Cheetah Magazine: January 2012
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



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 stage.

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.

Ian Buttenshaw


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 world.

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 their sleep.

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 Reveille’.

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 private Chapel.

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 it.

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 hard work.

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.

Ian Buttenshaw


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
The gangs’ 
(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) attached
- 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!)

Terrorist activity
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 and miserable.

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.

Real incident
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 farm.

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

Exercise continued
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 retraining.

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


Book signing event: Operation Uric the search for Puma 164

Carol Wright and Lorraine Reck of Wordsworth Books, Somerset West hosted a wonderful book-signing event, on Wednesday evening, 14 September 2011.

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:
  • 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 online magazine,
  • 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 shell hole
  • There were three special guests who arrived unexpectedly and whose welcome presence added a poignant note to the proceedings:
  • 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.
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 Neill Jackson.

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 Troop.

He apparently told her that if anything happened to any of his mates and he wasn't there with them, then he would never forgive her.

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.

Neill Jackson

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 possible.

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 training.

This is a short story from Vernon Prinsloo about the first course:

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 domain.

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 promptly arrested.

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.

Vernon Prinsloo

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 hearts.

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 past.

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 sacrifice".

Vic Walker

Climbing Aid

In October, Neill Storey set out to climb and conquer Mt Kilimanjaro.

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!

Our thanks to Neill Story and well done - great effort, Editor

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 married sometime."

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 Buttenshaw.

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 his injury.

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 serviceman,

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 square.

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 Lovers,

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


RLI book update

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.

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 difficult times.

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.

Bill Wiggill

50th Anniversary memorabilia

We are advised that there a certain number of items available to those who wish to have mementos of the milestone:

The UK branch ‘stores’ still have the following in stock:
• UK 50th RLI Polo Shirts £20.00 sizes M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL
• 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 2XL

Please contact Martyn Hudson: to make any order/payments/delivery
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 :
• Tel: +44 (0) 1234 350107


Africa report

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: 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 website.


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 got back.
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 infamous district.
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 us.

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
MESCA Chairman

(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 164.

(Remembrance Sunday)

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 forms.

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 registered members

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:

"Dear Graham,

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.

'Dear Ron,

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 NCO.

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 branch,

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 countries.

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 military sphere,.

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.

Thank you
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
    • 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
Thank you too for all for donations towards the ongoing Museum projects.

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 participating regiments.

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:  
Chairman: Steve Biddlecombe (From February 2012)
Treasurer and Projects Officer: Martyn Hudson
Museum Curator: Martyn Hudson
Committee: Shaun Ryan, Legal officer
  Frank Watson, Scottish Representative
  Stephen White, London Area Rep
  Vince Buckingham, Midlands Area Rep

Forthcoming events for 2012:
A Prayer meeting will be held in Glasgow on Saturday, February, 11th 2012 in the 4th Paras Drill Hall in centre of Glasgow.

Please can all Scots members identify themselves to Martyn Hudson and anyone interested in the northern areas of England?
Email: to express their interest in meeting north of the border!
Tel: 01234 350107 Bedford RAFA Club

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 piece band.
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,

Martyn Hudson

Cape Town

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 released shortly.

Book Launch
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.

Trevor Desfountain

Eastern Cape

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 chapter.

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.
Pete Gombart

KZN Region

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

In Memoriam

"John Hickman

Trevor Marsberg

Rory Beary

Bob Meacham'

Nigel Nimmo

And servicemen who were good friends of the RLI:

Chris (Green Leader) Dixon

Peter Jackson (SAS)