50 YEARS AGO (1943)

this article was included in TA 44 (Jan 1993)

The official report on the recent ‘Lodestar Exercise’ in which a ‘Japanese force’ was landed at Dar es Salaam was designed to test the arrangements for the defence of the city against enemy attack. The quality of the ‘blackout’ was much criticised. ‘Landings occurred at Msasani Beach but the failure of the Sea View air raid siren to sound the alarm caused delay in the mobilising of residents in that suburb and there would have been many casualties. It has since been traced to the last minute intrusion of a swarm of bees in the actuating mechanism, and steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence. The arrival of louder sirens, which have been on order for some time, will increase the effectiveness of the alarm – Tanganyika Standard. January 29, 1943.

A public meeting under the chairmanship of Mr J F Anderson M.L.C., was held in Arusha on January 20. It was the largest gathering of planters and farmers since the war started – 75 being present, representing every branch of agricultural production in the Northern Province. The meeting was the outcome of frustration and bewilderment among these employers of labour.

The following resolution was passed unanimously: ‘Be it resolved that this meeting condemns the principle of Government making revenue out of the Territory’s present urgent need of conscript labour which should be delivered by Government when required at nett cost without addition of any overhead or ‘hidden’ charges. Furthermore, accommodation in rest camps en route should be provided as a public service’. The following specimen schedule was appended which was considered as the reasonable charges that might be incurred in this connection.

Medical – Shs 1/-
1 week’s feeding prior to transportation – Shs 1/40
Transport from and to Dodoma
38 labourers per lorry at 75 cents per mile – Shs 12/-
3 days food en route – Shs 0/60
Blankets – Shs 6/-

Originally Government sent a notice to farmers informing them that conscripts would be available at a charge of Shs 50 per head for 7-9 months. Mr Anderson telegraphed a protest to Government whereupon this charge was reduced to Shs. 40 per head – Tanganyika Standard, January 25, 1943.

The most serious earthquake Tanganyika has experienced for many years has wrecked numerous buildings and a Roman Catholic mission in a remote part of South West Tanzania – the Songea District. There were no casualties but the damage to buildings was estimated at £3,000 – London Times, November 9 1942.


The celebration of Red Army Day in Tanganyika took the form of a parade in which service units, the Police and others took part. Twin flagstaffs flew the British and Russian emblems. Some of the African population appeared to be taken aback by the resemblance of the uniforms of one military unit to those of the German Askari of 1914 – shorts below the knee, khaki puttees and sunflaps down the back. Tanganyika Standard. March 5 1943.

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