A monthly publication for the
Rhodesian Services Association Incorporated
Registered under the 2005 Charities Act in New Zealand number CC25203
Registered as an Incorporated Society in New Zealand number 2055431
PO Box 13003, Tauranga 3141, New Zealand.
Secretary’s e-mail email@example.com
Editor’s e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone +64 7 576 9500 Fax +64 7 576 9501
To view all previous publications go to our Archives
Yet another month has flown by and I am behind schedule again – such is life. Please remember that I have a business to run as well as many other commitments, most of which revolve around this Association, and I can never find sufficient hours in the day nor days in the week to do everything that I need to do!
Our financial membership continues to swell. We have exceeded our previous record number of 180. Financial membership does not get you a membership card with discount at the gas station and supermarket. So what does it get you?
For your NZ$10 per annum you have voting rights at our AGM and the right to stand for election on the Committee. In addition you are demonstrating financial support of the Association. We have always set out to keep the subscriptions as low as possible and in doing so we cannot afford to issue membership cards. Nor, owing to our international basis, can we attract support from the business community in order to get discounts etc. for paid up members in the manner that other clubs and associations can. We have over 2,000 subscribers to this newsletter. It would be good if more of you became financial. You can email our Secretary, Chuck Osborne email@example.com for more details.
It was heart-warming to see the number of Rhodesians on parade in this part of the world on ANZAC Day last month. On the surface, there would seem little connection to Rhodesia and Rhodesians with the events that took place at Gallipoli in April 1915 from which the ANZAC alliance and ensuing memorial tradition was formed between New Zealand and Australia. However, it is a fact that Rhodesians, Australians and New Zealanders fought shoulder to shoulder on various occasions in many years preceding Gallipoli.
During the formative period of Rhodesia there were a number of Australians and New Zealanders who saw service there. During the Anglo-Boer War two contingents of New Zealanders landed at Beira, moved by rail to Umtali, then marched to Marandellas where they formed the Rhodesian Field Force and from there marched south to battle.
One of the most notable battles involving Rhodesians and Australians took place in August 1899 at Eland’s River where the vastly outnumbered British forces withstood the superior Boer forces under the command of General De La Rey. It is recorded that in response to Boer demands for surrender, the Rhodesians and Australians shouted back “Rhodesians never surrender” and “Australians never surrender”.
The relief column led by Lord Carrington (which included a core of New Zealanders recently arrived from Rhodesia), got to within canon range and then, for reasons best known to Carrington, decided to leave the Aussies and Rhodesians to the mercy of the Boers and marched off over the horizon. The Eland’s River men were eventually relieved by a force led by General Lord Kitchener. Carrington returned to England a few months later, having received enough white feathers from the Eland’s River defenders to stuff a pillow. Those not familiar with this piece of history will be able to read about this battle in more detail in the forthcoming book Rhodesia Regiment 1899-1981. It is ironic, not to mention disappointing, that a subsequent Lord Carrington was instrumental in the demise of Rhodesia eighty years later.
Recently there have been murmurings in Australia about getting recognition of the New Zealand and Australian alliance “back dated” to the Anglo-Boer War period. I am sure that nothing will change the makeup of the ANZAC Day tradition, but should recognition of the Aussie/Kiwi alliance during the Anglo-Boer War be given more recognition, then I hope that the Rhodesian connection is also remembered. It would mean a lot to those of us who have been welcomed into the two countries, and given the chance to freely parade in public where we remember our mates and ancestors. Adding to this - there is a not insignificant number of men and women who have served in the Australian and New Zealand forces in recent years, who have Rhodesian parents.
Rhodesian Services Association Purpose & Web Links
The Rhodesian Services Association Incorporated is an Incorporated Society as well as a Registered Charity under the New Zealand Charities Act 2005. The purpose of the Association is to provide benefit and education to the community. For detail and disclosure please refer to the opening page of our website www.rhodesianservices.org
We also have a Facebook group which you are welcome to join. We have loaded up a lot of photographs from various events, as well as others from our museum displays. We have found that Facebook is another platform assisting our purpose of preserving Rhodesian history. If you want to find us, search for Rhodesian Services Association on Facebook.
Please use these links on our website www.rhodesianservices.org for the following resources:
Guest Book http://www.rhodesianservices.org/guest-book.htm
Guest Map http://www.rhodesianservices.org/guest-map.htm
Please remember to let us know if you are changing your email address.
The Rhodesian Services Association holds a large Rhodesian flag for use at funerals. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange delivery if required.
From Cherith Roberts:
“Robert (Bob) Whyte, second son of the late Wing Commander Douglas and Vera Whyte; brother to the late Douglas Jnr., husband to Janet and father to James, Kim and Lisa, grandfather to Alex, Nick, Donal and Haydon, passed away suddenly Friday 11th January in the Avenues Clinic, Harare from a massive heart attack.
He was a great man who served as a gunner with 7 Sqn. Rhodesian Air Force and excelled in his job. He was awarded the Military Forces Commendation for bravery.”
From John Cameron-Davies:
This info below was passed to me from The SAS UK:
WO2 Michael McLoughlin known as Tickey, passed away on 16 March 2013. Tickey served with 22 SAS 1951-1953 C Squadron, Malayan Scouts.
Michael ‘Tickey’ McLoughlin was one of the older Staff Corp members. He was an instructor, (I think) at a number of the Drill Halls in and around Rhodesia. He must have been at least 87 when he died.”
ANZAC Day 25th April 2013
An ever increasing number of Rhodesians and their descendants now attend ANZAC Day parades and services around Australia, New Zealand and the adjacent Pacific area.
The focus for the Rhodesian Services Association is the parade at the Hobsonville RSA in Auckland, New Zealand.
This year we had fifty on the march and over eighty at the Rhodesian service held immediately after the main service. Those attending the parade and on the march were a truly representative cross section of Rhodesian Security Forces and civilians. People travelled from far and wide. My car load travelled three hours to get to Hobsonville – but we had nothing on Mark Carshalton who came up from Christchurch in the South Island.
There were a number of notable absences of ‘regulars’ but this was offset in part by the crop of new faces. One new face was Rhodesian born Lee Scott-Donelan who is a serving member of the New Zealand Naval Reserve. It is not often that there is a naval presence in Rhodesian squads! The favourable weather was a bonus for us all.
Waiting to form up, former 6 (Independant) Company Rhodesia Regiment comrades gather.
L-R Rod Schmulian (Medic) Peter van Dyk, Russell Franklin and Martin Knight-Willis MC who was the company 2I/C
(Photo thanks to Peter van Dyk)
Rhodesians on the march (Photo by Marc Norman)
Rhodesians grouped at the front of the congregation during the main service (Photo by Marc Norman)
Russell Franklin having laid the Rhodesian wreath (with Rob Bates), steps back and salutes
(Photo by Mike Boyd-Clark)
After the wreath laying Russell Franklin and Rob Bates march off (Photo by Peter van Dyk)
A section of the Rhodesian Service (Photo by Marc Norman)
A section of the Rhodesian Service (Photo by Marc Norman)
Peter Burridge and Mike Harvey (Photo by Marc Norman)
A section of the Rhodesian Service (Photo by Marc Norman)
The following is the address delivered by Rob Bates (Rhodesian Services Assn. Vice President):
Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Rhodesian Services dedication.
We start by confirming our loyalty to New Zealand. I’ve just completed a trip through Central Otago, and along the way stopped at numerous small country towns and settlements, usually just a general store, café, garage and a couple of houses, but always prominent amongst them, a memorial to the fallen ANZACs. Standing in front of the memorial at Hyde, I imagined almost 100 years ago the soldiers forming up in the street in what is incredibly beautiful country, and marching the short distance down to Hyde Station to board the train to Dunedin. Those whose names I read would never return to this place again. Two things struck me:
· The number of local servicemen that gave their lives – for a small place this would have left a huge hole in the community.
· The sheer distance from this remote corner of the world to a place so far away which those men went to fight and die for with unswerving loyalty.
So today we honour the many ANZAC soldiers who served and gave their lives for New Zealand. We thank the Hobsonville RSA for their kind gesture of hosting us again today.
I would like to give special thanks to Russell Franklin who laid the wreath for us today and I’ll talk more in a moment about our wounded. Thanks Russell.
I’ll turn now to our remembrances of those who have passed away recently.
Before I read the roll, I'd like to introduce Jack Maddox who is going to talk to you about the Memorial Bell, which will form part of our service every year.
Jack, a New Zealander, served with the Fire Service and BSAP Reserve in Rhodesia during the Bush War. The Fire Service faced a war of their own during the 60's and 70's – with no new equipment coming into the country from about 1961. Fire appliances were mainly relics from WWII and Federation days and with Independence, Rhodesia became even more desperate for equipment.
But morale was good and training was kept to a high standard, reflected in December 1978 when the Bulk Storage Oil Depot was set alight by terrorists. Even though there was assistance rushed in from South Africa, the fire was brought under control within a few days and a number of those massive tanks of precious fuel were saved, reflecting the skill and tenacity of the Service.
Jack has the 14 year British Good Conduct bronze medal, the South African 20 year silver medal and bar, and 30 year gold Long Service medal.
I’ll hand over to Jack.
(At this point Jack Maddox spoke of and showed the 25 pounder shell that he is working on, together with Graham Skinner, with the objective of making a Memorial Bell for the Association’s use).
L-R Rob Bates, Jack Maddox (Photo by Marc Norman)
I will now read the roll after which the Memorial Bell will be rung. The names I have are:
Group Captain Peter ‘PB’ Petter-Bowyer - Rhodesian Air Force MLM (Ops), DCD, MFC (Ops) (Died in in England on 8th March 2013)
Major Nigel Norvall - Rhodesia Regiment (Died on the 9th March 2012 in Somerset West, South Africa)
General Keith Coster - (OBE) Commanded the Rhodesian Army from 1968 to 1972. Also SA Air Force (SAAF) (Passed away 6th June 2012)
Mervyn Kluckow (Died 7th April 2012 in Midrand, South Africa).
Pete de Villiers
Wesley Hall – 4th (Manicaland) Battalion Rhodesia Regiment Tracking Unit (Passed away in Beira, Mozambique 12th April 2012)
Des Sharp - Rhodesian Air Force (Died in the Avenues Clinic, Harare, Zimbabwe, after a long illness)
Bill Cornish - Sergeant Major, and finally RSM, 1st Battalion Rhodesia Regiment (Died in Harare 5th May 2012)
Terry Kotze- 1 Cdo RLI (Died in Melville 21st May 2012)
Chris Vind– PATU
Terry Hayes-Hill - Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment from 1950, instructor at Llewellin Barracks and RSM of the 2nd Battalion Rhodesian Defence Regiment at Brady Barracks (Died on 18th June 2012)
François Harel- BSAP Reservist (Died on 12th May 2012)
Bert Freemantle - PMM PLSM. Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry, Parachute Regiment and served at Arnhem then joining the BSA Police where he commanded the new Support Unit (Died on 17th July 2012 in Perth)
Eroll Stainer- Rhodesian Air Force (Died August 24th 2012, when he was hijacked and shot dead on his way to the local shops to buy his morning newspaper)
Valerie ("Val") Tomlinson – wife of Denis Tomlinson in 1939, the son of Col. AJ Tomlinson, Commander of the Rhodesian Native Regiment in World War I and later a Commissioner of the BSAP (Passed away in Fish Hoek on 21st August 2012)
Robert Lindley Strickland - The “Sheriff” of the Rhodesian Government in Exile (RGiE) a group set up as an internet based social network group back in the late 1990’s (Died 3rd January 2012 in the USA)
Viv Wilson – Founder of Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Bulawayo (Died in September 2012)
John "Jack" Redmile– Well respected in farming and the tobacco industry (Passed away 1st August 2012)
John S Woodcock – Ex RAF, BSAP Signals and Rhodesian Corps of Signals (Passed away 29th September 2012)
Marge Hammond - wife of the late JJ who farmed at Doma in Zimbabwe (Passed away 1st October 2012)
Keith Robin Santowski- Garvillan Farm, Norton
Peter Mitchell - former Medic in the Rhodesian Army, several years as the resident Medic at JOC Mtoko – (Died in Rome 2nd October 2012)
Kevin Curran - former Zimbabwe cricket team coach and national team selector (Died 10th October 2012)
Graham Schrag BCR MFC - C Sqn SAS, Rh Sigs, 2RAR, S Inf and HQ 1 Bde (Died in Zurich after a long illness 12th October 2012)
Malcolm Edward Forbes BCR - Company Sergeant Major A Company 4th (Manicaland) Battalion Rhodesia Regiment (Died on 28th October 2012)
Lady Margaret Tredgold (Died at the age of 102, in Chard, Somerset)
Boet Swart - Squadron Leader Rhodesian Air Force commanded the Parachute Training Squadron, 2IC RLI and then 2IC Selous Scouts (Died 19th November 2012)
Iain (Ab) Adamson - 6 Indep Coy (Died 9th November 2012)
Barry Kahn - 2 Cdo RLI (Died in Australia on 5th December 2012)
Alex Cracknell– World renowned Bisley shooting coach Bisley and Service Rifle shottist (Died in Natal 14th December 2012
Joe Wiper - 1Cdo RLI (Died 23rd December 2012)
Mike Simpson - PRAW (Died 24th December 2012)
AJ ‘Chummy’ Rheeders– C Squadron SAS (Malayan Scouts) MOTH (Passed away 7th January 2013)
Gordon (Johnny) Johnston – 6th Battalion Hauraki Regiment in New Zealand then BSAP (Died in Whakatane 7th January 2013)
Robert (Buck) Jones - 4th (Manicaland) Battalion and 5th Battalion Rhodesia Regiment (Died 29th January 2013)
Liam (Bones) Forde – Grey Scouts (Died 27th January 2012)
Daniel (Danie/Darnie) Palmer - Tracker with 1 and 4 Indep Coys and then 4th (Manicaland) Battalion Rhodesia Regiment (Died 25th February 2013)
Rory Hensman – (Died on 26th February 2013)
Mary Walker - Wife of Brigadier (Rtd.) Vic Walker, Chairman of the RAA (UK) (Died on 7th March 2013)
Hamish Smith- world-renowned cattle judge formerly of Nyabira. (Died on 30th March 2013)
There are no doubt other names we don’t know of. We honour them all today and think especially of their families and loved ones.
I’d also like to talk today of those who fought and still suffer the consequences of war so many years on.
Russell, who laid our wreath today, was wounded in action in a mortar attack whilst serving as a National Serviceman with 6 (Independent) Company Rhodesia Regiment in 1976 at Ruwengwe. He was blinded by that injury. In the same incident Trevor Blythe received a severe mortar injury to his neck, and as a result was a quadriplegic for the rest of his life, passing away in Zimbabwe two years ago. David Garvin received a head injury from a mortar fragment, and this resulted in severe brain damage. It was a terrible incident.
Many of us, although we may carry the emotional baggage of war, at least emerged physically fit and healthy.
For Russell and others, this was not so and yet these folks have taken injury and disablement in their stride and simply got on with life and in many cases enjoyed success around the world.
I thought also about the people who fought so hard to save lives and to rehabilitate the injured;the medics on the ground, the base medics, those at Andrew Fleming and other hospitals. I thought of the dedicated staff at St Giles Rehabilitation Centre, and places like it, and also the wonderful work that was done at the Tsanga Lodge.
From the book Tsanga by Heather Powell we read about the excellent rehabilitation centers like St Giles in Salisbury, but Heather talks of “the forgotten ones”, individuals who, after initial rehabilitation, still lived their lives psychologically shattered, as she says “left in the Too Hard Basket they continue to process life through a painful lense”, and that is where Tsanga Lodge came in. She talks of those “who returned from there with new found spirit to tackle life, and patients told they could never do this or that again, who defied the original prognosis.”
Run by Captain Dick Paget and his wife Anne and driven by senior military officers like Major General Derry McIntyre who saw it differently from most in the bureaucracy and saw its unique and probably world-leading role in rehabilitating the injured. In its time under the Paget’s watch, Tsanga Lodge was home to over 600 patients.
To Tsanga, or wherever they went, the wounded have conquered their own particular mountains. Russell runs his own successful software business here in Auckland. Rob Rickards, who I knew from Army days, lost a leg but went on to an extremely successful international flying career. Jimmy Datsun, who I knew, a regular in Engineers (featured in the book Tsanga), also lost a leg but got back into active service as soon as he could.
Didge O’Donnell who suffered serious head injuries faced different challenges, but against all odds went on to work at CABS and has maintained an incredible cheerful spirit which has endeared him to many people around the world. He is a beacon of hope - a triumph-over-adversity if ever there was one. These are just a few of the wounded that we know of. There are many more and many of them still live in Zimbabwe today. They struggle along, without the resources needed to start again in another country.
So today we pay tribute to our wounded who have defied all odds and to the people, as well as their families and friends, who have helped them to do so.
I’ll turn now to our dedication to those who served and died for Rhodesia in War.
In today’s roll I read the name Boet Swart who died at the age of 82 last November. I take the roll mainly from our Newsletter Contact! Contact! and when taking the name, I read the wonderful tribute to Boet from his daughter Nicolette. In that tribute she talks of “a soldier; a man who landed countless times on those sure plains of hell, and thought nothing of giving his life for those that followed”.
Surviving the war he continued to pass on to the next generation “the desirable traits of a soldier - a profound sense of duty and honour, loyalty, discipline, a cool head in volatile situations and, perhaps most importantly, bravery”.
We may not always think so, but we enjoy very privileged lives. So we remember those who did not come home (the ANZACs, the Rhodesians) who gave their lives but still left something special behind - as Nicolette so aptly puts it - “for those that followed”.
Our poem today is A Greeting byPercy Rushton (1916). For the poem and the requiem that follows, I acknowledge Jason Smeaton, great grandson of Percy Rushton.
Tonight my heart is with you
Far away in a distant land
And I long for the day I shall greet you
And clasp your welcome hand
The time seems long and weary
This seems an immortal life
And I know you long for the ending
Of this cruel and bitter strife
But now we've left old ANZAC
Fresh battlefields to find
We'll never forget our comrades
Whom we had to leave behind
They fell in a glorious battle
With their names carved inches deep
Within the world's long history
But gained their lifelong sleep
‘Twas on that rugged ancient land
A brother gave his life
But still he's not forgotten
By others in the strife
Still my thoughts are apt to wonder
And there I picture still
That little mound of gravel
At the foot of a towering hill
'Tis a place called Shrapnel Valley
Where many other brave lads lie
Whose people also mourn them
And their memory shall never die
And so just for conclusion
I'll bid you Au-revoir
Until the war is over
And we both meet again once more.
So let us not forget those who died. Remember them with great pride and affection. Please now stand in silence and during the silence our Sgt will salute those who served Rhodesia. At the end of the silence Jack will sound the bell.
I’ll close with this requiem that features on a plaque at the gateway of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Kanchanaburi on the Thai-Burma Railway. [The actual cemetery is at Kanchanaburi which is near the site of “Kanburi” the former POW camp].
“I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth when I turn back your captivity before your eyes,” saith the Lord.
We will remember them.
Dateline Rhodesia 1890 – 1980
by Gerry van Tonder
Newsflash Headlines +++On 06 May 1890, the Pioneer Column leaves Kimberley for Macloutsie +++ On 05 May 1892, the Moodie Trek sets out for Rhodesia +++ On 31 May 1902, the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging marks the end of the South African War +++ On 24 May 1939, the Otto Beit Bridge spanning the Zambezi River at Chirundu is opened +++ On 24 May 1940, the first Empire Training School for the Royal Air Force is opened in Salisbury +++ On 16 May 1966, Johannes Viljoen and his wife Johanna are murdered by ZANU insurgents on their farm near Hartley +++ On 29 May 1968, the United Nations approves mandatory economic sanctions against Rhodesia +++ On 14 May 1971, petrol rationing, in force since 1965, is lifted +++ On 25 May 1971, the Rhodesian Air Force is granted the Freedom of the City of Salisbury +++ On 31 May 1972, the American Senate votes against re-imposing an embargo on Rhodesian chrome +++ On 01 May 1979, Prime Minister Ian Smith hands over the office of Prime Minister to Bishop Abel Muzorewa +++
In the early afternoon of 27 May 1976, the Forward Air Field (FAF) at Buffalo Range received a request for assistance from ground troops who had closed in on a ZANLA position thought to hold thirteen terrorists. Helicopter K-Cars and Lynxes were deployed from this FAF and the one at Chipinga, and upon reaching the terrorist stronghold, the aircraft encountered heavy ground fire from the insurgents, but the aircraft only sustained minor damage. As a consequence, two Hawker Hunters were requested from the air station at Thornhill, Gwelo, to conduct a rocket attack against the enemy position. The resultant strike by the Red Section Hunters, accounted for five terrorists killed, one wounded and one captured. This action was regarded as the first real success in the newly opened Operation Repulse area.
Alouette IIIs on stand-by (Photo thanks Lewis Walter)
On 31 May 1896, the Bulawayo Field Force (BFF) arrived back in Bulawayo, having spent three weeks in the field fighting amaNdebele rebels. A member of this home-spun field force was the American scout Fred Burnham who, not three years earlier, had narrowly escaped death at the Shangani when ordered by Major Allan Wilson to get urgent assistance from the main column under Major Patrick Forbes. Their last engagement had been in the Insiza Hills on 22 May when, together with the Grey’s Scouts and the Afrikander Corps, they had taken on and defeated the Ingobu Regiment, described by Selous as “one of the best.” Cecil Rhodes, who had by this time also joined the BFF, gave family men permission to go on to Bulawayo, while the rest of the force camped on Sauer’s farm just south of the town. On his way back to his wife, Blanche and daughter Nada, an excited Fred Burnham bought a rag-doll from a store, a gift for his daughter whose second birthday was on that very day of their return. The cheering group of men galloped into the laagered Bulawayo, but Fred’s elation turned to sudden grief as he was told, by fellow American scout Pete Ingram, that his daughter had died on 19 May. In a letter to his close friend Henry Rider Haggard, Nada having been named after a princess in one of this author’s stories, Fred Burnham wrote;
“It does seem this year of ’96 was destined to be dark. For African ambitions and reputations, the brightest are burning to ashes. Our Nada died in laager of inflammation of the lungs, caused by the draughty market buildings into which the women and children were huddled during the siege. On the day of her death, I was making a desperate ride through the Ingobu Regiment and I knew nothing of it until my arrival in Bulawayo. You know the tempest that is raging in my soul.”
The grave of Nada Burnham in the Bulawayo Cemetery. This photo was taken by Alan Bryant who, several months ago, responded to my challenge for him to find Nada’s grave in what was a very neglected and overgrown section. In typical Alan fashion, not only did he find Nada’s grave, but he also renovated the plinth and the headstone. Special thanks to Alan.
What’s in a Name
Many thanks to Nick Baalbergen for submitting this very interesting picture below from the early 1900s of the Shabani mine shaft, the town being mentioned in last month’s column.
Also thanks to Fred Punter (ex-BSAP, whom I have had the honour of marching with in Bedford), for raising a query about the Inspector Sykes of the BSACo Police, mentioned in last month’s column in the same cameo on Shabani. The source of all these little snippets of history about Rhodesian towns and villages, I glean from Robert Cherer Smith’s undated publication, Avondale to Zimbabwe. Fred tells me he can find no trace of Sykes in any of the early records, so it remains a bit of a mystery. Can anyone shed some light on this one?
In 1906, a Postal Agency was opened along the old Pioneer Route, about 37 kms south east of Umvuma. The settlement was named Felixburg, after Felix Possolt who, together with his brother Willie, first visited Mashonaland in mid-1888. Felix Possolt had been given the farm as a pioneer grant, where he eventually settled, from there travelling the country hunting and recruiting mine labour. In August 1889, Willie Possolt was taken to the Acropolis of the Zimbabwe Ruins, where he found four soapstone symbolic bird carvings, one of which he sold to Cecil Rhodes who placed it in his library at Groote Schuur, Cape Town. Two years later, Willie, together with the American scouts Fred Burnham and Pete Ingram, were the first to enter the deserted GuBulawayo ahead of Forbes’ column. The Postal Agency was subsequently transferred to Russell Brown’s Widgeon Farm, where his wife continued to operate the facility after his death, until it was closed in 1965. The area comprises farms and ranches, and carries many small gold deposits.
Situated at the terminus of the railway line south of Bulawayo and on the west bank of the Umzingwane River, is the settlement of West Nicholson. Founded in 1903, it was named after a local prospector, Andy Nicholson. Copper was discovered in the district in 1906, but deposits did not prove to be lucrative. The area is, however, better known for the sprawling 308,750 hectare Liebig’s Ranch which, by 1912, had been stocked with 12,000 beef cattle from South Africa and overseas. With a further addition of pedigree breeding stock from the UK, the herd reached a total of 62,000. In addition to meat extract processing, the West Nicholson plant also processes fruit and vegetables.
The Battle of German Bridge: 30 May 1916
In February 1916, Lt General Jan Christian Smuts accepted command of British and allied forces in East Africa. At 46 years old he was the second youngest general in the British Army, and ironically, it was a scant fifteen years since he was one of the top most wanted by Kitchener’s Army in South Africa. Upon his arrival in Mombasa, he found the German forces under Colonel von Lettow-Vorbeck in strong positions stretching from Kilimanjaro down to the coast, in a land characterised by dense bush and blighted by tropical diseases that affected both man and horse alike. His force was a cosmopolitan mixture of men from Britain, South Africa, the Gold Coast, Nigeria, the West Indies, the Indian sub-continent, East Africa (including askaris and Afrikaner settlers), the Middle East, Belgium, Portugal, and Rhodesia.
Lt General J C Smuts, 1917
During the nineteen months since the outbreak of the war, the Germans had occupied vast swathes of East Africa, recruiting and training a large native army under German officers. Berlin was anxious that von Lettow-Vorbeck hold their colonial territories at all costs, shipping substantial supplies of war materiel into the region. Just prior to Smut’s arrival, the allied forces had advanced on the only natural gap between the Kilimanjaro foothills and the Pare Mountains, with the objective of forcing this strategic gateway into the hinterland. The sentinel that was Salaita Hill, however, stood in their way, as determined German artillery and machine-gun fire effectively repulsed an assault on this outpost, resulting in 103 casualties, including several from the Rhodesia Regiment. With troop morale at a very low ebb and after several days of reconnaissance to find enemy weak spots, Smuts moved his forces in a night-time manoeuvre against the German left flank, forcing the enemy to evacuate their positions along the Kilimanjaro foothills and the seemingly impregnable Taveta. Actions at Latema and Riata followed, as elements of the 1st East Africa Brigade, including 2nd Battalion Rhodesia Regiment, 130th Baluchis and 3rd Kings African Rifles, assisted by troops from the South African Infantry Brigade, secured the whole Moshi-Arusha area over a period of just twelve days. Smuts continued to push hard, retaining the initiative as the retiring German forces fell back, retreating south along the Pangani River and into the foothills of the Pare Mountains, overlooking the Usambara Railway.
Allied forces operations in East Africa, based on original maps by Smuts and Capell.
(Map thanks to Dudley Wall)
On 15 May 1916, 495 men from 2RR returned from a period of rest, joining the remainder of the 1st East Africa Brigade on 20 May on the left bank of the Pangani River, at the start of a long and arduous march. The troops marched by night and by day, the going was difficult through thick bush and crocodile-infested rivers and streams. Many of the men, still recovering from dysentery and malaria, fell by the way, the ambulances, in the words of Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Capell, “…packed with men whose endurance, long tested to the utmost, collapsed suddenly, leaving mere wrecks.”
Smuts with signallers at the Pangani River in 1916
(Photo South African War Museum)
At 2300 hours on the night of 24 May, an exhausted column stopped at the Pangani River, with no blankets and their food stocks depleted. The men could not even wash in the wide, fast-flowing river, as crocodiles had claimed the lives of two South Africans and three Askaris. At last light on 29 May and still seven miles from the Usambara Railway, the column’s transport and reserves came under long-range enemy artillery fire, continuing into nightfall as the troops set up their camp. There were, however, no casualties and damage was only slight.
By this time, Hannington’s Brigade had also been moving south along the eastern foothills of the Pare Mountains, with the objective of securing the rail line, and then linking up with the column from the west to take the German position at Buiko. About six miles from Buiko, there is a narrow strip of grassland between the Pare Mountains and the Pangani River, a naturally strong position for the German troops, and from where their artillery had fired on the allies’ position on the night of 29 May. It was Smuts’ plan to ensnare the enemy in between Hannington’s Brigade on the enemy’s right flank and rear and the East African Brigade to the west of the enemy tranches on the strip of land separating the Pare Mountains and the Pangani River. It was here that the German forces were forced to concentrate and make a stand, but so rapidly did they find themselves in this position, that their defences at the strategic bridge, now dubbed German Bridge were, like the bridge construction, incomplete.
As the sun rose over the Pare Mountains on 30 May, troops of 2RR, now only three hundred strong, set out towards the German’s entrenched position, with the sole responsibility of taking German Bridge. Capell’s “indomitable men who had fought and conquered disease and scorned fatigue” marched on to the German Bridge defences situated at a bend in the Pangani River. As the Regiment assaulted the enemy front line, it drew heavy but inaccurate rifle fire. With individual sections supporting each other and covered by machine-gun fire, the Rhodesians advanced to within two hundred yards of the German position, seemingly oblivious of the enemy fire directed at them.
This full frontal assault, determined and unfaltering, broke the courage of the German Askaris, causing them to unceremoniously vacate their positions. The Rhodesian machine-guns welcomed these easy targets, exacting a heavy toll on the chaos that was the fleeing enemy. The Regiment suffered several casualties, but lost only one man, Native Scout Levi. The victorious Rhodesians immediately consolidated and strengthened their new position, improving their defences and driving off a half-hearted counter attack by the enemy. Sporadic sniper fire and ineffective shelling ensued. The victors found the bodies of twenty seven Askaris in the area, testimony to the devastation caused by their machine-guns.
German Askaris in East Africa
(Photo German National Archives)
An elated Capell said proudly of his troops’ assault, “Never before have I seen ‘Infantry Training’ and ‘Field Service Regulations’ entirely and completely vindicated; never before seen the use of every scrap of natural cover minimising casualties and falsifying the enemy’s aim; never seen machine-guns working round the flanks surely and surreptitiously between bursts of fire, one covering the other; never witnessed before in action the results of perfect fire control and fire discipline.”
In support of this action, the previous day General Sheppard and an Indian Regiment had scaled the Pare Mountains with a battery of mountain guns. Overlooking the unfolding Rhodesian attack and success on the plain below, Sheppard witnessed the Germans marshalling their troops in an attempt to retake their erstwhile position by the bridge, but effective use of his guns deterred the enemy from pressing on with any counter-attack. The following day, Capell was given troops from the 25th Royal Fusiliers, the 29th Punjabis and the 5th South Africa Infantry, and ordered to move on to Buiko. The position was secured with no opposition from the retreating Germans, with only desultory shelling from a 4.1” gun signalling their departure. Capell’s men, although weakened by the ravages of tropical diseases and limited rations, had covered 150 miles in ten days, a gruelling achievement characterised by fighting, cutting roads through thick bush, and non-stop reconnaissance of unknown territory.
Jan Smuts wrote this of his 1916 offensive, graphically and proudly describing both the hardships men such as those of 2RR had to sustain, as well as their resilient endurance as he relentlessly pushed them south against German occupation:
“The successful occupation of so much country in so short a time was largely due to the careful adoption and coordination of the various lines of advance, which compelled a general retreat of the enemy without the chance of any other forces remaining behind or doubling back to molest our lines of communication.
It is impossible for those unacquainted with German East Africa to realise the physical, transport, and supply difficulties of the advance over this magnificent country of unrivalled scenery and fertility, consisting of great mountain systems alternating with huge plains; with a great rainfall and wide, unbridged rivers in the regions of the mountains, and insufficient water on the plains for the needs of an army; pathless, trackless, except for the spoor of the elephant or the narrow footpaths of the natives; the malaria mosquito everywhere, except on the highest plateaux; everywhere belts infested with the deadly tsetse fly which make an end to all animal transport. And everywhere the fierce heat of Equatorial Africa, accompanied by a wild luxuriance of parasitic life, breeding tropical diseases in the un-acclimatised whites. If he has to perform real hard work and make long marches on short rations, the trial becomes very severe; if above all, huge masses of men and material have to be moved over hundreds of miles in a great military expedition, against a mobile and alert foe, the strain becomes unbearable. And the chapter of accidents in this region of the unknown! And the gallant boys, marching far ahead under the pitiless African sun, with fever raging in their blood, pressed ever on after the retreating enemy, often on much reduced rations and without any of the small comforts which in this climate are real necessities. In this story of human endurance this campaign deserves a very special place, and the heroes who went through it uncomplainingly, doggedly, are entitled to all recognition and reverence. Their commander-in-chief will remain eternally proud of them.” (Quote and photo from Jan Christian Smuts by JC Smuts).
Above and Beyond
During the Bush War, many of us had the privilege to work with some of the most loyal and brave troops in our regular army; the men of the Sweet Banana, the Rhodesian African Rifles. Acts of gallantry are legend in the Regiment. As the Rhodesia Native Regiment, their performance in the field in East Africa rapidly silenced the sceptics who questioned the ability of black Rhodesians to endure the rigours and dangers of a major conflict.
In the jungles of South East Asia, in an environment totally alien to their own, they continued to develop and excel as courageous and zealous guardians of a Regiment’s pride. In the 1950s, men of the 1st Battalion the Rhodesian African Rifles again found themselves thousands of miles away from their native continent, in a conflict labelled by the British as the Malayan Emergency, and disparagingly by the Chinese-backed guerrillas as the War of the Running Dogs. These are three of these men and the individual citations for the award of the Military Medal that each one of them earned:
L-R: PWO Alexander Khumalo MM; PWO Pisayi Muzerecho MM; and Cpl Lengu MM
(Photo thanks to Brig Dave Heppenstall)
1849 Platoon Warrant Officer Alexander Khumalo
D Company, 1st Battalion, the Rhodesian African Rifles
Date of award: 20 December 1957
“Platoon Warrant Officer ALEXANDER was leading a patrol in the Labis District of Johore on the 19th of June 1957.
At 6pm his leading scout saw some smoke rising from the jungle edge about four hundred yards north of their position. Realising that the ground to be covered offered very little concealment, Platoon Warrant Officer Alexander ordered his patrol to crawl through the long grass, a distance of two hundred and fifty yards, to a stream where they waited until nightfall. He could then see a fire burning about fifty yards into the jungle – and saw three armed Communist Terrorists standing around the fire. Again he waited, as he noticed the approach of a heavy storm. When it was raining heavily, Platoon Warrant Officer Alexander, with one other soldier, then began to stalk the terrorists.
With one of the most daring and skilful acts of fieldcraft imaginable, he crawled towards them. During his approach he had to crawl over the branches of a fallen tree and was often not in a position to use his weapon, had he been seen by the enemy. With complete disregard for his personal safety he managed to get within five yards of the terrorists and, signalling to his companion, they fired at the two who were holding their weapons, killing them instantly.
The third terrorist, who was wounded, crawled away in the dark and although he twice fired at Platoon Warrant Officer Alexander, he crawled after him and again managed to wound him. In the morning the third terrorist was found and killed.
This Warrant officer’s leadership, resourcefulness, skill and personal courage, were entirely responsible for the success of this action and his disregard for personal safety has been an inspiration to the rest of the Battalion.”
2095 Platoon Warrant Officer Pisayi
C Company, 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian African Rifles
Date of award: 27 August 1957
“On the 8th June 1957 Platoon Warrant Officer PISAYI was commanding his platoon on patrol in the Bekok area of Johore, Malaya.
After one of the sections had contacted five armed Communist Terrorists, one of whom was killed, Sergeant Major Pisayi led three other members of the Platoon Headquarters towards the scene of the action and saw the enemy crossing his front. Having been informed of the importance of capturing a Communist Terrorist in this area, Sergeant Major Pisayi chased and captured first one terrorist, whom he handed over to another member of his patrol, and then chased and captured another. During this time he was repeatedly under fire at short range from two terrorists who had automatic weapons, and also from the men whom he actually captured. The second terrorist was captured only after he had expended the ammunition in his pistol, but even he was still armed with a grenade.
The capture of these Communist Terrorists by this courageous Warrant Officer is of extreme importance to future operations against the enemy in the area.”
2805 Corporal Lengu
A Company, 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian African Rifles
Date of award: 20 December 1957
“Corporal LENGU has shown exceptional keenness, efficiency and offensive spirit in operations against the Communist Terrorists in the period covered by this report (January to May 1957). He has always proved himself to be a courageous and resourceful NCO, always willing to undertake the most hazardous of operations.
On the 16th May 1957, in the Segamat District of Johore, Corporal Lengu was in charge of a patrol. His leading scout stopped, indicating that he had heard voices ahead. Corporal Lengu ordered the patrol to halt whilst he went forward to reconnoitre. He crept forward silently until he came to a small clearing where he saw four armed Communist Terrorists. These terrorists were obviously suspicious and on the alert with their weapons at the ready. Realising that there was no time to call up the rest of the patrol, and make an organised assault, Corporal Lengu decided to attack them himself. To make his attack he would have to cross the clearing in full view of the terrorists at a range of about ten yards.
With complete disregard for his own safety and fully realising that he could expect no help from the members of his patrol who were some distance behind, Corporal Lengu charged straight at the Communist Terrorists. As soon as they heard the sound of his assault two of the terrorists took cover at the jungle edge to cover the retreat of the remaining two who turned to engage Corporal Lengu with rifle fire. The suddenness and speed of Corporal Lengu’s assault so disrupted the terrorists that they were unable to return his fire and he killed the two in the clearing. The two remaining terrorists, seeing the deaths of their comrades, turned and ran, pursued by Corporal Lengu. He followed them for some distance, but lost their tracks and was forced to return to the clearing where he collected the rest of his patrol.
This extremely brave, gallant and single-handed action by Corporal Lengu against four armed Communist Terrorists is an example of personal bravery which has inspired the rest of the Battalion.”
The Military Medal
Know the Medal
There are two versions of the Prison Service Medal, 1965-1968, and post-1968, awarded for the part members of the service played in maintaining law and order. A 36mm round, cupronickel, the obverse carries the effigy of the head of Cecil John Rhodes. The reverse carries an upright sheathed sword, with the words ‘For Service’. In the case of the earlier version, the years 1965-1968 were also shown. The obverse picture of the medal shows the bronze key device on the ribbon, worn by the recipient of the Director of Prisons Commendation.
The Prison Service Medal
(van Tonder collection)
A Snapshot In Time
Many thanks to those of you who submitted captions for last month’s “A Snapshot in Time”. Below the picture is a selection of the more printable ones!
(Gerry van Tonder Collection)
Janine Walls: “Look! I want one like that!!”
Chris Higginson: I have been told that this fellow in the photo was Mike Simmonds, and he was said to have shouted, "See, I TOLD YOU that was a BLOW UP elephant! THAT proves it!"
Gavin Baker: “I told you not to show him last edition’s pic of Britt Ekland!”
The picture is actually of my late second eldest brother, Danie, taken on one of numerous Border Control patrols somewhere in the Zambezi Valley. At the time, either 1970 or 1971, he was a Trooper with 2 Commando, 1st Rhodesian Light Infantry. He had many photographs of Commando experiences with elephant, black rhino and of trees festooned with biltong.
This month’s Snapshot, below, appears to show some very bored people…All responses and suggested captions to me please on email@example.com
“In the dawn I took members of my brigade to find the straightest pole we could find from the surrounding Msasa trees. Most branches were crooked, distorted by veldt fires. It did not take us too long to find a suitable pole. We rigged halyards and stays as we erected it in the middle of the site chosen for the fort. He (Major Frank Johnson) had given me the honour of actually raising the flag. Being a naval man, there was no danger of the Union Jack being raised upside down.”
This extract from the diary of Lt Edward Carey Tyndale-Biscoe refers, of course, to the events at Fort Salisbury on 13 September 1890, but who was this man?
Born on 29 August 1864, Tyndale-Biscoe was the fifth of eight children of William and Eliza of Holton Park House in Oxfordshire. Enlisting in the Royal Navy as a cadet at the age of 14 years, Tyndale-Biscoe was promoted to Midshipman early in 1881. Thereafter, he served on various ships, sailing in the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. He went on to see active service in the Suez and Sudan, during which time he became proficient in gunnery. In late 1884, he undertook his Lieutenant qualifying exams, coming third overall.
In September 1889, however, an unusual turn of events saw Tyndale-Biscoe being retired on pension from the Royal Navy on medical grounds. For some years, he had undergone speech therapy for a persistent stammer, a condition which, in itself, had the potential to end his naval career. But his own concerns, as navigating Lieutenant aboard the sloop HMS Icarus, about the medical health of his Captain, lead to a dramatic twist. When left in charge of the ship as the Captain went ashore at Accra, Ghana, Tyndale-Biscoe called together the crew to inform them that their skipper was suffering from syphilis, and that he felt duty-bound to report this to a higher authority. He was well aware though, that in order to do so, he would have to resign from the navy. The ailing Captain managed to get wind of this though, and sent Tyndale-Biscoe to the Fleet Surgeon for a further medical examination. The result, according to the young Lieutenant, was inevitable, but he would at least receive some form of income.
Undeterred, three months later, the 25-year old Tyndale-Biscoe walked into the British South Africa Company offices in London and presented a copy of his credentials. Having just missed Cecil Rhodes, he sailed for Cape Town, where he learnt more about a proposed BSACo expeditionary force into Mashonaland, there to look for gold. He was sent to Major Frank Johnson’s home at Sea Point, where he had to prove his riding and shooting skills. Johnson, suitably impressed, appointed Tyndale-Biscoe as Lieutenant (RN retired) of C Troop where, together with the officer commanding, Captain Roach, they would be in charge of the artillery. At an estimated speed of two and a half miles per hour, the five-mile long convoy crossed the Tuli River on 1 June 1890, bound for Mount Hampden. It was a gruelling adventure for the sailor, highlighted at the Umfuli River when he joined two others of the expedition, sailing up and down the river in a Berthon boat, brought all the way from Simon’s Bay. Local Mashona, including a headman called Mugabe, stared in amazement.
So it was that Lieutenant Tyndale-Biscoe had the singular honour of hoisting the Union Flag at a spot which would become Cecil Square, in Salisbury, Rhodesia. On Saturday 27 September, Tyndale-Biscoe handed over his guns and the searchlight to the police and purchased two horses, in readiness for the disbandment of the Column. That Tuesday, Major Johnson addressed the final parade when, recalling the final orders to ‘ground arms’, ‘right turn’ and ‘dismiss’, Tyndale-Biscoe writes in his diary “It was the first time in British history that a country’s civilian population had been created by a word of command!”
‘Mesmerised’ by the prospects of mineral gold wealth, Tyndale-Biscoe formed a syndicate with the two Hoste brothers, setting up headquarters near the Kopje. Shortly after lodging claims in Salisbury, Tyndale-Biscoe joined a punitive expedition against a Chief Mutasa in Manicaland, with the objective of severing his ties with the neighbouring Portuguese to the east. The small band of pioneers, led by Captain Patrick Forbes, rapidly neutralised the situation, in the process apprehending two senior Portuguese officials and shipping them off to Cape Town. After such a simple ‘conquest’, Forbes reckoned that he could also take Beira with two dozen men and proclaim it part of the new territory. Tyndale-Biscoe, Skipper Hoste and a handful of BSA Police were left in charge of the fort at the Pungwe River passage. However, a travel-exhausted rider stopped Forbes only thirty miles from Beira, with a message from Queen Victoria that his actions would trigger an international incident with her allies in Lisbon. Southern Africa’s political complexion may have become very different!
In spite of enduring a Spartan existence in Umtali, where wild honey replaced sugar and candles had to be made from beeswax, the lure of gold kept Tyndale-Biscoe in Manicaland. Ancient workings were in abundance, but there was no evidence of a mother lode. Dispirited, they started off on an extremely difficult trek back to Salisbury, having to swim oxen and horses across the swollen Odzi River and all coming down with malaria. It took them six weeks to reach Marandellas, and on route they found two men at Rusapi (sic) "haggard and yellow from fever." As they reached Salisbury, they had to push through flood waters that reached the girths of their horses to get to the Kopje. The rain gauge at the police camp had, by the beginning of April, already registered fifty-four inches for the season.
By mid-1981, their gold prospecting in Lomagundi also provided little result, and on hearing on 20 May of his mother’s death in England, Tyndale-Biscoe left for home via Beira, eventually only sailing from the Portuguese settlement on 26 August. He arrived in Southampton on 17 November. After a brief interlude to pay his respects, in March the following year, he went back to Cape Town where he discovered that Lord Randolph Churchill’s public pessimism about the El Dorado of Mashonaland, had effectively ensured that the cash-strapped mining subsidiary companies of Cecil Rhodes failed to attract any meaningful capital. In spite of this, Tyndale-Biscoe felt impelled to return to his Mashonaland interests, setting off by boat to Beira, and then walking overland to Umtali. During the rainy season of 1892, Tyndale-Biscoe worked in Salisbury as a clerk of court.
In October 1893, Tyndale-Biscoe, was attached to A Troop as Lieutenant in charge of machine guns (Nordenfeldt and Gardiner), Salisbury Column, as part of the expedition to overthrow Lobengula. This volunteer position would be rewarded with the receipt of six thousand acres of land in Matabeleland, twenty gold claims and an equal share of half the cattle captured. After linking up with the Victoria Column under Major Allan Wilson at Iron Mine Hill, the force engaged the amaNdebele at Shangani and Bembesi, with Tyndale-Biscoe giving a good account of himself with a Maxim machine gun at the latter battle. Bulawayo was entered on 4 November, described by Tyndale-Biscoe “led by a former Pipe Major of the Royal Scots playing his bagpipes”.
Maxim in action at the Battle of Shangani
(Image from The Graphic, London 10 March 1894, thanks Alan Doyle)
Upon his return to Salisbury, Tyndale-Biscoe extended his search for gold to the Luangwa Valley in Northern Rhodesia. Shortly after the debacle of the Jameson Raid in December 1895, the amaNdebele rose in rebellion, forcing the Rhodesian Horse, of which Tyndale-Biscoe was still a member, to muster in Salisbury. With the rank of Captain, the force under Colonel Beal and including Cecil Rhodes, who was still suffering from malaria, went to the aid of the beleaguered Bulawayo. Beal’s column had to retrace their steps to Salisbury as Mashonaland also witnessed an insurrection of indigenous tribes. Tyndale-Biscoe saw action in the Hartley area, where he was again in charge of the guns. His Maxims “…inflicted great mortality…” upon the five hundred Mashona besieging the small fort at Hartley.
As he struggled to resume a semblance of civilian life, Tyndale-Biscoe reflected on the experience which saw one tenth of the settler population killed, Sleeping on the ground with rifle at my side and awakening for the pre-dawn ‘Stand-to’ became a way of life. The crashing of our seven-pounder and the stutter of our Maxims set my ears ringing thereafter, indistinguishable from the Christmas Beatles in the Msasa trees. I don’t think it is normally possible to be in the saddle for so long, or to endure such hunger and thirst on occasion.”
After the Rebellions, Tyndale-Biscoe continued to prospect in the Mazoe Valley, and further afield into the Bindura area where they worked the Phoenix Prince Mine, the latter providing comfortable returns. With the outbreak of the South African War in 1899, he left his property to Skipper Hoste and set off for Durban, then joining the British Naval Brigade in a besieged Ladysmith where he manned various gun emplacements.
He arrived back in England in April 1900 to a victorious welcome, highlighted by a parade in front of Queen Victoria. Mentioned in Despatches, he was promoted to the rank of Commander in the Retired List on 24 April 1902. The outbreak of World War I found Tyndale-Biscoe in Kashmir, visiting his brother Cecil and recovering from a broken leg sustained in a vehicle mishap. He went on to serve as a Major in the Censorship Office in Delhi, retiring in 1920.
Tyndale-Biscoe kept in touch with the country he helped establish, retaining a small mining interest and being invited at the start of each decade, commencing in 1910, to raise the flag in Cecil Square, Salisbury. He died in Dorset, England, on 13 June 1941. In his last years, he said of his beloved Rhodesia, “While all these political issues were being dealt with, I had an uncomfortable feeling that the current and future relationship between Blacks and Whites still needed some fine-tuning. In Africa, the choice between taking the high road or the low road, remains precarious.”
Cdr E C Tyndale-Biscoe RN Rtd
(Photo Sailor Soldier by David Tyndale-Biscoe)
At the Going Down of the Sun
On 15 May 1977, a contact took place near Rogogo airfield between Mrewa and Inyanga, in which elements of Support Commando 1st Battalion the Rhodesian Light Infantry engaged a group of terrorists. In the fire fight, two troopers, both from extremely diverse backgrounds, lost their lives, reflecting the very nature of Rhodesia’s armed forces.
728917 Trooper George Clarke, born in Canada and a Vietnam veteran, twice awarded the Purple Heart.
727392 Trooper Earl MacDonald, previously too young for active duty, had been assigned to the bush canteen. Within days of his 18th birthday, Earl went on his first and last active bush trip.
Across the Globe
· On 12 May 1937, George VI is crowned King of England.
· On 21 May 1927, Charles Lindbergh completes his Trans-Atlantic flight in Paris.
· On 3 May 1979, Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female prime minister
I stopped smoking twelve years ago, and have since become the greatest antagonist any smoker may ever wish to encounter, so rest assured I do not in any way condone smoking, finding the habit intolerably disgusting. BUT, I do remember carrying these almost indestructible rolls of tobacco around with me in the bush as, I am sure, do many of you.
I simply ask that you enjoy the memory – I do…
v A Pride of Eagles by Beryl Salt, Covos Day 2001
v Avondale to Zimbabwe by Robert Cherer Smith
v Burnham: King of Scouts by Peter van Wyk, Trafford 2003
v Jan Christian Smuts by J.C. Smuts, Cassell and Co 1952
v Sailor Soldier by Dave Tyndale-Biscoe, 2004
v The 2nd Rhodesia Regiment in East Africa by Lt Colonel A.E Capell, Naval and Military Press
What’s On In New Zealand
If you reside in the Auckland area we are currently undergoing some changes of planned socials and methods of sending communications out. Your patience while we make these changes is appreciated. Keep watching this spot.
The Garrison Club, which is run by the 6th Battalion Hauraki Group Regimental Association, is open every Friday from 16:00 hrs and welcomes visitors. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the local mailing list to see what is going on around the area.
Visit www.rhodesianservices.org/The%20Shop.htm to see what is in store for you. Please give our CQ Store consideration when buying a present for friends or family. Profits from the sale of these items go towards the Museum Fund.
All prices are in NZ$ and do not include postage.
Email email@example.com with your requirements. We will get it weighed and priced and get back to you with a total.
NZ customers can pay by direct deposit with bank details being supplied on request
Overseas customers - we prefer payment by PayPal, personal or bank cheque. We can accept personal cheques from most countries with the exception of South Africa. If you elect payment by PayPal, we will bill you from firstname.lastname@example.org Please note that we can only process credit cards via PayPal. We do not accept postal orders or Western Union transfers. Rest assured, if you want to make a purchase we will make a plan to enable you to pay!
Clothing - shirts, jackets, caps, beanies, aprons, and regimental ties.
Berets & Badges – most Rhodesian units available.
Medals & Ribbons – an extensive range available.
Posters & Maps – high quality reproductions.
DVDs & Phone tones – historical footage, unique cell phone tones.
Other goods - flags, bumper stickers, lighters, and more, as well as quality products direct from our contributing supporters.
I have never been good with names, but now I am finding it really difficult. If you want to help people like me you will want to buy one of our custom made name badges. At NZ$15 plus postage you will then make a far more memorable impression on people like me!
Sample of completed badge is shown below (other badges are available – see below). It measures 80mm. x 30mm with safety pin fastener on the back.
Unit badges and images currently available (we will commission others as required)
Books for Africa
I again remind you that all the books and audio visual disks that I stock and sell are listed at www.rhodesianservices.org/Books.htm These sales are my own hobby and income from sales is directed to me and not the Rhodesian Services Association. However, the Association does benefit indirectly from these sales. A great selection of books, many with a Rhodesian connection, can be found on the link above.
By popular demand this book is being reprinted:
Winds of Destruction by PJH Petter-Bowyer Price NZ$65
Winds of Destruction is a unique account of one man’s service in the Rhodesian Air Force, spanning a period of twenty-three years from 1957 to 1980—through the politically turbulent years of Federation; the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) by Ian Smith’s government in 1965 and thirteen years of relentless, uncompromising bush warfare against the never-ending tide of Robert Mugabe’s and Joshua Nkomo’s ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas. In a gruelling conflict that permitted no quarter, the Rhodesian Air Force (RhAF) fast became one of the Rhodesian Defence Force’s most lethal and effective counter-insurgency organs. In pre-emptive bombing strikes against enemy camps in Mozambique, Zambia and as far afield as Tanzania; in its integral role as a troop-carrier and airborne strike force in ‘fireforce’ operations; in working closely with such specialist units as the Selous Scouts, the S.A.S., the RLI and the RAR, the Rhodesian Air Force was never far from the action and was in no small way responsible for the astonishing military successes against a vastly numerically superior enemy. This, all in spite of the international sanctions against Rhodesia, which ordinarily would have brought a nation’s armed forces to their knees. However, forced by circumstances, the RhAF was obliged to maximise usage of its aging fleet of fighter-bombers, transports and helicopters and to resort to innovative techniques in terms of tactics and weapons systems, many of which were later adopted by the South African Air Force in its own counter-insurgency operations in Angola and Namibia in the ’80s.
I do not have stock yet – email me to reserve a copy email@example.com
‘Rhodesia Regiment 1899 – 1981’
by Peter Baxter, Hugh Bomford et al
This project is on the path to publication later this year. The Rhodesian Services Association is the publisher of this book.
Keep watch on this newsletter as well as this web page http://www.rhodesianservices.org/rhodesia-regiment.htm for updates and pre-publication offers.
The illustration above is a draft of the cover. It has been compiled by Dudley Wall with a panel of eight others who have combined input for the design. The final cover will differ from this to the extent that the font will be changed and the photos will be better quality.
The design of the cover has been something that we have not taken lightly and has been a long process. It is intended to illustrate the following:
The different eras that the Regiment went through with regard to uniforms and badges
To show the Battle Honours - this is done using a photo of the last 1st Battalion Rhodesia Regiment flag
The Regimental colours
The WWII soldier on the spine illustrates the major part that the men of that era played in the development of the Regiment and of Rhodesia
Our Supporters – please also view our webpage http://www.rhodesianservices.org/our-supporters.htm
This section is for individuals and businesses who support this Association either by giving us something for auction at the RV in October or by donations from sales generated by our listings, or by offering discount to buyers who mention the Rhodesian Services Association when making a purchase.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details of how you get a mention here.
Please support these people and their businesses and don’t forget to mention where you saw their advert.
Roan Antelope Music Special Offer
As winter is approaching in the Bushveld where we Roan Antelopers live and write and manage our music, and as the leaves of the Red Syringas are turning, it is a reminder of the Msasa trees of our beloved country up North. Enough said….. April is the month of ANZAC celebrations in Australasia and as usual our lovely flag was also flown there to remember our fallen. A very moving occasion and John was honoured to carry the flag down the streets of Sydney in the ANZAC parade in the year 2000. It was such a memorable occasion that John soon wrote a song about this fantastic honour: “Marching with the Diggers”. See our web site www.johnedmond.co.za CD “Friends, Rhodies, Countrymen” However, we all move on and the 12th May brings us to another great celebration. “Mothers and Motherhood”.
Mother's Day is a celebration honouring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. The modern holiday of Mother’s day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in America. She then began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States. Although she was successful in 1914, she was already disappointed with its commercialization by the 1920s. Jarvis’ holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world. In this tradition, each person offers a gift, card or remembrance toward their mother, grandmothers and/ or maternal figure on mother’s day.
Roan Antelope will have “That’s what I call a Love Song” by John Edmond as a special for Mother’s Day. It is a stunner and would melt anyone’s heart. John Edmond at his absolute romantic best with a sixteen track album.Some of the leading tracks on the Love Songs CD are “Unforgettable”, “The most beautiful girl in the world”, “The Wedding”, “Honey”, “I’ll have to say I love you in a love song” to mention a few.
Order today for the most important woman in your life – be different, say it with music! OR book a weekend at Kunkuru Lodge and get “That’s what I call a Love Song” free on arrival.
Price R110 plus P&P which is:
SA Free post; UK R105; USA R100; Australia R140 New Zealand R145
To order go to:
Roan Antelope Music www.johnedmond.co.za
Tel: +27 (0)14 735 0774 / +27 (0)71 699 0362 Fax: +27 (0)86 273 5492
Buckles and Tees www.bucklesandtees.co.nz
Mike Vivier has a number of Rhodesian related lines which include the 'Advice to Terrorists' image on t-shirts and aprons as well this stunning Rhodesia Regiment belt buckle which sells for NZ$24.95 excluding postage. 100% New Zealand made.
Mike donates a portion of his income from all Rhodesian related items sold to the Rhodesian Services Association. Please email Mike at email@example.com with your order or query or go to www.bucklesandtees.co.nz and do it on-line.
The Global Forked Stick - Snippets and Requests
With grateful thanks to Vic MacKenzie for use of this illustration to better explain the ‘forked stick’ connection for those who were not raised in Africa.
WWII Bomber Command Medals
On 26 February 2013, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (UKMOD) announced two new awards for Second World War service: the Arctic Star; and the Bomber Command clasp. Many Rhodesians who served on the Arctic convoys, or north of the Arctic Circle on other war duties, or who flew with Bomber Command during the Second World War - or their families - may be entitled to apply for these awards. Further details regarding eligibility, and the application process for ex-UK veterans, can be found at the following website: http://www.veterans-uk.info/arctic_star_index.htm
Seeking information on Pam McMillan (maiden name Marsden)
“My wife, Pam McMillan (maiden name Marsden), died recently.
She was born in Bulawayo and grew up there, became a nurse and worked in Rhodesia, including time as a civilian nurse with 2nd Battalion Rhodesian African Rifles, then in South Africa and following on in England. We met in England, got married in Zimbabwe and, more recently, came out to New Zealand. Even after leaving Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Africa was very close to her heart. She was trying to write her life story for our children and myself when her life was very tragically cut short.
Over the next year or so, I will be trying to complete the life story that Pam started. I am particularly looking for any information and stories about Pam or the environment she was in during her time growing up and working in Rhodesia - particularly her time in 2RAR and nursing.
If you have any information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would also be interested to hear of any Rhodesian/Zimbabwe gatherings in New Zealand.
In New Zealand, she leaves behind her father, our teenager daughter and young adult son, and myself. Although she is no longer physically with us she will be in each of our hearts, forever.
From Phil Wilson (ex RLI)
I came across this quote from Winston Churchill which I think is excellent and applies to events that happened to a lot of us more than three decades ago:
"Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result"
I guess that says it all!
Always look forward to the next edition of Contact!
That’s all folks, so until next time – go well
Celebrate Rhodesia Day* on the 11th November each year
*The concept of ‘Rhodesia Day’ was brought to my attention by Eddy Norris and family. During the 90 year
life of Rhodesia we experienced the best of times and the worst of times. I encourage everyone to use this
day to remember the good times and to spend time remembering those who are no longer with us.
You can make a donation to the Rhodesian Services Association by clicking on our 'Collection Hat' below which is a typical slouch hat of the type used by the Rhodesian Army up until the 1960’s. Click on the hat (or this link https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=MLMB2B8Y2UY3G ) and if you are registered with PayPal the process will be immediate. If you are not a PayPal member you will be given instruction on how to make a credit card payment via PayPal. Thank you - every bit helps.
This newsletter is compiled by Hugh Bomford, Newsletter Editor of the Rhodesian Services Association. It contains many personal views and comments which may not always be the views of the Association or Committee.