Majors and Depot Chief Inspectors of the British South Africa
Police and predecessor forces
This page is incomplete and remains 'under construction'
Compiled by Andrew Field (8646)
Bodle, William 'Billy' (1855-1924); CMG - Regimental
Sergeant Major (BSA Company Police) – October 1889 to
31 August 1891
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 onto 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, in October
1889, 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, now 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.
Blatherwick, James Kincaid 'Jimmy' (20) (1869-1918)
– Regimental Sergeant Major – 1897 to June 1917
Born 2 January 1869 in Cape Town, South Africa. He joined
the Bechuanaland Border Police in 1890 and six years
later transferred to the BSA Police, where he assumed
the position of Regimental Sergeant Major in 1897. Blatherwick
had arrived in Rhodesia as part of the Matabeleland
Relief Force, sent to suppress the Matabele Rebellion.
He served as RSM for 18 years before his promotion to
Inspector in June 1913 (although some sources suggest
he served as RSM until his military commission). During
his service he saw action on both the rebellions and
the Boer War. He was part of the BSA Police contingent
to represent the force at the Coronation of King George
V in 1911. In February 1917, he was commissioned with
military rank of Lieutenant, then Captain in the same
month, and appointed to the position of Commandant Depot.
Jimmy Blatherwick died in Salisbury, Rhodesia on 26
November 1918 during the influenza outbreak of that
year, which had claimed his wife two weeks before. He
was a Captain at the time. A memorial to Blatherwick
was erected in Morris Depot, on the north side of the
Green Square, in March 1921.
familiar sight to most Morris Deport recruits since
1921 was the Blatherwick Memorial, which stood on the
northern side of the Green Square.
During the service to commemorate the unveiling of the
the Blatherwick Memorial, Major General Sir Alfred HM
Edwards, KBE, CB, MVO, the Commandant General of the
BSA Police said of Blatherwick, "Rhodesia has lost
a true soldier, a fine character, and the Government
a loyal servant...His loss to the Corps, which he loved,
and for which he had done so much, is irreparable; the
memory of him will, however, remain, and his example
might well be accepted as the ideal to which all ranks
should strive to attain."
"I think I may safely add, in conclusion, that
I know of no finer example than that which he gave during
his life of carrying out the principles involved in
the recently adopted regimental motto, 'Pro rege, pro
lege, pro patria', which is inscribed at the foot of
the memorial tablet"
Douglas, James Fife 'Jock' (1228) (-1947) – Regimental
Sergeant Major – May 1920 to 30 April 1932
Douglas was born in Scotland. He attested into the Royal
Scots Greys in 1894 and saw action in the South African
War. Douglas remained in South Africa and joined the
Cape Police where he remained until 1902. He spent several
years prospecting and eventually attested into the BSA
Police on 30 April 1910. By 1913 he was a Detective
Sergeant (3rd Class) in the CID. his early career was
marred by indiscipline and at one time he fell foul
of regulations when he attempted to desert and return
to Europe to participate in the Great War. Douglas was
seconded to the Rhodesia Native Regiment in February
1917 and saw action in German East Africa during the
war. He became the Regimental Sergeant Major. After
the war, Douglas returned to the BSA Police as a Constable,
but was rapidly promoted through the ranks. He joined
the Instructional Staff at Morris Depot and was appointed
acting Regimental Sergeant Major in March 1920 and confirmed
in the rank in May. He was awarded the KPM in January
1932 and retired in that year. Jock Douglas died in
Salisbury, Rhodesia on 15 October 1947.
Tantum, George Acland 'Tiny' (2954) (1898-1963)
– Depot Chief Inspector– 1 May 1932-15 October 1947
Born circa 1898, Mill Hill, Middlesex, England. He was
educated at Queens College, Taunton, before absconding
from school to join the 2nd Life Guards in 1914. During
the Great War he saw action in France suffering both
gassing and injury in conflict. Tantum attested into
the BSA Police on 9 October 1927. As a duty police officer
he took charge of the Railway Police section of the
force and was promoted to Sergeant 3rd Class in 1930.
In May 1932 he was appointed Regimental Sergeant Major
of the force, in the footsteps of 'Jock' Douglas. Tantum
was the senior Warrant Officer to accompany the Rhodesian
contingent which travelled to London on the occasion
of the Coronation of King George VI in 1937. With the
outbreak of the Second World War, Tantum saw more military
service in Eritrea and Cyrenaica. He was commissioned
and attained the rank of Major, while on active served.
After the war, Tantum returned to the BSA Police in
1946 and resumed his service at Morris Depot. He retired
after a 20 year career in October 1947 with the rank
of Chief Inspector. He went into the mining industry
at Connemara Mine in the Midlands. George Tantum died
in Gwelo on 12 March 1963.
Goodall, Leslie Blumenthal 'Crab' (2819) (1902-1974)
– Depot Chief Inspector – 16 October 1947 to 31 March
Born 14 August 1902 at Shardlow, Derbyshire, Goodall
commenced his career in the British army, serving in
the elite King's Company of the Grenadier Guards. He
joined the BSA Police in October 1926, bringing with
him the exemplary experience of his Guards training
on both the parade square and the rifle range, as a
member of the force's shooting team. There is little
on record of his early service, aside from being stationed
mostly in Salisbury urban and being part of a detachment
sent to Northern Rhodesia in 1935 to quell labour unrest
on the mines in the Copperbelt. Goodall was appointed
the Force Regimental Sergeant Major (by then described
at Depot Chief Inspector) on 16 October 1947. He was
commission on 1 April 1949, thus relinquishing his NCO
post. Following his commission he served in Gwelo and
Gatooma Districts and later became Commandant Depot.
Prior to his retirement in August 1957 Goodall was Officer
Commanding Salisbury District. During his service in
the force, Goodall had played a prominent role in the
foundation and early organisation of the Police Club.
His post service interests included being the Chief
Warden of the Special Constabulary. Leslie Goodall died
suddenly on 8th November 1974 near Gottingen in Germany.
Lardant, Jeffrey James 'Ginger' (3201) (1910-1986)
– Depot Chief Inspector – October 1949 to 1953
Born 5 May 1910. He attested into the BSA Police in
June 1930 and served in the Uniform Branch in both Salisbury
and Bulawayo districts and then moved to the police
training Depot. Lardant attended a course at the Guards
Depot in Caterham, England in 1937. In 1941 he was seconded
to service with the Department of Justice for duties
at an internment camp, in Salisbury, apparently for
Tanganyikan nationals, most likely of German origin.
Lardant left for Eritrea in 1942, as a member of the
third contingent to travel there, for wartime service.
He was commission in January 1943 and eventually held
the rank Acting Captain while in military service. On
his return to Southern Rhodesia Lardant was posted to
the Police Depot, once more, reverting to Sergeant.
He was a Staff Sub-Inspector on the Coronation contingent
in 1947 and in October 1949 he assumed the role of Depot
Chief Inspector. He remained in this post until 1953
when he was commissioned in the BSA Police. During his
service Lardant had been and outstanding and competitive
equestrian sportsman, aside from his rugby and boxing
interests. He retired from the force in July 1958 with
the rank of Superintendant. He continued his work with
equitation in Johannesburg and later in Natal. Ginger
Lardent died on 1 August 1986 at Umhlanga Rocks, South
Gilfillan, William Thornhill 'Bill' (3522) (d.1999)
– Depot Chief Inspector – 1953 to 1956
He joined the BSA Police in December 1935
First Sergeant on Royal Escort 1947
He retired from the force in June 1956
After retirement he took up employment at Arcturus Mine
and later went into farming.
Bill Gilfillan died on 11 July 1999 in Masvingo, Zimbabwe.
Weller, James Edwin Luyt 'Sam' (3455) (-1977)
CPM – Depot Chief Inspector– 1956 to 17 August 1958
Born Cape Town, South Africa, apparently, but early
antecendents mostly unknown. Joined the BSA Police on
31 January 1935 and saw his early service in Salisbury
District before his transfer to Matabeleland in 1942.
Weller established a reputation as a disciplinarian.
He was a keen sportsman, representing the Police in
both rugby and cricket. He was appointed Depot Chief
Inspector in 1956, which position he held until commissioned
in 1958. He retired from the force on 12 November 1967
in the rank of Assistant Commissioner and settled in
Bulawayo where he died on 5 January 1977.
Trangmar, Ronald Frederick (4169) (1922-1979)
CPM – Depot Chief Inspector – 18 August 1958 to 13 April
Born in London on 15 January 1922. He joined the Royal
Corps of Military Police in 1941 and served in Northern
Ireland, Egypt, Sicily and then went into Europe with
the allied invasion. His last posting was to India,
where as the Regimental Sergeant Major he instructed
at the Secunderabad Center of the Military Police. Trangmar
joined the BSA Police on 29 December 1946 and served
in Salisbury, apparently on traffic duties, before running
the Salisbury Urban Mess and then the Regimental Mess.
He was an outstanding sportsman, and athlete and represented
Rhodesia in the 1950 British Empire Games in New Zealand.
Trangmar joined the Depot instructional staff in 1952.
He was then sent on detachment to Nyasaland for a short
period and on his return to Rhodesia he served at the
Salisbury Charge Office and Avondale stations. Trangmar
was appointed Depot Chief Inspector in August 1958 a
position he held until his death. He died 13 April 1979
in Salisbury, Rhodesia.
Pearce, John Roger (4756)(-2005) PLSM – Depot
Chief Inspector– 14 April 1979 to 4 January 1983
He joined the BSA Police on 2 July 1951
He died in Harare, Zimbabwe on 8 October 2005
CPM: Colonial Police Medal for Meritorious Service
CVO: Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
QPM: Queens Police Medal for Distinguished Service
BSA Police Nominal Roll
Outpost Magazine (Journal of the BSA Police)
Personal re-collections of former members of the BSA Police
Spurling - History of the BSA Police (unpublished)
Gibbs, Peter and Phillips, Hugh - History of the BSA Police
Notes ex Wayne Kenneley re 'Ginger' Lardant
BSA Police dog handler
The BSA Police Dog Section was first a part of the CID.
Images by Dick Hamley