Rhodesian Association of Western Australia

[LOGO] Bundu Times August/September 1997


Stand up and be counted

I WAS very pleased with our last issue of Bundu Times, which we had to increase by four pages to accommodate all the material.

It also seemed too good to be true that at long last the club was getting some regular support at its events. The pub night was becoming more popular and we had lively support of functions.

Unfortunately it was not to last. Seven - yes just seven - members went to the Burswood function. It makes it extremely difficult for the club to promote organised events and make the appropriate bookings if there is no support.

The planned excursion on the MV Decoy has been cancelled but the night at the Civic Theatre on Saturday 23rd August is going ahead. Tickets have to be prepurchased. The committee has bought 30 and these will be sold on a first come basis.

I enjoyed a comment of a new arrival at the Pub Night. She didn't think much of local beer and when "asking for a Castle" on a recent shopping trip was given a box of soap powder was most unimpressed.

The M'dalas go from strength to strength. Their latest report outlines their recent activities and I congratulate them on running such an active branch.

It is always great when people become achievers and are productive. And when those people are Rhodesians/Zimbabweans, I admit I enjoy a reflected satisfaction. The Zimbabwean cricketers are doing well and it was pleasing to see Wayne Black get to the Wimbledon mens doubles semi-finals and his sister win the girl's finals and girls doubles finals after being losing girls' finalist at the French Open.

It is also great seeing local Rhodesians contributing to our society with Brian Best one of our M'dalas being given an award by CALM for his outstanding work. And also the authors. I have reviewed "One Commando" by Dick Gledhill in this edition.

Richard Bennett has written a book "Once in a Lifetime" about his experiences during the Second World War. And in the business world, support those Southern Africans who are in their own business, support our advertisers.

Thank you to Don & Joyce Bullock, Dave de Salis, Doug Lyon, Val & Dave Chapman and Tobi Brandon for sending in newspaper cuttings and articles. All this helps Bundu Times and all its readers. I know most people are apathetic, leave it to the other person and get on with their own lives. But please Rhodesians/Zimbabweans support your organisation, even if it is to get more people to join. STAND UP AND BE COUNTED.


M'dalas Report

We're on track for a top outing!

MONTHLY meetings continue to be well supported with 45 to 50 members attending.

There are usually some visitors who keep us informed of the current situation in Zimbabwe, including Alistair Gibb who spoke of the position in South Africa and his own personal experience of a life threatening hold up at gun point.

On May 29, 27 of the M'dalas took part in a coach tour to York. Morning tea was served at Mundaring Weir and then on through the now beautifully green countryside to York.

A visit to the top of Mt Brown lookout was followed by a picnic lunch in Avon Park by the river. The afternoon was free for people to visit the many places of interest in York and then to depart for home via Northam.

Mat Dillon of "Get about tours" did an excellent job, even to the extent of providing the only sunny day in a period of three weeks of wet weather.

The June meeting was attended by 48 members and 4 visitors, and after attending to routine matters, the Chairman outlined a proposed outing by Steam Train to visit Northam Show on September 15th.

The train will depart Wellington St. Station 9.15 am and return 5.15pm. At tourist concession rate, the cost will be $21.50 which includes entry to the Northam Show.

Members please register and pay for the outing at the meetings of July and August.

The chairman then introduced Mr Cyril Ayris, who is a journalist and writer, to address the meeting.

His talk included many very amusing incidents in various parts of the world which was well received by the audience.

Cyril had with him copies of his publications for sale, many of which related to the history of Western Australia.

Also of particular interest was his biography of the W.W.II experiences of Squadron Leader Robert Milton M.C. who now lives in Bullcreek.

Doug Lyon

Stalag Luft III - and much more

YET another Rhodesian has gone into print with his memoirs, this time DICK BENNETT, who lives in the Cape, documents his experiences through World War II.

The Association received this letter from Dick addressed to all members:

Dear Rhodies,
I have just had a book published entitled Once In A Lifetime, by Hob Publishers so I am writing a personal letter to your Association (I am a member of Rhodesians in South Africa) RASA, requesting that you please afford me space in your newsletter.

Attached is a mail order form which carries an introduction by the former and last Chief Justice Hon H. N. MacDonald.

This summary is his evaluation of the product. I feel that my book will be of intererst to many. It is a book that covers the years of my life from 1929-1945 - shot down over the Western Desert, a five-day walk in the desert, a number of years in Stalag Luft III of Great Escape fame and more, much more.

Thank you in anticipation,
Dick Bennett

In his summary, Justice MacDonald says: "The author, a fellow pupil at Plumtree School in Rhodesia, left school during the world-wide depression which preceded the Second World War.

"His book gives a graphic and stirring description of the trials and tribulations which followed; of his experiences from 'day one' in the Royal Air Force, of long years of incarceration in prisoner of war camps in Italy and Germany (including the notorious Stalag Luft III) and finally, his repatriation from Germany after his health deteriorated alarmingly; against the odds his health slowly recovered.

"Now, more than fifty years after the events recorded, he has been prevailed upon to write this most absorbing and interesting account, a commendable and worthwhile achievement."

The book is available by post from Hob Publishers, PO Box 30242, Tokai 7966, RSA. The price is R70 plus R5 postage. (There are 3.3 rands to the Aussie dollar)

Harare Driving Tests

Dear Clem,
This has just been sent over to us and i thought it might be of interest for the Bundu Times. One can imagine the "quality" of the 2000 driving tests per month. I wonder what the current rate is to get a pass!!

Harare VID stops new applications for driving tests
Herald Reporter

THE Vehicle Inspection Depot in Harare has stopped accepting new applications for driving tests until September when it hopes to have cleared a backlog of about 11,000 people.

Officials in the department told the Herald in Harare this week that the sudden demand for drivers' licences was a result of an increase in the number of commuter omnibuses and other private vehicles.

About 2000 people undergo driving tests at the Harare depot a month, while the department conducted learner's tests to nearly 5000 people in both Harare and Chitungwiza during the same period.

"Harare is an affluent society. Many people are now managing to buy cars, hence the need for licences."

Chitungwiza can reduce Harare's driving tests workload, but can not do so at the moment because it does not have the needed cosmopolitan traffic facilities to conduct such tests. The officials said the backlog had nothing to do with the staff establishment in the department, adding that even if the staff was to be increased, the backlog was not going to be cleared.

However, the officials said the present backlog would have been cleared by the end of September following the acquisition by the department of more land from the Harare City Council for conducting tests.

The examining officers needed more land for prospective drivers to use when they go into drums.

At present, the available land area could accommodate only four cars, while the acquired new land area will be able to accommodate up to 15 cars at one time.

"By the end of September, the situation will have returned to normal."

Rhodesian Singles take the cake!

SATURDAY Night - Christmas in July. My plate to bring was roast pork.
Others brought salads, turkey, chicken, nuts, ham, veg, mince pies, christmas pudding & custard etc etc and to finish chocolates and port. And of course complimented with fine wines.

We all converged at Dawn's house. Old faces, we hadn't seen for two months, great to catch up with and new faces, eager to meet. And to add even more spice to the evening we had two birthdays, Dorothy Lea and Loreen Hayden.

With Christmas Crackers, Happy Birthday songs, joke and story telling, reminscing and a few rawdy or should I say bawdy tales, particularly by the hostess - WOW! - What a nice evening.

Dorothy had a special chocolate birthday cake made and baked by Dawn's daughter and Loreen had a banana sponge cake.

This part of The Rhodesian Association has established itself with its own identity as a friendship based, fun-loving group which meets every two - three months.

For more details contact either Clem Barratt or Doug & Jackie Capper.

Clem Barratt

Seven savour Burswood delights

IT WAS only a small group but we gathered in the Winners Circle at Burswood, had a few drinks and caught up.

Even with the small group there was still new faces. Outside in the beautiful winter sun to take some photographs and back to the job of enjoying ourselves.

A $17 outlay got drinks, gaming and keno vouchers, video coin and a lunch.

We were together but yet still did our own thing. We will try this again and hope for more support.

But if members don't like this type of function please let the commiittee know. Even more so, let us know what YOU want.

CALM honours Rhodesian with an eye for detail

I received this letter from Doug Lyon, Chairman of the M'dalas about Brian Best, one of our M'dalas who has recently celebrated his 80th birthday. I think it is an inspiration to us all to keep on going and make the most of life.

Clem Barratt

CALM honours Rhodesian with an eye for detail

Mr/Mrs E.B. & N. Best
Dear Douglas,
A word of explanation to accompany the copy of the letter sent to Brian. We both go to the W.A. Herbarium twice a week where Brian is the Honorary Curator of the Bryophytes ie Mosses, liverworts etc., and is now teaching himself to identify the Lichens. He works there on his own and has identified an enormous amount of specimens, so this Award is well deserved.



Mr. B.Best.

Dear Brian,

The Department of Conservation and Land Management is continuing its program to recognise the enormous time, energy and expertise donated to the Department by volunteers.

CALM recognises the immense value of volunteers to the community and in assisting CALM achieve its objectives. Part of the recognition program involves the presentation of Outstanding Service Awards.

This year, two people will receive this Award, both have made a significant long-term contribution to a CALM project or program.

It is my pleasure to inform you that your contribution to the curation of specimens at the Herbarium has been recognised with the conferring of an Outstanding Service Award.

A breakfast reception is being held at the Wildflower Restaurant, John Forrest Tavern, John Forrest National Park on 19th June 1997 to present these and other volunteer Awards.

The Awards will be presented by the Hon. Cheryl Edwardes, MLA, Minister for the Environment.

Yours sincerely,


Rhodesia's last years and the guerilla war it never lost. A novel by Dick Gledhill

I admire those authors who write about the Rhodesia I knew during the era 1965 - 1979 as I admire most authors who write honestly about Rhodesia as it is so dear to my heart. As I spent much call up time in the army (2 Bde Signal Squadron) and was seconded for a brief period with the Rhodesian Light Infantry and spent some time with them in Mukumbura, this book does bring back a lot of nostalgic memories - some good, some sad - all very real.

Dick has recaptured his military experiences in the form of a novel set around R.L.I. sergeant Ray Hunter and his unique relationship with his attagonist Z.A.N.LA. commander Jason Ncube.

It is a novel strongly orientated towards One Commando action and activities. It is a novel to which all of us who were in Rhodesia during that period can strongly relate. This is backed up with some original photographs, a brief historical narrative and a "Rhodesian" glossary that is sure to bring back a lot of reflections.

Forewords have been written by Lieutenant-Colonel R.F. Reid-Daly First Regimental Sergeant-Major; Officer Commanding Support Commando - the Rhodesian Light Infantry and the Commanding Officer of the Selous Scouts Regiment and Squadron Leader D.J.G. De Kock Commanding Officer the Rhodesian Air Force Parachute training school. Dick makes no apologies for the language used in the book, because that was true life. It helps the reader envisage what Dick is trying to say.

For all of those who did territorial service or served regular, and who want to recall fire forces, follow ups, ambushes and contact as well as daily sitreps (and those situations are part of our past) this book is a must. And for those who were not there but want to live a part of history, (our own Rhodesian history) this book is still a must.

Who remembers the following scenerio?

"Major Hill, who was the Fire Force Commando, was also present. It was standard procedure now to have one chopper flying around the contact area and controlling the scene. It was fitted with a Hispano 20 mm cannon and became known as the K car - the K standing for killer. The troop carrying helicopters were known as G cars.

Major Hill commenced the briefing for his men and the benefit of the Air Force pilots. "Right, this is the situation. A Police Support Unit O.P. (observation post) has located a camp with approximately twenty terrs in the Wedza Tribal Trust Land, north-west of here, just south of the fork in this river at Grid UQ 583164." He pointed to the position on the large scale map.

The suspected camp is fairly thick bush near the river. The most likely escape routes are here, north along the river bank, south along the river bank, and maybe the kraal, here to the west. I want stop groups here, here and here."

BUT there is also the sadness. Most of us lost someone during the war. "In the operational area yesterday, forty five terrorists were killed by security forces.

"Twenty two civilians were killed in crossfire, while Combined Operations regret to announce the deaths of ......."

This book in a way is a tribute to them, and is a part of showing a slice in Rhodesian history from the perspective of a One Commando sergeant and the Rhodesian Light Infantry tremendous contribution to trying to maintain a Rhodesia we all wanted to know. If I do have one criticism, there might be too much narrative on action and not enough on the story, but that was the way it was for the R.L.I. - with no disrespect.

Dick you can be justifiably proud of this book. Life takes its own course, we do what we can to pilot it but in the end "C'est la vie". You have recorded for ever YOUR STORY - WELL DONE!

Clem Barratt- Editor

A memorial service was held by the Gauteng Association of the 1st Bn. The Rhodesian Light Infantry on February 1. The service was conducted by Padre Bill Blakeway and the address given by Lt. Gen. Peter Walls, who sent this signed programme to the Rhodesian Association.

Bowls night popular with one and all!

TED and Fiona Watson proved they still have what it takes to win at the 10-pin bowling event we held on Friday, June 20. Most players hadn't rolled a ball for many years before the game, including Pat and Jo Dunne, with Jo still showing the rest of us "how it is done".

The venue chosen was very pleasant with ample parking under and alongside the Fairlanes building and all other need were well catered for. Meals and soft drinks are readily available and can be ordered during the games as well.

The fully computerised game scoring and sequence system means that no-one does any scoring at all, so the games flowed extremely smoothly. Approximately half of the 19 players who turned up on the night were younger Rhodesians and this is very encouraging to ensure the continued lifespan of the Rhodesian Association.

We hope to see more of the "Baby Boomers" at the next event, including the 'A' team, as Fairlanes caters for those with a desire for a beer or two as well.

All those I spoke to after the event said they enjoyed the function and would most certainly attend the next 10-pin game,when we decide to organise an event, which may be more frequent, depending on the interest shown.

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