The Home Front – Selous Scout Mission


Japanese war dead on Suri Ridge, Okinawa.

One of the major trepidations I have about writing on the Selous Scouts, and drawing analogies with Christian mission, is a deep sense of unworthiness.  Regardless of the books read, and even a sense of proximity of having lived through the Rhodesian bush war, how could I ever truly know what these men went through?  I was just a kid who went to bed each night in the far-flung outer suburbs of southern Bulawayo with a sense of security, while Selous Scouts and the rest of the Rhodesian Army made huge sacrifices and lived with constant deprivation attempting to protect our lifestyle.

I have often wondered what it must have been like for those guys, particularly Scouts, to return to “civilisation” for their R & R.  How was it to be air-lifted from deep within the tribal trust lands, dressed in the ragged, faded denim of the enemy, brandishing an AK-47 to find oneself hours later in one of the wild-west saloons of downtown Salisbury or Bulawayo?  With all they saw in the field, and were called on to do, was it possible to cast it aside as they returned to the “normality” of civilian life for a time or, more importantly, at the end of the war?
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Like a visual vision statement

At QCCC we’re piloting a new concept we hope will become the backbone theme of our programs, across our three camp sites at Mapleton, Tamborine and Brookfield (Brisbane). The working title for the concept is “R1202“, a reference to the biblical Romans 12:02:


Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within.”

Also known as “The Hand” we believe the R1202 theme will enable us to partner with visiting groups to reflect on the key attributes and values required for a successful life.

As it is developed we will make it a flexible tool that can fit the objectives and outcomes of each group who visits us. We will also develop resources so that the lessons learned from R1202 on camp can last long after it concludes.

R1202 will become the major tool used by QCCC in our teaching and service to clients.  Our staff have identified approximately 70 object lessons that can be drawn from R1202 using colours, fingers and other concepts.

Selous Scout Mission: R & R

A continuation of my series on the lessons in mission drawn from the operating strategies of Rhodesia’s Selous Scouts.


1st Marine Division on their Australian R & R break in World War Two.

Over the weekend we had some friends stay and talk turned briefly to this blog and my Selous Scouts series.  My friend (we’ll call him Wally) identified with my article on the pseudo approach to mission, but gave some interesting food for thought.

Wally fits well into the definition of pseudo operative, a lone Christian working in a social welfare field where secular humanism is the prevailing worldview and “proselytization” of anything but secular humanism is strictly frowned upon.  It’s a tough gig, restricting for my friend who at times feels he has to equip needy people with strategies and philosophies that either won’t work, or fail to reference their divine author.

As we talked Wally told me that while it was helpful for him to think of his current calling in life as a pseudo operative in an at times hostile environment, there are a few reflections he had about making it sustainable.

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Turned (Selous Scout mission)

Out in the field with new colleagues who had been trying to kill you just days before.

A continuation of my series on the lessons in mission drawn from the operating strategies of Rhodesia’s Selous Scouts.

One of the most remarkable and successful strategies of the Selous Scouts was their habit of “turning” their enemy.  In raw turns it took incredibly bravery and faith in the superiority of the ideals of one’s outfit to even countenance this strategy.  Let’s take a look.

To operate as a Pseudo force the Selous Scouts pilfered uniforms and weaponry from slain enemy so that they could use them in their undercover infiltrations into enemy territory.  However, it wasn’t only weapons and uniform that proved of value in the aftermath of fire-fights.

Captured insurgent communist terrorists (CTs) were important sources of operational information and if captured would be interrogated for all their knowledge of enemy strategy, morale and intentions.  The Rhodesian civil war was a ruthless and bitter affair, so let’s not pretend this was an activity always carried out to the letter of the Geneva Convention law.

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