First Blood…..Sidindi Island (Part 1)

October 16, 2010

Probably 1974

Early morning……first light just gone.  First call-out just arrived.

My billet was quite a way from the the ops room at 1 Indep and I was running and mumbling as fast as I could to get there.  Considering I was loaded down with my rifle, full battle webbing (no chest webbing yet), 1st line ammo, and a mine detector I think I got there in good time.  I was not sure what was going on yet but had the feeling something had happened as I was not asked to go through this routine every morning.

I was told to put my kit down and wait for a briefing.  The person who was to do the briefing came into the office and I recognised him as one of the extra-marital shaggers.   To be honest I had got to know him over the last few weeks and actually he was not a bad sort of chap really…..he respected the Sappers and that was good enough for me.

I was informed that there had been a mine incident in the very early hours of the morning, the result of which was a crippled Bedford RL.  I was to be choppered out from Forward Air Field 1 (FAF1), the local Rhodesian Air force base, accompanied by a couple of infantrymen as a protection party.  My mission was simple……check the road either side of the casualty for 2 clicks and see if I could find anything else.  This had to be done as soon as possible as a recovery vehicle was waiting to get in and take the damaged RL out.  They could not move until I gave them the all clear.

Seemed pretty simple enough.  Little did I know the tragedy that had been the precursor of the mine incident.  I was soon to find out.

The picture below shows a Bedford RL.  This is an identical vehicle to the one I was flown out to assist the recovery crews with.

Bedford RL

Bedford RL

2 Responses to “First Blood…..Sidindi Island (Part 1)”

  1. Steve Rich said

    Can you remember if your vehicles had tactical signs on them eg brigade and engineer squadron ones cann’t find any photos of engineer vehicles with them. I see you worked for the Railways, same here.

    • fatfox9 said

      Yes we did have tactical signs. Red with two blue stripes the same as our stable belts. Numbers on the signs I remember were 76, 77, 78 (1,2,3 Engineer Squadron I think). I will try to get you some pics with Engineer insignia on vehicles.
      Where on the rails did you work?
      Thanks for the interest.

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