The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Lecture - The East African Campaign, 1940-1943: Our Father's Letters from the Battlefield in Somalia and Ethiopia

Sarah Sherlock and Jonathan Howard

Wednesday 7th November 2018

7:00pm, Room B102, Brunei Building, SOAS, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG - Public lecture (all welcome)


In April 1941 John Howard's Battalion, the 5th Bn. King's African Rifles, was the first to enter Addis Ababa and bring to an end five years of Italian rule. They had been part of General Cunningham's force that had swept in from Kenya through Somalia and into eastern Ethiopia - necessitating a 2000 miles supply line. They took a matter of months to attain their objectives, in what is generally considered the swiftest of campaigns, for the distance, ever fought.

Less well known was the subsequent campaign in the southern Rift Valley, when the Battalion was despatched to chase, defeat and take the surrender of several hundred thousand Italian troops that were regrouping in Jimma in the hope of a German victory in North Africa. This might have enabled the Germans to come to the Italians' aid in East Africa.

John Howard wrote to his mother in England almost every week. His letters to her whilst on campaign, supplemented by photographs, forms a rare primary resource for this aspect of the liberation of Ethiopia. They were archived for the Kenya National Archives, but they have not yet been studied as a part of Ethiopian historiography.


Capacity at the venue is limited, so please reserve your place soon to avoid disappointment.

Eventbrite Tickets - The East African Campaign, 1940-1943: Our Father's Letters from the Battlefield in Somalia and Ethiopia - Lecture by Sarah Sherlock and Jonathan Howard




First Published in News File Summer 2018

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