Riled up Rhinos

Riled up Rhinos

On the eve of World War 2 I joined the King’s African Rifles (KAR). At Isiolo a thorn-bush covered hillside to the west had been set aside as a field firing range where the troops used live ammunition. One unit set out the targets – white six-inch square steel plates – and another unit later went into the area shooting at every plate they saw. At the end the plates were collected and a count made: how many bullets fired and how many hits registered.

On one occasion my unit, “D” Company of the 1st KAR, set out the steel plates. “A” Company of the 5th battalion went in to shoot them up. The troops formed a long line abreast across the slope on the bare hillside and advanced, rifles ready. Firing soon started and gradually increased in intensity. The shooting suddenly stopped and the line of troops galloped out of the bush with six very irate rhinos charging after them! On reaching open ground, the annoyed rhinos paused, snorted and pawed the ground before trotting off. That ended field firing for the day.

Karl Johansen, taken from a family history called Ujamaa Wetuwritten by Anne Freeman Robertson (nee Johansen) and edited by Jeanette Anne Robertson, New Brunswick, Canada.