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Terrys Texas Rangers

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Sabre and Foil Fighting

The Fourth Leonaur Book of Ghost and Horror Stories

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The Lean, Brown Men

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The Lean, Brown Men
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Author(s): Angus Buchanan
Date Published: 2008/06
Page Count: 204
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-481-2
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-482-9

Lean men, brown men, men from overseas,
Men from all the outer world; shy and ill at ease

There were Canadian Mounties, American cowboys, Arctic explorers, adventurers, rogues, big game hunters and sportsmen. There were famous men like Cherry Kearton, the naturalist and explorer and the grand old man of Africa—Frederick Selous himself. All these men had come together under the Union Flag to do battle against colonial Imperial Germany in East Africa. They came under the command of Driscoll of Driscoll's Scouts who performed with renown during the Boer War. These were the men of the 25th Royal Fusiliers—The Legion of Frontiersmen—and their battlegrounds were to be the great plains of Africa rich in wildlife and elemental danger. This is their story through the years of the Great War told by one of their own officers in vivid detail. It is a story of campaigns and hardship which would be equal to the best of them and lay many a 'lean, brown man' in a shallow grave in the red earth before it was concluded.

It was raining in London. It had been raining all day, and for many days previous, and tonight the atmosphere of damp and greyness pervaded the very soul of the city outdoors.<br>
Number Seven platform, at Waterloo Station, was crowded with troops and baggage, about to depart for service with the B.E.F. in East Africa. They had arrived at the station at 6 p.m. At 11 p.m. they were still there grouped about in talkative jollying clusters, apparently indifferent to the delay in entraining.<br>
Everyone knows this type of crowd nowadays, but in this case, and as commonly with men garbed in identical uniform, no one could tell with any accuracy the remarkable variety of character of the men, or the extent of their notability, Joe Robson, who was standing apart—a quiet onlooker—thought: “It is almost a pity that the individual loses his individuality in the army and becomes a stranger in a strange crowd.” What would that group of schoolboys say, and the inquisitive idle crowd in general, if they knew that here in the ranks, beneath the guise of homogeneous khaki, were gathered many men from all the world over? Men who had come to fight for their native land from Honolulu, Hong-Kong, China, Ceylon, Malay States, India, New Zealand, Australia, South and East Africa, Egypt, South America, Mexico, United States of America, and Canada? Men from the very outer edges of the world; in Ogilvie’s words:<br><br>
Lean men, brown men, men from overseas,<br>
Men from all the outer world; shy and ill at ease.<br><br>
Some were men who had taken part in Arctic exploration; others were of the Northwest Mounted Police and of the British South Africa Police; even a cowpuncher or two from under the flag of the U.S.A. were amongst this force of frontiersmen. And there were among them: good sorts, bad sorts, rich sorts, keen sorts, game sorts—all sorts!<br>
Here also, holding the rank of subalterns, were some famous hunters, setting out again on adventure. F. C. Selous, the renowned big-game hunter and naturalist and explorer, was there, and Cherry Kearton, who, like his brother Richard, “shoots” with his camera and has specialised in photographing big game in Africa. Then there were George Outram and Martin Ryan, hailing from divergent corners of our colonies, who were reputed old hunters who knew, by long association, the vast hunting-grounds in Africa, as well as you or I, perhaps, know our grouse moor at home. And, lastly, at the head of all stood Colonel Driscoll, the leader of Driscoll’s Scouts in the South African War.
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