RLI Badge

1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association ®


1960 - 1969     |     1970 - 1980


Formation of No. 1 Training Unit (precursor to 1RLI)
Formation (resurrection) of C (Rhodesia) Squadron SAS
Belgium grants independence to its Congo colony, resulting in chaos
Formation of ZAPU (Zimbabwe African People's Union) under Joshua Nkomo


1RLI formed on 1 February
Congo Emergency and collapse of Katangese secessionist government


1RLI move to new barracks in Cranborne, Salisbury
Her Majesty, The Queen approves RLI's regimental badge
Nationalists begin campaign of civil disorder, resulting in banning of ZAPU
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Her Majesty, The Queen, approves RLI's regimental colours in July
Operation Zephyr and other minor operations initiated to counter increasing intimidation by nationalist agitators
Rhodesian Nationalists split - ZANU formed by ZAPU dissenters led by Ndabaningi Sithole
First ZANU (ZANLA) recruits undergo training in China
Break-up of the Central African Federation in December
RLI strength reduced to 200 men as a result of Federal 'golden handshake' and morale plummets


First insurgent (ZANU's the 'Crocodile Gang') infiltration into Rhodesia in July
Ian Smith becomes Rhodesian Prime Minister
ZANU banned and Robert Mugabe detained
Malawi and Zambia attain independence


1RLI reformed as a commando battalion
Lt-Col. G. P. Walls (CO 1RLI) introduces RLI green beret
RLI receives colours from governor of Rhodesia, Sir Humphrey Gibbs in June
RLI successfully 'commando-tested' in exercises Flick Knife and Long Drag
Britain applies oil embargo on Rhodesia


Harold Wilson, British PM, persuades UN to violate its own charter (Article 41) and impose sanctions on Rhodesia in April
Op Pagoda - ZANU's first serious military infiltration into Rhodesia in May
Op Yodel - RLI's first contact with ZANU insurgents at Chirundu in September RLI parachute club formed
Smith and Wilson meet aboard HMS Tiger off Gibraltar in December. The talks end in failure
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Op Nickel - first major ZAPU incursion into Rhodesia in August
Start of clandestine Rhodesian operations in Mozambique
Arrival of South African Police (SAP)


Op Cauldron - ZAPU's second major incursion and the blooding of the RLI in March
Op Glove and capture of Moffat Hadebe in June
Op Griffin - ZAPU's third major incursion in July
Op Excess - ZAPU's fourth incursion in July
Rhodesia hangs three insurgents for murder despite Queen's reprieve
Talks between Wilson and Smith break down aboard HMS Fearless in October


Rhodesia becomes a republic
Samora Machel (Frelimo) grants Josiah Tongogara (ZANLA) permission to operate against Rhodesia from bases in Tete Province, Mozambique
Sithole imprisoned for plotting to assassinate Smith

Source: Alex Binda

1960 - 1969     |     1970 - 1980