Books on the British South Africa Police - BSAP
The British South Africa Police (BSAP) was the police force of the British South Africa Company (BSAC) of Cecil Rhodes which became the national police force of Southern Rhodesia and its successor after 1965, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Until 1899, the force also policed parts of BSAC territories north of the Zambezi River and now in Zambia.

The organisation was formed by the BSAC in 1889 as a paramilitary, mounted infantry force in order to provide protection for the Pioneer Column of settlers which moved into Mashonaland in 1890. The unit played a central role in both the First Matabele War (1893) and the Second Matabele War (1896/97). Until 1897 the force was called the British South Africa Company's Police. The BSAP operated originally in conjunction with the Southern Rhodesia Constabulary (SRC), the town police force for Salisbury (now Harare) and Bulawayo, but amalgamated with the SRC in 1909. As a paramilitary unit, the BSAP fought in the Second Boer War and in Tanganyika during World War I, while some members were seconded to the Rhodesia Native Regiment. From 1923, Southern Rhodesia was a self-governing colony of the British Empire, but the BSAP retained its title and its position as the senior regiment of the Southern Rhodesian armed forces.

During the Rhodesian Bush War in the late 1960s and 1970s, the BSAP formed an important part of the government's fight against nationalist guerrillas. The force formed a riot unit; a tracker combat team (later renamed the Police Anti-Terrorist Unit or PATU); a police field force type Support Unit (who were distinquished by wearing black boots), an Urban Emergency Unit, a Police Reserve Air Wing or PRAW, and a Marine Division.



Below is a list of the current and 'Out of Print' books about or involving the BSAP, available from us (in no particular order). Should there be a title, that covers a fair bit about the BSAP that we should know about, please let us know.





Blue and Old Gold: The History of the British South Africa Police 18891980 - Peter Gibbs with Hugh Phillips and Nick Russell, Illustrated by Richard Hamley
The BSAP held the honour of occupying the Right of the Line - one of the finest police forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth. In 1889 Cecil Rhodes was granted a royal charter by Queen Victoria to settle Mashonaland, in what was to become Southern Rhodesia. So was formed the British South Africa Company; its regiment of troopers raised to protect the occupying Pioneer Column dubbed the British South Africa Police, the BSAP. From the 1893 Matabele War, the 1896 Mashona Rebellion and the Jameson Raid, the Anglo-Boer War, through both world wars and finally to the Rhodesian bush war of the 1960s and '70s, troopers and officers of this fine regiment of policemen, both black and white, were proudly to the fore, in civilian and military roles until the disbandment of the Force in 1980.
Blue and Old Gold: The History of the British South Africa Police 18891980 - Peter Gibbs with Hugh Phillips and Nick Russell, Illustrated by Richard Hamley

Bound for Africa: Cold War Fight along the Zambezi - Douglass H. Hubbard, Jr
This is the story of the author's introduction to Africa at a time when much of the continent was in the grips of Cold War skirmishes between the free world and the communist forces of China and the Soviet Union. Frayed from three years of service during the Vietnam War, american Hubbard traveled to Africa intending to become a rural policeman in a quiet area of what was then Rhodesia. The counterinsurgency war flared soon after, a conflict that bore many of the same characteristics of the country he had just left. Hubbard describes his assimilation into the police force and into Rhodesian society, and he recounts the challenges and satisfaction of leading and training young Africans. This is a very personal story of the frustrations he faced and of the attitudes and spirit of the nation's racially mixed security force.

Bound for Africa: Cold War Fight along the Zambezi - Douglass H. Hubbard, Jr

Assignment Selous Scouts: Inside Story of a Rhodesian Special Branch Officer - Jim Parker
In 1968 Jim Parker attested in the British South Africa Police as a patrol officer, leaving five years later with the rank of section officer to pursue a career as a sugar farmer in Rhodesia 's Lowveld. When the bush war on the eastern border heated up in 1976 he was already a Police A Reserve section officer. His intimate local knowledge of the Chiredzi area led top him providing an invaluable contribution by assisting with the initial military deployments, this resulted in him being invited to join the exclusive Special Branch unit attached to the Selous Scouts.
While serving with them he was involved in the hunt for ZANLA guerrillas, the operational directing, briefing and debriefing of both Selous Scouts and Special branch pseudo guerrilla teams as well as biological and chemical warfare. It is a story of war, small fighting actions, major raids into enemy territory and of strikes and counterstrikes.

Assignment Selous Scouts: Inside Story of a Rhodesian Special Branch Officer - Jim Parker

Delta Scout: Ground Coverage Operator - Anthony Trethowan
The story of a British South Africa policeman (BSAP) in Rhodesia's bush war, a young man who signed up as a raw eighteen year old and thence serving with this fine force for 8 years. Told with a sensitivity and pathos that is rare in military memoirs, it is a brutally honest, compelling account of innocence lost. After Uniform Branch, the author became a Ground Coverage operator (GC) before joining Special Branch (SB) towards the end of the war.
Delta Scout: Ground Coverage Operator - Anthony Trethowan

Mapolisa - Some Reminiscences of a Rhodesian Policeman - D Craven
The author's memoirs of his service in the British South Africa Police (BSAP) 1948-69. Capturing a colonial era as the winds of change were blowing across Africa. A delightful account of an ordinary policeman simply getting on with his job in the then Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
Mapolisa - Some Reminiscences of a Rhodesian Policeman - D Craven

Never Quite a Soldier: A Rhodesian Policeman's War 1971-1982 - David Lemon
The author was a policeman with Rhodesia's elite British South Africa Police during the Bush War days. His first involvement with the war came when he was member-in-charge of Macheke Police Station. Groups of infiltrating ZANLA guerrillas moved into the area and embarked on a murderous campaign targeting both black and white civilians. The war throughout the country escalated and indiscriminate acts of terror like the bomb detonated in a Woolworths branch in Salisbury that killed 12 black shoppers and wounded 76 more, the June 1978 massacre by ZANLA of nine white missionaries and four children - one a three week old baby, the shooting down of a Viscount airliner and the subsequent massacre of survivors and countless other terrible incidents decided him to join the elite Police Support Unit which comprised 12 companies of fighting policemen, most of them black. The Black Boots as they were known, were as smart or smarter than the Brigade of Guards on parade, and as fighting men they matched or surpassed any elite fighting unit anywhere in the world. This is an amazing firsthand account - David Lemon is one of the few white officers to have fought for Ian Smith, Bishop Muzorewa and Robert Mugabe, he is in a unique position to write about those turbulent years of war and its terrible aftermath.
Never Quite a Soldier: A Rhodesian Policeman's War 1971-1982 - David Lemon

Out of Action - Chris Cocks
The sequel to the best-selling Fireforce - One Man's War in the Rhodesian Light Infantry
It is an intensely personal journey of the story of a young man, brutalized by war, who seeks escape and in the process causes immeasurable pain and suffering to himself and to those around him. The book spans the period between 1979 and 1995, in Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe. Set in two parts, the first covers the last 15 months of the bush war during whilst serving in the Rhodesian PATU (Police Anti Terrorist Unit). The second part covers the author clumsy attempts to deal with civilian life in the newly independent, black African state.
(Originally published as Survival Course, this is a hard-cover, reworked version, with new photos, maps etc.)
Out of Action - Chris Cocks

Blondie's Revenge and other Short Stories - Tony Granger
A highly popular book - 1st published 2006, now in its 3rd print run. Written by a natural story-teller and raconteur, there are 15 short stories with punch-lines, depicting mostly humorous and anecdotal experiences that occured at different stages of his life - school in Rhodesia, serving in the British South Africa Police Force, studying at Rhodes University in Grahamstown and working as a legal adviser in Cape Town.
Blondie's Revenge and other Short Stories - Tony Granger

Came the Fourth Flag - Bill Crabtree
This is the fascinating story of Bill Crabtree, his life as a mounted trooper in the British South Africa Police BSAP in the then Southern Rhodesia and his eventual rise to become Deputy Commissioner of police in Rhodesia. During World War II he was seconded to serve as a commissioned officer with British forces in the Middle East and the Italian Dodecanese Islands of the Aegean. After WW2 he was back in Rhodesia and became the OC Special Branch and Deputy Director of the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation. He was deeply involved with other security services in combatting the rise of armed insurrection in the country. In 1970, he accepted a diplomatic position with security/intelligence connocations in Greece, with associated responsibilities further afield in the Middle East. He eventually retired from government service in 1982 and immigrated to South Africa. (Fourth Flag - a reference to the four changes of ensign in Rhodesia)
Came the Fourth Flag - Bill Crabtree

Crime Scientist - J Thompson
An account of murder, arson, forgery, embezzlement, theft, fraud and smuggling. Dr John Thompson became the first Director of the British South Africa Police Forensic Science Laboratory in Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1963, a position he held until retiring in 1977. In this compelling memoir of his years as the Director, Dr John Thompson spares us no bizarre and grisly detail. During the course of a distinguished career he dealt with some 12000 cases, ranging from sophisticated fraud to ritual murder. His forensic skills were instrumental in uncovering the truth and here he shows us how the killer is trapped by the evidence of a microscopical hair and the witch-doctor's magic is exposed by modern toxicology. Dr Thompson's story is an extraordinary account of science ansd superstition in tribal Africa as seen through the eyes of an expert - the crime scientist.
Crime Scientist - J Thompson

The Victorians: Memories of South Africa and Rhodesia - Tony Seward
A fast moving autobiography of a former member of the British South Africa Police in Rhodesia. A story of the terrorist war in Rhodesia and his part in that war. Tony Seward attested into the B.S.A. Police in 1958 and served for twenty-five years in the force before retiring in 1983 as an Inspector. After his retirement in 1983 Tony took up the position of site manager of the Kyle boat club near Masvingo in the new Zimbabwe. He then tells of the deterioration of the economy and the eventual land invasions by former terrorists and others hungry for land, up to the time he had to leave the country in 2004 for security and safety reasons.
The Victorians: Memories of South Africa and Rhodesia - Tony Seward

Without Honour - Robb JW Ellis
Without Honour is the true story of a white policeman in post-independant Zimbabwe. Join Robb as he details the brief history of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe, taking you to the beginnings of the dissident problem in the Matabeleland Province in early 1982 - the ambush and killings of two of his own friends - the tracking and ensuing gunfight with dissidents and the death of a work colleague. Witness the horrendous scenes as Robert Mugabe lets his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade loose on the Matabele population. How Robb attempts to handle normal police work in the direct result of these heinous acts, with little or no support or direction. The discovery of dead bodies and the witnessing of the destruction of these - nothing makes sense anymore. What will he do? Spill the beans or walk away? Witness a surprise meeting that Robb has with Robert Mugabe at a luncheon and experience the subsequent decisions Robb has to make as he serves a government that is determined to serve the population "Without Honour" ....
Without Honour - Robb JW Ellis