Tales of a Colonial Policeman

Going through my bookcase the other day I came across this book which I recommend to any who found my snippets interesting. It was given to me by the Author Cyril Greenall and signed by him for me acknowledging my service in the NRP. His daughter just happened to be a neighbour of mine when I lived in Harpenden.
Its written by a man who served as a Lt. in Bomb disposal in WW2 after leaving Cambridge University and went on to join the Colonial service becoming a District Commissioner in N. R & stayed after independence to help with the transition.
Kaunda's Gaoler by David G. Cole & E. Cyril Greenall.
It gives a slightly different view of the colony before & after independence than I or John Gornall would have had, seen more from a civilian point of view. Like much of the Colonial administration they were often Oxbridge graduates with a slightly more "genteel" view of the world than us rufty tufty coppers. An example would be that if one of our mobile unit platoons were on patrol and happened to stop overnight in a village that had a "Boma" (Government office) and the Insp & A/Insp had an invite to dinner with the District Commissioner, they were expected to dress for dinner, i.e. wear mess dress, so it meant lugging round this in a land rover/3 tonner with all the other kit you took on patrol! Hence most of us avoided camping in these spots if we could avoid it, call in, be polite but claim one had to move on to get to another spot too far to travel back for dinner :)
This is a bit of the blurb about the book written by someone who served with him.

A man, and DC, better fitted by nature to be in charge of "KK" during his rural exile would have been difficult to find at that time. A cool, unflappable character of known courage. He had served in Bomb Disposal while in the army. And anyone who has done that was respected by the army, whether decorated or not. The essential factor governing Cyril's character was his constant good humour. Happily Kabompo, for all its internal quarrels, made a good first impression on him. He may have glanced out over the river at nightfall and seen the little fishing canoes each with its open fire lit in the prow which recalled Venice to the imagination. To return to earth, the little fires were to attract the fish! Practical folk - Africans.
Cyril Greenall's book wonderfully illustrates what one good man on the spot can do to reconcile an unruly District to itself and to hope of prosperity, despite many obstacles and the billeting on him of the shrunken Empire's most awkward customer, namely Kenneth Kaunda of Chinsali. KK, as he was known, was of mixed tribal descent and raised by rather "chippy" missionaries at Lubwa in Chinsali, very conscious of nonconformity to others. This Church was as the mediaeval church in Britain, a fertile ground for self-absorbed and self-interested characters. KK fitted well. Here he advanced to political leadership and by exploiting general inferiority in wages, status, opportunity, anything to hand - and there was a good deal - he became the mouthpiece of African discontent. Sadly, he courted racial hate as a political weapon, a too-easy trap...
Cyril Greenall was never "Kaunda's Gaoler" in any real sense. He was more of a guide, tutor, mentor. KK was lucky in HMG's choice of custodian which displayed unusual wisdom. What good qualities he brought away with him he owes mainly to Cyril's presence and example.
There were still a number of quite rough diamonds in the administration, not all of whom liked Africans, particularly KK who was nobody's leading favourite. Instead he had a kindly, slightly old-fashioned gentleman in charge of him. Lucky for him, lucky for us, lucky for Zambia. A good-hearted book which it would profit everyone concerned in the pre-Independence years to read. They should find it of outstanding interest, and it does much to put their past prejudices into a fair perspective
.

I think the bit about the "rough diamonds" might refer to us in the NRP. :)
 
Anyone who is casually scrolling and happens upon this thread would be well advised to go to the beginning and read it all. You will not be disappointed.
 
My bold.. I remember being told by the old Belgian geologist turned farmer, that in Africa you must never assume any water is free from Crocs, ALWAYS check very carefully as apparently they can travel quite a distance to find water. I remember seeing a TV programme about the N. Territory in Australia where an old resident said exactly the same thing about pools/lakes/rivers there. Hence the fact that we always used thunder flashes to disturb any and a rifle to despatch them, should one be seen, even if someone had been there safely the day before.
I remember being given the warning when I was in Kenya and had it underlined when I was taken to see some of the prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat.

For you lot who go to Florida on holidays always treat any and all open water as if there is an alligator in residence. Be warned you cannot run faster than a 'gator as they can go from 0mph to 15mph in the blink of an eye in a straight line - zig zagging is the solution. Texas is starting to get the occasional 'gator warning now too - numpty's bringing baby's back then throwing them out, or flushing them.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
I remember being given the warning when I was in Kenya and had it underlined when I was taken to see some of the prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat.
I received the same warning last time I went to the UK.

They were talking about the Labour party.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Looks like some sort of record with the ratings Ex, 79 x excellent topic, 32 x like and five x informative.
Well deserved too.
 
Anyone who is casually scrolling and happens upon this thread would be well advised to go to the beginning and read it all. You will not be disappointed.

Thanks for that Phil, as I have said before I am surprised & humbled by the response to my dits.
 
Looks like some sort of record with the ratings Ex, 79 x excellent topic, 32 x like and five x informative.
Well deserved too.

Thanks for that, the amount of positive responses it has received still amazes me. That taken with the numerous positive responses to the following posts in the thread staggers me. My sons were impressed when they saw it & surprised by things I had not even told them. Hopefully my grandchildren will also be of the same opinion when they get old enough to understand.
 
Thanks for that, the amount of positive responses it has received still amazes me. That taken with the numerous positive responses to the following posts in the thread staggers me. My sons were impressed when they saw it & surprised by things I had not even told them. Hopefully my grandchildren will also be of the same opinion when they get old enough to understand.
You shouldn't be surprised my lovely, your writing is excellent and infinitely interesting - living history. Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom with us.
 


Hmm.. as I said in my post 233 the only possible fighter planes the Katangese had was the Fouga, a training aircraft, used only for ground attack in the daylight hours, this was not a night fighter, it didn't have radar to enable the pilot to find Hammarskjold's plane and if you look at the route taken initially way to the north of Katanga later to the East over lake Tanganyika. For the pilot to have traced his plane is extremely unlikely. No credible witnesses have been found to any aerial combat and when the NRP found the crash site no sign of any damage due to air to air gun/cannon fire.
Methinks whilst the guy may have flown for the Katangese, he could not have shot him down. More like an attempt to promote a book or film in this case ... " Pierre Coppens, who got to know Van Risseghem four years later when he was back in Belgium flying for a parachute training centre, said his friend told him those unspecified wider tasks also included attacking Hammarskjöld. He said he was simply ordered to bring down a plane and didn’t know who was inside, Coppens told researchers working on a new film about the crash, Cold Case Hammarskjöld. It premieres at the Sundance film festival in two weeks’ time, and names Van Risseghem as the attacker. Full details of the filmmakers’ research are revealed here for the first time."
Reading the article it sounds to be full of revisionist history and even this statement is contradictory "The same day, a US ambassador sent a secret cable – one that stayed buried in files for decades – speculating about possible sabotage and apparently naming Van Risseghem as a suspect." I mean sabotage on a plane that took off from Leopoldville when he was based at Kipushi hundreds of miles away ?
And this fabrication "The sole immediate survivor of the crash also described some kind of aerial attack, involving “sparks in the air” before he died a week after the crash. Doctors said he was lucid at the time, but his testimony had also been largely ignored" To my knowledge from talking to people who went to the site, he was badly injured and never made any statement.
 
This is yet another report which more or less confirms it was pilot error that caused the crash due to poor charts & fatigue.. mind you this guy isn't trying to push a book/film!

dag hammarskold crash - Bing video
 
@ex_colonial have you ever though of going back to see what has become of your old haunts?


Sadly no as I had a medical trauma in 2003 which severely limits my mobility.
My old force association Home - nrpa.org.uk organised a trip there a couple of years ago & had a very pleasant time, being entertained by some of the Zambia Police. Funnily enough from what I remember of the report the old NRP white officers were remembered quite fondly and there was a certain amount of criticism of the immediate post independence politicians.
 
Sadly no as I had a medical trauma in 2003 which severely limits my mobility.
My old force association Home - nrpa.org.uk organised a trip there a couple of years ago & had a very pleasant time, being entertained by some of the Zambia Police. Funnily enough from what I remember of the report the old NRP white officers were remembered quite fondly and there was a certain amount of criticism of the immediate post independence politicians.
Sorry to hear that - are you active in the association?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
FWIW Mugabe was raised on Ian Smiths Farm!
Mufulira seems to think I'm wrong, Ian Smiths Biog says its so. Have you anything to say apart from head dobbing the buttons?
 

pdq_bar

Swinger
I am a member of a fb group regards Kitwe (crash site was between Ndola to Kitwe) and same news story has a member stating this

Don't believe a word of it. I was there the morning after the crash with the Ndola fire brigade. No indication of the aircraft being shot down. Flew over the crash site later at the same heading as the aircraft. Seems pilot used approach charts for Ndolo airport which is at a lower altitude. Hence made a good approach but approximately 1000 feet too low. Tops of trees looked as if they were cut off by a scythe.

He also has quite strong views of the UN troops in the north and their behaviour

 
Sorry to hear that - are you active in the association?

No, my lack of mobility & health stop it. I still get the Nkhwazi newsletter a couple of times a year hence my recollection of their visit. I still keep in touch with 2 of the guys who served with me whom I have mentioned in my dits, Jules now a retired director of a mining company, was over from Australia last year & I chat to the Seychellois lothario, now a retired Barrister, fairly regularly.
 
I am a member of a fb group regards Kitwe (crash site was between Ndola to Kitwe) and same news story has a member stating this

Don't believe a word of it. I was there the morning after the crash with the Ndola fire brigade. No indication of the aircraft being shot down. Flew over the crash site later at the same heading as the aircraft. Seems pilot used approach charts for Ndolo airport which is at a lower altitude. Hence made a good approach but approximately 1000 feet too low. Tops of trees looked as if they were cut off by a scythe.

He also has quite strong views of the UN troops in the north and their behaviour

My bold, true, in the main they were pretty pathetic. The whole UN interference was to support an extreme left wing regime headed by Lumumba, whose first actions on gaining independence was to incite his followers to expel all Europeans. This led to the Police & army mutinying and killing a lot of their officers, they then went on to attack, rob & kill any European they came across hence the massive panicked flight of the Europeans. Tshombe who was governor of Katanga province realised he needed Europeans to continue running the mines & to train Africans to replace them eventually, so declared independence and recruited mercenaries to protect the province against the main Congolese army who were running riot in the rest of the country, killing & looting often those people who had been helping the African & mainly those who were least able to defend themselves, mission schools & hospitals.
This article shows that the UN were intent on intervening at all costs and crushing Katanga which compared with much of the rest of the Congo was fairly peaceful under Tshombe . The lethal struggle in Katanga was not O'Brien's finest hour - Independent.ie
The attitude of the UN was to win at all costs, not establish peace.
snip "Arriving in the province with the best anti-colonial intentions, hoping to reunite it with Congo, O'Brien's despatches show him moving out of his depth as relations between the UN and the Katangese government of Moïse Tshombe worsened. By September 1961, when UN peacekeepers went to war against Katanga, he was frustrated and taking risks."
And this "Though wary of the UN's mission, O'Brien energetically entered the fray. He was determined to use UN resolutions to end Katanga's secession.
By August 1961, O'Brien was being influenced by India's Brigadier-General KAS Raja, commander of UN forces in Katanga. Raja was determined to end Katanga's secession by force.

O'Brien now felt Katanga's government would "do nothing without being squeezed and to some extent frightened". Raja and O'Brien saw eye to eye."

And this … "Hammarskjöld too was convinced, telexing senior UN officials in Congo "we are beyond the point of no return … you are therefore authorised to pursue [Operation Morthor]". This vindicates O'Brien's point, for which he was vilified by Hammarskjold's supporters, that he acted with the Secretary General's authority.
Raja and O'Brien expected that with Morthor's show of force Katanga would crumble. Events proved otherwise: the Katangese fought back fiercely.
O'Brien was under immense strain throughout Morthor. During the fighting he told Katangese officials the UN would execute Katangese prisoners if two Irish UN soldiers held hostage were not released.
Responding to questions on the conduct of Indian UN troops and responsibility for the Radio Katanga massacre, he smoothly replied: "any troops in the world are likely to get touchy under these circumstances"


This is the sort of thing that was happening to the Europeans in the Congo ..
 

pdq_bar

Swinger
uhmm ties in with what has been written on the fb group regards the UN.

However - it was not to be, and the UN moved in eventually. They were arresting people such as Katangese soldiers and policemen, and in some cases taking them to the top of the Post Office building in Elisabethville and chucking them off. Nice guys! I know of some UN officers that came to Ndola, and were going to have a few beers at the Elephant and Castle Hotel, but were 'politely' told by xxx xxxxxxx to "Foxtrot Oscar" as they didn't serve murderers! Different times they were.
 

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