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Today, Friday, Is 100th Anniversary Of Breakout Of War In East Africa

August 15, 2014 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

AFRICAN safari specialists Bench International are planning a commemorative safari in Kenya in August 2015, 100 years since Australian Lieutenant William Thomas Dartnell was awarded a posthumous VC for gallantry and heroism.

It was just a year after the first shots were fired in the East African campaign of the First World War on August 15, 1914.

The safari will depart Nairobi and travel to Tsavo National Park where Lt Dartnell died on September 3, 1915, after trying to save the lives of 14 wounded comrades. His grave is maintained within the park.

The safari will spend a week in the Tsavo area and include visits to Dartnell’s  grave and many significant battle sites.

General manager at Bench Martin Edwards says he is seeking any of Dartnell’s relatives  in the hope that Bench may be able to take two of them to Kenya for the safari.

Dartnell was born in the inner Melbourne suburb of Collingwood and later lived in neighbouring Fitzroy.

Aged 15 he had earlier enlisted with the Victorian Mounted Rifles to serve in South Africa during the Boer War in 1901and was working in South Africa when World War I was declared.

As Wilbur Taylor Dartnell he joined the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and sailed for service in British East Africa in April1915.

The first shots in the East African campaign were fired on August 15. 2014, with German Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck conducting a very successful guerrilla campaign against the British General Malleson in the area that is now Tsavo National Park.

Lt.Dartnell, a volunteer, was seriously wounded in the leg on September 3 but insisted on trying to save his 14 wounded comrades. All were killed by the advancing Germans.

Bench will have a World War I historian on the safari in Tsavo which will run over the end of August and early September to mark 100 years since Dartnell died.

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