Rhodesia - Intaf

Callsign - Lighthouse

DCs Station Mtoko

Mtoko is situated 56 km north east of Mrewa on the main road from Salisbury to Tete in Mozambique and onwards to Malawi.  The major tribal areas are Mtoko TTL, Chimoyo TTL and Budjga African Purchase Area.  The south of the district consisted of European farming area which produced tobacco and other mixed farming.  The village of Mtoko consisted of a few houses, a small hotel, a Police Station, The DC?s Office, a garage, a general dealer’s store and an airfield nearby.  Electricity was eventually laid on in Mtoko in the mid 1970s.

DCs Station Mtoko.

Mtoko is of strategic importance as it is considered the gateway to the north via Mozambique and is a staging post for heavy vehicles that travel to Malawi and even further north.  The war put a temporary stop to these activities eventually.  The remote areas and the inhospitable terrain consisting of granite kopjies and thick bush as well as rivers which flowed through the district (Nyadiri River) made it an ideal infiltration route and staging area for the enemy who had safe bases within close by Mozambique.

JOC Mtoko

As the war escalated a JOC was built at the airfield.  It was home to a Fire Force unit consisting of a Dakota and Alouette III helicopters.  D Company RAR was generally always deployed as the Fire Force.  The enemy had divided the border areas into corridors through which they infiltrated into Rhodesia from Mozambique and Zambia.  The sector that was used for the Mtoko area was known as the Takawira Sector.  To the north of Mtoko was Mount Darwin and Centenary Districts and their infiltration sector was known as Chaminuka Sector.  Some terrorists moved through this sector into Mrewa District which was situated to the west of Mtoko where the Nyadiri River formed the natural boundary between the two districts.

Chieftainess Charewa ruled over the northern area of Mtoko and it was this area that saw the first enemy actions.  Thereafter they moved further inland to the Chimoyo area.  The first keep was built at Charewa and the next one was constructed in Chimoyo.  The anti tank land mine threat became a serious problem as civilian and government vehicles detonated several of them.  All public transport stopped operating and the locals had to either walk or take a chance in private vehicles to get to Mtoko and on to Salisbury.

Some of the staff members over the years

Frank Taylor DC

John Saunders DC

Rob Boell ADC

Dave Rosenhahn ADC

Dudley Wall SDO

Stan Fourie Cadet

Dave Ford Agric Officer

Mr Lombard LDO

Mr van Heeerden LDO

Phillip and Beryl Clarke Pay Officers / Accountants

 

DC s Station Mtoko and the village.
Charewa Fort Desolation

Peter Ravenscroft, Sean Curran, Tony Thomas, Tim Eburn, DC John Saunders, President du Pont and the Mashonaland East PC at Fort Desolation, Charewa.

Morning parade
Chimoyo Keep