Novelist: Alice Mabel Gibbs (Morrison) aka Joan Kennedy

Alice Mabel Gibbs (Morrison after she married) aka Joan Kennedy (1885-1965) published one of the earliest historical fiction accounts of the South West Africa campaign of 1914-1915. She has a prolific list of books, including autobiography Myself the Pilgrim (1952) suggesting that her book on the South West Africa campaign, Sun, Sand and Sin published in 1916 was her first.

1885, 12 April – Born
?? – married Hans Hamilton Morrison
1941 – Registered in Jersey, La Vieille Maison, St Aubin
1956 – Hans Hamilton Morrison dies in Le Quesne
1965 – dies in Le Quesne

The book was not favourably in South Africa at the time based on correspondence in the South African National Archives. It was mentioned in The Dominion newspaper of 7 December 1916 on page 4 under the heading “War Books of interest and value” while an synopsis is available at World Radio History.

Joan Kennedy never visited South Africa, in the foreword to the book she notes after giving a broad brush overview of how the men came to be in South West Africa: Thousands responded to the call and from one and another of these warriors who wore the green-lined helmets my tales have been garnered. Not all tell of privations – far from it. A man will rather confess to making an ass of himself than place on record his claim to the title of hero. So there is humour and nonsense, and it is only sometimes that tragedy peeps through. To the boys who told the tales, I dedicate this little collection.

World War 1 Africa Books

Sun, Sand and Sin (Botha’s War) (1916)


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