FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK
It seems like only yesterday that we celebrated the 2011 New
Year and here we are, some 12 months later, in January 2012.
I am aware that there is a statistical reason as to why we
perceive the acceleration of time, as we get older, but that
doesn’t help. The fact is that we are all aging and as a
group we are smaller, with more of our colleagues passing
this year. It was hence great to see that the bonds between
us are as strong as ever, and not diminished with the
‘quickening’ passage of time.
We have a number of stories for this edition and I would
like to thank all those who submitted material. I trust you
don’t mind but I have published two signature articles in
this edition. The first is by Ian Butttenshaw who tells of
the 50th celebrations in the UK.
The auspiciousness of the
occasion, I thought, warrants it signature status; the
second by Eddie Norris tells of the little known ‘Operation
Flick Knife’, which I am sure you will enjoy.
We have a number of short stories and I have assembled them
in a 'Sound Bite' section, as this seemed the most
appropriate categorisation for such content.
There is a general section, where you will find topics of
interest and where you may need to take some action
The edition concludes with the Regional Round-up
Cape Town in March sounds like a good idea to me; it looks
as if the team is making good progress toward arranging a
great couple of days to celebrate the Battalion’s 51st
birthday. I would like to point you to Trevor’s ‘Cape Town
report’ in the Regional Round up section for a few details.
A punt for the ANZAC Day parade and RLIRA events in
Australia this coming April
Living in Australia, it is hard not to be swept-up every
April with the ANZAC day parade and celebrations. Just as
2011 was the year for South Africa and the UK, so 2012 will
be for Australia and New Zealand when Jimmy, Granny and
Digger play host to as many RLI mates as possible.
The team invites you all to Australia for what promises to
be a once in a lifetime occasion; A reunion on ANZAC day,
25th April 2012 and a full suite of events on 26th April, in
Canberra. For details, please see the Australian and New
Zealand report in the Regional Round-up section.
For those who have always said they would like to visit
Australia some day - that day has arrived, we all hope to
see you in Canberra!
For all who worry about trivia, like budget and cash;
remember there are many of us here who will give you a room
(or tent) and as for flight costs, well, that is why God
made credit cards!
On a person note, I hope 2011 was kind to you and your
families and may I wish you all the best for the New Year
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN
What a great year the Association has had, with two 50th
Birthday Celebrations, the first in South Africa in February
and the second in England in September. Both were superb
events and members from all over the globe, congregated and
reestablished friendships with others; many of who had not
connected for 30 years or more. It was good to see that RLI
comradeship has not diminished with the passage of time. The
organisers of both events did a superb job; unique occasions
and very much enjoyed by all those who attended.
Also during 2011 we saw the establishment of a new Australia
and New Zealand Branch, and Digger Essex-Clark, Jimmy Swan
and ‘Granny’ Johnson need to be thanked for this. Their
first major function will be the ANZAC Parade and Dinner in
Canberra in April 2012, and I urge all those who can arrange
to be in Australia to join them at those events.
Sadly this year saw the passing of our most senior former
CO, Lieutenant General John Hickman, who had fortunately
been able to attend both the RSA and UK Celebrations this
year and whose attendance was much appreciated by all those
present. He was a great CO, who during his tenure set the
way forward for RLI’s COIN Role, and really got the Unit ‘on
net’ for the war that followed. He was a great Soldier and
Rhodesian Patriot and we offer our sincere condolences to
all his family.
Also during the year George Dempster gave up his appointment
as our Webmaster. George has done a fantastic job for the
Association and it was his establishment of the Web Site in
October 2006 that really got things moving in the
Association. Since then he has been an active member of
Executive Committee and also the Chairman of the Africa
Branch. To George and Shirley we thank you for all your
efforts in getting the Association to this its most buoyant
This year the UK Branch was also invited to participate in
the Royal British Legions Remembrance Day Parade in Bedford,
which they did and opened the invitation to all Ex-
Rhodesian Servicemen in the area. It went off well, and
looks as to become a regular landmark on the UK Calendar.
Our Museum continues to improve and expand and is attracting
increasing numbers of visitors as more people hear about it.
We have expanded to include displays of uniforms and
memorabilia of all Rhodesian Services and in September the
RhAF display was opened.
It really is an excellent
exhibition and Martyn Hudson and his team deserve our
sincere thanks for their ongoing efforts to enhance the
displays. In this regard, if any members still have items
that could be displayed please get hold of Martyn.
All in all it has been an excellent year for the
Association, the membership globally continues to expand,
and it is great to have those members from ‘down under’ back
in the global fold.
To continue the momentum it would be great to have as many
of you as possible that the South African 51st Celebrations
in Cape Town on 3/4 March 2012, and thereafter at the ANZAC
Day Dinner and Parade on 24/25 April 2012 in Canberra.
To all our members, on behalf of Executive Committee I wish
you a Happy Festive Season and all the best for 2012.
RLI 50TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS IN UK
The weekend of 23-25th September 2011 was to prove yet
another superbly orchestrated sequence of events and an
emotional reunion for former RLI members from all over the
An early start
As a result of a successful bid at auction by Shaun Ryan, a
few of us including our VIP Guest General John Hickman,
started at 09.30 on Friday, 23rd September, with a Morning
with the Horse Guards to watch the Mounting of the Guard in
Knightsbridge Barracks, London, followed by the Changing of
the Guard at Horse Guards Parade, a visit to their Museum,
and Lunch in their Officers Mess. This set the tone for the
weekend, but all of us were happy that in the RLI we did not
have so many detailed inspections and pageantry.
Convening the multitude
The Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square was the Hub for
many of us coming from afar and even with their excessive
bar prices the Bar was full at Lunch time on the 23rd as we
all congregated. The war stories were starting to flow!
The evening event was held in the Rifles Club, just off
Oxford Street, and as I neared it, the Owens were gathering
and the nearby pub was inundated by RLI Green Polo shirted
members, getting warmers into the bank before entering the
Rifles Club, where our unconsecrated Presidential Colours
are mounted alongside those of the RAR.
Martyn and Maggie as usual had a vast array of RLI
merchandise on sale including a superb UK version of the
50th Birthday Cheetah Magazine produced by Neill Storey.
Steve Crump had an array of Rhodesian orientated books on
sale from Chris Cock’s 30Degrees south.
The evening was a great success as we all caught up with
people, some we had not seen for thirty years or more. As
the party ended there, many moved back to the Millennium
Hotel Bar, which eventually closed at about 0300hours! So
there were a few bleary eyed members at breakfast who were
glad of the coach trip to Hatfield that day to catch up on
The main event
The main events were on Saturday 24th September, and the
coaches headed from London at 1100 and were met by those
coming in coaches from Hatfield and Bedford in the grounds
of Hatfield House. We made our way to the River Lee where
picnic lunches were dispensed and more reunions occurred
with those members not staying in London. The wives and
families headed for the Marquees surrounding the Trooper
Memorial, whilst ex RSM Ken Reed tried to put some order in
the rest of us, which was not easy!
The Colours were marched on, carried by the "short and the
tall" namely Rick Passaportis and Jug Thornton. Then, to the
strains of "The Saints" played by the Harpenden Pipe band,
we "shambled" towards the Trooper, it was not our greatest
display of drill but at least we got in step before reaching
the Marquees and halted reasonably well.
The Colours fell out and were placed on the Plinth of the
Trooper whilst the rest of us took our seats. Our Padre,
Rev. Clive Larrett then conducted a very moving service,
which even had a former Adjutant in tears. Pat Armstrong
gave an excellent Speech during the course of the Service;
wreaths were laid, accompanied by the music "Flowers of the
Forest" played by the lone Piper, Ben Buckland, and finally
two buglers from the Rifles Band sounded the ‘Last Post and
The whole Service was concluded by a 5 Gun Salute provided
by the 100th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery (V) and
then a Fly past initially by a Strikemaster and finally by a
Hunter who did some impressive maneuvers.
The journey back and Gala dinner
Before departing the contingent took a short drive to
Hatfield House where we were able to see our Queens and
Regimental Colours displayed in the Marquees of Salisbury’s
It was then back to our coaches and on to Bedford for much
needed liquid refreshments at the Ravidass Hall behind the
RAFA Club where our Museum is housed. Everyone quenched
their thirst as groups of 20 passed through the Museum. "THE
RHODESIAN LIGHT INFANTRY AND RHODESIAN COMBINED SERVICES
COLLECTION" is a superb display, which impressed all who saw
Coaches took us to the final function of the day, the Gala
Dinner at the Addison Centre, Bedford. This was a very great
function and the green and silver table décor created by
Maggie’s team really had that "WOW" factor.
The 3 day programme was extremely well planned and executed
and our thanks must go to Martyn and Maggie for all their
All in all, a great weekend that brought people, now widely
dispersed around the world, back together proving yet again
the bonds of friendship and comradeship are as strong as
ever. Roll on the next reunion.
SIGNATURE ARTICLE: 'OPERATION FLICK KNIFE'
The 1st Battalion, The Rhodesian Light Infantry, took part
in ‘Exercise Flick-Knife’ from the 9th to 17th May, 1965.
The exercise was designed to test and co-ordinate facets of
retraining, which have been in progress for the past six
months, in order to fit the Battalion to its new role as a
Commando Unit, and look place in difficult country in the
mountains of the Eastern Districts.
The exercise narrative revealed that a hostile organisation
had decided to introduce armed gangs of terrorists into
Rhodesia to carry out acts of sabotage, and to terrorise and
intimidate the local African population.
The narrative confirmed that between the 6th and 8th of May
several gangs of terrorists had crossed our eastern borders.
These gangs were each about ten men strong, and were well
armed with automatic weapons, grenades and explosives. The
morale of the gangs was high and at least two highly
experienced leaders were with them. These leaders had seen
action of this type previously and had considerable training
in political subversion, as well as military experience in
world trouble spots
(Understandably comprising elements of 2
Commando and mortar troop) operated in two loosely defined
areas; an area to the north of the Inyanga Mountains, and
another in the Chipinga/Melsetter District.
Reports between the 6th and 8th May advised of incidents of
murder, assault and intimidation, arson, demolition and
theft (never could trust those 2 commando chaps!)
The vast distances involved necessitated the Battalion being
split up and used as individual Commandos:
- 1 Commando in were deployed in the northern area with
elements of the Reconnaissance Troop (armoured scout cars)
- 3 Commando in the southern area, with elements of the
Reconnaissance Troop (armoured scout cars) attached
- Battalion HQ was based centrally in the Vumba Mountains
(probably quite close to Leopard Rock Hotel - although none
of us saw the base to be sure!)
The ‘gangs’ left barracks on May 7th. . This allowed them
time to get to their hideouts before the exercise started.
They had made extensive preparations for their stay in the
bush. Most of their movements were to be on foot and most of
their comforts and necessaries had to be carried.
The maxim for the ‘terrorists’ was obviously ‘what kit is
NECESSARY?’ Such was the yard-stick which prompted the
ordering of nearly
100 lbs. of biltong and the purchase of
lightweight sleeping bags.
Radio sets had to be carried by the terrorists’, in order
that they could receive instructions from their Commander,
who was located at Battalion HQ (naturally!) And who
obviously had up-to-date information regarding the
dispositions and probable intentions of the Security forces.
Battalion HQ had a fairly quiet time in the Vumba (no doubt,
with them ordering the enemy to stay away). Although, one
gang of terrorists was located in HQ’s area and this
necessitated the sending out of patrols and, of course,
instituting stand-to at first and last light.
Stand-to at first light at the beginning of the exercise was
quite an experience. Glimpses of the sun breaking through
the mountains and valleys on the borders of Mozambique were
magnificent. However, once or twice was quite enough and the
old feeling that bed was the best place at 0430-0500 hrs in
the morning began to assert itself.
Day patrols became quite popular as they broke up the
routine, but where does one start to look for five reticent
‘terrorists’ in thousands of acres of mountainous country
(particularly if it interfered with the activities at
Leopard Rock hotel)?
Eventually the terrorists moved close to Bn HQ and the odd
contact was made. In fact, hit-and-run raids were made by
the ‘terrorists’ against the HQ base camp until eventually
the terrorists set up their own base camp within 300 yards
of Bn HQ. This proved too close as far as the ‘terrorists’
were concerned; they were picked up a morning after a heavy
night of rain by a patrol and arrived looking thoroughly wet
The Commando Commanders had to disperse their troops over a
wide area of ground in order to cover the areas from which
incidents had been reported.
The day after the arrival of No. 1 Cdo in the northern area,
four ‘planned’ incidents were reported. These ‘planned’
incidents followed a similar pattern to those given in the
narrative. In addition to the ‘planned’ incidents,
opportunistic exercise incidents began to occur and the
various troops began to be highly mobile.
In the southern area, No. 3 Cdo had eight ‘planned’
incidents the day after their arrival. It was not clear at
this stage whether or not each incident had been caused by a
separate gang or whether three or more gangs had caused
several incidents.No. 3 Cdo also found that the number of
‘opportunist’ incidents was considerable.
The exercise intelligence established that the ‘terrorists’
in the southern area had gained considerable local sympathy.
This sympathy resulted in a substantial aid involving
information concerning security force dispositions, and the
provision of food and shelter.
Guides were also provided local terrain knowledge and on one
occasion, elements of 3 Cdo who had barely established
themselves in a new and well concealed position were located
by such a guide (probably aided and abetted by their ’plant
at Bn HQ) which led a surprise attack on their position.
The exercise for No. 3 Cdo was called dramatically to a halt
after police received information that a European farmer had
not returned after chasing two suspected poachers on his
The police asked for military aid in order to conduct a
search. The body of the farmer was located by air the
afternoon after his disappearance and was recovered by
police and troops. He had been killed by an arrow
After this tragic incident the exercise continued.The Air
Force provided Dakota aircraft for re-supply by air.
Helicopters were also provided to move troops into position
for the final kill, and Hunter aircraft were used to strike
at the terrorists’ concentration area.
The exercise was, overall, a tremendous success, with the
on-ground execution of the six months of hard work and
The exercise showed the importance of communications and the
full extent and necessity for delegated authority to
commando commanders, when they were not only detached from
HQ but out of communications.
Little did we all know of how essential the co-operation
between the RLI and the Rhodesian air force was to become.
These initial exercises showed how integration would prove
central to COIN operations.
Extracted and recompiled by Eddy Norris for use on the
Armies That Served Rhodesia Website from material made
available by Diarmid Smith.
Edited by Ian Macfarlane
Carol Wright and Lorraine Reck of Wordsworth Books, Somerset
West hosted a wonderful book-signing event, on Wednesday
evening, 14 September 2011.
Book signing event: Operation Uric the search for Puma 164
With wine kindly sponsored by Leopard’s Leap wine estate and
delicious snacks provided by the Wordsworth staff, an
audience of over 60 interested people was treated to a slide
show and talk by Neill Jackson on Operation Uric and the
search for the lost Puma.
There were many old soldiers and airmen in attendance, some
of them from far and wide:
As Trevor Desfountain so aptly stated at the end of the
presentation the book is a wonderful touching story and a
credit to the fallen and the writers; Rick van Malsen and
- Trevor Desfountain, coordinator of the RLI 51st birthday
celebrations planned for February 2012;
- John Norman, former CSM of 3 Commando;
- Steve Carey of ‘Gomos’ fame
- Gerry van Tonder, co-author with Adrian Haggett of the
Combined Forces Roll of Honour, due to be released by
30ºSouth Publishers on 11 November 2011. Gerry is in South
Africa on a family visit from UK;
- Ian Macfarlane, recently appointed editor of the RLI
- e-Cheetah, who was in Cape Town on business from his home
base in Australia;
- John Russell, former RAR and SAS officer, who introduced
Major Mike Seward, a serving officer with the US Army, who
is doing research for a study on the Rhodesian African
Rifles. Mike was reportedly amazed at the overwhelming odds
which faced the Rhodesians on Op Uric;
- Mike and Karen Litson, Greg Todd and Mike Daly from the
Rhodesian Air Force;
- Phillip McLachlan, Old Bill of the Somerset West MOTH
There were three special guests who arrived unexpectedly and
whose welcome presence added a poignant note to the
- Hermien Velleman, sister-in-law of Puma 164 pilot, Paul
Velleman, who we had last seen at the Voortrekker Monument
on 15 July;
- Maggie Nel, sister of Bell technician Alex Wesson, who
came out for the event from Durbanville;
- Warwick Small, cousin of engineer Charlie Small, who was
previously unknown to the search team.
The book, for those who have read it, articulates a number
of coincidental twists an turns that resulted in people
either being on or being left out the operation; one such
story was told by Mrs. Lora Trigg, mother of Aidan James
Colman, who died on Puma 164.
Lora, a truly wonderful lady, lost her husband and another
son in the war, but remains positive and happy.
Aiden was tragically killed just three months after his
seventeenth birthday. She says he was a feisty little fellow
who had taken himself out of school to join the army at 16.
Apparently Aidan had convinced her, against her better
judgment, to sign the indemnity form allowing him to go to
the bush with his mates after they passed out of Training
He apparently told her that if anything happened to any of
his mates and he wasn't there with them, then he would never
There is no doubt that the book brings to life the real life
drama of war, the overwhelming odds faced by the few, and
the special anecdotes which made the time so tragic yet set
a context for an uplifting story of promises kept.
Bloemfontein, parachutes and other things
When it was clear to the hierarchy that parachuting troops
into contacts was an effective and efficient mode of
operations, it was immediately assessed that the battalion
needed a critical mass of troops trained as quickly as
The Parachute Training School at New Serum with its finite
resources eventually ran out of capacity and troops were
sent to Bloemfontein in South Africa to undergo the required
This is a short story from Vernon Prinsloo about the first
Graham Murdock and I were on the first course in SA.
One Saturday morning, during the course, we went to the
commando bar in the Bloemfontein Hotel with our guys for a
drink or two. After a while we started singing RLI songs and
the manager called Graham over and told him to stop.
When I heard of this I said, to Graham, that I didn’t think
he should take instruction from the manager and suggested
rather that he ‘just smack’ him. After that, things got a
bit heated and some Irishman in the pub then punched me.
One of our instructors Sgt. Kruger (later killed in Angola)
was the first to react and hit the Irishman who landed on a
glass table, which shattered; within a short time all hell
had broken out.
The next thing we knew the SAP were outside and always
having had a good sense as to when to depart a fight, took
my troop out the back door. Graham and his troop were not as
fast and he and his men were arrested.
No doubt this was an incident in the making, particularly if
the Press found out that the SA Army was training Rhodesian
soldiers. This must have been on Maj. Archie Moore’s, acting
CO of parachute battalion, mind when he went to the police
station to make sure none of this leaked into the public
On arriving at the station he was told that the SAP
commander, when he realised he had Rhodesian troops in his
establishment rather took them to the Police Pub where they
could relax and enjoy liquid refreshment,
Maj. Moore called Graham outside to warn him of sensitivity
and the requirement for no publicity. Seeing his troop
commander being counseled, Trooper Devine (a Kiwi and
probably all Blacks supporter) punched Maj. Moore and was
There was no way such an incident could be covered up and
Graham and I found us on Brigade commander’s orders. Col.
Rich (CO of the RLI, at the time) somehow managed to have
our orders reduced to within his jurisdiction..
Whilst on Fire Force duty in Mtoko, I was summonsed for
orders and luckily for me my escort was Rick Pasaportis, an
officer who had been on a few orders himself, and who was
well familiar with the protocols of the situation
While Col. Rich was reading the riot act to me I heard Rick
saying, "Yes Sir, and no Sir" and when I looked at him, I
realised that his eyes were closed. He was so used to being
in such a situation, he thought he in the dock again and
saying the right thing. Needless to say he almost
immediately realized his mistake and said "oops I’m not on
orders you are" and shut up.
After it was over and I was standing outside putting my belt
back on thinking my army career was over before it had begun
and Col. Rich came out patted me on the back and said
‘that’s over now let’s go have a drink in the mess’.
What an amazing great leader of men he was.
Getting behind the tradition
I recently learned the history behind the placing of our
right hand over our hearts at funerals and remembrance
services and such like and was surprised to learn that we
are actually placing our hand over our medals and not our
It will be noticed at any Remembrance Service or when
passing a Cenotaph, Veterans will place their Right Hand
over their "Left Side" many believing that they are placing
their ‘Hand over their Heart" in Respect or Remembrance of
their Fallen Comrades" - this is not so.
The Veterans Salute to their "Fallen Comrades" originated in
London on Armistice Day in 1920, during the ceremony to
unveil and dedicate the Cenotaph in Whitehall at the same
time a funeral procession accompanying the remains of the "Unknown Soldier" halted at the Cenotaph during the ceremony
before proceeding to Westminster Abbey for internment.
Those present included the senior Soldier, sailor and many
Victoria Cross winners. The ceremony concluded with a march
The Regimental Sergeant Major of the Guard Regiment
conducting the ceremony, faced with a gathering of highly
decorated and high ranking military men (including many
Victoria Cross winners), all wearing rows of medals, decreed
that all would salute the Cenotaph as they marched past by
placing their hand over their medals, signifying that "No
matter what honors we may have been awarded they are nothing
compared with the honor due to those who paid the supreme
In October, Neill Storey set out to climb and conquer Mt
According to Neill, ‘Having (foolishly?) agreed to join my
friends it came as a bit of a surprise that the mountain was
around 20,000 feet as opposed to 16,000! (what is 25% extra,
between friends?, editor) I was however encouraged by the
decidedly 'bulky' Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles making his way to
the summit for UK Comic Relief (note: he took 4 weeks, which
clearly was a soft target for an RLI trained officer). Neill
adds ‘ if he didn’t receive helicopter assistance or use
computer aided imagery then I could possibly get there.’
The cigarettes were binned in Dec 2010 and the paths & roads
around Chiltern Hills took some pounding during the
pre-climb fitness regime. Just to slow his progress down, an
inconvenient tearing of a cartilage required a knee
operation in June, so Neill hadn’t quite got to the slim and
trim version by the time of the climb.
All the effort paid off and after 4 days climbing (now
that’s more like a target!), Neill successfully completed
the ascent in late October.
Neill for some time has supported the charity Homes in
Zimbabwe (HIZ), which provides funds to meet the upkeep
costs of old people’s homes, and provide food for the
elderly of all races living in residential homes or
struggling to survive at home.
The charity also runs a soup kitchen and supports SOAP (Save
Our Aged People) a local charity that do a great job helping
the frail & often starving old folk. Neill’s expedition
raised over £5000 for the two charities, for which he thanks
all the sponsors and generous supporters.
Neill was so inspired that he has provided his email address
should you wish to tackle the ascent and should you need
some advice! email@example.com
Our thanks to Neill Story and well done - great effort,
Memories of 1978
3 Commando News: October 1978
The Commando is now 100 percent Para-trained including a
"flying" doctor and a "flying" cook who incidentally, has
one operational descent to his credit.
Approximately twenty-five percent of the Commando are
presently on various courses which will once again make "The
Lovers" the most highly qualified Commando in the Battalion;
thank you, thank you.
Our good wishes accompany Cpl McCall who has entered into
wedlock, and we console him with the admission of many a man
before him that "A man can't always be happy - he has to get
During the last month we have welcomed to the Commando Lt
Carloni, Lt Dodgam and 2 Lts Scheepers and Greenhalgh. At
the same time we bade farewell to Lt Adams who has been
posted to "Hooters".
We congratulate Cpl Abbott on his promotion to Sgt, which
now qualifies him, if for nothing else, to be the scapegoat
of the Officers' and Senior NCOs' mess.
Towards the end of the last bush trip, after wandering
aimlessly through the bush for about four days, Lt (Jug)
Thornton contracted some ghastly disease which has rendered
him absolutely useless to the Commando for the next two bush
trips. We all, however, wish him a speedy recovery.
Due to an unfortunate reshuffle in the Bn, Lt J. R. Cronin
has been appointed 2 I/C of the Commando, and although
thirteen troop is undoubtedly relieved, this move has placed
the Commando, as a whole, into a state of apprehensive
shock, for reasons not published in these notes.
During our last R & R we held a Commando party, very ably
organised by Cpl (Pudding) Hudson, at which we bade farewell
to Maj Jerry Strong and welcomed our incoming OC Capt Ian
OC - Maj Bruce Snelgar recently arrived from Hooterville
flushed with theory but now learning what real soldiering is
all about. At present attending Len Mommsen daily "grouch"
pending attendance on the next Para course; so standing all
prospective OC Threes for the next NOTICAS and posting
order. Capt Ian Buttenshaw who held the reins for a short
while, had the misfortune of breaking a leg on his Para
course and is now serving with DRR whilst re- covering from
2 I/C - Lt Jug Thornton, who not only holds the appointments
of OC 14 In and acting 2 I/C 3 Cdo, but for the month of
July he also commanded the Cdo whilst the CO learnt how to
break a leg on Para course. Who knows what this power crazy
subbie will get command of next? To add insult to injury Jug
has just completed his PPL and is often seen swotting up on
a FAF commander's duties as well.
CSM/EQMS - Sgt, "Shrapnel" John Norman is standing in as
chief whip as well as running the quartermaster mustard to
custard echelons, Now fully recovered from his war wounds,
although he ha* been seen to break out in a cold sweat when-
ever in the close proximity of a "K" lav.
OC II Tp - 2 Lt Fabian Forbes is now a fully qualified
"Mangwanani specialist" having attended the local language
course and is at present getting up to date on all current
Malayan and Korean training techniques on a "Snoogle Boogie"
course under Maj Daines (Chief Snoogle Boogie).
OC 12 Tp - 2 Lt Dave Greenhalgh still recovering from his
cadetship at Hooterville is now beginning to realise that
there are a few basic differences between the Infantry
Platoon in battle and our current modus operandi.
OC 13 Tp - 2 Lt Andre Scheepers also new from cadet course
is presently baffling all doctors with his rapid recovery
from battle wounds and having now experienced his umpteenth
skin graft, is looking for skin donors - prospective female
donors please apply direct to OC 13 Tp. With luck Andre will
be operational again in the very near future.
OC 14 Tp - that power crazy Subbie Thornton who has
temporarily relinquished this appointment to 2 Lt Gavin
Wehlburg - a national service officer who was fortunate
enough to be posted to the Lovers. Gavin is presently
learning how to exit from moving aircraft in flight.
OC 15 Tp - Lt Roger Carloni BCR, now a regular officer
having served with 3 (Indep) Coy RAR as a national
Roger had the task of knocking the newly formed troop into
shape and their nickname "F Troop" bears no resemblance on
their performance in the field. Roger has introduced rum,
spaghetti and Gwedos to the Cdo, not to mention his rare
ability to tell jokes without providing a punch line.
Tp Sgts - 2 I/C 11 Tp is that reject from Andrew Fleming
(Sgt John Coleman), now fully recovered from his war wounds,
but still getting personal attention on R & R from the
hospital staff who nave voluntarily offered to work all
hours of the night, 2 I/C 12 Tp is the newly promoted Sgt
"The Fonz" Coon, well renowned for his Queens English,
exemplary manners and diplomacy with the WVS at Mtoko. Sgt
Coon will soon be embracing Hooterville with his presence on
a long tactics course, 2 I/C 13 Tp is Sgt "Lightie," Taylor
who is shortly to attempt the Selous Scouts selection and of
late has been seen rubbing concoctions onto his chin in
order to introduce some hair growth. 2 I/C 14 Tp, Sgt Paul
Abbot ex Green Jackets, The Legion, Gwelo's and Tramps, is
now swopping mercenary stories/brandy on a Snoogle Boogie
Course. 2 I/C 15 Tp, Sgt "Hook" De Boux, who is dependent
about everything including his own despondency, is still
un-quotable on RWS attributes and race relations.
Our ex-CSM Ken Reed has now been promoted to WOl and
appointed RSM 1 RLI and it was pleasing to note that even
the battle hardened strike force knew where to look for true
talent. Naturally we are sorry to lose him but are proud
that a lover was chosen for that esteemed position. Good
luck RSM and remember where your loyalties lie on the parade
Capt John "The Yank" Cronin who served and fought with the
lovers has now been posted to the staff of JOC Grapple. We
wish him luck in his new appointment.
The members of National Service Intake 156 are leaving after
long and creditable service with the Cdo. Civvies Street
will not hear of all the good deeds and hard fought battles,
but certainly the Lovers will remember and we wish you all
well in your chosen careers. When the dust has settled and
you have sampled that boring, humdrum life of a civilian,
and then don't hesitate to come back and attempt our
selection course for reintroduction to the Cdo.
Congratulations go to Cpl Gibson and L Cpl Cocks on their
forthcoming marriages and for trading in bachelorhood for
In-laws and hire-purchase firms. It must have taken some
appreciation to settle on that course of action!
Welcomes to the following new members of 3 Cdo. Cpl Wandel,
Tprs Serfontein, Clarke, Benz, Bezuidenhout and Weaver.
Hope they are able to live up to the traditions of the
Cpl Harris is now back with us having volunteered for every
available course. L Cpl Condon is about to set a record by
completing one full bush trip and L Cpl Warren is still
trying to live down the scandal of his outing in town when
he earned the alias of "Spud". Cpl Bob Smith's taxi beating
routine narrowly avoided him from receiving a third tape. L
Cpl McCall is now a proud father and having just qualified
as a dispatcher is no doubt teaching his babe sidelights of
the cat. Good-byes go to Tprs Schellevant and Bertolin who
have gone AWOL - up theirs! Cpl Hughes is mentioned for his
vicious attack on an innocent, unsuspecting goal keeper with
his glass jaw. Tpr "Flex" Nicholls, who flexed his muscles
once too often and ripped the tendons from his heel to his
knee whilst attempting to stop the 14 Tp thug Budgie Holmes
from gaining possession of a soccer ball. L Cpl Kidd, giving
demonstrations of pugilism to members of a civilian
establishment and being interrupted by an over keen
participant planting his size 12 on L Cpl Kidd's jaw. Tpr
Bolton Smith on attempting to prove that a 34-year-old is
just as capable on a PTI course as the rest.
Extracted and recompiled by Eddy Norris (ORAFS) from the
October edition of the RLI Cheetah
We have at last finalised the title as ‘Africa’s
Commandos-The Rhodesian Light Infantry’ this title was
chosen to ensure the best overseas marketability of our
book. The book has already been registered with an American
agency to be listed in their catalog for the New Year. The
revised title and jacket will be posted to the library on
the website asp.
RLI book update
The purpose of the book as you may recall, was to record our
history in the words of our own soldiers and in about 50%
photographic material, most of which has never been
published before. The profits realised from sales will be
channeled into the Combined Forces Welfare Trust which has
been formed to look after our own who find themselves in
We are to have a final layout meeting with the
publishers/editorial team in December as well as decide on a
final marketing strategy worldwide. I would like to thank
the "team": editing text, Mrs. Carol Wood, scanning and
sorting the large number of photographs received, Chris
Cocks and Rob Marsh, Ian Macfarlane for assisting us in the
marketing challenge, the compilers of this most important
publication, Mark Adams, Dr. JRT Wood and 30 Degrees South
Publishers, and most importantly the authors of the book
which are all those of you who have contributed text
articles and photographs.
We are thankful for those who have already ordered and paid
for your books and you will not be disappointed in the final
product so please bear with us a little longer. We envisage
first half launch in the New Year.
50th Anniversary memorabilia
We are advised that there a certain number of items
available to those who wish to have mementos of the
The UK branch ‘stores’ still have the following in
• UK 50th RLI Polo Shirts £20.00 sizes M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL,
• UK Version Cheetah Deluxe Magazine: £7.00 + pp £2.00
• RLI Caps One size fits all £10.00 + pp£2.00
• RLI Ties £12.00
• RLI Blazer Badges Green / Black £14.00
• RLI Wings Badges £4.00
• RLI Cuff link sets with tie pin £20.00
• RLI Light Waterproof jackets £30.00 Sizes M, L, XL, and
Please contact Martyn Hudson:
firstname.lastname@example.org to make any
Tel : +44 (0)1234 359107 RAFA Club hours 11am-15.00 and
18.30 22.00 hours for details.
UK / Europe Action
Memberships are due now for 2012
• Full members £15.00 or Family membership £20.00
• Associate members £10.00
• The year runs January to December.
• Email : email@example.com
• Tel: +44 (0) 1234 350107
REGIONAL ROUND UP
Well members and friends, again not an idle moment for the
weary with a busy period since the last Cheetah, which we
must say though the new editor’s first journalistic foray
was a most excellent newspaper. He Ed, Ian Mac has been also
travelling the world over with repetitious visits to Africa
in this past period (must be something in our water). I will
look at this past report period in chronological order and
not dwell on events too long where covered by the other
regional and nation reports.
Africa Annual General Meeting 27th August 2011-11-18
This AGM was held, as has been the practice for three years
at the Dickie Fritz Shellhole in Gauteng. This same venue
serves as the Gauteng Provincial watering hole with many
successful meets in the recent past. As has been the norm a
fairly small representation (28 voting) of members was
present but this is sufficient to hold the meeting in terms
of our constitution. The minutes of the meeting are
available on the website at the following link:
BSAP Annual Dinner 9 September 2011
Once again Sylvia and I were invited to the BSAP Annual
Dinner (Transvaal) held at the Country Club Johannesburg
venue. As always there was an excellent menu and congenial
company. I tried to stop Sylvia’s love of bidding on
auctions but this time there was one item that was a must
have. Ron Wheeldon and I (Read Sylvia Wiggill) won the bid
jointly on the last BSAP Band Master’s dress uniform, photos
and plaque. This was duly carried over by Ron to the
European RLIRA 50th in London and handed over to Martyn
Hudson for display in the RLI and Other Forces museum. Thank
you to John Pirrett for your invitation and as always we had
a great time into the wee hours. I must also say thank you
to the BSAP Association for sending me their Regimental news
paper "The Outpost’" on a regular basis.
European 50TH RLIRA Reunion - 23/24th September, 2011
Having never left African soil or airspace and having been
brow beaten by officer van Malsen I ventured over to the
island known as the UK on invite from Martyn Hudson. Even
though in the dark I managed to keep one eye open as we
passed over the Libyan coast for any SA-7’s (Strela 2)
trails approaching. The Hudson’s were magnificent hosts and
from Heathrow straight to the Troopie to clean up. This set
the tone for the next five days in my and Sylvia trying to
keep up with Martyn and the indefatigable Maggie. I had
managed to find space to spend time in the RLI and Other
Forces Museum with my personal guide, Martyn. I have always
been grateful to Martyn and helpers for all the work they
have done these past few years on this project. However,
only once someone has seen the marvelous exhibits does one
fully appreciate the massive labour of love and big personal
cash that has gone into this magnificent record of our
history? A very big well done to Martyn, Shaun Ryan and also
Ewan Fleming for the commitment they have and are still
showing to this heritage of our and other Rhodesian Forces.
The Friday morning was forever a record for my books. Due to
the kindness of Shaun Ryan a small party of us, including
Generals’ John Hickman and Mike Shute were guests of the
Queens Household Cavalry (Horse Guards) and followed them
from the guard mount to parade in their pomp and glory. The
event is well reported on in Chairman’s’ Ian Buttenshaw’s
report on the website at the link:
http://www.therli.com/Events_Euro.asp That night the ‘prayer
meeting’ at The Rifles Drill Hall was a good time to catch
up with ouens from all over, although I can swear that a
fair number of those men and crows that attended had also
been in Africa at the Swartkops celebration in February this
year. The remainder of events during the European 50th
Reunion is also documented in Ian’s report now on the
THE HORSE GUARDS VISIT
The parade on the riverbank was, for me anyway, climaxed by not the firing of an artillery salute but that our Patron Col. Charlie Aust was asked to fire the final round. I have included a photograph courtesy of Neill Jackson that says it all.
(Col. Charlie Aust really 'smoking')
(General Hickman and the Chairman...)
I have uploaded a fair number of photos
from the UK 50th that various people either sent in or were
filched from their face book pages. Thank you. (See RLIRA
Gallery link at:
Look at the foot of listed Galleries).
Some incidents that must be reported on about this external
op should be recorded in the annals of the RA history are:
a) On the first night in London Sylvia followed Maggie
Hudson in Martyn’s car to refuel, and they got separated in
Bedford. No cell phone, no idea where she or the RAF Club
are and 22h00. I began to get concerned. Then somehow Sylvia
b) Mrs. Paula Wheeldon left alone while Ron was having tea
with the CO of the Household Cavalry went for a walk from
the hotel. Yes she also got lost, but in Soho, I believe the
dear lady is to pen a book on her first visit to this
c) Then Mrs. Brotherton. Caroline did not get lost but on
one flight misplaced ‘lost’ their baggage. After some
frantic sweep lines the offending cases were located, just
about to be blown up by the Bomb Squad.
Who ever said England was boring.
Dickie Fritz Shellhole Annual Fete and
Parade Day 1 October, 2011
An excellent turnout of the RLI at this event and in my
absence, led ably buy the secretary, Alan Strachan and team.
A wreath was laid on behalf of the Association and thank you
to Alan for stepping into the breach on this to represent
Leonardo Apicella (Dickie Fritz Old Bill) posted in
Rhodesian War Veterans Association Face book:
"Good Morning all.
I would like to thank all that made the effort to come to
our Fete and Parade on Saturday.
Perfect weather, hundreds of people and fun around every
corner came together on Saturday to make our fete a huge
success. The day was full of colour, music, and great
community spirit. It was a wonderful day for our Complex.
A very big THANK YOU and congratulations to the residents,
families and friends for their generous donations and hard
work both before and on the day. It has been a huge team
effort by the whole Dickie Fritz community.
We would also like to thank our Community and the many
businesses and individuals for their donations and support.
With their support we have enjoyed a special community day
full of memories and raised a large amount of money, this
will be used to help the MESCA committee run the complex.
Hope you will join us next year."
Leon Leonardo Apicella
(RLIRA at Dickie Fritz Parade Day)
SAS Reunion 4th/5th November 2011
Sylvia and I once again donned our webbing and ‘chutes’ for
the foray into the Port of Natal. This time, as guests of
the SAS Association in celebrating their 50th Anniversary.
Regrettably, I could not attend last year but this year was
definitely a plus for the Crow and me to be among such
illustrious company. The Friday evening the SAS held their
AGM at the Natal Mounted Rifles venue and afterwards
migrated to the Officers mess and mingled with the RLI and
others, where clearly there was not going to be enough
liquid to quench the obvious thirsts. Skippy (KZN Rep) and
lady Lana were in the galley making wors rolls and serving
up a serious Durban curry that had a mildly toxic effect if
one dared to dare. As anticipated, I received word the next
morning before the Remembrance Service from Graham Peak that
the NMR bar had indeed run out of refreshments.
(SAS Memorial, Flame Lily)
I must say that the service at the Flame Lily Park conducted
by the SAS Chairman/Padre David Padfield was one of the best
I have had the privilege to attend. The Dinner at the Sibaya
Conference facility was equally outstanding and the venue
magnificent. The whole event went of like clockwork and to
see old mates like Ben Botha and Nick Breytenbach was great.
Thank you to the SAS Association for inviting Sylvia and I.
Rhodesia Day 11/11 Gauteng Province.
On the night of the 11th November I attended the Rhodesia
Day celebration run by the Gauteng Branch of the RLIRA led
by Gary Huxham. Again from their own pockets Hux and his
team put on a splendid event and by estimate well over 70
people attended. Papi Bolton’s fund raising skills were put
to the test and R.2 850.00 was collected in donations. This
amount has been earmarked for the Combined Forces Welfare
Trust. Well-done! to Keith Blanshard and also to the
Huxhams’ for paying for and providing the rations for the
evening. A lot of nostalgia on the reminding ourselves of
the anniversary of our independence gained in 1965.
Remembrance Sunday 13 November 2011
This annual event held at Dickie Fritz and presented by Pat
Hill and the memorial project team was possibly the biggest
number wise ever. There was by my reckoning over 100 people
to attend and pay homage to our fallen from both world wars
and of course the Rhodesian conflict. Ian Bate set the
wreath on behalf of the RLI Association. Thank you Ian, for
representing the Green and Silver. Also it was good to see
Neill Jackson and Rick van Malsen there who had travelled
considerable distance to sign copies of their book on Puma
1RLIRA 51st Reunion
After much sweet talking in my ear, and a few death or
disembodiment threats it was decided that the next Reunion
(Our 51st) would be held in the fairest of Capes. The dates
have been finalised by the Cape Planning Group led ably by
our Cape Provincial Representative, Trevor DesFountain, as
the 3 / 4/ 5th of March 2012. The move here away from
February is due to the availability of the desired venues. A
whole lot of planning and bartering is still underway for
the Cape to host this important event in the Association.
Keep you eyes peeled to the website for the online booking
In The News!!!
Welcome to the ever faithful Keith Blanchard who has taken
over the Q Stores under the ‘I hate to let go" Debbie and
Hux’s critical eyes. Keith has taken to his task with great
enthusiasm and I am grateful he has joined the team. He also
has a good eye for road kill as witnessed by the tasty
animal he secured for the recent 11 November spit braai in
the Gauteng Regional organised by the Huxhams (again)
Alan Strachan has speedily addressed his new office as
Secretary for the Africa Branch. Already almost sorted out
the membership data base and sent out Membership cards to
the ouens. Alan can always be seen appearing on the
different Rhodesian Forces Face Book pages and always
remembers our RLI fallen on the Anniversary of their
passing. Well done Alan.
Alan has now embroiled himself in the very arduous task of
getting the RLI nominal roll into some sort of order. Thanks
also here to Craig Fourie who is an invaluable help in
tracking missing ouens and in giving us access to the
excellent records he has built up over the years.
The Africa Branch now has 376 registered members. My earlier
belief of at least 400 ouens in Africa is looking good right
now when we consider that in September 2009 we had 223
• Graham Roy has been granted Regimental
Stalwart status for his unflinching contribution of
excellent graphic work for the Association these past years.
See his citation below:
The posters you did for the UK celebration was very well
received and Martyn Hudson was most pleased with them. I
have the pleasure to inform you that we (RLIRA ExCo) have
agreed to bestow on you Regimental Stalwart status. This
being for your willingness to promote the Association and
for always rising to the occasion for the last few years to
produce the outstanding graphics for our reunions and AGM’s.
I have attached a copy certificate hereto and I brought back
the original with me and I will have this framed and get to
you as soon as I can.
Thank you again for your unselfish support of the RLI
Regimental Association. Please note that your name has been
added to the Stalwarts list on the website"
• Ron Wheeldon ('Rocket Ron' from his famed
Hawker Hunter stunts at local air shows) was granted
Honorary Life membership for the no mean parts he plays in
securing our Trademarks and advising the Combined Forces
Welfare Trust in legal issues. The certificate was handed
over to Ron at the European 50th in September.
Thank you for all the effort you are making to assist the
Association in the various ways that you do. I am grateful
for your attendance and participation in the recent working
luncheon on the combined welfare trust and I think you agree
that we have some way to go yet on this project. I hope at
our next session to get commitments and form the Board so we
can start the operation proper.
Your work in obtaining the Trade Mark registration is
especially important to us and we are grateful that this is
now virtually done. Please find with this letter the
Appointment with Power of Attorney on this matter and proof
of payment for the last invoice received.
Without the committed interest of members as you demonstrate
we would soon fade into oblivion without having made our
splash in the pond."
• Chris Cocks has been afforded Life
Membership in recognition of his incredible hard work in
securing the Associations standing after many years of
dormancy. He and crow Kerrin have immigrated to Barberton to
duck out of any more work the Association may have wanted to
toss into his court. His theme on walking around camp with a
clipboard looking busy has now worn thin. In all seriousness
they are a good team and have given unstintingly of
themselves this past five years. Not bad for a 3 Cdo junior
Australia & New Zealand Branch of the RLIRA
A change of guard
After guiding the establishment of the new Australia & New
Zealand branch and having put in so much personal effort,
Digger Essex-Clark, has taken ill and in order to recover,
has unfortunately relinquished the Chairmanship of the
The branch is extremely grateful to Digger and Sue, who have
dedicated themselves, almost exclusively, to the
re-incorporation of the Australia and New Zealand contingent
into the RLIRA.
Thankfully, we have not seen the last of Digger who has
agreed to take on the responsibility of arranging next
year’s ANZAC day parade and RLIRA events on the days that
follow. (More of this later)
As a consequence I have accepted the role as Chairman,
whilst Richard ‘Granny’ Johnson covers the positions of
Secretary and Treasurer.
We will hold these positions until the AGM, which will occur
after the ANZAC activities in April 2012, when the
constituted membership votes for its own elected committee.
In the meantime the membership goes from strength to
strength and we are welcoming new members each month.
ANZAC Day. April 2012
For those who are unaware, one of the great events on the
Australian and New Zealand calendar are the ANZAC day
parades, which are held in cities and towns all over both
RLIRA contingents have been marching in their respective
cities for a number of years and given our re-incorporation
we have decided to focus on 2012 and make the event
something extra-ordinarily special.
Whilst clearly, we do not have as many members as South
Africa and the UK, we believe, given the great military
tradition of these countries and the obvious family and
relative connections, that we can induce many of you, our
overseas colleagues and friends, to join us for the event.
We have elected to participate in the ANZAC day parade and
celebrations in Canberra on the 25th April 2012. Not only
because the city is the Australian capital, and is a
significant military location, but its air and road access
puts it in easy reach of all major cities.
With our membership of the Canberra RSL (Returned Serviceman
League) secured we will have great facilities and we will be
made extremely welcome.
Our plans definitely include participation at the parade,
reunion dinner and AGM (to which visitors are most welcome).
We would also like to organize a tour of the Australian War
museum (a truly magnificent experience) and, if possible,
tours and talks by prominent military historians.
It would be good to host a spouse’s programme; Canberra has
superb museums, art galleries, walking and cycle tracks and
picnic areas. We do recognise that spouses get tired of us
reminiscing and telling the same stories over and over, and
we are sure they would enjoy a few activities, outside the
We hope to see many of you, here in Australia over the
period, after all, Australia in April, is fantastic and
isn’t it time you treated yourself?
We will keep you updated on plans, so in the meantime go and
book your flights!
Please may we ask any of you who wish to attend to please
contact Richard "Granny" Johnson @
"March on The Saints
UK & European Branch
This has been a momentous year for us, not only did we have
all three branches of the RLIRA Association, Australia, RSA
and UK Europe at the 50th birthday celebration but we were
also invited by the Royal British Legion Bedford Branch to
join with them on their Annual March on Remembrance Sunday
in November 2011
Our Chairman, Ian Buttenshaw has written a report of our
Birthday Celebrations (please see the signature article)
It is therefore with much sadness that we were to hear so
soon after the event of the passing of General John Hickman
who had enjoyed the events so much and wrote it had been a
highlight in his life.
We extend our sincere condolences to his family but remember
the happy time this year that we had with him when he was
able to attend our Celebrations with us in the UK.
On behalf of our branch here in UK I have to thank a few
good people for their help in achieving our aims:
• Shaun Ryan and Neill Storey who were central to the
success of the event
Thank you too for all for donations towards the ongoing
• Col. Brown 100th (Yeomanry) Royal Artillery (V) for
arranging Gun Salute
• Richard Frost for Buglers of the Rifles Band
• The Harpenden Pipe Band for all the entertainment
throughout the afternoon.
• all members who attended from overseas
Remembrance Sunday, 11th November, 2011 Bedford.
Having been invited by the Bedford Branch Royal British
Legion we have achieved our dearest wish of being able to
march with other regiments on Remembrance day.; a day when
we remember Rhodesian war dead from so many conflicts
Some 50 ex servicemen convened at the parade assembly point
where Ex RSM Ken Reed, formed us up amongst the main parade.
With our colours flying with all other regiments we marched
behind the Pipe Band and were complimented on how smart and
well turned out we were in our green berets and blazers.
The march took place along the River Great Oise, embankment
and proceeded to the War Memorial for the service of
remembrance. Conducted by a padre of the Salvation Army, the
service was punctuated with wreaths laying by all
At the end of the service the parade proceeded to the Harper
Square in the centre of Bedford, stopping for the Rhodesians
to lay wreaths at the South African War Memorial,
At the event, the High Sherriff of Bedfordshire was
particularly interested to talk to us., whilst the Mayor
uniquely acknowledged us with a nod of recognition (he had
already met some of us, a few weeks before in the British
Legion Poppy Shop in Bedford, where we had a display of
artifacts from our Museum).
We returned happy having at last been able to remember our
fallen as other regiments do here in UK and returned to the
RAFA Club for a buffet lunch. We have been invited to join
with the British Legion again next year.
AGM: European and UK Branch RLIRA
Following our lunch on Remembrance Sunday the Annual General
Meeting of our UK and European Branch RLIRA was held. Martyn
Hudson was standing down as Chairman and nominations had
been called for previously.
|Posts were elected as follows:
||Steve Biddlecombe (From February 2012)
|Treasurer and Projects Officer:
||Shaun Ryan, Legal officer
||Frank Watson, Scottish Representative
||Stephen White, London Area Rep
||Vince Buckingham, Midlands Area Rep
Forthcoming events for 2012:
1. PRAYER MEETING, GLASGOW, SCOTLAND
A Prayer meeting will be held in Glasgow on Saturday,
February, 11th 2012 in the 4th Paras Drill Hall in centre of
Please can all Scots members identify themselves to Martyn
Hudson and anyone interested in the northern areas of
Email: martyn.hudson2:@btinternet.com to express
their interest in meeting north of the border!
Tel: 01234 350107 Bedford RAFA Club
2. COMBINED FORCES DINNER DANCE.
Due to pressure from members we have had to reschedule our
date from 31st March 2012 as this was deemed to be too near
to Easter holidays, and is now re - scheduled to take place
on SATURDAY 10TH MARCH, 2012 at the Sgts Mess, British Army
Base at Chicksands, Shefford, Bedfordshire at 19.00 hours.
TICKETS: £15.00 each includes dinner (2 courses) and a 5
Dress: Casual. (No jeans)
A List of reasonably priced nearby hotels will be available
on request from Martyn Hudson
Please note that this invitation extends to all members of
the Rhodesian security forces and their families.
So ends 2011
I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year
Let’s make 2012 another momentous year in the RLIRA.
With all good wishes,
51st Birthday Reunion: planning committee
Dennis Croukamp & Sandy Miller gathered a number of ouens
together at Mark Blagus' B&B in Cape Town during August and
a 51st RLI Reunion Planning Committee was formed comprising:
Trevor DesFountain, Steve Ingram, Neill Jackson, Maurice Gabriel, John Norman and Sandy Miller.
The reunion is planned for 2/3/4 March 2012, in the fairest
Cape, and will include a Drumhead Service, Retreat Ceremony,
Formal and Informal events together with wonderful
memento’s, memorabilia, and auctions. More details are to be
In excess of 40 soldiers and airmen attended the launch of
Neill Jackson & Rick van Malsen’s book "The Search for Puma
164" (Op URIC and the assault on Mapai) in Somerset West,
CT, during September.
Neill gave a brilliant presentation and Wordsworth Books
stated that the book is one of the most comprehensive
stories of a single operation that they have ever had the
privilege of being involved in.
Remembrance day service
For the last 30 years General Keith Coster (GOC RH Army 1968
- 1972) - and the man who designed the RLI Barracks at
Cranborne - has laid the wreath on behalf of the Rhodesian
Armed Forces at the annual 11 November Remembrance Service
at Fish Hoek, Methodist Church, Cape Town.
General Coster is now 92 years of age and the picture
depicts him about to lay the wreath, accompanied by Leon
Jacobs, just one week ago.
This has been a really varied year as we attempt to increase
membership in a notoriously large geographical expanse.
The RLIRA growth in the Eastern Cape has been slow but
steady, with Piet Grobbler and Wayne Pickworth joining the
The year also brought about it’s sad moments with the death
of an old friend, Rory Beary in Port Alfred. There was a
small turnout for Rory Beary’s funeral with my wife myself,
Bandy Emeric and Mark Taunton from the Battalion and Barbara
Bresler from the Selous Scouts Association in attendance.
In November we have two mayor parades for Armistice Day, one
being the Civic Parade held in Walmer and the other being
the Outspan parade and this year I had the great honour to
be invited to lay a wreath at both parades for the RLIRA.
This caused a bit of a stir and there were many tearful eyes
in the crowd (ex Rhodies) when laying the wreath. The one
lady told me she felt a chill running down her spine when
the RLI’s name was called out.
It appears as if a new tradition has been born. Hopefully
next year we will have a bigger contingent at the event.
Well, all that is left is for me to wish everyone in the
RLIRA no matter where you live a truly blessed Christmas and
an Amazing New Year.
The Flame Lily Association (Durban Branch) held their Annual
fund raising Golf Day on October 30th at the Amanzimtoti
Country Club, which was a well attended event this year and
in fact had a record field. Unfortunately the RLI were
unable to field a 4 ball this year due to all the
celebrations surrounding the 50th, so I and John Guinness
carried the flag for the Association but unfortunately
didn’t set any course records or scoop any Prizes! Ian
McIntosh (ex Springbok coach & Rhodesian) was in attendance
to amuse us with stories of his very brief trip over to NZ
for the RWC 2011.
The 4th and 5th of November saw the NMR abuzz with ex
members of SAS, Scouts and the RLI get together for the
SAS’s AGM, 50th Anniversary and Remembrance service.
I arrived at NMR early in the afternoon to set up the food
for the evening, only to find quite a few of the ouens had
come early and were keen to get the party underway. We
eventually "closed up shop" in the early hours of the
morning once every last drop of alcohol had been consumed.
A number of members from the Gauteng Branch trekked down to
Durbs for the event and thanks must go to Bill Wiggill, Gary
Huxham, Al Strachan, Basil Dippenaar, Len Beechy, Buks
Theron & "Bongwe" Russell for making the effort.
The Ouens were all dressed impeccably in their Green
Blazers, berets and medals and Basil even rocked up dressed
in full Greens - well done Bas (still not sure how you
managed to squeeze into them though!).
A new "permanent" wreath was laid on behalf of the
Association by Robin Tarr who has been a stalwart at this
event for a number of years now.
I trust that you all have a safe, blessed Christmas with
family and friends and that 2012 sees the Association
growing from strength to strength.
Doc Skippy Michell
And servicemen who were good friends of the RLI:
Chris (Green Leader) Dixon
Peter Jackson (SAS)