First Blood…..Sidindi Island (Part 4)

February 18, 2011

There was not a sound as we remained in all-round defence..the smell of AVTUR and dry dust hanging in the air..although early morning the sweat trickled between my hand and the pistol grip on my FN…..running through the worry lines on my palm….partly from heat and partly because I was shit scared at this point.  If a landmine had been laid on the road (and the sad looking Bedford RL just 50 meters away was objective evidence there had been) there could be gooks about and the last thing I wanted was to get taken out on my first real mission by a lucky shot from an AK……I can imagine the inscription on my gravestone….here lies FatFox9, Brave Sapper Killed In Action on his first mission without firing a shot.  RIP.

Mopani flies….the little fuckers were in my eyes…..when you killed them they let off an atrocious smell that attracted more of their buddies who attacked any orifice they could get into.  Anyone who hasn’t snorted Mopani Fly in the morning hasn’t lived.

I was not too sure what I was meant to do at this stage so I just acted clever and copied the 1 Indep infantry boys and continued to look grimly into the bush remembering my training…..look through cover….not at it..shape, shine, silhouette and all the other esses I have forgotten…problem was the bush was so frigging thick and your eyes were so full of Mopanis you couldn’t see through it so what now?  I was thirsty…throat dry and the fried eggs and bacon I had for breakfast were repeating in my throat….should have stuck to corn flakes with toast and mixed fruit jam.  I wanted to get my water bottle out of the webbing holder on my belt but was too shit scared to move so worked up some saliva in my dry mouth as an interim measure.

The 1 Indep stick leader decided we had stayed under cover long enough and came over to me….saying I could carry on and do what I had to do.  Just as I was about to stand up the stick leader hit the ground and told me to stay where I was.  Someone was walking up the road that ran down towards the Zambezi River!…..and he was white…..and in full Rhodesian camouflage..long trousers that we called denims and a shirt with the sleeves rolled down fully…in this heat..not shorts and T shirt!

Remember that up to now all we knew was that a vehicle had hit a mine and that I was there to clear 2 kilometres either side of the victim with the infantry providing protection while I was exposed on the road.  The vehicle was in front of me and the road which ran north-south, obviously also in front of me.  This was now a dangerous time for us…..we had no idea there were any additional troops working in this area let alone friendly forces….a recipe for a blue on blue disaster……change lever to fire.

The person approaching us advanced alone and without fear..his weapon carried easily and in a position that we could see he came in peace and was no threat to us.  We relaxed and safety catches went back to “S” with a metalic click….he stopped next to the Bedford and urged us to approach him.  He wore the rank of a Staff Sergeant….he also wore the coveted dark blue SAS Wings on his shoulder.  And thus next to a sick, sad looking and evil smelling old Bedford troop carrier I met Don Kenny….one of the legends of the Rhodesian War….at least in my eyes he was and I don’t give a shit what anyone else says.

He led us back down the road from the direction he had approached from……..I was soon to learn the real reason why I was there….and to a young Sapper on his first mission it was both a shocking and sad revelation that would have a significant impact on my future career as a professional soldier.

FatFox9 with MMD1 Mine Detector

FatFox9 with MMD1 Mine Detector (probably the same one I used at Sidindi)


8 Responses to “First Blood…..Sidindi Island (Part 4)”

  1. Michaelvan said

    Must say it just get better and better.

  2. fatfox9 said

    Thanks Mucker… is just hard to find time always…..and the grey cells are also fading so must push on…..

  3. Kallie Calitz said

    Why stop in the middle of the story? Can’t wait for the rest. Keep on writing pel!

  4. fatfox9 said

    Time is the enemy Kallie…..more to come soon. Keep well over there

  5. Eeben said

    Keep it up, Mark! It is really good reading.



  6. Del Bolton said

    Tks for this amazing tale. Brings back many happy and sad memories. I was a fireman in Byo and worked both Steam and Diesel. I remember single quarters very well. I was there from 65/67, and left RR to join 1RLI, where I served until 79. Am looking fwd to further episodes, fatfox9 best of luck

  7. David Clarke SPR. 98538 said

    Thanks for the memories

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