The documentary somewhat simplified the story. For a good account read Mimi and Toutou go Forth by Giles Foden. Spicer Simson was beached before the war when the destroyer he was commanding ran down a liberty boat - hence the desk job. He got to command the expedition because he could speak both German and French fluently, had some African experience and was expendable. His propensity to wear skirts was quite well known but it was his habit of using a long cigarette holder that drew more scorn - this being regarded as effeminate, His tattoos of snakes on each arm were also regarded as not the done thing for a naval officer. On the expedition he was accompanied by a pet Chimp called Josephine.
Contrary to the documentary he was not liked by the men under his command being too autocratic and boastful. Respect plummeted further when he looted a gold ring from a dead German officer.
When the Rhodesia regiment reached the lake a sizeable force of German troops were trapped in a lakeside port - the Germans hoped to evacuate them in a fleet of Dhows. The British flotilla spotted these vessels but Spicer Simson refused to attack and the German forces were able to get away under cover of darkness. The commander of the Rhodesian forces 'blew a gasket' and not long afterwards Spicer Simson was relieved of command and shipped home on medical grounds.
The scuttled German gun boat was re-floated and repaired and served as a lake steamer for many decades.
Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)
Last edited by MarkV; 25 Aug 17 at 06:28..