Novelist: Elspeth Huxley

Elspeth Huxley was both a novelist and non-fiction writer, although her non-fiction dominated especially concerning World War 1. Of her novels, Red Strangers, although not set in the war or about it, is a relevant read as she attempts to explain the relationship between the white newcomer settler and the black long-time resident in East Africa. It seems almost fraudulent to include her as a novelist of World War One in Africa but I decided to do so anyway as it confirms which of her books about the war are not novels…

1907 – born 23 July, London
1912 – parents move to Kenya
1913 – Elspeth moves to Kenya
1914 – Father, Josceline Grant, joins East African Mounted Rifles
1914 – December, leaves for England to rejoin Royal Scots, family goes with
1919 – returns to Kenya
1925 – 1927 studying Diploma in Agriculture at Reading University
1927 – 1928 Cornell University
1931 – Elspeth married Gervais Huxley, a writer and tea commissioner for the Empire Marketing Board
1997 – dies 10 January in Tetbury

Relevant Books by Elspeth Huxley

1935 – White Man’s Country: Lord Delamere and the making of Kenya (Biography; section on WW1)
1939 – Red Strangers (Novel)
1959 – The flame trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood
1962 – The Mottled Lizard (memoirs)
1980 – Nellie: Letters from Africa (correspondence with her mother)
1990 – Nine faces of Kenya: Portrait of a Nation (includes snippets from various books including some on World War 1)

Sources – for complete list of books
Her papers are at the Bodleian Library, Oxford

Novelist: Christen P Christensen

Finding out anything about this Danish author, Christen P Christensen is a real challenge. The personal information below requires confirmation as it might well apply to another person.

1904 – Born 24 December
1962 – Died 8 May, buried in Bregninge Cemetery, Syddanmark, Denmark

Books on WW1 Africa

Kock, Nis: Sønderjyder forsvarer Østafrika (1937)
Nordschleswiger verteidigen Deutsch-Ostafrica; Bericht uber die Fahrt des Blockadebrechers, Kronborg, und das Schicksal seiner Mannschaft in Deutsch-Ostafrike 1914-1918 (1938)
Blockade and Jungle: From the letters and diaries etc of Nis Kock (1940)

Bjarne Bendtsen in There came a Time
Find a Grave

Novelist: Hans Heuer

Little seems to be known about the writer Hans Heuer. Hans was his author name, his official name being Willi Karl Otto Heuer.

1895 – 28 September born in Magdeburg
1930s – lived Berlin
1970 – 31 December died in Berlin

WW1 Books

1935 – Malumba. Mutter aller Mütter (novel on Tom von Prince and his wife Magdelena, nicknamed Malumba – mother of all mothers)
1940 – Ein Mann erobert Deutsch-Ost – not quite WW1 but tells of the life of Hermann von Wissmann (during WW1, a boat of this name played a part on Lake Tanganyika).


Deutsches Literatur-Lexikon – Das 20 Jahrhundert (Lutz Hagerstedt & von Wilhelm Kosch, published by de Gruyter)
Deutschtum im Ausland vol 19 1936, p884
Das Deutsche Koloniale jahrbuch, 1937, p148

Novelist – CS Forester

Forester’s most well-known World War One story is The African Queen, the film rather than the book. I’ve written on this before, there being numerous versions of the story with the book having more on the actual campaign than the film. His only book on World War 1 Africa is The African Queen inspired by a poster he saw in a London tube station after his agent pressured him to write something again. The events he writes about in the book happened when he was 16 years old.

The film released in 1964 has its own story to tell. Katherine Hepburn wrote of her experiences of the filming in The Making of the African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost my Mind (and I see there’s a Youtube version too). And in case you weren’t aware there is another book and film of the time leading up to the making of The African Queen. This by Peter Viertel who tidied up the script of the film and tried to keep Huston on the straight and narrow. His account in both film and book are under the title White Hunter, Black Heart. Interestingly, in neither Hepburn nor Viertel’s account does CS Forester feature.

1899 – Born, 27 August in Cairo, Egypt
1921 – starts writing, using pen name of Cecil Scott Forester rather than his birth name Cecil Louis Troughton Smith
1924 – First novel published A pawn among kings
1926 – married
1935 – Published The African Queen
1945 – divorced
1947 – married
1951 – Film The African Queen released
1966 – Died, 2 April in California

Books on World War 1

The African Queen (1935)


The CS Forester Society
Wikipedia – for a clear layout of publications and dates

Novelist: Rudolf de Haas

Rudolf de Haas is another of those novelists to come to light following a search for something else – and he’s a prolific writer of the First World War in Africa – by all accounts he got his inspiration from his time as a prisoner of war in Egypt talking to other prisoners, one of whom was Hans Moll, a police constable from Mpapua in German East Africa

1870 – born in the Rhineland
1900 – In Australia
1909 – marries Thea Gnade and honeymoons in Africa (Tunisia)
1912 – Pastorate in Thuringia (Lutheran minister)
1914 – before the war, is sent on a trip to German East Africa as a Mitglied des Deutschen Flottenvereins und der Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft (member of the German Navy Association and Colonial Society). His wife and Theodor Klinkhardt accompany him. Rudolf is to give talks on the German Empire.
1914 – August, War breaks out. Rudolf and Theodor are drafted into Schutztruppe.
1916 – taken prisoner, sent to Maadi Camp near Cairo. Thea is interned with other German women in Dar es Salaam
1944 – died
1976 – Thea died

Books on World War 1

  • Der jüngste Reiter (1923) – (The Youngest Rider) has a dedication to Hans Moll with 24 pages of information, pictures and postcards about police constable Hans Moll (Molinäus), compiled by his great-nephew Hans-Heinrich Moll. Theodor is the youngest rider in the Schutztruppe. Rudolf appears under the name Konrad.
  • Theodor de Reiter (1922)
  • Der Wilderer von Deutsch-Ost (1927)
  • Im Sattel für Deutsch-Ost (1927) – 1914
  • Askaritreue (1925) – 1914
  • Das Opfer der Wagogo (1927) – 1916 Summer
  • Die Meuterer (1927) – 1916
  • Der Löwe von Mosambik (1925) – 1917
  • Der Elefantenjäger van der Merwe (1925)
  • Der Pflanzer im Kalundatal (1928)
  • Im Hochlande der Riesenkrate (1923)
  • Piet Neuwenhuizen: Der Pfadfinder Lettow-Vorbecks (1921)


Brian Smith on Rudolf de Haas