Operation VIRILE: setting the demolition charges to blow one of the six bridges between Dombe and Espungabera #Mozambique 27-30 November 1977; the column carried 12 tons of gelignite to do the job #RhodesianBushWar
Operation VIRILE: One of the eight heavily armed Unimogs, this one armed with a 14.5 mm AA gun, in the Selous Scout flying column that blew up six bridges between Dombe and Espungabera in #Mozambique 27-30 November 1977 #RhodesianBushWar
25/26 November 1961: "let us prepare for War. Not all of you will have guns, but we still have our poisoned arrows, our spears, our axes": Katanga President Moise Tshombe prepares to resist @UN military action #CONGO60
24 November 1961: The @UN Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the use of force to secure the immediate withdrawal of all foreign military personnel including mercenaries from #Congo #CONGO60
"(Jerry) Rawlings introduced something quite new into African politics. He established the idea that there are laws of natural justice that not even military men can evade. Even political generals are accountable to the law; nobody is outside the law."
25 November 1985- "It's hit! it's going down!" Operation CERBERUS: A 5 Recce team and UNITA shot down a Antonov An-12 cargo plane, used to supply FAPLA forces, with a captured SA-9 missile outside Menongue #Angola, killing all 21 on board #AngolanCivilWar #SouthAfricanBorderWar
24 November 1971 "Rhodesia will be kept in civilized hands" Home-Smith Agreement: Ian Smith and #Britain Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas Home reached an agreement on #Rhodesia independence with majority rule in an unspecified future
Operation DRAGON ROUGE: Approximately 1,600 Europeans were flown out from Stanleyville on 24/25 November 1964; it was too late for the 28 hostages killed, including American Missionary Dr Paul Carlson, sentenced to death by Simbas eight days before #SimbaRevolt
Operation DRAGON ROUGE: The night march on 24 November 1964 by column of 5 commando mercenaries and Congolese troops led by Mike Hoare was held up by Simba ambushes on the road to Stanleyville and arrived several hours late; CBS correspondent George Clay was killed #SimbaRevolt
25 November 1970: @UN mission headed to #Guinea to investigate the attack on Conakry by then unknown forces; their report issued on 4 December would conclude the Portuguese military was responsible and was an attempt to kill PAIGC leader Amilcar Cabral https://youtu.be/zehsPW3q9m4
24 November 1977: #Rhodesia Prime Minister Ian Smith announced he would proceed with negotiations to reach a settlement with internal black nationalist leaders which included majority rule #RhodesianBushWar
23 November 1970- "Have personally seen four ships and fighter planes flying over the city": @UN Secretary General U Thant reads telegrams from #Guinea President Sekou Toure on Portuguese raid on Conakry https://youtu.be/hJ-08iFAz4o via @YouTube
Nkunda's War: rebel soldiers of Laurent Nkunda's CNDP north of Goma #Congo in November 2008: The CNDP launched an offensive on 26 October that routed
@FARDC_ and displaced a quarter million people #CNDPRebellion
Operation DINGO: an unexploded anti-personnel alpha bomb at Chimoio; A Canberra would drop hundreds from 300 feet set to explode at 2-3 metres after bouncing off ground causing devastating losses to anyone nearby #RhodesianBushWar
Operation DINGO: corpses of dead ZANLA guerrillas at Chimoio base #Mozambique killed during the SAS/RLI aerial assault on 23 November 1977; at least 560 guerrillas were killed with higher estimates to two Rhodesian KIA and 12 wounded #RhodesianBushWar
Operation DINGO: 32 Alouettes to be used to attack New Farm gather at the HAA set up at Lake Alexander, 4 km from #Mozambique and 5,725 feet above sea level 23 November 1977 #Rhodesia #RhodesianBushWar
The Ommengang mercenary-led motorised column Left Lubutu on evening of 23 November 1964 for the night march on Stanleyville 240 km away: set to arrive simultaneously with the Dragon Rouge paradrop the next morning #SimbaRevolt #Congo
M23 rebellion: M23 rebels outside Sake as residents flees the town 27 km west of Goma on Lake Kivu #Congo; rebels briefly held the town before it was recaptured by @FARDC_ and Mai-Mai militia on 22 November 2012
The Rhodesian remembrance service included an understated talk that is far too topical in the world today. It was more “Now we” than “When we”. It touched on topics like PTSD, Combat Stress (delayed or otherwise) & the importance of talking & reaching out. There might be more awareness around these issues today compared to the Bush War era, but I get mail from people all over the world who struggle but are unlikely to reach out. If you are ex-services & reading this, please checkout the Rhodesian Ex Combatant interviews & the section on PTSD & let me know if you have anything to add that might be useful to others? Many people could use a hand in this regard, & veterans are the only people who might help.
This poem by Alf Hutchison brings home the sombre pride whenever it’s recited at these gatherings.
THEY WERE ONLY BOYS
They were only boys,
boys, straight from school, with neither skills nor trade,
One day on the playground, the next day on parade.
Gangly, snotty nosed, still wet behind the ears.
Most of them still in their middle teenage years.
“You’re in the army now” the first words they heard,
The playground bully he was there, as too was the nerd.
A motley band of misfits, snatched from mother’s care.
What lay in store for them, sleeping blissfully unaware.
Unaware that the sun would rise turning their lives to Hell,
Sergeant ‘Satan’ would stand silhouetted in the door and yell.
Yell obscenities that most tenderfoot boys had never known,
Panic would reign supreme as his military seeds were sown.
They were only boys, but their beloved country was at war,
Receiving their call up papers from the postman at their door.
They lined up for their uniforms, webbing, boots and cammo,
Soon would come their rifles, and their seven six two ammo.
Training was intensive, but they endured it with feigned smile,
For the flag, the ‘Green and White’, they would go the extra mile.
Trained to jump from moving trucks; to survive out in the field.
Crack Parabats and Special forces, tough discipline would yield.
Unmistakably the best fighting forces the world had ever seen.
They were only boys… Rhodesian boys… with the fighting gene,
Black and White, no colour bar, they were comrades side by side,
To keep the common enemy at bay; and do it all with pride.
They were only boys, yet they fought like men possessed,
The adrenalin rush on ‘contacts’ a drug to them obsessed.
They were cut down in their youth, scythed before mature,
Like green wheat in winter fields so poignantly premature.
Those of us who have survived, look back upon the war,
Photos of those lads we view with pride and with awe.
Robbed forever of their youth, some of their very lives,
They were only boys…but their stoic heroism survives.
They are etched forever in our hearts, minds and souls,
Their names forever engraved on our Rhodesian scrolls,
“Hamba kahle”, brave soldiers prematurely gone to rest,
“Sala kahle”, by your legacies Rhodesians are truly blessed.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we shall always remember ‘Our Boys’
by Alf Hutchison
The service followed a festive weekend of camping & family fun. All age groups were catered for, & attractions included
Children’s Games Day
The lunar eclipse was a bit of a disappointment as it obscured by clouds, but nobody seemed to mind. Beautiful sunshine & wide open green spaces kept the children happy, while pet dogs kept their humans busy with long walks and battles over biltong.
The ZPSF do an amazing job with limited resources, & under challenging conditions. They have different campaigns running to raise funds for this volunteer driven outreach program. Please visit their site & donate what you can if you support their aims & work.
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