On this day 26th 1979: Joy as guerrillas fly in to Rhodesia

Discussion in 'History' started by slim, Dec 26, 2006.

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  1. Re: On this day 26th 1979: Joy as guerrillas fly in to Rhod

    Yes Slim, I remember the Beira patrol.
    When it started we were in Mombasa, alongside, on the second night of a fourteen day self maintenance period.
    Returned onboard 0430ish after a pleasant meeting with a young ex pat schoolteacher and a promise of a hot date that evening, to find the safeties blowing off and words from the QM to the effect that we were sailing at 06xx, but destination unknown.
    We left harbour short on supplies, and with all sorts of local labour still painting out the pennant numbers and patches of yellow chromate that they had painted on the previous day (they were taken off by a tender that followed us).
    After steaming East for a couple of hours the Old Man announced over the tannoy that we were to start a blockade patrol off the coast of Mozambique. Shortly thereafter we turned right and did just that for the next couple of weeks. When "Leopard" relieved us they transferred mail by jackstay and their lads on the upper threw spuds at us. Our ships company hoarded them, I don't think they had appreciated a fortnight on POM and rice!
    Later, in other ships, with an RFA in attendance and the Beira bucket to play for, it wasn't too hard a chore. Lots of tropical routine and bronzie-bronzie, and the occasional cruise ship to break the monotony. Even managed to enjoy Christmas 1971 with the promise of Port Elizabeth for new year.
    What a waste of time, money, and energy it all seems now!!

    AND I totally agree with your remarks regarding politicians.

    Still can't help wondering where that hot date would have finished up tho'

  2. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    I hope the nitwit liberal lefties who thought Mugabe was so marvellous have just a smidgin of conscience now that the erstwhile bredbasket of Africa has been turned into a starving wasteland; but I doubt it.

    HMS Tiger became, in December 1966, the venue for Harold Wilson's first set of notoriously spiteful talks with Ian Smith about the Rhodesian question. Later this proved to be a source of rich insight into the character of the 14th Mr Wilson. I had the following tales hearsay from One Who Should Know (he became a vice-admiral):

    Accommodating the talks participants, including many females, presented not a few problems. Goodness knows what happened to the displaced officers whose home was so taken over. Mr Wilson himself of course went straight into the Flag quarters aft. Ablution arrangements for females were tricky but there was a small officers' bathroom used by the commanders that could be allocated. One of the secrtaries bounced on board and someone tried to show her the way to the ladies. She rebuffed this with a cheerful "that's alright, I shall use the PM's."

    Ian Smith, a fighter pilot who had, unlike Wilson, put his life on the line for this country, at the end of the talks offered the Wardroom a rose-bowl of beaten Rhodesian copper as a thank-you present. On the instructions of Mr Wilson, the Wardroom, which had put up with much discomfort in order to accommodate this circus, was forbidden to accept the gift. Wilson's kind offer was of a signed photograph to anyone on board who would like one. One of the secretaries went to the Commander to ask how many would be required. After a moment's thought the Commander replied "one will do."

    Much later a second series of equally fruitless talks was held onboard HMS Fearless. After the Captains and the Kings had departed there was a high priority, highly classified signal from London to Fearless asking if it was true that a photograph of Harold had been thrown over the side. The reply was "we wanted to see if he could walk on water."
  3. I also remeber the Beia patrol, spending some 6months there, did my midshipmans board there too. All in all it was a reasomably enjoayable time although somewhatpointless, especially after comparing notes with people who were in Rhodesia at the time.

    Unlike some I do not believe Smith was right, that of course does not mean I think Mugabe was or even now is right. Both in their own ways were arrogant self serving bastards, both prepared to kill to retain power, both unprepaired to trust their nation to democracy.

    Sometimes either alternative is unacceptable, I am not sure what the right desision would have been then, but I never like Mugabe, his rival, was it Nkomo seemed better but was quietly disposed of after Mugabe gained power.
  4. In all fairness, I think Ian Smith's mistrust of democracy was well founded. I think he knew full well that independance would result in a Matabele v Shona tribal kicking match. He also knew of the "Kaffir's" inate ability to bugger up a going concern. That, I hasten to add, is a contemporary observation and not a current expression of racial disrespect.

    I've had a number of friends who were Rhodesians and every one of them regretted the disloyalty to Her Majesty but were totally certain that Smithy was right.
  5. But in reality was he right, in the end white supremacy was only ever going to be maintained by killing africans. To some extent one of the outcomes of UDI in the end was that the country was taken over by a bunch who had obtained power through the AK47, perhaps a more orderly transfer by democratic means may have one avoided so many people becoming trained killers, and also shownenough of the people that democracy can change things. UDI was a very good example of might being right, and in the end Mugabe had the might, and the fact he was allowed to gain that might through UDI is perhaps a shame.
  6. Maxi_77, you are right about White supremacy but I don't think we can ever know what the alternative outcome would have been.

    Well before Remembrance Day '65, ZANU and ZAPU were both established political parties and, arguably, only UDI brought them together. From all accounts that I've heard, ZANU was committed to Communist ideals and played heavily on the Tribal divisions. I suspect that a conventional independence would have brought bloody conflict between Shona and Matabele just that bit earlier. Therefore, I'm not so sure that the acknowledged White on Black body count would have been that different to a Black on Black count. I suspect that the County was inevitably going to see a Shona land grab followed by general impoverishment.

    What Ian Smith probably achieved was 10 or so years of continued Rhodesian prosperity, despite the Embargo! that would have been to the long term benefit of Black and White. I really think that current day Zimbabwe was inevitable whatever its beginnings. What a pity the Country wasn't named after the ZANU founder, the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. How apt that would have been for the well known typing error.
  7. I agree there is no real answer to the what ifs of such occurences, though I suspect that a Mugabe who had not 'defeated' the whiteman would never had had the status to get away with what he has done for the last decade or so. It is perhaps a shame that he was not quite as careless as one of his past health ministers.

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