Original Post Date: 2010-09-09 Time: 09:00:03 Posted By: Jan
[Colonel Redfern sent me this quite some time ago after General Walls passed away. General Walls ran our entire war machine. What can one say? Our leaders did their best… they were bright men who achieved great things with shoe-string budgets.
I like to compare the spirited fight of Rhodesia more with the Anglo-Boer war. The Boers back then were radical and those who hung in the fight when others gave up… were the ones who really put the Boers on the map. (I think I’m starting to appreciate the difference between the Boers and Afrikaners… perhaps I’m slowly becoming even more radical myself).
What Rhodesia under Ian Smith and the Boers under Kruger stood for was a type of NATIONALISM of Whites in Africa. Until those wars, the whites WERE JUST COLONISTS. Those wars identified whites as having NATIONALIST FEELINGS FOR WANTING TO REMAIN FIRMLY ROOTED IN AFRICA.
For me, the saddest thing to watch with respect to Rhodesia is the TOTAL EXTINCTION OF RHODESIANS. It seems to me as if Rhodesians are going to disappear forever. I hope not. I really hope not. I hope that Rhodesia can live on for generations and that one day a NEW Rhodesia arises somehow, somewhere.
The Afrikaners have managed to do a far better job of creating a larger population base and keeping everyone together through culture, language and religion.
As a Rhodesian by birth, I was often critical of many things South African, but now that I’ve lived in both countries and seen all sides of both countries which had similarities as well as differences I see, in a deeper way, the benefits of both, even though at times both followed different ideas.
By descent, I am 100% Afrikaner… but by birth I am Rhodesian, and I appreciate the best of both and I like to identify with both and am ashamed of neither. For me, watching the extinction of whites in Africa is a very sore point. There is absolutely nothing in history which PREVENTS us whites from laying claim to a stake in Africa, somehow somewhere, and my personal dream is to either see whites and blacks reaching some sort of genuine deal (not the junk we currently have) OR, whites going it alone with their own country.
Ian Smith said that the Whites must NOT leave Rhodesia – even in defeat. And he stayed until health reasons caused him to come to South Africa. Ian Smith in that sense was an “African Nationalist. He saw no reason for whites to leave Zimbabwe. The driving out of the whites from there, is to me a huge tragedy. If nothing else, I would have liked to see the white remnants of Portuguese territories, Rhodesians, South Africans (English and Afrikaans alike) – making a plan to work together. We have been stripped of our ability to OWN LAND… this is a given, and Julius Malema and future ANC Governments will do this in South Africa as Mugabe did in Zimbabwe.
I find it unthinkable, that men like General Walls and many others fought for nothing. In history, the worst mistake you can make is to: GIVE UP. If you will study history closely you will see the real value of PERSISTENCE – even in the face of total defeat.
The Boers, the Germans, the Romans, the blacks themselves, and many others have proved the value of extreme persistence. Defeat is only defeat… IF YOU AGREE TO IT. Nobody in history have demonstrated the power of persistence more than the Romans. The Romans were persistent even when they were small and insignificant. When Rome was a small, regional power, they came into contact with the powerful, very wealthy Carthaginians who had a fleet that controlled the Mediterranean. The Romans had no navy and knew nothing of naval combat. Then one day the Romans found a Carthaginian navy ship that ran aground. The Romans took it apart and studied it. The Carthaginians had developed an extremely advanced (modern really) method of assembling ships in mass according to fixed plans. The Carthaginians were doing what Henry Ford later did – and they did it with warships. The Romans then copied the Carthaginian ships and built their own. The Romans learned how to fight on land and sea and they took on the Carthaginians. When Hannibal invaded Italy, and ANNIHILATED entire Roman armies in a way that would have flattened everyone else, the Romans just refused to surrender. On more than one occasion Hannibal smashed the Romans in a way that NOBODY IN HISTORY HAS. In one battle alone (Cannae) he killed about 80,000 of Rome’s best troops. But the Romans just refused to accept defeat. The Romans refused to accept defeat by a better army on land… and the Romans refused to accept defeat by a better navy at sea. The Romans kept on and on… and in successive wars against Carthage, the Romans eventually drove the Carthaginians back, and totally annihilated the Carthaginians. When it all was over… the Romans had gone from being a small regional power to being the dominant power in the Mediterranean.
The success of Rome and the success of many people in history and even in business or politics has MORE OFTEN THAN NOT… been defined by PERSISTENCE than by anything else.
As a final footnote: South Africa’s Paul Kruger and Ian Smith of the 1970’s would have been Dr Hendrik Verwoerd – and that is why they had to keep on trying to kill him – until they got it right in the second assassination attempt.
When my mentor, Dr Chris Jordaan died, I was at his funeral and many prominent Afrikaners were there including General Constand Viljoen. At his funeral they spoke of what a dark day his death was for Afrikaners and that it harkened back to a similar dark day when Dr Hendrik Verwoerd died. Verwoerd united ALL WHITES, including English-speaking South Africans. There is much about him that people prefer to forget. In Orania is a small museum to Dr Verwoerd. It is worth a visit. I have been there.
The worst thing we whites in African can do: Is to give up and to think all is lost forever. That is not so. Even in our darkest hours (yet to come), we can gather together and create a new future for ourselves. Jan]
Lieutenant-General G. Peter Walls GLM, DCD, MBE
Served as Commanding Officer of 1RLI from 1 December 1964 to 18 June 1967
Peter Walls was born and educated in Rhodesia. He first served in the military with the Black Watch at the end of World War Two. He returned to Rhodesia after the war and served in the Staff Corps, before being commissioned into the Northern Rhodesia Regiment (NRR). In 1951, he was selected to take an all-white unit, The Malayan Scouts, to Malaya to assist with that Emergency. He was promoted to captain as 2IC of the unit with an experienced British officer as OC. On reaching Malaya it was decided that, as it was an all-Rhodesian unit, it should be commanded by a Rhodesian – he was thus promoted to major and became OC. The unit
stayed in Malaya for two years, becoming C (Rhodesia) Squadron SAS.
On return to Rhodesia in March 1953 the unit was disbanded. For his services in Malaya he was awarded an MBE. After various staff appointments he attended Staff College at Camberley in the UK, before assuming command of RLI in 1964 and transforming the battalion into a commando unit.
He was responsible for introducing the regiment’s green beret, which subsequently distinguished it from all other regiments on parade. On relinquishing command he became Commander 2 Brigade. He later became Chief of Staff as a major-general, before becoming Army Commander in 1972.
He was appointed Commander of Combined Operations (ComOps) in 1977, an appointment he held until he retired to South Africa in late 1980 after Zimbabwean independence
General GP (Peter) Walls and Eunice were about to board an aircraft yesterday morning (20 July 2010) bound from George to Johannesburg. The General succumbed to a heart attack prior to boarding the aircraft.
He was a man of great integrity and grit and led the armed forces of Rhodesia well in the toughest of wartimes.
General Walls will be sadly missed by all the members of the 1RLIRA and we extend our deepest sympathies to Mrs. Eunice Walls, the family and Peter’s friends.
“How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country’s wishes blest!
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung.
God and a soldier all people adore
In time of war, but not before;
And when war is over and all things are righted,
God is neglected and an old soldier slighted.
Enough of merit has each honoured name
To shine untarnished on the rolls of fame,
And add new lustre to the historic page.”