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Tanga Memorial, Tanzania Tanga Memorial, Tanzania
First Name: Ernest Edward Last Name: YOUNG
Date of Death: 04/11/1914 Lived/Born In: Southall
Rank: Private Unit: Loyal North Lancashire2
Memorial Site: Tanga Memorial, Tanzania

Current Information:

Born-Southall

Enlisted-London

 

Far from the Western Front, the war was also fought in East Africa where there were German colonies in Tanganyika, present day Tanzania, which lay next the British possessions in Kenya and Uganda. Fighting here and in neighbouring Portuguese controlled Mozambique lasted for the entire duration of the war and although the British greatly outnumbered the Germans they were consistently thwarted by the enemy’s superior tactics and leadership in a war of movement across a very wide area. Most of the fighting was undertaken by local African soldiers, recruited by both sides and there were only two British infantry battalions engaged in this theatre of the war, the 2nd Loyal North Lancashire and the 25th Royal Fusiliers, backed up by a few artillery, medical and logistical support units. This meant that the fighting here was largely overlooked, not surprising given the magnitude of events elsewhere. However the death toll, mainly as a result of disease, among the Africans soldiers, porters and civilians alike amounted to over 105,000 by the time the fighting ended.

Battle of Tanga  3rd-5th November, 1914

This was the first action by British troops in East Africa and it proved to be a disaster despite the fact that they had complete naval mastery and outnumbered the German forces by 8 to 1. On 3rd November, fearing that Tanga harbour might be mined, a British force of 8,000, mainly consisting of Indian troops but also the 2nd Loyal North Lancashire battalion, landed three miles down the coast. On 4th November there was a concerted attempt to capture the town of Tanga but overnight the German force which consisted of European officers and African (askari) soldiers, were able to prepare their defences. When the British force moved forward, with the 2nd Loyal North Lancashire in the centre of the line, they met fierce fire from isolated snipers and from enemy strongholds notably those in the Tanga Railway workshops which stopped their advance. Confusion set in which was not helped when the shooting disturbed nearby hives of African bees which then began stinging wildly. The battle is sometimes known as the Battle of the Bees. Lacking direction and leadership the British forces fell back, abandoning guns and ammunition behind and on 5th November, realising the game was up the force was evacuated by sea. One of the many casualties suffered by the 2nd Loyal North Lancashire was Ernest Young.

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