About Me

My photo
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

Blog Archive

Search This Blog

There was an error in this gadget

Pages

Followers

Saturday, June 20, 2009

TIME MAGAZINE SEPT 18 1978



It was a genuine horror story, calculated to make the most alarming of Rhodesian doomsday prophecies seem true. As a blood-red sun was sinking behind the thorn trees on the Zambezi escarpment, a lumbering Air Rhodesia Viscount airliner took off from Kariba on a flight to Salisbury. Ten minutes later the pilot, John Hood, 36, reported that he had lost control of his starboard engines. "We're going in," he radioed. In a few moments, his craft crashed into the thick bushland of the Whamira Hills.

Of the 56 people on board, 38 died in the crash. Five of the 18 survivors struggled free and left immediately in search of water. Three of the remaining 13 were miraculously spared by hiding when, half an hour later, nine armed guerrilla soldiers arrived. "It's only because I know a terrorist when I see one that I'm still alive," recalled Anthony Hill, 39, an army reservist. He hid in the bush. At first the guerrillas, clad in jungle green uniforms, seemed friendly, promising help. But then they herded together the ten people at the wreckage, robbed them of their valuables, and finally cut them down with automatic weapons fire. From another hiding place, businessman Hans Hansen and his wife Diana could hear the victims crying, "Please don't shoot us!" as the firing began. Dazed by the ordeal, Hansen said later: "I'll never be able to get that moment out of my mind."

From his headquarters in neighboring Zambia, Joshua Nkomo, co-leader of the Patriotic Front guerrillas, denied that his troops had slain the ten survivors of the crash, but proudly boasted that his men had indeed shot down the plane. Such civilian craft, he claimed, were sometimes used by the Salisbury government for military missions. Rhodesian authorities at first denied that the plane had been shot down, but after four days of investigation confirmed that it had been hit by a heat-seeking missile, presumably an SA-7 of the kind the Soviet Union has been supplying the guerrillas.

The incident turned the tense mood of Salisbury uglier than ever. Middle-aged businessmen talked of taking up arms. A group of whites in a mixed Salisbury bar, fingering the triggers of rifles, ordered blacks who sat beside them to get out. The blacks did not tarry. Rumors circulated that two young whites, after hearing of the massacre, stopped their car and shot the first black man they saw. In Parliament, a backbencher called for martial law and general mobilization, and blustered that Africa was about to see "its first race of really angry white men." Almost certainly there would be acts of vengeance by the Rhodesian armed forces, probably in the form of retaliatory raids against guerrilla camps in Zambia and Mozambique. Even many whites who had begun to seem receptive to the idea of eventual black rule in Rhodesia wondered, after hearing Nkomo claim responsibility for the air crash in a BBC interview, wondered anew whether there could be a political agreement with him.

1 comment:

  1. As a Rhodie, I enjoy your blog very much. As a former Troopie, it brings back a variety of memories, not all bad, & reminds me why we fought. We're a dwindling tribe & so it is vital we record OUR side of the story before the PC brigade (most of whom have never been closer to Africa than a Meryll Streep film!) rewrite history in their usual way!
    If there are any others like me (& you, Choppertech) out there, check out theiva.tk & maybe rhodesia.tk.
    Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete

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.