The stories in this anthology have been published with permission by Brian Parnaby. They have been supplied by ex members of the now defunct British South Africa Police of Southern Rhodesia and below are a few of his words:
I am indebted to the following comrades for their contributions, to which I have added some of my own experiences whilst serving in both the Town and District (Rural) branches of the Force.
Thanks are also due to:
Richard Seward of Harare, Zimbabwe. I am indebted to Richard for granting permission for me to reproduce extracts from the memoirs of his late Father, Colonel H.G. Seward. Col. Seward enlisted in the B.S.A. Police shortly after the Great War of 1914-1918 and thus had experiences of life in the then very raw and unspoiled rural Rhodesia, much of which a later generation did not experience. In that era modern forms of transportation were scarce (in any event the most of the basic roads were inaccessible to motorised transport for more than a few miles from any Township or Police post) and the horse and pack-mule were standard means of conveyance.
Richard’s cousin, John Seward now living in Perth, Western Australia, was instrumental in creating contact between Richard and myself and also with Hamish. John was my District Sergeant during the period I served at Bindura, Salisbury District, and we maintained contact after I was posted further ‘up the line’ to the remote Township of Mount Darwin, a Township accessible from all points of the compass only by dirt roads, parts of which were impassable by vehicles during the rainy season, even by four-wheel drive LandRovers with which the Force were later supplied for use in rural areas. Rivers in flood were the greatest problem and could sever physical connection with the outside world for days at a time.
I use the word ‘Township’ in its most generous senses as there were few modern amenities; no electricity or water-borne sanitation at the Police Station. However, being perched atop a hill, Mount Darwin possessed one of the most delightful toilets in the country, with a wonderful view over the valley below from the ‘chimbudzi’ (thunderbox) toilet.
I must mention another Old Comrade, Kerry Hoadley, now also living in Western Australia. He joined the Force at the same time as myself. In fact we were part of a group of young men who travelled from Southampton to Cape Town aboard the Athlone Castle and then by train to Salisbury (now Harare.) I had the happy experience of renewing personal contact with both John and Kerry on a visit to Australia in 2005. Thanks to the arrival of emails we had in fact been in frequent communication for some time prior to my visit, partly in connection with this book and also generally ‘keeping in touch.’
Tim Potter and I were stationed together at Rhodesville Peri-Urban Station, Salisbury, in 1956, prior to us going our separate ways into District (Bush) service. As Tim is also now resident in the United Kingdom, we are in frequent contact and have exchanged visits, as well as having explored World War I Battlefields, where Tim’s Father was one of the ‘Old Contemptibles.’
Richard Hamley, ex-B.S.A. Police, Author of ‘The Regiment’ (a history and the uniforms of the B.S.A. Police), now living in Perth, Western Australia, very kindly gave me permission to use some of his excellent illustrations from his book and these are reproduced throughout the text. My thanks are profound as I do not possess his skill in illustrating to such a high degree, or to any degree whatsoever..
My thanks also to the Publishers of two previous books about the British South Africa Police, namely ‘Blue and Old Gold’ and ‘The Outpost.’ I have taken the liberty of using some of their non-copyright material, including photographs, but have not been able to trace the authors in order to obtain formal permission to use the illustrations.. These books are not available in the United Kingdom and are apparently now out of print. Regrettably, much of the Force’s memorabilia was destroyed by the incoming Power following the granting of independence to Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF Party.
The Author and contributors hope the reader will enjoy these unusual tales of Policing, predominantly in an African setting,
Brian Parnaby (ex B.S.A.P. 5310)
2 Marron Farm Courtyard
Copyright © Brian Parnaby
email: mauriceparnaby [at] btinternet [dot] com