The Old and the Bold

War Diary


8 Miles SSW






3 September

11 September


The M. I. Coy. left camp, strength 4 officers 63 NCOs & men under Capt. Woodruffe & 50 Baluchis under Lt. Wildman following in support.

Halted at scene of action, & took up a position on a slight slope in the bush facing East.

No.1 Troop extended in centre facing East.

No.2 Troop extended on left facing East.

No.3 Troop extended on right facing S. East.

Mules were under cover from view only about 100x in rear.

Enemy strength unknown (reported by picquets to be about 200) were seen approaching from the East at 50x range.

Our picquets after firing into the enemy, who came with 10x of them fell back on to the firing line.

We were suffering a large proportion of casualties both among the men & mules & No.3 Troop was ordered to bring their right flank forward as they were apparently not engaged, this caused them to bunch towards the centre, bayonets were fixed & Capt. Woodruffe was hit about this time & our casualties were also increasing.

Capt. Woodruffe ordered the retirement & we got away as many wounded & rifles as possible.  I saw Lt. Dartnell R.F. lying wounded in the leg below the knee, he asked to be left behind.  We mounted & rode away with as many wounded as could ride, the remaining casualties had to be abandoned.

In my opinion if we had remained any longer we should have been surrounded as when we were mounting the enemy were within 25 yards.


Killed  R. Fus. 1 Officer, 2 men.

           L. N. Lancs. 5 men.

Wounded  L. N. Lancs. 1 Off., 6 men.

                   R. Fus. 1 man.

Missing R. Fusiliers 1 man.

               L. N. Lancs. 2 men.



R. Fusiliers

Lt. Dartnell, W.

15126 Sgt. Phillips, C.

12822 Pte. Henderson.

L. North Lancs.

10314 Pte. Bristow, F.

8032 Pte. Cooper, A.

9222 Pte. Ward, F.

9952 Pte. Acton, W.

10070 L/Cpl. Brockbank R.


Capt. Woodruffe Roy. Sussex.

9808 Pte. Anderson  |

5161 Sgt. Wakeford  |

8617 L/Cpl. Jones      |

9817 Pte. Cornell        |--- L. N. Lancs.

9721 Pte. Heaton       |

9489 L/Cpl. Hughes  |

13740 Pte. Wood R. Fus.


L. N. Lancs.

9177 L/Cpl. Goddard

10060 Pte. Bradley

R. Fus.

13478 L/Cpl. Robinson


7.30 a.m.

9.20 a.m.

9.30 a.m.

9.50 a.m.

10 a.m.

10.5 a.m.

10.30 a.m.

1.30 a.m.

Picquets of three men, with orders to open fire on sighting enemy, & retire on firing line shewn by dotted red line.

No.2 Troop in support ordered up at commencement of fight, to [?] left.

No.3 Troop ordered to bring round their right flank, order misunderstood & troop took direction as indicated by arrow.

½ an hour before the action a man in this troop fired off his rifle, this may possibly have given the enemy our position.


No.1 Troop, Kld.5. W.3. M.1 = 9 out of 14 in Firing Line.

No.2 Troop, W.3. M.1. = 4 out of 10 in F. L.

No.3 Troop, K.3. W.1. M.1. = 5 out of 16 in F. L.

Total Losses 19 out of 40 in F. L.

The Baluchis hearing firing & the German bugle took course as shewn by blue dotted lines, & despatched 6 M. I. as shewn by red dotted line, who found our dead after our retirement.

In continuation of my No.1 report of 3rd inst. might I request that No. 10237 Pte. Bristow be recommended to the G.O.C. for his devotion in attending the wounded in the action S. of Maktau on 3-9-15, & also for bringing out of action under a heavy fire Capt. Woodruffe Roy. Sussex Rgt. Attached to Loy. Nth. Lancs. who was severely wounded in the back.

Left Maktau camp proceeding S.S.W.  My strength was 4 officers, 69 NCO’s & men of M.I. Company & 100 rifles of 25th Roy. Fusiliers under Capt. Page.

The M.I. sighted over 30 enemy moving W. at about 1200 x range on S. edge of a clearing about ¾ mile square.  We were on E. edge of clearing.  The enemy were marching quickly in groups of 9-12 men.  I saw the M.I. could not go across the clearing without being seen & probably have their mules under fire in the open, so directed my infantry support to attack enemy direct while I proceeded with M.I. round N. edge of clearing to cut enemy off from Mbuyuni & hold them until my infantry caught them in rear.

After cantering over 1 mile I heard enemy shout on my left due S. about 600 x off in the bush.  I advanced with 2 Troops dismounted towards the shout leaving Lt. Parker to bring mules along 500x in my rear.

Lt. Parker sighted enemy to my front on opposite ridge, but thinking I could see them did not inform me.  The enemy then slipped across my front to the W. without my knowledge as I was in a bushy valley.

My infantry support joined me & reported 12 enemy to have slipped to N.W. between me & him about ten minutes previously.  I decided to follow the main body seen by Lt. Parker but was unable to overtake them in the bush without losing my infantry support.  

I cantered over another clearing finding enemy spoor going W.N.W.

Turned towards camp extending my M. I. for ¾ mile hoping to pick up enemy stragglers.

Arrived at Maktau camp having covered 13 miles.

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