I had been considering writing an account of my 25 years in the Rhodesian Army and the South African Defence Force for some time but could not get myself to write an entire book.  There is so much of that out there these days and my idea was not to make money from my sometimes sketchy memoirs.

I had an idea that perhaps the way to go was to produce a blog and do it in manageable chunks.  Memories fade and I never kept a diary so all that you read is as I remember it and there remains therefore an urgency to get on with it.

This is the result so far and I still have a long way to go.  I hope that those of you that drop-in and were also there will experience fond memories and perhaps offer some encouragement to keep going by leaving a comment.

Thank you for looking in and please return soon,

Mark

Mark Craig, MVM

mucker3_cropped

© Mark Richard Craig and Fatfox9’s Blog.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any of the material used in this blog without the express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

75 Responses to “About”

  1. kieron said

    Please notify me when you continue your blog.
    kieron

  2. kieron said

    Thanks for that,love reading the boggs.

  3. donald said

    realy good hope you continue

  4. very good hope you continue

  5. Peter said

    I am helping in the research for the new Rhodesia Services Ass. book on the RR. Can I use some excerps from this site?

  6. Thomas House said

    Hi I was in intake 139 but went to gwelo school of infantry, your blog brings back many good times and the worst i would rather forget.
    Enjoyed reading your blog and good luck

  7. Nick Wynn said

    Hi Mark I was intake 135 and remeber the people mentioned Especially Vic Hydes who I last saw in durban about 1985
    Keep up the blog catch you later Nick

    • Thanks Mark – enjoyed both parts; In uniform as well as the excellent Railways story. I am convinced your descendants will appreciate your his-story – – – your story needs to be documented!
      Prop
      Durban
      March 2011

  8. Wieke Hoeben said

    Rhodesia Railways 20th Class Garrett hauling a passenger train…..what a majestic beast!
    On this train my dad was working round 1954 after being sergeant in Indonesia ‘politionele acties’ (he had to keep the traintrack Djakarta-Bandung safe with his groop; they all made it home safe after 4 years) and before that ‘werkkamp/workingcamp Germani’ after being picked up in his home town Amsterdam.(He had to construct weapens; he was young and was caught playing with the material. He was playing wore games instead of working; he was about 15 years old, the polish workers protected him agains the angree german, who we looked up after the war to clear my dads mind and heart; just ringing the bell of the germans house and he talked with him, but did not enter and we, the children and wife, waited in the VW to continue our holiday in the south of Europe.) Dad went back to Indonesia too with all the man that were still alive round 1990 and the leader of the village where they had been stationed welcomed him with widespread arms; ‘toean sergeant Hoeben!’ He sat for days still on a doorstep there and the people brought him food and respected his silence. The pools protected my father because he stole a big sack of patatoos somewhere, brought it to the other prisoners, dutch, they quallered about it and dad got so angree about that that he threw the patatous over the wall to the polish workers. I am working on a painting to honour my father and of course looking for this picture. I might use it as inspiration and hearby ask your permission to do so. Please sent this picture to my email adress if you agree. Of course it will be written in the story of the painting.
    Greetings.

  9. Mark (dont know what your surname is which would be good) You have used a photo of mine in here – the shot of the 1 Indep billet. While I dont mind people using my material that it would be more professional if you gave source and acknowledgement. Thank you. Hugh Bomford

    • fatfox9 said

      Hugh. My apologies for my lack of professionalism. I will remove the photo. I have used many photos from many people and you are the first to take this approach. In fact some people refuse to be acknowledged. Please let me know of any others you are not happy with.
      My blog is not a commercial venture. It is merely my recollections of a soldier doing his job.

      • Thank you. I think that you will find that acknowledgement of photos is common practice. Personally I like to see authenticity by use of proper names including that of the author.

      • fatfox9 said

        No problem Hugh. The blog is no poorer for the loss of the pic. As far as I am concerned the discussion is over.

  10. Patrick O'Dea said

    Tommy House who wrote to you on one of your blogs . He was with me at School of Inf but was RTU and I would like to try and contact him . I remember your ugly mug ! Where are you now and what you up to ? Like your Blog by the way . What is your email address ?

  11. Patrick O'Dea said

    When you received the original email from Thomas House would that not have included his email address ? Thanks for the email address Will send you an email shortly

  12. Enjoyable and interesting reading to read Mark – I enjoyed reading and will stay tuned… 🙂

  13. Mike said

    Hi Mark
    I have read parts of your blog with much interest. Please keep it up.
    I wondered if you could help me in the tracking down of a picture, called as I remember it “Trackng, 1/2 Battalion RAR” that was painted 1976 post Mike Ainslie’s death (with him in it). I have one very bad image of it and when I spoke with the artist he said it seems to have “disappeared into the mists of time” Any leads would be appreciated. Mike

    PS No pun intended…..

    • fatfox9 said

      MIke,

      Thanks for the comment. I will see what I can do for you. Can you please send a scan of the pic you have to my e-mail address.

      Cheers,

      Mark

  14. Brett Johnston said

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for continuing to write your blog!
    I read it with great interest, although this is all WAY before my time, I still enjoy reading about it.

    A little History:
    I first crossed paths with you at “Bossies”. I was January intake 1990 – Golf Bungalow, and you scared the shit out of me.
    However, being a 17 year old “soutie” and having a SM who spoke English made it that much more tolerable. As much as you scared me, I admired you and would always listen intently to your stories that you would tell during classes to try and prepare us for the “real” world warfare.
    Unfortunately I never made it into JL’s which was terrible for me, as it was something that I knew I would be passionate about, but in hindsight, you probably looked at this scrawny little 17 year old and thought no ways was this guy going to cut it.
    I was shipped off to Bethlehem to camp 2, and then to Springs…BUT…I did make it back to Bethlehem and got my corporal rank (albeit only a single stripe) before klaaring out.
    I live in Boston now, and it was strange as I had a dream about 2 months ago about Bossies, and started looking it up on line and eventually found you and your blog.

    I have now read every post on your blog, and thoroughly enjoy it.

    Keep it up and Keep Well!!

    Cheers

    Brett

    • fatfox9 said

      Dear Brett,

      Thank you for the mail and the update on your whereabouts. I may have scared the shit out of you but my bark was always worse than my bite and I am sure all of you knew that.

      Thanks so much for reading the blog. It will get more interesting as we move along. The Mukumbura side of things was quite a boring time and it was the same bollocks day in and day out. Once I get away from there things will be great for both me and the readers.

      A lot of you guys went through me at Bossies and you probably caught the tail end of my time in Kroonstad. I left for Kimberley in ’91 I think and eventually became the RSM of Northern Cape Command Engineer Regiment. And remember I will eventually get to the Bossies phase of my career one of these days.

      Do you have any photos of your days at Bossies/Bethlehem?

      Have you seen my other website at http://www.sasappers.net? Please visit and join (I will approve membership immediately). many other SA Sappers are there and surely some that you know. I expect to see you there today Korporaal!

      All the very best and stay in touch,

      Mark

  15. Hi Mark
    I was at Vegkop, Kroonstad, Jan 81 intake and second year at Lohatlha. I met you in Kimberley and our OC was Com. Daan Lotter. I still stay in Kimberley and will surely follow your blog.
    Regards.
    Bennie de Wit

    • fatfox9 said

      I remember you Bennie. Thanks for supporting my blog. I really appreciate it and would ask you to make any photos you have from Bossies etc available. Have you visited my other website at http://www.sasappers.net? If you haven’t please do and join us. We look forward to a Brother sapper on board.

  16. Beaver Shaw said

    Mark very interesting Blog and well done thank you
    Beaver Shaw

  17. Chris said

    Searching for your next blog. Seems as if laying mines in the cordon at Mukers was your last one. I look forward to every blog. Chris ex Rhodesian Air Force

  18. David Rodgers (known as Charlie) said

    Hi,
    I was in Zimbabwe with the BMATT in 1981, I met a couple of great mates who were in the Engineers, Blackie Schwartz, John Garriock (I was best man at his wedding) and the infamous Pat Gerrichy. Great men

    • fatfox9 said

      Hi Charlie,
      Thanks for dropping in and hope it is not your last visit. The names bring back fond memories……all good men. Pat also joined the SADF shortly after I did.
      Comments greatly appreciated.
      All the best and Sapper greetings,
      Mark

  19. John McDonnell said

    Hello Mark Great site. Lots of memories. I served in the TF 3 Eng Sqn Umtali from 1978 to 1980 on call ups. Dangerous work but good guys in the Engineers. I remember Capt Liddle Lts Lobb and Cameron and Sgt Maj Boshe and Sgt Steyl.

    • fatfox9 said

      Howzit John? Thanks for the visit and support. Keep on coming back please. You are so right……the Sappers are all good guys and even the worst one of us is better than any infantier:-). Very nostalgic reading the names you mentioned……..do you perhaps have any pics of your days in Rhodies? Would be great to see them if you do. Please drop by regularly and stay in touch.
      All the very best,
      Mark
      PS: I also have a website dedicated to Rhodesian Sappers. Please join us at http://www.sasappers.net

  20. David Rodgers (known as Charlie) said

    If you are in contact with any of the guys I mentioned please pass on my best wishes and would loved to hear from them Thanks

    • fatfox9 said

      I will do Charlie and in fact I will send your details through to the RhE unofficial “HQ”……..all the very best and please visit the site regularly. There is some good stuff coming.

  21. Kevin.cooper said

    Hi mark I see you are quite the scribe well done to you my buddy

  22. kevin.cooper said

    hi mark ive tried all means to log into the sappers forum to no avail can you plese tell me what im doing wrong

  23. Ben Mahaka said

    Hi Mark. I’m working on a documentary film on anti personnel mine removal. I’ve recently been to Mukumbura where Halo Trust are demining and Burma Valley where NPA are demining. Last year I was in Gwaivhi where the ZNA is demining. Your blog offers an intriguing insight into the history of mines in the country and the only personal account I’ve found. Is it possible to do an interview?

  24. Hi Mark,
    I have just read your blog about the Cordon Sanitare (sp) mine-field starting at Mukumbura. We were the first Engineers to start this field, in either February/March or April 1973, can’t remember the exact date, (but ABBA, the Swedish group had just announced that they were in support of the freedom fighters at that time, we all dropped them from our favourites after this announcement).

    We were due to pass out on the 13/05/1973. My name is Basil Preston army number was 72860 and I became an Engineer after I did my basics at Llewellyn starting 07/06/1972, Intake 132.

    We were tasked with the clearing of the bush etc with bulldozers and graders. Our main chap who loved the grader work was Gordon Paterson, who was black by the end of his shift from all the dust and sweat.

    Thats all for now.

    Regards, Basil Preston

    (Please read the rest of Basils post on the main blog pages. Cheers, Mark)

  25. Hermann Thormahlen said

    Great work Mark.

  26. craig said

    Hi, how do i subscribe to your blog to get your new posts. Love reading about my heritage. THANK YOU to all who served to protect Rhodesia

    • fatfox9 said

      Hi Craig. Thanks for the kind comments. All you need to do is become a blog follower and you will be notified of all my new posts. I look forward to having you with me on my journey. At the top left of the home page you will see a follow button. Click that and away you go. All the very best…….Mark

  27. Sean King said

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks for the work you have put in here, I enjoyed reading your blog, and the importance of capturing a small part of history. None of us are getting any younger and your work is hugely valuable.

    I did notice in the 10 September 2014 post that you had a picture of a mine-proofed Land-Rover with roll bars and weapon mount. The picture is of my father, Tom King, taken c. 1977-8 near Chipinga. Could I please ask you annotate the photo and acknowledge the use of the photo.

    Again, thank-you for capturing this part of our histor for the future.

    Cheers,

    Sean King

  28. Andrew Inggs said

    Thanks for the time you have taking in sharing your experiences with the world Mark, they all bring back a lot of memories, some good and some not quite good. You are right, you can never get rid of that plastic smell from the water bottles! And how about the hot smell of canvas? The miserable feeling huddled under a poncho in the pouring rain in the back of a Kudu?
    I served as a 162 National Serviceman, initially DRR then RLI and finally ended up in National Service Field Troop with 5 Eng Spt Sqn.
    Keep up the good work!

    • fatfox9 said

      Thanks for the kind comments Andrew. It really is strange how different smells can take you back….much like music. A great reminder about the hot canvas…..I remember it well. Stay safe and stay on the journey with me.

  29. ianrws said

    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for your email. Very interesting articles in your blog and certainly brought back memories. Thanks for all your time and effort in recording our history from the point of view of those who made it and not have future generations learn of it from the rewritten versions of the politicians.
    Keep up the great work

    • fatfox9 said

      Thanks for the kind comments and sage advice Ian. I will be contacting the publisher you mentioned and keep you posted as to how I get on. All the very best.

  30. John McDonnell said

    I just read the S Troop insertion near Khami Prison. Really interesting. Most believe it was SS or SAS who located the gooks. However the Engineers did a lot of this work unknown to the rest of the military fraternity.

    • fatfox9 said

      Thank you for your comment John. You are absolutely right about the unknown work the Engineers done. I am pretty sure not many within the Corps even knew what we were doing. A lot more revelations to come so stay with us. All the best, Mark.

  31. Great blog, Brings back memorys. Was Guard Force Sunray of Mary Mount after Engineers left Summer 79, ( they left all the thousends of plough shares behind)

  32. Hi, I’m writing a novel based in Rhodesia in 1976/7, and looking for any photos/info on Llewellin barracks at that time – any help would be appreciated! Thanks

    • fatfox9 said

      Hi Belinda. Have you tried the Rhodesian Army sites on Facebook? A wealth of information there. Please also join my Rhodesian Military Engineers website at http://www.sasappers.net. I will approve your profile but please fill in as much of the form as possible. Thanks for dropping by and good luck with the novel. I have some rather painful memories of Lulu’s……

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