Rhodesia and Nyasaland Army Service Corps 1953-1963

A long-forgotten member of the British Commonwealth Ordnance Corps fraternity is the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Army Service Corps.

The army of the Short-lived Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (1953-1963), unlike other commonwealth armies, was not large enough to maintain separate Army Service Corps, Ordnance Corps and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. However, in a move repeated in Canada in 1968, the United Kingdom (less REME) in 1993 and New Zealand in 1996, the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Army combined their Logistical function into a single branch known as the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Army Services Corps.

Providing logistical support to the Federal Army, the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Army Services Corps was divided into three branches.

  • The Ordnance & Supply Branch – Tasked with the provisioning of all army arms, supplies, and equipment. 150 soldiers strong.
  • The Workshop Branch – Artificers and mechanics responsible for the good maintenance of vehicles, firearms, and other equipment deployed by the Federal Army. The branch was 270 men strong.
  • The Supply & Transport Branch – Comprised of one Askari Platoon, two coloured Afro-Asian Platoons, and one Eurasian platoon, the Supply & Transport Branch was tasked in delivering the supplies set aside by the Ordnance & Supply Branch to troops in the field. The total size was 180 men.

The badge of the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Army Services Corps drew on the traditions and hereditary of the British army, combining elements of the badges of the Royal Army Service Corps (Star), Royal Army Ordnance Corps (the Ordnance Crest) and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (Horses forcené).

Badge of the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Army Services Corps. Robert McKie collection

The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland officially ended on 31 December 1963. Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became independent under the names Zambia and Malawi, with Southern Rhodesia declaring unilateral independence from the United Kingdom as the state of Rhodesia in 1965.

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