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26 - A dangerous but crucial mission

Monitoring in Rhodesia, 1979–80

from Part 2 - New ambitions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 September 2019

Peter Londey
Affiliation:
Australian National University, Canberra
Rhys Crawley
Affiliation:
Australian War Memorial
David Horner
Affiliation:
Australian National University, Canberra
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Summary

Lieutenant Jim Truscott, a 23-year-old officer from the Royal Australian Engineers, vividly recalled his introduction to his task of monitoring the activities of the Rhodesian Security Forces (RSF). The day after their arrival in Salisbury, he and Sergeant Peter King were deployed by British helicopter. ‘The pilot was positively nervous as he furtively looked for low-strung wires’, but Truscott and King were blissfully ignorant of the danger and enjoyed the ride until they found themselves ‘dumped in a paddock beside the little country town of Marandellas’. There was nothing more they could do but squat on their packs and wait until the Rhodesian unit they were responsible for monitoring arrived about an hour later. In the meantime, they mused as to whether they should load their weapons, despite orders to the contrary. When they were finally picked up, the vehicles practised their counter-ambush drills just before leaving the town. As Truscott wrote: ‘We simply looked at each other and our magazines never left our weapons for the next two months.’

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The Long Search for Peace
Observer Missions and Beyond, 1947–2006
, pp. 640 - 659
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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