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Friday, October 17, 2014

Declassified : The RAF expedition to Somaliland and the bombing of the Mullah at Medeshi-1920

  Following is a report on the RAF operations against the Dervishes lead by Mohamed Abdullah Hassan and the destruction of the Dervish command post at Medeshi and Jiidali.
The RAF bases were established at Eil Afweyne and Las Qoray where the RAF airplanes had to launch the attacks at Medeshi. The report is in PDF and is attached but here is caption of the bombing at Medeshi and Jiidali in January  1920 .

" Combined operations were carried out during January 25th, 26th, 27th, and up till 30th, and consisted chiefly in keeping touch with the two portions of the Somaliland Field Force: (a) The Somaliland Camel Corps, with one and a half companies of 101st Grenadiers (Indian Army), operating from El Afweina in an easterly direction; and (b) the Somaliland Camel Corps who were advancing in a westerly direction from the neighbourhood of Mussa Aled some 45 miles to the north-west of Jid Ali.

Keeping touch consisted of locating the troops of each force and communicating their position by dropping messages on the Officer Commanding the Somaliland Field Force, and also in conveying despatches between the commanders of the two forces and the headquarters of the Somaliland Field Force, to which end temporary landing grounds had been constructed at El Afweina and Las Khorai.  By this speedy means of communic-ation the movements of the two forces were co-ordinated and information was rapidly passed.

Latterly, after its capture by the King’s African Rifles on 24th January, machines were able to land at Baran, at which place the headquarters of the King’s African Rifle force were established.

In addition, close reconnaissance of Medishi and Jid Ali was continued, bombs were dropped and machine-gun fire directed on the small isolated bodies of Dervishes and stock which were located in the vicinity.  After the very slightest resistance, followed by the head-long flight of its defenders, Jid Ali Fort fell on 28th January to the King’s African Rifles.  The bombing from the air and latterly the Stokes gun bombardment had been too much for them.

On 29th January, Galibariboa Fort, built on the lines of Jid Ali Fort, was bombed, together with the native huts which surrounded it.  Some stock was observed, but few Dervishes.

On January 30th, an important Dervish Sheik gave himself up at Jid Ali, and, at the same time, reported that the Mullah had broken south on 29th January, and was making for his mountain fortress at Tale.  The Mullah had, therefore, eluded the net which the Camel Corps, operating from El Afweina, had set for him.  The Officer Commanding the Somaliland Field Force at once decided to give chase, and I took immediate steps to arrange the most effective co-operation by the Air Force in this plan." Ends
Read more in PDF : The RAF expedition to Somaliland and the bombing of the Mullah at Medeshi
Slightly condensed from London Gazette by Medeshi
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