our rainy season house, getting the zinc from an old blockhouse started by the Motor Cycle Corps. ... My guard from 2 [14h00] to 4 [16h00], after which went to town but my foot was rather painful. ... Our guard tonight so got our beds out. Chilly wind blowing. Bibby and I did guard from 12 [24h00] to 2 [02h00].

22 August (Tuesday)

... Bibby and Smikky went out to Iringa Post with Mr Parsons. I would have gone but my foot is still painful when I walk. George started on the examination post gate. ... Heard rumour Kilossa fallen and enemy's retreat cut off. Spent a good night. Gate finished.

23 August (Wednesday)

Put our kits out in line for the first time since coming here. ... Helped build the house till lunch time. Steak and tea for lunch. Cleared away the bush over my head and then caught a thorn in my finger which poisoned it and made it swell up. Had a shave. My guard from 4 [16h00] to 6 [18h00]. Stew as usual for dinner Went to the concert on the square with Wackrill. Electric lights were on poles but were too dim. A piano was on a transport wagon and there was a big log fire burning. The colonel presided. The concert opened with a violin solo during which the seat on which the 'King of the Lizards' Captain Meser, Lieutenant Newton, Captain Tucker and 2 or 3 other officers were sitting collapsed, much to everybody's amusement. The next thing was 'Bandalero' followed by 'Keep the home fires burning'. Sutcliffe then sang 'Perfect Day'. Corporal MacMaster recited about some Yiddisher gentleman then imitated an Indian juggler, chiding the colonel about too much bomer building, poor rations, etc. Had to get back to do guard from 8 [20h00] to 10 [22h00]. Time did not seem so long as we listened to the music in the distance. Slept well.

24 August (Thursday)

Got up early and put my kit out on poles to keep it from the white ants. Porridge and the last of the koodoo steak for breakfast. Had a flare-up with Sergeant Bell over the kits. Went to town with Wackrill and saw them repairing an aeroplane engine. Repaired our grub box. ... Went to see if there was a concert but as there was none we stopped and had a chat with Pintlebury and Waldeck. Rearranged our guards on a better basis. Slept nicely. Saw a big snake about 6 ft [2 m] but it got to its hole before we could catch it.

25 August (Friday)

My first guard on the post. General exodus of Greeks to Kilimatinde, very polite one saluting me and others taking off their hats. 'Soft Soap' I suppose. Had some excitement and running about to catch 3 of our fowls. Built the house with Bibby putting in the back. Cooked the lunch of steak and tea. Read a bit during the afternoon. Went to town with Bibby to draw rations and got some letters. ... Nice stew for dinner. Went to bed fairly early and slept well. John got a parcel.

26 August (Saturday)

Bibby and I did last guard from 4 [04h00] to 6 [06h00]. Lent Wackrill my rifle to go out shooting. Dad Lester went with him. Waldeck and Liebenberg and Hughes and Gehleg of D Company also went out. Cooked the breakfast. Wackrill brought back 2 small buck, Waldeck another 2 and Hughes 1. Sewed my clothes after they had been cleaned. Had a shave with hot water then a bath. ... Read during the afternoon. Went to draw the rations which were double as we draw none tomorrow. Jam, tobacco and matches also issued. Stew for dinner. Made 3 dum-dums for myself and 2 for Bibby. Heard a rumour that we had 300 casualties down the line and the Germans 700 killed and 1 300 prisoners. Read the telegram of Kilossa having fallen. A fowl roosted above my bed and made a mess of it during the night.

27 August (Sunday)

Got up at 5 [05h00]. Got dressed and started out taking a slice of bread each. Bibby and I separated at the German house. I wounded a buck with my second shot but could not get to it on account of the thorns so it got away. Walked for 4,5 hours seeing only 5 buck, 2 hares, some guinea fowl and partridges. Would have got a buck if I had some more ammunition as it did not run away even when I threw stones at it. Went on guard from 10 [10h00] to 12 [12h00]. Dick's friend, Charlie Oxenham, came to see him and stopped to lunch of beef tea and bread and dripping. Drew the meat and dished it out. John and Wackrill went foraging and brought back honey, eggs, sour milk. Did guard from 6 [18h00] to 8 [20h00] and slept well under a tree.

28 August (Monday)

Fried eggs for breakfast. Mr Parsons told us Morogoro had fallen and a good many women and children left there. He also told us about the German's diary. ... Dick's uncle and cousin came to see him. While Smikky was on guard 3 German women walked past and went to see the cemetery. When they came back John gave one a picture of some pipers and they were greatly amused. Went for a walk to town with Bibby. Dick got 2 loaves of bread, some cigarettes and a tin of jam.

29 August (Tuesday)

Got up at 6.15 [06h15] and went up the line with my rifle but saw no buck so tested my rifle on a milestone. ... Went on guard from 10 [10h00] to 12 [12h00]. John shot a buck and Wackrill 2. 'Gutsed' one for him. Fried liver for lunch. Tried to write to Betty but couldn't stick it so went to the village with Wackrill. Nice stew for dinner during which a bullet came whistling very close over our heads and another one soon afterwards which made Smikky, Dick and John, duck. John went out afterwards and put a shot over the head of the person who fired before. Went on guard from 2 [14h00] to 4 [16h00]. Cold night and drizzled at intervals. Slept like a log.

30 August (Wednesday)

... Dull morning with mist about and rained now and then. All pretended we were working when Major Thompson and the orderly officer came along. Began reading when they passed on. Fried buck steak for lunch. Cleaned Smikky's gun. Had a shave. Nice stew for dinner. Before going to bed had a meeting as to what we should call our rain-proof house. Slept quite well.

31 August (Thursday)

Bossed the [labourers] up in levelling the floor of the house then went on guard from 10 [10h00] to 12 [12h00]. John brought back a buck also Dick and George one each. ... Heard a rumour that we are going to Morogoro soon. Went up to see the news but none fresh. Went out shooting with Wackrill. Saw 3 koodoo and had 4 rounds at them. I think 2 were hit but not fatally. Followed them up a long way but saw nothing else to shoot at except a partridge. On our way back found a motor stuck in a sand drift. Helped push it out and got a lift home. ... Did guard from 10 [22h00] to 12 [24h00]. Cold wind blowing. Mr Parsons told me we had orders to move at a moment's notice. Think we are going down the line to Morogoro.

Fourth photo

1 September (Friday)

Went out with Smith and Wackrill to try and find the koodoo but drew a blank. Wackrill and I went on further but although we saw a few buck only managed to get an osprey bird which I shot at long range through the neck. Got back to camp at about 10.30 [10h30] tired and hungry. Had some porridge, cold meat and coffee. First coffee since we have been here. Scraped my teeth making them look fairly clean. Fried eggs and steak for lunch. Started a letter to Mother and nearly finished when a mail came in bringing me 2 'Sunday Times', Rudge Multi Books and school letters. A letter from Alf told us that Ray(15) had been wounded in the cheek. Stew for dinner. Went for a walk to town and had a good laugh at Leo. No more letters. Slept like a log. Quite a nice night.

2 September (Saturday)

Lovely morning, usual breakfast. Read most of the morning. Steak and tea with milk for lunch. Went on guard from 2 [14h00] to 4 [16h00]. Cooked the stew and made the coffee for dinner. Stew and batter a bit salty and meat a bit burnt which made it not as nice as it should have been. Went on guard from 12 [24h00] to 2 [02h00] in the morning. Lovely night and slept fairly well.

3 September (Sunday)

Got up a bit late.... Washed everything and scoured the dixies. Finished my letter to Mother. Soup and bread for lunch. Read my Rudge books in the afternoon. Bibby and Rose brought some pumpkin and eggs. Made them some tea. Upset the tea and burnt my fingers. Stew and pumpkin fritters with cream (without for me) for dinner. Big wash-up. Went for a walk round town. Slept like a log.

4 September (Monday)

... Went for a ride on a German push bicycle. Quite pleasant. First time I have been on a bicycle since November last. Majors Thompson and Page came around inspecting and Dick took their horses for a run. Got 3 bottles of milk. Getting 2 more from an Arab for repairing his old bicycle. Read the news about Morogoro falling and the Germans retiring south. ... Went on guard from 4 [16h00] to 6 [18h00]. The German women came down and had a chat but couldn't understand anything. Went for a walk to town but no more letters. Went on guard again from 8 [20h00] to 10 [22h00] and had a musical evening to myself humming and whistling different tunes. ...

5 September (Tuesday)

Supposed to 'stand-to' at 5.30 [05h30] but didn't get up till 7 [07h00]. Went out shooting with John. Soon put up 3 buck and I believe wounded one but nothing else happened the whole time. ... Watch put on half an hour. Wrote out song words then read.

6 September (Wednesday)

Stood-to at 5.30 [05h30]. Made an awful noise laughing and cursing the colonel and officers for doing us out of an hour's sleep. Went on guard from 6 [06h00] to 8 [08h00]. Usual breakfast. Read [that] Dar-es-Salaam had surrendered. Major Thompson came round and told Sergeant Bell our post was a credit to the Regiment ... Went to village and bought 2 German pencils for 50 hellers. Heard that there was very little water down the line and that the fruit country began at Morogoro. Good many lemons and big tomatoes there. ... Talked about theatre and actors then started fooling about with acrobatic turns. Slept well. On guard from 4 [04h00] to 6 [06h00].

7 September (Thursday)

... Had 2 shots at a German eagle but missed. Went out shooting at 8 with Wackrill. Walked a very long way and only had 3 shots. 1 at a guinea fowl, the other at a bird and the third at a buck. I shot first and absolutely smashed the buck's hind leg then Wackrill shot and the bullet passed clean through its body. Waggles shot again and hit it badly in the hind quarter. We tracked it by the blood and found it under a thorn bush. I 'gathered' it and we carried it between us on a stick. Arrived back at 2.30 [14h30] and had some fried ox heart and tea. ... Heard the rumour that Tabora had fallen and that the Germans had retired to Kissaki and had abandoned their big guns. ...

8 September (Friday)

Stand-to at 5.30 [05h30]. Went on guard from 8 [08h00] to 10 [l0h00]. Went to the village with Wackrill and bought some writing paper.... Paddy shot a koodoo. Got paid a rupee then went to the village and bought some envelopes and writing paper. Rumours to the effect that peace would be declared by 2 pm [14h00] today. A German askari also told Ali that before he deserted the Germans were making a long pole and a big white pole and that they were going to put it up today. Went on guard from 6 [18h00] to 8 [20h00]. Killed 2 big black scorpions on the road. Whistled and sang during guard. Slept well but a bit cold during the night. Got a hind leg of Paddy's koodoo.

9 September (Saturday)

Stand-to as usual. Put my kit out then took my rifle and went for a short walk. Saw 2 small buck then later on a single koodoo. Put 2 shots at him but don't think I hit. Saw the eagle I shot at the other day lying dead. Saw 2 grey birds with long necks shot at them but they ran. ... Fixed up the cutlery shelf again. Pinned out a bit of koodoo skin to dry to make a purse with. Mr Parsons told me they had no news of Jock Young from our escaped prisoners. Had a foot inspection but not moving for at least a week, so Mr Parsons said.... Got orders that we are to move tomorrow. After dinner went to the concert which was quite a good one. Major Thompson sang 'Perfect Day' and 'Somewhere a voice is calling'. Corporal Patterson sang his song 'Whitewash on the Wall' about C Company officers. Others sang 'Excelsior', 'Watchman what of the night' and 'I hear you calling'. Got back to bed and sleep at 10 [22h00].

10 September (Sunday)

... Packed our valises, changed my clothes. Went on guard from 10 [10h00] to 12 [12h00]. Packed up our bags and kits. Mules came down at 3 [15h00] so we saddled up and marched into town. After a wait and a parade we marched at attention through the town along the road to Ingingala. Marched 3 hours then halted 2 hours for tea. Got on the move again and marched 2 more hours doing altogether 12 miles [19 km]. Made some more tea then got into bed. Ground rather hard after our beds and the night a bit cold but slept well. Sorry to leave our post at Dodoma as it was the most comfortable we have been in so far. Smikky not feeling too well but it was not a too trying march. Feel that we are 12 miles [19 km] nearer home. Got milk for our tea at the first halt. Kitu bitten by snake.


  1. These were the naval guns from HMS Pegasus, destroyed by the Koenigsberg at Zanzibar. Manned by the Royal Marines.
  2. Waugh, one of my school chums, was reported missing after the Latema-Reata battle in March.
  3. MacGregor, one of the marines manning the Pegasus guns.
  4. Anniversary of the miners' strike in July 1913, during which many were shot near the Rand Club in Johannesburg.
  5. Unger - the native name for their particular flour.
  6. Heller - a German East African coin - equal to one cent or one penny.
  7. Meat ticket - our name for an identity disc.
  8. Leader - The Transvaal Leader, the other Johannesburg morning newspaper in opposition to the Rand Daily Mail, at about that time.
  9. Red tins [condenser cans] in which water for cooling the Maxims was carried.
  10. These converted lorries ran on the rails drawing trucks because of lack of engines or locomotives.
  11. These were probably African nightingales - very musical.
  12. These were discarded seats from old railway passenger coaches.
  13. All persons passing through our post had to be examined.
  14. I am not so sure that they were misses - the bullets very likely went right through in some cases.
  15. My cousin, Gunner Raymond Stead, awarded the DCM during the SWA campaign and a gunner in the field artillery in General van Deventer's column. However, it was his brother, Allan Stead, also a gunner in the field artillery, who was wounded. He was with a group of reinforcements, under Fritz Adler, when the Germans ambushed them. A bullet hit Allan on the right jaw, breaking it severely and rendering him unconscious. The wounded were taken back to Korogwe, on the Moschi-Tanga railway line. The hospital there had an excellent name, being staffed by our doctors and orderlies and also a number of German female nurses. Allan found himself in the same ward as Douglas Waugh (see Note 2). About 15 years after the war, Allan had some discomfort in his neck and an X-ray showed a bullet pressing against the spine in his neck. It was extracted safely and the bullet was found to be completely encased in cartilage or gristle. Douglas Waugh had his bullet touching the spine in such a position that no doctor would dare to try to remove it, with the result that he carried that bullet in his body for the rest of his life. He told me that he felt it now and then.

    Return to Journal Index OR Society's Home page

    South African Military History Society /