Saturday, 10 June 1978, saw last passing-out parade of police reserve conscripts in the 38-to 50-year-old group.
Saturday, 10 June 1978, saw last passing-out parade of police reserve conscripts in the 38-to 50-year-old group. Residents of Rhodesia -- and even those here on work permits -- in this age group have been subject to conscription in the police reserve since May 1977. Since then, there have been 18 previous intakes under the Department of Manpower scheme, involving about 4,000 ancient conscripts. Today's parade -- the 19th and last -- mustered 81, the oldest of whom was 49; 87 were taken in for the 11-day course, but 6 had to drop out on medical grounds. Of the approximately 4,000 conscripted in the last 13 months, 2 have died of heart attacks while under training but there have been no serious or fatal accidents involving firearms, according to Inspector Derek Bothwell, Provincial Inspector (Training), Salisbury Province Police Reserve, who took the parade. Of the three medical grades into which police-reserve conscripts fall, about 5% of the Dad's Army sort have been passed Grade A fitness, while the majority -- about 60% -- have been passed Grade B. Old for combat they might be, but the Dad's Army conscripts of the first two grades medically are used in combat roles in the operational areas of Rhodesia in anti-terrorist units. Since the rise terrorism (freedom fighting?) from 1975, people in Rhodesia play a military and para-military role as well as performing normal police duties.