Catalogue description Colonial Office: Military Original Correspondence

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Details of CO 820
Reference: CO 820
Title: Colonial Office: Military Original Correspondence

This series consists of files from the series produced by a unified system of military registration introduced in the Colonial Office in 1927 and which continued until 1951.

From 1927 to 1938, the files relate principally to two colonial military forces: the King's African Rifles and the Royal West African Frontier Force. From 1939 there is also correspondence relating to other African colonial forces, including local defence forces in East and West Africa, and the Northern Rhodesia Regiment (formed in 1933 and formerly the Northern Rhodesia Police). After 1940 there is correspondence on military matters in British colonies and protectorates outside Africa.

Date: 1927-1951

Chronological order

Related material:

For earlier correspondence relating to the WAFF see CO 445

For earlier correspondence relating to the KAR see CO 534

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 77 files and volumes
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Unpublished finding aids:

For registers to this correspondence see CO 871

Administrative / biographical background:

The Royal West Africa Frontier Force (RWAFF) was responsible for the defence of The Gambia, Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. The force was formed as the West Africa Frontier Force (WAFF) in 1897, and was a regular military force. It took the title 'Royal' in April 1928.

The King's African Rifles (KAR) were formed on 1 January 1902 from various local regiments, and were responsible for the defence of British colonies and protectorates in East Africa, initially Nyasaland, Kenya, Uganda, British Somaliland, and later Tanganyika Territory and Zanzibar. Each colony was responsible for recruiting and maintaining its own battalions. In 1931 the regiment was divided into Northern and Southern Brigades.

Initially the two regiments had separate inspector generals, but in September 1931 the appointments of inspector generals for the KAR and RWAFF were combined into one post; the Inspector General of African Colonial Forces.

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