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Photographs taken in the Bechuanaland Protectorate [i.e. Botswana]

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y30549A

Scope and Contents

A small album containing snapshots measuring approximately 65 x 40 mm., with handwritten captions beneath the prints. The captions have been recorded as found and may contain offensive, inappropriate or outdated terms. They have been retained to reflect the context of the collection's creation. Captions supplied by the cataloguer are enclosed in square brackets. Most of the photographs in the album, which show life on the trek, in the ‘Melon Country,’ Damara refugees and hunting scenes, appear to date from the first two years of Hodson’s time in the Bechuanaland Protectorate Police.


  • Creation: 1904 - 1910


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Sir Arnold Wienholt Hodson was born in Bovey Tracey, Devonshire, in 1881. He was the eldest son of Algernon Hodson and Sarah Wienholt. Hodson spent the years 1900-2 sheep farming in central Queensland and came to South Africa as a volunteer with the Australian contingent for the South African War. By the time he arrived however, the war had ended and Hodson, deciding to stay in the country, was employed in a number of temporary jobs (among them working down the Treasury Mine in Johannesburg and road-building with the Pretoria Public Works Department). In 1904 he was offered a commission in the Bechuanaland Protectorate Police and the photographs in this album date from this time. His first trip into the Kalahari on hut tax collection duty entailed a journey from Gabarones to Lehututu via Kokong on which he set out on August 15 1904. A second trek, from Lehututu to Oghe in the ‘Melon Country’ was undertaken in October of that year in the company of a trader named Leroux (see Y30549A/5). Early in 1905 Hodson was sent to relieve the officer in charge of Fort Gabarones who had been taken ill and on April 27 1905 he received orders from Resident Commissioner Ralph Williams to investigate the Damara refugee situation at Lehututu.

The oppressive nature of German rule in South West Africa, together with the great rinderpest epidemic of 1896-7 which had largely destroyed the economic foundations of the Herero (Damara) peoples, led to the rebellion in 1904. The German response was a military campaign under the command of Lother von Trotha which followed a pattern of encirclement and extermination. Armed refugees crossed the border into Bechuanaland and Hodson’s job was to isolate these groups (many of whom were suffering from smallpox), disarm them and prevent an act of aggression against Germany on Britain’s part. The Herero under Samuel Maherero were allowed to settle near Tsau in 1905 and other groups settled near Nokaheng a year or so later.

On leaving Bechuanaland, Hodson spent the years 1912-26 in various military and consular posts in Somaliland and Abyssinia. He was Governor of the Falkland Islands 1926-30, of Sierra Leone 1930-4 and Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Gold Coast 1934-41.


1 album(s) (1 album)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The album itself has suffered some flood damage but the photographs have not been affected, and are in generally good condition.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented to the Royal Empire Society by Sir Alexander Harris, June 1944.

Existence and Location of Copies

This file is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche number 151.


For a description of Sir Arnold Weinholt Hodson's time in the Bechuanaland Protectorate between 1904 and 1910,which includes many of these prints, see: Hodson, Arnold Weinholt (1912), 'Trekking the great thirst: travel and sport in the Kalahari Desert,' London: T.F. Unwin.

Hodson, Arnold Weinholt (1922),’ An elementary and practical grammar of the Galla or Oromo language’, London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

Hodson, Arnold Weinholt (1927), ‘Seven years in southern Abyssinia,’ London: T. Fisher Unwin.

Hodson, Arnold Weinholt (1929), ‘Where lion reign; an account of lion hunting & exploration in S.W. Abyssinia,’ London, Skeffington & Son, Ltd.


This item level description was entered by NE and MJC using information from the original typescript catalogue.

Date information

DateText: The dates are approximate..


Hodson, Sir, Arnold Wienholt, 1881-1944, Knight, Colonial Governor, Explorer

Includes index.
2006-09-21 16:34:40+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom