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Wilmshurst of the Frontier Force   By: (1876-1959)

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First Page:

[Frontispiece: "CLUTCHED THE LIONESS JUST BELOW THE JAWS, HOLDING HER IN A VICE LIKE GRIP."]

WILMSHURST OF THE FRONTIER FORCE

BY

PERCY F. WESTERMAN

AUTHOR OF "BILLY BARCROFT, R.N.A.S," "A SUB. OF THE R.N.R," ETC., ETC.

Publishers

PARTRIDGE

London

1918

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. ON ACTIVE SERVICE II. CHAOS IN THE CABIN III. THE RAIDER IV. SPOFFORTH, MACGREGOR AND THE LIONESS V. HOW THE KOPJE WAS STORMED VI. THE WARNING SHOT VII. A TRUE MAN OR A TRAITOR VIII. ULRICH VON GOBENDORFF IX. THE FIGHT FOR THE SEAPLANE X. PREPARATIONS XI. THE SNIPER XII. THE STORMING OF M'GANGA XIII. THE FUGITIVE XIV. ON THE TRACK XV. RESCUED XVI. 'GAINST HEAVY ODDS XVII. WATER XVIII. IN THE ENEMY'S POSITIONS XIX. CORNERED AT LAST XX. QUITS

WILMSHURST OF THE FRONTIER FORCE

CHAPTER I

ON ACTIVE SERVICE

"Four o'clock mornin', sah; bugle him go for revally."

Dudley Wilmshurst, Second Lieutenant of the Nth West African Regiment, threw off the light coverings, pulled aside the mosquito curtains, and sat upon the edge of his cot, hardly able to realise that Tari Barl, his Haussa servant, had announced the momentous news. Doubtful whether his senses were not playing him false Wilmshurst glanced round the room. On a metal table, the legs of which stood in metal jars filled with water and paraffin to counteract the ravages of the white ants, lay his field equipment a neatly rolled green canvas valise with his name and regiment stamped in bold block letters; his Sam Browne belt with automatic pistol holster attached; his sword a mere token of authority but otherwise little better than a useless encumbrance and a pair of binoculars in a leather case that bore signs of the excessive dampness of the climate on The Coast, as the littoral of the African shore 'twixt the Niger and the Senegal Rivers is invariably referred to by the case hardened white men who have fought against the pestilential climate and won.

A short distance from the oil stove on which a kettle was boiling, thanks to the energy and thoughtfulness of Private Tari Barl, stood an assortment of camp equipment: canvas tent d'abri , ground sheets, aluminium mess traps, a folding canvas bath, and last but not least an indispensable Doulton pump filter.

When a man's head is buzzing from the effects of strong doses of quinine, and his limbs feel limp and almost devoid of strength, it is not to be wondered at that he is decidedly "off colour." It was only Wilmshurst's indomitable will that had pulled him through a bout of malaria in time to be passed fit for active service with the "Waffs," as the West African Field Force is commonly known from the initial letters of the official designation.

And here was Tari Barl "Tarry Barrel," his master invariably dubbed him smiling all over his ebony features as he stood, clad in active service kit and holding a cup of fragrant tea.

Tari Barl was a typical specimen of the West African native from whom the ranks of the Coast regiments are recruited. In height about five feet ten, he was well built from his thighs upwards. Even his loosely fitting khaki tunic did not conceal the massive chest with its supple muscles and the long, sinewy arms that knew how to swing to the rhythm of bayonet exercise. His legs, however, were thin and spindly. To any one not accustomed to the native build it would seem strange that the apparently puny lower limbs could support such a heavy frame. He was wearing khaki shorts and puttees; even the latter, tightly fitting, did little to disguise the meagreness of his calves. He was barefooted, for the West African soldier has a rooted dislike to boots, although issued as part of his equipment. On ceremonial parades he will wear them, outwardly uncomplainingly, but at the first opportunity he will discard them, slinging the unnecessary footgear round his neck... Continue reading book >>




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