Somewhere in Africa – 18th August 1918

Guinea FowlIn Europe during August 1918, the Hundred Days Offensive was underway. This was the Allied offensive which ended World War One. The campaign in Africa was proceeding at a different pace.

In the Field – 18th August 1918

I have none of your letters to acknowledge and we seem to have once again outstripped the mail, which is not surprising considering the erratic nature of our movements. I think I last wrote you from Quilomane from where we were shipped back to Mozambique and are now at rail-head some 40 miles inland. At least that is where battalion H.Q. are but we are again split up into company posts. The Germans were expected to rush rail-head but they decided to give it a miss [sounds like a cat and mouse game] and we learn they are seeking away westward.

They bumped into our A company who were on an isolated post but they were well dug in, and the Germans decided to leave them alone when they found they could not have it all their own way. K.A.R. battalions and companies are dotted all over the country, from the coast to Lake Nyasa. I am busy making a miniature Gibraltar of my post, in the form of a perimeter camp with trenches facing all ways, dug-outs and communication trenches, just like old times. Instead of barbed wire we have a “boma” of felled trees and cunningly concealed stakes. It looks however as if we are not to be honoured by a visit from our friends. According to the last news he is bearing away from the coastal area.

The natives hereabouts are real barbarians and they are none to well disposed towards us, which is not surprising considering that first the Germans, then ourselves, to say nothing of the Portuguese have been making free with the food supplies of the country. We have however established a system of barter with the natives, and carry about with us a goodly stock of “Americans”, which it the native name for cheap cotton cloth, with which to do a deal. But we are really all alike to the poor native and our outlying picquets have been attacked by these gentry with spears and poisoned arrows, but the crack of a rifle is enough to scatter them.

We have quite a collection of these ancient weapons and have little competitions at spearing. The askaris have the knack of throwing them much better than we have and can give us points. I go out with a rifle now and again with my orderly in the hope of slaying something in the way of game, but if I bring back a guinea fowl I have done well.

Sounds like a frustrating time to me. Lots of busy work, very little sense of accomplishment.


M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website

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