Regimental Sergeant 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

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 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

Mini Biography: 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.

A 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

Mini Biography: 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

Mini Biography: 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 1949

Mini Biography: 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

Mini Biography: 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 Africa.



Gilfillan, William Thornhill 'Bill'
(3522) (d.1999) – Depot Chief Inspector – 1953 to 1956

Mini Biography:
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

Mini Biography: 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 1979

Mini Biography: 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

Mini Biography: Born
He joined the BSA Police on 2 July 1951
He died in Harare, Zimbabwe on 8 October 2005


Medal Abbreviations:

CPM: Colonial Police Medal for Meritorious Service
CVO: Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
QPM: Queens Police Medal for Distinguished Service


References:
Frontier Patrols
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
author of
'The Regiment'