Buy the Book

This handsome book is 416 pages long and contains 145 photos, many maps, illustrations and line drawings – see the Flyer.

The First Edition hardback On Call in Africa (ISBN 978-0-9931382-0-1) may be purchased at 71.5% discount to the retail price for 9.99 GBP from the publisher including UK 1st class postal delivery

For customers in UK including first class postage:

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For customers in Europe please add 7.50 GDP for post and packaging:

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For worldwide locations such as Americas, Australasia, Africa please add 15.00 GDP for post and packaging:

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Please contact with any queries including

As stated in recent reviews (see further below):

“the book smells of Africa and I couldn’t put it down”

“for anyone interested in the Great War and the history of colonial medicine, this is a ‘must read.’ (Excellent value too!)”

“an intricate and insightful memoir, which serves not only as a rich historical resource, but as a fascinating personal narrative, this memoir is a must-have for anyone interested in/studying WW1 and Africa”

Please do not hesitate to email with any questions.

In addition to direct purchase from this website, above, the book may be purchased from Amazon UK and (Gillyflower Publishing).

The book may be purchased from the UK National Archives Bookshop in Kew, London, or from The National Archives online.

The book may be ordered at UK bookstores , via ISBN electronic book orders or via Gardners, a book wholesaler.  

The book is available at Waterstones bookstores and online.

For readers in North America, the book is available and in stock at the National World War 1 Museum (Kansas, USA) bookshop and online.

Kindle and iBook  editions are available worldwide at lower cost and delivered instantly.

The ebook is also available from Overdrive so please recommend to your local or university library.

Many who read the book go on to order additional copies to give to friends linked with or interested in this fascinating period, people, places and events.  Please think ahead!

Please do not hesitate to email for any help or questions.

All comments and feedback are gratefully received and highly useful for others interested in this book and period of early 20th century East African history.

Comments may be submitted directly at the bottom of this page, or by email to

Thank you for your active support for this website and the On Call in Africa project.

Amazon Reviews

5 Stars ***** On Call in Africa’ is an intricate and insightful memoir … Diversity House

‘On Call in Africa’ is an intricate and insightful memoir, which serves not only as a rich historical resource, but as a fascinating personal narrative. I am working for a charity called Diversity House, and we are using ‘On Call’ as a learning resource for both primary and secondary schools. The children from all ages are fascinated by the content!
Revealing unique facts and observations about the East African campaign, as well as never-before-seen photos, this memoir is a must-have for anyone interested in/studying WW1 and Africa.

5 Stars ***** You can skim it or delve into it, its a book which can be read on many levels, each one fascinating. Mrs M R Van den Broucque 

This book brings to life the pioneering spirit of our fore-fathers, something that is easily forgotten in these days when we take so many of our comforts for granted. Dr Jewell’s diaries of his life in the Seychelles, his time during WWI in East Africa and subsequent experiences as a Doctor in Kenya provide us with an honest account, no frills and no pretensions, of what life was like in those days. For me, personally, it was interesting to see the parallels between colonial life in East Africa and South America. It illustrates so clearly what hardships our grandparents encountered as they made their way in life during those times, all borne with stoicism and quietly accepted, getting on with the job in hand and making the most of the resources to hand. It is a very entertaining and easy read, but there are copious footnotes to explain the context and historical issues for those who are looking for more depth or to carry out more research on the various fascinating subjects which Dr Jewell mentions. It is truly a fascinating insight and one has to admire the courage and strength of this man, to say nothing of his inspiring wife, Sydney Auchinleck. Well done to the family for putting together such a fitting tribute to their grandparents and thank you for a great read.
5 Stars *****  I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual book S.J. Gillam
I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual book the core of which is provided by Norman Jewell’s vivid personal memoirs. Beginning as a captain in the British Army, he chronicles his experiences in the East African campaign and his work as a medical officer under the most challenging of conditions. He survives life-threatening experiences to look back in an affectionate and respectful way upon those he worked with and for. Painstakingly compiled from diaries and richly illustrated, the book captures the finest details of his working life and war experiences in an engagingly modest way. I listened to his authentic voice with something approaching envy for few of us can live such rich lives. Norman Jewell was plainly a remarkable man but I was grateful to learn something of his wife Sydney and her family also. For anyone interested in the Great War and the history of colonial medicine, this is a ‘must read.’ (Excellent value too!).
5 Stars *****   A Time Well Remembered Ken Doe

Magnificent chronicle of life in East Africa, from before the first war until 1932 seen through the eyes of the remarkable Doctor Norman Parsons Jewell and his very talented wife Sydney Elizabeth. The memoirs from diaries and photos from that period are first rate. The book smells of Africa. Having lived around places mentioned brought back so many memories so the book is especial interesting to old ex-pats and folks conversant with East Africa. It smelt of Africa and I couldn’t put it down.

5 Stars *****   A remarkable book  Sarah Hook

This is a remarkable and beautifully produced book. Norman Jewell was one of those heroic men of that time, it is full of fascinating photographs, remarkable detail and painstakingly researched, his family have done him great credit in publishing these memoirs. Totally undaunted he risked injury and death from warfare, battled hunger, recurrent dysentery and bouts of malaria and just kept on going. Part 3 gives a fascinating account of his equally remarkable wife who richly deserves a book of her own! Wonderful book. I thoroughly recommend to anyone.

5 Stars *****   WW1 in Africa and post war Kenya memoir  Anonymous

Excellent book with good referencing and explanatory notes. Unique record from diaries and national archives of the medical services in WW1. 145 original photo plates make this a good buy.

5 Stars *****  A doctor’s outstanding memoirs about life in the Seychelles and East Africa a century or so ago  Alan Bateman

‘On Call in Africa’ joins a distinguished list of books and memoirs about various aspects of life, people and events in East Africa over the last century and more – but this book stands out from the crowd in several ways.

First, Dr Norman Jewell’s notes and diaries are evocatively written with a moving immediacy and a telling eye for detail. From his early days and medical qualification in Ireland to four years in the Seychelles and then on to the ‘meat’ of the book, his full military involvement in the East African campaign of 1914-1918 – which to many might have seemed like a side-show to The Great War in Europe but which had its own character and horrors for those involved – his words and insights grip and move us in equal measure…. See more Alan Bateman Amazon review

25 thoughts on “Buy the Book

  1. The book has arrived for which many thanks. I have had a brief look at the map and the route followed seems to be much the same as my father’s regiment. I shall look forward very much to reading it.


  2. I had a long chat and subsequent correspondence with your brother David at your father’s funeral. I recounted how in the 1970s your father showed me your Grandfather’s Diaries of his time with the army in the East African campaign in WW1 and I told him what a wonderful Primary Historical Source it was and should be published!
    I am so pleased it has been. The additional accounts of life in the Seychelles and Kenya in the early twentieth century are most interesting.
    I also thought the book was extremely well researched and a great deal of hard work has gone into it.
    Congratulations to all the family participants.


  3. A compelling read.
    Born and brought up in Kenya a generation later I found all parts of this book utterly fascinating. Apart from learning a lot of interesting history – such as the hardships of WW1 fighting in East Africa – I greatly enjoyed the many amusing anecdotes of life in places I knew well such as Nakuru, Mombasa and Nairobi.
    The detailed and incredibly well researched notes at the end of each chapter were most helpful, and the photographs excellent. A book most definitely worth re-reading!
    I found it best to read the ebook on an iPad rather than my Kindle so as to be able to enlarge the journal notes, maps and photographs.


  4. On Call in Africa provides a unique insight into life in the Seychelles and East Africa from 1910 to the early 1930’s, through the words of Dr Norman Jewell. Dr Jewell was sent as a Medical Officer to the Seychelles in 1910 before leaving his family there, to fight for the British against the Germans in East Africa during the First World War. Following the war, Dr Jewell became a Medical Officer in Kenya, bringing his family there in 1920. His understated but detailed descriptions of daily life and the range of situations he experienced make for captivating reading – dealing with epidemics, accidents and unknown maladies all with fairly limited resources and remedies. There are also hair-raising encounters with native animals, long and arduous car and train journeys to care for patients, both locals and expats, and amusing descriptions of characters he encountered in the various social events and activities. His sense of humour, and empathy with all whom he encountered and his tireless devotion to his duties as Medical Officer are writ large. The wonderful photographs, that accompany the book. mostly taken by Norman, bring to life the colourful descriptions in the text. The detailed notes at the end of each chapter, bibliography and cross references to the official war diaries add a depth to the entertaining read that are Norman’s reminiscences. The chapter on Norman’s wife Sidney Auchinleck was enlightening, a high achieving woman of her time, who devoted her life to supporting Norman in his work. It would be interesting to learn more about the experiences of this strong and intelligent woman during this time. A great read and highly recommended.


  5. [the book contains] an impressive amount of background and references – which make fascinating reading. I have always had an interest in EA history – helped by our frequent moves / postings – we had some years in Tanganyika, as it was, with time at a remote boarding school in southern Tanganyika etc – so can relate to much of the content and places.

    I love the lines —-“Wind in the trees, blow back another page, Shew me Mombasa on a summer’s night…..” – the indelible touch of the country we lived in – (remember the line …I had a farm in Africa…….?)


  6. [the book] provides the reader with the nitty gritty, fundamental jobs behind the scenes of the postings and battles that Dr Jewell and his No 3 East African Field Ambulance Unit were involved in; from Kisumi, Kitchwa Tembo Fort (October 1915), Bura (now Ng’ambwa), Mashoti (or Mwashoti), the desolate cantonment at Maktau, to the battles and skirmishes at Salaita Hill (February & March 1916) all the way down the Panganie River to Korogwe (June 1916). Here, to his surprise is an interesting rebuff to reports of the Germans’ mistreatment of Allied civilian Prisoners or War. Jewell records the comments by Nurse MG Burns, who had been captured at the outbreak of war and was found working in the German hospital at Korogwe, was how well she had been treated by them.

    Rhino Link magazine of the Kings African Rifles review Rhino Link October 2016


  7. What an interesting life NPJ had, the whole Jewell family must be proud to have him as one of their ancestors. The whole book is very interesting, doubly so for me who lived many years in Kenya and the rest of East Africa. I still have the obituary cutting I kept of NPJ’s son, the submariner Captain Bill Jewell.


  8. I’ve received the book, and did a flip through it. I am so excited to read it! You did a great job of laying out photographs in small sections, instead of one lump in the middle like other books. The photos themselves are great quality. I love it all. You’ve made a book that is good for both flipping and for reading. Now I shall read and consume it all. It is very good quality, and worth more than every penny.


  9. Delighted to receive your very impressive looking tome – beautifully published and a stirling read – about Norman Parsons Jewell and his role in a part of Africa I knew little about.

    And also the very interesting chapters about Sydney Elizabeth (Nee Auchinkleck) Jewell and her days at TCD. She was a real trailblazer and poet! And I’ve enjoyed her way of seeing through that artistic lens…


  10. I am really looking forward to reading this book.
    I am a retired SRN trained in the mid 70s at The London Hospital Whitechapel.
    I was born in Dodoma Tanzania in 1955, lived in Dar Es Salaam, Moshi, Morogoro and other regions of Tanzania. My father worked for the British Government building roads all over Tanganyika.
    My family are from the Seychelles and maternal grandparents lived on Praslin and am sure knew of Dr. Jewell.
    Last year I met a lady by the name of Maggie Von Lettow from Nairobi who is the daughter of Paul Emil Von Lettow.
    My father also wrote his memoirs and mentions the German invading East Africa.
    So all in all I was delighted to find this book.


  11. The book arrived today, May 12th, in perfect order, and what a magnificent read it looks to be with my wife and I already bookmarking places in it.


  12. Your book has arrived and looks splendid – a much more extensive work than I had expected and having all those pics is a great idea. I shall look forward to reading it very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am in awe of the published “On Call in Africa”. I have yet to sit down and read it, but on having a brief thumb through I am astounded at the amount of research that you have all put in. I am particularly pleased that in Part 3 some of Sydney’s poems have been included. It would have been a shame if her prowess in this area had been overlooked. So congratulations to you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is a very rich legacy difficult to match.
    I am fascinated by the lives of those who lived in extraordinary times and embraced them fully. Those who mix life with History in a way that makes it hard to find the nuanced contour that separates both.
    I am impressed by Sydney and glad tribute is paid to her in the book; she definitely deserves this recognition.
    I like her poems. The nostalgia of Africa. The warmth. The constant overwhelming presence of nature. Splendor and beauty that nurtures a unique peace and sense of belonging to a universe that is bigger than us.
    The wind in the trees- oh! Gentle wind blow softly through my dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Have just received your beautiful book. It looks to be just what I was hoping for. I believe my mother was acquainted with John in Mombasa – she had some of his books. There will be lots of East African history in the book, which I’m looking forward to. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roddy, very happy to hear the book arrived safely and it is great to hear of your connections with Mombasa. I hope you will greatly enjoy happy hours reading and browsing the book and photos, and reminiscing on the events and times past in East Africa!


  16. I hope others who encounter On Call in Africa in War and Peace 1910-1932 find it as eye-opening, rewarding and enjoyable as I did… The #WW1 #Africa jigsaw has had another piece fall into place…

    Liked by 1 person

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