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Uganda: World War I
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Military History > World War I


World War I transformed Uganda's military establishment. Its personnel grew from 1,058 to 8,190. Emergency legislation upgraded the Fourth Battalion to a regiment. Former Fourth Battalion personnel became part of the new Uganda Regiment, which eventually comprised six battalions. By the end of World War I, 16,000 Africans had served in the KAR and 178,000 had worked as laborers in the carrier corps, primarily in East Africa. The British government awarded decorations to 155 soldiers and mentioned the valor of many others in dispatches to the crown. Casualties in the Uganda Regiment included 225 deaths in battle or as the result of injuries; in addition, 1,164 died from disease and at least 760 were wounded.

Ugandan soldiers saw little action during the interwar years but provided garrison duty on Uganda's northern frontier and at Meru and Lokitaung (both in Kenya). The colonial authorities reorganized the Uganda Regiment several times, however, and reduced its size to about 400. It included two rifle companies, a machine-gun platoon, a marching band, and a battalion headquarters staff at Bombo. In addition, 169 soldiers made up a reserve force.

In 1930 British officials on the Committee of Imperial Defence combined the remnants of the Uganda Regiment with the Third Battalion in Kenya to form the Northern Brigade, headquartered in Nairobi. In the late 1930s, as World War II approached, Uganda's governor, Sir Philip Mitchell, established the Seventh Territorial Battalion to bolster security in Uganda while other troops conducted operations in Kenya. Northern Ugandans dominated the army, although all major ethnic groups were eventually represented in the fighting forces.

Data as of December 1990

Last Updated: December 1990

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Uganda was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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