Remembrance Day Message (aka Veterans Day)
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Hussein Amin
2017-11-11 23:23:23 UTC
Photo: Mzee Amin (Andreas Nyabira Amin), the father of President Idi Amin
(photo taken in 1976).

Remembrance Day, (celebrated in other countries as Veterans Day) marks the
anniversary of the end of World War I (1914-1918). Major hostilities were
formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918,
when the Armistice with Germany went into effect.
My Grandfather Mzee Andrea Nyabira Amin (RIP) was a World War I veteran
with the Kings African Rifles. He returned from the war in 1918 then joined
the police force two years later in 1920. He was posted at Nakasero police
barracks where Nile Mansions (now Serena Hotel) stands. That is where my
father was born. My grandfather was later transferred to Kololo barracks
(now known as Jinja road police) and also Naguru Police barracks which is
today Uganda Police headquarters.
2017 marks 103 years since Uganda Police was first created. It also marks
103 years since the start of World War I.
My grandfather contributed to both the Police force and World War I where
he fought bravely for Britain.
Those who have read about World War I will remember that it was
particularly difficult in East Africa. British forces fought against
Germany mainly on the border areas between Kenya and Tanzania.
At the time of the war, nearly all belligerent nations involved in the
First World War were also imperial powers that possessed colonies across
the globe. Especially in Africa which had been formally divided into
separate colonies in the 1880s during the infamous "Scramble for Africa" by
European countries. At the centre of the East African war theater during
World War I, was the German colony of German East Africa, which corresponds
to modern Tanzania, and British East Africa which is modern day Kenya and
In a 2015 article published by the British Council, researcher David
Steinbach wrote: "All colonial powers promoted the idea of a 'European
civilising mission [to Africans]' – that is, bringing the rule of law,
order, stability, and peace to Africa. Yet, in August 1914, they showed
little hesitation before turning this part of Africa into a theatre of war."
The African casualties on both sides were very high on the African
soldiers. Those who died in even bigger numbers were the hundreds of
thousands of African porters who carried the ammunition and logistics
literally on their heads and bear backs in extreme conditions on behalf of
the Queen and her British army on one side, and the German army on the
Scholar Hilke Fischer who has studied and written on the matter said in a
2014 research paper that: "A million people died in East Africa alone
during the First World War. Many Africans also fought in Europe, defending
the interests of their colonial masters. Today, their sacrifice has been
largely forgotten."

More about the East African Theater of World War I: