Copyright © 2009 RLI.ORG.AU. All Rights Reserved.
The Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental
Assocation of Australasia
The Rhodesian Light Infantry
The late 1950's and early 60's saw the emergence throughout Africa of a number of wars of
independence against the Colonial powers of the time.
The advent of Communist Chinese and Russian sponsorship of Guerilla movements heralded a new
sophistication in both weaponry, training and methodology for insurgents.
This new capability effected mainly Rhodesia, the South African protectorates and the Portuguese
colonies of Southern Africa.
While other colonial countries maintained substantial conventional standing Armies in Africa it was in
fact the Rhodesians that developed a small mobile, extremely efficient and diverse fighting machine to
combat this new level of threat both internally and externally.
Their methods were to benchmark Anti Guerilla Warfare worldwide for some time to come and at the
forefront of this effort stood the Rhodesian Light Infantry.
Nicknamed 'The Saints' or 'The Incredibles', The 1st Battalion The Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI) was
formed on 1 February 1961, and in its short 19-year existence, this commando airborne unit carved for
itself a reputation as one of the world's foremost proponents of counter-insurgency warfare, through
internal 'Fireforce' operations and daring pre-emptive strikes against the overwhelming tide of the
communist-backed guerrillas of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo based in Mozambique and Zambia.
For these reasons, Charles D. Melson of the USMC has described the RLI as "The Killing Machine".
The Rhodesian "bush war" reached its bloody climax in 1980 and the country became Zimbabwe. The
men of the RLI had won all their battles, but had lost the war ... and their country ... and the weary
veterans drifted away. An 'international' regiment in the true sense, with foreign volunteers from North
America, UK, Europe, Australasia and South Africa, RLI veterans can today, through the newly formed
RLI Regimental Association, stand up with pride and say "I served in the RLI."
It is with great sadness that we have to say farewell to Ernie Grimmet who passed away yesterday.
Ernie was every inch a professional soldier having served in the British, Rhodesian and South African armies
continuously over his lifetime.
A regular and enthusiastic attendee at the ANZAC Day gatherings, Ernie always enjoyed the cameraderie of
the occassion and seemed to be blessed in his declining years with an endless supply of minders of a saintly
Even in his dotage he was roguish with a wandering eye and a wicked sense of humour. He apparently was
also an excellent shot in his time and a winner of the Queens medal. He is remembered by some as a fierce
RSM and enforcer of the secrecy of his clandestine mechanical modifications during his time in the Rhodesian
Our condolences go out to his Family.
From: Tony Young
Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2016 5:21 AM
Subject: Binion - RIP
Peter Binion passed away last night.
Funeral arrangements are still to be finalized, but will definitely be taking place on the Gold
Coast…….possibly this coming Saturday 19th Nov.
I shall send a further email once all details are known.
The Coolum 4 have decided not to avail themselves of the generous offer to rejoin the
association made by the EXCO and will instead be gathering at Coolum on ANZAC day in 2017.
We would also like to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to join us up there next year.
John C writes: to those that are interested, young Joey Binion is doing extremely well at school and is
somewhat of a prodigy. He is regularly entertained by his surrogate Grandad.
To all Rhodesian Ex Servicemen
Your are cordially invited to join us at the Coolum RSL November the11th at 10 - 11am
to celebrate Rememberance Day and Rhodesian UDI.
Smart or Regimental dress is preferred given the solemnity of the occassion.
Elements of the RLI will perform the flag raising and laying of wreaths.
The RSL will be open for food and drink until the late afternoon and an official local
RSL courtesy bus is available for those who feel they may be sailing to close to the
Look forward to seeing you there.
Gents, one of our very own Originals is fighting a battle with cancer at the moment. Mike Buchanan, a
boy soldier from the very earliest days of the Regiment in the early sixties and with an incredibly low
Regimental Number. Mike is a veteran of Katanga and theatres most younger members are not even
aware of. I know that Mike would not be offended because he has a wonderfull self deprecating sense
of humour but if anything else is cut off he will probably be invisable. I would encourage one and all
from all factions to wish this old warrior well , he represents a Nexus of the Regiment that transcends
any time and persuasions.
Gents, Mike Buchanan has risen like the proverbial Lazarus and has been discharged from Hospital, now
back recovering at home.
Gents, ANZAC DAY 2018 at Coolum RSL,
The RLI Colours led the Coolum parade, escorted by elements of 1 and 2 Commando RAR recently
returned from combat in Afghanistan. A 92 year old veteran from the second world war was also
incorporated in the lead elements, he had apparently declined previous years due to the the untimely
hour of the event.
Many others stalwarts of the RLI made the pilgrimage to this pristine part of the world and were joined
by an ever increasing number of associated Rhodesian Regiments, our thanks go to all that made the
Post march festivities included the usual outrageous bachalian excesses and swapping of lies.
We are always mindfull however of the commitment of local young people and cadets in particular to
the cenotaph guard of honour and their collective acknowledgement and respect to the sacrifices of
previous generations in all conflicts. We thank them all profusely for their intersest and particpation.
Amongst the festivities we all also made those quiet personal and private salutes to our comrades both
living and departed, remembering that but for the grace of God it may have been one of us.
We invite any RLI members to join us next year, the passage of time is taking it's toll and we
require those of a younger generation to help with the ceremonial tasks and physical
Planning for a long weekend in 2019 begins now, please let us know if you are intersted so
that we can plan accordingly.