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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 yebomimi@gmail.com 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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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

PETER Mc ALEESE AND STEPHEN HATFILL

Interesting reading extract from a novel No Mean Soldier by Peter Mc Aleese -If we go by this account Stephen Hatfill was not in the SAS or Selous Scouts as I thought but could possibly have been in Special Branch which was afilliated to the BSAP (POLICE)The plot thickens?


NO MEAN SOLDIER
Autobiography of Peter McAleese
(Pages 124 to 127)


THE DEATH OF A COUNTRY

.......stretched in all provinces. At a tactical level, the Rhodesians won virtually every engagement and achieved a consistent kill ratio which never fell below 6:1 and was as high as 2000:1 at Chimoio and Tembue. These huge cross-border successes eventually forced the leaders of Zambia and Mozambique to press Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo to participate in peace talks offered by the British in late 1979. This was a remarkable political result arising from militaryaction, considering the shortage of equipment and manpower always suffered by the Rhodesian Army, but on the world political front, Rhodesia's position was worse than ever. In the words of the Selous Scouts Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Reid Daly, 'There had been a time when Rhodesia had been held up as an example of fine race relations, but now we were the pariahs. Only black rule, not multi-racial rule would satisfy our enemies, or even our friends.'
World opinion pushed Rhodesia relentlessly into the hands of the hard-line communists in ZANLA and ZIPRA. Obstinately, Rhodesians tried to shut out reality but, as Reid Daly said, 'The stink of political defeat, which always pre-empts a military defeat, had begun to seep like blood poisoning into the veins of the Security Forces and into the veins of Rhodesia itself.' My next year in Rhodesia more than proved he was right. Mr Mac sent me to Bindura.
There was a definite feel of the Wild West about Bindura. It was a small town about fifty miles northeast of Salisbury in the middle of ZANLA's Mashonaland. A population of about 1,200 whites lived there with some five thousand blacks but no one knew exactly how many because no one had bothered to count them. The blacks worked mainly in the Trojan nickel mine and in the large citrus plantations all round which gave off the most wonderful scent of orange blossom along the roads in the spring.
The Special Branch base was in a 'fort' made of corrugated iron sheeting, to prevent people seeing what went on" inside. There was one wide main street, sleepy and deserted, which featured the usual necessary collection of shops, banks, and stores, and behind this on either side the Rhodesians lived in spacious houses in some style. In time, Jane followed me to Bindura and we set up house in a large villa conveniently near the SB fort. There were two parts to the hospital, one for whites and one for blacks and, when she qualified, Jane worked in the black section where she was the only white nurse.
There were a collection of bars, most notably the Bindura Country Club which was in the middle of town and the Coach House Hotel at one end, where increasingly frantic parties ("Poke’nPuke" parties) took place as the white Rhodesians realised they were losing the country they had made theirs.
Far from losing pay, Mr Mac had me promoted to sergeant and I went with some of the others to prepare for the reception and training of black Auxiliaries. On 30 January 1979, Rhodesian whites loyally followed the advice of Prime Minister Ian Smith and 80 per cent voted in favour of a new constitution which they knew would lead to a black-dominated parliament. Since 1977, Smith had been talking to Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who led the United African National Council (UANC), and the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, who controlled the ZANU Patriotic Front. Both these black nationalists had agreed to come back to Rhodesia for elections. Neither had great support and they had no connection with the Chinese-trained ZANLA terrorists of Robert Mugabe and the more conventionally Russian-trained ZIPRA troops of Joshua Nkomo, both of whom refused to participate in the elections.
On 24 April, Bishop Abel Muzorewa won fifty-one of the seventy two black seats in the hundred-seat Parliament and was elected Rhodesia's first black Prime Minister. Now, having agreed to renounce terrorism, his UANC and Sithole's ZANU Patriotic Front had to come back to Rhodesia and join the fight against ZANLA and ZIPRA. To further complicate matters, there was another Auxiliary group formed from surrendered enemy personnel (SEPs) from ZIPRA. Frankly, it would be an understatement to say none of these groups got on with each other.
We drove trucks to Salisbury airport in the greatest secrecy to meet the first of Muzorewa's guerrillas. One hundred of UANC flew in from Libya where they had been training courtesy of Muammar Gaddafi. You can imagine how they felt flying right into the lion's den. Mr Mac had arranged for the civilian aeroplane to unload them in total seclusion at the top end of the airport and they probably thought they were going to be summarily executed. If that didn't make them sweat, then the heavy overcoats they were wearing against the Libyan winter certainly must have. February is pretty hot in Rhodesia. Their discomfort probably increased by the minute, for the SB men who were detailed to drive the trucks had been drinking bottles of whisky while waiting for the plane, and one drove his truckful of astonished guerrillas straight into the airport gate as we left, flattening it. The final insult to the Rhodesian image was that we had to keep stopping on the dangerous fifty-mile drive through bandit country to Bindura while these drunks relieved themselves up against the wheel. I was to discover that Special Branch employs the strangest people, especially it seems, in the last throes of a military campaign.
The UANC soldiers were put up in an old army barracks in the fort and we started to train them. The object was to use them to fight the ZANLA guerrillas infiltrated among the Shona villagers in our region.. This had been tried before, with mixed success, and it was not entirely cynicism which made the Rhodesians nickname these black auxiliaries as 'tame terrs'. They were not always so tame. One group of black ZANU PF nearly 200 strong had been 'trained' and then run riot. Out of control, they had seized their white liaison officers and threatened to kill them if their increasing demands were not met. The liaison officers managed to talk their way out but reported the ZANU PF had dug defensive bunkers all round their camp and were in a murderous mood. The Rhodesians had no patience for that sort ofbehaviour. An SB liaison officer called Pete Donnelly, who was known to this group of ZANU PF, drove out to their camp and issued them all with smart red baseball hats. They were impressed and put them on. Next day, the Fire Force made a full camp-attack assault, boxed them in with stop groups and swept through the camp while Alouette K-cars floated round above blasting 20mm cannon at anyone wearing a red baseball hat. In all, 178 stroppy ZANU PF died.
Understandably, there was little mutual trust between the Rhodesians and auxiliaries, except where groups had personal supervision, and the Rhodesians often gave them AK bullets with only a couple of grains in the charge, in case they went on the rampage.
For me, all this was quite an eye-opener, to find out what had been going on in this war while I had been head down on serious operations fighting with the Rhodesian SAS, on a continuous round of camp attacks, mine laying, ambushing and other cross-border operations.
The rest of Rhodesia seemed to have taken an altogether more bizarre attitude to life.
'I've lost the monkey on the operating table,' said Steve Hartful (sic) to me one evening at the bar of the Bindura Country Club where several others were sitting round on the upholstered wicker chairs enjoying bottles of Tshumba beer under the slow turning fans.
'What happened?' I asked.
Steve looked sad. He was an American training to be a doctor in Salisbury and he spent his call-up periods working for Special Branch.
The monkey was a tame animal which lurked on the mown lawns round the club and persisted in masturbating on the verandah, ejaculating all over the clean red stoep paint. This "gripping" sight fascinated the women and Steve had righteously decided such outrageous behaviour was not in the public interest. The solution was, he thought, to put his medical training to the test by castrating it.
He shook his head. 'There's a shortage of anaesthetic so I used an elephant tranquilliser and it never came to!'
God help his patients, wherever he is now………………………………

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I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.