Friday, 14 May 2010
O'Mahoney's Landing, Gambia.
O'Mahoney had established a small landing along the river Gambia in 1927 in order to trade the local peanut crop. Hard work had paid off and his business had grown providing him with a comfortable life style. But O'Mahoney had traded more than peanuts and gossip suggested that his peanut operations were simply a front for more dubious commercial arrangements.
Certainly guns and alcohol were being brought into the area and were viewed by many as a very dangerous combination that could risk the delicate social and political balance of the area. The vast majority of the population was Muslim, despite the establishment of St Bartholomew's Anglican Missionary Training School in the region.
Concerned at the increased use of alcohol by the locals an uneasy alliance had developed between both Anglican and Muslim clerics aimed at trying to stamp out the supply. Despite some success the supply was never stopped. With the developing prosperity in the region Europeans arrived to find work and perhaps freedom from the economically depressed Western World. What they found was a melting pot of humanity, heat and hard work. What began to grow was a feeling that there must be a better way to live. Slowly political discussions developed into talks of Republicanism based upon both Socialist and even Communist principals.
O'Mahoney began to grow concerned at the way things were developed. As did the church leaders. Overnight old enemies became uneasy friends frust together by a common fear that their world could fall apart due to a new threat. Communism. This uneasy alliance worked hard to try and control its areas of influence supported by both the political and law inforcement representatives of His Majesty's Government.
However constitutional issues in the Mother Country which soon becam a civil war created greater concern. All areas of local government were run down as many returned to England. O'Mahoney saw that he must move quickly to replace the veneer of control. Quickly he created a BUF unit from local like minded traders and recruited drunkered, bullyboys and opportunists to both control the region and help develop his commercial empire.
Tensions continued to grow as his boys swaggered through town and village indulging in petty crime and brutal repression of any unacceptable political views. Religious leaders warned O'Mahoney that the situation could explode at any moment and they were right. On a hot Wednesday afternoon two BUF patrolled O'Mahoney's landing. They had been drinking and although nobody was quite sure what was said their attitude was threatening and rude. An argument began with one of the white workers wives and threats followed. Shots were fired from both sides and the BUF made an escape down river in a steam Launch.
The fire had begun. As if by magic weapons that had been collected and hidden away by the white workers were brought out of storage. Defences were erected and copies of Karl Marx's Manifesto brandished. O'Mahoney's Landing was now a Communist strongpoint.
O'Mahoney greeted the news with a certain pleasure. Now he could act with all force and his enemies, previously hidden, had placed themselves like rats in a trap. He gathered his forces. Church leaders agreed to support his actions and Inspector Cameron agreed to act as soon as he could muster his depleted forces.
Two days later O'Mahoneys Coalition forces surrounded the Landing. Scouts looked down from the cover of the jungle at the defenders. The British Civil War had come to Gambia.