Memories of Rhodesia



We tend to easily forget the industrious side of Rhodesia.  Modern cities, thriving industry and manufacturing.  That whilst we dream of the lonely places, the places of stunning beauty and grandeur, we tend forget the cities and industry.

I was born and raised in the heart of the industrial North of England.  I found my home in the Rhodesian bush.  The further into the bush the better, but like so many others had to find my way round the Urban jungle.

The sprawling Salisbury metropolitan area was quite something. Like any other major Capital it had it's mix of wealth and poverty, squalor and grandeur.   But it's people, black & white, like so many of their counterparts in others cities, were the ones that drove the economic engine of the country and can never be forgotten.

Cities, like anywhere else, have their hidden places.  As a Policeman I got to see some of the more unpleasant ones, yet was always amazed that even in the most remote spots there were things of beauty.

All in  all I reckon Rhodesia made country boys from city boys and city boys from country boys and at the end there was something of each in all of us.






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Remember Selukwe,a one horse town with the Grand Hotel, opposite the only Chemist, in the main road running through the town.

My Grandfather (Arthur Gosling) was the Manager of Meikles and resided at The Grand Hotel and my brother and I would spend school holidays with him. He was a very good friend of Ian Smith's and Dr Saunders who also came from Selukwe.

My Grandfather used to show us his bird egg collection. his carosse made from animal skins, his real Lion floor rug and his dressing table with the elephant tusks on either side.

My brother Roger and I would walk down to Fernie Creek where we would swim in the pool which the river ran through. Often we would be stung by the water beatles!

When my Grandfather came to stay with us in Bulawayo he would often bring with him a baby tortoise which he had nearly run over on the dirt road, or baby black crows which we hand reared. These are such wonderful memories that I hope will never fade.

Merlyn Davies


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The response to the first book of Rhodesian Memories has been great. Due to popular demand we now want to start compiling the second in the series.

We would like to encourage anyone who has a story, memory or other item that would help keep the memory alive to contact us for further details.

Thank you


“Cowboys Don’t Cry” by Alf Hutchison

My old and dear friend Frank Du Toit always used to remind me “Alf, cowboys don’t cry; not in front of their horses anyway”.

Well, we had just disembarked from the chopper after a sortie into Mozambique; a police Land Rover had been blown to Hell by some cowardly ‘Boegs’ at Kanyemba. The mood back at base camp was pretty somber; suddenly I remembered that one of our 5th Batt. blokes had brought his bagpipes.

After a few words in the chopper pilot’s ear he was again airborne, this time with our lone Piper. The pilot was the best, as all Rhodesian pilots were, and he dropped our Piper on top of ‘Cleopatra’s needle’, a huge needle like granite monolith towering many, many meters above the beautiful autumn leaves of the M’sasa trees. The helicopter was silent a few meters from us as the Pilot came to join the entire compliment of soldiers to witness the spectacle from our hilltop base.

As the sun touched the horizon, silhouetting our lone Piper (about a kilometer away), the haunting melody of Amazing Grace drifted across the entire valley on the cool evening breeze.

I have just returned from the Edinburgh Tattoo, August 2006, and the lone Piper there was unbelievably brilliant, but he couldn’t hold a candle to our Piper. On that unforgettable eventide he played magnificently. If cowboys don’t cry, as Frank insisted, I can tell you for certain that battle weary and hardened Rhodesian soldiers do; even in front of their horses.

My very dear Friend Frank died on his farm in Raffingora some time ago, but I will remember that day we shared with that piper as long as I live; the day when we wept openly for all the friends we had lost; for a country we loved; for a war we believed in, but which tore us apart inside.

My name is Yolandree Hardie, (nee Viljoen) It is my cot that is on page 81 in the Valiant Years.

All the Viljoen kids survived, thanks to the amazing support we got from the community. After my gran died, the trust fund that Hartley and Gatooma collected sustained us through good and bad foster parents, as a result we were clothed and fed and all went on to success.

Nikkie is in Jo-burg with her own Chartered Accountancy business; Tommy has been with Deloite & Touché for 28 years and is currently in Sydney Australia with his wife & 2 kids, practicing as a chartered accountant for the company. I have a hair & beauty salon in Cape Town, where I live with my husband and 3 sons.

My family deserted me, but the Rhodesian people never did. I even got a phone call from a guy called Dave Blacker who was on the scene of the murder to tell me that all the guys had been caught and dealt with.

I don’t know how he found me 2 years ago, but after 40 years and many moves, he did.

Only Rhodesians are so amazing, and I want to thank all involved for their support.

Thanking all
Lyn (Yolandree)Hardie


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