About

 

"ONLY MY FRIENDS CALL ME CROUKS" is a soldier's story told simply, with feeling, humour and without heroics. It also gives a fascinating insight into the personality of the author, who relates his personal experiences in a down-to-earth, no bull style of storytelling. After 35 years the Rhodesian bush war has been largely forgotten, but the author's front line account will rekindle the memories and depict the bush war from a squaddie's point of view.

Dennis Croukamp was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and lived an idyllic life in the bush. As a young boy he spent his free time fishing and hunting and had shot his first buck at the age of seven. After leaving school he was called up to do his national service and thereafter in January 1965 enlisted in the Rhodesian Light Infantry as a Private. He served in the Rhodesian Army until 1980, rising through the ranks to eventually retire with the rank of Warrant Officer.

In his career as a soldier, Dennis at first served in an infantry unit, but later served as member of the elite Selous Scouts under the command of Lieutanant-Colonel Ron Reid-Daly. During the late 1960's the Rhodesian bush war started and ZANU and ZAPU guerillas infiltrated into the country. As a member of the armed forces, Dennis was often involved in skirmishes with the guerrillas. In 1970, not only did he become the most junior rank officer to be awarded the Rhodesian Bronze Cross, but also the first recipient for gallantry and determination in action after a fierce battle.

As a member of the famed Selous Scouts, Dennis became a reconnaissance specialist and carried out numerous reconnaissance mission in Mozambique. Whilst on one of his missions he became seperated from his two companions and spent the following six days making his way back to Rhodesia, all the while being pursued by FRELIMO soldiers. During this epic escape and evasion saga, Dennis had no communication with his base; he had no food or support and had to walk nearly 200 kilometres to get back to Rhodesia.

Dennis experienced guerrilla warfare from its inception in Rhodesia in 1967 until the cease-fire in 1979 and the eventual transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. He had an exciting and adventurous career; was wounded in combat, and saw action on all border areas of Rhodesia and also in Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana. Some senior officers have told their experiences of the Rhodesia bush war, but this book gives the views and experiences of a man in the rank and file of the Rhodesian Army. He pulls no punches in telling his story and the book reflects his ability as a narrator.