Flags and Symbols of Rhodesia 1890-1980
Flag of "1 Commando", Rhodesian Light Infantry
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The above illustration of the flag of 1 Commando, RLI, is from the book
"Flags and Symbols of Rhodesia 1890-1980", which was originally published
by SAVA (RSA) in a b/w edition, and is now available on CD-Rom in full
colour. The book covers all of the national flags of Rhodesia, many civil
flags and coats of arms, and the flags of the Rhodesian Security Forces.
The story of the 8 different national flags (including the current Zimbabwe
flag) is told, and anecdotes on a number of flags throughout Rhodesia's
history are included, from the flag that Lobengula wore as a loincloth,
to the Rhodesian green and white flag that was "liberated" in Berlin as
late as 1987! Information on the military unit flags had to be obtained
from former commanding officers and troopers of the units concerned, since
there appear to be no official records on this subject, and the Military
Museum in Gweru does not have any of the flags in its display. A number
of the original flags are now preserved in my private collection, and several
other private collectors were also helpful in providing photographs and
descriptions of the flags they own. Where known, the story behind each
flag is related and sources of information on some of the flags include
such well-known people as Lt.Col Ron Reid-Daly, former OC of the Selous
Scouts; Robin Moore, famous author and unofficial American ambassador in
Rhodesia; Lt.Col. Ian Buttenshaw, former OC of "1" Commando, RLI, and many
The "1" Commando flag above was not the official flag of the unit, which
was actually a red flag with a white "1" in the centre. The original choice
of the colour red for the flag is attributed to the fact that in July 1971
the then OC, Major D.G. Parker, was late for morning parade and appeared
before the startled troops still in his bright red pyjamas! The OC was
always known hereafter as "The Big Red". In late 1978 the new flag, displaying
part of the cloth badge of the Commando, a cheetah within a "C", was adopted.
The flag was stolen in 1980 and I was informed during research for my book
that it had recently been sold to an unknown collector in the USA for $1000!
Post-UDI Battalion Flag of the RLI.
Prior to UDI the flag included a crown above the badge instead of the
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