Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Chapter 19 The War

 During the building of the Rutenga – Beit bridge rail link, a PATU stick was stationed at Rutenga. Also stationed there were a group of coloured soldiers who did active duty.

Fortunately they were camped on opposite sides of the track otherwise we would have had sports.

These soldiers were known to be heavy drinkers as they made it known that they should not be involved in the war.

One evening, just after dark, one soldier was cleaning his rifle and after assembling it again, cocked the rifle and fired a round.
Because everyone was jittery due to the possibility of being attacked, the PATU guys fired a few rounds in the general direction from where the shot came.

Thinking that they were under attack, the soldiers retaliated and a full-scale war was on.

This lasted for about 5 minutes until the PATU stick leader ordered, “Cease fire”

The company commander of the soldiers had the good sense to realise that the firing had stopped and also ordered to cease-fire.

The stick leader shouted to the opposite side of the track to identify themselves.
I had taken shelter in the station office and emerged when the firing stopped.

What a sight!

The diesel tanks that were used to refuel the locomotives were leaking in about 30 different places from the bullet holes.

What made the incident even more remarkable was that in all approximately 500 rounds were fired by both sides and nobody was hit, not even a scratch.

Ref. Rhodesia

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