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Ed_Haynes

The EK 1914 group I want to see ....

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When the former commander of German East Africa, von Lettow-Vorbeck, travelled back there in the early 1960s, the surviving veterans were approved for pensions if they could perform the German military manual of arms drills, proving they'd been Askaris of the Kaiser.

Paperwork would have vanished long before.

Not all Africans remained IN Africa, however-- and I've long waited for a "German" African group to come out of the woodwork.

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PKeating   

3346157.jpg

Period caption: 21st May 1953: Royal Sergeant Major Chari Maigumeri, a member of the Nigerian Regiment, with Lieutenant Colonel M M Davie, at Woolwich Barracks, London. The regiment is part of the colonial contingent which will take part in a parade during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Chari "Charley" Maigumeri enlisted in a colonial unit of the Imperial German Army at the age of sixteen during The Great War and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class for bravery in the field against the British in Northern Cameroon. The Germans promoted him to the rank of sergeant. When the British occupied part of that territory, Maigumeri was inducted into the West African Frontier Force in 1917. He served in 5th Bn The Nigerian Regiment, in which his father had served for twenty-six years, and has been described as distinguishing himself, which would have pleased his father, presuming the latter were still alive. One wonders what Chari Maigumeri's father would have thought of his son's enlistment in the German army.

In the photo (posted below because of dynamic page link problems), RSM Maigumeri is wearing the ribands of the MM, BEM, BWM, VM, 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal with MID Oakleaf, 1937 Coronation Medal and, I think, the Army LSGC Medal. He clearly qualified for The Defence Medal during his time in India and in Abyssinia. I wonder if he still had his German documents and his 1914 EKII or if these were confiscated from him in 1917. I suppose he would have had every right to wear the 1914 EK2 in civvies after he retired. He would also have been eligible for the 1934 "Hindenburg Cross". I wonder if any former Askari applied to the Nazi government for their 1914-1918 Ehrenkreuze.

By 1928, Maigumeri was RSM of 3rd Bn The Nigerian Regiment. During WW2, RSM Maigumeri won the MM in the 1940-1941 Abyssinian Campaign. The regiment was later transferred to India with 81st West African Division, fighting in the Naga Hills and in Burma with 14th Army, where RSM Maigumeri MM picked up an MID. He also received the BEM in 1944 for his long and excellent service. Returning to Nigeria after the war, RSM Maigumeri MM BEM MiD was involved in training duties and was promoted to Captain on retirement from the service in 1953. His name remains revered in Nigeria amongst those Nigerians with a sense of pride in their nation and its history but there are no military establishments named after him, perhaps because his achievements pre-dated independence, his part in the shaping of a new generation of Nigerian soldiers aside.

What an impressive-looking soldier Maigumeri was!

PK

Edited by PKeating

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Here are the scanty data on three African soldiers serving in the Schutztruppe fuer Deutsch-Ostafrika under, of course General v. Lettow-Vorbeck:

-Said Hassan, 4. Rifle Company, KIA Oct.1917 near Mahiwa. Received the Krieger -Verdiemstmedaille 2.Cl. in Silver 2.Sep.1916;

-Feldwebel (Sol) Juma Mursal, Detachmant Goering (brother of H.G.) promoted while patrol leader on 8.Jun.1916. because of illness POW of British Forces in Nov.1917. Krieger-Verdienstmedaille 2.Cl. i.Gold 2Sep.1916;

-Feldwebel. (Sol) Mitambo, 11.Field Company, Krieger-Verdienstmedaille 2.Cl. i.Gold on 2.Sep.1916.

Source: "Das Offizierskorps der Schutztruppe fuer Deutsch-Ostafrika im Weltkrieg 1914-1918"

Bernhard H. Holst

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By 1928, Maigumeri was RSM of 3rd Bn The Nigerian Regiment. During WW2, RSM Maigumeri won the MM in the 1940-1941 Abyssinian Campaign. The regiment was later transferred to India with 81st West African Division, fighting in the Naga Hills and in Burma with 14th Army, where RSM Maigumeri MM picked up an MID. He also received the BEM in 1944 for his long and excellent service. Returning to Nigeria after the war, RSM Maigumeri MM BEM MiD was involved in training duties and was promoted to Captain on retirement from the service in 1953. His name remains revered in Nigeria amongst those Nigerians with a sense of pride in their nation and its history but there are no military establishments named after him, perhaps because his achievements pre-dated independence, his part in the shaping of a new generation of Nigerian soldiers aside.

PK,

Are you sure he was RSM in 1928?

His LG award notification for the MM of 16th April 1942 says Warrant Officer Class I (Battalion Sergeant-Major). Ditto with his promotion to Captain, also in the LG which says "B.S.M. Chari Maigumeri, M.M., B.E.M. (R.W.A.F.F.) is granted the hon. rank of Capt., 31st July 1953".

Cheers

James

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PKeating   

Hallo James,

There's not much source material but a couple of references, including a Nigerian booklet, for want of a better description, from the 1970s gave Maigumeri's rank in 1928 as RSM. It is interesting that London Gazette refers to him as a BSM. The assumption is that this stands for Battalion Sergeant-Major but infantry units have not, as far as I know, used Battalion Sergeant-Major. BSM generally stands for Battery Sergeant-Major and is, obviously, an artillery appointment.

If you consider that he was a decorated sergeant in the German Armed Forces when the British got their hands on him and his comrades in 1917, and you factor in his father's lengthy service to the British Crown, it is not at all inconceivable that Maigumeri was a Regimental Sergeant-Major by 1928. But it certainly bears more research and I shall be looking into it for an article and, also, because I find the man himself absolutely fascinating!

The question of warrant officer ranks is interesting. The ranks of Warrant Officer Class 1 and Class 2 were introduced in 1915 but originated in the new practice in 1881 of confirming the most senior calavry NCOs by royal warrant. Up to just before The Great War, the most senior NCO in an infantry battalion was the Sergeant-Major. Once each infantry company was given its own Company Sergeant-Major, these being WO2s, the Army adopted the cavalry's Regimental Sergeant-Major rank for the senior NCO in the battalion. From 1915, CSM was the usual job title of an infantry WO2 and RSM that of the infantry WO1. The British Army also had WO3s as Troop and Platoon Sergeant-Majors but the appointment seems not to have been used after 1939. It was a special appointment aimed at introducing Senior NCOs to the command and administrative responsibilities of WO2s and WO1s.

There is a lack of logic in that Battalion Sergeant-Major would be the more appropriate designation. As a side note, I used to wonder why I and the two or three other Regimental Signals Instructors in our battalion were not Battalion Signals Instructors. Some pundits suggest that the infantry eschewed BSM in favour of RSM because infantry SNCOs might have felt slighted as Battalion Sergeant-Majors next to the the more important-sounding Regimental Sergeant-Majors of cavalry units. Others contend that the abbreviated form might have been confused with the artillery's Battery Sergeant-Major. There was also a Band Sergeant-Major appointment but I don't think Chari Maigumeri ran the regimental band somehow.

I wonder if the LG's use of "Battalion Sergeant-Major" was just an error on the editor's or journalist's part or some sort of affectation by an editor who might have been a cavalryman at some point. Perhaps the journalist or editor had a problem with a black man as an RSM. I certainly can see no reason why Maigumeri would have been cited by the LG as BSM rather than RSM. The units in which he served were organised along normal British infantry lines. But I will happily stand corrected if anyone knows better.

PK

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I wonder if the LG's use of "Battalion Sergeant-Major" was just an error on the editor's or journalist's part or some sort of affectation by an editor who might have been a cavalryman at some point. Perhaps the journalist or editor had a problem with a black man as an RSM. I certainly can see no reason why Maigumeri would have been cited by the LG as BSM rather than RSM. The units in which he served were organised along normal British infantry lines. But I will happily stand corrected if anyone knows better.

PK,

As far as I am aware, the London Gazette is the official organ of the state where all official appointments are published and is not, therefore, run by journalists. Any entries concerning appointments or award of decorations would have come from the Army itself.

While the LG is certainly not free of errors, it would be strange if exactly the same error occurred eleven years apart.

Only my guess, but given that the first entry has B.S.M. followed by "(Battalion Sergeant Major)" suggests that the author surmised that a fuller explanation was called for.

Cheers,

James

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Only my guess, but given that the first entry has B.S.M. followed by "(Battalion Sergeant Major)" suggests that the author surmised that a fuller explanation was called for.

Cheers,

James

is it possible that it was a rank unique to the Nigerian regiment so the LG editor felt it necessary to explain it and other publications felt it necessary to change it to its British Equivalent?

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is it possible that it was a rank unique to the Nigerian regiment so the LG editor felt it necessary to explain it and other publications felt it necessary to change it to its British Equivalent?

I googled a little and found the rank being mentioned in cases of the militia and volunteer battalions during the early peiord of the twentieth century (1900's) in the case of a contemporary history of the Connaught Rangers. The Irish DF also seems to have or had the rank.

My pure guess is that the RWAFF, being a very big "unit", may have had both ranks. Perhaps the RSM was a European.

The guess is based on the fact that when Nigerianisation was being considered in the late 40's and early 50's, the usual procedure employed elsewhere of commissioning existing talented NCO's to officer rank could not be done because their educational standards were too low.

Cheers,

James

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I think this story has got mixed up somewhere along the way. According to "Askari und Fita-Fita" by Thomas Morlang, Maigumeri was awarded the Kriegsverdienstmedaille for African soldiers, not the Iron Cross. As far as I know the EK was not awarded to African troops. Does anyone recall an exception to this?

Isn't WNickel working on the rolls for the Kriegsverdienstmedaille? Could he confirm Maigumeri's award?

Cheers

Chris

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I think this story has got mixed up somewhere along the way. According to "Askari und Fita-Fita" by Thomas Morlang, Maigumeri was awarded the Kriegsverdienstmedaille for African soldiers, not the Iron Cross. As far as I know the EK was not awarded to African troops. Does anyone recall an exception to this?

You know what.... i dont know why I did not have that thought when this first came up.... I dont think there were any awards to Africans at all... maybe the confusion resulted from the ribbon?

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Hi Chris,

It might be the similar ribbons or it might be liberal journalism. After all a story in the British press about an African who's won a medal that nobody's heard of, isn't very interesting. Promote that medal to an Iron Cross and you've got a great story for the papers...

I think Maigumeri's story is amazing anyway. There weren't many German veterans at Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. I seem to remember reading that half of Prince Phillip's family were not invited to the royal wedding as they'd recently been on the "wrong side". Maigumeri has to have been the only African Schutztruppe veteran to take part in the coronation. Co-incidentally my Grandfather also took part, as a representative of the Canadian army.

Cheers

Chris

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A thread in the Commonwealth forum made me think about this man. I was going to create a new thread when I found there was already one about Maigumeri.

 

A couple of years ago, when researching the death of my great uncle Pasquale (a soldier in the 5ª Compagnia of the Camicie Nere d'Africa – a territorial militia unit comprised of local Italian colonists resident in Abyssinia) I came across Chari Maigumeri, a member of the opposing Nigeria Regiment, who had been awarded the Military Medal for an action at the Omo River where he pursued my ancestor's retreating forces toward the end of the East Africa Campaign (my great uncle died in a fierce rearguard action two weeks later against the same commonwealth force of Nigerian, East African, and South African troops as well as irregular Abyssinian Patriots). I instantly was interested in this veteran of two World Wars and two opposing armies, and did a bit of research. I'll attach some of what I found below.

 

RWAFF%20502%20Appendix%20V%20Hon%20Capta

Excerpt from the 1964 book History of the Royal West African Frontier Force by Haywood & Clarke

 

British%20Army%20WWI%20Medal%20Rolls%20I

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Card

 

19410910%20MM%20Recommendation_zps4ycezw

Military Medal recommendation, appears to have began as a recommendation for the British Empire Medal.

 

19420416%20LG%2035526%20MM_zpsziml399c.j

1942 London Gazette announcement confirming award of the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished service during the East Africa Campaign.

 

1944%20BEM%20Recommendation_zpsr6z85xno.

British Empire Medal recommendation.

 

19440608%20LG%2036544%20BEM_zpskggwffab.

1944 King's Birthday Honours announcing the award of the British Empire Medal.

 

19460919%20LG%2037730%20MiD_zpsnenjl1mq.

1946 London Gazette Mention in Dispatches for gallant and distinguished service during the Burma Campaign.

 

19530728%20LG%2039927%20Hon%20Capt_zps5y

Maigumeri gazetted as an Honourary Captain, 1953

 

1953%20Coronation%20Medal%20Rolls%20-%20

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal Rolls, National Archives

 

02_zpssysnznp9.jpg

 

01_zps581bnnyp.jpg

 

RWAFF%20320%20African%20NCOs%20in%20Full

This 1920s-30s era photo may well contain a younger Maigumeri, the man in the middle bearing a resemblance but to the contrary appears to have a 1914-15 Star

 

So between the sources and photographs posted in this thread, his awards are confirmed to at least include:

 

  • German Service - Krieger -Verdienstmedaille 2. Klasse (Warrior Merit Medal, 2nd Class) or the Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse (Iron Cross, 2nd Class); and
  • British Service - Military Medal, British Empire Medal (Military Division), British War Medal, Victory Medal, 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-1945 with Mention in Dispatches insignia, King George VI Coronation Medal, Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal, Royal West African Frontier Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. The 1965 book Soldier of Africa by Maurice Hennessy & Edwin Sauter Jr. contains a detailed interview with Maigumeri.

 

Soldier%20of%20Africa%20excerpt_zpslbdw7

Does anyone have a copy?

 

Edited by SemperParatus
formatting

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Thank you very much for reviving this thread!  I have actually been in both Maidugari, where Maigumeri was from, and kaduna, where he retired.

Don't know about the Iron Cross, but to comment on another bit of the thread - posts 9-13.  He was almost certailny 'BSM' of the 3rd Battalion in 1928 because there would have been one RSM -  of the whole regiment - whicj latter rank he achieved at a later date

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Trajan   
On 9/4/2017 at 22:18, SemperParatus said:

A thread in the Commonwealth forum made me think about this man. I was going to create a new thread when I found there was already one about Maigumeri.

 

19530728%20LG%2039927%20Hon%20Capt_zps5y

The curse of photobucket has struck so I cannot see these...

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hucks216   
On 9/8/2017 at 17:57, SemperParatus said:

Well that's annoying. However I believe if you click on the thumbnails it will bring you to the photos.

It doesn't work like that anymore I don't think. Photobucket now require a payment of $400 a year for people to host images to a website using Photobucket.

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Since I can no longer edit my original post, here are the images again under a better hosting site (vgy.me)

 

skGukd.jpg

Excerpt from the 1964 book History of the Royal West African Frontier Force by Haywood & Clarke

 

EdIB9s.jpg

British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Card

 

8cQS9v.jpg
Military Medal recommendation, appears to have began as a recommendation for the British Empire Medal.

 

U5mDTC.jpg
1942 London Gazette announcement confirming award of the Military Medal for gallant and distinguished service during the East Africa Campaign.

 

nxps7C.jpg
British Empire Medal recommendation.

 

wvxgj5.jpg
1944 King's Birthday Honours announcing the award of the British Empire Medal.

 

YfadKw.jpg
1946 London Gazette Mention in Dispatches for gallant and distinguished service during the Burma Campaign.

 

j0baWY.jpg

Maigumeri gazetted as an Honourary Captain, 1953

 

FToDtG.jpg

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal Rolls, National Archives

 

SokbYC.jpg
This 1920s-30s era photo, also from History of the Royal West African Frontier Force by Haywood & Clarke, may well contain a younger Maigumeri, the man in the middle bearing a resemblance but to the contrary appears to have a 1914-15 Star

 

ZrWEE6.jpg

64OPqD.jpg

 

P.S. The 1965 book Soldier of Africa by Maurice Hennessy & Edwin Sauter Jr. contains a detailed interview with Maigumeri.

FEYKGQ.jpg

Does anyone have a copy?

Edited by SemperParatus

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