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WW2 Southern African Pioneers in the British Pioneer Corps

I know I have posted this item before but think it should be here as well.

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May have chopped it a bit in the original scan. Here is a slightly larger scan.

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Thanks for the larger scan although not much gained. Is there anything on the reverse?

Most Basuto outgoing letters I have seen has been mailed from the Leribe District. They were probably collected in the 60's by A. Brutsch of Cana Mission at Mamathes. Albert Brütsch (2019-2004) was a Swiss missionary that had arrived in 1942 together with his wife Aline at the Cana Mission of northwest Basutoland. The typewritten letter shown here originated in March 1947 from a colleague of his associated with the postwar extension of the APC around the Suez Channel and the British mandated Palestine. The message of the letter sheet is expressing his concern about the practical aspects of recruiting preachers for the army service and goes as far as suggesting people at home that should be target for enlistment. He writes in Sesotho and ends with a postscript in fluent French.

The mission belonged to the protestant Paris Evangelical Missionary Society (P.E.M.S.; Société des missions évangéliques de Paris) that had a strong presence in Basutoland where they operated mission schools and seminary training. The Morija Sesuto Book Depot and printing press was also part of their activities and still exists today.  The recipient of the letter was probably a stamp and postal history collector judging from several items listed among his archived papers.  This would explain why the A.P.C. letters that have survived from Basutoland are all mailed from or to the northwest corner of Basutoland. Moruti Brutsch must have collected these from the returned soldiers and their families while traveling to other Paris Evangelical missions in the area from the end of the war and until 1980. 

Thus somehow all three letters posted by SOLPT1 are connected.

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Just to add that the title 'Moruti' is Sesotho for Paster. 

I'm sorry if this cover is a little off topic, but I thought you may have some interest in it. To be honest I didn't know there were Mauritian pioneers in the Middle East until I found this in a local stamp show many years ago. I hope this of of some interest to members.

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The result was that before the war was over in 1945, an estimated 470,000 African soldiers served, or had served, in various capacities in the British Army engaged in service, labor, or combat functions. Only about 7-8 percent of these came from the High Commission Territories of Southern Africa. The Mauritians formed a large group but also the West and East Africans. Ashley Jackson wrote a book in 2002? about Mauritius and WW2 - which may hold some detailed information. There is a lot of collecting possibilities in this area. The APC i just a small part of the subject.

I appear to b equable to upload images but perhaps another time.


Some images for the above

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Hi to you two early birds, you beat me to it this morning.  Thank you for the wonderful cover and book.  I did know about the Mauritian Pioneers but have never seen a cover.  It fits wonderfully into my collecting interests!  Both in North Africa and the country itself.  The book I have never seen but now that you have pointed it out I will be on the lookout for it.  All that I can offer are these three covers from that collecting area in the hope that other members can add to the story.

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Thanks gents, I didn't know about the book, also. Jamie, that cover from Mauritius is a beauty. I have one from EA APO 73 as well. I attach a scan of a cover from a Scottish officer, with 1 Battalion, The Mauritian Regiment, from EA APO 53 on Madagascar, dated 22 July, 1944. After a "mutiny" when they first arrived they stayed on the there until the end of the war. I didn't know the Mauritians were on Madagascar until it turned up on Ebay a year or so ago.

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I have been up to my eyeballs in crocodiles doing day-to-day stuff while you you guys have created  this wonderful and important thread about a neglected subject without any help from me. It came as a surprise to me to see how far you guys have come and how far you have built this thread up into a useful reference source. I see I was proposing this subject as a Club Collective display earlier. If you still think that is needed, the question is how are we going to create such a display and who is going to manage the process? I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment. My suggestion is that Jamie becomes your "go-to man". He and I work well together and he understands my needs! On the other hand, this thread works well as is and as such represents a good introduction to the subject of African Pioneers in the British Army. Your advice, please. Do we want to take this thread further and try to make it a full-on display?