Many collectors of Rhodesian militaria regard the elite units of the period 1961
to 1980 as being the SAS, Selous Scouts, Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI), Greys Scouts
and the Rhodesian African Rifles (RAR). While this is broadly correct I also believe
that there were other units that deserved the tag ‘elite’.
One such unit was the Parachute Jump Instructors of the Parachute Training School,
New Sarum. Without them, fireforces involving paratroopers would not have been possible;
neither would the many reconnaissance missions with the SAS and Selous Scouts soldier’s
freefalling into Mozambique. The Rhodesian PJI’s were quite unique in that they were
a mixture of both the Air Force and the Army due to the critical shortage of manpower
experienced in the later years of the war.
There were more parachute descents into contacts by the Rhodesian Security Forces
during the ‘Bush War’ than by any other military in history, yet the injury rate
remained below 0.7%. This says an enormous amount about the professionalism and the
training techniques of the PJI’s of No 1 Parachute Training School.