Stories Of Rhodesia




Hi Folks,

We hopefully have something of a treat for you over the next few weeks. I’m sure some of you saw my little hobby project(inspired by supporter Jon’s Union Flag) of using old cartridges to make the flag of the Republic of Rhodesia.




I’ve found the short history of this often forgotten nation quite fascinating so I was very excited when another long term support Duncan put us in contact with a Rhodesian friend of his who will now share some stories of his time there! I’ll now pass you over to Tony for an introduction and look forward to the series of articles over the coming weeks!

Dave



Dear Firearms UK supporters

Thank you very much for welcoming me to your community page and website as a new member.

I recently went shooting with a fellow supporter who mentioned to Dave that I was ex-Rhodesian and as Dave has expressed an interest in all things Rhodesian, he suggested I start contributing Rhodesian stories to the community page and website. I have agreed to do this, with pleasure and will submit weekly accounts (sadly I work too much to do more) of life in that country before it became Zimbabwe and the years through the bush war, discussing family life, farming, game hunting, sanctions busting, the bush war, weapons and tactics plus personal experiences. This is a very broad brush-stroke for just one person to cover but I will do my best. I will also share lots of photos from my private collection and suggest good books to read on Rhodesia.

It is a fascinating subject and I do not know one Brit, Aussie, Yank, New Zealander or South African who fought with us that did not think it was just an amazing country, worth fighting for and indeed these men and women plus our own soldiers, black and white, fought in battles, the ferocity of which, in many cases, will surprise the reader. Not many people know, for example, that our tiny, sanctions-hit country lost 40 aircraft during the war period and that some of our transports dropped troops into Arnhem in WW2. Indeed, one of our paratroopers holds the world record for dropping into 75 contacts with the enemy.

Comprising of British, Afrikaans and later Portuguese settlers, we had a stubborn nature overall and our forefathers tamed a wild and beautiful land that produced some of the best farms in the world with yields rarely beaten anywhere on Earth. From the arid south and game-filled south east, to the mountainous east bursting with rivers full of trout and gently sighing pine trees, to the hot, rugged north and north west, to the rich Mopani forests of the west and south west with the central lands carpeted in endless miles of crops, this was, as Julius Nyrere said on Rhodesia becoming Zimbabwe, ‘the Jewel of Africa’ and he admonished Robert Mugabe not to ‘bugger it up’. Well it is buggered up, with no fuel, no cash in the banks, no electricity and civil servants unpaid, while it is alleged that nearly all hard currency that comes in from Gold, Diamond and Platinum mines goes straight to government employees’ Swiss bank accounts. This is why we fought. How we fought, will unfold in later contributions.

Tony Ballinger

(Copyrights apply)

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