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Intake 150 - C Company - 9 Platoon

8th January 1976 - June 1977

Echos of an African War

Chas Lotter, Author of "Rhodesian Soldier" (1984) publish a new book, "Echos of an African War" (1999) shown above. We had made contact via the internet in the late 1990's and he used a number of my drawings and old photographs in this book. He commented to me that my drawings were unique in that, of all the artwork on the war he had seen, mine were the only drawings actually done, on site, in the war zone, by a soldier on activer service. All of the other artwork he reviewed was done by professionals who went out, photographed or sketched a few things, then went back to their studios in town where they produced their art. I did my sketches on notepaper that I had with me, on the spot, right there in the zone. I will put some of it under the "My Drawings" link when I get it done.

Chas and Me

This is Chas and me, way back in 1999 on Thursday, 07 October in Johannesburg. I was visiting family in SA and Zimbabwe shortly after his book was published and he met me at my cousin's house and gave me an autographed copy of his book. I felt quite privileged to have a part like this in preserving some of the history of Rhodesia. I had no gray hair then - this is sad too look at!! My problem is that I have no children and/or son to whom I may pass all of this Rhodesian stuff I have onto and I have no idea what will happen to it when I die. Perhaps as I get older I might find someone to whom I may give it, (I have some freinds whose son's are like nephews to me and perhaps they may be interested), or perhaps there is some museum of Rhodesian stuff somewhere... I don't know. When I die too, of course, this domain and everything on it will also disappear.

I still have my platoon and company photographs taken in early 1976. We came to depend on each other for our lives and many of us became good friends. Today, as I write, 32 years later (April 2008) I still have contact with some of them. What is especially strange is that I still see them all in my mind and hear their voices as 18 year-old just-out-of high school boys... and we are all now in our early 50's. I certainly had many unique experiences in the infantry. I absolutely hated how many of the full-time moron NCO's and officers in control treated us - like pieces of dirt while we were doing all of the work - but the other experiences and the friendships made up for these people, many of whom would have struggled to hold down jobs in the real world.

My dad (in 2013, now 82) served in the infantry from the age of 19 till he was 46 when we left Rhodesia. He is very deaf in both ears and would go on operational patrols with wearing a hearing aid in each ear. He would often tell me "The army is like mining for gold, the gold remains on the bottom and the rubbish floats to the top." In terms of my experience with a number of PF officers, like our CO in training and the one we had when we went operational, I have to say, I agree with his analogy.

I was extremely fortunate that, at Llewellyn, I ended up in a platoon with a firm but fair commander, Color Sergeant Van Den Berg and a decent corporal, Cpl Newbould. Van Den Berg was a tough, decent, ex-RLI soldier and we knew we had a great guy in control. 7 platoon however ended up with a terrible, ignorant, abusive and sadistic S.O.B. over them. (I still remember his name but won't mention it here other than to say he was Sergeant P..t. For those of you who may remember him. I can still see his fat body, see his red face and hear his screaming voice in my mind. How he slept at night after treating his guys so badly every day I just don't know). I remember his guys telling us that if they ever had a chance to kill him on the rifle range they would.

Sometime during our training, Van Den Burg was transferred and we ended up with a new commander, a British guy, Sgt (or Colour Sgt, I'm not sure) Mullins.

9 Platoon

If you would like to download a higher-res scan of this, please click HERE. (1.8MB) Please note that the original image has one definite and a second possible error. The name "De Wild" should be "Benkenstein" and I'm pretty certain that "Pelger" should be "Pelser." The scan you will download does not have these corrections.

The names overlaid in red are those I know were killed on active duty. Those underlined in green remained with us in our platoon in the infantry and did not go off as medics, to signals and so on. There was one typo and that is where I corrected "De Wildt" to read "Benkenstein."

Below is my company photograph that I still have. We were the first double-intake of mostly university entrance level high school boys. The law was changed my last year at high school, (1975) making it compulsory for all white males to do national service before going to university. Those of us who were applying for university were told to apply for the January intake so, if we were accepted, we would be able to start university in 1977. I did this and ended up in the January intake.

C Company DRR

If you would like to download a higher-res scan of this, please click HERE (8.8MB). This is a BIG file so be prepared to wait a bit for it.

Please Note:

Everything expressed on this site is my opinion and, the photos, images and drawings, except where noted, are my work and may not be used anywhere, by anyone, without my written permission.