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African Rank-and-File

15 September 1941
The King's African Rifles in Kenya, 1944
Wikimedia Commons

The East African Command of the British and Commonwealth Military Forces was formed on 15 September 1941. A large part of the troops fought outside East Africa, including the Middle East, India and Burma. The military success of African soldiers in Ethiopia, 1941, led to the Africans serving as combat units for the first time. Hoewever, the majority saw deployment as pioneers, medical personnel, signallers and drivers or served in garrison units. In order to keep up morale, propaganda publications advertised the positive effects of formal education within the army. They also gave attention to a few cases of upward socal mobility, for example the case of an ex-soldier who was elected chairman of the Kenya East African Study Union.

Read more? Katrin Bromber, 'Out-of-area-deployment and the Swahili Military Press in World War II' in: The World in World Wars (Leiden 2010)