Novelist: Herbert Strang

Herbert Strang is a pseudonym for the writing partnership of George Herbert Ely and Charles James L’Estrange. The two men were too old to serve in World War One and continued their employment in the publishing world.

1866 – George Herbert Ely is born
1867 – Charles James L’Estrange is born
1904 – the men meet in Glasgow and are first published
1906 – move to London and change publisher to Hodder and Stoughton
1909 – start move to Oxford University Press which is finally accomplished in 1916
1942 – retire from writing
1947 – George Herbert Ely dies
1958 – Charles James L’Estrange dies

They had no experience of life in Africa which shows through their story which, like Westerman’s depiction of the German is stereotypical, in this story young Tom brings an end to German slavery. Siege and trench warfare are the dominant military experiences. The story is inspired by the victory of Kasama in Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) with the central action taking place in a triangle of Bismarckburg (Kasanga), Neu Langenburg (Tukuyu) and Kasama. The distances between these locations are 10x what Herbert Strang make out but that doesn’t detract from the story and the insight it provides of how life in Africa was construed back in Britain. Presumably they drew on the news of the success at Kasama for their inspiration.

World War 1 Africa books by Herbert Strang

Tom Willoughby’s Scouts (1918)


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