July 5, 1916

Sally Wilson

c/o C.R.E.
1st Division
Expeditionary Force
B.E.A. 5/7/16

 

Dear Father,

This is the first time that we have had an opportunity of sending off mail since we started to advance after the rains on the 18th of May.  We started to advance on the 7th of March after Smuts arrived & as usual the K.A.R. got into the thick of it & lost a lot of officers and men.  The Colonel was killed in one of our first engagements which lasted for a day & a night.  Reinforcements from the SA troops arrived about midnight after the Germans had started to retire & as they walked on to the line at daylight which had by then been evacuated they got all the credit for taking the place.  We got as far as the Tanga Moschi Ry by the 22nd of March & had then to sit down & wait till the rains were over.  In the meantime I was transferred to the R.E., just when I was about to be made a Coy. commander in the K.A.R. as they are forming 5 new battalions instead of doing so at the beginning of the war.  Smuts got rid of all the Indian Generals within the first fortnight.  We are now about 250 miles south of the border about 130 miles from the Tanga Moschi Railway which we are using & about 70 miles for the central Railway, and are at present just about at the end of our tether as we can’t get sufficient supplies through which all come by motor.  There is another column about 200 miles west of us & I think they are about in the same predicament.  The Germans have blown up all the bridges as they retired & we have been building bridges & cutting road all the way along.  The staff consists of the Colonel & myself & we have at our disposal about 20 Europeans and 350 African coolies and also a double Coy. of Indian Pioneers.  The Germans keep always just about 6 miles ahead of us & amuse themselves at times by shelling us from long range with one of their 4 Naval guns.  We captured 3 of their Maxims & a pom-pom the other day but so far they have generally managed to get everything away.  They have managed to get in another steamer laden with guns & ammunition.  It is supposed to have been a Danish boat which is always going to prolong things a bit more.  You might send me out a bit of ribbon for M.C. as I can’t get a bit here at all.  You had better address my letters c/o B.C.R.E. New Moschi & I expect they will be sent on from there.

Yours Aye,

Tom

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July 5, 1916 Copyright © 2013 by Sally Wilson. All Rights Reserved.

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