Rhodesian Services Association (Incorporated)
 

CQ Store Book Catalogue

All pricing is in NZD and does not include P+P.
To order: Email
thecqstore@rhodesianservices.org stating your selection of goods, delivery address and we will supply a quote

Rhodesia Regiment 1899-1981 by Peter Baxter, Hugh Bomford, Gerry van Tonder et al

Price: $65


Published by the Rhodesian Services Association as part of a major historical record. Refer to this link for more information: Rhodesia Regiment 1899-1981

This is what has being said about this book:
"The text, pictures and illustrations, combine into a volume that is now a benchmark for regimental histories." Major Andrew Banks, British Army currently serving with the Directorate of Planning (Manpower)

Synopsis:
As the 19th century and Queen Victoria’s long reign drew to a close, volunteer squadrons of the Rhodesia regiment, recruited by Colonel Baden-Powell, were positioned along the border with Bechuanaland, to defend Rhodesia against Boer aggression.  In 1914 Rhodesians again rallied to the Crown with the formation of two battalions of the Rhodesia Regiment to counter the German presence in South West and East Africa.  Shortly after, many volunteered to join the Allied forces on the Western Front.  During the Second World War the indomitable combat prowess and leadership talents of Rhodesia Regiment volunteers were strongly evident in many theatres, including North Africa, Somaliland, the Middle East, Italy, the Adriatic, Western Europe and South East Asia.  In 1947 the Crown bestowed the ultimate accolade, with the title ‘Royal’ prefixed to the regiment.  Through the 1950s and ’60s, the experiences of Rhodesians in successive areas of conflict—Malaya, Suez, Aden and Nyasaland—significantly enhanced aspects of Rhodesia’s territorial army, particularly with regard to counter-insurgency warfare.  Conscription ensured combat-readiness for the growing number of battalions and independent companies established throughout the country, providing a solid basis for the regiment to play a vital role in countering the ZANLA/ZIPRA guerrilla insurgencies of the 1960s and ’70s.  Coordinated by Hugh Bomford, this definitive history has, over a period of seven years, been compiled by a core group of dedicated people, with over 400 other contributors.  Thousands of illustrations complement the in-depth text, with several appendices covering rolls of honour, honours and awards, leadership rolls, intake records, and uniforms and embellishments.

Book details
614 printed pages (618 total number of pages) 300 x 220mm Portrait made up as:

596pp x b/w
8pp x colour photo section
8pp x colour map section
56pp full colour appendices for Honours and Awards; Uniforms, Embellishments and Equipment.  
Appendices covering Honours & Awards includes numerous citations; complete Roll of Honour 1899-1981; Leadership Roll; Intake numbers and dates
2pp x tip-in page
Over 8,000 individual names in the book
Illustrations - over 1,500 photos, maps and drawings 
Weight 2.72 kg

Lt Gen Keith Robert Coster SASS, ICD, OBE : A life in Uniform by Gerry van Tonder

Price: $60

This is a privately published book recording the life of Lt Gen Keith Coster. In August 2015, the late former-commander of the Rhodesian Army (1968–1972), Lt-Gen Keith Coster’s son, Steve, and daughter-in-law, Cindy, approached Gerry van Tonder, wanting to know if h would like to take custody of personal memoirs, photographs, letters, certificates, records and some items of uniform that had belonged to the general.  It was their wish that the collection find a permanent home in a Rhodesian museum.  Suffice to say, Gerry readily accepted their magnanimous offer.  In return, he promised them that he would construct a fact file on the military life of the general, so that a permanent record could be established.  The full-colour, coil-bound, 265-page publication mainly comprises information and photos that have never before seen the light of day, let alone be published.

In 1938, Keith Coster went into uniformed service in South Africa and earned his wings.  In 1942, he was shot down in North Africa, and spent the rest of the war incarcerated in various Italian and German prisoner of war camps, including the famous Stalag Luft III of Great Escape fame.  At the end of the war, he transferred to the South African army, and from there, with the rank of major, left South Africa in 1955 to join the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, the King’s African Rifles, based in the then Nyasaland.  With the demise of the Federation in
1963, it was a natural progression for him to transfer to the Southern Rhodesian Army.  In 1968, and with the rank of lieutenant-general, he was appointed general officer commanding of the Rhodesian Army, a post he held until his retirement in 1972.  He then went back to South Africa, where he spent thirteen years serving as a ‘civilian officer’ in the top national security organs of that country, for which he was bestowed with South Africa’s highest award, the Star of South Africa.

The file is brim-full of his personal accounts: pilot training, encounters with German aircraft, being shot down and taken prisoner; his experiences as a POW; the Rhodesian Army, including papers on security; a brush with a Russian spy while working for South African state security; and much, much more.

A Calabash of Poetry and Writings by Glen Ashmead

Price: $30

Glen explains:
"In Africa a calabash is often used as a receptacle to store or carry food, water, beer and even used as a pipe to smoke from. I have used the title “A Calabash of Poetry and Writings” as my vessel to carry my words and thoughts to you.

My collection is inspired by my early life in Rhodesia. A reminder of the freedom and beauty I grew up experiencing. Time in the military and the men whom I regard most worthy of deep consideration at a time we all stood together as a nation fighting for our country and beliefs.

The five sections of my book: Rhodesian/Zimbabwe, Animals, Military, Thoughts and Dedications. A variety of poems, past and present will give you a view of emotions and thoughts that take up space in my head, some were written from memories, others inspired by photographs and a few spilled out from books I’ve read."

The Uncomfortable Truth - An in depth study into the Rhodesian Viscount Tragedies by Geoffrey Alp

Price $39

A detailed examination of the Viscount tragedies in Rhodesia. Includes a technical review of the Strela ground to air missile and Vickers Viscount.

Second Hand Titles:

Trees of Southern Africa by Keith Coates Palgrave$25

The Last White Parliament by Frederick Van Zyl Slabbert $5

The Conundrum Trees by C Emily Dibb $5

Call of the Marsh by Jill Wylie $5

On Her Majesty’s Service by Ron Evans $5

These Wonders to Behold by Lawrence G Green $5

Something Rich and Strange by Lawrence G Green $5

On Wings of Fire by Lawrence G Green $5

Eight Bells at Salamander by Lawrence G Green $5

Tavern of the Seas by Lawrence G Green $5

Thunder on the Blaauwberg by Lawrence G Green $5


Books for Africa Catalogue

Africa @ War Series

At any given time there were at least half a dozen conflicts taking place in Africa, from civil strife and brutal insurgencies to full-blown conventional wars. Yet apart from the grand campaigns and battles of colonial yesteryear - Omdurman, Isandlwana, Spoinkop et al - little is known outside the Dark Continent of the plethora of bushfire wars that occur with monotonous regularity.

Each volume is 64 pages, richly illustrated with black and white and colour photographs as well as diagrams and maps, A4 size, softcover.

Africa @ War Volume 2
France In Centralafrique - From Bokassa and Operation Barracuda to the Days of EUFOR
 by Peter Baxter $30


France in Centrafrique explores the early colonial and post-colonial history of French Equatorial Africa with a particular emphasis on the role of the Central African Republic in the Second World War and the Free French Movement.  One of the key figures to emerge from this period, and a man who would shape the modern destiny of the Central African Republic, was Jean-Bédel Bokassa.  Bokassa served alongside the Free French under General Charles de Gaulle and later in the metropolitan French military as an NCO in Indo-China.  The narrative traces his ascent from these humble beginnings to his position as one of the region’s most notorious dictators, exploring both his excesses of violence and personal aggrandizement and the role played by France and the wide-reaching Foccart intelligence network in his rise and fall.  Baxter examines the past and present relationship of France with her erstwhile African colonial possessions, giving substance to the cause and effect of the many French interventions and the play of various individual personalities, both French and African, and how this has affected the current complexion of the region and its ongoing relationship with France.  The book traces the overt and covert French military actions in the region, the rise of internal violence and insecurity and the increasing involvement of the international community in the series of coups and counter-coups that characterized the 1990s and the new century.  Featured are Operation Barracuda, Operations Almandin I, II and II, Operation Boali and the various regional, international and European regional interventions.

Africa @ War Volume 7
Mau Mau: Kenya Emergency 1957-60
by Peter Baxter $30


The Second World War forever altered the complexion of the British Empire.  From Cyprus to Malaya, from Borneo to Suez, the dominoes began to fall within a decade of peace in Europe.  Africa in the late 1940s and 1950s was energized by the grant of independence to India, and the emergence of a credible indigenous intellectual and political caste that was poised to inherit control from the waning European imperial powers.  The British on the whole managed to disengage from Africa with a minimum of ill feeling and violence, conceding power in the Gold Coast, Nigeria and Sierra Leone under an orderly constitutional process, and engaging only in the suppression of civil disturbances in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia as the practicalities of a political handover were negotiated.

In Kenya, however, matters were different.  A vociferous local settler lobby had accrued significant economic and political authority under a local legislature, coupled with the fact that much familial pressure could be brought to bear in Whitehall by British settlers of wealth and influence, most of whom were utterly irreconciled to the notion of any kind of political handover.  Mau Mau was less than a liberation movement, but much more than a mere civil disturbance.  Its historic importance is based primarily on the fact that the Mau Mau campaign was one of the first violent confrontations in sub-Saharan Africa to take place over the question of the self-determination of the masses.  It also epitomized the quandary suffered by the white settler communities of Africa who had been promised utopia in an earlier century, only to be confronted in a post-war world by the completely unexpected reality of black political aspiration.

This book journeys through the birth of British East Africa as a settled territory of the Empire, and the inevitable politics of confrontation that emerged from the unequal distribution of resources and power.  It covers the emergence and growth of Mau Mau, and the strategies applied by the British to confront and nullify what was in reality a tactically inexpert, but nonetheless powerfully symbolic black expression of political violence.  That Mau Mau set the tone for Kenyan independence somewhat blurred the clean line of victory and defeat.  The revolt was suppressed and peace restored, but events in the colony were nevertheless swept along by the greater movement of Africa toward independences, resulting in the eventual establishment of majority rule in Kenya in 1964.

Africa @ War Volume 8
SAAF's Border War
by Peter Baxter $30


South African Mirages and Cuban MiG-21s dogfighting over Cuito Cuanavale, the largest tank battle on African soil since El Alamein; Puma troopships shot out of the skies by Strela missiles and RPG-7 rockets; Alouette III gunships hovering menacingly above Koevoet tracker-combat teams as they close in for the kill; Hercules and Transall transports disgorging their loads of Parabats over Cassinga; suicidal helicopter hot- extractions of Recce operators deep in enemy territory; and a lone Alouette pilot who disobeyed orders and under intense ground fire evacuated a critically wounded soldier … such is the story of the South African Air Force, the SAAF, over the 23-year period 1966–1989, the period of conflict that became known as the ‘Border War’.  Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, the SAAF was effectively South Africa’s first line of defence against Soviet expansionism in southern Africa.  That the Soviets, through their surrogates—the Cuban military, Angola’s FAPLA and Namibia’s SWAPO—sought a communist regime in South Africa is indisputable, as too was the SAAF’s skill, quality, determination and capability to defeat the best Soviet air defences of the time.  This account covers all the major operations that the SAAF was involved in, from Operation Blouwildebees, the opening salvo of the conflict at Omgulumbashe, South West Africa in 1966 to the final curtain, Operation Merlyn, the so-called April Fool’s Day ‘war’ of 1989 when the SAAF and Koevoet, almost alone, frustrated SWAPO’s last throw of the dice with its illegal invasion of South West Africa.

In this account, making reference to all the principal operations of the war, Baxter examines and brings to life the squadrons and aviators that fought in both counter-insurgency and conventional warfare roles.  Besides an extensive selection of rare photographs, the book features a comprehensive section on camouflage and markings and 6 pages of colour aircraft profiles and insignia by noted SAAF authority William Marshall, making this title especially useful for modellers.

Africa @ War Volume 9
Somalia - US Intervention, 1992–1994
by Peter Baxter $30


The end of the Cold War introduced an altered global dynamic.  The old bond of East/West patronage in Africa was broken, weakening the first crop of independent revolutionary leadership on the continent who no longer had the support of one or other of the superpowers.  With collapse of the Soviet Union, all this changed.  The question of global/strategic security devolved into regional peacekeeping and peace enforcement, characterized primarily by the Balkans War, but also many other minor regional squabbles across the developing world that erupted as old regimes fell and nations sought to build unity out of the ashes.  In Africa the situation was exacerbated by an inherent tribalism and factionalism that had tended to be artificially suppressed by powerful, often military, dictatorships, generally unconcerned with the needs and requirements of an oppressed population.

No more striking example of this can be found than Somalia.  One of the only effective armed resistance movements mounted against European colonisation in Africa took place in Somalia, which was suppressed only after enormous military expenditure.  The crisis in Somalia that began to take shape with the ouster of military leader Mohammed Siad Barre during the early years of the 1990s forced both the United States and the United Nations to adapt their collective military policy toward the challenges of peacekeeping, and peace enforcement, in a human environment only dimly understood, extremely austere in terms of local infrastructure and with a warring clan leadership.

This book tells the story of the international intervention that took place in Somalia, the successes, failures and lessons learned.  Many broad assumptions were made based on an unclear understanding of the dynamics of a regional conflict, coupled with the necessity for the first time in modern military history to balance political necessities with military.  The crisis in Somalia set the tone for military intervention in a post- Cold War world, and although the same mistakes have been depressingly often repeated, the complexion of global military organization changed dramatically as a consequence of this episode.

Africa @ War Volume 11
Flechas -
Insurgent Hunting in Eastern Angola, 1965–1974  by John P Cann $30


In 1961, Portugal found itself fighting a war to retain its colonial possessions and preserve the remnants of its empire. It was almost completely unprepared to do so, and this was particularly evident in its ability to project power and to control the vast colonial spaces in Africa.  Following the uprisings of March of 1961 in the north of Angola, Portugal poured troops into the colony as fast as its creaking logistic system would allow; however, these new arrivals were not competent and did not possess the skills needed to fight a counterinsurgency. While counterinsurgency by its nature requires substantial numbers of light infantry, the force must be trained in the craft of fighting a ‘small war’ to be effective.  The majority of the arriving troops had no such indoctrination and had been readied at an accelerated pace.  Even their uniforms were hastily crafted and not ideally suited to fighting in the bush. In reoccupying the north and addressing the enemy threat, Portugal quickly realized that its most effective forces were those with special qualifications and advanced training. Unfortunately, there were only very small numbers of such elite forces.  The maturing experiences of Portuguese and their consequent adjustments to fight a counterinsurgency led to development of specialized, tailored units to close the gaps in skills and knowledge between the insurgents and their forces.

The most remarkable such force was the flechas, indigenous Bushmen who lived in eastern Angola with the capacity to live and fight in its difficult terrain aptly named ‘Lands at the End of the Earth’.  Founded in 1966, they were active until the end of the war in 1974, and were so successful in their methods that the flecha template was copied in the other theaters of Guiné and Mozambique and later in the South African Border War. The flechas were a force unique to the conflicts of southern Africa.  A flecha could smell the enemy and his weapons and read the bush in ways that no others could do.  He would sleep with one ear to the ground and the other to the atmosphere and would be awakened by an enemy walking a mile away.  He could conceal himself in a minimum of cover and find food and water in impossible places. In short, he was vastly superior to the enemy in the environment of eastern Angola, and at the height of the campaign there (1966–1974) this small force accounted for 60 per cent of all enemy kills.

This book is the story of how they came to be formed and organized, their initial teething difficulties, and their unqualified successes.

Africa @ War Volume 13
The Great Lakes Holocaust - First Congo War, 1996 - 1997 
by Tom Cooper $30


Great Lakes Holocaust is the first in two volumes covering military operations in Zaire – as the Congo was named from 1971 until 1997 – and the Democratic Republic of Congo at the turn of the 21st century.  This volume explores the events of the 1980s and 1990s in Rwanda and Uganda, which eventually spilled over the borders into Zaire, resulting in one of the worst tragedies ever to befall an African region.  The narrative traces the ascent of crucial Rwandan, Congolese and Ugandan military and political figures, and their connections within influential business and political circles in and outside Africa.  It examines the build-up of the Zairian military under the government of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in the 1960s and 1970s, and provides an in-depth study into reasons for its near-collapse in the early 1990s.

The military build-up of Rwanda and Uganda is discussed in detail as is their planning for operations inside Zaire, and the global logistic tail that provided the Rwandan military, particularly, but also most of its opponents, with a capability of not only waging war beyond their borders, but – in the case of Rwanda – of invading and practically conquering a country the size of Western Europe or the USA east of the Mississippi.

The book further traces the covert Rwandan military actions inside Zaire, initially run under the guise of an insurgency by one of Zaire’s ethnic minorities; how ever-deepening Rwandan operations inside Zaire were practically dictated by concentrations of Hutu refugees; and how the insurgency – led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila who was installed by key Rwandan and Ugandan military and political figures – developed into an organization that sought autonomy from the military and political dictates of Rwanda, in turn delivering a direct reason for the Second Congo War which was fought from 1998–2003.

Africa @ War Volume 14
The Great Lakes Conflagration - Second Congo War US Intervention, 1998 - 2003  
by Tom Cooper $30


Great Lakes Conflagration is the second in two volumes covering military operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the turn from the 21st century.  This volume explores developments in the DRC that led to the outbreak of violence in August 1998, and systematically details the continued build-up and status of the Congolese, Rwandan and Ugandan armies, as well as the forces of Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe and other African countries that were sucked into the conflict.

Recounted is the Rwandan attempt to topple the government of Laurent Kabila through an operation that saw a redeployment of some of best Rwandan units from Kigali and Goma to the western DRC, resulting in a series of fierce air–land clashes with Zimbabwean and Angolan forces and culminating in the Battle of Kinshasa.

Also described is the fighting along what became the ‘Eastern Front’ in the DRC, as Zimbabwean and allied troops attempted to stop Rwandan, Ugandan and rebel advances out of Kivu Province in the direction of the Congo River through 1998 and 1999.

These early phases of the war, or ‘The First African War’ as it has come to be known, were characterized by surprising outflanking and infiltration manoeuvres; foreign mercenaries; Zimbabwean Hawk and Lynx light strikers flying intensive combat operations from N’Djili airport, half of which was occupied by Rwandans, Ugandans and Congolese rebels; interdiction strikes guided by special forces deployed deep behind enemy lines; operations of helicopter gunships and transport aircraft under intense ground attack in support of troops cut off by advancing opponents; use of transport aircraft as makeshift bombers in bad weather and by night and clashes of armoured forces and many other elements of ‘high-technology’ warfare.
All the protagonists deployed their best military units, their best equipment and some of their best military commanders, yet despite their best efforts, and hampered by in-fighting, the conflict ultimately resulted in a stalemate which dragged on for a further three years while negotiations bogged down.

This book is illustrated with an extensive selection of exclusive photography, colour profiles and markings, making it of special interest to enthusiasts and professionals alike.

 

Biography, History & Heritage

African Tears - The Zimbabwe Land Invasions by Catherine Buckle $5.00 (s/b)

 
The story of the 7 months hardship of a white woman farmer and her family living under the constant scrutiny and intimidation of so called war veterans.  She records that she and her family supported the introduction of black rule in Rhodesia during the war years.  She now chronicles the effects that Mugabe's rule has had on Zimbabwe's rural community both black and white.  It tells of the destruction of the country's economy, the collapse of tourism and ruination of agriculture.

Beloved African by Jill Baker $30.00 (h/b)


Love, politics and tragedy in Africa… Tells of the life of John Hammond, one of Rhodesia's earliest and foremost educators.  He was a controversial but much loved figure and his daughter, Jill Baker, tells the touching story of his struggle to achieve his goals. Entwined through the story is the deep love between him and his wife Nancy.

Kinkaseki - One Day at a Time by Arthur Titherington $15.00 (s/b)

 
A true story of survival in the tradition of Tenko.  The author was taken prisoner at the fall of Singapore and spent the rest of the war as a slave labourer in a mine adjacent to the Japanese POW camp at Kinkaseki in Formosa (now Taiwan).  It is a chilling story of brutality and cruelty written 50 or so years after the event and about his journey to revisit the site of his imprisonment and the ghosts he tried to lay to rest.

The Baronet and The Savage King by David Hilton-Barber $25 (s/b)


136 pages 145 b/w illustrations

Gold mined at Tati was identified with the dynasty of the Queen of Sheba and the ancient rulers of biblical Ophir.  David’s book records how this notion, mentioned in Milton’s Paradise Lost, was discarded as being romantic fiction.  But romance there is here a-plenty.” —John Gordon Davis, best-selling author of Hold My Hand I’m Dying.

The concession to mine gold at Tati was granted to a British baronet, Sir John Swinburne, by Lobengula, last king of the Matabele.  Although called by colonial imperialists as a “savage king” and a “native despot”, Lobengula was “exceedingly well-made (in height about 6 ft 10 inches), corpulent, with a commanding presence and, when in a good temper, having a kind heart and a full appreciation of humour”.

The gold at Tati, which was discovered by the geologist Carl Mauch, was actually on the site of pre-historic diggings that had been mined there 400 years previously by the Makalanga people.  Tati lay on the missionary road to the north, used by Livingstone and Moffat, and it was part of Cecil Rhodes’s dream of a continuous tract of British imperialism from Cape to Cairo.  The annexation of Bechuanaland was a direct result of the conflicts between the tribes within the area and the threats from President Kruger and from Germany which had recently colonised Angra Pequena. 

Gold from the early diggings here found its way to Great Zimbabwe and the famous golden rhinoceros from Mapungubwe was probably fashioned from gold mined at Tati.  This forgotten corner of the sub-continent encapsulates a chapter of our history involving five countries, powerful men, much subterfuge, a botched invasion, a rebellion, land annexation, prospectors, hunters, traders and adventurers.  It is a story begging to be told.

The Kevin Woods Story - In the Shadow of Mugabe’s Gallows by Kevin Woods $50 (h/b) or $40 (s/b)


Kevin worked as a double agent for the South African apartheid government and Robert Mugabe’s Central Intelligence Organization in the 80s.  He was incarcerated in the notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison (Harare) for nearly 20 years, five of which were spent naked on death row.  His release was pleaded to Mugabe by none other than Nelson Mandela in the 90s but this fell on deaf ears.  Finally, in 2006 he received a presidential pardon.  Kevin now lives in South Africa and has launched a well-received career in motivational speaking.  This is his story.

The Many Houses of Exile by Richard Jurgens $3.00 (s/b)

 
This compelling autobiography takes a privileged young white man from studying philosophy at Wits University to joining the banned ANC movement.  Exiled from South Africa he and his wife live in ANC camps in Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.  The insight into his experiences is both forthright and humorous as he explores the many "exiles" he faces.

Fiction

Canvas under the Sky by Robin Binckes $30 (s/b)

“...  enjoyable, convincing story wrapped in dramatic, well-researched history” — John Gordon Davis, bestselling author of Hold My Hand I’m Dying.

It is 1834. The Eastern Cape frontier is burning.  Rauch Beukes, a young Boer of 17, returns to the family homestead to find it razed, the livestock gone and his mother and sisters slaughtered by the marauding Xhosa from across the Great Fish River.  So begins a tale of violence and warfare and love and lust across racial divides, painted against the grand backdrop of the Boer migration north into the hinterland that became known as the Great Trek, the result of British duplicity and injustice.

The dramatis personae are Boer and Brit, Xhosa, Zulu, Matabele and Cape Malay slaves: from the Xhosa chief Hinsta, Colonel Harry Smith, the Zulu tyrant Dingaan, to the Boer trekkers Potgieter, Retief, Maritz, Trichardt and Cilliers.  And in young Rauch’s life are three astonishing women: Ameila, the daughter of an English settler; Marietjie, the beautiful meisie from Graaff-Reinet; and Katrina September, the sensual ex-slave.

Fall of the Leaf by P.C. Feller $20 (s/b)

 
Fall of the Leaf is a sensitive and faithful representation of the lives of three white English-speaking men, from the war years to the present time.  The epoch broadly covers sixty years of South African history; it encompasses the pre-apartheid years of English cultural dominance, the apartheid period under Afrikaner Nationalist rule and the succeeding years of democracy under the ANC government.  The fulcrum and meeting point of the novel is a fifty-year school reunion.

King's Gold by Glenn MacAskill published by Crest Publishing $30.00 (s/b)

 
Set against the backdrops of the genocidal massacre of the Matabele by Mugabe's North Korean trained 5th Brigade in the 1980's and the recent actions of Mugabe in the year 2000, the author, himself a veteran of the Bush War, takes you on a journey with characters based on real people and real events.  Exciting and believable.

World War II, Police, Military, Air Force and African Bush Wars

Come Back to Portofino - Through Italy with the 6th South African Armoured Division by James Bourhill $40 (h/b)


Specs: Hardback, 544 pages, 234mm x 153mm 120 b/w photos, maps.

Using archival sources and private documents recently unearthed, Come Back to Portofino chronicles the journey taken by the volunteers in the 6th South African Armoured Division. From training camps in Egypt through to the idyllic summer of 1945 the ‘Div’ left its mark on towns and villages across Italy.

From Monte Cassino to the outskirts of Venice and Milan, the campaign lasted exactly twelve months. During the advance through Rome up to Florence, it was a case of constant movement and violent contact with the enemy. Experiences which left an enduring impression on returned soldiers included the periods of rest at Siena and Lucca as well as the four miserable winter months in the northern Apennines. Overall, the casualty rate was surprisingly low considering the ideal ambush country and mountain defences which had to be overcome. In the rifle companies however, the rate of attrition was high and replacements were few. Among the South Africans who are buried in Italy, there are those who died in vehicle accidents, from drowning and falling out of windows or from suicide. For the ordinary soldier the most important part of everyday life was contact with home or foraging for food and wine, and even enjoying the company of signorine when operations permitted. Nevertheless, it was not one long happy camping trip as was often portrayed in the press. The cast is made up of the famous regiments and ordinary South Africans who participated in these epic events.

This book has a significant Rhodesian connection as many Rhodesians served with the 6th South African Armoured Division.

Echoes of an African War by Chas Lotter $75.00 (h/b)

 
A coffee table hard cover book of 197 pages of full size and mostly colour illustrations.  In a war where cameras were forbidden amongst the soldiers, few personal records were made.  However some of these pictures will bring back memories, stark and real.  Chas, a soldier himself, has cemented these illustrations with his own style of poetry - raw and poignant.  A "must buy" for any family that had connections with Rhodesia.  Preserve history and let your children be able to say with pride - "my dad was there".

Four Ball One Tracer - Commanding Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone by Roelf van Heerden as told to Andrew Hudson $40 (h/b)


320 pages 234 x 156mm 100 colour & b/w photos, maps

Unapologetic, unassuming and forthright, the combat exploits of Executive Outcomes (EO) in Angola and Sierra Leone are recounted for the first time by a battlefield commander who was physically on the ground during all their major combat operations. From fighting UNITA for the critical oil installations and diamond fields of Angola to the offensive against the RUF in Sierra Leone to capture the Kono diamond fields and the palace coup which ousted Captain Valentine Strasser, van Heerden was at the forefront. He tells of the tragedy of child soldiers, illegal diamond mining and the curse of government soldiers who turn on their own people; he tells of RUF atrocities, the harrowing attempt to rescue a downed EO pilot and the poignant efforts to recover the remains of EO soldiers killed in action. Coupled with van Heerden’s gripping exposé, hitherto unpublished photographs, order of battle charts and battle maps offer unprecedented access to the major actions as they took place on the ground during the heydays of EO.

Kenya Coyboy - A police officer's account of the MauMau Emergency by Peter Hewitt $40 (s/b)


A stylish, first-hand account of Britain’s futile struggle to retain its stake in East Africa in the face of the relentless Mau Mau uprising.  It is a book that is filled with revelations, many damning.  Due to the recent unrest in Kenya, Peter Hewitt has brought the book full circle with an updated afterword on the current violent and political crisis.

Mercenaries by Al J Venter $38 (s/b)


Mercenaries have been a part of warfare for centuries, and though the names have changed, continue to play a part in global military conflicts.  In today’s world these ‘soldiers for hire’ are an attractive alternative when Western governments are reluctant to put their militaries at risk for obscure causes that would otherwise be difficult to explain to their electorates.  In this book, noted author and foreign correspondent Al J.  Venter provides a fascinating look at modern mercenary actions in the Middle East and Africa.  From brushfire wars in the Congo to outright genocides in Biafra, highly skilled mercenaries were called upon to fight for order, and also for a living.  Whether facing fanatics in Somalia, staving off cannibals in Sierra Leone, or assisting a civil war in Angola, the mercs put their lives on the line for a cause.

Many mercenaries freelanced, but under talented freebooting leaders some groups became crack outfits.  South Africa’s Executive Outcomes became a legend in its own time like a quasi military itself, as it dispatched fighters throughout the continent.  Like an ad hoc Foreign Legion, fighters came from around the globe to participate in combat.  In the US, the publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine organized repeated expeditions, from Laos to Peru.  In Afghanistan the renowned helicopter gunship pilot ‘Nellis’ has recently lent his skills after almost singlehandedly defeating gruesome insurgencies in Africa.  In this book Venter, who was actively involved in the direction and production of segments of the TV series Mercenaries, provides both background to this unique class of warriors, and a fascinating look at their methods and actions.

Standby - South African Air Force Search and Rescue by Brig.-Gen. Dick Lord $40 (s/b)


Unsung heroes-the selfless heroism of South Africa's airmen

In the air force no mission receives greater priority than the mission of mercy.  When lives are at stake all resources available are dedicated to the task.  Aircrew, ground crew, paramedics, doctors, mountaineers, navy divers, policemen and trained civilian volunteers are rapidly organized into a rescue team and dispatched with all haste to the disaster scene.  This requires training, preparedness, dedication, determination and courage.  Rescue missions are often flown in weather conditions that would normally ground all aircraft.  Scenarios are as diverse as high-rise fires, mountain, flood and maritime rescues, to white-outs in the snows of Antarctica. 

Originally published in 1999 as Fire, Flood and Ice, this updated edition includes yet more spectacular South African Air Force (SAAF) search and rescue missions, both military and civilian.  Included is the remarkable rescue of all 581 people from the ill-fated liner Oceanos, for which the author was mentioned in dispatches for his role as commander of the rescue operation.  Also new are heart-warming accounts of SAAF rescues during the devastating floods of 2000 in Mozambique, which captured the world's attention.

The Battle for Mozambique - The Frelimo–Renamo Struggle, 1977 - 1992 by Stephen Emerson (s/b) $40


The sixteen-year-long war in Mozambique between the Frelimo government and Renamo rebels remains one of the most overlooked and misunderstood of the conflicts that raged across Africa during the height of the Cold War.  While usually viewed as mere sideshow to more high-profile wars in Angola, Rhodesia and within apartheid South Africa itself, it nonetheless is noteworthy in its complexity, duration and destructiveness.

Before it was all over in 1992 at least one million Mozambicans would be dead, millions more homeless and the country lying in ruins.  Ultimately Frelimo would get its victory not on the battlefield but rather at the polling booth in 1994.

Based on more than a decade of meticulous research, a review of thousands of pages of military records and documents, and dozens of in-depth interviews with political leaders, diplomats, generals, and soldiers and sailors, this book tells the story of the war from the perspective of those who fought it and lived it.  It follows Renamo’s growth from its Rhodesian roots in 1977 as a weapon against Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwean nationalist guerrillas operating from Mozambique through South African patronage in the early 1980s to Renamo’s evolution as a self-sufficient nationalist insurgency.  In tracing the ebb and flow of the conflict from the rugged mountains and savannah forests of central Mozambique across the hot, humid Zambezi River valley and down to the very outskirts of the Mozambican capital in the far south, it examines the operational strategy of Frelimo and Renamo commanders in the field, the battles they fought and the lives of their troops.  In doing so it highlights personal struggles, each side’s successes and failures, and the missed opportunities to decisively turn the tide of war.  Accordingly, this book provides the first real comprehensive military history of a war too long neglected and underappreciated in the chronicles of modern African history

Tumult in the Clouds by Dean Wingrin $40.00 (s/b)


The South African Air Force (SAAF), formed on 1 February 1920, is the second oldest air force in the Commonwealth.  The air arm played a major role in securing victory for the Allies during the Second World War, in the 1948/49 Berlin Airlift, and in Korea in the 1950s.  The SAAF assisted Rhodesia in the 1960s and ’70s, made a major contribution to the ‘Border’ or ‘Bush’ war in South West Africa and Angola, participated in the transition to a new democracy in South Africa and continuously supports South African peace missions in Africa.  It has also assisted in countless relief and rescue missions in southern Africa throughout this entire period.  However, the SAAF is not just about aircraft and ordnance; it is made up of people and it is in this compilation that these people, airmen and ground crew alike, find their voice.  These are their stories, all told in the first person by the actual participants as unvarnished, unabbreviated and intensely immediate and personal recollections.  Through their stories of heroism, duty, adventure and tragedy, the reader will follow the history of the SAAF from 1939 to the present day.  To complement the stories, the final chapter includes a collection of squadron pub songs from the Second World War, Korea and the Border War.

The 1879 Zulu War - Through the Eyes of the Illustrated London News. Compiled by Ron Lock & Peter Quantrill $150.00 (h/b)

 
The fascination of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 continues unabated.  It was impassioned almost 40 years ago by the film Zulu, starring Stanley Baker and a yet-to-be-discovered Michael Caine.  Zulu has been shown - and continues to be shown - on British television more than any other feature film.  In the USA and elsewhere it has become a cult movie.  Moreover, it created a near-avalanche of books, articles, lectures, documentaries and websites that has come close to being an industry.  But the basis of all this activity was, in fact, generated 120 years ago by the weekly magazines of Victorian England such as the Illustrated London News.

Every Saturday morning, at the cost of sixpence, the Illustrated London News presented to its readers descriptions of events and bloody battles, brought alive by the magnificent illustrations drawn by the top war artists of the day.

Although copies of the original magazines are much sought after and have become collectors' items, the compilers have painstakingly acquired every issue pertaining to the conflict and, having extracted every report and illustration on the subject, have produced, with an index, and in chronological order, a unique record of the Anglo-Zulu War, albeit through the eyes of a colonial Victorian age.

Vlamgat - The story of the Mirage F1 in the South African Air Force by Brig.-Gen. Dick Lord $40 (s/b)


Vlamgat, literally meaning 'flaming hole' in Afrikaans, was the nickname the South African Air Force (SAAF) gave to the Mirage F1, its formidable frontline jet fighter during South Africa's long Border Wars in South West Africa (Namibia) and Angola from the late 1960s to the late 1980s.

Battling Soviet MiG-21s and -23s over African skies, the 'Vlammies' as the Mirage pilots were affectionately known, acquitted themselves with distinction and honour.

Vlamgat - The story of the Mirage F1 in the South African Air Force is a gripping account of these pilots and their deeds of bravery; their experiences are authentically related with accuracy, humour and pathos by the author, himself a Vlammie.

As Willem Hechter, former Chief of the SAAF, says: "Vlamgat deserves a place of pride in the long history of this, the second oldest air force in the world."

War Dog - Fighting Other People's Wars by Al J Venter $40.00 (h/b)


The modern mercenary in combat - with the horror of 9/11 behind us, a new strategic equation tends to dominate world issues.  These days, when the natives of some wayward African backwater become restless, or a South American warlord fosters insurrection, the big powers are inclined to look the other way.  Thus the possibility of the Pentagon dispatching anything to assist a government in trouble - like the amphibious assault ship USS Saipan that went to Liberia with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in August 1990, or Britain sending HMS Ocean to Sierra Leone to quell insurrection - is unlikely.  Similarly, the way things are Somalia won't get a sideways glance from any Western force.  So another solution must be sought.  Since it was the dogs of war that cleared the bramble patch in the old days, it will probably do so again.

By proposing to license private military companies in early 2002, Britain now follows the American lead of companies like the Vinnell Corporation or Washington's MPRI in giving tacit support to what is regarded, by many military specialists, as the most logical option.  While the concept of hiring freelance military professionals has some powerful detractors, the actions of these freebooters in recent years have shown that they are both efficient and cost effective.

War Dog deals with mercenary activity in a score of wars: Angola, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, the DRC, Ethiopia, Lebanon and others.  As one of a handful of correspondents who saw action with the South African 'guns for hire' group, Executive Outcomes, Al Venter reveals all about this organization as well as what has been going on in the Congo.  While the major powers grapple with more serious international issues, dogs of war might very well be the answer for some of the brush-fire wars that continue to plague the developing world.

Weep for Africa - A Rhodesian Light Infantry Paratrooper’s Farewell to Innocence by Jeremy Hall $40 (s/b)


Jeremy Hall’s childhood in the white-ruled apartheid South Africa of the 1950s and ’60s was ostensibly idyllic: growing up in the farming areas of Natal, he had free rein to pander to his keen exploratory mind, yet niggling away was entrenched racism and interracial hatred.

Closeted in the hallowed halls of an English-speaking high school, the revelation of the real world that followed – a world of township unrest, Afrikaner politicians issuing dire warnings of the red and black hordes massing on the borders – exploded into Hall’s psyche with his national-service call-up into the South African Defence Force (SADF), where he encountered the institutionalized hatred of the Afrikaner hierarchy for the English-speaking recruits, the rowe, or ‘scabs’.

Disillusioned and unsettled, following his SADF conscription, Hall found himself in 1976 signing on for three years with 2 Commando The Rhodesian Light Infantry as the bush war in that country erupted from a simmering, low-key insurgency into full-blown war.

As a paratrooper with this crack airborne unit, he was to see continual combat on Fireforce operations and cross-border raids into Zambia and Mozambique, such as Operation Dingo, the 1977 Rhodesian attack on ZANLA’s Chimoio base.

West Of The Moon - Early Zululand and a game ranger at war in Rhodesia by Ron Selley $40 (s/b)


From colonial northern Zululand to guerrilla warfare in the Gona re Zhou of Rhodesia - this book covers a vast panorama of southern Africa. It is a sweeping canvas that evokes a bygone era of the 1940s' colonial Natal through to the cruel intensity of the 'Bush War' that ravaged Rhodesia in the 1970s.  The book is in two distinct parts. Part 1 chronicles the author's earlier years of an idyllic childhood spent roaming and hunting among the empty, rolling hills of northern Zululand; of the inaccessible St Lucia waterway; the nostalgia of yellow fever trees; of building railway bridges into the wild interior; of colonial scallywags and native witchcraft; of sugar estates and poaching; of shipwrecks and the sweaty cantinas and backstreets of Lourenço Marques - a time that slipped away.
Part 2 recounts the author's move north across the Limpopo where his love of adventure, hunting and the bushveld lead him to Rhodesia.  He becomes a game ranger, dealing with 'problem animals' in the farming areas and the escalating terrorist war in the Gona re Zhou National Park in the beleaguered south-eastern Lowveld of the country.  Trying to care for an environment and the animals that depend upon it, while the people around commit barbaric acts in the name of political ideology, brutally awakens the author to the reality of the disintegration of an organized colonial subcontinent.

Ron Selley was born in 1947 and grew up in Zululand.  He became fluent in Zulu, Afrikaans and French.  In 1975, with his thirst for adventure and an overriding love of the bush, he moved to Rhodesia, where he joined the Department of National Parks & Wildlife as a game ranger, operating in the Lomagundi, the Zambezi Valley and the Gona re Zhou during the height of the Rhodesian Bush War.  He returned to South Africa in 1979, hunted professionally for a period and joined KwaZulu Nature Conservation, in charge of the Kosi Lake system and Northern Beach areas.  He now lives Lambert's Bay on the west coast of South Africa, running a variety of businesses-boat-charter, ship painting and cleaning services.  He enjoys black-powder hunting, is an avid collector of World War II trucks and tanks, owns two Rolls Royces, which are in daily use, and is the station commander of National Sea Rescue Station 24A.

Anglo-Boer War

Bombardment of Ladysmith Anticipated - The diary of a Siege by Alan Chalmers $20.00 (s/b)

 
The fascinating story of the 100 day siege of Ladysmith told from the diary of a British Army orderly, George Maidment.  It is a story of great courage and great stupidity, of the very personal observations of a local boy caught up in one of the most famous sieges in British Military history.

Fire in the Sky - The destruction of the Orange Free State 1899-1902 by Owen Coetzer $20.00 (s/b)

 
Over 27,000 Boer women and children died during the Anglo-Boer War.  This is the account of those who died in the concentration camps of the Orange Free State in appalling conditions, of deprivation and starvation.  It is the deeply moving but shockingly brutal story of a fierce, almost forgotten struggle for freedom.

Halt!  Action Front!  - With Colonel Long at Colenso by Darrell Hall $20.00 (h/b)

 
Darrell Hall tells of the Battle of Colenso, of the bloody battle that left scores of British dead on the field, of how it destroyed several military careers and left the British Army savouring the bitter taste of ignominious defeat.  Yet, with defeat came heroic bravery and at Colenso 7 Victoria Crosses were awarded.  It is also the story of General Louis Botha and his tenacious Boer commandos.

How We Kept the Flag Flying by Donald MacDonald $20.00 (h/b)

  
This is an exciting account of the siege of Ladysmith and is written with the journalist's eye for history in the making.  The author witnessed the battles, the hand to hand combat, experienced the actual bombardment an travelled with raiding parties.  It was first published a century ago but is still eminently readable and intensely human.

Sport

International Rugby Encyclopaedia by Andrew de Klerk $25


544 pages 260mm x 215mm 200 colour & b/w photos Meticulously compiled, this book has been 18 years in the making.  It is the complete international rugby encyclopaedia that presents every single recognized international ever played (since 1871 when Scotland took on England); is well illustrated and structured, featuring stories on the great players to have graced the game, the great matches to have captivated the crowds and the great stadiums to have hosted these internationals, as well as a plethora of rugby trivia.

There is currently no such book on the market and there hasn't been since Chris Rhys published Guinness Rugby - The Records in 1987.

Countries featured:
Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cote d'Ivoire, England, Fiji, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Namibia, New Zealand, Portugal, Rhodesia, Romania, Samoa, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Tonga, USA, Uruguay, Zimbabwe, Wales.

Rugby Stories from the Platteland by Graham Jooste $5.00 (s/b)

 
The heart and spirit of rugby described in Graham's book is still evident today, but the way the game was played-on a Saturday afternoon, on a dusty field, after a long day ploughing, is not.  Somehow all this became overshadowed by the glamour of large clubs and competitions, fuelled by modern technology and communication.
In this book Graham tells the stories, some dating back 100 years, of those recently arrived for work in a strange town on the platteland who, to be accepted by the community, had to play rugby.  From labourers and mechanics to clerks and farmers, these are their stories and each one is unique.  From the Northern Cape and Luderitz, down the west coast, into the Eastern Cape and through the Free State and Mpumalanga, Graham has recorded stories, as told to him, that will have you in stitches.

Graham's style of writing is reminiscent of campfire (or perhaps braais and boerewors) storytelling, the humour lying in all the deviations and asides the story makes along the way.

Children's

What on Earth Activity Series (in Afrikaans) by Jane Theron and Di Goodwin $3.00 per book (s/b)

 
A series of five books (only 2 illustrated above) aimed at the 10 - 13 year old covering birds; fish; reptiles and frogs; large mammals and small mammals.  These books follow principles of the South African Department of Education's Outcomes Based Education policy and are available in Afrikaans.  They are designed to make learning fun and play a roll in enhancing creativity, motor co-ordination, the identification of colours, shapes and textures as well as increasing general knowledge.  If you want your kids to have a wider knowledge than they would ordinarily gain and at the same time instil "a bit of Africa" in them then these quality activity books are for you.


Please note that these reviews have been compiled by Hugh Bomford and are not necessarily the views expressed by the publishers and authors.  Many of these books are now out of print and stock will not last for ever so be quick.
Contact us:- PO Box 13003, Tauranga 3141, New Zealand. Ph +64 7 576 9500 e-mail: hughbomford@xtra.co.nz