H.M. TRANSPORT "INGOMA". AT SEA. (Diary written on December 11th, 1918 covering:) Sunday, 8th December 1918 On Saturday morning I went out to the Base Depot at Congella and received my sailing orders, namely to report to the Embarkation Officer at 10 a.m. Sunday on board the military transport lying at `A' shed, Point. You can judge how excited I was at receiving such definite orders after having waited so long.
I then went straight to the Bank and told Fred the glad news and also said goodbye to some of the girls there. Fred, Nelson and the Rainnies then told me of a dance they had arranged as a farewell to me. I managed, through Fred's assistance, £5 worth of rupees, and then went back to the hotel to pack and to arrange for my baggage to be transported down to the ship the following morning. Luckily there were two other passengers travelling by the same ship, so we used the Hotel bus to convey all our things.
In the afternoon Nelson, Fred and I met at the Rainnie's for tennis but it came on to rain so heavily that we had to stay indoors and amuse ourselves at the piano. Fred came back with me to the Hotel, and after dinner we took a taxi round to the Palmer's, picked up Winnie and Nelson, and then on to a rendezvous where we picked up some more of the party, and then went to the house where the dance was to be held.
Mrs Anderson was our hostess, and the dance was more in the nature of a `surprise party'; after clearing the dining-room of most of the furniture we commenced to dance. The rain had not ceased, so we were confined to the verandah after the dance - but there was plenty of room for all. Nelson and Winnie both entertained us with recitations, and at 10 o'clock a friend arrived with his `cello and played us some beautiful melodies. We broke up the very nice evening at midnight and taxied back to our different homes and lodgings.
Early on Sunday morning I roused myself, finished my packing and at 8.45 a.m. started off for the Point. We were obliged to get permits to enter the `prohibited area', but this presented no difficulty. As I was in uniform the customs people were most obliging, and eventually, with the help of a Sergeant West, I got all my kit on board and duly reported to the Embarkation Officer. I was allotted a very nice cabin to be shared with two other fellows. Strangely enough the cabin was No. 7, a number that seems to crop up frequently whenever I travel. As I was the first arrival in the cabin, I bagged the best bunk - nearest the port-hole, and managed to store away my boxes before the other cabin-mates arrived.
Once aboard, we were not permitted to go ashore again, and after two more hours the ship cast off at mid-day and steered for the open sea accompanied by the tug-boat "Sir David Hunter". It was blowing half a gale outside, and after crossing the bar we began to feel the motion. It was quite exciting to watch the pilot leave our ship in his little open boat and rejoin the tug.
After that event everybody went about their own business; some to be sea-sick and to lie down, others, myself included to the promenade deck to watch the shore-line fade away. I was afraid I would succumb to the motion of the ship, but luckily I was able to brave it out, although there were times when I thought of other things. Most of the passengers were present for luncheon but by dinner time there were only a few in the saloon.
The meals on this ship are rather a disappointment after those in the "Galway Castle", but since this old tub has not been to England to refit for nearly three years I suppose we must make allowances. The stewards are all Indians and wait at tables wearing long gowns, tight round the upper body and flowing down to the ankles. We have a Padre on board, and that evening he got in his `deadly' work and held a service, which I attended. It was the usual old thing - "Rock of Ages", "For those in Peril" and so on, a sermon that he read from a book, finishing up with "God Save the King" and a collection for the "Seamens', Widows' and Orphans' fund".
I went to my bunk at 10 o'clock and slept like a log, in spite of the fact that a breeze was blowing strongly through the port-hole and nearly blowing me out of my snug bunk.
Monday, 9th December 1918. AT SEA OFF EAST AFRICAN COAST I got up early and went up on deck feeling very empty, and to my dismay I learned that breakfast was not served until 8.30! The wind was still blowing strongly and the ship pitching likewise. After the welcome meal we walked about the deck, and finally as the sun was becoming hot and the deck-awnings had not yet been spread, I curled up in the shade of a lifeboat and went to sleep.
Lunch was a repetition of the previous day, but in the afternoon the sea calmed down a little, and more passengers made their appearance on deck. There are about a dozen ladies on board - five unmarried I believe. They are mostly in government service and with the exception of two, bound for Mombassa and then on by rail to Nairobi. In the evening we sat on deck and chatted with the Captain.
Tuesday, 10th The sea is much more calm and the sun hotter, if anything. The awnings were erected over the deck by mid-day and conditions became pleasanter. Boat-drill took place at 10.30 a.m. and we paraded wearing life-belts at our allotted boat-stations. During the day I started seriously to try to learn some Swahili from the grammar-book I had bought in Johannesburg. I made several lists of the more useful nouns, and in the evenings I set myself the task of memorizing them a page a night. After dinner most of us sat on deck where it was slightly cooler than by day and was somewhat refreshing in consequence.
Wednesday, 11th December 1918 I awoke rather later than usual and was just in time for breakfast. I am now wearing some cooler clothing as I sit writing up my diary. Yesterday a sweepstake on the ship's run was organised - 227 miles. I did not get a prize, as I thought, but later on I was told that I had won 18/- in the sweep held the previous day. In the afternoon a collier passed us southward bound. In the evening we enjoyed a homely little family circle on the cool deck, the group composed of some of the ladies, the Captain of the ship, and a Major General Koe, who is travelling to Dar es Salaam on duty.
Thursday, 12th Awake at 5.30 a.m. and up and dressed shortly afterwards. It seemed an awful long wait for breakfast at 8.30. The day started off as hot as the previous day. While waiting for breakfast I had an interesting talk with a Major Pretorius, the well-known scout who was practically instrumental in the destruction of the German warship "Königsberg" when it was in hiding up the Rufigi river delta. He also seems to have travelled over much of Africa South of the Equator.
My luck in raffles seems to have turned for the better. Today I won the sweepstake and scooped in 35/- to my great astonishment. Two vessels passed us today, the "Ebani" and the "Clan Frazer" - both southward bound.
Today we signed our messing chits, and there were several rude comments written in the "remarks" column concerning the shortcomings of the food served. The evening was spent on deck in the cool breeze, gossiping and chatting.
Friday, 13th December 1918 Rose at 6.30 a.m. and took my morning walk up and down the promenade deck before breakfast, which was the usual disappointment; no eggs, but plenty of meat dishes which form a very poor diet for the tropics.
After breakfast I set to work to arrange the sweepstake for today's run - one of the penalties of winning the prize on the previous day. With the help of two other fellows we got the job completed by 11.30, and at mid-day we learned the result. It was the smallest run we have made since the voyage started, only 180 miles. Shortly after lunch we sighted land and also a steamer, the "Taroha", we believe, proceeding in the same direction as we are going. The land gradually grew plainer and toward sunset we could see it quite plainly. We were told it was Cape Delgado. Passengers are beginning to talk about the landing now, for on Sunday we expect to arrive at Dar es Salaam.
After dinner we congregated again on deck for our usual pow-wow and smoke in the cool of the evening. The chief topic is, as usual, about the poorness of the food. The civilian passengers are particularly bitter on the subject as they have been charged £28.7.0 for the voyage; which seems a scandalous price to pay, and seems to indicate only profiteering on the part of the company. This is doing the Harrison-Rennie Line no good, and we hope it will affect their trade after the war. I turned in at 10.30 p.m.
Saturday, 14th December, 1918 The day passed very uneventfully. The weather was much more oppressive than the previous days as the wind had practically dropped to zero or if anything, it was a following wind that caused no draught at all.
Sunday, 15th December, 1918 The Padre arranged for a service again but foolishly held it in the Saloon where one simply stifled all the time. I did not go. In the afternoon, as we drew nearer to Dar es Salaam we passed an Indian dhow quite near-by. It was a pretty sight with its well-filled white lateen sail, and it bowled along merrily in fine style. At 8 p.m. we dropped anchor in the outer roadstead, and gazed at the lights of the town and those of another vessel lying at anchor. It proved to be the "Gascon", and in daylight we saw that she was newly-painted in the old peace-time colours - funnels red and black, railings and deck-roofs white and navy-grey hull. It was indeed a welcome sight after all the drab old camouflage worn by all ships.
Monday, 16th December, 1918 Rose very early as I had slept on deck, and after breakfast we all eagerly watched the launches carrying port officials making their way alongside. At 2 p.m. the ship raised anchor and picked its way to the very tortuous channel that led into the inner harbour. We passed very close to the wreck of the "König", which the Germans had tried to sink in the channel to deny the use of the harbour to the British, but they were, luckily for us entirely unsuccessful. We cast anchor finally near a British cruiser, the "Challenger".
As soon as I could, I went ashore and reported to the Political Officer in the town, and learned that I was to travel up to Morogoro the following evening. I had tea at a tea-shop ashore and then went back to the ship for dinner.
After dinner we enjoyed a fine moonlight motor-launch trip round the bay (or Creek as it is called). The harbour is enormous and is completely land-locked except for the tortuous entrance channel. I slept on board, and very soundly too in spite of the heat.
Tuesday, 17th December, 1918 After breakfast I took my baggage ashore and left most of it at the railway station and then went to the Political Officer again to get a railway warrant for the journey to Morogoro. I found that I could not set off that night, but would be able to depart the following morning. This meant my having to hunt round for a billet for the night. I eventually got fixed up with a camp-bed on the balcony of the hotel. I was kept busy all the time in buying necessities and in arranging money matters at the Bank. I spent the evening chatting to a fellow who occupied a room near my bed-site, and we turned in about 10.00 p.m.
Wednesday, 18 December 1918 Got up very early as I had still to buy provisions for the train journey of at least twelve hours duration. I went to the native market accompanied by my `boy' whom I had engaged the previous day. I bought all sorts of fruits - pineapples, mangoes, limes, oranges and bananas, and found some difficulty in mastering the Indian coinage system of rupees, annas, helles etc. I arrived at the station at 9.00 a.m. and found that I was to share a special coach with a Mr and Mrs Magean and a 2nd/lieut in the Army Service Corps. Mr and Mrs Magean were also travelling to Morogoro, and turned out to be near neighbours to my future abode, he being a Political Officer in Morogoro.
We spent a very pleasant day on the train and enjoyed the picnic meals that our `boys' prepared for us. They got boiling water from the locomotive, and the cups etc. I had purchased came in very handy. The journey was rather protracted as the engine had to halt on several occasions up steeper gradients. The countryside presented a rather flat and uninteresting appearance, the monotony being broken only by the sight of wrecked rolling-stock and broken bridges, all destroyed by the Germans to impede the invader's progress.
At 10 p.m. we arrived at Morogoro Station, and after a long wait, during which time I collected my baggage and stores, started off in a Departmental lorry for the Mines Office. On arrival, I was welcomed by the Controller of Mines, Major Walsh. I was disappointed to learn that Mr Bradley was in hospital suffering from influenza, but otherwise my welcome was of the best. We sat down to dinner at 11 p.m. and after that I was pleased to go to bed in a fine cool room.
Thursday, 19th December, 1918 Got up early to find that the house was better than I had ever expected. Double storied, cool, with large bath-room and water-borne sanitary arrangements. It stands about 400 feet above the village of Morogoro, and is sited in the foothills of a massive range of mountains just behind. From the front balcony one sees a wide bush-covered plain bordered in the distance on three sides by more mountains. The climate is quite pleasant after that of the coast and one requires blankets at night and mosquito-nets are not really essential. At mid-day the thermometer stands at 80 degrees F in my bed-room; not at all bad for 6 degs. South of the Equator.
I learn that I am to go on to a mine at Kibuku, high up in the mountains where it is even cooler, and where one can wear ordinary European clothing. I expect to go there in about a week's time. I was inoculated against `flu this afternoon. It may do some good and can't do any harm, they say. I suffered no inconvenience from the inoculation.
C/O CONTROLLER OF MINES, MOROGORO, CONQUERED TERRITORY, EAST AFRICA Monday, 23rd December, 1918 Dearest Mother, I am sending off by same mail the diary I kept on the "Ingoma" during the journey up the coast and hope you get it untampered by the Censor. I am quite settled down here now and am likely to remain until the end of the month, when I am to go up to Kibuku to manage a group of mica mines located up there. From all accounts it is a fine place from a health point of view, and for that matter this place itself is quite the healthiest place for miles around. Mosquito nets are unnecessary, and it is not much hotter than Durban this time of the year, and the nights are pleasantly cool.
Bradley is unfortunately in hospital still, but is recovering now from the `flu (the so-called `Spanish `flu). He should be up and about by Christmas time. I have been inoculated again (the second time)and once more have felt no inconvenience.
This building where we are housed on the first floor with offices and stores etc. on the ground floor, is the finest in the district and the envy of other officials. It was built by the Germans and is constructed of reinforced concrete and has a lovely balcony all round on both floors.
My `boy', Alf Hamisi is improving as a servant, and should prove quite satisfactory when once I know more of the language. I am feeling very fit and am able to sleep like a log o'nights.
C/O CONTROLLER OF MINES, MOROGORO 1st January, 1919 I must start the New Year well, and the best step I can take is to write to my dear Mother. I have been kept very busy and have difficulty in finding time in which to write personal letters. In my last letters I told you that I was booked to go to a place called Kibuku in the mountains. That idea has been cancelled, and I am shortly going to Wilhelmstal to take charge of the mica deposits and workings there. Again, it is in the mountains, and is considered very healthy.
At present I am busy on the survey and construction of a water-power plant for the Mines. It is quite new work for me but thanks to my School of Mines training, it is not altogether alien to me, though I lack any individual experience in such an undertaking.
Yesterday we went out in a motor to inspect an asbestos working about 12 miles away, and last night we saw the Old Year out at Mr and Mrs Magean's house. He is the local A.P.O. - Assistant Political Officer, about whom I told you in earlier letters. They `did us proud' in the way of dinner and entertainment. We sang the traditional `Auld Lang Syne' at midnight and it brought to mind very clearly the years we had `seen in' at Old Glennie's at Sweetwaters.
We live very well here at the `Boma' as it is called, having been intended by the Germans for the Chief Administrative building in the District.
Yesterday a lion was reported in the native `town' near the slaughtering place (or abattoir, if such a place could be so designated), and this morning, by contrast, I shot a monkey, one of a pack that were stealing and destroying our paw-paws. I hated having to shoot it, but my action scared the remainder away. No more now: a motor is waiting to take us to Mikese.
MOROGORO, January 6th, 1919 Nothing much has happened since my last letter except that on our return journey from Mikese our motor got stuck in a donga for a couple of hours. We managed to get out with the assistance of a gang of natives we raked up from the nearest village. We have been doing quite a lot of entertaining this week, and tonight Bradley and I are going out to dinner at the District Political Officer's who lives on a neighbouring hill-top.
Today I have been completing my survey I mentioned in my last letter, and it now remains to be seen if we can carry out the Pelton-wheel scheme with the material we have on hand.
It is uncertain now whether I shall go to Wilhelmstal or remain here. Affairs are at the moment in a transitory stage between military and civil, and the Administration's policy does not seem to be quite clear.
This is a frightful country at present in which to buy anything. I am in need of knives, forks, serviettes, table-cloths, tea and glass-cloths and a hundred more little items for a household. I am hoping to buy up such things from the local German householders who are to be repatriated about the middle of this month. I have had no letters from Home lately.
MINES OFFICE, WILHELMSTAL January 30th, 1919 (Between dates I travelled to Mombo on the Tanga Railway by steamer from Dar es Salaam to Tanga port and then by rail for the nearest station to Wilhelmstal). I am afraid I am rather late this week in writing as I have been on safari for the last week or so. I and an interpreter and fifteen natives as porters have been trekking from mine to mine to make my first inspection.
I am altering things considerably up here and hope soon to have the mica produced in this area working on a sounder basis. We are up against the old African trouble `labour'. The natives here simply will not work unless forced to, and now that the British have started governing(?) this country, such a thing as compelling our brown brothers to work is abhorrent. The result is that the men sit in idleness and in many cases subsist on roots and wild berries rather than do a little work in their gardens.
On this trip we saw plenty of spoor of big game and sometimes caught sight of the animals themselves. There were old elephant tracks and new rhino spoor in plenty, and buck footprints innumerable - I also saw one solitary buffalo track. I had a shot at some waterbuck but as the light was fading I missed. Again, I fired at some lesser kudu with the same result as it was just before sunrise in poor light. However, I got some geese and duck on a swamp. Killed meat barely keeps for 24 hours here before becoming uneatable.
I am soon shifting my headquarters away from Wilhelmstal. It is a very pleasant spot to live in, but is much too far away from the mines. Many thanks for the "Sunday Times".
H.M. MICA MINES OFFICE, WILHELMSTAL. Sunday, 9th February, 1919 Another week has flown by since I last wrote. Up to date I have received only two mails from you, and only two "Sunday Times" which I very much enjoy reading. I am getting things sized up here, and at last the `Politicals' have reluctantly consented to hand over the mica workings and plant and stores into my charge. I have submitted my scheme of work to the Administrator and am definitely going to take over tomorrow.
I have experienced a difficult time in finding out details as my predecessors did not keep many books and records, neither would they tell me much. I still have a difficult task ahead in putting my scheme into practice. The workings are so scattered that it takes me a greater part of the month in moving round inspecting only, but I'm sure that will become simpler as time goes on.
My household is assuming quite large proportions. I now have a cook, a valet and a `buttons' - all natives, and I live fairly well although there is monotony in the meat line; it is stringy beef every day, and I do not get a chance of shooting game up here. The countryside around is rather dry so that fresh vegetables are rather scarce, but potatoes and rice are available, and also a fair amount of fresh fruit. The loneliness is a bit trying but I manage somehow - I wish the postal service were better and the mails more regular.
I hope you are all as fit and well as I feel. - Brian.
M.M. MICA MINES, WILHELMSTAL. Sunday, 23rd February 1919 Don't get a fright when you see this formal typewritten letter; the fact of the matter is that I have got this type-writer for trial with a view to purchase for the Mica Mines. It seems to be quite a good machine and in good repair, and I am only waiting for permission to spend the sum the seller is asking - Rs.50 (£10) in white man's money. It is a German machine and has a lot of odd characters peculiar to that language, but naturally, none for pounds, shillings and pence: otherwise it is very suitable.
Today being Sunday I am amusing myself as best I can. I have typed a business letter, smoked a pipe or two, had morning tea, performed a minor repair on my motor bicycle, taken it out for a spin, and now I am passing the time spoiling this paper. It is now 12.15 p.m. - another three-quarters of an hour to wait for lunch. It looks as though it is going to rain this afternoon; it is thundering now and the gathering clouds are shutting out the sun. The rainy season is in full swing now and one can not rely on having two hours consecutive sunshine, especially up here in the hills.
I have not received any letters from Home, or from anywhere else for over a fortnight, and am rather curious to know how things are going on "down South". I wrote a letter to Nelson addressing it to the K.A.R. depot at Nairobi in the hope that it will arrive about the same time as he does when he returns from sick-leave, but so far no reply.
I am moving to my new headquarters a the end of the month, and my new address will be - F.B.W., Manager, H.M. Mica Mines, Kihurio, Buiko Station, Via Tanga, G.E.A. I shall be quite happy to go as it will all be so interesting to me. The old system (?) is being abolished and my own substituted, and the former employee (German) is leaving at the end of the month.
My staff at present consists of 2 enemy subjects (white) one of whom is leaving at the end of the month; and the other is also not much good. I have as well, a Rhodesian, quite a nice fellow, but as his time is up he is waiting for a ship, and so is lost to me. Next I have an Indian imported from the Hydrabahad mica mines; a good old `bird' named Mitra Babu, imported as a `mica-grader' - reliable, and at present my main-stay at the works. For the office I have a Goanese Indian who comes from Goa, the Portuguese enclave on the Bombay coast. He is an R.C and speaks quite grammatical English, quite quaintly at times. He is to do my typing and the keeping of the Mine accounts.
I have had a small pup given to me before leaving. I'm not sure as to its breed - looks like a pointer but also like a bull-terrier - and for all that it will be company for me at my new home.
It is raining heavily outside. I have just had to dash out to put my motor-bike under cover. What news of Jack? I have had two letters from the war-front since the Armistice (not from Jack) and I learn that one of the fellows who joined K.E.H.with me has been killed in the Tank Corps, Albertson by name, a Rhodesian from Gatooma. As for Harry Bird, I have had no news from him for a very long time.
Dinner is ready. I'm as hungry as a hunter and have come to the end of my news, so I had better stop and attend to the needs of the inner man.
MINES DEPARTMENT, WILHELMSTAL AREA, KIHURIO, BUIKO STATION 20th April, 1919 The mail this week has brought me a couple of letters from Dad, a "Sunday Times", a weekly "Daily Mail" and a "Strand Magazine", all of which are very acceptable. I am surprised and glad that Fred has left the Bank. It is such a soulless institution, and after all a fellow only has one life to live.
I am most unlucky today. I was out all the afternoon after duck with the gun, but did not get a shot; a moth has just fallen down the chimney of my standard lamp and broken the glass, and now my pen has run out of ink! But I'm not dejected.
The long expected parcel of cutlery has not arrived yet, but I live in hope. Dad did not say if my "gold" watch was worth the £2 I paid for it; please ask him to let me know.
I hope to make a week-end trip to Tanga, (my nearest `metropolis') next Saturday. It will break the monotony, but strange to say I hate to leave this place where my work is situated. It's lonely at times, and when I look round the almost empty house I wish I were married. Cheer O, Mother dear, I'm as fit as ever. - Brian.
KIHURIO, May 13th, 1919 I'm afraid I have rather neglected you of late in the matter of correspondence, but please forgive me as I have been rather busy and worried somewhat. Luckily I am keeping very fit. Your letter in which you ask all about my household affairs arrived yesterday together with several papers from Dad and the long-awaited parcel of knives and forks and the wrist-watch. The knives and forks are very nice and my table is beginning to look more civilized. I too, wish I were not so far away, particularly to enjoy the cakes that you would like to send, but I'm afraid it is out of the question yet awhile. My cook makes good bread, but cakes are quite a luxury.
You ask about my neighbours. There are no white people living near enough to call `neighbours' but I generally see people on the train when I travel, and when I go to Wilhelmstal where I have some pals in the Police service.
Bradley wrote to me yesterday telling me that he had married a Sister at the Hospital in Dar es Salaam and that they both were coming up to see me when the rains had ceased. He intends coming overland from Morogoro (via Handeni) and is bringing a car for me to use. I hope they will come next month. The output of mica is going strong and I expect this month to do better even than last month.
The terms of my engagement are not yet fixed although I have written several letters on the subject. No doubt they will be answered soon, but as the postal service in this new country is not particularly good yet, I must possess my soul in patience of which I have a plentiful supply. If things do not turn out to my liking I am not obliged to remain here, although I believe there are good prospects here when times return to normal.
My dog is growing fast and I am beginning to train him as he should be trained. At present he is too fond of the natives in the kitchen, but that will soon be altered. Gee! I wish I had a wife to run my household for me: and I often think how nice to have someone to welcome me home when I return from my many journeys, to welcome me to a bright house instead of a dark dusty dwelling with nothing in the pantry to eat except tinned stuff.
I have not heard from Jean for months, but expect a letter soon. She was quite well when last I heard. I expect Jack will soon be on his way home from Germany, or wherever he ended his part in the War. Love - Brian.
Kihurio, June 1st, 1919 I have before me your letters of March 13th, April 11th, 22nd and May 6th. Very many thanks for your ever-welcome letters and newspapers. This has been quite a record month in some ways. First of all I have had two different visitors; one was a future neighbour at a sisal plantation about 7 miles away, and the other an Inspector of Plantations from the Custodian of Enemy Property. He is an acquaintance of mine from Tanga and stayed for a day and a night in my house. The second matter of importance to me is that my output of mica is the largest since I took over here. It is almost as great as the former people's best month when it cost them 22,000 rupees to produce: so far I have paid out about 2,000 rupees, and it may finally cost 3,000.
Bradley wrote again about his marriage and repeated that when the rains made travelling by road passable, he was bringing his wife over, and also the promised Ford car for my use. I hope to be able to welcome them here this month.
The day before yesterday I returned from a safari from the hills across the plain that was a five-hour march. I and my boys (porters and servants) camped for a night or two at one of my bigger workings situated well up in the hills. The nights were almost cold enough to warrant two blankets on the camp-bed but I slept well with what I had.
Early one morning when I went out after bush-buck, I got a magnificent view of Kilimanjaro with its snow-capped summit. I was lucky as it is a very rare sight, the summit being mostly hidden in mists.
I still find my work here interesting and my day is full from sunrise to dusk, when I have a hot bath and dine. After a smoke, and sometimes a strum on the harmonium (this was a mission station before hostilities) and then I turn in usually about 9.00 p.m. I always make use of my mosquito-net, and as far as can see (in my limited experience), this malaria business is much over-rated. So long as one takes precautions, one's health should not suffer unduly. The natives get bouts of malaria regularly, but some seem to be immune. My piccanin who belongs to a hill-tribe gets bouts about twice a month where Ali, my personal boy, who comes from the Coast has had none. I am discharging the "tot" or piccanin today and sending him back to his home in the hills. On account of fever he is useless for about half the month, poor kid.
MINES DEPARTMENT, KIHURIO July 4th, 1919 Your two letters of May 12th and 23rd to hand. So sorry to hear that Dad had been laid up, and I hope that long before you receive this he will be fit again. I am still going strong here, feeling as fit and strong as when I was a trooper in King Edward's Horse.
The weather is much cooler now and not at all uncomfortable. Last Sunday I bagged another large buck - a `gerenuck' or `giraffegazzel' as the Germans call them. It was very good eating. The natives here have just finished their month's fasting - Ramadan - and are rejoicing and holding dances every night. I hear their drums beating all night until dawn.
I am making a vegetable garden and would like some fresh seeds, if you can get them for me, please. Some good tomatoes, bush marrows, pumpkin , hickory king mealies, brinjals and Canadian Wonder beans. We have not much rain here, but by using irrigation channels from the mountain streams, the natives can reap mealies four times a year.
Bradley and wife are expected this month together with my long-awaited motor car. I am sorry I have no snapshots. I have no camera, and they are ridiculously expensive now, even if procurable in this war-torn country. Love from Brian.
MICA MINES DEPARTMENT, KIHURIO July 31st, 1919 At last the Bradleys arrived and after staying a fortnight they returned by road to Morogoro last Sunday. They arrived on Sunday 13th, and to meet them at Buiko Station to which they had railed their cars, I walked the thirteen miles. The Ford car they had brought for me enabled me to ride back instead of marching.
Since their arrival we have been on all kinds of hare-brained stunts, and have been hung-up in the bush on several occasions with engine trouble, but it was all good experience for me, and by now I am quite a motor-mechanic and driver. Fortune seemed to smile on me while they were here with me. One of my mine-workings produced the largest crystal of mica that Bradley had ever seen, and he thinks it is a world record. We intend sending a part of it to the British Museum. We all safaried to the working where it had occurred and spent two nights there. My natives had built a nice little camp in a pleasant spot near water. Mrs Bradley was particularly interested in the outing, it being a new experience for her. She walked along in fine style and seemed thoroughly to enjoy any "roughing" that was necessary. She carried a gun on all our shooting trips, but was not used to the habits and sight of game, so she bagged nothing. She is a fine woman and had been only 18 months in the country when they married. She served throughout the War as a nursing Sister at the London Hospital and then at Dar es Salaam.
I hope to go down to Tanga soon and then on to a reported discovery of coal, which I am required to investigate. Since my guests have left I am finding it a little lonely but Bradley and I are arranging an overland bicycle postal service between offices so that we can keep in touch more readily.
The manuscript letters between Mother and Son were not kept after this date, or if they were in fact kept, they are no longer available for adding to and concluding this record of my first tour of duty in Government Service as a Mining Engineer. With the ending of hostilities and the return to normal marketing of mineral products, the Ministry of Munitions, London, ordered the closing down of mica production by Government. It fell to my lot to be the last officer to leave Morogoro after having disposed of all stocks of mica and stores on Government account. I then proceeded on the leave that I had earned in respect of my service, and spent it in London.
During this period of leave, I was appointed as Assistant Geologist to Dr. E. O. Teale, and together we returned to East Africa where I spent most of my adult life until the outbreak of the next German War. I finished my service with the Colonial Office as Chief Geologist and Chief Inspector of Mines, and retired on a full pension in 1941.
F. B. WADE
Published: 1 October 2007.
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