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BSA Police Book Series - No.20: From horse to Aeroplane
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By William Henry 'Bunny' Rabetts
This is a previously unpublished memoir by one of the early members of the British South Africa Police. In an incident-filled life, ‘Bunny’ Rabbetts ran away to sea at the age of twelve and later saw action in the Boer War and the Natal Rebellion of 1906. He first joined the B.S.A.P. in 1902, serving under such well-known figures as RSM Blatherwick and Colonels Bodle and Flint. He paints a vivid picture of life as a trooper in those days.
After his contract of service expired he joined the Johannes-burg Fire Brigade, leaving this to serve in the Natal Rebellion of 1906 in a unit formed by Sir Abe Bailey, the mining magnate. He also found time to be a diamond prospector. Following that he went to Bulawayo hoping to join the Fire Brigade but a chance meeting led him to rejoin the B.S.A.P. This period of service from 1906 to 1911 took him to District stations like Wankie and Victoria Falls. He describes the characters he met, including the notorious ex-trooper Joe Phelan, the main suspect in the Killarney Mine Gold Robbery.
Still restless, he left the Police in 1911 and managed the West Nicholson Hotel while also carrying on business as a transport contractor for the giant Liebig’s Ranch. The area was teeming with lions and one of the people he met was ‘Yank’ Allen, the legendary lion hunter. He then describes his life as a prospector in Southern and Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland.
He returned to uniform in both World Wars with the Southern Rhodesia forces.
His life can truly be said to have been ‘not without incident.’
Product Code: BSAR2R0J41
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