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Seven: Company Sergeant-Major Katapoli

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Estimate: £1,200 - £1,400
ca. US$1,866 - US$2,177
Price realised:  £2,200
ca. US$3,422
Lot number 1396, Views: 61

Seven: Company Sergeant-Major Katapoli, King’s African Rifles Ashanti 1900, no clasp, high relief bust (696 Pte. Katapoli, 2nd C. African Regt.); Africa General Service 1902-56, 3 clasps, Somaliland 1902-04, Jidballi, East Africa 1913-14 (696 Cpl. Katapoli, 2nd K.A. Rif.); 1914-15 Star (113 Cpl. Katopola, 2/K.A.R.); British War and Victory Medals (113 CSM Katapola 2/KAR); Army Meritorious Service Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (113 C.S. Mjr. Katapoli. 2/K.A.R.); King’s African Rifles L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., 1st issue (113 C.S. Mjr. Katapoli. 2/K.A.R.) contact marks, otherwise nearly very fine or better and a rare group (7) £1200-1400 Footnote M.S.M. London Gazette 3 June 1919. One of only 19 M.S.M’s awarded for war services to any of the six K.A.R. (Nyasaland) battalions in existence at the war's end. It is very unusual to obtain documents relating to any native soldier who has served the British Empire in Colonial times. The documents of C.S.M. Katapoli prove the exception. Despite inaccuracies and omissions, compounded by errors in copied clerical documents, it has been possible to piece together with some accuracy, the life and times of Katapoli. Katapoli was born in 1877 in the village of Naliwanda in the foothills near Zomba mountain and was brought up during a time when Arab slavers were extremely active and inter-tribal fighting was commonplace. When the 2nd Battalion of the Central Africa Regiment was formally raised in early 1899 Katapoli was one of the early recruits. He was a short stocky twenty two year old, just under 5'5", and assigned to 'A' Coy. at Fort Lister. Incredibly within three months of joining he was on the high seas, having embarked with his battalion at Chinde in Portuguese East Africa. The battalion was posted for garrison duties to the island of Mauritius in order to relieve the 2nd King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry for service in South Africa. After only 7 months the regiment was posted to Berbera and Sheikh in British Somaliland, becoming the first African Troops to serve there and where the ‘Mad Mullah’ had begun his twenty year jihad with British Authority. It was here that Katapoli was to complete his musketry training. The next shock came five months later in late July 1900 when Lt.-Col. Brake D.S.0. was ordered to take half the battalion, or 4 companies, including 'A' Coy to the Gold Coast, for the Ashanti campaign. In his first action at Jachi, Katapoli was involved in a bayonet charge involving 60 enemy dead and the death of a Senior War Captain. A further two actions followed before the decisive battle of Obassa on 30 September 1900, his company having before first reached Kumassi, the Ashanti capital on the 1 September. This has been described as a hard fought victory over a courageous enemy. Early in 1901, Katapoli was one of 40 men of the 2nd Battalion to return to British Central Africa with the 1st Battalion C.A.R., thus missing the Gambia Expedition, in which the remainder of his battalion took part. After four separate sea voyages to East Africa, West Africa and Mauritius, he began 3 months well deserved leave. He stayed in B.C.A. attached to 1/C.A.R. until the return of his battalion from the Gambia. During 1902 the Central Africa Regiment was renamed the Kings African Rifles (Nyasaland). Thus his Battalion became 2/K.A.R. In November 1902, Katapoli was once again in Somaliland with the 2nd Battalion, taking part in the second and third expeditions. By good fortune he just missed the disastrous action at Gumburu, where, in April 1903, 'A' Coy his former Coy and 'C' Coy were wiped out with the loss of nine British officers. He also missed the action at Darratoleth five days later. He was subsequently stationed at a place called Gaffero, well inland. On 6 January 1904, Katapoli took part with 'B' Coy at the battle of Jidballi, in which they suffered casualties. Thereafter he was involved in operations in north-eastern Somaliland, bordering on Italian Territory. In July 1904, after a stop-o

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Dix Noonan Webb
Title: Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (16 & 17 September 2010)
Date of the auction: 16 Sep 2010 - 17 Sep 2010
Address: Dix Noonan Webb
16 Bolton St, Mayfair
W1J 8BQ London
United Kingdom
[email protected] · +44 (0)20 7016 1700 · +44 (0)20 7016 1799