Military Service – Incident 1

1975 : All white Rhodesian males were required to serve their country through a year’s National conscript. Because I had joined Customs and Excise straight after school, I was exempt for a number of years but the draft eventually caught up with me and in 1975 I ended up in the Rhodesian Territorial Army. After 3 months initial training we were deployed as a unit and it was during this 9 month period that I had 2 narrow escapes. The first was on the way to Base camp. Travelling by vehicle we were, strangely enough, travelling down a section of road know as “Ambush Alley”. Had travelled it before without incident but on this occasion as we neared the end of this section there was an almighty bang a few vehicles ahead. Thinking an attack had ensued (or a vehicle had hit a landmine) we debussed in a hurry and took up defensive positions. All went very quiet however, and it was sometime before we were asked to stand down. The bang, it turned out, was not a mortar attack, but the exploding of an unstable rifle grenade in the ammunition trailer travelling at the front of the convoy.There were a few casualties from shrapnel, including one of the guys sitting close to me on the open back truck. Fortunately he was only struck by a small piece in the shoulder. Too close for comfort!

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