Images of War
As shown along the article ‘Death and Fire in Mozambique’ I penned for the magazine ‘Soldier of Fortune’ I propose a book in a glossy hard cover coffee table format featuring a personal photographic record of my time first with the RLI then with the SAS.
Initially only intended to be shown at the ‘Plinth’ memorial service held last November 12th,2016 in Hereford,Wales to friends former Squadron members and to the new generation of ’22’ SAS.Unexpectedly every member pleaded for a copy.Then came the idea to make this one of a kind source of documents more broadly available.
It presents photographs taken during the training,preparations for operations and deployment of the Rhodesian Light Infantry and the Rhodesian ‘C’ Sqn SAS. As well as images of the only SAS parade ever to take place at the Kabrit Barracks in Salisbury, Rhodesia for which I was appointed official photographer.
A window onto the past it illustrates aspects of a counter insurgency war unique in its context, time and place the uniforms worn and the weapons used.An unparalleled collection of documents for the military history buff.
Following the memorial services in Hereford the book exchanged hands and was viewed with curiosity by today’s generation of SAS.Young guys regularly sent on operations with the unlimited -and all weather- support of the mightiest air forces of the world ,assisted by computers,GPS,laser finders,equipped with a weaponry out of the industrial military r&d of the USA.Unimaginable to us then.
Their missions accomplished they return to the peace and comfort of a country safely protected from any form of outside threats. A country where teenage girls and boys never had to experience the ordeal of having to use a machine gun to protect their farm and their family.As so many did in Rhodesia.Unsung heroes.
I observed their reactions as they turned the pages of the album.To the younger ones an obvious and total disconnection with their world.They could have been looking at images of Paddy Mayne’s groups in the Libyan desert in 1943.
Incidentally an identical span of time separated the Rhodesian war from David Sterling’s campaigns as ours do with today’s SAS.
The symbolic difference between the Squadrons is summed up by a comment uttered by each one of them looking at the photographs when they noticed -with some awe- that we did not wear any body armor.
To this day the handful of men -hard men- who fought and survived this war take a rightfully justified pride when modestly acknowledging their active role in circumstances in which they stand alone in the confined world of special forces.Thereby reinforced is the unfading memory of the fallen each in a final display of spectacular bravery.
The book contains only photographs some with captions when ascertained.There is no text.
All photographs color and black and white underwent restoration using modern techniques.These having been generally taken by cameras of poor quality.
The book -11″1/2 x 15″ on 250gm paper- is printed one copy at a time allowing for the inclusion of personal documents should it be wished.