Troopers’ Tales of the British South Africa Police – John Berry, Alan Stock

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This book contains eleven stories by members of the British South Africa Police who started out as troopers at periods ranging from the earliest days of the Force to immediately after World War Two.
They tell stories of times when malaria and blackwater fever were rife and a cure unknown, the young dispatch rider who died while carrying out his duty as a link in the vitally important task of carrying the mails from the brand new territory (later called Southern Rhodesia) to South Africa; of dealing with rebellion in neighbouring Portuguese East Africa; of such mundane tasks as running the postage service at a small rural station; of the 1920s when roads were still few and far between and the horse and the pack mule were important means of transport; of a time when, once he left his station, the trooper was on his own.
One story describes how the ‘old hands’ enjoyed a typical pun crawl in Bulawayo; another tells of the drifts over the Limpopo River before the bridge at Beit Bridge was opened; another trooper tells of his slightly unorthodox hunt for an elephant who was destroying native crops.
The famous gold robbery at Filabusi where the chief suspect was a BSAP trooper is recounted.
The memoirs of Trooper Seward who rose to be a Lieutenant Colonel commanding Bulawayo District offers an important insight into how Police duties were performed.
Last but not least is the story of Trooper Johnston who was a member of the famous ‘Alcantara’ Draft immediately after World War Two and who was recruited in London by Lt Col Seward.

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