Our good friend Larry Jenkins served as a member of the Rhodesia Regiment and British South Africa Police during the Rhodesian Bush War. His poem Let This Come From Your Pen reflects the mood of the Rhodesian forces at the time as international pressure mounted and the conflict intensified from his experiences and point of view.
Many years of close combat, chaos, and death took their toll on Larry. He refused to talk about the war upon his return to Canada. Most people in the civilian world had warped perceptions of the Rhodesian cause, or took offense at the black comedy of a combat veteran. Larry bottled up his emotions which sometimes manifested themselves in unhealthy outbursts of rage and frustration. In 2011 his current wife and several Canadian Army combat veterans convinced him to consider the Veterans Transition Program through the University of British Columbia.
The program spoke to Larry in a way that no other "shrink" had in the past. For the first time in 30 years Larry came to peace with his wartime experiences. Larry couldn't speak highly enough of the program from every time we've chatted with him. After lots of leg work we're now proud to publish his wartime poem for the first time to raise funds for this excellent cause.
The poem print is printed on our standard 3.5mm glossy paper for extra durability, and each are signed by the author as a limited time offering.
80% of all proceeds from these poem print sales will go directly to the Veterans Transition Network of Canada (Registered charity #81799 8503 RR0001)
. The funds collected go a long way as only $150CAD funds one hour of therapy for a group of 6 veterans. If you would like to learn more or make an additional donation to the Veterans Transition Network, you may do so at https://vtncanada.org/donate/
All prices are in Canadian Dollars (CAD). We ship internationally
Larry Jenkin served during the Rhodesian Bush War under the name "Larry Tierney", taking on the surname of his adopted father. Larry was an all-Canadian guy, born and raised in British Columbia and was involved in the printing industry shortly after high school. Prior to arriving in South Africa, he had apprenticed as a printer in Canada, aboard a West German merchant ship, and continued to work as a printer in New Zealand. Larry didn't intend to fight for the Rhodesian cause, arriving after a stint in South Africa continue his printing career.
On 15 May 1973, two Canadian women were gunned down while visiting Victoria Falls along the Rhodesia-Zambia border. They were later identified as 20 year old Christine Lois Sinclair, and 19 year old Marion Iduma Drijber of Ontario, Canada. Christine was killed instantly by a blast of automatic fire. Marion's body was never recovered as she fell over the waterfalls mortally wounded. The Zambian government insisted that these petite women brandishing cameras in a tourism hotspot were Rhodesian commandos, hell bent on a raid into socialist Zambia. Due to the controversial nature of Rhodesia's existence and white-minority rule, the Canadian government did little to condemn Zambia or the communist insurgency in Rhodesia that had plunged southern Africa into a state of war. Condemning Zambia for the murder of it's own citizens was seen as helping the Rhodesian cause, so Canada remained silent. To this day, no efforts at restitution and justice has been made by the Canadian government for the murder of it's own citizens. The cowardly response from his own country spurred Larry to volunteer for the Rhodesian Army.
Larry made arrangements and got himself drafted into the 5th Battalion, Rhodesia Regiment for a national service call up. He would serve up during several 6 week call-ups as a Rifleman in the legendary regiment, fighting in close combat with communist guerillas. After finishing his national service term he served in the British South Africa Police's "B" Reserve, mainly conducting weekly operations as a reserve Patrol Officer. He continued to work for various Rhodesian newspapers including the Rhodesian Herald in Salisbury. He later worked for the black African nationalist leaning National Observer, which actively supported Bishop Abel Muzerowa. As the war intensified in 1976-1977 he participated in more intensive training including a tactical driving, kill-houses, and a parachutist course in South Africa. This allowed him to join up with the elite BSAP SPEU (Salisbury Police Emergency Unit), working at a ramped up operational tempo.
In 1979 a tide of Soviet and Chinese funded terror groups were swarming white-minority ruled Rhodesia. The fledging "Rhodesian Front" government of Ian Douglas Smith seemed on the verge of collapse as the republic faced mounting crippling international sanctions and a devastating attack on Rhodesia's oil infrastructure after terrorists raided the Salisbury Oil Depot in 1978. A transition to black majority rule was now inevitable after years of bloody conflict.
In this complex time of transition, international journalists flocked to Rhodesia to cover it's transition to black majority rule as UANC leader Bishop Abel Muzerowa and ZANU founder Ndabaningi Sithole took center stage on elections to decide the fate of the little African nation. Despite the Rhodesian Front's acceptance of African nationalist groups partaking in free and fair elections, the future remained far from certain. Major terrorist groups under the leadership of Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe remained committed to armed conflict.
During this turbulent time with journalists from Europe and North America swirling about, Larry penned Let This Come From Your Pen, expressing the oft forgotten horrors of the Rhodesian Bush War.
Larry left Africa in 1981, shortly after the controversial election victory of Robert Mugabe. Feeling that the days of print media were being superseded by computers, he became an active and early adopter of Apple products. Without realizing it, he became a bit of a tech pioneer throughout the mid-1980s, and continues to be a big tech junkie to this day. Taking an interest in his own family genealogy, he took up the "Jenkins" surname of his biological father. He was able to discover many immediate ancestors with service dating back to the Crimean War, through to both World Wars and the Spanish Civil War - something that may have explained his own adventures in Rhodesia.
He participated in the life-changing Veterans Transition Network program in 2011 as one of the first classes with financial support from the Royal Canadian Legion. Larry now lives quietly with his wife in Alberta, Canada, still tweaking with tech, photography or motorcycles. He is a great friend of Fireforce Ventures and regularly consults with us on Rhodesian Bush War history, tactics, and gear.