Thursday, 4 February 2016

Bedford Boys in East Africa

D. Bowe Harris in uniform, March 1917 [HT9/26/5/13]

Friday 4th February 1916: The scoutmaster of the 1st Bedford Troop has received this letter from Private D. B. Harris, an old boy of Bedford Modern School, who is serving in East Africa with the Indian Expeditionary Force:
I need not describe the various and many pests such as flies, mosquitos, jiggers, and snakes etc., that we have to contend with out in this countery, as you have probably heard all about them before. Since our Company have been out here we have trekked about two thousand miles, ie., nearly all around the Victoria Nyanza and down the coast. We’ve not done much ‘scrapping’ out here, as the enemy are a pretty elusive lot. … People at home don’t realize the part the Colonials are playin in far away East Africa. They are, of course, naturally more occupied with the things in Europe. Admitted the ‘scrapping’ here is not half as vigorous as in Flanders and elsewhere – still one does not get a sporting chance at the enmy here, as the dense bush, bad water, and the fever which, of course, follows, are our worst enemies. In the bush one cannot see above 10 yards it is so thick … There are several Bedford Boys serving in this country whom I’ve met:- Captain Landon, Sergeant Duncan, Privates Bralesford, Lowinstein and Fyanda (all Grammar), Brooks (Modern), Coxwell, senior, Coxwell, junior, and Lieutenant Traill (all Elstow), and several others whose names I’ve forgotton. So Bedford is doing its bit in this country.
Source: Bedfordshire Times, 4th February 1916

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