The Rhodesian Soldier

Straddling the Derwent River, the cathedral city of Derby, its foundations in the Roman occupation of Britain, can directly attribute its contemporary status to the Industrial Revolution. (link)

Available from Amberley Publishing:


Staggering under the immeasurable cost of the ‘good fight’, post-war Britain was immediately confronted with an imploding empire, where overseas territories over which the Crown held varying levels of control clamoured for self-determination. (link)

Coming 2017 from Pen and Sword Books.

Mansfield Through Time offers a cameo glimpse of a town whose character and identity has, over the last few hundred years, been moulded, modified and tempered by coal mining and the Industrial Revolution. (link)

Available from Amberley Publishing:

Mention of this Derbyshire market town’s name invariably conjures up an image of an iconic landmark: the crooked church steeple. It does, however, also speak of a military heritage built up over a millennium. (link)

Available from Amberley Publishing:



Book of Remembrance

Rhodesia Native Regiment and Rhodesian African Rifles

ONLY £10.00 PLUS £2.90 P&P

Two years after landing on English soil in 1066, William of Normandy erected a strategic castle at Nottingham, thereby creating an enduring military nexus through to the modern era. (link)

Coming 2017 from Pen and Sword Books.


For your dad, husband, brother, or uncle there can be no better gift than this magnificent book: almost 700 pages of Rhodesian military history from 1899, including masses of colour and black and white images, honours and awards, and rolls of honour.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, is a proud owner of our book. Make someone in your life also a proud owner.


Please email me on for further details.

With a pathological hatred of the other’s ideology that had spawned total mistrust, the paucity of belief in a non-aggression pact between Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin in a short space of time catapulted the two nations into a bitter conflagration of Biblical proportions. (link)

Coming 2017 from Pen and Sword Books.

In August, the late former-commander of the Rhodesian Army (1968–1972), Lt-Gen Keith Coster’s son, Steve, and daughter-in-law, Cindy, approached me, wanting to know if I would like to take custody of personal memoirs, photographs, letters, certificates, records and some items of uniform that had belonged to the general. It was their wish that the collection find a permanent home in a Rhodesian museum...(link)

Over the years, much has been written about individuals and the forces and their operations in what became commonly known as South Africa’s Border War, or Grens Oorlog, but never before has the human spirit of this 23-year-old conflict been so graphically and unashamedly captured and chronicled as in this book. (link)

​Available from Casemate Publishing:

The Rhodesian Soldier Rhodesian History the rhodesian soldier rhodesian military research the rhodesian soldier rhodesian history

Welcome to my website.

Since coming to the UK in 1999, my work on Rhodesia’s military history has grown from a casual interest to a full-blown passion for researching and recording elements of this legacy. Along with this has been the acquisition of an extensive library and the establishment of a comprehensive range of on-line and networked documentary sources.

After publishing my first book in 2012 on the Bush War Roll of Honour, I have been drawn into other projects, which culminated in the co-authored publication of a further five books including: Rhodesia Regiment 1899-1981 (released July 2014). I have also authored the Book of Remembrance: Rhodesia Native Regiment and Rhodesian African Rifles (July 2015), and Lt-Gen Keith Robert Coster: A Life in Uniform. These projects have demanded an enormous amount of time over several years as my scope of research has widened dramatically, covering decades of Rhodesian military history from the 1890s to 1980, in widely spread theatres of war, as well as in the defence of Rhodesia.

Since then, I have co-authored North of the Red Line: Recollections of the Border War by Members of the South African Armed Forces (for which I also did all the translating from Afrikaans), due for release in June 2016.

The most exciting recent development for me has been the release in April 2016 of my first UK-published book, Derby in 50 Buildings. Published by Amberley Publishing, from whom my UK books may be purchased, I have been signed up to write further titles on local British history. These include Chesterfield’s Military Heritage, released on 17 July 2016, followed by Mansfield Through Time, to be released in mid-September 2016.

My next Rhodesian book, Operation Lighthouse: Rhodesian Internal Affairs 1972-1980 is due in 2016/2017.

The copy-editing and proof reading work I do is on a freelance basis, and include The Fighting Doc: John Coey's War Diary; Chopper Down: A Mercenary Pilot in Africa; and Return to Morogoro: Through East Africa with the 1st South African Mounted Brigade. These are all due for release by 30 Degrees Publishing in 2015–2016.

In all of this, I also squeeze in the time to write a column in the Rhodesian Services Association newsletter Contact!Contact!, run a Facebook page on Rhodesian Bush War casualties, The Fallen, and catalogue graves of uniformed casualties of the Matabele Rebellion of 1896.

Having ceased full-time work at the end of September 2014, I now work from home on a broader spectrum of military history, including research services, copy-editing and proof reading.

I have expanded my research services, whereby I receive requests for information about a certain member who had served with the armed forces, particularly in the two world wars.  In order to cover direct expenses and my own time, I charge a nominal fee. See my Research page.

Enjoy your visit and please contact me if you have anything specific in mind, and I will endeavour to assist where I am able.

This site will forever be worked on and added to, so let me have any questions or comments you may have.

Gerry van Tonder