Updated: Feb 24
Charlie Hand was a patrol officer attached to Special Branch Rusape. These brave men lived and worked daily in the operational areas 24/7. They were dedicated and committed to counter-insrugency operations in adverse environments.
"Padbury’s book is a well written document of the life of a dedicated young policeman who was totally loyal to his job and country. I first came into contact with him mid-1977 at Rusape where, as a Patrol Officer, I was attached to Special Branch operations. Padbury was one of a team of exceptionally successful special branch operators. Whilst his primary function was intelligence gathering, he was always involved in the follow-up of intelligence gathered to ensure the most was gained from the operation. As a young man, I always viewed John as a fearless operator who earned respect from all those he came into contact with.
In the latter stages of the war he got involved with a new way of thinking on how the war could best be dealt with in the Hurungwe TTL. This successful strategy of mobilising and arming the people was unfortunately too late to impact the country. Again John gave his all. I recommend Battle For Hurungwe."
Barry Woan (1951 -2022,) L/Insp. Barry Robert Charles Woan, MLM, BSAP Support Unit. Shortly before Barry's untimely, tragic passing, he sent me this short review. He proposed to write a more detailed one, but time made it's own choices:
"Thoroughly enjoyed your book, John...a fantastic effort and great publication...know it will sell well. Your marketing is excellent and it is certainly the talk of the town. Well done indeed." Barry Woan.
Hilda Lawrence Olivier - an avid reader of the Rhodesian Civil War.
"John Padbury, thank you for this book. It was a lot to take in but made me reconsider what I have believed in for all these years. I was only 15 when the war started on the outskirts of Sinoia in 1966 and I saw the first CT bodies being brought in after the Battle of the Hunyani,in which my Step father fought. That coloured my beliefs about the Smith government for the rest of the war and beyond but this book made me realise that I had not considered any other possibilities even though I was always concerned about the local people caught between the CTs and the security forces. By the end of the war I thought that Britain was the bad guys but I see now that the Rhodesian government was just as much to blame. Thank you for opening my eyes. A very interesting and informative story. Well done."
Photos: (L-R) Land Rover destroyed by landmine; P/Os Hurd and Hand survived the blast; the author with BSAP Support Unit officers Supt. Fred Mason (late), Sakkie MacKay and Barry Woan (late).