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Sunrise Patrols – John Edgar Palmer

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Sunrise Patrols: A Trooper’s Story of Life In the British South Africa Police In the Late Nineteen-Twenties by John Edgar Palmer: Seeking a more eventful life, John Palmer resigned from his job as a storekeeper in Basutoland and joined the British South Africa Police in November 1926. He had to pay his own way to Salisbury then pass a medical examination before he knew he would be accepted.
He describes vividly his experiences as a recruit in what was then a Mounted Infantry body of men under the watchful and feared eye of one of the characters of the force. Regimental Sergeant Major ‘Jock’ Douglas. On his Pass-out parade the Commissioner instructed the recruits to make all their patrols Sunrise Patrols, starting the day early so that the horses would have the benefit of cool travelling.
Posted to Gwanda he took part in all the activities of a District Trooper, long bush patrols, dealing with poachers and wild animals, with ranchers and miners, witchcraft and murder, all are described in detail.
He became Member in Charge of the newly opened Beitbridge Police Station and Border Post, where he was also the Immigration Officer and had to deal with the many people seeking entry into the country. He later investigated a complicated murder case involving witchcraft.
All who want to know more about Police life in more primitive parts of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) early in the twentieth century will find it in this book.

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