Commissioners of the British South Africa Police and predecessor forces
Compiled by Andrew Field (8646)

For more detailed and comprehensive biographies of these commissioners, readers are referred to 'Commanding the Regiment' by Messrs John Berry (5584) and Fred Punter (4853), available from the United Kingdom Branch of the Regimental Association. Reference was made to this and other sources in compiling the 'mini biographies' included below.



Pennefather, Edward Graham
(1850–1928) Lt. Colonel – 1 March 1890 to 1892

Mini Biography: Born 21 February 1850. Joined the Army and later commissioned in April 1873 while attested to the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons. Pennefather saw active service in the Zulu Campaign and the Boer War before promotion to Lt. Colonel in October 1888. He was appointed commander of British South Africa Company police in November 1889 and took part in the occupation of Mashonaland. Was involved with the skirmishes at Massi Kessi. Pennefather was relieved of his command with the disbanding of the 'military police' which had accompanied the Pioneer Column. He returned to the Army, from which he retired in May 1895 to become Inspector General of Police in the Straits Settlements. Edward Pennefather died in Natal on 29 April 1928.



Graham, Malcolm David
CB; CMG; CVO (1855-1941) – Colonel – 1892

Mini Biography: Born 14 July 1865 in Grahamstown, South Africa and educated at Haileybury College. Graham joined the army in 1885 attesting into the Northants Regiment after his Sandhurst commissioning. His association with the BSA Company Police was fleeting and first comes to light at Mutasa's kraal during the frontier conflict with the Portuguese. He later become Adjutant of the Company police in Fort Salisbury. When the 'military' police force was disbanded in December 1891, Graham took over as commander of the much depleted and new 'civilian' force as 'Inspector-General of Police'. Graham went on to become Secretary in the War Office, saw action in the 1914-18 conflict; and was one time ADC to the King. Malcolm Graham died 16 November 1941 in Durban, Natal. Awarded CB 1915; CMG 1918 and CVO 1919 in addition to several campaign medals and orders.



White, Charles James
(1860-1930)– Captain the Hon – 1 January 1893 to 1 August 1895

Mini Biography: Born 24 June 1860, the son of the 2nd Baron Annaly of Annaly and Rathcline, and educated at Eton. He joined the Longford Rifles and was commissioned into the 7th Fusiliers in 1881. He joined the British South Africa Company Police in April 1891. White was appointed Commissioner of the Mashonaland Mounted Police in January 1893. The force changed its name, yet again, to the Rhodesian Mounted Police during his tenure in office. He relinquished his command at the time of the Jameson Raid, and some believe he was complicit in its planning. White saw action during the Mashona Rebellion and later in Europe with the Norfolk Regiment during the First World War. Charles White died on 8 September 1930



White, Henry Frederick
; (1859-1901) DSO – Lt. Colonel– 1 August 1895 to 1 October 1896

Mini Biography: Born 1 April 1859, the son of the 2nd Baron Annaly of Annaly and Rathcline, and older brother of his predecessor, Charles James White. He was educated at Eton and later attended Sandhurst. Fought in the Sudan Expedition (1884-85) and appointed a Lt.Colonel in the Grenadier Guards in 1900. He fought in the Boer War (1899-1902) during which he was wounded. White was present at the Siege of Mafeking as part of the relief force. He took part in the Jameson Raid, during which he was captured and subsequently convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. White received the mercy of the Home Secretary and was released after 5 days, but lost his commission in the Army (later restored). White was at one time Mayor of Bulawayo. Henry White died 17 August 1903 at Pietersburg, South Africa. Awarded DSO 1901.

Mashonaland Division1



Eveleigh-De Moleyns, Frederick Rossmore Wauchope
; DSO (1861-1923) 5th Baron Ventry– Captain, the Hon. – 1 October 1896 to 11 December 1897

Mini Biography: Born 11 December 1861 Niddrie House, County Kerry, Ireland, and educated at Harrow. Was commissioned into the 4th Hussars in 1882. Was Commander of the Mashonaland Division of, what was then referred to as, the Rhodesian Mounted Police. De Moleyns fought in the Mashona Rebellion (1896-97). He died 22 September 1923 at Brighton. Awarded DSO 1897.



Gosling, Audley Vaughan
– (1864-1906) Major – 12 December 1897 to 27 January 1901

Mini Biography: Born 1864 in Kensington, London and raised in Bath and later in London. Commissioned into the Worcestershire Regiment 1886. He did a tour in the Bechuanaland Border Police and thereafter joined the BSA Police, but there is little record of his service until he was recorded as Staff Officer Mashonaland in 1896 in the rank of Major. He also appears to have taken part in the Jameson Raid, was arrested in the Boer Republic, and transported for trial in the United Kingdom, but acquitted. Gosling fought in the Mashona Rebellion and saw action in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902. He appears to have joined the 5th Battalion of Rifle Brigade, and was gazetted as a Captain in 1901. Thereafter, Gosling disappears into obscurity. Audley Gosling died at St Martin's, Guernsey on 7 June 1906.



Straker, Martin
(b.1863) – Colonel – 27 January 1901 to 26 July 1901

Mini Biography: Born 1863. He served in the Cape Mounted Rifles and attested into the BSA Company Police in January 1891. He pursued a career in policing and was commissioned while serving in the Matabeleland Mounted Police in December 1893. He too took part in the 'notorious' Jameson Raid being taken prisoner at the Battle of Dornkop in December 1895 and repatriated to England. Straker returned to Rhodesia and took part in operations during the Matabele Rebellion. He served in the Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 during which he was wounded. On his return to Rhodesia, Straker was the acting Commandant of the Matabeleland Division of the BSA Police and eventually commanded the Mashonaland Division. Following the Police Ordinance of 1903, which combined the Mashonaland and Matabeleland Divisions, Straker served as an acting Chief Staff Officer. He retired in January 1910.



Flint, John 'Jack' T.E.
(d.1912) – Colonel – 27 July 1901 to 5 October 1903

Mini Biography: Born Dumfriesshire he first enlisted in the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards where he received his commission, later transferring to the 4th Dragoon Guards and then, apparently, returning to the 1st. As a Captain, he was Adjutant of the 4th and promoted to Major in December 1897. He saw action in North-West Frontier of India, with the Tirah Expedition, before travelling to Africa, via South America, where he had been sent to acquire horses for the Boer War. Flint had a reputation for outstanding horsemanship and was a superb mounted sportsman involving a sabre at the gallop! At one time he commanded the Transport Department of the BSA Police and was responsible for introducing camels for police and transport usage, circa 1903-4, due to prevailing horse sickness at the time. Flint had soldiered with camels while in India. He appears to have settled in Fort Victoria after service. John Flint died in London.

Matabeleland Division2



Nicholson, John Sanctuary (1863-1924) CB; CMG; CBE; DSO – Captain– 28 January 1897 to 27 September 1898

Mini Biography: Born 19 May 1863 in Kensington, London and educated at Harrow and then the Royal Military College. He was appointed to the 7th Hussars in February 1884 when he was commissioned with the rank of Lieutenant. Nicholson was promoted to Captain in January 1891 and after his arrival in Africa was sent to Matabeleland, as a successor to Plumer during the onset of the Matabele Rebellion to assist Colonel Sir Richard Martin in British South Africa. Nicholson later succeeded Martin, being appointed Commandant-General and Inspector-General of Volunteers of All forces in Rhodesia in 1898. He was promoted to Major in May 1899 and served in the Anglo Boer War (1899-1901). He left Rhodesia in 1903 and was succeeded in that role by Colonel Chester-Master. Nicholson had played a prominent role in the protection of the railway from the north to Mafeking. Nicholson later went on to serve with some distinction in the First World War with a special appointment to the British Expeditionary Force. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in July 1903 and full Colonel in February 1907. He retired from the British Army with the Rank of Brigadier General and went into politics, becoming the Conservative MP for Westminster between 1921-1924. John Nicholson died 21 February 1924 at Marylebone, London. Awarded DSO 1897; CB; CMG 1905; CBE 1919.



Bodle, William 'Billy'
(1855-1924); CMG - Lt.  Colonel – 27 September 1898 to 5 October 1903

Mini Biography: Born 5 July 1855 in Alfriston, Sussex, England. Bodle's first regiment was the Sherwood Foresters (Nottingham and Derbyshire Regiment), but he moved to the 17th Lancers and then transferred to the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, which took him to South Africa. He fought in the Basuto War (1880-81) as a member of the Cape Mounted Rifles. Bodle joined the Bechuanaland Border Police in 1884 as its Regimental Sergeant Major. He was engaged by Cecil Rhodes to set up a force to accompany the Pioneer Column into Mashonaland, joining the BSA Company Police as its Regimental Sergeant Major. Bodle was stood down as part of an austerity measure and went into commerce in Fort Salisbury. He soon joined the Salisbury Horse and took part in the occupation of Matabeleland, after which Bodle became the commander of the newly formed Division known as the Matabeleland Mounted Police, with the rank of Major. Bodle also took part in the Jameson Raid as a member of the Rhodesia Mounted Police (which loosely combined the Matabeleland and Mashonaland Divisions). He was deported to England after capture by the Boers, but returned to Rhodesia, re-attesting into the newly formed British South Africa Police, Matabeleland Division, as its second in command with the rank of Lt. Colonel. He eventually succeeded Nicholson. Bodle retired from the BSA Police in April 1909 and returned to England. During the 'Great War' Bodle commanded the Norfolk and Suffolk Territorial Battalions and later the Labour Battalion. He was granted the honoury rank of Brigadier General in August 1917. William Bodle died in Alfriston 9 July 1924. Awarded: CMG 1901.

Post Amalgamation -Formation BSA Police3 4 5 6



Bodle, William 'Billy'
(1855-1924); CMG - Lt.  Colonel – 5 October 1903 to 19 April 1909

Mini Biography: See above.

 



Fuller, JH
(1860 -1931); Lt.  Colonel - Commissioner 18 April 1909 to 1 April 1911

Mini Biography: Born 31 July 1860 in County Cork, Ireland and educated at Bandon Grammar School. Fuller started off in merchant shipping. He arrived in southern Africa in 1881 and joined the Bechuanaland Border Police in 1886 where he obtained his commission in 1889. He was reassigned to the Cape Mounted Police, as a Captain, in December 1895. Fuller was transferred yet again, this time to the Matabeleland Constabulary in 1898 and eventually took command of the Southern Rhodesia Constabulary. The SRC administration was placed in the hands of the BSA police in 1909 and Fuller took up the post of Chief Staff Officer with the rank of Major. He was promoted to Lt Colonel in April 1909, on the retirement of Bodle, and assumed command of the BSA Police. He retired from the force in April 1911. Mr Fuller died on 15 November 1931 at Falmouth, England.



Drury, Gordon Vallancy
(1864 -1917); Major - Commissioner 1 April 1911 to 28 January 1913

Mini Biography: Born Stonehouse, England 13 August 1864. He attested into the Royal Marine Light Infantry Corps as a newly commissioned officer in 1883. He was discharged for an exam failure and soon attested into the 11th Hussars Regiment as a Private. Drury moved through the non-commissioned ranks and by 1890, as a Sergeant, he arrived in South Africa on a troop ship. On his return to England he was discharged at his own request and made his way back to southern Africa and attested into the Bechuanaland Border Police, as its Regimental Sergeant Major. In 1893 Drury received his second commission, during which year he was part of the column which advanced on Bulawayo during the Matabele occupation. Drury transferred to the Matabeleland Mounted Police. He took part in the Jameson raid, was captured and sent to back to England for trial. On return to Rhodesia Drury resumed his duties in the police and was transferred to the Southern Rhodesia Constabulary in March 1903 where he remained until the merger of forces to form the BSA Police. Drury was promoted to Major in July 1904 and appointed Acting Commissioner in April 1911. He resigned from the BSA Police in November 1913. During the Great War, he joined the Kings Royal Rifle Corps and later transferred to the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Gordon Drury died suddenly on 19 November 1917 at the Rollaston Camp, Wiltshire.



Edwards, Sir Alfred Hamilton Mackenzie
(1862-1944) KBE; CB; MVO; Maj.  General - Commissioner 28 January 1913 to 23 January 1923

Mini Biography: Born 22 September 1862 in Naini Tal, Bengal, India and educated at Craigmount, Edinburgh and Eton. Edwards was commissioned into The Highland Rifle in March 1881 and in 1883 he transferred to the 1st Dragoon Guards Regiment (ex 3rd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders). He received his Majority in 1896 and moved to the 5th Dragoon Guards. Edwards served in Hazara in 1888 and was in the Imperial Light Horse during the Boer War and took part in the relief of Mafeking alongside elements of the BSA Police. He was promoted to Colonel in 1905. Edwards was at one time Military Secretary to the Viceroy of India, Assistant Adjutant-General, Transvaal Volunteers and also commanded the 'A' Division of the South African Constabulary. He retired from the British Army in May 1907. Between November 1906 and November 1912 Edwards was Chief Constable of the London Metropolitan Police, before his appointment as Commandant-General of Rhodesian Forces. He was appointed Commissioner of the BSA Police as an external appointment from outside the force. Edwards retired on 23 January 1923. Sir Alfred died on 29 March 1944 in England. Awarded CB 1901; MVO 1904; KBE 1920.



Capell, Algernon Essex
(1869-1952) CBE; DSO; Colonel - Commissioner 1 February 1923 to 11 February 1926 (possibly commenced on 1 April 1923 suggesting force was without a substantive Commissioner for two months)

Mini Biography: Born 1 November 1869 Tettenhall Wood, Wolverhampton and educated at Felsted School. Capell failed entry into the British Army on medical grounds and later joined the Cape Mounted Rifles. He was commissioned in Bethune's Horse and fought in the Boer War, during which he was captured and interned at Barberton. Capell saw service in the South African Constabulary, served in the Kenyan District Commissioners' Office and later became Commandant of Colonial Forces and Chief of Police in the West Indies, as a Major. On his return to Africa in 1913 Capell became an Assistant Commissioner in the BSA Police. He commanded the BSA Police column which took Schuckmannsburg and was later commanding officer of the Rhodesia Regiment deployed in East Africa. Capell was promoted to temporary Lt. Colonel in May 1915. He was appointed Commandant General in Southern Rhodesia in 1923 (when he was made Commissioner of the BSA Police). He retired from the force in 1926. Algernon Capell died in Salisbury on 24 February 1952. Awarded DSO 1901; Croix de Guerre 1917; CBE 1924.



Tomlinson, Alfred James
(1879-1926), Acting Commissioner 12 February 1926 to 12 May 1926

Mini Biography: Born India 27 June 1870 and educated at Whitgift Grammar School, Croydon. He returned to India and received his commission in the Malabar Volunteer Rifles in 1892. Tomlinson travelled to Africa in 1893 and took up a position with the Bechuanaland Border Police and a year later attested into the Mashonaland Mounted Police as a trooper. He was commissioned in 1895. Tomlinson was also drawn into the Jameson Raid debacle, suffered capture at Doornkop in January 1896 and was shipped to England. He returned to Africa and joined Plumer with the Matabele Relief Force during the Matabele Rebellion. He rejoined the British South Africa Police and later fought in the Boer War and was present at the Relief of Mafeking. Tomlinson commanded the BSA Police contingent sent to London on the occasion of the Coronation of HRH King George V. He was seconded to the Rhodesia Native Regiment in July 1916 and commanded operations in German East Africa. Here he suffered injury and subsequent sickness before returning to Rhodesia in 1917 to resume his police career as an Assistant Commissioner. When Capell retired, Tomlinson was appointed Acting Commissioner, but does not appear to have been made substantive Commissioner. Tomlinson retired from the force in May 1926. Alfred Tomlinson died on 27 June 1961.



Stops, George
(1876-1940) CBE; Colonel - Commissioner 13 May 1926 to 14 February 1933

Mini Biography: Born 1876 in Cosgrove, England and educated at Wellingborough. He served in the 4th Hussars before joining the Matabeleland Mounted Police in 1896. Stops saw active service in the Matabele Rebellion, and the Anglo Boer War, during which, in 1901, he was commissioned. He held dual military/police ranks and was promoted to Major in 1917. Stops did most of his early service in Matabeleland but eventually moved to Salisbury to serve as Commandant Depot. George Stops died 28 January 1940 in Salisbury. Awarded CBE 1933.



Morris, John Sidney
(1119) (1890-1961) CBE; KPM; CPM; Brigadier - Commissioner 15 February 1933 to 24 April 1945

Mini Biography: Born 1890 Didsbury, Lancashire and attended Grammar School in Manchester. He enlisted with the BSA Police in October 1909 and served mostly in Mashonaland districts. Morris was commissioned in April 1914 and appears to have transferred to the CID in 1915. He served in Bulawayo and Salisbury achieving the rank of Superintendent in 1926. In November 1929 he became an Assistant Commissioner to Stops with the rank of Major. Officers had both military and police ranks at this time. In the lead up to the Second World War, Morris was appointed Commandant of the Southern Rhodesian Forces. John Morris died in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, on 18 November 1961. Awarded CBE 1935; OStJ 1938; CPM 1944; and KPM 1945.



Ross, John Ellis 'Jack'
(1771) (1893-1965) CBE; CVO; KPM; Brigadier - Commissioner 24 April 1945 to 6 December 1950

Deputy Commissioners (in succession):

  • Surgey, Herbert Frederick Montagu 'Monty'(1860) (1893-1969) OBE; OstJ; Colonel 1946 - 26 September 1948
  • Appleby, James (2123) (1899-1995) CBE; KPM; Colonel - 27 September 1948 to 6 December 1950

Mini Biography: Born 7 June 1893 in Kent, England and educated King's School, Worcester. Attested into the BSA Police in October 1913 and took part in the capture of Schuckmannsburg during the Great War. He was seconded to the Rhodesian Native Regiment and saw action in East Africa. Ross was commissioned in 1921. He was at one stage Commandant Depot (1934-40) and was promoted to Assistant Commissioner in 1941. He retired on pension in December 1950. John Ross died on 16 November 1965 at Kenilworth, Cape Town. Awarded KPM 1945; CVO 1947; CBE 1950.



Appleby, James
(2123) (1899-1995) CBE; KPM; Colonel - Commissioner 7 December 1950 to 2 June 1954

Deputy Commissioner:

  • Hickman, Arthur Selwyn; (2622) (1900 -1976 ) OBE; QPM; CPM; 7 December 1950 to 3 June 1954

Mini Biography: Born 11 June 1899, London. He joined the Bedfordshire Regiment in 1917, but later transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and trained as a pilot. He saw First World War action in France during which he sustained injuries from a plane crash. Appleby joined the BSA Police in October 1919 and was posted to the districts. He was commissioned in September 1924 and served in most districts. He was an excellent shottist and sportsman. He saw further active service in the Second World War and had been instrumental in re-organising police forces in occupied territories under the British Military Administration. He returned to the BSA Police in June 1944 and was appointed Deputy Commissioner in September 1948. James Appleby died in South Africa 7 July 1985. Awarded KPM 1953; CBE 1954.



Hickman, Arthur Selwyn
(2622) (1900-1976) OBE; QPM; CPM Colonel - Commissioner 3 June 1954 to 5 November 1955

Deputy Commissioner:

  • Jackson, Harold; (2853) (1903 -1998 ) CBE; KPM;
    CPM; Colonel - Commissioner: 6 November 1954 to 5 November 1955

Mini Biography: Born 6 November 1900 at St Keyne, England. After a short spell in South Africa he joined the BSA Police in August 1924. His early service is obscure. He was commissioned in 1928 and by 1939 he was in Depot Command. During the Second World War he was seconded to the staff of the Commandant Southern Rhodesia Forces. Post-war, Hickman became the Quartermaster of Police and, on 7 December 1950, was appointed Deputy Commissioner. After leaving the force Commissioner Hickman researched and wrote several titles on Rhodesian history. Arthur Hickman died in Salisbury, Rhodesia, on 22 July 1976. Awarded OBE 1944; CPM 1954; QPM 1955.



Jackson, Harold
(2853) (1903 -1998 ) CBE; KPM; CPM; Colonel - Commissioner: 6 November 1955 to 12 March 1958

Deputy Commissioner:

  • Spurling, Basil Gordon (3100) (1908-1991) CBE; CPM; QPM - 6 November 1955 to 12 March 1958

Mini Biography: Born 1 April 1903 Milnthorpe, England. Attested into BSA Police February 1927 and, after a short spell in uniform, joined the Criminal Investigation Department in 1930. He was commissioned in January 1939 and was promoted to Officer Commanding CID in 1950. Jackson became Deputy Commissioner on 3 June 1954. Harold Jackson died in Ealing, London 2 December 1998. Awarded KPM 1949; CPM 1955 and CBE 1958.



Spurling, Basil Gordon (3100) ( 1908-1991) CBE; CPM; QPM - Commissioner: 13 March 1958 to 25 April 1963

Deputy Commissioners:

  • Crime and Security - Borland, Robert Hugh (3306) CPM - 13 March 1958 to 30 September 1960
  • Crime and Security - Barfoot, Frank Eric (3342) (1913-1971) ID; CBE; QPM; CPM - 1 October 1960 7 - 25 April 1963
  • Administration - Rolfe, Graham Sydney (2934) CPM - 1 July 1960 to 28 February 1961
  • Administration - Flower, Ken (3654)(b.1937-d.) MBE - 1 March 1961 to 25 April 1963

Mini Biography: Born 1908 Rochford, England. He attested into the BSA Police in April 1929 and was first posted to the districts. He served three 'stints' at Morris Depot, the last as Commandant. Spurling was a keen sportsman and represented the police in football, rugby and tennis. He was commissioned in October 1933 and took up provincial command positions in both the Midlands and Matabelelend, before promotion to Deputy Commissioner in November 1955. Basil Spurling died 27 March 1991 in Natal. Awarded CPM 1954; QPM 1957; CBE 1959.



Barfoot, Frank Eric (3342) (1913-1971) ID; CBE; QPM; CPM - Commissioner: 26 April 1963 to 2 January 1968

Deputy Commissioners:

  • Crime and Security - Flower, Ken (3654)(1914-1987) MBE - 26 April 1963 to 30 June 1969 (seconded to CIO 12 September 1963 but retained rank of Deputy Commissioner)8
  • Crime and Security - Blowers, Harry Branton (3529) (1912-1999) CPM; PLSM - 1 July 1963 to 26 November 19679
  • Crime and Security - Spink, James (3743) (1914-1997) ICD; PLSM - 27 November 1967 to 2 January 1968 10
  • Administration - Harries, George Mervyn11 (3369) (1912-2001) ICD; OBE; CPM; PLSM - 26 April 196312 to 19 October 196713
  • Administration - Bailey, Robert "Bill" John (3703) (1917-1987) PLSM - 20 October 1967 to 1 November 1971

Mini Biography: Born 2 January 1913 Claremont, South Africa and educated Rondebosch Boys' High School. Joined BSA Police in April 1933 and served most of his career in the Criminal Investigation Department. He was commissioned in 1947, serving in command positions in Salisbury, Bulawayo and Gwelo. He was appointed Officer Commanding CID in 1960 and later the same year was promoted to Deputy Commissioner (crime and Security). Frank Barfoot died in Salisbury on 27 September 1971. Awarded CPM 1955; QPM 1961; CBE 1964; ID 1970.


Spink, James (3743) (1914-1997) ICD; QPM; CPM; PLSM - Commissioner: 3 January 1968 to 26 June 197014

Deputy Commissioners:

  • Crime and Security - Crabtree, William (3708) (b.1917) PCD; CPM; RGSM - 3 January 196815 to 31 May 1970
  • Crime and Security - Sherren, Peter Dennis Wray Richard (3862) (1920-1995) CLM; GLM; OLM; PCD; PLSM; RGSM - 1 June 1970 - to 6 February 1974
  • Administration - Bailey, Robert "Bill" John (3703) (1917-1987) PLSM - 27 November 1967 to 1 November 1971
  • Bristow, Sydney Frederick Samuel (3844)(1919-2008) CLM, PCD; PLSM, CPM - January 1970 to 27 June 197016 (Bristow was appointed Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner Designate to assume command of the BSA Police on the retirement of Spink)
  • Flower, Ken (3654)(1914-1987) MBE - 20 October 1961 to 30 June 1969 (Remained a Deputy Commissioner without portfolio on secondment to CIO from 12 September 1963 to 30 July 1969)

Mini Biography: Born 26 June 1914 Arbroath, Scotland and educated Stewart's College, Edinburgh. Commenced career in insurance, and then served in Edinburgh Police for four years before attesting into the BSA Police in April 1938. Spink was seconded to the Rhodesian African Rifles and saw active service in Burma during Second World War. He returned to policing in 1946 and was commissioned in 1949 following which he served mostly in Salisbury. He was promoted to Deputy Commissioner (Crime and Security) in November 1967. James Spink died in Perth, Australia on 24 January 1997. Awarded War Medal 39-45; Burma Star 1945; CPM 1956; QPM 1964; ICD 1970; and PLSM.



Bristow, Sydney Frederick Samuel (3844)(1919-2008) CLM, PCD, CPM,PLSM, CPLSM - Commissioner: 27 June 1970 - 6th February 1974

Deputy Commissioners:

  • Crime and Security - Sherren, Peter Dennis Wray Richard (3862) (1920-1995) CLM; GLM; OLM; PCD; PLSM; RGSM - 1 June 1970 - to 6 February 1974
  • Administration - Bailey, Robert "Bill" John (3703) (1917-1987) PLSM - to 1 November 1971 17
  • Administration - Allen, Thomas "Gubby" Digby (3779) (1918-1998) OLM; PCD; CPM; PLSM; RGSM - 2 November 1971 to 7 July 1973 18
  • Administration - Jouning, Leonard James (3968) (1921-1980) OLM; PCD; CPM; PLSM; RGSM 8 July 1973 - to 21 August 1977 19

Mini Biography: Born 1919, South Africa and educated at Maritzburg College in Natal where he became head boy and achieved excellence in sport. He joined the BSA Police in August 1939 but was soon posted to Abyssinia on active service during the Second World War and only returned to his policing career in 1946. Bristow soon joined the Criminal Investigation Department as served most of his service in plain clothes. He was commissioned in 1958 and posted to the Bulawayo Headquarters which was to move to Salisbury a year later. Bristow assumed command of the Special Branch in 1968 and following a short spell was appoint Deputy Commissioner in January 1970. Following a four year period as Commissioner he retired in February 1974. Sydney Bristow died in Harare on 18 July 2008. Awarded CPM 1960; CPLSM; PCD 1971; CLM 1972; and PLSM.



Sherren, Peter Dennis Wray Richard
(3862) (1920-1995) CLM; OLM; PCD; PCM; PLSM; RGSM - Commissioner: 7 February 1974 to 6 February 1978

Deputy Commissioners:

  • Crime and Security - Allum, Peter Kevin (3939) (b.1926 ) CLM; OLM; PLSM; RGSM - 7 February 1974 to 6 February 1978
  • Administration - Jouning, Leonard James (3968) (1921-1980) OLM; PCD; CPM; PLSM; RGSM 8 July 1973 - to 21 August 1977 20
  • Administration - Atkinson, George21 (4094) (1923 -1990 ) OLM; PCD; CPM; PLSM; RGSM 22 August 1977 to 22 September 1981 22

Mini Biography: Born 16 August 1920 Wimereux, France and educated Leigh Hall College, Essex, where he achieved sporting honours. His career started in the family business, but he was drawn to Africa and attested into the BSA Police on 13 August 1939. He spend the first years of his service in the districts before secondment to World War II active service. Sherren returned to Rhodesia in 1946. He was commissioned in October 1956 and took command positions in Umtali and Fort Victoria Districts, and then Matabeleland Province, before arriving at General Headquarters. He was promoted to Deputy Commissioner (Crime and Security) in 1970. Peter Sherren died in Harare 16 August 1995. Awarded CPM 1959; PCD 1971; OLM 1973; CLM 1977; OLM 1978; and PLSM.



Allum, Peter Kevin (3939) (1926 - 2015) CLM; OLM; PLSM; RGSM - Commissioner: 7 February 1978 to 1 August 1980 (Cessation of the British South Africa Police). He continued as Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police until 6 February 1982.

Deputy Commissioners:

  • Crime and Security - Denley, Jack (4261) (1923-1985) OLM; PCD; CPM; PLSM; RGSM - 7 February 1978 to 1 August 1980 (Cessation of the British South Africa Police). He continued as Deputy Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police until 6 February 1982 succeeding Allum as Commissioner.
  • Administration - Atkinson, George (4094) (1923-1990) OLM; PCD; CPM; PLSM; RGSM 22 August 1977 to 22 September 1981
  • Administration - Stuart, George Charles (4736) (b.1929) PMM, PLSM (and Bar), RGSM 22 September 1981 to 13 September 1983
  • Personnel and Recruitment - Murray, Philip Stuart (4437) (1928-1995) PCD; PMM; PLSM; MLM; RGSM - ? to 1 May 1982 23

Mini Biography: Born 12 June 1926 Isleworth, United Kingdom and educated Gunnersby Catholic Grammar School. Allum served in Fleet Air Arm before attesting into the BSA Police as a trooper on 28 April 1946. Served almost entire career within the CID at Beitbridge (Immigration), Umtali, Salisbury, Bulawayo and Gwelo stations. He was commissioned in 1960. Appointed provincial commander (PCIO) CID Midlands Province in 1963 and the Salisbury and Mashonaland Province in 1967. On 1 October 1970 became Officer Commanding CID. Promoted to Deputy Commissioner (Crime and Security) 7 February 1974. Peter Allum died in South Africa on 17 April 2015. Awarded PCD 1973; OLM 1976; CLM; 1978; CPM; and PLSM.


Medal Abbreviations:
CBE: Commander of the Order of the British Empire
CLM: Commander of the Legion of Merit (Rh)
CPM: Colonial Police Medal for Meritorious Service
CVO: Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
DSO: Distinguished Service Order
KBE: Knight (Commander of the Order) of the British Empire
OLM: The Officer of the Legion of Merit (Rh)
PCD: Police Cross for Distinguished Service(Rh)
QPM: Queens Police Medal for Distinguished Service


References:
1 Frontier Patrols
2 Ibid
3 BSA Police Nominal Roll
4 Outpost Magazine (Journal of the BSA Police)
5 Personal re-collections of former members of the BSA Police
6 Spurling - History of the BSA Police (unpublished)
7 Outpost Magazine (Journal of the BSA Police), December 1960
8 Seniority List: Officers - British South Africa Police : Strength as at 31 May 1963 - Flower is listed as the substantive Crime and Security Deputy which suggests that he took the portfolio when Barfoot became Commissioner.
9 By assumption Blowers succeeded Flower in the Crime and Security Deputy post, because Harries was the Administration Deputy at the time.
10 Appears to follow the line taken in the third option of Cabinet Memorandum dated 9 June 1967
11 Seniority List: Officers - British South Africa Police : Strength as at 31 May 1963 - Harries appears to have taken Flower's position as Administration Deputy
12 Outpost Magazine (Journal of the BSA Police), June 1963
13 Gibbs, Peter and Phillips, Hugh - History of the BSA Police p.297
14 Spink appears not to have served as Deputy Commissioner, but if he did this would have been for a very short period
15 Did Crabtree take over directly from Harries, or did Spink fill the position for a couple of months?
16 Phillips, Hugh - History of the BSA Police, p. 326
17 Departed from the force - Nominal Roll
18 Ibid.
19 Ibid.
20 Ibid.
21 Mike Edden
22 Op Cit. - Nominal Roll
23 Murray was apparently made Deputy Commissioner (Personnel and Recruitment) and did not replace Atkinson
24 Berry, John and Punter, Fred - Commanding the Regiment




The BSA Police Senior Officer.

 

Images by Dick Hamley
author of
'The Regiment'

 


Rank of the Commissioner of Police