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An Askari of the 1st (Nyasaland) Battalion, King's African Rifles
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An Askari of the 1st (Nyasaland) Battalion, King's African Rifles

Mid 20th Century

Measurements: 52cm (20.2in) x 38cm (15in)



Watercolour and pastel on paper.  The subject stands full-length in khaki uniform, with bare feet against an azure blue sky. Signed ‘M.M.’ lower right for Maurice McLoughlin (1916-1970).  Image size: 37cm (14.5in) x 24cm (9.25in). Framed and glazed.

The tall black fez distinguishes this Askari as belonging to the 1st, or Nyasaland, Battalion of the King’s African Rifles. - the multi-battalion British colonial regiment raised in East Africa from 1902 and which, during the First World War, gave distinguished service in the East African campaign against von Lettow-Vorbeck.

The present work almost certainly relates to a group of seven by McLoughlin in National Army Museum (NAM 2001-07-39 through 46) that belonged to Lt-Col. J.E.E. Galbraith, D.S.O., Royal Fusiliers and 1st Kings African Rifles, who in 1916 participated in the operations of the Nyasaland-Rhodesia Field Force, and was mentioned in despatches for his services in command of ‘D‘ Company, 1 K.A.R. at Kasoa.

Two humorous cartoons also by McLoughlin, and ex Galbraith, are also in the N.A.M. One, depicting an officer visiting a fortune teller, who sees his future as a bowler hat and a crocodile hanging from the ceiling, dates to circa 1940. At this time McLoughlin was the illustrating Basil Boothroyd’s Home Guard Goings-on, published in 1941 by Punch and the featuring comedic scenes involving the likes of Colonel Galbraith and his ilk. Besides working as illustrator and cartoonist for Punch and other magazines in the 1930s and 40s, McLoughlin was also the scriptwriter of several seasonal Billy Bunter West End stage shows in the 1950s and early 60’s.