Wednesday, 22 May 2013

EAFORCE BULLETIN - ADDIS ABABA. : Wednesday, 30th April, 1941 No. 3

News picked up from the London Transmission of the B.B.C.
ADDIS ABABA. : Wednesday, 30th April, 1941 No. 3

On May 21, 2013 I accompanied Mr. Emilo Cocciq who is the curator of "Zonderwater Block", just beyond Cullinan in Gauteng, which was the camp were the Italian Prisoner of War and Italians that were resident in South Africa were interned. During my visit I came across a publication EAFORCE BULLETIN. I think this was a type of newspaper that was made available to troops on the go to keep them updated as to what was happening in the war.

I Goggled it and and only found one hit (remember I am not a Google 'fundi like many of you are) so I thought I would I would recompile it and distribute to ORAFs for their interest. ORAFs has added some links to support the article

See You will receive two warnings from the site, please ignore them and continue.

In view of the fact I obtained limited success on Google I decided to place it on the 'Our Rhodesian Heritage' so further information will be available to the public.

Eddy Norris


It is officially announced in Washington that United States naval patrols are already operating 2,000 miles out into the Atlantic and will operate into the combat zone if necessary. The news was given out by the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Starke. He also announced that the more efficient America's defences became, the more ships she would have to give away to Britain.

President Roosevelt told a Press conference that American warships would be sent into the. combat zone if necessary. The area of combat marked out by Germany, President Roosevelt said, had nothing at all to do with the United States. The United States Navy was not yet operating in the combat zone, but it could and would go into it for the defence of the western hemisphere. President Roosevelt also announced that he had ordered an immediate survey of all civil aircraft in the United States to see how many could usefully be given to the Democracies.

The German newspaper, Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, commenting on the United States  Naval patrol in the Atlantic, repeats the Nazi threat that United States ships will be sunk if they venture into the combat zone. The result of latest American decisions will be the quick and certain sinking of United States ships, says the newspaper.

The Red Fleet, the official organ of the Soviet Navy, says the expansion of American naval patrols is having a great effect on the position in the Atlantic and will give enormous aid to the British Fleet in enforcing the blockade of the Axis Powers.


Press correspondents returning from the front describe the hattle of Dessie as perhaps the outstanding victory of the campaign. The Italian position was so strong that one officer remarked "I could have defended it with 65 baboons if given a week to train them." The Combolcia Pass was well wired and covered by 28 guns, all of which were captured. Patriot forces played a notable part in these operations, attacking both the enemy's flanks fiercely. Dessie itself, which was garrisoned by 17 companies of Italians, surrendered unconditionally as soon as our attack developed on its outer defences. Our captures in these operations include over 5,500 Italian officers and men with many senior officers, over 2,400 native soldiers, 50 guns and innumerable machine guns and rifles. More than 20 aircraft were found destroyed on the landing ground. The Duke of Aosta fled by aircraft, leaving 40 articles of his personal baggage behind. The shattered remnants of the enemy's army are fleeing north, east and west, pursued by Patriots and harried by our Air Force. In all these operations our losses have been very light indeed.


The discovery of a gold-bearing reef has been made in the bed of the Geduld River, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, according to Mr. 0. K. Krohl, a mining chemist.


The 27 Yugoslav airmen who have reached Moscow after an adventurous flight across Bulgaria and Rumania tell a thrilling story of the gallant fight by the small Yugoslav Air Force against the Luftwaffe The Yugoslavs had barely 50 modern fighter aircraft, yet they engaged the powerful enemy forces and in the first battle brought down no fewer than 50 German machines. In the second battle over Belgrade they again accounted for nearly 50 of the enemy.

After the second battle only three of the Yugoslav- fighter aircraft remained, and the airmen actually fought for the honour of taking the machines into the air. The three fighters attacked a formation of 30 Italian bombers and shot down nine of them. At one time 35 Yugoslav aircraft of all types, mostly obsolete, made an attack, escorted by the three remaining fighters, on a German mechanised column and caused havoc. They also went for a column of 500 Italian vehicles and left a large number in flames.


The latest official news of the fighting in Greece comes in a Cairo communique, which says the British and Anzac forces are continuing their withdrawal. A Rome newspaper report says British and Greek, forces are still holding the southern part of the Morean Peninsula.

Moscow Radio says the British position in the Middle East remains of great strength because of the naval bases in Crete, Cyprus and Alexandria, the line of communications through the Red Sea and the enormous difficulties in the way of an attack on Egypt.

Mr. Churchill has announced that there will be a public debate on the war situation in the House of Commons next week, when the House will be asked to approve of the Government's police in sending help to Greece. Mr. Eden may have an opportunity of making a statement on his recent visit to the Middle East.


A decree issued in Moscow prohibits the transit of war materials through the Soviet Union. The prohibition covers- munitions, aircraft, plane accessories, machine tools, etc.


In North Africa British patrols continue to harass the enemy detachments now held up five miles east of Solium. Three columns of the enemy have crossed the border into Egypt, one on the coastal road and two on the escarpment.


German artillery bombarded the coast near Dover yesterday, but caused little damage. British artillery replied and the cross-Channel fire was the heaviest since last August.


The Canadian Budget, introduced yesterday, includes an estimate of £ 290,000,000 for war expenditure, and involves the most drastic taxation in the history of the Commonwealth. As an example of the rise in income tax, an unmarried man earning £ 600 per year, who formerly paid £ 37 in income tax, will now have to pay £ 80. The Canadian Government has pledged itself to finance most of Britain's purchases in the Dominion. The one desire of Canada. said the Minister of Finance, was to mobilise the country's maximum war strength.


A town in the south-west of England was the main target of enemy air attacks last night. The anti-aircraft defences went into action and our night fighters brought down three German bombers. Four enemy bombers were brought down in Monday night's raid on Plymouth, when considerable damage was caused although the casualties were not so heavy as in previous raids.

British aircraft made a low-level raid on four enemy ships off Dunkirk, and a further heavy attack, was made on Brest.

(Reprinted from EAFORCE NEWS)


Seven thousand five hundred Italian prisoners-of- war — the first batch of 20,000 which South Africa agreed to intern — landed at a Union port recently and have now been sent to an inland concentration camp for the duration of the war. On the voyage they were guarded by men of a well-known South African Scottish regiment. Those who saw the prisoners land were surprised to find that most of them were youngsters, and only here and there were some men with Great War ribbons. On investigation it was found that some of the Italians were only 17, although they had been in uniform nearly two years. They stumbled down the gangway to the waiting tracks in .silence. Their faces. were completely expressionless, but some smiled nervously as the guards urged them to "get a move on."

 Little Love for Mussolini

The physical condition of the prisoners was poor. They were small, under-developed and under-nourished. Their uniforms were tattered and some of the Italians were bare-footed and others wore shoes made from blankets. An officer of the regiment which brought the Italians to the Union said that although the prisoners did not look too good, they were well-behaved and accepted their position with philosophical calm. He said there was no trouble on the voyage and the men were glad to get away from the scene of Mussolini's blunders. They had little love for Mussolini. Most of the prisoners were captured by the Army of the Nile in the Libyan campaign.

Congenial Conditions

From the docks the Italians were taken in trains to a camp recently constructed for prisoners-of-war by the Union Government. At the camp they were ordered to remove their uniforms and wash under a shower, and then bath in a vermin-destroying solution. The entire camp is fenced off with barbed- wire, and look-out towers with searchlights have been placed at vantage points. The South African authorities have done everything possible to make the lot of the prisoners in the Union as congenial as possible. The camp is in a pleasant and healthy locality and the authorities have made the Italian Warrant Officers and N.C.O.s. responsible for the men. The food is cooked by Italians, in a similar way to that served in their own army, with the difference that its quality is much higher.


In the Assembly recently the third reading of the Census Delimitation and Electoral Bill was passed by 62 votes to 44. The two main arguments by the Opposition were again based on the allegation that many coloured men hitherto unqualified by their civil wages to obtain the vote would now be put on the roll by virtue of their army pay, and that the question of the citizen's religious faith had been omitted from the census forms because the Government feared it would show how many Jews were in the Union. Advocate Bowen (U.P., Capetown) said that the percentage of Jewish names in the casualty lists was much higher than ten per cent. deplore, as does every honest, fair-minded man, the attempt to utilise minority sections of the community for political propaganda. The Jewish people are taking their full measure of responsibility as normal, active and decent-living South Africans.

Fantastic Suggestion

Mr. Lawrence, Minister of the Interior, said that it was fantastic to suggest that the Jewish Board of Deputies had anything to do with the exclusion of the question on religion from the census form. Did a man's courage and ability to serve with our army in the north have to be gauged by his religious belief? All that was intended regarding the colour vote was that those persons who were entitled to vote in the Union would retain that right it they went outside the Union.

3,832 Women in the Army

Replying to a question in the Senate, Gen. Smuts said that there were 129 women officers and 3,703 women of other ranks serving: in the Union Defence Force. The women members of the Defence Force were employed on administrative, clerical and short- hand and typing work, as motor transport and dispatch riders, on telegraphy and signal duties, on munitions and stores work as parachute and fabric workers, and as cooks, orderlies and usherettes. The total monthly cost of the women in the army was approximately £30,000.

Well-known Cricket Umpire Dead

The death of Mr. W.H. Napier removes from Western Province cricket one of its most respected figures and the doyen of umpires. At the time of his death he was serving with the First Reserve Brigade.

Printed by the Directorate of Army Printing and Stationery Services, Addis Ababa.

End of Publication
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