No Insignificant Part
The Rhodesia Native Regiment and the East Africa Campaign of the First World War
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Download PDF (32.7 KB)
Download PDF (34.1 KB)
i would like to thank the social sciences and humanities research Council of Canada and Trent University for funding the research for this book. The staff of the Zimbabwe National Archives, where most of the research was conducted, was extremely helpful and professional. The Department of History and Centre for Defence Studies at the University of Zimbabwe provided ...
List of Abbreviations
Download PDF (31.5 KB)
List of Terms
Download PDF (23.5 KB)
Download PDF (224.6 KB)
THE CITY OF MUTARE, CALLED UMTALI IN COLONIAL TIMES, IS NESTLED IN Zimbabwe’s mountainous Eastern Highlands close to the border with Mozambique. On the peak of a high, rocky, forested hill that overlooks the entire city is what appears to be a large concrete cross. As the hill, called Cross Kopje, is on the grounds of Mary Mount Teachers’ College, a former Christian ...
1. Setting the Stage: Colonialism and Zimbabwe: The First World War and Africa
Download PDF (90.7 KB)
WHEN THE FIRST WORLD WAR BROKE OUT IN 1914, THE ERA OF COLONIAL conquest for much of sub-Saharan Africa had barely ended and this fact greatly influenced how Africans, including those in what is now Zimbabwe, experienced this global event. African independence had been crushed and African people were forced to live within the context of an exploitive colonial state ...
2. Africans in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and the First World War
Download PDF (97.6 KB)
WHEN THE FIRST WORLD WAR BROKE OUT IN AUGUST 1914, SOUTHERN RHODESIA'S small population of thirty thousand white settlers was generally very eager to get involved in the conflict. Identifying closely with Britain, they made overt displays of patriotism, collected money for various war-related causes, and volunteered to serve in the armed forces. At a time when the colony was still ...
3. Soldiers in the Rhodesia Native Regiment: Their Profile and Daily Life
Download PDF (304.8 KB)
AFRICAN SOLDIERS IN THE RNR DID NOT LEAVE BEHIND WRITTEN EVIDENCE stating why they volunteered for the colonial army, but analysis of their pre-enlistment life might contribute to answering that question. Similarly, examination of the military culture and daily routine of the regiment might reveal something about the nature of the early colonial society that had produced it and is certainly important for understanding how the unit functioned in East ...
4. The Road to Songea
Download PDF (165.7 KB)
THE INITIAL PHASE OF THE GERMAN EAST AFRICAN CAMPAIGN DURING 1914 AND 1915 had not gone well for the Allies. The British attempt to take the German port of Tanga in early November 1914 was a dismal failure. The German warship Konigsberg remained a threat along the coast until it was trapped in the Rufigi River Delta and destroyed in July 1915.With the Allies lacking enough troops to invade German East Africa by land, an “uneasy ...
5. The Sieges of Malangali and Songea
Download PDF (95.0 KB)
THROUGHOUT MOST OF SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER 1916, WHEN TOMLINSON'S force was securing Songea, the RNR’s second company under Major Carbutt, the forty-year-old native commissioner of Plumtree, remained at New Langenburg conducting field training and route marches. In addition, eighty machinegun carriers arrived and were given training. Around 20 October, Carbutt’s ...
6. The Siege of Kitanda
Download PDF (90.0 KB)
WITH THE DEFENCES OF SONGEA REINFORCED BY SOUTH AFRICAN infantry, the RNR company there was reorganized from four to three platoons and the size of Captain MacCarthey’s intelligence scout section increased to fifty soldiers. This allowed the RNR to expand its intelligence-gathering activities by sending out more small reconnaissance patrols led by African NCOS who questioned local villagers and tried to observe German ...
7. Disaster at St. Moritz
Download PDF (97.6 KB)
AT THE END OF THE FIRST WEEK OF FEBRUARY, 1917, TWO COMPANIES OF SAI AND one platoon of RNR from Kitanda were sent off to pursue the German force under Captain Max Wintgens which had blocked communication between Songea and Wiedhafen. The rnr intelligence officer, Lieutenant Grey, accompanied this force and would coordinate RNR reconnaissance patrols for the South Africans. Simultaneously, most of the RNR, two companies ...
8. Mpepo: The Place of Winds
Download PDF (100.9 KB)
FOR THE FIRST TEN DAYS OF APRIL 1917, COLONEL MURRAY, COMMANDER OF the Southern Rhodesian Column, assumed temporary command of the RNR, issuing orders directly to the unit’s company commanders. On 10 April,Major Addison was sent back to Salisbury to train recruits at the regiment’s new depot and Major Carbutt was placed in command of the battalion. Carbutt, ...
9. Portuguese East Africa
Download PDF (137.6 KB)
LATE SEPTEMBER 1917 WAS A TRANSITIONAL PERIOD FOR THE RHODESIA NATIVE Regiment. Casualties and illness had taken their toll. During the preceding months, seven European and twenty-three African soldiers had been killed, and fifteen European and eighty-eight African soldiers had been wounded. This meant that 50 per cent of the Europeans, all officers and NCOS, and 25 per cent ...
10. Demobilization and Life after the War
Download PDF (218.1 KB)
AFTER THE DANGER OF INFLUENZA HAD PASSED, THE FIRST CONTINGENT OF about 350 RNR men returned to Salisbury by train during Christmas of 1918. Hundreds of Europeans lined the railway platform and thousands of Africans, who were not allowed on the platform, gathered around the tracks to greet the returning veterans. The RNR band played patriotic and military music. Many ...
Download PDF (44.9 KB)
THE RHODESIAN NATIVE REGIMENT WAS CREATED IN 1916 BECAUSE THE SMALL settler population of Southern Rhodesia desperately wanted to continue its contribution to the war effort but was rapidly running out of manpower. The settlers justified the recruitment of blacks because the Germans had allegedly broken the rules of a “white man’s war” by employing African soldiers. The ...
Appendix: Short Biographies of Some African RNR Soldiers
Download PDF (63.6 KB)
Download PDF (139.4 KB)
Download PDF (62.6 KB)
Download PDF (88.4 KB)
Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2006