Woody Allen and a WW1 ship in Africa

Who would have thought that Woody Allen would feature in a blog on WW1 in Africa? I certainly didn’t but in doing a search on the word Konigsberg, Woody Allen’s name popped up third on the search results. So, where does Konigsberg fit in with Woody Allen, I hear you ask? Well, according to that fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, Woody Allen’s real name is Allan Stewart Konigsberg. And that, it appears, is where the link with Africa ends (other than his appearance in African newspaper articles and his banning any showing of his films in Apartheid South Africa in 1986).

The ship under discussion, was the German cruiser SMS Konigsberg which arrived in German East Africa (Tanzania) shortly before the outbreak of war was to sink the first British merchant ship of the war, the City of Winchester which had the season’s tea harvest, and HMS Pegasus which was being repaired in Zanzibar harbour. After one of the longest naval battles of the war, she was finally sunk in the Rufiji Delta but continued to plague the force in East Africa as her 10 ‘big guns’ were rescued and adapted for land use. One of the surviving guns can be found at the car entrance to South Africa’s Union Buildings in Pretoria, another is in Mombasa (Kenya) and a third in Jinga (Uganda). And, amazingly, there’s a record of what happened to some of the ships and items linked with the Konigsberg.

Kevin Patience’s account of the Konigsberg during World War 1 can be read here and if you’re in Lisbon on 14 July 2014, Christopher Hill will be giving a talk on The fate of the Konisgberg att he Great War in Africa Conference.

For readers interested in seeing what else is named Konigsberg, Wikipedia’s disambiguation page comes to the rescue.

So, thanks to Woody Allen, aka Allen Stewart Konigsberg, I’ve made a few more discoveries on the SMS Konigsberg and shared them with you.

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5 thoughts on “Woody Allen and a WW1 ship in Africa

  1. Great blog..thanks. I’ve read The First World War in Africa, (Hew Strachan) and Mimi and Toutou Go Forth (Giles Foden) which also tell the stories of that time in some detail. Most interesting, to say the least.

    • Thanks Amos. You might also be interested in reading The Phantom Flotilla by Peter Shankland if you can find a copy. There is also hopefully a new historical account of the Lake Tanganyika expedition coming out next year. If you’re interested in investigating more about WW1 in Africa you should also visit http://www.gweaa.com.

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