About Me

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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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Saturday, August 9, 2008


A poem of Rhodesia by Michelle Frost

Within my soul, within my mind,
There lies a place I cannot find.
Home of my heart. Land of my birth.
Smoke-coloured stone and flame-coloured earth.
Electric skies. Shivering heat.
Blood-red clay beneath my feet.

At night when finally alone,
I close my eyes - and I am home.
I kneel and touch the blood-warm sand
And feel the pulse beneath my hand
Of an ancient life too old to name,
In an ancient land too wild to tame.

How can I show you what I feel?
How can I make this essence real?
I search for words in dumb frustration
To try and form some explanation,
But how can heart and soul be caught
In one-dimensional written thought?

If love and longing are a “fire”
And Man “consumed” by his desire,
Then this love is no simple flame
That mortal thought can hold or tame.
As deep within the earth’s own core
The love of home burns evermore.

But what is home? I hear them say,
This never was yours anyway.
You have no birthright to this place,
Descendant from another race.
An immigrant? A pioneer?
You are no longer welcome here.

Whoever said that love made sense?
“I love” is an “imperfect” tense.
To love in vain has been Man’s fate
From history to present date.
I have no grounds for dispensation,
I know I have no home or Nation.

For just one moment in the night
I am complete, my soul takes flight.
For just one moment… then it’s gone
And I am once again undone.
Never complete. Never whole.
White skin and an African soul.

Rhodesian Armoured Car Regiment National Servicemen

MY BROTHERS COLIN AND GLENN -were called up for Terrotorial Service with the Rhodesian Armoured car Regiment. They were initially called up for 9 months which was extended to 18 months and as the Security situation in Rhodesia worsened they ended up doing continious service. They worked for David Whiteheads Textiles in Hartley, they were fortunate enough to have their company make up thier pay while doing National Service.
The following photographs given to me by Glenn are of thier service days and deployments mainly in the SE Lowveld, Boli Airstrip, Twiza area where they operated for a while , sometimes in a joint op with the Grey Scouts.
I ran into Glenn and Colin on a number of occasions while on operations with Fireforce.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Howzit Beaver I was introduced to an ex RLI officer who asked me to go through his "stuff" for any interesting militaria. Amongst it was a notebook taken off an "expired" gook. There are references to the airforce, written and drawings. I mentioned your book and that you were always on the lookout for new material, should you be interested let me know. He has posted it to me in the mean time.I would also like to order 3 signed copies of your book.Regards Marcus Main-Baillie PS great blog site !!!

GRANT SHAW-My brother in Aussie Feedback

Beva I will send you some photos of some gook chest webbing you gave me in the late 70's they were a bit gory but the old lady confiscated them when I was at school and much to my disgust at the time gave them a thorough wash, I also have a set of beads black red and white you gave me when you were posted at JOC Ft Vic.

That webbing and the beads came from a contact that Cocky Benecke and I had with a 2 RAR Fireforce near Bondolfi Mission, a Selous Scout OP had observed a group of fifteen ZANLA Terrorists feeding in some cover on the kopje near thier position and called in Fireforce.
Our K Car armed with a 20mm cannon made short work of the entire group killing them all with an incredible 30 rounds of ammunition expended -the kill rate was assisted by the granite base of the Kopje which made the 20mm strikes on the ground really deadly. Graeme Trass from 2 RAR gave me the chest webbing and a lot of other loot from the dead terrs as he was really impressed with K Car's ability that day.
When we returned to JOC Fort Victoria, Murray Hoffmeyer was one of the first out to our K Car to congradulate me for dropping the gooks in quick sucession -I probably saved a few RAR guys lives by doing that!!! Also saved them a lot of bushwacking so they held an impromtu braai with Murray and Andre Dennison clubbing in for beers.
I recall being picked up by some burly RAR troopers and marched around the fire at shoulder level with them singing Cimurenga songs and Sweet Bannana -Awesome stuff and to me PRICELESS MEMORIES!!!!!This incident is not in Choppertech because Cocky must have logged his flying hours into the Squadron records late and I did not manage to log the trip hours into my Flying log book.
To Graeme in NZ I still have the watch you gave me from that scene!!!
Guerilla Snuff



Some feedback from my friend Hal Bowker ex 31 LAR:-
You are right about the world having the wrong idea and I fully agree with you that something should be done. I am glad I know that somebody. Unfortunately most of the crap that happened came about as a direct result of polititians around the world doing what gets votes as apposed to what should be done! people like Carter, Wilson, Heath Major etc etc Sad thing is that they were mostly covering up their own recent past, (racial mostly) and what better than to highlight a country or countries with a racial mix that got into a war (on account of said polititians negligence) because they needed just a little bit of time to start creating the mixed race government of the future. Then after the shit hits the fan with their choice of leaders after an unfair and biased election, they allow the mugabes, amins and other puppet leaders of theirs to carry on trashing the place, because for them to fix it would lose them votes and cost money. And so it all gets covered up. And so the history gets written, and so we get judged, and stained. Its a fundamental fault of nearly all humans to do that, but that doesnt mean that we should do nothing about it. Well done for going for it Beaver! No one wins a war, especially the best soldiers in a war who end up on the losing side, from hero to zero for a few votes? Democracy is flawed, we all know that, but maybe not in so many words. The world needs another Abraham Lincoln with a dash of Einstein, or someone even more gifted to arrive on the scene and overhaul democracy. One of my ancestors (Bourchier) was one of 12 judges who sentenced king charles the 1st to hang for his political crimes. I am extremely proud of him for having the balls and statesmanship to sign that warrant. They all knew well that charles 2nd would get in after Cromwell and clean them up, as he did. That calibre of human is more rare than a puppet that can opperate on its own. So until Lincolnstein comes, we got to try regain some dignity, and a bit of pride,maybe. You are the Man. thanks for having a go. If some of what I have said here rings true to you, then we need to talk some more. I would love to brain storm with you, its the very least I can do. Yes, you are right, the history books are overdue for some adjustments. Cant stop thinking about the kid soldiers who died for their countries after conciously making the decision to willingly die for their countries who end up on the losing side and get fully painted with the same turd brush that the losing pollititians get only slightly touched with. Kev and Rob will be proud of you. May they rest in peace at last. Till next time, keep it, up and good luck. cheers Hal

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Howzit Beaver ~ Been many years since we last crossed paths and I was most interested in reading of your plans for a book, your blogsite and your artwork. Your art is absolutely stunning. I always thought that the late Ian Henderson had a monopoly on art amongst you Blue Jobs but I was totally wrong! Where did you learn to draw and paint like that? Your work is obviously extremely popular as everything has a "sold" tag on it! Enjoyed your blog, too ~ some interesting stuff in there. I have forwarded your request for assistance to my Blue Job mates. I see a lot of Roger Watt who is still flying choppers for our off-shore mining operations in this part of the world (Oranjemund in Namibia). I'm also still in contact with Vic Moll, Miles Orbell, Sonny Janeke and, very occasionally, Mike Mulligan. Mike's a lousy correspondent! I'm not even sure if you'll remember me ~ I was in the Cops. Where we first met I have no idea ~ Kandeya, Makuti, Mashumbi, Tjolotjo, Wankie...Kezi? I do know that we got to know each other reasonably well in a short space of time and had a few good laughs together. If you can remember you'll do well in reminding me. I'm going to dig into my photograph albums and see whether I have any pics that might interest you. Pete Shout


Pete Le Roux flying with me back to Buffalo Range from Mabalahuta a few minutes after this picture was taken our vertcal stabilizer on the tail was shot off -story in Choppertech

Pubs we spent time in during Rand R in Rhodesia

Salisbury Hotels

Le Coq Dor -Century House Salisbury

Bretts nightclub -remember Zillah with her snake, Archapelagos, The Civil Service Club, The Red Fox, Quorn, Terreskane, Oasis, The Blue Room, crows were ladies, fights common, the fuzz trying to keep the peace!!!!!Memories.....


In memory of those Airmen who were killed from 1970-1980
Alouette III R5117 New Sarum
Sqn Ldr G. E. Nettleton (killed)
Flt Lt M. R. Hill (killed)

Alouette III R7506 Rushinga area
Flt Lt V. B. W. Cook
Sgt K. Smithdorff

28.10.70 Hunter FGA9R1823
Bulowayo airport Flame-out broken fuel pipe
Air Lt A. R. Bruce

04.11.70 Alouette III R5074
Charara Camp
Air Lt B. A. Roberts
Flt Lt G. W. Wrigley
WO2 C. Tapping

16.11.71 Canberra B2 R2510
New Sarum
Aircraft shed wing
Flt Lt A. G. Roughhead (killed)
Air Lt G. N. Robertson (killed)

17.10.72 Alouette III R5077 Gwelo area
Disorientation in rain at night
Air Lt G. Munton-Jackson (killed)
Flt Sgt P. J. Gardener (killed)

04.08.72 Vampire T11 R4222 Thornhill
Engine failure after take off
Air Sub Lt D. D. Brown (killed)

15.02.73 Alouette III R7500 Rushinga
Aircraft hit tree
Air Lt J. E. Smart (killed)
Sgt K. Smithdorff (killed)

04.09.73 Vampire T11 R4219 Near Selukwe
Air Sub Lt P. M. Bate

19.11.73 Alouette III R5087 Near Mt Darwin
Aircraft hit telephone wires
Sqn Ldr E. R. Wilkinson
Flt Sgt D. Woods
Sgt W. Huck (Army)

04.04.74 Canberra B2 R2156 Near Musengedzi
Bombs expolded in bomb bay
Air Sub Lt K. W. Goddard (killed)
Air Sub Lt W. R. Airey (killed)

14.04.74 Trojan R3244 Mozambique
Aircraft hit by SAM7
Flt Lt B. C. Weinman (killed)
SAC R. R. Durrett (killed)

20.04.74 Trojan R3427 Mozambique
Aircraft hit by SAM7
Air Sub Lt R. J. Wilson (killed)
Flt Sgt R. S. Andrews (killed)

14.08.74 Alouette III Madziwa (SAP)
Aircraft hit by RPG on the ground
Lt H. Houghton
A/Sgt R. H. Wernich
Maj. E. C. Adams (killed)

16.08.74 Provost R6308
Aircraft struck ditch on runway
Flt lt S. Baldwin
Off Cdt J. C. Phillips

17.12.74 Trojan R4326 Mushumbi Pools
Aircraft struck vehicle at night
Air Lt. B. Murdock (killed)
Cpl T. M. Perker (killed)
L/Cpl R. J. Povey (killed)

21.02.75 Dakota R7307 Rushinga
Aircraft ground looped after brake failure
Flt Lt E. H. Paintin
Flt Lt F. Wingrove (VR)
Sgt J. Mitchell

30.06.75 Vampire T11 R4223 Gwelo area
Off Cdt B. M. Delport (killed)

19.06.75 Provost R6309 Gwelo area. No 2 in Tailchase. Crashed, reason uncertain.
Air Sub Lt R. J. Boulter (killed)

Alouette III R5697 Umtali area
Aircraft hit overhead wires
2 Lt van Rensberg
Sgt P. van Rensberg (killed)
Maj Gen J. R. Shaw (killed)
Col D. G. Parker (killed)
Capt I. A. B. Robertson (killed)
Capt M. J. Lamb (killed)

16.02.76 Cessna 185 R116 Umtali area
Aircraft took off overweight
2 Lt Stroebel
Sqn Ldr G. A. Routledge (killed)

20.04.76 Trojan R3425 Motoko area
Engine failure at night
Air Lt I. Sheffield

10.06.76 Hunter R1280 Near Thornhill
Bullet severed hydrauklic line
Flt Lt. T. M. Thomas

18.07.76 Alouette III Tech killed by ground fire
Flt Lt M. Borlace
Sgt J. P. Graham (killed)

25.07.76 Alouette III R5076 Near Rutenga
Aircraft hit trees
Flt Lt M. Borlace
Sgt Graydon

01.09.76 Alouette III Tech killed by ground fire
Flt Lt I. M. Harvey
Sgt H. F. Belstead (killed)

02.09.76 Lynx R3413 NE Mozambuque Border
Aircraft hit by ground fire
Air Lt. H. W. H. Stevens (killed)

19.10.76 Alouette III R5723 Fort Victoria area
Tail rotor failure
Flt Lt M. Borlace
Sgt Davel

21.10.76 Vampire R1833 QueQue area
Flt Lt R. R. Hulley (killed)

Beech Baron R7310 Buffalo Range Undercarriage collapse
Flt Lt M. J. Russell

22.12.76 Alouette III R7524 Malapati area
Flt Lt V. B. W. Cook
Cpl F. Bellringer

06.01.77 Dakota D7034 Buffalo Range area
Aircraft flew into overhead wire
Sqn Ldr P. A. Barnett (killed)
Flt Lt D. E. Mallett (killed)
Cpl A. Bradley (army)(killed)

12.01.77 Canberra B2 R2514 Malvernia area Bomb bay hit by ground fire
Flt Lt I. H. Donaldson (killed)
Air Sub Lt D. Hawkes (killed)
Capt R.S.S. Warracker (army) (killed)

13.01.77 Vampire T11 R1318 Gwelo areaEngine failure
Air Sub Lt N. Lamb

14.03.77 Lynx R4311 Motoko area Aircraft crashed on take off at night
Air Lt J. Kidson
Lt Col B. Robinson (Army)

17.03.77 Alouette III R5172 Mrewa area Aircraft hit wires
Flt Lt M. Mulligan
Cpl Fletcher

04.05.77 Lynx R4306 Umtali area Aircraft flew into rising ground
Air Sub Lt R.H. Griffiths
AC C.W.D. Brown (killed)

17.05.77 Alouette III R5725 Aircraft hit by ground fire
Flt Lt R. J. Watt
SAC R.G. Nelson (killed)

31.05.77 Dakota R3702 Mapai area Aircraft hit by RPG on take off
Flt Lt B. Collocott (killed)
Flt Lt. G. Lynch

23.08.77 Alouette III R5713 East Grand Reef area Aircraft hit by ground fire
Flt Lt G. A. Oborne
Sgt Robinson

02.09.77 Lynx R3042 Umtali area Aircraft flew into ground
Air Lt D. L. du Plessis (killed)
Sgt J. S. Underwood (killed)

10.10.77 Alouette III R5176
Air Lt. I. Peacock
SAC Watt

23.11.77 Vampire R1386 Motoko Area Hit by ground fire.
Air Lt. P. W. Haigh (killed)

12.01.7 Alouette III R5757 Mtoko Area. Hit by ground fire
Flt Lt Maasdorp
Flt Sgt H. A. J. Jarvie (killed)

12.01.78 Alouette III R5701 Mtoko Area. Hit by ground fire.
Air Lt Goatley
Flt Sgt A. I. Fleming (killed)

15.02.78 Islander R3718 Dorowa Airfield. Failed to take off
Flt Lt. B. van Huysteen

28.07.78 Alouette III R5177 Chioco area. Hit by RPG 7
Air Lt. G. H. F. du Toit (killed)
Sgt K. P. Nelson (killed)

22.08.78 Alouette III R5773 Bindura area. Hit by ground fire
Flt Lt G. A. Osborne
Sgt B. Booth

20.10.78 Alouette III R7531 Zambia. Hit by cannon fire.
Air Sub Lt. M. Dawson
Sgt R. Oelofse

07.12.78 Vampire R8034

04.01.79 Alouette III R5170 Selukwe area. Mid air collision
Flt Lt. K. J.Fynn (killed)
Cpl A. H. W. Turner (killed)
Capt. D. Havnar (killed)

04.01.79 Alouette III R5701 Selukwe area. Mid air collision
Flt Lt R. Bolton
Cpl B. N. Cutmore (killed)

09.02.79 Bell 205 R6807 Melsetter. Tail rotor drive failure
Air Lt. B. Cockcroft, Keiron Meakin

03.09.79 Bell 205 R6098 Mozambique Hit by RPG 7
Flt Lt R. Paxton
AC A. J. C. Wesson (killed)

04.09.7 SA330 SAAF 164 Mozambique. Hit by RPG 7
3 crew & 12 pax killed

26.09.79 Alouette III R5705 Umtali Area. Hit power lines
Flt Lt. P. M. Bate (killed)
Sgt G. R. Carter (killed)
Major B. Snelgar(killed)

03.10.79 Canberra B2 R5203 Mozambique. Hit by Ground fire.
Flt Lt. K. Pienke (killed)
Flt Lt. J. J. Strydom (killed)

03.10.79 Hunter R1821 Mozambique. Flew into target
Air Lt B.Gordon (killed)

Alouette III R5723 Hit by ground fire.
Air Sub Lt. Middleton
Sgt J. Dent

25.11.79 Genet R9092 Gwelo. Fuel starvation.
Wg Cdr H. C. S. Slatter

11.12.79 Bell 205 R6805 Tail rotor failure
Flt Lt R. Skinner

23 12.79 Genet R6330 Todd's Motel. Crashed on convoy patrol.
Air Sub Lt S. Tickle

25.12.79 Alouette III R5876 Mt Darwin area
Flt Lt A. J. Senekal (killed)

17.01.80 Bell 205 R6084 Heavy landing. Trooping
Flt Lt M. Vernon

Some Statistics:
Mishaps by type
Number of Mishaps

Alouette III

Bell 205












The photograph above is of the tailboom from Dick Paxton and Alec Wesson's Bell 205 helicopter which was shot down on Operation Uric in 1979. Alec was killed instantly and Dick rescued from the wreckage by a member of the SAS.The tailboom is near Chokwe in Mocambique on the Limpopo River (Gaza Province) and was photographed by Kevin Pitzer.It is placed in the only traffic circle in the town and at the time it was photographed was surrounded by freshly painted rocks (white) depicting victory with Communist stars. There were also several rocky white painted mounds dotted with red which could have marked the graves of people killed during the battle.
If anyone has any more information or photographs please let me know.
Beaver Shaw


Traffic Police duties Salisbury 1976 -photograph Dominique Hoyet

PATU Landrovers being deployed to the field -photo Anthony Seaward

A PATU stick being briefed on a terrorist sighting -photo Anthony Seaward

On tracks using dogs -photo Anthony Seaward

On patrol Zimbabwe Ruins -Anthony Seaward

BSAP Charge Office -a typical Station scene in Rhodesia -photo Anthony Seaward

THE BSAP -Wikapedia Encyclopedia
The British South Africa Police (BSAP) was the police force of the British South Africa Company (BSAC) of Cecil Rhodes which became the national police force of Southern Rhodesia and its successor after 1965, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Until 1899, the force also policed parts of BSAC territories north of the Zambezi River and now in Zambia.

The organisation was formed by the BSAC in 1889 as a paramilitary, mounted infantry force in order to provide protection for the Pioneer Column of settlers which moved into Mashonaland in 1890. The unit played a central role in both the First Matabele War (1893) and the Second Matabele War (1896/97). Until 1897 the force was called the British South Africa Company's Police. The BSAP operated originally in conjunction with the Southern Rhodesia Constabulary (SRC), the town police force for Salisbury (now Harare) and Bulawayo, but amalgamated with the SRC in 1909. As a paramilitary unit, the BSAP fought in the Second Boer War and in Tanganyika during World War I, while some members were seconded to the Rhodesia Native Regiment. From 1923, Southern Rhodesia was a self-governing colony of the British Empire, but the BSAP retained its title and its position as the senior regiment of the Southern Rhodesian armed forces. One of the first casualties of the BSAP in World War II was Keppel Bagot Levett, born in 1919, who died in active service with the BSAP in March 1941.[1]

A Criminal Investigation Department was founded in 1923; a Women's Section in 1941, and a Dog Unit in 1945. From 1957, the Police Reserve also had an airborne wing.

The BSAP's name remained unchanged by the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, although following the declaration of a republic by Ian Smith's government in 1970, the crown was removed from the BSAP's badge.


Typical ZANLA and ZIPRA terrorist attire when in the field CAN ANYONE ASSIST WITH MORE PHOTOGRAPHS -please e mail to me


a photograph unk of a Rhodesian Airforce G Car carrying a 60 mm mortar slung off the step complete with a mortar crew -this photo is often confused by viewers as the bag either containing a casevac or body -this is not true.


A rare photograph from RhAf photo section of a formation of all helicopter types operated by the Rhodesian Air Force circa 1979. Alouette 2 Alouette 3 and Bell 205
note: The Alouette 2helicopters were on loan from the SAAF under the guise of the SAP and were mainly used as training helicopters

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Guard Force vedette in Keep
The one-man guard force
From a Rhodesian Government publication "The Farmer at War"
GEORGE STYLE is a tall, rangy active ex-farmer, hunter and policeman, who has packed a lot of experience into his 75 years — experience he's now willing to put to good use, helping farmers in the operational areas who need to get away for a break. "I'm just a house guard, really," he says deprecatingly. In fact, he does a lot more than guard houses; he runs farms in the absence of their owners, supervises the labour and pays them, and generally keeps a watchful eye on all that is going on.
Not surprisingly, he's in great demand; during a recent five-week stint he had seven telephone calls and six letters asking him to come to other farms. One man booked him a year in advance! He goes mostly to the Eastern Districts, like Penhalonga, the Vumba, Melsetter, Cashel and Chipinga, which he says is like a second home, he's made so many friends there.
He has plenty of anecdotes about his experiences, like the story of the terrs who were taking R & R in the compound when he was looking after a farm over Christmas. Then there's the African baby, Georgina, who was named after him because he got her mother to hospital just in time. There's the lunch parties he'll be giving on his next stint; "I've been to this farm before, and they've got a marvellous cook," he says. "I buy mostly all my own food, though. I don't want people coming back from holiday to enormous food bills, and saying that old George has been living well."
Not all his anecdotes are funny: he tells the story of a young coffee farmer near Chipinga, who, although badly wounded, routed a gang of 30 terrorists singlehanded. He was ambushed, and his companion also badly wounded, but, with his right arm smashed, he loaded his rifle with his left hand, propped it in a tree, and wounded one terr who dropped his rifle before the rest ran away. If that wasn't enough, he also managed to administer first aid to his companion.
Though he lives constantly with danger, George Style wouldn't have it otherwise for anything — he's enormously grateful for the chance to do his bit. Retired, and living in Chisipite, Salisbury, while his two sons run his Buffalo Range ranch, he tried, three years ago, to join the Police Specials, those older men who do invaluable duties in the suburbs. They wouldn't have him, regretting that he was "too old" — they just don't know what they missed!
So he put an advertisement in the local newspaper, and a few replies resulted. Once he started, though, the word went round and the whole thing snowballed.
"It's been so rewarding," he said. "I've regained my health, and I've got an interest in life. I could have been six feet underground by now."
Though nervous about publicity, because he is basically a modest man, he insists that there's nothing special about his work, and says that there are plenty of men of his age who could do the same. "They sit around in old people's homes, waiting to die," he said. "They might just as well get out there and do something useful."
But before anyone starts up a Grandad's Army, it's only fair to say that not many septugenarians have George Style's energy, ability, and, bluntly, money. He says it is really all thanks to his sons, who support him. In fact, he built up a fantastic ranching and hunting business from practically nothing. There were many times in the early days when it was a real battle; his wife, Ethne, a true partner who still backs him all the way, ran trading stores to help the farming operations, and to help keep the boys at school. He takes her along on his stints very occasionally, but mostly she's like any other war wife, left in Salisbury, with the widow of a Police comrade of 53 years ago, Mary Perkins, to help and keep her company.
All George's stints are done at his own expense, and he uses his own car. "I live pretty rough sometimes, too," he says. "Some of these so-called cooks can't even make tea, and lots of them are busy pinching food — I catch them at it sometimes." Not all cooks, obviously, are of the luncheon party variety.
Because of his experiences in the operational areas, especially on border farms, he has plenty of tips for farmers. He suggests that many are "under-dogged" — a word he has invented. "All very well having these little yappy things underfoot," he says. "True, they make a noise, but what is needed is big, fierce, Alsatian or Labrador-type dogs — I've often known terrs running from dogs like that. And they must sleep outside, it's no good having them indoors."
Just the same, he has a small, adorable white Maltese terrier, Kachito, named by his first owner, a Spaniard. Her mistress was killed in an ambush, and her farmer husband couldn't bear to keep her dog, the memories were too much. So George asked if he could take her to Salisbury, where she is now very happily at home.
He's also horrified at the number of farmers who keep fire-arms locked up during the day. "You've got to have them right beside you, readily available, at all times."
And, while he sympathises tremendously with wives in the sensitive security areas he'd destroy the trees and large shrubs in their carefully tended gardens if he had half a chance. He points out that the value of a security fence is diminished if you have lots of cover within the fence. When there's a shoot-out, it is all too easy for terrs to reach the house, through garden vegetation.
He's now worked on farms a total of 21 years, and says he can still run a farm efficiently, provided there are good foremen. "Age doesn't matter — one just has to supervise, and maybe drive trucks into town for supplies. Many of these farms have first class foremen, but no drivers."
It isn't easy to get George Style talking about himself; he'd rather talk about his family, of which he is very proud. His father, an ex-colonel who served originally in the 17th Lancers, (the Death or Glory Boys of Balaclava fame) was mayor of King Williamstown, in the Cape, for 10 years. George's brother, Claude, nicknamed "Stylo", was officer in charge of the first air unit formed in Rhodesia, and chairman of the first flying club in Salisbury, during the Thirties — he'd joined the Royal Flying Corps at 16, and won the DFC in the First World War. Claude's son Colin has recently won a poetry award in South Africa.
Of George's own sons, Clive, now managing director of Buffalo Range Safaris, was on the first Gwebi College of Agriculture course, while Rodney gave up university to return to farming.
Reluctantly, George is persuaded to talk about his current activities again, but he swiftly turns the conversation to the farmers themselves — about the tension they all live under in border areas, how they have no social life, and can't travel at nights. And how sometimes, terrs who shoot up homes, leave notes advising the owners to "get out now."
And finally, he gets on to the subject of compensation, something he sees, or rather, doesn't see, at first hand. He mentions a farmer who has lost everything, and has waited months for compensation of any kind. George is angry; the people he has helped have become his friends, and he waxes eloquent about politicans who ignore their needs.
George Style has kept letters sent to him by farmers and their wives. They paint a picture of life in the frontline of the terrorist war, bringing home more clearly than any official communique, what is is like to live with danger, every day. Below are just a few extracts.
"Labour driven away, and their huts burned, tobacco barns burned, and house attacked."
"The terrs called all the labour to come close so they could show them what power was. Then they opened fire at point blank range, killing 13 and injuring 16".
"You never know if your labour will be there in the morning, and we dread dipping day in case the cattle have been stolen".
"Our friends have vacated their farm after being ambushed in daylight, at 5 p.m. at the security fence."
"Our neighbours leave for good next month".
"Two ponies were shot in the stables on the next farm".
Townswomen, too, are volunteering to look after farms in the hot war zones to allow the farmer and his family a holiday break, women like Sybil Duncanson who vividly recounts her first "guard stint".
"My husband Jack and I drove down from Salisbury to the farm where we stayed for two weeks while the owners took a well-earned holiday at the coast. The day after our arrival, a Friday, there was a terrorist ambush during daylight on the main tarred road over which we had come, and two vehicles were attacked. That night, our second night, we were jerked awake at one in the morning by the harsh agric-alert alarm. Then came a woman's voice calling Police Control and reporting that they were under attack. She sounded so very calm and controlled. I was impressed and wondered how I would shape in a similar situation.
"Control replied immediately and messages continued back and forth over the two-way radio for the next two hours. I lay in the dark and followed the action. Mostly the reports were made by the wife and I presumed the husband was fully occupied firing back at the terrs. Throughout the action she maintained this same wonderful control and calm clear voice for her progress reports. (I later discovered that I knew this woman from a camping holiday). Apparently the terrs attacked and burnt down the Medical Store which supplied two African clinics run by this farmer's wife, who is also the local district nurse. Fortunately there were no casualties at the farmhouse.
"This incident occurred some miles north west of where we were. Next morning about 7 am, while Jack and I were at the cattle dip near the house seeing the dairy herd being dipped, four helicopters carrying armed soldiers flew southwards very low right over us. We could see the men in the helicopters clearly. They were followed a few minutes later by a Dakota transport plane with its open despatch doorway clearly visible — presumably taking the paratroopers to drop them at an enemy contact in the opposite direction to the previous night's attack. So obviously they were after a different group of terrorists. This with the previous night's attack and the main road ambush all within two days of our arrival made me very aware of the fact that we were in a hot security area!
"There is a three-metre-high security fence surrounding the house, garden and outhouses (laundry, store, etc.) and another around the tobacco barns, workshops, with an interleading gate. All the gates are bolted and locked at sunset and opened at sunrise. There is a general curfew throughout the district from 5 pm to 6 am and no one is permitted to move around except the Security Forces, as this is the time the terrorists are most active, under cover of darkness. This means, of course, that the house servants also must leave before sunset. There can be no visiting between neighbours for dinner or an evening bridge game.
"Surrounding the house about two metres away from the outside walls is another brick wall just one-and-a-half metres high. From inside the house when standing up one can just see over this wall, whereas the windows are partly protected by the wall against anyone firing from outside. This, of course, ruins the view of the garden from the house because when you are sitting down inside and look out of the window you look straight on to a blank wall, instead of across a pretty garden and lawn down to the swimming-pool. A pity, but the wall does give one a reassuring feeling of added security in the dark of night.
"On top of the roof is a special flashing light which can be switched on from inside the house. It is an identifying light to guide in a helicopter or such-like in case of emergency. Our neighbour has flares attached to his outside wall, which are triggered from inside the house, the idea being to blind the attackers.
"The farms in the district have not got mains electricity laid on, so have to generate their own using noisy diesel engines, which for this reason are not usually too near the house. Once this motor is switched off (there is a special cut-out in the house) the lights cannot be switched back on again without someone going outside and down to the power house.So once lights go out at night they stay out till next evening when the pump is started up again. In other farming areas where mains power is available some farmers have strong lights which can be switched on to illuminate the attackers so that they cannot see the homestead. However, this would not be possible here which is perhaps why the authorities choose this area to try out placing a "stick" of five Guard Force soldiers on certain farms. These guards take turns of duty during the night. In the morning they check the security fence and gates for booby traps and look for land mines on the road.
"When we go down to the cattle dip on the next door farm, which is some distance away and isolated and surrounded by very tall grass and bush, we take the Guard Force with us to 'clear' the road and 'sweep' the area round the dip and be on guard while the cattle are being dipped, as there have been numerous incidents and fatalities in ambushes at the dips especially if cattle dipping is done on a regular day each week.
"I must admit I find it a great comfort at night knowing the Guard Force are around — except when the dogs bark at them in the middle of the night.
"Before going outside the security fence I have to 'saddle up' and end up looking rather like a pack mule! First on is my leather belt holding a pistol and spare bullets as well as two spare magazines for my LDP semi-automatic. The webbing sling of the latter then goes over my head to rest on my left shoulder and across my chest so that the gun rests on my right hip (I am getting a permanent bruise on my right hip from the 'cocking knob' knocking against my hip bone!) Then, of course, being a keen bird watcher I never can go anywhere in the bush without my binoculars in case I see any interesting birds, so they hang from a cord round my neck. With a bush hat on my head, my denim trousers and cotton blouse, I really look the part of an armed Christmas tree or female bandit! I am now so used to wearing the gun belt round my waist (usually worn under my loose blouse) that when I come back in I often don't even bother to take it off to eat. There was Jack and I sitting eating our breakfasts with spare ammo and pistols strapped round our waists. An armed breakfast and neither of us even thought it strange!
"Even as I sit here in the garden writing this I still have on my gun belt.
Unnecessary really, but I am already, after only one week here, so used to wearing it that I forget to take it off. It is unnecessary in the house and within the security fence during the day to be armed, but before going outside the security fence one must be armed at all times. I admire tremendously the farmers, their wives and families who live and have been living under these tense conditions for years now, never knowing when they may be shot up or when the car they are travelling in may be blown up by a landmine planted by terrorists in the gravel of the farm roads.
"As soon as it starts to get dark in the evenings the power plant is started up and the lights come on throughout the house. Immediately all curtains are drawn shut and doors closed. All lights are left on in all the rooms throughout the house so it's not obvious from outside which rooms are occupied. This means one can't put out the house lights and read in bed till sleepy as I am used to doing back home in the city. Here that practice is considered very unwise. When the last person is ready for bed he or she presses the switch to turn off the power pump and all the lights go out together. If you are that person you then use a torch to find your own bed! You get into bed with your loaded gun on the floor beside you and all is dark and very quiet and you wonder what the night has in store — will it be quiet all night or will the agric-alert alarm suddenly blast you awake, or will you maybe have to press that alarm button yourself?
"Then with the early morning light everything seems so normal — till you are dressed and have to strap on your gun belt again before going to the dairy. Another normal day has started for those who live with the gun ever beside them in the isolated homesteads in the security areas of our country."


Ken Newman

Hi Gordon,

I flew G- Cars during the period of your book .I recognise many of the faces and names on your blog.
It is interesting to read your side of the story - i still have my ELT (for pilots only)
Ken Newman was a great friend of mine - you will remember him. He was killed in a Alo 3 crash near Port Elizabeth during 1999.I flew the rescue mission but only manage to rescue his tech Mike Bottom and the passenger.Our friendship was forged during those days during the Rhodesian War.
I loved wearing those t-shirts,shorts and fellies much more comfortable than the baby grows we are forced to wear to-day.

I want a copy of your book


Theo Meyer

Ex Sqn leader Rhodesian Air Force ( Clandestine Ek Se^)