The Old and the Bold

Other Units

When the 25th (Service) Battalion Royal Fusiliers (Frontiersmen) arrived in British East Africa in May 1915 they entered a situation where the limited British forces already in theatre were on the defensive.  Reverses at Tanga, in December 1914, and Jasin, in January 1915, had seen to it that the War Office, and Lord Kitchener in particular, would no longer entertain any thoughts that further offensives into German East Africa would be possible for the foreseeable future.  Indeed, with other theatres of war taking priority and with resources required elsewhere, the War Office would make few reinforcements available to the force already in British East Africa as it was now to adopt a “definitely defensive attitude along the Anglo-German frontier from the Lake to the sea”.  Limited reinforcement, in the shape of two infantry battalions, the 2nd Battalion Rhodesia Regiment and the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, did arrive in theatre between March and May 1915 to provide a much needed addition to the force’s strength, and, with the Germans forces becoming increasingly disruptive along the border, it was deemed necessary to use this additional manpower wherever required.  Some of the reinforcing battalions’ manpower was made directly available for the defence of the border by concentrating groups of men at suitable points along it to enable a quick response to any possible German incursions whilst others were detached from the battalions in order to strengthen or form other units.

It is to these ‘other’ units, in which men of the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers served, that the following pages relate but unfortunately information and detail on the operational accomplishments of these additional units is sadly lacking.  If war diaries were kept by these units then they appear, in most cases, to exist no longer and, apart from the occasional passing reference in the official history or another unit’s war diary, very little of significance has been found to expand the detail to anything more than a brief acknowledgement that it did at least exist.

The links provided will eventually take you to pages giving brief details of a number of these other units that had ties with the battalion but, as this section is still a ‘work in progress’, it is quite possible that the links are disabled or “pages under construction” will be encountered.

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M. I. Company No.2 Light Battery No.3 Heavy Battery Armoured Trains Stokes Battery East African Scouts


Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic, 27th November 1915