Name ID 1001
Miller, Charles Battle for the Bundu: The First World War in East Africa
Page Number: 332b
Extract Date: 1958
The last decade of von Lettow's life witnessed few if any signs of senility. Visitors to his home in Hamburg-Altona inevitably remarked on the general's bright eye, his steel-trap mind, his crystal-clear recollection of the old campaigns and all their details. He even enjoyed a half-joking flirtation by mail with an elderly Danish baroness whom he had met in 1913 when both were passengers on the same ship for Africa-he bound for the German colony, she for the British. Von Lettow had given the young woman an autographed picture of himself. When the war broke out and she took four ox-wagons to the border with supplies and ammunition for the East Africa Mounted Rifles (no white men were available for the mission), she also carried the photograph as insurance-should she be captured by a Schutztruppe patrol. In 1958, the author Isak Dinesen visited von Lettow and told him of the trek she had made to the border. She also said that she regretted not having kissed him when she left the ship at Mombasa, and that, with his wife's permission, she would do so now. Two years later, on von Lettow's 90th birthday, she sent him flowers and wrote that another kiss was enclosed. Von Lettow replied that she would have to deliver the next one personally.