Rhodesia’s 9/11 Attack, a Memorial and Unveiling of the Monument.

I’m not going to get all political, but I am going to be serious.

A disaster that happen 34 years ago, almost to the day, and follow by another, 5 months later, was commemorated with the unveiling of the memorial to those that lost their lives. Sunday past, the 2nd September 2012, saw this memorial unveiled in the gardens of the South African Voortrekker Monument. Civilians, shot down in cold blood, who were flying on civilian aircraft from Lake Kariba where they’d been on holiday. Terrorists using Sam 7 missiles targeted two Air Rhodesia Viscounts, and shot them out of the skies. The one had survivors, some remained by the downed plane, while others went to seek aid. Those that stayed behind were bayoneted and shot by the terrorist group that had fired the missile. Unarmed civilians killed in cold blood. This has been referred to as Rhodesia’s 9/11. The main plaque on the memorial has this statement on it…

 Rhodesian Memorial 164

I lost friends on both planes and it was a shock when it happened… They say all is fair in love and war, but that has no meaning to me when it comes to innocent civilians, women and children. These terrorists where tracked and captured, every single one of them that were involved  in the disasters..

The worst of it was that not one other country, except for South Africa, condemned the atrocity. No Church leaders, not the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi, not a sole. Governments, none, we were alone in a battle against this type of terrorism, but being at the memorial, witnessing those that were there, such pride still felt by all 450 there. Seeing old soldiers wearing their medals, berets and jackets adorned with their units badges proudly, I realised that the Rhodesians spirit will never die. If we were called to arms, to do it all over again, I’m sure we would.

The old Flag was lowered to half mast, the pipes played their tune and the ceremony began…

Rhodesian Memorial 036Rhodesian Memorial 049 











The prayers said, the hymns sung, the memorial unmasked, and the consecration done… to read the names and ages of all those killed in this atrocity, brought tears to many. Wreaths laid by family members and thoughts of lost loved ones, brought a deadly silence to the proceedings..

“We will remember them.”

Rhodesian Memorial 144

Rhodesian Memorial 153













Rhodesian Memorial 162

A good friend of mine and a published poet… wrote a poem about the proceedings and with his permission I post it here… my love for poetry probably began when I started to read his poems.. his book is available from Amazon… and here is his special poem for the day, and for this I thank him…


Piper’s mournful lament drifts on heat and rising haze,
‘Amazing Grace’, ‘Abide with me’; unto God we gave the praise,
The ‘Green and White’ flew at half mast; host Angels bid it blow,
Their gentle breath on our dear flag, caused many tears to flow.

Today the Highveld lay silent, a vacuum void of sound,
Monument Hill so quiet; baked red parched barren ground,
African Camel-thorn Acacia, indigenous to this land,
Stand as silent witnesses to Viscounts Memorial grand.

Two Granite stones bear the names of loved ones now passed on,
We have promised to remember them in the morn and setting sun, 
Those who survived Hunyani; troubled families seeking rest,
Come to honour the dead; civilians, and Rhodesia’s fighting best.

It stands now to remind the world of the depths that men can sink,
Showing man’s inhumanity to man; and just how the evil think.
This memorial stands not only to recall Rhodesia’s hurt, or pain,
But to remind a once proud nation …we would do it all again.

By Alf Hutchison after the unveiling of the Viscount Hunyani and Umniati 
Memorial in Pretoria on 2nd September 2012.

141 thoughts on “Rhodesia’s 9/11 Attack, a Memorial and Unveiling of the Monument.

  1. I recently received the email that I add below as I think it is very pertinent to the post and others from all over the world will get to read it as well as my answer to the email………..
    It is from Frankie Kay a follower and fellow Rhodesian… the blog is .. https://frankiekay.wordpress.com/

    This email is not intended to piss you off…
    I was reading your post about the Viscounts and once again, I wanted to ask the same question I did all those years ago and have been crapped on for, several times..(I didn’t post this question on your blog for fear of messing up the thread)
    My question is: what is the difference between the women and children (and men civilians) murdered in the Viscount and farmers murdered in their homes?
    And what about the civilians murdered in their homes in the TTL’s?
    I was a teenager when the Viscount atrocity happened and also saw the aftermath of a murder in the TTL near Sikoveni of a family whose father/husband was a teacher in Tsolotsho. I also knew several farmers and their families in our area who were killed during this time. These incidences seemed to me, as a child to be the same, and yet the Rhodesians then (and still now, it seems) thought of the Viscount murders differently.
    Please can you explain to me why they are different? Why are we (Rhodesians) not calling for a roll of honour for the farmers and their families murdered, sometimes in the most gruesome way.
    Is it simply numbers? More people were killed at once, whereas farmers were picked off one by one?
    Or is it perhaps that the people killed were NOT farmers or villagers, perceived to “know the deal” and had chosen to live on the “front line?”
    If these questions tick you off as it appears to do to others, just ignore them…

    Glad you like your camera – mine is yet to arrive (if my friend manages to get it!) I can’t wait.


    • Frankie
      I think this email is very pertinent to the post and therefore I answer it here as well….
      I do agree with you on all of your points, yes we should have a roll of honour to those civilians that have lost their lives during the terrorist war as well as in its aftermath in farm murders and farm grabbing by a government that was approved of by the rest of the world….. BUT who is responsible for putting it all together and erecting the monument?
      During the Second World War there were millions killed in action as were civilians on both sides, or should I say all sides… 6 million Jews put to death for what, merely being Jewish? Is their a wall of remembrance listing their names? Not that I’m aware of.. but if there is it would have been financed by families and local Jewish Governments… Can we as ex Rhodesian finance it? I doubt it… and then where do we erect it? This monument was erected by a team of hard working ex’s and I know that some of the proceeds came from book sales and even a painting by an ex Rhodie that I can’t name here without his permission… I don’t think there is not a feeling of sadness for the innocent that lost their lives, but there is a lack of finance and people, to put such a monumental endeavour together..

      You ask what is the difference between those that lost their lives on the Viscount and those that lost their lives on the farms? None… none what so ever… but a team took it upon themselves to erect a monument to the Viscount victims and paid for it… and I think it is wonderful that from that we have educated a lot of people that had no idea of this attack… look at some of the comments, many heard of it for the first time via my blog…

      I lost many friends who died in Rhodesia… not only in terrorist attacks, but also from farm take overs… am I happy about that? No my blood boils that once again the rest of the world has stood by and allowed it to happen… at least there has been governments that have condemned it even if not stepping in to protect those they promised to protect…
      I had to move my parents from Rhodesia to South Africa as their pensions (guaranteed by the British Government) was never forthcoming… I had to support them here…

      I did this post for one reason, to spread the word of an event many knew nothing about… did I achieve what I wanted to? Yes

      My blog is not a political blog but one of nature that I love to share… 758 posts attest to this fact… but I do feel strongly about the deaths of innocents, not only in Rhodesia but all over the world…. but how do we memorialise them all?

    • Imelda…. thank you for visiting this page… I agree with your words entirely…much more is the pity that this type attack has once again taken place somewhere else in the world…. the innocent that loose their lives in the name of some small terrorist group who feel they gain by such an atrocity is more the loss to the whole world…. at least on this occasion there is an outcry by the rest of the world, something that was lacking when these planes of ours went down….

  2. Hi. I never knew that this memorial was even installed which is a tragedy in itself considering I lived in Kariba at the time. My dad almost lost his business partner and best friend in the Hunyani disaster (Tony Hill) but we did lose our neighbor in the Umniati crash. His name was John Gobey and sadly I cannot see his name on the memorial wall from the photos available!!! Am I missing something here??

    • Hi Graham Walker, first thanks for visiting my site and for the comment… I have had a closer look and see a Christian Gobey listed on the Umniati side of the monument.. is this possibly the person in question that you might have known as John? However if it is not please comment again and I will pass it on to the powers that be for the monument. I have always assumed that the names came from the official list of those that lost their lives. I see on the following site a link i give you here .. http://home.iprimus.com.au/rob_rickards/viscounts/crewpax.htm has him listed as John with the following testament…. Mr John Gobey, (Gatooma business man had a cast iron foundry, servicing mainly the mining industry. Among his many exploits, John had an interest in a kapenta fishing business in Kariba as well. Although John had somewhat of a notorious reputation, he was an exceedingly kind and generous man, and had a world-class collection of exotic birds at his home on Robert Taylor Drive overlooking the farming country to the north of Gatooma. I hope this helps you settle your mind that he is listed, but I will send an email to Keith Nel asking about the “Christian” name…

      • Hi Bulldog. Many thanks for the reply. I have always known him as John personally and have never heard the reference as Christian. But hey I was a youngster at the time and that is what my folks introduced me to him as. By the way he moved a lot of his exotic birds to Kariba – and what a collection!! I will check with some of my old mates from Kariba.

        • I am so pleased we could settle your mind to him being on the memorial… it has been a blessing the erecting of this monument as it has brought so many people together that had lost contact, pity it takes such a disaster to do that. I lost friends on both planes and now feel in nothing else there is a bit of closure to them to be remembered in such a way… if you’re ever in the area go and take a look it is a magnificent memorial… thanks for the feed back about the birds… I am surprised how many return to read the comments and this might just trigger his memory in someone else’s mind… thank you again for the comment…

      • Hi again. My Mom has come back to me saying that there was the name Christian somewhere in his name but everyone always called him John. I am sure that those that arranged for the engravings are not wrong!! Thanks again for the memories – i look forward to following it in the future.

  3. Thank you so very much for posting this. I was an Air Rhodesia flight attendant during these attacks and lost good friends in the crew.Friends, that you could only find in Rhodesia. I have not found any friends of that caliber in any other country that I have lived in, except South Africa. Tears flow yet again when I remember this sad time and this senseless loss. Memories come flooding back – both good times and, this, the bad. The fact that the world turned a blind eye…..I remain speechless at that. We stoically fought on and I’m certain we would do this again. The cowardly act of bringing down civilian aircraft with surface to air missile is beyond reproach. It is, as so well said, our 9/11!! Thank goodness that the scumbags responsible for this cowardly act met their fate through the bravery of our SAS. This was forwarded to me by a good virtual friend of mine, Dries de Wet – of DeWetsWild. I am grateful that, finally, all that have lost their lives now have a memorial. I will remember my good times with the crews. In my heart, I will always be a Rhodesian (never a Zimbabwean), even though I’m now a naturalized American.

    • Well what can I say.. to you except thank you for looking at the post and commenting… I know how you feel, that time when we had to sit it out all alone with no condemnation.. how we all wanted to be with that SAS stick that got hold of the perps… I have had long chats with people involved with the follow ups etc, and it was hard not to feel the adrenaline rise even this so many years later…
      I myself only found Dries’s site this morning and started to follow him.. and here we are now so many miles apart yet the bond of being an ex _Rhodesian still binds us no matter where in the world we are now….

      • Thank you so much Bulldog and so nice to meet another ex-Rhodie. I forgot to mention that my name is Joey. I was so caught up in my emotions that it totally escaped me.

        Dries and his family are wonderful. They take me back to Africa and I can live vicariously through them and their love of the African bush. Wish I were still there.

        Thanks again for sharing that great post. Those poor souls sure deserve that and the recognition of what happened by the rest of the world. However, that will never happen….sadly.


  4. Although Spring is in the air in SA, September is a sad month for me as I remember the atrocities of America’s 9/11 and OUR RHODESIAN Viscount horrors of Sept 1978/Feb 1979. Hats off to DUNCAN for his comment revealing deep insight shared with us. I am pleased SmallHouseBigGarden has learned a little of our Rhodesian history and hope she will spread the word in her own way on the suffering of Rhodesia in the so-called name of liberation. She can also Google: Elim Mission Massacre of June 1978 to learn more. Hoping she will read Keith’s riveting book: Viscount Down and Alf’s poems. And yes, we refer to our beloved country as Rhodesia NOT Zimbabwe. As Rob/Bulldog pointed out to Morristownmemmos a while back, we disassociate ourselves with the dictator’s regime Zimbabwe in each and every way. Thanks to our gifted writers Keith and Bulldog, not forgetting the poetic wizard, Alf Hutchison, our voices continue to be heard. God bless these three wonderful men and their loved ones. Sincerely.

    • And here is the missing comment you are inquiring about… once again thanks for the comment, it is so nice to have a post that keeps on getting hits everyday, from differing places of the world,,, and the druation of the hits tells me they are reading more than just my post but all the comments as well… and this is wonderful as the comments have added so much more value to the post… so again I thank you for the comment Zita it is appreciated by all….

  5. And Britain’s Mrs.Thatcher and her minions,under other circumstances only too ready to open their capacious mouths and condemn each and every assault upon innocents by PLO murderers,IRA murderers or those apparently working for the “other side”,that is the USSR,were silent!It was then that I,with my children at school in the finest country in Africa,RHODESIA,realised that my country would stoop to any level to consort with terrorists,murderers of any description,as long as they,the government of the day could hug the,to them,moral limelight.Rhodesia,under her PM,Ian Smith,was not fighting to maintain racial superiority,in other words,a “racist” war,if you will,but was fighting the Western World’s fight for civilisation and decency.The Rhodesians had,to their great and grievous misfortune,not understood that the West,led by Britain,had long ago abandoned any vestiges of such qualities or even a pretence of these manifestations of culture.All the leaders int he West had but one objective in mind:win the next election,cavort and gambol on the world’s stage all the while descending ever further into the mire of populism.If this meant shedding oneself of any and every responsibility for their kin in Africa and they knew full well what would ensue if Rhodesia fell,then so be it.The main thing was to avoid any hint of “racism”.”Men” of the fibre of Carrington,a LORD no less!,who was only interested in his own political advancement.With such treacherous,devious,amorphous and despicable creatures Ian Smith was forced to negotiate.He assumed that when one gave one’s word it was binding.For them,the British it was merely a formality,meaningless in the everyday life of a politician.Rhodesians and other whites were cruelly murdered by the savages with whom Mrs.Thatcher danced during the “Independence Day” celebrations.We,who lived through those turbulent times will never forget them.

  6. I’m embarrassed to say I’m in the group of people who hadn’t heard of this appalling attack until reading this post! I’d like to think if it happened today, world reaction would be immediate and very different than it was in ’78. I suppose that’s one of the most positive things to come from the internet age and 24hr news cycle. At least now regular citizens (of any country) aren’t dependent on government spin and newspapers alone…we can access events across the world for ourselves and it makes quite a difference in what you know and when you know it!
    I’m at the viscountdown.com site now trying to educate myself more. Can you suggest any additional reading material?

    • Thank you for reading and commenting on this post.. it was for me an eye opener as to how much the world did not know, and as you say it is our own Governments in those days that halted publication of things they didn’t want the general public to get to know about or maybe it was just not of too big a concern to them.. It fascinates me now when the USA want to retaliate against a government that drops chemical weapons on their own people, as do I admire their wish to protect the public of other countries… yet I do wish that this had happened so many years earlier… I like the fact that the USA feels the need to stand up for others in their position of inability to retaliate against their own bullies… God bless America is my reaction… yet Africa has lacked this protection in the past, and atrocities are still happening all over Africa, I’m blessed to live in a country that is fairly stable and one can live in peace and harmony South Africa being given a good grounding by a doyen of our time Mr Nelson Mandela…
      There is another article that is a bit more graphic about these atrocities and here is the link,,… http://rhodesianheritage.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/kariba-slaughter.html but I can recommend Keith Nell’s book Viscount down that can be purchased in the USA of which we are led to believe there is at present a possibility of a film being made about the attacks… the viscountdown site should give you purchase details… There is so much to read about our past, and I call it our past, as I’m a Rhodesian and not a Zimbabwian, my country has gone off the face of the world maps never to return…

      • I’ve always wondered how people felt about country name changes…If they suddenly started calling the U.S, “Confederation of Welfare States” it would stll be the U.S to me! (Actually, Confed of Welfare States IS pretty much what’s happening here now…. but at least we still have the illusion of our old U.S of A, and hope that somehow life may return to what our founding fathers envisioned) When the name changes it ushers in a whole new philosophy with it, and that is definitely hard to swallow.
        This was a great discussion my friend. I’m glad I had the guts to speak up about the 9/11 poem…you helped educate me and I appreciate that!

  7. And yet Mrs.Thatcher,the “iron lady”,danced with that piece of filth,Mugabe in celebration of the end of civilisation in Central Afrika.The great traitor “Lord” Carrington looked on,well satisfied with his work.I am ashamed of my country for its disgusting behaviour over Rhodesia.

  8. http://rhodesianheritage.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/kariba-slaughter.html This is a heartrending account with photographs, so please don’t look if sensative, but the world needs to look and see the horror that has been carried out and hidden by those who slandered Rhodesians and the Smith government for their own gain, both in Africa and abroad. Rhodesia was an amazing jewel, and the incredible people….so big hearted and noble, I am so proud of you all!

    • Dawn thanks for the visit and the link.. I did read this article a while back as well as the book Viscount Down.. as a Rhodesian I still find it hard to believe that the world did not condemn this atrocity.. The 9/11 of the USA had the world rushing into different countries to destroy leaders of those countries on the grounds that they were behind the atrocity…
      In our case they almost hero worshiped the perpetrator or head that was behind the action… and this from the countries whom our very fathers fought for in the second world war…
      History has a way of repeating itself and one wonders how this will all turn out in the end.. would we now be satisfied with an apology from the present British Government.? I don’t think so, I think history will record that a government allowed terrorists to destroy what they once governed, and all the promises they made never came to fruition… (Farm invasions, pensioners income etc.)

      • For those who lost relatives and friends in the Viscount disasters, no apology will ever be enough. Imagine if Bin Laden apologised for America’s 9/11, would that ever have been enough? No, its not enough and cannot ever be. So what now? The battle is to win back our honour and that of our fallen, for fighting the evils of tyranny and dictatorship.

        The legacy bestowed upon Rhodesians by Western Leaders in decades past and present, is that we were/are white supremist racists for fighting the revolutionary forces of self declared Marxist Leninist terrorist leaders supported by China and Russia to overthrow the Rhodesian Government in the pseudo name of peace and freedom.

        Meanwhile, citizens of other countries who hardly knew where Rhodesia was, believed the propaganda fed to them by the governments that they had elected. We need to win back our honour – we need to win hearts and minds of the ‘unconverted’ populations who know no better – and an Official apology is one of the first steps needed to destroy wrongful perceptions.

        Bitterness has no place in this fight to redeem our honour and to set the history records straight. More flies are destroyed with honey than with vinegar. Remember that a significant portion of the British population supported and sympathized with Ian Smith. We must move away from bitterness toward anyone if we want citizens of Britain and America to be open minded about the Rhodesian cause. We also need to avoid doing unnecessary damage. Think about it. The whole world already knows and condemns the Lockerbie and Twin Towers 9/11 styled terrorist attacks. There is no better catalyst for gaining international recognition for our cause than to publicise Rhodesia’s 9/11. Ironically, what once shattered the Nation now holds they key to winning back our honour. We are aiming for a target of 1000 people to attend the Memorial on 9 February 2013… . The BIG WHEEL will turn WHEN WE BREAK THE DEAFENING SILENCE. Please be there.

  9. I am just so proud of being a Rhodesian. We were so blessed to be raised in such a wonderful land. My husband did his many stints as did others. The children really felt it having Dad leave for four weeks at a time. Being so proud of our country we all pulled together and helped each other out. Thank you to the Viscount team for what they have done.

    • Yes Margret I cannot agree with you more.. the team has done a wonderful job of raising a memorial to those that lost their lives… I am a proud Rhodesian that had to go to the border and leave the wife and child behind… but if called on to do it again, I would… I hope the wish of the team to get 1000+ together on the 9th is achieved.. the 12th of February Umniati wreath laying will show the world that “we will remember them”.

  10. My sister Pauline Delport and sister in law Lynette Ballantyne were both killed in the 1979 air crash, words cannot express how i feel, and what it did to our family. I thank all the people who have made it possible to finally make this recognised to the world,

    • Linda thank you so much for commenting and telling how you feel… I also knew people on both flights and as you say words cannot say how we feel.. I think that what has been done by the few is true Rhodesian spirit of “we shall remember them” on the 9th of Feb there is the effort to get a 1000 people together to remember those that fell on the 12th February the Umniati, and somehow I just think they will be there…

    • Dear Linda. I have Googled the Air Rhodesia Viscount memorial as the date for the Sept 2013 memorial service fast approaches and have discovered this heartbreaking article. Dad and I attended the unveiling of the monument in Sept 2012 and in Feb 2013 for the second memorial service. There was not a dry eye with the awesome BHS pipe band display and beautiful choir. Please know our hearts go out to you and all family members of both Viscount attacks. We attended Northlea High School in Bulawayo with Cyril and Lynette Delport. Lynnie was my classmate for five years and I was devastated to learn that Lynnie and Pauline were both victims of the horrific Umniati attack. We also knew airhostess Dulcie in the Hunyani attack. I live close to the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria and Dad and I will continue to honour the fallen twice every year. We chatted to Keith Nell and I told him his true account “Viscount Down” was a tough but riveting read. God bless Keith/Rev Bill/Mike and Alf as we take a stand against the deafening silence. Proud of my Rhodesian heritage!

      • Zita, once again I’m glad you have commented where you have, as emails get sent to those under who you commented… I’m sure they appreciate the sentiments of which you comment… it is always a pleasure for me to be able to link people together and that my post acts as a connection… I also knew Lynnie Delpot, although we called her Lyn.. what tragic events that will never be forgotten in my mind for the rest of my life… again thanks for the visit and thank you for commenting, it is appreciated by all I’m sure…

        • Rob you are just amazing to acknowledge our comments.Hats off to you that you do not mince words either! It is wonderful that YOU post your blog as our connection with remaining family members (by passing on our emails to them) who lost so many loved ones on the two Viscount flights. Hopefully it provides some small comfort for them to know we Rhodies of yesteryear stand firm: WE SHALL REMEMBER THEM. Sincere appreciation for your huge Rhodie heart and I hope to seek you out at the next memorial service held at the Voortrekker Monument site in Pretoria? Hoping we will find info of date/time on your blog. Perhaps held on Sunday 1/8 September 2013?

  11. News of the Commemoration Event and Unveiling of the Viscount Memorial on 2nd September 2012 has spread around the world, and continues to do so, but doing that only once is not enough. The Memorial is just the first step to ensure that the Viscount Victims SHALL BE REMEMBERED. Now it is up to us all to show support for this cause on each and every anniversary date of both the Viscount Hunyani and the Viscount Umniati. For updates on future progress, please register on our website http://www.viscountdown.com to receive our free newsletters. I am proud of Members of the Viscount Team who continue to work with determination and enthusiasm on other initiatives, such as to break “The Deafening Silence” that is constantly referred to – and with which we ARE MAKING PROGRESS!! The Big Wheel is Turning! Thanks bulldogsturf for your blog!

    • Thanks Keith for the follow up and newsy bits… I will be blogging again having now read the book and in fact going through it again.. (read it too quick last time)… going to do a review on the book and add photos once more… I had such a good reaction last time with visits on the blog from all over the world… many a comment I was forced to block due to aggressive political content.. but I think many are waiting for more… as for the memorial being over now, I agree it cannot be forgotten… and a get together once a year as they do for the Voortrekker Monument should become a mark on a calender…
      wonderful work from us all to those on the committees and I look forward to visiting with you to find out how it went in the USA… go well my friend..

    • Well Rob, I’m still waiting for that promised visit from you!

      Meantime, here is an OPEN INVITATION to the Viscount Umniati Remembrance day, taking place at 12:00 noon on 9 February 2013 at the Viscount Memorial situated at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria.

      We are hoping to attract 1,000 people help break the deafening silence about Rhodesia’s 911, hushed up at the time by Western leaders for the lack of moral courage to condemn these heinous atrocities against mankind, to save their political carriers for supporting the revolutionary forces of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo to overthrow the Rhodesian Government in the pseudo name of peace and freedom,

      The Service will be led by Lt. Colonel, the Reverend Bill Dodgen – the Military Chaplain of the then Rhodesian Armed Forces. Our Master of Ceremonies is the famous Rhodesian musician, Mike Westcott, who will control the program, specially designed to help transform sadness and sorrow to consolation and closure. To that end, the audience may be seated to enjoy two hymns played by the full Benoni High School Pipe Band with beautiful singing by Members of their Choir. (The BHS has won first place in school Pipe Band competitions for over 20 years).

      After the service, the 30 piece Pipe Band will lead us to the Recreation (picnic) area for a social gathering and braai, after which the draw for Craig Bone’s painting worth R 100,000 will take place. We are still trying to organise a fly-over between 2pm and 3pm, but this may not be possible due to time and budget constraints. Anyone with a spare Alouette helicopter, Dakota, Vampire and Hawker Hunter is extremely welcome to contact us ASAP.

      More information follows – but interested persons are well advised to register on our website http://www.viscountdown.com to receive our FREE newsletters bringing constant updates to your attention.

      Many thanks, Keith Nell and The Viscount Memorial Team.

      • Kieth I’ve been all over the country with our computer software as well as my son who gave us a wonderful trip through the Kalahari and Kgalagadi Gemsbok Park.. now in Beta testing stage of the program that just takes up hours and hours of my time… but if one wants the ship to come in it has to be done.. but we will make the effort.. I have traced up a few ex school friends including Graham Wilson (Borer) whom I’m hoping will join us on this day… see you there…

  12. How sad that even our World Religions have grown deaf and dumb to such terrible violence. I’ll share some thoughts I wrote in ’95 under the title ‘Violence’ if I might. ‘Valued lives in violence taken, voice of conscience coldly forsaken, instruments of death and destruction, bombs and bullets and drugs and knives…Inspect the building of deadly force, the tragic physics of anger and fear, the chemistry of insatiable greed,the killing virus of extremist hate…See the dramas that we create, crediting God or blaming Fate. Watch families and nations torn apart ’til Love lives in every home and heart!’ -Our words and our silence, our action and our inaction…these are all declarations of our present state of evolution…humanity needs a giant leap in our evolution very soon or we could destroy our species and the health of our planet. Insanities increase and freedoms diminish. The only hope is in remembering our oneness and in demonstrating our spirituality to heal this spiritual disease of violence whether we are the richest of the rich or the poorest of the poor. God bless! Shelley

    • Thanks Shelley and lovely words for me to add to my post… the tragic circumstances of what is happening all over the world today, with innocent people loosing their lives for some radical to make a point, makes one ponder the future of humanity…. are we now in this to end each other.??? I wish that sanity would return to life in general…

  13. This is a terribly horrific event that I never knew about until I red your blog. I notice from your commenters that many of them are fellow countrymen of yours. So may I ask a naive question,please? YOU all refer to yourselves as Rhodesians. Isn’t your country now called Zimbabwe?

    • Good question… we refer to ourselves as Rhodesians as that is the name of our country… Zimbabwe is not…. Zimbabwe is the result of world pressure… Rhodesia is what we have pride in, what we remember, and what we are… my country no longer exists… and I never want to be associated with Zimbabwe, the result… the atrocities the result of dictatorship, the rampart devaluation of the currency, the inflation rate of 1000’s per month, the farm take overs (mostly bloody and murderously, and not with any financial compensation) so that the lands can stand empty and starvation stares many in the face. No thank you… a country that was self sufficient that now relies on hand outs.. the leaders gets rich and the populace get poorer… and that’s what the world wanted… no we are Rhodesians…

        • Certainly not offended in any way… it just appears so many of the rest of the world were unaware of what went on in my old country.. and for that matter what still is… the tragic events of farm evasions, animal slaughter and the hand outs from the third world countries that just go direct to politicians pockets and their own people continue to starve… Pensions that were guaranteed by Britain that have never been forth coming… My own parents rely on me for their livable income as theirs just stop coming… and they’re not alone… there are so many things that have happened since the forced independence, that just has us not wanting to be associated with a country that is no longer like our own…

  14. Pingback: Air Rhodesia Viscont tribute - GT40s.com

  15. I lost ten good buddies on the Aircraft. Wish I could have been at the unveiling but was not possible. Took a lot of courage for those of us that did, to carry on doing our duty for Air Rhodesia. But really worth it in the end.

    • Oh Betty … what a honour to have you comment on my blog.. you were all stalwarts that continued to fly on those planes… always with a smiling face and a friendly demeanor that made everyone who flew feel safe… I bow in respect to you and your compatriots that manned the flights after this atrocity… and to loose 10 friends in such a short time, tragic how can we know how you felt… This much I can tell you there was a lot of respect for you all and many actually voiced that opinion on the day… thank you so much for commenting on my post, it gives it so much more respect and meaning to me… thank you…

  16. I was present at the unveiling of the memorial and must say it was a magnificent effort. Mike Westcott could not have expressed himself better. The turn-out was excellent and the uniforms of various units punctuated the atmosphere. I took time to visit the plaque of the men who perished on Puma 164 and found Lee Catterson also paying his respects. It was a sombre day, but well worth the effort.

  17. Yes those were sad and terrible days for many. My best friend at school Leon Du Plessis lost his dad on that fateful day and even sader was that he lost his own life while serving in the airforce. His plane, a Cessna “push pull” was shot down while taking off from an airfield in the northern part of the war front.May they all rest in peace and we will never forget.
    Thank you for a wonderful tribute to those who were taken from us before their time.

    • Thank you for your comment on my blog… it is tragic occurrences like this fellows that need telling… I have been asked if I won’t consider passing on more such info and have considered it… The problem is finding the people prepared to tell the story…
      This blog has attracked so many comments that I might just post more photos and let the ex- Rhodies comment on them with their stories…Thanks again for commenting..

  18. There are good meaning folk who post details they were ‘told’ about or ‘read’ about concerning the fate of Hunyani survivors, which they would be astounded to learn are completely incorrect. The truth of these controversial issues is in my book ‘VISCOUNT DOWN’. Be careful not to state anything until after verifying the facts.

    • I considered blocking certain comments and then thought twice about it… if some one wants to state their feelings or what they heard … I felt who was I to contradict them or argue a point… that is what my comments page is for so that the experts can enlighten us all…
      But then maybe they should just read your book and get the true story… once I’ve got my copy and read it I might be better positioned to enlighten on certain points…

  19. Good to read your comments. Have good friend who survived the carnage. read the book The Deafening Silence by Hans Hansen…survivor …and also Keith Nells book Viscount Down. Both very good. Believe there is another book being written from another perspective about same subject. Author in SA and researching details at present.

    • Thanks for the look in and comment… I have never had so many messages from people that remember the incident or had friends etc on the planes… it is a wonderful memorial to those that lost their lives and well worth the visit to the memorial…

  20. At last a memor[al all the silent majority can no longer miss.None of us who lived there then will forget what they did,how could we?Bill and Joyce Martin ex Bulawayo

    • Hi Bill and Joyce .. thanks for the look in and comment… I’m also ex Bulawayo..
      Yes we now have something honouring the loss of unnecessary life… something we can remember them by… it was so nice to bump into old friends and of course make new ones.. but then your ex Rhodie.. we’re all one family…
      The memorial is magnificent and Keith and his team have done a wonderful job, all hail goes to them…

  21. How wonderful that there is now a memorial for these good Rhodesians after all these years. I live in the UK but go out to South Africa every year or so to visit my son in Jo’burg, and will definitely make a visit to this memorial the next time I go – indeed every time I go. I will remember them in my prayers, and would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who was involved in having this memorial erected. Just one question – how did you get
    the South African authorities to agree to it?

    • The agreement to have it erected I think goes through the Monument commission… and not through the government… There are in any case memorials there to so many different other groups… however that question can only be answered by Keith Nell and his team… I can tell you one thing though it has a wonderful position within the grounds an absolute prime position… well deserving of a memorial to fallen Rhodesians… I am going to put up a blog on the other memorials within the grounds just in case you are interested… I don’t know if you popped in just for this post or whether you looked at any of the other posts I’ve uploaded… any way thanks for the comment and look in…

    • Alf to be quite honest I had heard this many years ago, and have never been able to verify the story… I cannot contradict the claim and therefore allowed it to be posted… I don’t know who can verify it or even if I want to… who knows the answer to that one…??

  22. For anyone who lives in the USA & would like to meet Keith Nell, he will be the guest speaker & honored guest at The Rhodesian Reunion in Las Vegas September 21-23 2012. Look it up on The Rhodesian Association website

  23. Two of the passengers on the Viscount had only been married the week before, they
    were having one weeks honeymoon at Kariba. They were flying back to Salisbury.
    Words cannot describe the pain the suffering the family must have suffered.

    • How right your are G. Yates,,, there are so many horrifying stories I heard after the day… and it has been difficult for so many to find some form of closure on the atrocity… Keith’s good work with his team has hopefully found closure for many… My biggest peeve is the silence from the rest of the world, then and still now, and that I will probably take to my death bed with me… thanks for the look in and comment… maybe the memorial will become a meeting place for old Rhodies in the future…

    • Warren old or young I think it was an eye opener to us all, I remember it like it was yesterday, and always wish I’d been able to do more at the time… they sent in the special guys to track and capture the perps which they did to the very last one… yet one still felt as though the matter had not been put to rest… this Memorial is that final step I think that had to be taken… and thanks to Keith Nell and his team, their foresight and drive they got it done… I was astounded when I saw what they had created and I think it a very fitting monument to the memories of those slain… I knew people on both planes and now I have somewhere to go to remember them…thank you for the look in and comment..

    • I wish I could answer that, and to be honest I did not want to ask as I would probably become all paparazzi like trying to get a photo… but there were a lot of tears so I’m sure that family or friends of survivors had to be present…

  24. This unveiling is a fine tribute to all those innocents who died in these cowardly acts of violence. Lest we forget. Although we are all dispersed globally, we will always be proud of that once great nation.

  25. Hi, have stumbled across your blog. THANK YOU, you have done a marvelous job of recording Sunday 2nd September 2012s Viscount Memorial.
    Warmest regards,
    Bronwyn Grey
    A Viscount Team member.

    • Bronwyn, it has been a pleasure for me, the reaction and contacts I’ve had from fellow Rhodies that have look in… I assume you saw my first blog on the day… it created quite a stir in me with the comments emails etc I got from all over the world… we forget that others also remember these atrocities and because of distance need guys like me to share for them to keep up… Thanks for the look in and comment…. God be with you…

  26. I remember that day like it was yesterday….the Deafening Silence Speech and the blood curdling laughter of nkomo laughing as he was interviewed following his “brave act”. Butchers and pigs the lot!!

    • Don’t we all.. and would you not like to just have 5 minutes alone with one such as he… just 5 min and a pick handle… thanks for the comment and hope you had a look in on my first post…

  27. A tragic day in the history of this country . I remember the ” deafening silence ” speech from the Bishop afterwords – very powerful . Cecil Mclaren , who survived the crash and helped to lead others to safety , was my dentist . Sadly , the horrid memories never left him , and he passed on a few years later . Well done to all involved in this superb monument – a fitting tribute .

    • Thank you for the comment and how tragic for Cecil Mclaren, that speech is going viral on the internet at the moment which I think is very fitting… I’m finding it so interesting on how many have never hear of the incident… goes to show…

  28. To all involved – thank you. I shall be going to the memorial next month when I’m in SA again to pay my respects to the Rhodesians and others who were butchered by the scum of the earth. The atrocities in Rhodeisa were ignored then by the world, as are Mugabe’s evil actions now.

    • Yes Mike how right you are.. and it is well worth the visit, Kieth and his team did a magnificent job… when talking to him about it he informed me that they had started just 9 weeks previous to the event… to raise the necessary monies, get the necessary permission and to have it erected was a work of dedication I’m sure… and to him and his team goes all the credit… a wonderful man, can’t picture him jumping out of a plane to follow up on the terrs ..

  29. I need to sadly admit that I do NOT know a thing about this horrible atrocity, except for reading your post just now. I plan to do a little research to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. It makes me cringe and want to cry to think of the losses, and as in our 9/ll, somehow the terror of it shakes me even more than the deaths themselves. The memorial is so important, to stand as a marker for what really happened. I would like to know more about the “official’ position as to why other countries did not condemn the actions! There is no excuse, but I always wonder what the “reason” behind the silence is…just cowardice, or fear? I’m so glad I read this post so that I could at least be aware. Debra

    • Thank you Debra, research will show an awful lot of highly disgruntled entries.. we were fighting for our country our existence and the rest of the world was against us.. and this I can understand (to a degree) but when this happened no one condemned the atrocity.. the fact that young children were bayoneted to death through the eye sockets etc, with stories of rape of the women etc, one would have expected condemnation.. but the BBC interviewed the leader of the group Nkomo and he was allowed to brag about it.. We all felt for the 9/11 in NYC, in fact I visited New York just after the event, my kids were working in the USA, and to see the support around the clean up, the feeling of horror of all around was almost like static electricity.. my own blood boiled at it and if I could have done something about it I would have.. Ours past silently in the night and I wish to point you to a magazine which you will find on the net that has the Catholic Ministers speech he gave at the memorial service so many years ago, it explains the feeling of us all that lived there…search for the Alpha 1 magazine or email rhodaf.uk@gmail.com to obtain a pdf file copy…

      • I really will try to access the article. If I have trouble, I’ll let you know. Your description of the barbarism is really beyond my worst nightmare. The word tragedy almost sounds light! I will do some “homework” soon! Thank you.

        • There is a book and DVD covering the whole incident written by Kieth Nell an SAS operative that was involved in the clean up and follow up of the perpetrators… to learn more look at www(dot)viscountdown(dot)com you might just find this interesting…

  30. Not only did we lose a family member on Umniati (Nerine/Denise Quinsee) but friends on both Viscounts. When Denise died she not only left a husband but two young children ages 7 & 13. The children did not go to Kariba with their Mom. Their Dad & the other men had driven up but for safety Denise went by plane along with the other ladies for a fun weekend. God Bless them all. All Rhodesians who lived through the war years have a special bond that not many others in the world can understand, our hearts reach out to each other.

    • June and Cecil, how right you are… the stories I heard from others about the crash scenes etc, I can only thank God I never saw them… but I do wish that I had have been one of those that captured them… The day at times had my blood boil, and it was wonderful to see all the old insignia on the berets and breast pockets… quite stirring… and that bond you talk of was there in abundance… thanks for the look in… and come again..

  31. I’m glad that you let us learn about this..and I’m sorry for the loss of your friends and ALL of the innocent…With so much beauty in the world…why cannot the Ugly see it and be changed by it…. Lovely poem..sniff.

    • In hind sight it was a great day for old friends to get together, to catch up, to talk old days and new days… and at the same time to place a memory to those lost on the planes. The biggest thing that peeves me is the lack of condemnation from the Churches…
      But it all happened years ago and one must learn to forgive and forget… and be HAPPY….

  32. Your post brought back memories of, my dear school friend Philip Evans, who was massacred together with his wife and 4-year-old daughter, along with 9 other innocents, in ‘The Elim Mission Massacre’ of June 1978. They were dreadful times. The poem written by your friend to honour the victims of those two plane attacks, is very moving, and has been in my mind since I read it early this morning, especially that last verse. I’m so sorry that you lost friends in the attacks.

    • It was the reality of the times.. when one considers how many school friends and personal friends and for that matter family that lost their lives fighting on the boarder, it is actually a small percentage.. it was just the way this was done and to your friends as well… Fight a man gun to gun… don’t murder innocents… my blood boils, in cases like that… thanks for the comment Dear…

  33. I think out of all the atrocities of the Rhodesian bush war, the shooting down of the Viscounts draws us together in sadness the most. Congratulations to all of the team for making this monument happen. I just wish I could have been there. Could I please borrow the Poem to reproduce in our Alpha1 magazine of the Rhodesian Air Force Association UK?

    • I got permission from my good friend Alf to use it on my blog.. he said it had no copy right on it and anyone was welcome to use it… please do and give him the credit and mention that his book of poetry is available on Amazon… it was a wonderful day of remembrance and certainly brought the spirit of the Rhodesians to life again…

  34. I was an air hostess with Air Rhodesia between 1966 and 1969. I knew both Captain Hood and Captain du Plessis ( who was well known for his hearty laugh!!). Also knew a few of the passengers including Roger Seaton. How very very sad that time was and all the more because it was not condemned world wide. Saying it was Rhodesia’s 9/11 is very very true. Thank you for bringing this all back to our minds and the fact that there is now a memorial, makes it all the more touching to the families of the victims.

    • Lynette so kind of you to comment… Sunday past was a great day of remembrance… and to see so many turn out for the unveiling… The badges, and medals displayed on the breasts of many.. the berets and the camaraderie, Oh what a day.. chests pushed out with pride to see the old flag fluttering in the breeze, the hymns and service were all conducive of a great memorial service honouring those poor soles that died.. it was a sad time, but now thanks to those that worked so hard to have this monument to their memory erected… We will remember them, and to those that visit who knew nothing of it, they will have a time to reflect on the happenings…

    • The world was against us and I can understand that we received no condemnation from the then Governments, but I remain steadfast in my belief that the Churches could and should have condemned the merciless killings of civilians, specially the young and innocent that survived a plane crash only to be bayoneted to death..

  35. Dulcie Estherhuizen the surviving Air hostess was a personal friend of mine. I went to school with her and later worked with her at the Rhodesia Computer Bureau before she became an air hostess. I was in the bush, in base camp with her cousin Sgt Chris Estherhuizen of the Greys Scouts when he was called to the Com’s tent and told of this tragic news. I have never heard a grown man cry and lament in agony as he did for several hours that day. We later learned that Dulcie had survived and stayed behind to care for some of the other injured and frail passengers. She was thereafter Raped andTtortured by these cowardly scum of the earth who proceeded to bayonett her to death along with maby of those she was caring for. The punishment they received from our SAS once they were tracked and cornered seems far to lenient a for what they did. Thank you Keith and your amazing colleagues in the SAS for what you did back then and what you are doing now to remember these innocent civilins. Shame on the west for their smug indifference and turning a blind eye to this terrorism….it is the same demon in every country wherever and whever it occurs and we Rhodesians will never forget it.

    • Thank you for the memory, and the memory of Dulcie… it was a tragic occurrence, a moment in history that we will never forget.. I lost a friend in both planes and to be there on the day was a special moment for me..
      Yes we thank Kieth and all the troops involved in tracking down and capturing those that committed the crime… as was said at the memorial each and every one was caught… and to that we can give praise, that they met their just reward at the hands of the troops that persistently followed them.
      So many have never heard of this incident in Rhodesia, which shows how much press we got in those days… but to me the fact that the world Churches remained so silent, is the biggest tragedy..

    • I refer to the above two comments posted. Airhostess Dulcie remains forever in our hearts for her bravery after surviving the Hunyani crash, tending to the injured passengers. Too horrible to imagine. She was only 21 and in the prime of her life but senselessly murdered. I was a few years ahead of her at Northlea High in Bulawayo and recall her vibrant zest for life. I join in the tribute posted by Bulldogsturf/Mvcubu and there is consolation, however small, that the scum of the earth were eventually tracked down and met their just reward by the SAS. We honour the pilots/air-hostesses and passengers on both flights and their loved ones who remain behind, not forgetting the survivors who miraculously escaped after the Hunyani downing and massacre.

      • Zita.. what a surprise for me to have another comment posted on my blog… thank you for the visit and the comment… As Keith continues to say, the wheel keeps turning and the news about these two tragic events is making itself known world wide… It just seems more of a tragic event that it has taken so long, for so many, to actually hear about the events and only now start to condemn the incident… But for all those that lost their lives, it is in some way, a small triumph over the bastards that took their lives, as they are at last being condemned for their atrocity… Thank you again for the comment and visit to my site, I do appreciate that there are still some who care…

  36. I haven’t pushed the ‘like’ button on this because it’s absolutely horrendous. I had never heard of this before and when I looked down the names on the plaque I saw entire families who had been killed! Words escape me (and this doesn’t happen often)

    Alf Hutchison’s poem is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing – it’s amazing what we learn about history, politics and life through the relationships we have on the web.

    • Thank you.. yes the friend I had on the first one down was put on the plane by her husband as he felt it too dangerous for her to accompany him back in the vehicle… he made it home she didn’t…
      The second one down took a man as a youngster I looked up to… a mathematician and engineer of note.. but a nicer man I’ve yet to meet… Loris was a hero to me… such a brain to be rob from us, when still in his prime…

  37. I’m so sorry, Bulldog, what a tragedy. The poem was very touching and beautiful. (and Amazing Grace is a very pwoerful song – always makes me cry)

  38. Oh what a tragic event… my heart breaks. Your tribute here is beautiful bulldog – and Mr. Hutchison’s poem depticts the emotions in a very heartfelt and solemn way. Much appreicated it — blessings and love ~ R

    • Thanks Robyn, I thought you might enjoy his poetry… I share yours with him quite often.. and he has nothing but high praise for your work… I have only been friends with Alf over in FB and to finally meet and talk for hours with him after the service was a real treat… we talked as though we’d known each other for years.. strange this internet of ours…

    • He is such a fantastic poet… I began reading as much poetry as I could after discovering him.. I was never drawn to poetry, for some unknown reason, but he quickly converted me…

    • It was a heart string day to see the two names of people I’d known so well… and if you want me to cry bring on the bagpipes and “Amazing Grace” had me disappearing from the crowd…

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