Capt. H. C. J. Biss West African Frontie

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER I SCORED OFF r I HE news of the disturbances in Ashanti reached 1 the Frontier Force in Northern Nigeria before we or the public had realised that anything very serious was about to take place. That the unexpected always happens seems to be particularly the case in West Africa, owing largely to the difficulty of transmitting news. Certainly, our two bases were then connected by wire with the coast, but most of us were away from them, often at such distances that weeks were required before communications could reach their destinations. At dawn on April 22nd a letter was brought to me by an express native runner, at the post where I then was, five days' march north of Jebba. The prolonged enervation induced by a pestilential climate of alternating misty damp and scorching sun, is bound to have its influence upon the temperament of a European. It was, therefore, without the slightest feeling of excitement that I opened the envelope, marked "very urgent" underscored deeply in red ink, and read that the Secretary of State for the Colonies had cabled for as large a force as possible from the W.A.F.F. to proceed with the utmost expedition from NorthernNigeria to the Gold Coast, on account of trouble with the natives. A general move of almost all the troops was ordered in consequence by the Commandant, and it became necessary to evacuate temporarily some important posts. Personally, I was on the eve of completing my tour of service in West Africa, twelve months' continuous residence in these fever-stricken parts having been found to be the longest limit advisable for a white man. Twelve months' service, often on lonely duty with one's company or detachment of native soldiers, many days' march from any other white comrade; twelve months' service in a sickly climate, when ...