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East Africa Command
Active 1940 to 1964
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Command
Part of Middle East Land Forces (1947-1964)
Garrison/HQ Nairobi

East Africa Command was a Command of the British Army. Until 1947 it was under the direct control of the Army Council and thereafter it became the responsibility of Middle East Command.

The formation was essentially an expansion of the East Africa Force[1] which came into being in August 1940.[2] It was reformed as a Command in September 1941 by General Sir William Platt and covered North East Africa, East Africa and British Central Africa.[3] It established its own intelligence network during the Mau Mau Uprising in 1952.[4] During the Mau Mau uprising the command controlled 39th Infantry Brigade, 49th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom), and 70th (East African) Infantry Brigade.[5] Later 70th (East African) Brigade became the basis for the newly independent Kenya Army.[6]

Other units listed in the Kenya Regiment history as being in Kenya from 1952-56 include the Battle School, Tracker School, Kenya Regiment TF, Kenya Regiment Training Centre, and Heavy Battery.[7] Police organisations listed included the Kenya Police, Kenya Police Reserve, Kenya Police Reserve Air Wing, Auxiliary Forces, Dobie Force ('disbanded'), and General Service Units. 'KAR battalions' listed included 3 KAR (Kenya), 4 KAR (Uganda), 5 KAR (Kenya), 6 KAR (Tanganiyka), 7 & 23 KARs (Kenya), 26 KAR (Tanganyika), 156 East African Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery RA, and the East African Armoured Car Squadron. There were a total of eleven British infantry battalions (inc 1st Battalion, the Lancashire Fusiliers, 1st Battalion, The Buffs, 1 RHR, 1 Rifle Bde), 39 Corps Engineer Regiment RE, 73 Ind Fd Eng Sqn RE, Roadbuilding Section RE, RAVC Tracker Dogs, RAMC Unit Hospital Nairobi, Nyeri, Nanyuki, plus No. 1340 Flight RAF (North American Harvards), possibly other RAF Harvard units, and Lincoln units.

The 24th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom) was still stationed in Kenya until 1964, and the command maintained a common intelligence system linking Tanganyika, Uganda, and Kenya until 1964 at least.

Timothy Parsons writes: '..military authorities in Kenya took [the 1964 mutinies in Taganyika and Uganda] very seriously and quickly developed plans to deal with a similar incident in their country. .. As a result [Major General Ian Freeland] had considerably more resources at his disposal to prevent and contain potential problems in the Kenyan soldiery. Once Lieutenant Colonel Mans gave [HQ East Africa Command] a careful account of how trouble had broken out in the Tanganyika Rifles, Freeland ordered the Kenyan Special Branch to step up its surveillance of key army units.'[8] This did not prevent trouble breaking out on 24 January 1964 in the lines of 11th Kenya Rifles at Lanet Barracks near Nakuru. However, the problem was quickly contained, courts-martial ordered, and the unit was eventually disbanded.

East Africa Command was disbanded in 1964 being replaced by British Land Forces Kenya.[9]

Commanders-in-Chief[edit | edit source]

Commanders-in-Chief have included:[10][11]
GOC East Africa Force

GOC East Africa Command

References[edit | edit source]

  1. East Africa Command accessed November 2008
  2. British Military History
  3. The British Empire and the Second World War By Ashley Jackson, Page 175 Hambledon Continuum, 2006, ISBN 978-1-85285-417-1
  4. Obituary: Lt Col Ian Field Daily Telegraph, 14 December 2009
  5. United Kingdom: Kenya Insurgency 1952-1956 Units and Operations
  6. Obituary: Maj-Gen Dick Gerrard-Wright The Telegraph, 12 July 2012
  7. Campbell, Guy (1986). The Charging Buffalo: A History of the Kenya Regiment 1937-1963. London: Leo Cooper. pp. 172–175. ISBN 0-436-08290-X. 
  8. Timothy Parsons, 'The 1964 Army Mutinies and the Making of Modern East Africa, 2003, 118.
  9. "No. 43598". 12 March 1965. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/43598/page/ 
  10. Whitaker's Almanacks 1941 - 1964
  11. Army Commands

External links[edit | edit source]

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