Proofreading a reprint edition of Cinderella’s Soldiers by Peter Charlton, it hit me that a number of archives concerning World War 1 in Africa have been damaged by fire or some other act of violence.
I thought is might therefore be helpful to collate what is known to date [August 2018]. Please let me know if you have other information to add.
- Malawi (Nyasaland) – Zomba Secretariat suffered fire damage in 1919
- Kenya (British East Africa) – the Nairobi archive burnt down in 1925
- Britain – soldier records, mostly African, were destroyed in September 1940. What survives are known as ‘burnt documents‘
- Nigeria – no national archive pre 1950 seems to exist. Current links
Belgian and German documents were removed to Russia at the end of the Second World War. The Belgian documents have since been returned and are in the Royal Military Archive, Brussels.
Do we know where the German documents are? Are they still in Russia or were they burnt/destroyed? I’ve heard both as explanations for why we cannot access German material on WW1 in Africa.
The GWAA has a list of archives together with access information as supplied by members.