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This single hard-covered volume absorbs two previous works, contains 57 chapters and three appendices and is well illustrated with sketches, maps and photographs in colour and black and white. Covering, in meticulous detail the 90 years of the force's existence, it is a connoisseur's dream and will be hard to emulate.
Although the book has a scholarly approach, it is written in an entertaining easily-accessible style. We are given details of the formative years of the force with its hard-bitten band of colourful adventurers from all strata of society.
The men who became the bedrock of civilian authority within the territory and who brought about the occupation of Matabeleland, men depended upon by that icon of imperialism, Cecil Rhodes - who sought the expansion of the British Empire and would-be builder of a railroad from the Cape to Cairo The descriptions of the BSAP involvement in the infamous Jameson raid ofthe rebellions against the Imperial authority in Matabeleland and Mashonaland, all this and more will enthral those interested in the interlaced tapestry of Southern African history.
The individual efforts of its members, regulars and reservists, male and female, black and white, both in the workplace and on the sports field, are vividly captured. It also records the reminiscences of the Force's earlier commissioners and the intimate revelations of the men and women, regulars and reservists alike, both black and white, who struggled fruitlessly against losing their country to forces of evil.
The 'final chapter' probes the vacillating leadership at the helm of its last commissioner who was unable to make the meaningful decisions needed to keep the force afloat in the face of internal and external pressures.
In relating the history of the BSAP, which was 'on stage' during all the dramas directed largely by politicians of various hues, the book provides a forever living business presentation south africa and controversial view of the action and very frank opinions on the directors and actors as the action swept across the southern Africa landscape during those 90 tumultuous years.
More maps of the earlier adventures, with place names and routes, would have helped the reader along.
The plethora of photographs in the final chapters resemble a hastily-compiled family photograph album - a rush to meet the publisher's deadlines perhaps? Nevertheless a thoroughly worthwhile piece of Africana which should inspire further research and fully deserves its prominent place on my bookshelf.
Fred du Toil, the Rhosarian This book is not a reprint or a sequel of a publication having the same title. It is a comprehensive history of a military unit which became one of the finest police forces in the world and served Rhodesia very well for almost a century.
The history begins, of course, with the planning of a British settlement north of the Limpopo River by Cecil John Rhodes in and ends when the regiment was disbanded inand is told in three separate "volumes".
Each of these has been published before under different titles. Volume 1 by the late Peter Gibbs, a well-known author of accounts of historical events, covers the period to when the regiment was purely military having the structure of a British cavalry unit.
For the first half of that period it was Rhodes's private army, the British South Africa Company Police, paid for by that company which held the Queen's charter. In effect, it was commanded by that intelligent idiot Dr Leander Starr Jameson.
His misuse of this armed and trained military force led to Rhodes's downfall, as Rhodes said: The infamous 'Jameson Raid' on the former South African Republic became one of the causes of the Anglo-Boer War which was a disaster for both Britain and South Africa and which still rankles in certain quarters in this country.
He and Rhodes were keen to use any excuse to go to war against the Matabele king, Lobengula, and did so, whereas the king was anxious to preserve the peace with the white settlers -despite knowing that he had been tricked by the Chartered Company's officials and agents.
At that time,the force was split into the Mashonaland and Matabeleland Police, which operated independently but were reunited as the Rhodesia Mounted Police in Later in the same year its name reverted to the BSACP and, although the Chartered Company still paid its bills, it came under the control of the British high commissioner in South Africa.
In it became the British South Africa Police which name the regiment retained until At the same time the 'Black Watch' was recruited and established, comprising black members. The BSAP saw action in the Anglo-Boer War in the then Transvaal and at the close of that conflict,it ended its military role and assumed civilian duty as a proper police force.
It could boast that no-one had been killed by police action during the following 58 years.
Volume 2, also by Peter Gibbs, covers the period to the outbreak of World War 2, Before there were two police forces in the country: The BSA Company paid for both and in they were amalgamated when that Company resumed control of its activities.
Nevertheless, the arrangement of 'country police' as distinct from 'town police' endured. At the beginning of this period many members who were experienced soldiers did not consider themselves as civil policemen.
This syndrome was to recur in the mid's, but in reverse, when some policemen objected to having to undergo para-military training - COIN courses - to fight terrorist incursions. The British Government of the day forbade the BSAP to engage in military operations "unless the high commissioner declared it to be on active service".
At the outbreak of World War 1 the high commissioner did just that and contingents of the police force saw 'active service' in German East Africa Tanzania and in German West Africa Namibia.
Gibbs's accounts of these activities are most interesting which reveal little-known episodes in the force's history. On the 23d September,Southern Rhodesia became a 'British self-governing colony'. On the evening of 30 September at the sounding of 'retreat' at the police depot in Salisbury the Chartered Company's flag was lowered for the last time and on the following morning the Union Jack was raised, which formally signified the transfer of control of the BSAP to the Southern Rhodesia Government.
During the following years the BSAP developed into an efficient and respected police force, so much so that Sir Theodore Truter, commissioner of the South African Police in that period, used to make periodic visits to Rhodesia in order to examine the reasons for the high reputation that its police enjoyed.Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Africa at heartoftexashop.com Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users.
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