With tribute to:

Martin Spirit

James Paul

Co-written by:

David Carter

Britain's Small Wars

The preservation of British Military History

Kenya 1952-1960

"Hunting the Mau Mau"

A Postal History during the Mau Mau emergency

This collection of East African Military Postal history covers the post World War II period of the area up until the three countries gained their independence. To put the period into perspective it is extended into the independence period so as to give as complete a picture as possible. To understand the period it falls into four main areas:-

  1. The build up of British Troops that could be used in any area where needed, mainly Africa and the Middle and Far East. Kenya was chosen to replace Egypt which had been used for that purpose before World War II.

    Two huge receiving and transmitting stations were placed at Kahawa and Ruiru a few miles north of Nairobi, these controlled the radio transmissions between London and the Far East. The Army were stationed mainly in the area one hundred miles north and west of Nairobi. The Royal Air Force was stationed at Eastleigh in Nairobi and at Mombasa. The Royal Navy used the port of Kilindini again at Mombasa.

  2. The Mau Mau period which had its roots mainly in the Kikuyu tribe and covered by coincidence roughly the same the area where British troops were station North and west of Nairobi. The controlling of this emergency was mainly the responsibility of the Kenya Police backed up by the Kenya Regiment, the King's African Rifles (K.A.R) and British forces.
  3. The Build up of British troops after the Mau Mau period as a security measure against further terrorism in the four East African countries and elsewhere if needed. In 1961 troops from East Africa were called into Kuwait for the 'Kuwait Crisis'.
  4. The Post independence period, when a nucleus of British troops was left in the area for security as the four newly independent countries consolidated their own governments and built up their own military forces. Here British troops were used mainly in1964 in Zanzibar and Tanganyika with a small force being sent to Swaziland. It must be mentioned here that British troops were also seconded to train the emerging military of the three main countries. This military was based on the K.A.R.
  5. The collection is divided into two parts. The first two chapters deal with the Mau Mau period and the second two chapters deal with the pre-independence period, both with obvious overlaps.