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Major General F. J Loftus-Tottenham | by Mike Bkr
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Major General F. J Loftus-Tottenham

Theres a news article in the album that says Tottenham (nicknamed ''Black Tarantula'') was Irish and had three sons who were all Gurkhas. One was killed at 'Casino', another served with 6th Gurkhas, and the other served with the 'Sherwoods' in India.


These photos are from an album given to my Grandad by his uncle who served with the 81st West African Division as an officer. The troops were mostly West Africans who served under British officers.


''The Badge of this unit was a Black Tarantula Spider on a Yellow Circular background (in West African folklore the Spider always comes out on top).


This Formation was the first Division ever to be formed from units of the West African Frontier Force, it was made up of the Troops from each of the Four African Colonies, it was assembled in Nigeria in March 1943, & was dispatched to India in August 1943, one Brigade was sent to help form part of Wingate's Chindits in Long Range Penetration.


In December 1943 the Division crossed the hills into the Kaladah Valley & Operated on the Left Flank of the Main Force, thereby becoming part of the Biggest Formation to be supplied wholly by Air.


In the following year it again Advanced down the Kaladah Valley & took part in the successful assault on Myowaung, & helping the "Fourteenth Army" in it's hard fought Battles that led to the Liberation of Burma.''




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Taken on December 29, 2008