Northern Rhodesia Regiment, 11th (East African) Division

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by High Wood, Apr 20, 2020.

  1. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know how to begin researching an officer of this regiment whose Burma Campaign medals were issued by the command of the Governor of Rhodesia? It appears that the officer served in Somaliland in 1941 and I want to confirm that he also served in Burma. I have checked the Army List for 1944 and, whilst there are two officers of the same name, it appears that Colonial officers do not appear in the lists unless they are attached from British units.

    Is there a separate African/Colonial army list? Does anyone know of a source of names for the officers of the Northern Rhodesia Regiment who served in Burma or Somaliland?

    My officer does appear in the London Gazette as receiving a M.I.D. for the Somaliland campaign but his official number is not shown.

    Does anyone have any ideas as to how I cam make progress with my research?

    Thank you,


    Rhodesian 007.JPG Rhodesian 006.JPG
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member


    There was a regimental association, although it may now have folded. Months ago I came across post-war memories via a website something like Empire Tales, but did not bookmark it.

    There is a previous thread on the NRR: 1st Northern Rhodesia Regiment Burma 1944

    Background only: Northern Rhodesia Colony

    Have you looked at: The Soldier's Burden The author, Harry has been a member here, not sure under what name. He lives abroad. There is an option to make contact via: The Soldier's Burden
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  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

  4. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    If one reads the details as below:

    UK, Military Campaign Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1949

    This database contains lists of more than 2.3 million officers, enlisted personnel and other individuals entitled to medals and awards commemorating their service in campaigns and battles for the British Army between 1793 and 1949. The original medal rolls were compiled by the War Office and are housed at the National Archives of the UK in Kew, Surrey. The rolls include medals awarded for British campaigns in Europe, India, Egypt, Sudan, South Africa, West and Central Africa, China, the Middle East, and elsewhere during the height of the British Empire. The collection does not include WWI or WWII medal and award rolls.

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  6. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    It also occurs to me that had the man in question seen service in Somaliland, then he ought to have the Africa Star. He doesn't, so I think that the name that I have have is not related to the medals.

    The Africa Star was awarded for a minimum of one day's service in an operational area of North Africa between 10 June 1940 and 12 May 1943. The operational area includes the whole of the area between the Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar, together with Malta, Abyssinia, Kenya, the Sudan, both Somalilands and Eritrea. Areas not bordering on the Mediterranean only qualified for the Africa Star between 10 June 1940 and 27 November 1941 inclusive.
  7. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi I found this article on the web.

    Keep memory of world war veterans alive – Zambia Daily Mail

    Part of which reads
    According to Brelsford (1954), the Northern Rhodesia Regiment (NRR) was a multi-battalion British colonial regiment formed from the protectorate of Northern Rhodesia. It was formed in 1933 from elements of the Northern Rhodesia Police, which had been formed during the British South Africa Company (BSACo) rule in 1912. The Northern Rhodesia Regiment fought in World War II in Somaliland, Madagascar, the Middle East and Burma.
    On July 05, 2016, the Zambia Daily Mail published another analysis headlined the story of Askaris. In the article, I argued that for our country, the many names of these African soldiers who fought in the world wars have not been properly accounted for. For a few who are still alive, there is little or nothing done to highlight their contribution to our country's history and development
    However, the Zambia Army through the Army Spokesperson responded to the article in a letter to the editor published in the Zambia Daily Mail on July 9, 2016 stated in part that Zambian soldiers who fought in the two world wars have their details well documented and their names are displayed.

    They are displayed at the Burma Baracks which are part of Arakan Baracks Lusaka. I don't know if they include details of officers.
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  8. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Thank you Diane for posting the link to the Zambia Daily Mail, interesting reading. My problem is that I do not know of the exact nature of the relationship that the original owner of the medals had with the Rhodesian government, North or South, only that the medals were issued by the Rhodesian state. I do not know if the Governor issued medals on behalf of both Northern and Southern Rhodesia or if each state issued their own. I have never seen a similar medal slip so I am not entirely show which of the two states issued it or if the governor governed both states. Either way, Rhodesians served in many different regiments in Burma and all I have to go on is that he was awarded a Mention in Dispatches and appears to have served only in Burma (medal wise).

    I think the best way in is to determine who G.P. Thompson is, I am told that the dog tag is post WW2 South African issue. G.P. Thompson may be the owner of the medals, his son, or even his son in law. He may also have no connection what so ever. I am not sure how to research South African post WW2 soldiers
  9. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Rhodesian 003.JPG The coat of Arms of Rhodesia.

    Rhodesia COA.jpg
  10. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi you could try contacting the South African National Defence Force. They hold all service records.
    Their e-mail is
    It takes about 6 months for them to reply.
    Best of luck
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  11. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Up to 1949 Northern Rhodesia had its own governor. From Oct 1941 to Oct 1947 this was Sir John Waddington
  12. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Thank you for that, did Southern Rhodesia also have a governor and who got to use the Coat of Arms or did they both use it?
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    A while back I had a contact from a family whose father served with the Chindits (12th Nigerians) in 1944. He was originally from Rhodesia and had served with their forces prior. I know that the grandson had contacted the Britain/Zimbabwe Society in searching for info and a lady called Dr. Sue Onslow of King's College London, who was at the time an expert in Southern Africa studies.

    I don't know if he made contact with either, or if they helped him in any way?
  14. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Not quite sure which coat of arms you refer to. Northern Rhodesia was formed from North Rhodesia and North West Rhodesia, which had been governed by branches of Rhode's company, and was initially a British protectorate before becoming a colony. What some will remember as Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) used to be simply referred to as Rhodesia. In 1949 both Rhodesias and Nyasaland were federated (it did not last - nobody had really wanted it). Before then Rhodesia would have had its own governor.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
  15. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    I am referring to the Coat of Arms on the medal slip in post 9.
  16. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    That appears to be the (Southern) Rhodesian Coat of Arms - the Northern Rhodesian Coat of Arms was quite different.
    Both coats were amalgamated in the coat of arms for the post 1949 federation

    It would look as if the medals slip was from the (Southern) Rhodesian governor
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  17. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    Excellent, that might explain the South African dog tags, as a white Rhodesian and his family, were more likely to leave Zimbabwe than Zambia after independence.

    I have also found one of the M.I.D. lists for the Burma campaign in the London Gazette. This one is from 27th September 1945 and it gives me a few names to be going on with.

    rho 001.JPG rho 001.JPG
  18. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Frustratingly no Thompson's - checking some of the older files for the Northern Rhodesia Regiment and its 'surrounding' associated military regiments, it does seem that Thompson is a reasonably common name in that part of the world - or rather was I guess. I am not sure yet where I am going with this but I guess there could be family ties etc

    Be nice if a service number could be found for the senior Thompson, but then we wouldnt be having this fun :whistle::-P:D

  19. High Wood

    High Wood Well-Known Member

    If he served with the (11th East African) Division he could have served with any number of regiments or corps including The King's African Rifles. He could even have possibly served with the R.A.F. This ain't over by a long way and I have several more pages of names to follow up.
  20. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member

    I do have the large volume 'Rhodesia Regiment 1899-1981' by Gerry van Tonder and will check any names there, It has a Roll of Honour. It does not cover the NRR though.

    There is no entry for G.P. Thompson in the Roll or the Index.

    The Rhodesia Regiment was a white or European reservist formation throughout, undoubtedly "feeding" other formations with personnel in WW2. The NRR was quite different and was a regular Army unit, with European officers in WW2 and Africans other ranks.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2020
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