The Rhodesian Soldier

Mr Douglas Plumsteel and his wife Margaret

The Rhodesian Government Gazette of 30 July 1976 listed the awarding of Meritorious Conduct Medals to South African nationals Mr Douglas Plumsteel and his wife Margaret, for brave and gallant conduct over and above the call of duty and in accordance with the highest traditions of Christian civilisation.

Late afternoon on Easter Sunday of that year, about twelve kilometres south of Nuanetsi on the main Fort Victoria/Beit Bridge road, a group of armed terrorists had stopped two South African cars. They were in the process of robbing them when another four South Africans, mounted on two motor cycles, arrived at the scene. The situation deteriorated rapidly, resulting in the terrorists indiscriminately opening fire on the group of unarmed tourists who were returning home after a motor cycling holiday in Rhodesia. Christopher Mozjes suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head, and Gavin Alcock perished under a hail of bullets. Two others were also wounded, and in the confusion, the two cars and their occupants managed to get away. At this time the Plumsteels arrived in their Land Rover, immediately taking control of the situation by switching off their vehicle lights and firing into the dark with their weapons as a deterrent against any terrorists who may still be in the vicinity. With total disregard for their own safety, the Plumsteels recovered the wounded and the dead into their vehicle and another car which by now had also arrived at the scene. Sadly, George Szilagyi died before they reached Nuanetsi, from a bullet wound to his lung and liver. Miss Vonda Davis was casevaced to Fort Victoria where she made a full recovery.