25th Royal Fusiliers: MI Coy War Diary 6

The Old and the Bold


War Diary

PLACE



SERENGETI


SERENGETI


SERENGETI


SERENGETI


SERENGETI





SALAITA

SERENGETI



NJORO

NJORO


TAVETA

TAVETA


REATA






LATEMA













LATEMA

TAVETA



TAVETA




TAVETA


TAVETA



S. of LAKE JIPE









SALAITA



TAVETA

TAVETA







SALAITA

TAVETA

TAVETA


TAVETA




DATE


1916

1 March &

3 March

4 March


6 March


5 March &

7 March

8 March






9 March




10 March



11 March


























12 March










14 March


15 March


16 March











17 March





17 March


18 March

21 March







22 March

23 March

12 March to

24 March

29 March



SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION



1 Officer and 35 Rifles M.I. Coy. patrolled for 8 miles N. of camp without seeing any signs of enemy.


Lt. Grenfell sent to hospital with paralytic stroke, this leaves me with 3 Officers on the M.I. Coy. viz. Capt. Atkinson, Capt. Storey,  and Lieut. Ryan, and 103 Rifles.

Cpl. Luck and 5 men M.I. Coy. escorted 2 African scouts to a point half way between SALAITA and WAROMBO HILLS, they saw fresh tracks of 3 enemy.  Returned to camp.

1 Officer and 35 Rifles M.I. Coy. patrolled for 8 miles N. of camp without seeing any signs of enemy.


About 70 Rifles, 3 Officers, and 1 M. Gun of M.I. Coy., with Belfield’s Scouts under Maj. VILJOEN were ordered to watch the right flank of the 1st E.A. Brigade in their advance on SALAITA HILL and keep touch with the 8th S.A.I. who were at .3206 (TAV. H.2.b.).  This was done and no signs of enemy were seen in our immediate vicinity.  The enemy were seen signalling by helio from TAVETA to SALAITA.

We returned to SERENGETI at 6.30 p.m.

The same troops occupied the same position as the previous day and after a heavy bombardment of the enemy’s position on SALAITA, we occupied the hill without opposition, the enemy having evacuated the position, which was exceedingly strong, early that morning or during the night.

M.I. Coy. & Belfields Scouts camped at NJORO RAILHEAD.

The M.I. Coy. formed part of Van Guard on S. of VOI-TAVETA ROAD covering the march of the 2nd Division, less detached troops, to TAVETA, where we arrived without seeing any enemy who had retired towards KAHE.  We camped E. of the MISSION HILLS, transport arriving at 6 p.m.

G.O.C. 2nd Div. ordered Maj. VILJOEN to reconnoitre REATA & LATEMA HILLS with the M.I. Coy. who went to REATA, and Belfield’s Scouts who went to LATEMA.  

Both hills were found to be held by the enemy, strength over 400 Rifles.  Maj. VILJOEN ordered M.I. not to proceed further.

I then got an order to push round enemy’s flank & obtain more information.  The M.I. proceeded under cover of dense forest to a point E. of REATA from whence we were fired upon at long range by about 20 enemy Rifles from S.E. spur of REATA.  Our M. Gun returned their fire and then we retired to a more favourable position, enemy scouts keeping in touch with us.

Operation Order No.2 was now received by me ordering me to watch the left flank of the 1st E. A. Bde. advancing on the NEK between REATA and LATEMA HILLS between which passed the TAVETA - KAHE ROAD.  The enemy were not seen all day on the left flank.  

The 1st E. A. Bde. now changed direction half right towards a point about 1 mile N.W. of KAHE ROAD on LATEMA RIDGE, and after proceeding 1/3 of the way up the slope, came under close range fire of enemy.

The 3 K.A.R. who were on the left of 130th Baluchis forming the firing line were forced to retire to cover of bush at the foot of slope, from where they advanced to their left flank towards the NEK.  As darkness came on I received an order from Maj. MAINPRICE to send my animals back to camp and entrench in my present position, as the attack was going to be pushed vigorously throughout the night.  The 5th S.A.I. now came up behind me & proceeded to entrench behind me, I therefore fell back on their right & we both faced towards the left flank, a large gap being on my right towards the NEK towards which fighting was taking place, enemy rifle fire could now be plainly seen in the darkness on top of LATEMA RIDGE, but our artillery had ceased firing for the night.

About now very heavy firing opened on LATEMA, the enemy’s fire falling all round us doing no damage to us, firing ceased after about 15 minutes.

The 5th S.A.Infy. next to me now lined up & advanced with fixed bayonets towards the NEK, leaving 4 M. Guns with me to guard the left flank.

About now very heavy firing again opened without inflicting any damage to us as we were entrenched.  After 20 mins. heavy firing ceased and part of the 5th S.A.I. later retired to their old position next to the M.I. Coy.

At daybreak we were ordered to retire back to camp at TAVETA where we met our animals.

An M.I. patrol sent out later found the British in occupation of LATEMA.

M.I. Coy. Casualties: Nil

                 S.A.A. expended : 120 rounds.

15 Rifles of M.I. Coy. went as Standing patrol to cross paths about 2 miles S. of TAVETA.  No enemy seen.

Returned to camp.

    ditto


2 M.I. patrols of 7 Rifles each went 3 miles down the KAHE and MOSHI ROADS without seeing enemy, returning at 9 a.m.

Capt. Atkinson & 5 Rifles of M.I. Coy. were ordered to reconnoitre towards NGULU GAP.  We proceeded towards it via SALAITA, LANJORO NDOGO, and VILIMA VIWILI, water being plentiful en route.  Crossing over the ANGLO-GERMAN BORDER we left the bush and came into very flat open country extending for several miles from S. end of LAKE JIPE, 2 miles S.S.E. of which LAKE is a wood, 1 mile long and 500x broad, in which was an empty German camp of over 100 bandas, constructed about end of January 1916 and evacuated a few days before our arrival by the 5th Field Coy.  A telegraph line still connected the camp with BUTU.  Water was obtained from a well 1000x N.E. of camp and from the extreme S. end of LAKE JIPE where 2 small square holes had been dug on the edge of a small ditch covered with papyrus.  No enemy were seen, nor could tracks be seen on the paths round the camp on account of the recent rain.  Smoke was seen from foot of the PARE HILLS especially from BUTU.  The night was spent in preventing our ponies from stampeding owing to the presence of rhinoceros.  Next morning we proceeded over bad ground in the direction of NGULA GAP arriving about 3 miles E.N.E. of NJATA HILL running into enemy scouts.  From here we could see about 10 bandas on the highest part of the NJATA HILL, but no signs of enemy could be seen on the hill.  About 2 or 3 miles further on towards the GAP was another small hill.

We returned to SALAITA CAMP for the night of 17/18 March.

2/Lt. W. Parker, invalided to England, was struck off strength of M.I. Company.

2/Lt. R. Holmes taken on strength of M.I. Company.

Arrived at TAVETA.

Intelligence report received at G.H.Q. that enemy companies were reported E. of JIPE.  Two M.I. patrols of 6 Rifles each were therefore sent to reconnoitre E. of JIPE as far as the enemy camp S. of that LAKE.  Capt. Storey took one patrol to MUNYONI via LUCHORO and returned same day without seeing any signs of any enemy.

Cpl. Luck took the other patrol on mules to the enemy camp keeping 3 miles E. of VILIMA VIWILI & returned without seeing signs of any enemy who had not been E. of JIPE as reported, nor near their old camp S. of JIPE.  Smoke was seen from W. side of NJATA HILL, and from the foot of the slopes of the N. PARE MTS. especially at BUTU.  This patrol reached SALAITA HILL on their return, and arrived at TAVETA next morning.

A standing patrol of 1 N.C.O. & 6 men were on duty daily in TAVETA FOREST at a cross paths about 3 miles S. of TAVETA.  No signs of enemy were seen.

4 Officers & 72 Rifles of the M.I. Coy. left TAVETA for MBUYUNI where our tents came up & were pitched.  We had about 48% sick of whom 29 were in hospital, partly caused by the bad climate of TAVETA.


Included in the War Diary is a nominal roll of those men of the Mounted Infantry Company who took part in the actions named Salaita & Taveta.

HOUR



6 a.m. to

5 p.m.



3.30 p.m.

5.45 p.m.

6 a.m. to

?

5.30 a.m.





5.30 p.m.

5.30 a.m.



6.30 p.m.

7.30 a.m.


12 noon

7 a.m.


8.50 a.m.


10 a.m.


10.50 a.m.


11.40 a.m.



12.30 p.m.



2 p.m.




6.30 p.m.




8.30 p.m.


9.30 p.m.


1 a.m.



5.30 a.m.

9 a.m.



10 a.m.

to

5.30 p.m.

6.30 am to 5.20 p.m.

5.30 a.m.


5.30 a.m.



4 p.m.








5.15 a.m.

7 a.m.



5.30 p.m.



8 a.m.

5.30 a.m.







4.30 p.m.

9 a.m.

6 a.m. to

5.30 p.m.

6.30 a.m.



Copyright © 2012 - All Rights Reserved - Steve Eeles - www.25throyalfusiliers.co.uk

Home Salaita & Taveta Nominal Roll

MBUYUNI






.878





MBUYUNI


MBUYUNI








MBUYUNI

MBUYUNI





MBUYUNI














MBUYUNI






MBUYUNI


MBUYUNI



MBUYUNI





MBUYUNI




GERMAN WELL

2 miles S. of JIPE


GERMAN CAMP









MBUYUNI


MBUYUNI




MBUYUNI


MBUYUNI


MBUYUNI


1 April






2 April





3 April


5 April




6 April

7 April



8 April

9 April





12 April





12 April



13 April


14 April

15 April


16 April

19 April






22 April


23 April



27 April





29 April









30 April












1 May




4 May


5 May


6 May

6.45 a.m.






5.15 a.m.





9 a.m.


7 a.m.








3 p.m.

6 a.m.


3 p.m.

4 p.m.


6.15 a.m.




5.15 p.m.

6.15 a.m.






4 p.m.


3 p.m.

8.30 a.m.




1 p.m.

3 p.m.



6 a.m.

3 p.m.


6 a.m.



4 p.m.


9 a.m.




4 p.m.





6 a.m.

6.30

to

6.45 a.m.

9.30 a.m.






6 p.m.



Reference Map: KILIMANJARO, 1:300,000

A mounted patrol of 30 Rifles of M.I. Coy. and 30 Rifles 17th Cavalry, all under Capt. Atkinson left in a S.S.W. direction towards NGULA GAP with the purpose of reconnoitring the country for water.  Several water holes were found especially along the game tracks running from KASEGAO to LAKE JIPE.  The w. holes held anything up to 5000 gallons of good muddy rain water.  We halted for the night 13 miles S. of MBUYUNI and 1 mile S. of .878 (G.B.E. M.4.c).  No moon or rain.

Next morning the 17th Cavalry sent patrols from this point 6 miles E.S.E. along a game track; and 3 miles S.S.W; where water was found in both cases, but there were no signs of enemy.  After having breakfast (our 2 days supplies having been brought in a mule A. T. Cart) we followed the game track towards MUNYONI for 3 miles, whence the 17th Cavalry proceeded between the 2 hills at MUNYONI, while the M.I. Coy. went to LAKE JIPE where good water was found by digging 2½ feet deep on the water’s edge on the E. shore.  The whole patrol then collected together at .803 (G.B.E. M.3.d) and stayed the night 6 miles N.E. of this point, returning to MBUYUNI next morning.

A column of 190 Rifles under Capt. Jacob, 130 Baluchis, of which 20 Rifles of the M.I. Coy. under Lt. Ryan formed part, accompanied by 2/Lt. Holmes, M.I. Coy. as guide, proceeded S.S.W. to cut a road towards NGULU GAP.  A thick belt of bush was cut through at between 7 & 8 miles.  Camp was pitched for the night at a small muddy water hole at 9 miles (G.B.E. M.4.a28).  At 10 miles open bush was cut through to a water hole at 13 miles (G.B.E.M.4.c.14) or about 1 ½ miles S.W. of Point 878 (G.B.E.M.4.c), where camp was pitched for the second & third nights.  On the third day the road was cut up to 15 miles S.S.W. of MBUYUNI (G.B.E.M.4.b.91) leaving about 7 miles of thick bush still to be cut, before reaching the open on the German side of the Border.

The column returned to camp.

A patrol of 10 M.I. Coy. under Capt. Storey to ZIWANI SWAMP found dirty water plentiful at that place.  No signs of enemy were seen.

Returned to camp, having travelled 35 miles.

Our first casualty among our animals occurred.  Bay pony mare 1990 died of Horse sickness.  Mules so far have not suffered from ticks or fly.

Reference Map: KILIMANJARO, 1:300,000

A patrol of 10 M.I. Coy. under 2/Lt. Holmes to light Bridge on LUMI RIVER, found bridge after some difficulty, the last 1½ hours being through dense bush & banana plantations.  No signs of enemy or fly were seen.

Returned to camp, having travelled 32 miles.

A column of 190 rifles under Capt. Montgomerie, 3 KARs, of which 20 rifles of the M.I. Coy. under Lt. Ryan proceeded S.S.W. to continue cutting the road towards NGULU GAP.

Camped for the night (G.B.E. M.4.c.35)   

Camp pitched here (G.B.E. M.7.b.51) for second & third nights after road cutting had gone ½ mile beyond this point.

On the third day the cutting continued for another 2 miles, also on the fourth day when it reached a point (G.B.E. M.7.c.80) within about 400 yds. of the Border.  Started to make back to MBUYUNI & camped for night after going 3 to 4 miles.

Returned to MBUYUNI.

The M.I. Coy. 30 strong under Lt. Ryan left camp in a S.S.W. direction.  After going 5 miles halted, & two patrols were sent out, one going W. for 2 miles & then sweeping round hit the new road 9 miles from camp, the other patrol went S.E. for 2 miles sweeping round to a point on the new road 8 miles from camp, three of our own I.D. boys seen.

The first patrol returned at 12.15 & second at 11.45.

Two other patrols sent out in same direction.  Returned to camp.

12 N.C.O. & men were returned to the 2/Loyal North Lanc. Regt. as being unfit for further service in East Africa, and are proceeding to the Cape, with their Regt.

A patrol of 6 Rifles under Capt. Storey, M.I. Coy. proceeded down the new NGULU ROAD for 13 miles to .878 returning by a more Westerly course.  The country was found impassable for vehicles beyond 5 miles from MBUYUNI, owing to rain.

A patrol of 6 Rifles under Lt. Ryan, M.I. Coy. proceeded towards LAKE CHALA as far as the LUMI RIVER where 560 rounds S.A.A. & 3 telephone tripods were found, besides several rotten blankets, etc. probably the property of S. Africans.

The patrol then returned with the 560 S.A.A. & tripods.  13 N.C.O. & men from 2/Loyal North Lanc. Regt. joined the M.I. Coy.

A patrol of 2 Officers & 45 Rifles of KAR M.I. and 2 officers and 25 Rifles M.I. Coy. proceeded down the NGULU ROAD under Capt. ATKINSON with orders to go to the S. end of JIPE and the NGULU GAP to ascertain enemy’s disposition NJATA-NGULU GAP.  The latest information was given stating that enemy had depleted his forces in the N. PARE MTS.  The patrol took 2 A.T. Carts preparing to stay out 2 nights.  The road was fair as far as the German Well where the patrol arrived and camped for the night.  A small reconnoitring patrol was sent to the old German Camp 2 miles S. of JIPE finding it deserted, but saw recent tracks of 20 booted enemy who had approached the camp at 7 a.m. that day from the W.  It was therefore decided to lay an ambush next morning for this party who had been twice previously reported as having been to this camp recently.

An ambush was accordingly laid on the W. side of the Camp.

3 shots were heard 3 miles to our South in direction of MWARU, but it was decided not to expose the position of the ambush by investigating the shots and capturing the shooting party, the ground in that direction being too heavy for animals to go out of a walk.

The enemy not having appeared the patrol retired to the German Well for breakfast.  Rain continued from now onwards for most of the day making the going very bad indeed, so it was decided for the health of the troops not to remain out as reconnoitring could only be carried out at a walk.  Mosquitos in the swamp S. of JIPE were very numerous.  Tsetse was not seen, but horsefly was.

The return journey of 23 miles was accomplished with difficulty by our 2 A.T. Carts which were very lightly loaded.

Arrived back in camp thoroughly soaked.  No signs of the missing aeroplane had been seen.

The percentage of sick amongst Officers is 60% and amongst Rank & File 40%.

The M.I. Coy. consists of 5 Officers and 102 Rifles composed as follows:-

2 Loyal North Lanc. Regt: 2 Officers & 64 Rifles.

25 Royal Fusiliers: 2 Officers & 38 Rifles.

E.A.P. Forces: 1 Officer.

Lt. Crosby, 2/Loyal North Lanc. Regt. joined the M.I. Company, he had done a M.I. Course at Longmoor in 1904.

One mule (Abyssinian, No.1791) died of Trypanosomiasis.  This being our second death in riding mules caused by fly.

20 Privates, and 10 Armed Scouts (Africans) from the 2/Loyal North Lanc. Regt. joined the M.I. Coy.

The whole of the Officers & men of the 25th Royal Fusiliers consisting of Lt. Grenfell, Lt. Ryan, & 38 N.C.O. & men left the M.I. Coy. and rejoined their Regt.

L/Sgt. Mounsey had been invalided to S. Africa on 18.3.16.

Horse No.2533, E.A.C.B. died of Trypanosomiasis, being our second horse to die of this.


No further Diary transcribed as all service with the Mounted Infantry Company by men of the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers had ceased.