Three Years of War in East Africa


Three Years of War in East Africa is an account of part of the East African Campaign during World War I, written by Captain Angus Buchanan, a British army officer who served with the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, also known as the Frontiersmen, and who participated in the campaign from May 1915 through October 1917. Buchanan describes a march of more than 1,370 kilometers from British East Africa (present-day Kenya) into German East Africa (present-day Tanzania). The march took Buchanan and his unit through territories in the region of Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria, parts of the Belgian Congo, and the Lindi region of present-day southeastern Tanzania. The British campaign in East Africa was only partially successful, as a large force of British and colonial troops was never able to defeat and capture the smaller force of some 3,000 Germans and 11,000 askaris (native Africans), under the command of the German guerilla leader Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. Buchanan describes the rigors of the campaign, which was conducted in conditions of extreme heat and drought, through inhospitable territories of high grass and jungle, with minimal rations of flour and water. Buchanan describes the dangers and difficulties his unit encountered, including illness, dangerous animals, and clashes with the enemy. The book is based on diary entries made by Buchanan at the time of the campaign. Buchanan was a trained naturalist who just prior to the war had been working for the government of Saskatchewan, Canada, collecting flora and fauna in the region west Hudson Bay. Three Years of War in East Africa includes a chapter entitled “Nature Notes” containing Buchanan’s observations on the plants and animals of East Africa, with tables of the plants and birds he collected in the course of the campaign. The book includes maps, illustrations, and an index.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

John Murray, London


Title in Original Language

Three years of war in East Africa

Type of Item

Physical Description

247 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 centimeters


  1. Steve Eeles, “The Old and the Bold: The Battalion at War.”

Last updated: November 14, 2017