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John Padbury is an authority on revolution, counter-revolution and mass-mobilisation.

Ian Suttill, Regional Commander Big and the author at Mudzimu Base.

(L-R) Ian Suttill, Regional Commander Big and author.

John Padbury attested in the British South Africa Police in 1969, at the age of 17 years. This was four years after Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence, the catalyst for the tragic Rhodesian Civil War. After routine uniform branch police work he transferred as a detective to the Criminal Investigation Department. Ultimately, he became a field-intelligence officer with the Special Branch and attained the rank of detective inspector.

He operated at various levels with most divisions and formations of the Rhodesian Security Forces including the BSAP paramilitary Support Unit and Police Anti-Terrorist Units, SAS, RLI, Selous Scouts, Fire Force and other army territorial units. Initially, he established and commanded a unique and successful irregular warfare strategy and operations. His work resulted in countless successful engagements with the insurgents. In June 1978, he was awarded the prestigious Commissioner’s Silver Baton.


Realising that the people were the solution to the war and not the problem, he then pioneered and commanded a unique and successful Special Branch operation which, had it been emulated, could have turned the tide of an unwinnable war. His team identified and implemented  12 essential phases for the successful operation which could assist similar counter-insurgency deployments. 


John now resides with his wife Lynette in Devonshire, England and is pursuing a literary vocation. 

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