SAS war vet writes his mem­oir

Jack­son re­lates bush war ex­pe­ri­ence in tell-all book

Talk of the Town - - News - JON HOUZET

A SEP­TU­A­GE­NAR­IAN from Kleinemonde has writ­ten his first book – mem­oirs from his time serving in the Spe­cial Air Ser­vice (SAS) dur­ing the Rhode­sian bush war.

Brian Jack­son ti­tled his book, Hot and Cold, to sum up the bush war ex­pe­ri­ence – long hours of gru­elling pa­trolling and wait­ing for signs of the en­emy, fol­lowed by mere sec­onds of fierce fight­ing.

“I’m old now and all the guys in the book are also old,” Jack­son told TotT. “I thought it’s best to get my sto­ries down while I still have time. Many of th­ese are sto­ries that have never been told.”

Jack­son is a South African citizen who said he joined the SAS for the ad­ven­ture. “I was in the para­chute bat­tal­ion in South Africa, and was ad­vised if I want a tough chal­lenge, join the Rhode­sian SAS. As a young­ster the pol­i­tics be­hind the con­flict was not on my mind.”

He served in the SAS from 1970 to 1975. The Rhode­sian SAS was based on the old 22nd SAS in Here­ford, Eng­land. They worked to­gether, then Rhode­sia formed their own C squadron SAS.

Af­ter his ser­vice was up in 1975, he re­turned to Jo­han­nes­burg.

“I have writ­ten it in a very light-hearted fash­ion, but there were painful times. It’s some­thing that in that con­text you come to ac­cept,” Jack­son said.

He said he had lost a very good friend in the fight­ing, from school days.

He was about 20 years old.

“Come 1980, when Robert Mu­gabe came to power, we did won­der what it all was for. You must re­mem­ber we didn’t lose that war mil­i­tar­ily, we lost be­cause of pol­i­tics. And South Africa [un­der John Vorster] put the big­gest pres­sure on Rhode­sia,” Jack­son said.

“I speak very lit­tle about the pol­i­tics be­hind the fight­ing. “There have been so many books about the pol­i­tics,” he said.

“I’m still in touch with some of my fel­low sol­diers. I told the one guy I was writ­ing some­thing, and he cor­re­sponds with the world, with ev­ery­body.

“The mem­o­ries stayed with me over time. Some of the other SAS guys said, ‘I can’t be­lieve you re­mem­bered this and this’. They re­mem­bered the op­er­a­tion but not the de­tails.”

Jack­son and his wife Colleen moved to Kleinemonde nine years ago, af­ter he re­tired. Af­ter the army he joined the Parks Board in Lim­popo, where he was a game ranger for 30 years, keep­ing in touch with nature.

“I’ve al­ways liked be­ing out in the bush, he said.

“It took me about three years to write the book. It was on and off. “I sent it to my brother-in-law who was in the print­ing field for 30 years to edit and check, and he send back to us,” he said.

“I didn’t ac­tu­ally write it down, I spoke into a tape recorder, then my wife typed it out. It’s self-pub­lished. The idea was not to make money, I just wanted to get the sto­ries down.”

He said he had six dif­fer­ent friends help­ing edit the book and chuck­led that there were still mis­takes with punc­tu­a­tion and spell­ing.

It’s a short read at 125 pages and costs ex­actly R100. He ini­tially printed 50 copies, but it’s also avail­able on Ama­zon – both Kin­dle and hard copies.

“My wife wanted to have a launch, but I don’t know,” he said.

He has ne­go­ti­ated with two places in Bathurst to dis­play the book, as well as CNA and Bar­gain Books. You can also or­der the book from Jack­son on 072-655-0803.

Pic­ture: JON HOUZET

RE­CALL­ING THE PAST: Brian Jack­son has writ­ten his first book at age 70, called ‘Hot and Cold: Mem­oirs of a Rhode­sian SAS Sol­dier’

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