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Mervyn Mitton, January 25, 2011 in Great Britain: Empire: Colonial Including South Africa & India: Awards, Militaria & History
Ah, who's this Merv?
Is that BSAP Commissioner's insignia or a lower rank?
I have had quite few Rhodesian medals through recently - however, this one stands out as it is a family pair for Father and Son. With regard to Rhodesian items you must now remember that it is 31 years since the short lived period of U.D.I. - 1965 - 1980. There is demand Worldwide , partly to be accounted for by the small and diverse units in the Rhodesian Forces - but, mainly because as a Country with the full array of Government Institutuons - they ceased to exist on 'handover'. Regard any that you have as investments and collect whenever possible.
The Father was - 63250 W.N.VINCENT - he was in the South African armoured units and was badly wounded in Italy when his tank was destroyed. I understand that he took a year to recover. The family know little about his war service and until I can draw papers any info. will be appreciated.
The lower set is of importance. 5850 R.A.VINCENT - was, in the 1950's, with the British South Africa Police Reserve. From what I have been able to establish from badges that came with the medals, he was a sergeant with the Reserves, later a senior sergeant and then a station officer. He must have joined as a regular around the time of UDI and would have been commissioned due to his previous service.
His LS & GC is named to 5850 Chief Inspector R.A.Vincent - but I am not sure of the date for this. It marks 18 years service - and subsequent bars marked each 5 years - perhaps it all ended before he could claim them ?
He went on to be a Superintendent - a Chief Superintendent , which I think was his substantative rank - and an Asst. Commissioner. In this rank he would have been responsible for a large district. There was an additional rank of senior Asst.Comm. - who would have had duties similar to the Metropolitan Police in London.
The medals, as I said, came with all of his gilt badges and so a good board has been possible. I will post additional badges separately.
I knew Bob Vincent personally - he lived here after leaving Rhodesia and ran the main builder's supply shop. He told me many of his police stories since we shared a background - but, he was modest and I never knew he made Asst.Comm. rank . I am hoping to be able to add his cased sword.
The medal on the left is the Rhodesian GSM - named to 5850 S/O R.A.Vincent. The right hand is the LS&GC for 18 years service.
The badge on the left is for male officers' in the BSAP - the one on the right is gilt bullion - for Commissioner rank. Look carefully at the crossed tipstaffs. I mentioned in an earlier post that the Rhodesians wanted to keep links with Britain and this is a perfect example - however, the Crowns which should surmount the staffs have been taken out.
Under these cap badges are the gilt collars for Officers' in the UDI period. Then standard shoulder titles for B S A P and finally, some gilt buttons - again UDI.
This shows the reverse of the two medals. The GSM has the Rhodesian Arms - whilst the LS&GC has retained the truncheon from the British overseas police awards. However, the wording and the shape of the truncheon make it unique to Rhodesia - and therefore , it is a rare medal to an Officer of what was a small force. The Medal Yearbook has not been listing Rhodesian medals - unless they added this year ?
I know that to many members the collecting of Rhodesian material is difficult - small amounts only are available and so much was dumped in the Zambezi river when people were leaving - they were worried that mementoes would get them into trouble. However, my advice - buy what you can - prices can only increase. Be careful of re-names - particularly for the early 1890's medals. I understand that some of the dies were stolen from the Museum in 1980 and care should be taken - this is particularly so with the 1896. I usually only buy this one if it is in a group.
Leigh - I hope I was able to answer your question ? Mervyn
A really great group Mervyn!
I am yet to add any Rhodesian medals to my collection, would really like an Africa Service Medal to a Rhodesian recipient. Did they have any specific prefixed for Rhodesian recipients?
Yes Merv, thanks - interesting grouping.
I have only a few Rhodesian GSMs & a few cap badges, with two cloth patches on their way in the post at the moment.
I'd like more of a collection but I just can't keep collecting everything I fancy.
Before they get forgotten I want to add this officer's rank badges to the thread. They include his original Sgt's rank and also, Sen.. Sgt. Followed by senior patrol officer. Then on the left his Ch. Inspector rank , the UDI period Supt.'s badge and then the Ch. Supt..
Beneath these are cap and collars and then the Supt' rank and collars for mess dress. These last ones are quite rare.
Hi Mervyn - 5850 Vincent retired as a Superintendent in 1980 - His retirement notice is in The Outpost April 1980 p.27
Thanks Wayne - and welcome to GMIC. I hope we will see many more posts from you. Mervyn
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