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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 29, 2009

moreFROM CHOPPERTECH


BEAVERS LOG BOOK
AIR TASK 768 HURRICANE NEAR MTOKO/NYADIRI RIVER GAP 12/1/1978
K CAR CHAS GOATLEY AND FLAME FLEMING
K CAR FRANCOIS DU TOIT AND TECH UNK
G CAR NORMAN MAASDORP AND HENRY JARVIE
G CAR AL THOROUGHGOOD AND TECH UNK
TECHNICIANS, FLAME FLEMING AND HENRY JARVIE KIA
After having completed a marathon bush trip which had taken me across Rhodesia, my Squadron Warrant Officer; Barry Ord ordered me back to New Sarum from Mtoko for some badly needed R and R.
The Changeover Dakota arrived on the 11th January 1978 and Flight Sergeants Flame Fleming and Henry Jarvie arrived to relieve us.
I was flying with Chas Goatley in the K Car; and Flamo took over from me.
Little did I know that he would be dead in the next few hours? (Flames father and mine worked for the Veterinary Department in Rhodesia)
Fireforce were called out to a scene and during this scene, the Army K Car commander Lieutenant Adams was wounded in the hand and was not able to continue running the battle.
He was transferred to a G Car flown by Luigi Mantovani, the G Car came under intense fire as it lifted off with the casevac and was grounded on return to Mtoko.
Francois du Toit took over the Stop groups on the ground as he was an experienced Fireforce operator and continued to command the Fireforce operation until it ended.

Chas Goatley and his Gunner in the K Car; with Norman Maasdorp and his technician Henry Jarvie were air ambushed as they flew through the Nyadiri River gap West of Mtoko a few minutes flying away from the FAF.
Flame had leant forward to look through the centre Perspex window when he was hit in the head by an AK round.
Fireforce heard about the incident and Norman and Henry returned to Mtoko to refuel and pick up an RAR stick and deploy to the Nyadiri river gap to carry out a follow up of the CT’s.
Chas Goatley had returned to the ambush area was flying in the K Car and running the scene, he guided Norman into an LZ.
As Norman and Henry’s G Car flared to land they were fiercely attacked by an RPD gunner.
Henry was hit and slumped into the middle of the helicopter behind his guns.
The instrument panel vibrated fiercely, as it was shot to smithereens by the intense incoming machine gun fire.

Due to his wounds Norman was unable to walk, so he crawled around the G Car to attend to Henry, however when he got to him he heard a loud gushing noise and could see fuel pouring out of the ruptured tank.
He could also see that Henry was dead!

He crawled back to the stick leader and gave him some painkillers… while he contacted Al Thorogood to casevac them on the stick leaders radio.
Norman was casevaced with the RAR stick and on arrival at Mtoko found that his legs and heel were peppered with shrapnel from the RPD.
The pedal area of the Alouette was peppered with machine gun bullets and shrapnel; and it was a miracle that Norman was not killed in this action.
That night one of the sticks who had been left in overnight ambush by Francois du Toit in K Car was attacked by about 20 CT’s and an RAR soldier killed in the fire fight.
It had been a frustrating and equally worse day for the Rhodesian Security forces.
As for me, I had survived by a hair and I knew it, the shock of it began to tell.
I started questioning myself, as to whether we could sustain all this war and terror, and how it would all end up.


LEOPARD ROCK ATTACK
In January 1978, a group of thirty terrorists approached the Leopard Rock Hotel outside Umtali and began firing AK 47 rifles and RPG 7 rockets at the hotel from a distance of 100 meters away. A rocket hit a turret of the hotel and went through exploding in a vacant room.
A second rocket struck the hotel’s roof and damaged the water mains.
There were only eight guests staying in the hotel and some of these guests managed to return fire at the terrorists.
After this attack we were banned from going to the hotel while on Fireforce duty at Grand Reef.

BEAVERS LOG BOOK
BEATRICE CALL OUT 6/1/78
AIR TASK 767 SALOPS BEATRICE 6/1/1978
G CAR 5277 CHRIS MILBANK AND BEAVER SHAW
I CT KILLED TRACKER DOGS USED IN FOLLOW UP
I was on stand by on Seven Squadron on the morning of the 6th January 1978 enjoying a day at the pool, when the duty officer called and told me to stand by and prepare a G Car for a possible scene which was brewing in the Beatrice area.
I pulled the stand by G Car out of the hangar and prepped it for operations; and within a few minutes was met at the heli-pad by Chris Milbank, who would be my pilot on the operation. Soon afterwards we were airborne setting course for the Beatrice Police Station where we were to uplift a dog handler with his dogs to join a PATU stick in the Beatrice farming area that were following up a group of terrorists.
We refuelled at the police station and headed back to the PATU Sparrow (tracker) stick; who reported that they were about five minutes behind a group of four terrorists who were moving in an easterly direction.

We dropped off the dog handler and his two Labrador retrievers and began circling ahead of the stick in an attempt to bring the terrorists to ground.
After some time orbiting over savannah bushveld, we noticed that the long grass had been trampled in the direction of a thick clump of trees.
Chris pulled the G Car up into an overhead firing pattern and instructed me to put some clearing fire into the thicket with my twin .303 Browning machine guns.
I fired a burst into the target area; and as the rounds impacted into the trees we came under small arms fire from that location.
I could hear the rounds cracking as they passed our helicopter.
Suddenly a terrorist made a break from the thicket and attempted to run into a stream bed, he was armed with a folding butt AK 47 assault rifle.
“Fuck you”, I yelled over the intercom; as I raked him with a long burst from my Browning’s.

The terrorist disappeared into a cloud of dust and I saw him lying prone with his weapon lying about a meter from his lifeless body.
We turned back to the thicket and dropped a white smoke generator into it and gave the area another few bursts of machine gun fire, this time all was quiet.
We spoke the trackers on to the target area and commenced a sweep of the thicket and stream bed but came up with nothing.
It appeared that the terrorists had bomb shelled.
After some extensive sweeping, and letting the dog’s loose we called it a day and recovered all, including the terrorist and his weapon back to Beatrice.

CASEVACS AND DOGS 6-9 February 1978 -FROM THE BOOK, “AIRSTRIKE” BY PROP GELDENHUYS
AIR TASK 777 CONTACT C/S 14 AND 42 TROOPING C/S 43A
G CAR 5729 MIKE BORLACE AND BEAVER SHAW
DEPLOY DOGS, TOP COVER AND CASEVAC LANDMINE VICTIM
Due to the march of time I cannot recall this time


HELICOPTERS DAMAGED IN FIREFORCE ACTION
27th January 1978
Mike Borlace and I were involved with 2 RAR, the text has been extracted from: The War Diaries of Andre Dennison; to describe the actions which followed.

On 27th January 1978, (by now fully operational), the Scouts called us in on a sighting of ten CT’s, in a camp a few miles east of Enkeldoorn.
We had time to dispatch a road party with fuel and the second wave of troops, everything appeared to be set up for a big culling scene.
However the road party was late in arriving, and as K Car One got into the orbit over the target area it collected a mean snot-squirt, warning lights for Africa blossomed over the panel, and Nick Meikle made an immediate emergency landing in a mealie field.
The OC, Dennison transferred to K Car 2, and directed the two G Cars to land sticks. The second G Car pranged on landing, the rotors taking off the tail rotor and totally immobilizing the aircraft.
At this time the paras were dropped and the sweeping started, Stops One and Two contacted a large group of AMA/AFAs (African Male and Female adults)
In the camp area four AMAs were killed; and six AFA/AMJs (African Male Juveniles) killed; with three AMAs who had surrendered.

The call-sign then came under point blank RPK (machine gun) fire and 2Lt Biffen had a close shave when a bullet creased his FN barrel, bulging it badly, two CT’s broke West and were unsuccessfully engaged by K Car Two and a G Car.
One of the CTs was pinned down in some rocks, and Stop 3 were flown in, who flushed him out and killed him, recovering an AK. These were our first OP Grapple kills.
It was later established that one of the dead AMAs was a CT, and that the captured AMAs, by inference, (the dead ones), had received local training. The Scouts later established that three wounded CTs were evacuated that night by vehicle.
Note:
The Selous Scouts records, date this contact as 28th January, as the wounded and the dead were always flown in to a Selous Scout Fort for examination, investigation and interrogation in the case of the living; by Special Branch attached to the Scouts, these records were normally accurate.
The records relate that one of Corporal Croukamp’s sub call-signs, callsign One Three Echo, visited a village in the guise of a survivor from the main contact on the 24thJanuary.
In the general conversation that took place the villagers mentioned that another group of terrorists had based up near the village. The commander of call-sign One Three Echo then carried out a one man reconnaissance and duly located five terrorists based up at UQ055023.
The Fireforce, commanded by Andre Dennison was called, arrived and the contact ensued; in the course of which the aircraft were hit. There were ten terrorists in the base, one of which was killed and four captured.
After these contacts a great deal of information was gleaned by the Selous Scouts callsigns who had called in the Fireforce, as unless they were compromised, they would remain in the area posing as survivors.


CHAPTER TWELVE



STRIKE FORCE, BEIT BRIDGE-COL RICH
My deployment to Strike Force in Beitbridge was to be an interesting time because it was my first time to be living with the Army in their environment in a battle camp.
Our Strike force was commanded by Colonel Rich who was based with us in a camp in the Mtetengwe TTL; just outside of Beitbridge.
We were supported by members of 2 Commando RLI only our G Car in support. We were based in a tented camp and in typical army fashion all ranks were separated according to seniority, rank wise..
I was a corporal at the time but wore Sergeant Stripes in the bush as it was much more comfortable to be in the Army Sergeants mess with batmen taking care of you in the field than struggling along with the junior ranks.
I did not enjoy living with the army very much due to the split messing and the rank discrimination however while camping on this tour I met up with Stu Hammond and Al Parsons who made the evenings in the Sergeants mess bearable with their constant banter.
Our task was to carry out relay changes on a regular basis and to carry out trooping and casualty evacuations if required.
We were also to give top cover to the troopies on the ground when they came into contact with terrorists.
I remember spending my time on this deployment with Dutch De Klerk, Stu Hammond, Alan Parsons and Buzzard Doulgeris
.
I can also remember that digital watches had just come out; and were the rave at the time, Keith Spence, my pilot had just returned from South Africa and was sporting a new Seiko digital watch around camp… like a rat with a gold tooth.
While on this deployment we were sent to casevac a Police reserve callsign which had been involved in a fleeting contact with a group of terrorists and one of the reservists had been shot in the face and it appeared that he had lost an eye; but would survive.
I took my flak vest off during the flight to Messina in South Africa and shielded him from the wind.
During our Beitbridge deployment we had a few great evenings in town at the local club where I was lucky enough to meet one of the local farmer’s daughters Mimi, who worked as a radio operator with the BSAP.
We also frequented the Customs and Excise club and were given bottles of brandy and Coco Rico, which was the drink of the day.
I also met Ed Byrd who was our Special Branch contact in the area and Ed was a mine of information on the area; and which terrorist groups were operating locally.

During this deployment to Beitbridge we met up with some members of the Air Force regiment who were based at Beitbridge. Their leader an Air Force VR Sergeant asked Mike Borlace if we would be kind enough to spend some time giving the VR’s trooping drills with the G Car so that they could be of use if required in a call out.
Mike agreed; and we arrived at their small base near the Bridge and briefed them on
trooping drills; and the art of emplaning and deplaning from a helicopter while armed.
The VR Sergeant looked fierce wearing his combat kit and armed with an MAG machine gun and his ammunition belts draped all over his body like an RAR recruiting poster.
We boarded the stick and practised drills for a while and when we had completed the exercise flew the stick back to their base.
The stick leader saw the convoy to South Africa, parked near their base awaiting clearance to cross the border and asked Mike if they could do a hover drop near the convoy to impress the onlookers in the convoy.
We went into an orbit and came in for the drop, our Sergeant was a little too keen to impress the crowd and bailed out of our G Car at about fifteen feet above the ground… landed on his feet, but due to the height and weight of his MAG, collapsed in a heap injuring his back.
We landed next to him, I got out and extracted a stretcher and with assistance of the remainder of his stick; placed him on board the G Car and casevaced him to Messina hospital in South Africa.

I wonder what went through the minds of those onlookers in the convoy…
BEAVERS LOGBOOK
G CAR 5817 18/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW TROOPING AND RELAY CHANGE BEITBRIDGE AREA
G CAR 5817 19/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW TROOPING BEITBRIDGE AREA
G CAR 5817 20/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW TROOPING BEITBRIDGE AREA
G CAR 5817 22/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW TROOPING BEITBRIDGE AREA
G CAR 5817 24/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW RELAY CHANGE
G CAR 5817 25/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW CASEVAC AND TROOPING
G CAR 5817 25/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW TROOPING STRIKE FORCE
G CAR 5817 26/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW BEITBRIDGE-SALISBURY AIRCRAFT CHANGE
G CAR 5729 26/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW SALISBURY BEITBRIDGE
G CAR 5729 26/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW TROOPING STRIKE FORCE
G CAR 5729 28/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW TROOPING STRIKE FORCE
G CAR 5729 29/01/1978 KEITH SPENCE AND BEAVER SHAW TROOPING STRIKE FORCE
G CAR 5729 01/02/1978 MIKE BORLACE AND BEAVER SHAW TELSTAR AND TOP COVER FOR C/S 32
G CAR 5729 01/02/1978 MIKE BORLACE AND BEAVER SHAW GUN TEST 500 RDS .303 BROWNING
G CAR 5729 03/02/1978 MIKE BORLACE AND BEAVER SHAW RELAY RESUPPLY C/S 28
G CAR 5729 03/02/1978 MIKE BORLACE AND BEAVER SHAW TULI-VEHICLE AMBUSH-TODDS-BEITBRIDGE
G CAR 5729 04/02/1978 MIKE BORLACE AND BEAVER SHAW RELAY RESUPPLY

JON KENNERLEY AND FARMER ABDUCTIONS
An incident that hounded me for many years finally came to light during research for Choppertech was that of Jon Kennerley.
Jon Kennerley was working for the Bulawayo Chronicle as a compositor and had taken a few days leave from his regular night-shift with the newspaper to visit his father, who worked in Beitbridge as a vehicle Inspector.
Jon managed to hitch a ride in a Ward’s Transport pantechnicon and they headed for Bulawayo on the afternoon of the 5th February 1978.
Mike Borlace, myself with Mike’s dog; Doris, flew over the pantechnicon about 20 kilometres outside Beitbridge and we could clearly see Jon waving at us as we flew over them.
About 12 kilometres outside Beitbridge a group of terrorists stopped the pantechnicon on the main road adjacent to the Mtengwetengwe tribal trust lands; they robbed the driver and his assistant of $30 and abducted Jon Kennerley at about 18h30 in the evening.

Mike Borlace had positioned at the Drummond’s farm in West Nicholson and was told (later that evening), to return to Beitbridge at first light the next day to carry out a follow-up on the abduction.
The terrorists hid Jon in some huts in the Mtengwetengwe TTL; and waited for the follow-up to settle down then moved him from village to village at night to avoid contact with us.
Mike Borlace, myself and our stick of troops from 1 Indep. Coy; RAR were in the G Car; we scoured the area in search of Jon, dropping the troops into villages and constantly checking for any signs of him; but to no avail, however while in the process of our search we made contact with other groups of terrorists in the area; and had some lively contacts.

Jon at this time was hidden deep in the TTL and had his first meal consisting of sadza, chicken and dried milk,(a day after his abduction when things had quietened down)
On the third day Jon was handed over to a new group of terrorists who took his money and bought tins of meat and biscuits from a store.
Five days after his abduction Jon managed to escape from his captors who had relaxed and fell asleep. Jon ran from the village where they had been hiding and wandered about in the TTL looking for water, as this area of Rhodesia is semi desert.
He walked into a village and asked for water; (there was actually a small river nearby) and was told by the locals of the river. As he was crossing the river he heard shots and was recaptured by the terrorists who were enraged with him for escaping.
The terrorists bound his hands with donkey hide straps and his feet with a belt and returned to the village.
That night Jon attempted to escape again but due to being tied up made too much noise which alerted his guard who threw water over the donkey hide straps as punishment for his attempts at escape.
The straps contracted at night and in the morning his hands had swollen terribly leaving him in excruciating pain.
It took sixteen days; from that village for the terrorists to extract Jon into Mozambique and when the group crossed the Nuanetsi River Jon had another go at escape and was caught once again.
This time the terrorists made him walk for six days without shoes walking barefoot with water up to his chest at times and other times walking through very long grass.
When Jon was interrogated by the terrorists he told them that he was in the RLI, however he was too young to serve in the Rhodesian Security forces at that time.
Jon fed the terrorists with a lot of lies and stories which they believed.
Once in Mozambique Jon was whisked away to Chimoio; where he was interrogated once again. He was also given the use of a small transistor radio by his captors.
Five months later Jon was moved to another camp (Tembue) where he met up with an Afrikaner, who had also been abducted by the name of Johannes Maartens.

Jon was to form a strong bond with the old man and called him “Oupa”. (Grandad) Who had been abducted from his farm in Headlands on 18th May 1978. Johannes a 54 year old farmer; and father of seven, was unarmed and attending to his farm in his vehicle; when he was surrounded by a group of terrorists. This group took 9 days to move the sickly old man with a heart condition into Mozambique. The terrorists were aware of his condition and took care to carry his pack and give him frequent rests during which time they assured Johannes that; they were not racists and did not wish to expel all whites from Rhodesia.
The deeply religious Johannes told them that they were being seriously manipulated by Communist ideologies, to which they laughed.
Tembue camp was attacked by the Rhodesian Security forces in July and Jon recalls the camp being “Revved” from his position behind a clump of rocks about 500 meters away from the strike. He says “It was a beautiful sight”.
By this time Jon had befriended his captors and it appeared that they had become quite fond of him.
Food was always a problem; and Jon assisted by catching lizards and tortoises which he said were good eating.

While Jon was abducted we had a few contacts with terrorist groups in the Mtengwetengwe TTL, and in Mozambique, where we found documents and letters about Jon. I was constantly looking out for him and wanted to know the outcome of his abduction. We missed rescuing him a few times; when we were searching for him in the Mtengwetengwe TTL.
A retired British Army Colonel; by the name of Major Thomas Wigglesworth was abducted on the 1st August 1978 from the Penhalonga farming area.
Maj. Wigglesworth was farming fruit and vegetables when the terrorists struck, he returned home from the fields one morning; and was knocked down by a terrorist when he got out of his vehicle.
The terrorists told him that they would have shot him if he had been holding a weapon.
The terrorists took Wigglesworth to his homestead where they looted him of foodstuff, typewriters, a sewing machine and the Major’s war medals. One of the terrorist’s pinned the medals to his chest and swaggered about with them which annoyed the old man who could only just watch and take the abuse.
The group then took Wigglesworth captive and headed west; which was away from the border, for three days and held him in a camp.
During his abduction Wigglesworth had hidden a revolver and attempted to use it, when he was caught reaching for it he was brutally beaten by the terrorists.
After this time; the group made a forced march to Vila Manica which was hard on the old man who hurt his leg, ankle and foot in the process.
During the forced march Wigglesworth saw the lights of Umtali, antagonizingly close by as they made their way to the border.
Whenever the group stopped Wigglesworth was handcuffed to one of the terrorists as a precaution.
When his morale dropped the terrorists reminded him of his war days and said that he must resist as it was a time of war.
Wigglesworth had a hard time when he first arrived in Mozambique; he found eating sadza disgusting and his captors could only speak Portuguese.
He was moved to Chimoio sometime later by Land Rover.

At Chimoio he met up with Johannes Maartens and Jon Kennerley, there was also a gentleman who had been abducted from Melsetter by the name of James Black.
The abductees were interrogated by a ZANLA Cadre called Lameck who had been trained in China.
Jon says that this interrogator tended to write down the answers to his own questions before the abductees could reply.
The white captives were visited by many senior ZANU commanders and politicians who included Rex Nhongo, Tongogara, Tungamirai, Munangagwa and Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe asked Wigglesworth why he did not eat sadza on one occasion.
The abductees struggled with food and their health problems which were not helped by flies, mopani flies and tsetse flies and a host of mosquitoes.
The abductees also had to suffer jigger fleas, leeches, snakes, scorpions and a host of nasty insects.
Due to the constant external raids by Rhodesian security forces in the area, the group of abductees were moved to a camp in the bush near Tete on 4th October, where they remained incarcerated for the next three months.

In P.J.H. Petter-Bowyer’s book Winds of Destruction he mentions that the Rhodesian security forces were disappointed that they did not find the abductees in the camps which were attacked, however some documentation relating to them was found.

The following text has been extracted from his book: -
There was considerable disappointment in not finding the four abductees the troops had hoped to rescue. However amongst the piles and piles of captured documents, SB came upon records dated three weeks earlier in which four captured whites were listed as:
John HERNLEY. Place of residence –Bulawayo. Date of capture 5.2.78(Note ZANLA erred in their spelling, it should have read Kennerley).
Johannes Hendrik MAARTENS. Place of residence – Maringoyi Farm, Headlands. Date of capture -2.8.78.
Thomas WIGGLESWORTH. Place of residence –Odzani, Umtali. Date of capture – 2.8.78
James BLACK. Place of residence –Martin Forest, Melsetter. Date of capture -19.8.78

Military ribbons and medals belonging to Thomas Wigglesworth were recovered from the personal belongings of a CT in Nehanda camp: the location known to have been where the abductees had been held. Fortunately, sufficient evidence was obtained for the Red Cross International to bring about the release of these men from the Tembue area where they had been taken.
Here I divert for a moment. The Rhodesian’s lack of knowledge concerning its enemy, particularly ZANLA, has already been touched upon, and I have told of my absolute fear and certainty of being killed if downed in Mozambique.
The release of these men made me wonder if I might have been wrong in believing the press and some political statements that was conveyed to Rhodesians the awful hardships that the abducted men must be facing.
Upon their release all these men said that they had been very well treated, particularly by Josiah Tongogara. Since first news of their release came from press interviews in the Polana Hotel in Maputo, obviously attended by ZANU and FRELIMO officials, no notice was taken of their good reports.
But then the Rhodesian Foreign Minister PK van der Byl introduced Maartens and Black at a press conference in Salisbury. This backfired on him to some extent because he was fully expecting to hear from these men what had been fed to the public.
Instead Maartens, who was under no pressure to say the “right thing”, repeated what he said in Maputo. When relating to the return of his medals in a book he wrote about his time with ZANLA, Thomas Wigglesworth records that the “truth is stranger than fiction...”
On the 21December they were flown to Maputo and incarcerated in a cell in Nampula. The men were devastated as they thought that they were going to be freed by ZANLA.
The group was then handed over to Amnesty International for release after having been briefed by Mugabe that they would become casualties of war if they returned to Rhodesia.

They all returned to Rhodesia, and after nearly thirty years; I found out what had become of the young guy who had waved at me from the pantechnicon.

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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.