Extract from ‘A Naval Life’

Commander Marx:

October 1895 – The prospect of action was now getting nearer. Marx recounted events:

I immediately started for Mbarak·s road, reaching there about 3pm, and having chosen a secluded spot , zerebed myself, and as the sun set, put out all fires and lights and sent the men to bed. Mr.Dick, who had accompanied me from Rabai as a volunteer, went out patrolling to the South and returned at 8 pm with a report that he had seen Mbaruk’s camp fires some 4 miles off.

We again started at three a.m. and by 4.30 had arrived in a position from which we could hear the cocks crowing, the women talking and smell the fires of Mbaruk’s camp. We spent the next hour in vainly searching for a way to get at the camp through the bush which was so dense that we could not penetrate it. At a quarter to six, it being then broad daylight, and being unable to find a way in, withdrew the men for a short distance to a more open space and awaited the arrival of 150 bowmen and 30 Guns, which I had written for to Rabai the previous night. They travelled their 17 miles very quickly and coming up about a quarter to six, I organised them into divisions, Mr.Dick taking charge of the guns. To all of them I gave strict orders to lie down in case of any firing. I then started again for the Camp, which we soon found and advanced in lines firing volleys whenever there was any stand made, our friends in front obeying my orders to lie down very implicitly. The enemy’s fire was considerable at times but badly aimed. We soon reached the camp and found that Mbaruk and his party had, in their haste, forgotten their cattle, cooking Pots, and food with which the road was strewn for the mile and a half which we followed, at the end of which time, I saw the last of the enemy disappearing over the top of the opposite hill at a distance of about 1500 yards. Fortunately on our side there were no casualties but the enemy are reported to have had three killed and five wounded.

The men by this time being practically tired out, we collected the cattle, burnt the grain, destroyed the houses and returned to our camp which we reached about 11. 30a.m.We remained there until 4pm and then marched to a place called Mbaruk’s Old Camp, (a distance of 3 and a half miles) where we remained for the night: the following morning we returned to Rabai, a distance of 10 miles, arriving there about 8am. To ensure the Rabai people remaining firm to our side we gave them the 20 sheep and 2 Oxen we had captured to make a feast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *