Home Page Home Page Home Page Men Who Served Home Page Men Who Served Home Page Men Who Served Home Page
Pte Frank Holmes Armitage, RAMC, who was serving with General Smuts in German East Africa (now Tanzania), wrote from Kilimanjaro Hotel. His letter shows how the war gave some men experiences they could only have dreamed of in other times, and also reflects an attitude to native citizens of the Empire that are uncomfortable today. This place was captured from the Germans a few weeks ago. The Kaiser stayed here on several occasions when visiting East Africa. The heat is intense and my skin is turning a dark brown to black. Kilimanjaro’s majestic volcanic cone rises in isolated grandeur some 16,000 feet above the level of the table-land on which it rests and its highest peak attains a height of 19,321 feet. Silver A grand ice cap covers its higher slopes and glaciers fill its ravines, hence the belief of the natives that the summit is composed of silver. A good view of this mountain can be obtained from here on a clear day and at sunrise and sunset it makes a really fascinating picture and
is spoken of as the Switzerland of Africa. To reach this place one has to travel through miles and miles of bush. In some places the railway runs through large jungles abounding with all kinds of wild animals and poisonous reptiles, and the various kinds of trees and plants which are to be seen is simply marvellous Monkeys, lions, tigers, zebras, springboks, deer, jackals, wolves, jaguars and various other kinds of animals can be seen as one passes along through the jungle. It is an ideal spot for those who are fond of large game hunting and it was very apt illustration of the Cockney soldier when he said
that it was like blooming zoo where they have forgotten to close the door We don’t dwell long in one place and are almost constantly on the move. They have christened our unit ‘the travelling circus.’ The natives are very useful for carrying our heaviest equipment for it is most astonishing what large weights they can carry on their heads. But a filthier lot of d_____s I have never seen. Perfect frenzy It is rather amusing to watch them having a war dance round the camp fires on a night. Soon after the fires get alighted, they will begin to move in a circle round the fire, chanting a monotonous dirge. But as the flames leap to life, their actions follow suit and by the time the fire has got to the full pitch, they have worked themselves into a perfect frenzy. Then, as the fire gradually goes down, they finish up in a very listless mood after which they go about their duties as though nothing had occurred. Shipley Times & Express 8-9-1916
More of Frank’s story More of Frank’s story More of Frank’s story
Living in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro