Novelist: Percy F Westerman

Percy Westerman was a prolific author of ‘boy’s own’ stories publishing 174 during his lifetime. He wrote two concerning the war in East Africa. He had no direct link with the continent, basing his stories on what he heard from soldiers and others passing through Portsmouth Harbour where he was based during the conflict.

1876 – born
1900 – married Florence Wagner in Portsmouth
1908 – first book published
1914-1918 – Royal Navy coastal duties and navigation instructor for Royal Flying Corps
1959 – died

It is clear from the content of his stories that he hadn’t experienced the war in Africa as in Wilmshurst and the Frontier Force he has bombing and straffing as well as engagements that are more Western Front in nature than African. While his British forces are inclusive – Wilmshurst is an officer of a West African Frontier Force regiment, with South Africans and Indians participating, his view of the German colonial/soldier is stereotypical: ruthless, cruel, undermining. This contrasts with the British colonial who is kind, just and a has a sense of fair play. Rounding up a Raider is based on the destruction of the Konigsberg.

WW1 Africa books by Percy

Rounding up a Raider (1916)
Wilmshurst of the Frontier Force (1918)


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