Gunner Stephen Geoffrey Dahse, 1127, South African Field Artillery
Died of heart failure, at the age of 41, at Morogoro on 9 September 1916.
Remembered with Honour Morogoro Cemetery,
which is situated 195 kilometres west of Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania.
When Stephen was 10 he emigrated to United Kingdom with his family from Mecklenburg in Germany.
His parents were Julius Frederick John and Edith Dahse. They received British Naturalization in 1893. They lived in Merton, Surrey. He had 2 brothers and 3 sisters.
Herbert Asquith, signed the Naturalization papers. He would be Prime Minister 1908-1916.
His Brother Otto Francis served with Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers) and survived the War. But appears to have been awarded a pension for “shell shock”.
When Stephen was 38 he sailed for South Africa on the Union Castle line ship, Edinburgh Castle, on 1 November 1913.
He was a 2nd. Class Passenger and his profession was Manufacturer. I have not, as yet, been able to find our where and for whom he worked but it is possible that he was part of either Rhodes or Pickstone Farm Groups.
He joined the South African Field Artillery 19 April 1916 and departed from Durban, on 8 June 1916 on board HMS Armadale Castle (an Armed Merchant Liner).
Durban and at sea
Lat -29.5, Long 31.5
7.00am: Hands cleaning ship & assisting in embarkation of troops
- Troops embarking
9.00am: Lieutenant Thadwell RNVR joined ship
11.00am: Discharged 6 Engineers & acting 3 Sub Lieutenants to HMS Laconia
12.13pm: Discharged 1 AB to HMS Laconia
1 AB joined ship from HMS Laconia
3.00pm: HMS Himalaya cast off & went to anchorage
4.45pm: Netherlands cruiser “Noordbrabant” proceeded out of harbour
5.00pm: Cast off & proceeded out of harbour
5.30pm: Pilot left
7.00pm: W/T books returned to Wireless Office
11.40pm: Point Durnford Light N24W, 13’
Number on sick list 2
He arrived at Kilindini Harbour, Mombasa, Kenya on 14 June 1916:
Lat -4.05, Long 39.68
2.14am: Ras Kegomacha Light S64W, 17’
3.55am: Ras Serani N17W
6.20am: HMS Vengeance entered harbour
7.00am: Anchored 9 cables S2W from Ras Kilindini Light
7.30am: Officer of the Guard boarded
8.30am: Troops disembarking
Hands employed landing military stores
4.45pm: All troops landed
6.00pm: Stopped discharging military stores
Number on sick list 6
It is not clear if he was part of replacement draft or part of a formed reinforcement unit. However, he died, at the age of 41, some 490 Kilometres from Kilindini at Morogoro in what was then German East Africa 2 and half months later.
The South African government formed the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force (SAOEF) in July 1915, as its contribution to the British war effort against the Central Powers. As South African legislation restricted the Union Defence Forces (UDF) to operating in southern Africa, an entirely new force, made up of volunteers, had to be raised for service in other theatres of war. As they were not officially a South African force, the SAOEF was placed under British operational command for operations on the Western Front.
During the East African Campaign (World War I), there was strong South African participation and leadership. SA Field Artillery, the 1st and 2nd SA Mounted Brigades, the 2nd and 3rd SA Infantry Brigades, and the Cape Corps fought in British operations against German forces in German East Africa (now Tanzania) from January 1916 until the war in Africa ended on 25 November 1918
Two South African generals, Lt. Gen. Jan Smuts, and Lt. Gen. Sir Jacob van Deventer, commanded the operations. Their major battles were: Salaita Hill, Kilimanjaro, and Kondoa-Irangi in 1916; and Behobeho, Narungombe, and Nyangao in 1917.
During the advance from Mount Kilimanjaro to the Central Railway, the South Africans undertook the longest forced march of the First World War. After pausing to reorganize, the South African forces drove the German across the Rufiji river. In all, they marched 800 kilometres through some of the worst terrain in the World.
Morogoro was occupied by Commonwealth forces on the 26 August 1916 and the German civil cemetery was taken over for Commonwealth war burials. Between the beginning of September 1916 and January 1919, 177 burials were carried out by the five medical units which were posted in the town and which were, at the outset, assisted by German medical personnel and civilians. After the Armistice, 169 graves were brought in from other burial grounds.
While the South African forces in German East Africa suffered relatively few casualties from enemy action, they were ravaged by tropical diseases. South Africa sent 43 477 men to German East Africa.
75 per cent of the South African force were evacuated, suffering malaria, dysentery and the more virulent forms of tick fever.
Stephen’s Medals were applied for by his Brother, George Daniel Dahse Esq. in 1920 and sent to his UK address 31 The Crescent, Maidenhead.