The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland

The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was a federated territory in central Africa, created in 1953, that belonged to the United Kingdom (UK). The federation consisted of
  • the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia, and
  • the protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
The UK agreed to dissolve the federation on December 31st, 1963. In 1964, Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi and Northern Rhodesia gained independence as Zambia. Southern Rhodesia became the self-governing area of Rhodesia

UDI Rhodesia

The previously self-governing Rhodesian government demanded total independence from the UK in 1964 but the the UK declared that Rhodesia must first guarantee the black majority a greater voice in the government. Rhodesian talks with the UK finally broke down and on November 11th, 1965, Prime Minister Ian Smith declared a Unilateral Declaration of Independance (UDI).

Black Rhodesians began a guerrilla war to try to topple the white government. In the late 1970's, Rhodesia's white rulers, led by Ian Smith, agreed to black demands for a black-controlled government. Smith served as part of a transitional government (Zimbabwe-Rhodesia) in 1978 and 1979 until a black government was formed in 1979.

Rhodesian Corps of Military Police

Rhodesian Army shoulder patch
On 1st January 1964 the Southern Rhodesia Corps of Military Police was formed, and in 1967 was renamed the Rhodesian Corps of Military Police. The wearing of Staff Corps dress and embellishments was changed in November 1967 in favour of the distinctive red colours and badge for which the Military Police have become immediately recognisable.

The motto of the Rhodesian Corps of Military Police was "Exemplo Ducemus" - by example we lead (The same motto as the Corps of Royal Military police). This motto indicated the nature of the duties of the Military Police within the Rhodesian Armed Forces; namely discipline, the prevention and detection of crime and the punishment of offenders.

Prior to the formation of the Corps, personnel were seconded to formation HQ's for Military Police duties. As a corps the Military Police still maintain the operational responsibility of support to the Brigades through attached platoons. In addition to normal duties a Special Investigations Branch was introduced to deal with more serious crime within the Army and a Detention Barracks was establsihed to rehabilitate offenders.

On 25th September 1977 the Military Police adopted the tune "The Watch Tower" as their Regimental march.

Inspection of Vehicles Combat Dress Mess Dress Service Dress
Inspection of vehicle trip authority Combat Dress Mess Dress Motorcyclist Service Dress
The fully fledged member of the Rhodesian Military Police could have been posted to any of three platoons. Headquarters of the corps was at Brady Barracks, Bulawayo; then there were sections at Cranborne Barracks; 3 Brigade (King George VI Barracks); the School of Infantry, Gwelo; an African detachment at Inkomo; and a small detachment at Depot, Llewellin Barracks.

The Rhodesian Military Police were also responsible for the training of all regimental police of the Rhodesian Armed Forces. Regimental Police were charged with the security within the cantonment area, and for a 2km perimeter outside that, of their own particular regiments.

Zimbabwe General Service badge
Present Day

The new Zimbabwe Army was formed by integrating the ZIPRA and ZANLA elements of the Patriotic Front guerilla forces, with the process beginning in February 1980 when ZIPRA 1st Battalion began training.

In 1981, fighting broke out in south-western Zimbabwe between the national army and guerrilla forces formerly aligned with ZAPU. Clashes between the guerrilla groups and the national army continued until early 1984. By that time, the army had put down most of the rebellion.

The Military Police are known to wear "Cherry Red" berets with General Service badge. This badge has crossed bayonets over silver wreath, and with a gilt Zimbabwe bird in centre. The General Service badge was introduced during 1981. It is not known whether the Zimbabwe Military wear the same stable belt as that worn by the Rhodesian Military Police. The use of a stable belt of corps/unit pattern is however referred to in the 1982 dress regulations. All WO2's and lower ranks of the ZMP are issued with one pair of traffic sleeves.

Rhodesian Corps of Military Police stable belt

Beverley Whyte; 7th August 1975; "A Pride of Men" pp 121-123 "They have a dual role"; Graham Publishing Company (Pvt), Salisbury.
1998 World Book Encyclopedia