This is a factual story from a terrorist ambush survivor in the Rhodesian Bush war:-
Life is a gift - Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)…
I was living away from home in Chiredzi with friends. Over the “Rhodes and Founders” weekend I went home to visit my family in Gwelo. The people that I was boarding with had kindly offered to give me a lift even though it was out of their way. On the way back we missed the convoy at Fort Victoria, my Landlord the driver of the car said we could catch the convoy up. We were not afraid we did not envision what lay ahead of us. It was like a dream gone bad I couldn’t absorb it as it took place. As we went over a little bridge we drove into a corner all I heard was loud bangs of thunder. I had no real idea of what was taking place it took time to realize we had driven into an ambush. I tried to push myself forwards to get down between the vehicle seats, as I did I felt something brush across my arm. I looked down at my arm, I saw that I had been shot and started screaming “my arm had been shot off”. The car did not go far it stalled and my Landlord could not start it again. He jumped out of the vehicle and from behind the door started returning fire with a 303 shotgun. He told us to run towards a missionary which apparently was not far away. I could taste the fear in my mouth. My Landlord's son and I had gotten out of the car. I called to my Landlord's oldest daughter who was sitting in the car with her eyes wide open. I was screaming as I leaned over and pulled her to run with us. Her eyes rolled back, I knew she hadn’t made it. I screamed at my Landlord that his daughter was dead he shouted back that I must run. I grabbed my Landlords's son his mother was crying and running holding their three-year-old daughter. She tripped and fell her son and I were helping her up and my Landlord shouted at us to come back. Their youngest daughter had blood running down her head and was crying I was praying if there was a God please save us. My Landlord had stopped another vehicle that had turned around we all bundled into it as it speed of taking us to safety. My landlord stayed behind, the driver of the vehicle took us to Ngundu Halt where my Landlord joined us later. His oldest daughter was dead, she was nine years old and her life had been taken from her. Her mother and her brother were unharmed. Their three year old daughter was hurt when her mother had fallen. My Landlord was shot in his wrist and through his upper arm into his back. My arm had not been shot off; I was shot in my upper arm. Had I have not been pushing myself forwards I would have been shot as my Landlord's oldest daughter was, through her lungs and her heart. I had just turned seventeen. Their son was seven at the time.
The Doctors informed my parents that I had lost the use of my arm my mother told me gently what had been said. I though about it for a while with a sick feeling in my stomach. Not only did I have to go through this horrifying ordeal, I was never going to use my right arm again. How cruel was fate, I am right handed. I wanted to cry as I stared into space. Then I remembered when my Landlord told us to run I had used my right hand to pull his oldest daughter to run with us, I also remembered when we were running I was using my arm to climb the kopje we were running up. When my Landlord's wife fell their son and myself helped her up, I used my arm then. I looked at my mother and told her about the incidents that had taken place. I told her that if I could use my arm then why not now. At this time when I lifted my arm, it lifted but only in my head. My brain was telling my arm to lift and all the nerves that send the messages to the brain saying that my arm had lifted were intact thus my brain was completing the action but my arm was limp it was not completing it's part of the task. Did that perhaps not happen during the ambush. My mother asked the Doctor to speak to me. The Doctor explained that I had been shot with a “tracer” it had burned through my arm and severed the nerves. Damaged nerves never heal. He cautioned that it would be easier for me to accept than to go into denial. I couldn’t he had to be joking. I told my mother that I would use my arm again.
Everyday I would keep trying to lift my arm up. I was sure it was moving, everyone believed it was my mind playing tricks when I told them. It couldn't be my mind playing tricks it had to be moving. I kept on trying; I did not tell anyone about my progress. I prayed that my arm would not let me down. When I could pick my arm up noticeably a few centimetres I showed my mother, she started crying. My father was joining us that day it was a nice surprise for him. The Doctor’s were surprised as well. I am not sure if it was determination or prayer, I am happy that I now have full use of my arm. All that remains is an ugly scar that I can live with to remind me of the day we missed the convoy. The day I learned that life is a gift “Just as easy as it is given so it can be taken away.”
- Beaver Shaw
- Nairobi, Kenya
- I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011
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