R.J. Armes

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(b. Kings Lynn, Norfolk, 17/03/1876 – d. Colchester, Essex, 15/04/1948). Soldier. In the S.A. Pictorial of 29 April 1922, a Col. R.J. Armes is credited as making an appearance as the Ship’s Captain in the African Film Productions version of H. De Vere Stacpoole’s novel The Vulture’s Prey (1922), directed by Dick Cruikshanks and William Bowden. He is probably Col. Reginald John Armes, who was the Officer Commanding ‘A’ Company of the Prince of Wales (North Staffordshire) Regiment during World War I. He is especially remembered for a letter he wrote to his wife, Eleanora, on Christmas Eve 1914 while serving on the Western Front. In it Armes describes a cease fire that he arranged with a German officer that was to last till midnight on Christmas Day, a period during which not a single shot was fired and there was some fraternization between the two opposing sides. It is known that a Colonel Reginald John Armes came to South Africa three times, namely in 1919, 1921 and 1924, though he may already have been in South Africa with the North Staffordshire Regiment during the Anglo-Boer War. It is therefore quite possible that he was in the country when The Vulture’s Prey was shot, which was some two years before its eventual release. After he left military service, Armes went into shipping and joined Alfred Holt & Co., the firm that operated the Blue Funnel line. The two ships that brought him to South Africa in 1921 and 1924 were the Anchises and the Ulysses respectively, both Blue Funnel vessels. (The caption to a photograph in the S.A. Pictorial makes specific reference to his military rank.) (FO)

(Note: Interestingly, when his first South Africa-bound ship, the Llanstephan Castle, left England on 2 July 1919, another passenger on board was the South African Prime Minister, General Louis Botha)


S.A. Pictorial, 29 April 1922


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