An abbreviated history of the british south africa police

This abbreviated history of the BSA Police, compiled by Andrew Field (8646), is in the form of a time line listing. There is a moving time line being developed for this site.

Date         Event
21-May-1884 Bechuanaland Territories declared a British Protectorate
01-Jul-1884 Bechuanaland Mounted Police (BMP) formed
04-Aug-1885 Bechuanaland Border Police (BBP) founded (a forerunner of the BSA Police)
 

British South Africa
29-Oct-1889 Royal Charter authorizes the formation of the British South Africa Company's Police, which absorbed elements of the BBP, with responsibilities to protect and police Mashonaland
01-Jan-1890 BSA Company signs contract with Frank Johnson for occupation of Mashonaland and resulting in the formation of the Pioneer Column
06-May-1890 Pioneer Column sets off from Kenilworth, Kimberly destined for Macloutsie
28-Jun-1890 Police and Pioneer Forces leave Macloutsie for the occupation of Mashonaland
01-Jul-1890 Pioneers reach the Shashi River and establish Fort Tuli
10-Jul-1890 Lieut.  Col.  EG Pennefather commanded the advance column of Pioneers and BSAC Police towards Mashonaland
12-Sep-1890 Pioneer Column reaches their destination and establish Fort Salisbury in Mashonaland
01-Oct-1890 Disbandment of the Pioneer Column
11-May-1891 Portuguese occupation of Macequece (Massikessi) driven back by BSAC Police elements
11-Jun-1891 Anglo-Portuguese Treaty signed
Jan-1892 Establishment of Mashonaland Mounted Police (MMP - a forerunner of the BSA Police)
1893 Formation of the Matabeleland Mounted Police (also a forerunner of the BSA Police)
18-Jul-1893 Matabele raids against Shona tribes people into Fort Victoria area leading to the 'Lendy Incident' and, consequently, Matabele War
03-Oct-1893 Commencement of the Matabele War
24-Oct-1893 'Battle of Shangani'
1-Nov-1893 'Battle of Bembezi' - defeat of Matabele army
04-Nov-1893 BSA Company forces occupy Bulawayo
Dec-1893 Matabele War comes to an end
04-Dec-1893 Last stand of Major Allan Wilson against the Matabele on the Shangani River
1894 Matabeleland Native Police formed and placed under the control of 'Native Commissioners'
18-Jul-1894 BSA Company's jurisdiction over Matabeleland confirmed by Order in Council and the boundaries of Rhodesia were set down
03-May-1895 British South Africa Company's territories formally named Rhodesia
29-Dec-1895 Dr Leander Jameson launches Raid into Transvaal with 500 BSAC police from Pitsani and Mafeking
02-Jan-1896 'Battle of Doornkop' at which Dr Jameson surrenders, was arrest and interned in Johannesburg with surviving elements of the raid
22-Mar-1896 Matabele Rebellion commences - 141 settlers murdered
1-Apr-1896 Bechuanaland Border Police renamed as the Bechuanaland Mounted Police (BMP)
14-Jun-1896 Mashona Rebellion breaks out - 119 settlers murdered
01-Oct-1896 The Matabeleland and Mashonaland Mounted Police forces amalgamated to form the Rhodesian Mounted Police
22-Oct-1896 Matabele Rebellion settled through negotiation with rebellion Chiefs
29-Dec-1896 Fixed establishment set for Matabeleland and Mashonaland Divisions of the force, which became known as the British South Africa Police, under the control of Colonel Sir Richard Martin
29-Dec-1896 Lt. Colonel JS Nicholson assumes command of Matabeleland Division and Lt. Colonel the Honourable FRWE de Moleyns, DSO, assumes command of Mashonaland Division
2-Aug-1897 Bechuanaland Mounted Police (BMP) becomes the BSAP No.1 (Bechuanaland Division)
27-Oct-1897 Mashona Rebellion quelled
12-Oct-1899 Anglo-Boer War Starts
17-May-1900 Relief of Mafeking involving elements of BSA Police predecessor forces
22-Jan-1901 Death of Queen Victoria
26-Mar-1902 Death of Mr.  Cecil John Rhodes
31-May-1902 Boer Surrender, the Treaty of Vereeniging, signed at Pretoria
1903 Matabeleland and Mashonaland Divisions united under one command in terms of Police Ordinance of 1903
11-Mar-1903 BSAP No.1 (Bechuanaland) Division ceases to exist becoming the Bechuanaland Protectorate Police (BPP)
Oct-1903 Lt.  Col.  William Bodle appointed Commissioner of Police
1903 Bechuanaland Division of the BSA Police abolished
01-Oct-1903 First Commandant Depot, Sub-Inspector H Chapman, appointed on amalgamation of Mashonaland and Matabele Divisions
05-Oct-1903 Commandant General orders 11 separate and complete Troops, of which one is a Depot Troop to which all recruits would be posted, and perceived to be the birth of Morris Depot
1907 First Fingerprint Bureau established in Rhodesia
01-Jan-1908 African Police training camp established on the site of what was to become Tomlinson Depot after moving from Lorelie Farm, east of Salisbury
1909 Control of the BSA Police transferred to the Imperial Government under the control of one Commissioner of Police
1909 Lt.  Col.  J H Fuller appointed Commissioner of Police
1911 Maj.  Gordon Vallancy Drury appointed Commissioner of Police
1913 Criminal Investigation Department established
2-Nov-1913 Maj.  Gen Sir AHM Edwards appointed Commissioner of Police
Apr-1913 District Police were organised into Regimental troops (mounted), later found to be unsuitable
Apr-1913 The country was divided into six police districts, coinciding with magisterial districts
1914 Chief Supt.  Joseph C Brundell (1142) becomes first Officer Commanding Criminal Investigation Department
04-Aug-1914 Great Britain declares war on Germany
21-Sep-1914 Occupation of the German civil post of Schuckmannsburg, Caprivi Strip, German West Africa, by elements of BSA Police
12-Aug-1915 Formation of first BSA Police Infantry Company, 'A' Company, for service in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland border with German East Africa
17-Aug-1915 Departure BSA Police Infantry 'A' Company to the North
01-Feb-1923 Col.  Essex Capell appointed Commissioner of Police

Date         Event
 


Southern Rhodesia
12-Sep-1923 Government by the Chartered Company dissolved and Southern Rhodesia annexed to Great Britain and Sir John Chancellor appointed Governor. 
01-Oct-1923 Responsible Government established in Southern Rhodesia and Sir Charles Coghlan appointed first Premier
13-May-1926 Col.  George Stops appointed Commissioner of Police
13-Feb-1933 Col.  John S Morris appointed Commissioner of Police
1936 Col.  JS Morris, Commissioner of Police, appointed Commanding Officer of all Southern Rhodesian Forces
01-Aug-1939 Police Reserve formed in terms of the Defence Act 1926 and Major HH Rochester (855) appointed Officer Commanding Police Reserve
1941 Women's Auxiliary Police Service formed
Jul-1941 Elements BSA Police sent to North Africa and the Middle East for service in Abyssinia and Eritrea; and Cyrenaica and Tripolitania
05-Jul-1941 Kum-A-Kye accepted as the Regimental March of the BSA Police
24-Apr-1945 Brigadier John Ross appointed Commissioner of Police
1945 Mundy Commission makes recommendation for improvement of the BSA Police
1948 Police Dog Section introduced
1948 Expansion of the Police Reserve into two sections, an A Reserve and B Reserve
1949 Colony divided into provinces Mashonaland, Matabeleland and Midlands for administration of policing
7-Dec-1950 Col.  James Appleby (2123) appointed Commissioner of Police

Date         Event
 


The Federal Era
1953 Federal Intelligence and Security Bureau (FISB) formed under the directorship of Basil “Bob” de Quehen (3136), a former member of the force
1953 Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland comprising the two Rhodesia's and Nyasaland formed
Aug-1953 Elements of BSA Police deployed to Nyasaland to assist with the quelling of nationalist disturbances
1954 Col.  Arthur S Hickman (2622) appointed Commissioner of Police
1954 Establishment of the Police C Reserve, known as the Field Reserve
12-Feb-1954 HRH Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, becomes Honorary Commissioner of the BSA Police force. 
6-Nov-1955 Col.  Harold Jackson (2853) appointed Commissioner of Police
13-Sep-1956 BSA Police Contingent deployed to the Copperbelt in Northern Rhodesia during large scale strikes on the mines
1957 Police Reserve Airwing Formed
12-Sep-1957 Southern Rhodesian African National Congress (ANC) formed
13-Mar-1958 Mr.  Basil G Spurling (3100) appointed Commissioner of Police
1959 The Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters moves from Bulawayo to Salisbury to premises within Morris Depot. 
25-Feb-1959 Banning of ANC and launch of Operation Spider, the arrests and detention of 500 leading nationalists
28-Marr-1959 BSA Police Contingent deployed to Nyasaland to contain natonalist disturbances
29-Dec-1959 Formation of the National Democratic Party (NDP) comprising former members of SRANC, under leadership of Michael Mawema
1960 Establishment of the Special Police Reserve
1960 Women Field Reserve force established
12-Sep-1960 Freedom of the City of Salisbury conferred on the British South Africa Police
Dec-1961 Banning of the NDP
20-Sep-1962 Banning of Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU)
02-Jan-1963 Police Forensic Science Laboratory established in Salisbury
26-Apr-1963 Mr.  Frank Barfoot (3342) appointed Commissioner of Police
Aug-1963 Seeds sewn for the formation of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) under the pseudonym of 'The Department of the Prime Minister' with the impending break-up of the Federation. 
Aug-1963 Ken Flower (3654), a member of the BSA Police force (served as Deputy Commissioner until 1967), appointed to form and nominated to be first Director General of CIO
08-Aug-1963 Zimbabwe African Nationalist Union (ZANU) formed by Ndabaningi Sithole
12-Sep-1963 Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), referred to as the PM's Department, formed under instruction of Prime Minister Winston Field
Oct-1963 Prime Ministerial Mandate signed by Mr Winston Field creating the Central Intelligence Organisation including the creation of the BSA Police Special Branch (also known as Branch I - Internal)
31-Dec-1963 Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland dissolved
1964 Formation of Volunteer Additional Force (VAT) police anti-terrorist units, comprising Regular and Reserve police, known then as the 'Sinoia Commandos'
4-Jul-1964 Nationalist insurgents set up a crude road block in Melsetter area and stab Petros Oberholtzer to death in their first offensive action in the country.
26-Aug-1964 State of Emergency declared and Zimbabwe African Nationalist Union (ZANU) banned

Date         Event
 


The UDI Period
11-Nov-1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence
29-Apr-1966 'The Battle of Sinoia' - first major incursions of Nationalist terrorists countered on the Angwa River outside Sinoia
18-May-1966 The Viljoen Murders by Nationalist terrorists at Nevada Farm in the Hartley Area
01-Aug-1966 Formation of Police Anti Terrorist Unit (PATU) under Superintendent Bill Bailey (3333) based on principles of Volunteer Additional Training
1967 South African Police sent to assist Rhodesian forces
3-Jan-1968 Mr.  James Spink (3743) appointed Commissioner of Police

Date         Event
 


The Rhodesian Republic
02-Mar-1970 Rhodesia declares itself a Republic
27-Jun-1970 Mr.  Sydney Bristow (3844) appointed Commissioner of Police
1971 Women's A Reserve formed to perform normal police duties in line with their A Reserve male colleagues
01-Dec-1972 Operation Hurricane, Joint Operations Command (JOC) Bindura, commences joint force operations against Zimbabwe African Nationalist Liberation Army (ZANLA) elements in the north eastern, mostly Mashonaland Province, area
21-Dec-1972 Attack on Altena Farm, Centenary introduces a new phase of the ZANLA offensive
Jul-1973 First intake of 42 National Service Patrol Officers commence training at Morris Depot, Salisbury
06-Feb-1974 Mr.  Peter Sherren (3862) appointed Commissioner of Police
01-Feb-1976 Operation Thrasher, JOC Umtali, commences joint force operations again ZANLA terrorists in the Manicaland Province
01-Feb-1976 Operation Repulse, JOC Fort Victoria, commences joint anti terrorist operations in the south east of the country, mostly in Victoria Province
01-Aug-1976 Operation Tangent, JOC Bulawayo, to combat the Zimbabwe Peoples Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) offensive mostly in Matabeleland commences operations
01-Sep-1976 91 Members of the African police promoted to the previously exclusive European ranks in a programme of black advancement
01-Aug-1977 Operation Grapple, JOC Gwelo, commences to combat both ZIPRA and ZANLA elements in the central Rhodesian province of Midlands
06-Feb-1978 Mr.  Peter Allum (3939) appointed Commissioner of Police
03-Mar-1978 Internal agreement of the 'Salisbury Four' - Chirau, Muzorewa, Sithole and Smith
21-Mar-1978 Transitional Government comes to power out of the Internal multi-party agreement of the 'Salisbury Four'
01-Jun-1978 Operation Splinter, JOC Kariba, commences to combat waterborne infiltration into Zimbabwe-Rhodesia via Lake Kariba out of Zambia
3-Sep-1978 Air Rhodesia civilian aircraft, Hunyani, shot down by terrorist missile and survivors murdered
12-Feb-1979 Second civilian aircraft, Umniati, shot down killing all on board

Date         Event
 


The Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Period
20-May-1979 Zimbabwe-Rhodesia declared a Republic
01-Jun-1979 Abel Muzorewa assumes office as the first black Prime Minister of newly named Zimbabwe-Rhodesia
10-Sep-1979 Lancaster House Constitutional talks conference open in London, United Kingdom
02-Dec-1979 Lancaster House Constitutional talks concluded with agreement between the parties paving the way to all party majority rule elections and a ceasefire

Date         Event
 


Resumption of British Rule
12-Dec-1979 Lord Soames arrives in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, to resume control as British Governor General of Rhodesia
15-Dec-1979 Ceasefire Agreement signed between the conflicting factions
21-Dec-1979 Formal signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, restoring Rhodesia to 'legality'
10-Feb-1980 Robert Mugabe survives assassination attempt at Fort Victoria
27-Feb-1980 First 'Majority Rule', all party General Elections commence and run over a period of five days

Date         Event
 


Zimbabwe Independence
18-Apr-1980 The newly named Zimbabwe achieves and celebrates its Independence
31-Jul-1980 Cessation of the British South Africa Police and inauguration of its successor, the Zimbabwe Republic Police

Do you have a significant event in the histroy of the BSA Police that is not listed? Please communicate your suggestions to



The BSA Police District Trooper circa 1938.

 

Images by Dick Hamley
author of
'The Regiment'

 


Chief
Superintendent