21, 23 & 25 February
SUMMARY OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION
An enemy column 1 mile long, having been reported by I.A. Parker as seen moving from E. to W. about 11 or 12 miles S.E. of MBUYUNI at 6 p.m. the previous day, the G.O.C. 2nd Div. despatched the M.I. Coy. & Belfield’s Scouts, all under Capt. Atkinson, to proceed after the enemy and harass him. We went S.W. towards LAKE JIPE for 11 miles (on the map (12)) without seeing any sign or track of enemy. We must have cut the enemy’s tracks at about 7 miles out had he been where he was reported.
(12) Reference Map:- VOI, 1:250,000
We returned to camp.
The M.I. Coy., Belfield’s Scouts & 2 R.N.A.C. all under Capt. Atkinson, moved as an independent force towards SALAITA.
The whole force under Gen. Malleson halted & took up a position ¾ mile W. of NJORO DRIFT. Groups of enemy at 1400x & beyond offered good targets for M. Guns or guns, they were not taken advantage of.
After over an hour’s shelling of SALAITA HILL we returned to MBUYUNI.
The M.I. Coy. were ordered to reconnoitre SALAITA from the N. while 1st E.A. Bde. occupied enemy’s attention from the E. I proceeded W.N.W. for 6 miles then worked S.W. disturbing an enemy scout 2½ miles N.E. of SALAITA HILL. After getting within 1 mile N.E. of SALAITA we topped a ridge and came into full view of enemy in shirt sleeves working on the bottom of N. slope of HILL.
Making a sketch hurriedly we proceeded N.W. for 2 miles, halted, and made another sketch (13) of SALAITA from 2 miles N.W. of it. No trace of enemy could be seen on WAROMBE.
(13) Both these sketches were made by 2/Lt. L. M. Kerr of the 2/Loyal North Lancs. who accompanied us.
Hearing no firing from 1st E.A. Bde. we returned to MBUYUNI.
An M.I. patrol of 3 men, Capt. Atkinson & I.A. Pretorius were sent to reconnoitre to the S. of VILIMA VIWILI (14). We saw several game tracks & a few native tracks, but no signs of any enemy to the W. and S. of these 2 KOPIES. We crossed no enemy tracks.
Returned to MBUYUNI.
(14) Reference Map:- VOI, 1:250,000
A false alarm caused by S. Africans being mistaken for the enemy caused the M.I. Coy., Belfield’s Scouts, & 4 R.N.A.C., under Capt. Atkinson to move out 9 miles to S.W. & return after seeing no signs of enemy.
An airman reported we had frightened away 3 mounted enemy towards LAKE JIPE as we moved out.
The M.I. Coy. left camp and arrived at SERENGETI CAMP at 4.30 p.m.
M.I. Coy. (strength 2 Officers & 71 Rifles) with 2 R.N.A.C., all under Capt. Atkinson, were ordered to guard the S. flank of the 2nd Div. during their attack on SALAITA, & keep on the E. side of NJORO DRIFT.
I had taken up a position in bush 1½ miles S. of NJORO DRIFT, and sent out strong patrols to the S. for 1 or 2 miles, they disturbed one enemy scout very early, but saw nothing more all day to my S.
From my position I could see movements of enemy parties moving S. along the E. foot of SALAITA HILL. I also noticed that the trench halfway up the HILL had been newly opened up & considerably exposed with the object of drawing our fire.
After our Artillery opened fire I could see no more enemy near SALAITA.
About this time I noticed 2 enemy guns open quick fire from the slight ridge 2 fingers left of SALAITA HILL and sent a message to that effect to the C.R.A. who could not be found by mounted orderlies.
Owing to the sound of firing coming steadily nearer and as I had received no messages all day in spite of having sent motor cyclists & orderlies to find out orders, I now decided to turn about and advance towards the firing which was now about 2 miles to my N. (I had been facing S.). On my way I received a verbal message from the G.O.C., by motor cyclist, to cover the retirement on the N.W. I proceeded & placed myself on the extreme left of the line, covering the road over the DRIFT, the 1st E.A. Bde. being on my right. The 2nd S.A. Bde. having retired before I got up. Firing was heavy on the right of the 1st E.A. Bde. The enemy, being easily held here, did not venture any further.
The action ceased bout this time.
We returned to camp.
M.I. Company S.A.A rounds expended NIL
Equipment or arms lost NIL
M.I. Coy. took part in a reconnaissance over NJORO DRIFT. We found all clear to the N. for 3 miles. Returned to camp at noon.
M.I. Coy. took part in a reconnaissance over NJORO DRIFT. We found no enemy but several articles of equipment & arms which we brought back to camp at 11 a.m.
Enemy sniped into camp, doing no damage.
(15) On 16/2/16 the Command of the M.I. Coy. passed from Capt. Atkinson 2/Loyal North Lancs. to Lt. Grenfell 25th Royal Fusiliers, through sickness.
50 Rifles of M.I. Coy. under Lt. Grenfell patrolled the country to 8 miles of SERENGETI.
No enemy seen.
A swarm of locusts having been seen 4 miles S. of MBUYUNI, they were reported as 200 enemy with 2 vehicles going W. The M.I. Coy. and 2 R.N.A.C. under Lt. Grenfell were sent out in heavy rain in a S.W. direction in order to cut off the enemy. About 4 miles out the 2 R.N.A.C. were unable to proceed further owing to boggy ground caused by the rain, so 2 Troops of M.I. Coy. were left with them as escort while the other 2 Troops proceeded 1 mile further S. to a good point of observation from whence nothing could be seen of the enemy.
The force then returned to camp.
M.I. Coy. formed part of column doing escort over NJORO DRIFT to GEN. SMUTS K.C. The M.I. Coy. forming advance guard to 1 mile W. of DRIFT where the column halted. The M.I. Coy. then did S. flank guard, after which they did Rear Guard back to camp, arriving at SERENGETI at 5 p.m.
The M.I. Coy. on these days were occupied in patrolling the country for a distance of 8 miles N. of SERENGETI. No signs of enemy being seen.
(16) During this period (18/2/16 to 25/2/16) the only officers with the M.I. Coy. were Lt. Grenfell, Comdg. M.I. Coy. & Lt. Ryan. The other 3 officers being in Hospital. Capt. Atkinson took over command of the M.I. Coy. again on 26/2/16.
The Mobile Column under Lt. Col. Graham were ordered to reconnoitre LUCHORO which is held by the enemy & the position of the place was doubtful and to capture enemy prisoners. The M.I. Coy. & Belfield Scouts, all under Maj. VILJOEN formed the advance screen.
On arrival at a ridge about 1 mile N.E. of LANJORO, Maj. VILJOEN pointed out to me the position of the springs round which were probably some enemy. I was ordered to take the M.I. Coy. round to the E. while Belfield’s Scouts would go to the W. and the K.A.R. would drive the enemy out with the object of capturing prisoners.
The M.I. Coy. now cantered due S. for 1 mile, crossed the valley 500x E. of LANJORO & gained the opposite ridge under cover of which we changed direction right & cantered due W. sighting 3 enemy (17) running across our front in a S. direction. We immediately captured them & they informed us there were 20 enemy at LUCHORO which was 2½ miles further W.
(17) The 3 enemy were one askari armed with .311 German Spandau rifle, & 2 unarmed scouts with very little clothing on.
I was now ordered by Maj. VILJOEN to get in touch with Belfield’s Scouts as I had gone too far round to the left.
I complied with the order & we advanced in a S. direction through the donga which contained numerous pools of muddy water. We proceeded 500x further when we retired and I received a message that the enemy were seen on our W. flank. The K.A.R. came into action at once against about 50 enemy & drove them off with a loss of 6 enemy killed.
The mounted troops under Maj. VILJOEN remained on the S. flank during this skirmish and then rejoined the Main Body about ¾ mile N. of LANJORO NDOGO.
British Casualties were nil. S.A.A. expended by M.I. Coy:- Nil.
On our return journey M.I. Coy. & Belfields formed a cordon from SERENGETI to 4 miles S. with intention of intercepting enemy raiders of BURA WATER SUPPLY.
We returned to camp.
35 Rifles of M.I. Coy. reconnoitred country for 8 miles to the N. without seeing signs of any enemy.
M.I. formed part of Mobile Column under Lt. Col. Graham, which was to seize LUCHORO, which was reported to be occupied by 2 white & 50 black enemy. An I.D. Scout showed us the way. The M.I. Coy., strength 1 M. Gun, 3 Officers & 58 Rifles (18), formed the Advance Guard under Capt. Atkinson.
We advanced in a S.W. direction to LANJORO from which about 5 enemy had returned to LUCHORO, down the donga, on our approach.
About 1¼ miles W. of LANJORO the left flank of the Advance Guard passed within 15x of 30 enemy hidden in the bush near the donga, our guide having gone a little too much to the N. (right).
The enemy opened fire at once on the M.I. Coy. who retired under cover & came into action within a minute. We were later reinforced by the K.A.R. Most of the enemy were on our left flank in the donga where they were attacked by the Loyal North Lancs. Our right flank were not ordered to press on on account of expected reinforcements from SALAITA.
The M.I. Coy. now withdrew & reformed covering the rear or E. face.
The Mobile Column retired the way we had come, arriving at SERENGETI at 2 p.m. The enemy’s force was estimated at 200 with 2 M. Guns.
M.I. Coy. S.A.A. rounds expended:- 3204
Casualties:- One mule slightly wounded.
(18) The strength of the M.I. Coy. today is 5 Officers & 104 Rifles, out of which 2 Officers and 16 Rifles are in Hospital, while 19 are attending hospital.
Included in the War Diary is a nominal roll of those men of the Mounted Infantry Company who took part in the action at Salaita on 12th February.
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