Basil Thal z"l

Basil Thal is listed as the first Jewish soldier from Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to be killed in World War II.

He was serving with the British forces as a member of the Black Watch regiment in Somaliland in the campaigns against the Italians.

The images below tell part of the story of his service and the circumstances of his death – apparently an ambush at night on the 17th August 1940. The battles were described on Wikipedia as “The Italian invasion of British Somaliland (3–19 August 1940) was part of the East African campaign (1940–1941) in which Italian, Eritrean and Somali forces of Fascist Italy entered British Somaliland and defeated its combined garrison of British, Commonwealth and colonial forces supported by Somali irregulars.”  For the full story please visit this page on Wikipedia   or read this PDF file   kindly provided by the Thal family. 

His original grave was moved to the safer location of theHargesia World War II cemetery.

See letters below explaining the circumstances of the move.

May his memory be for a blessing.  יהי זכרו ברוך

Extract from the Bulawayo Centenerary magazine
6 siblings. Basil is on the right of Sheilagh.
Basil's father Maurice Thal
Basil's mother Celia Thal