Upholding the trade embargo imposed against Southern Rhodesia after it declared independence was a largely pointless task for the British armed forces involved — but enjoyable nevertheless, not least for the RAF Shackleton crews that helped support the Royal Navy’s efforts
WORDS: STEVE BOND
In 1965 Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, made a unilateral declaration of independence. The UK’s response was to sponsor a United Nations resolution calling for a trade embargo, specifically in order to stop oil imports to Rhodesia through the Mozambique port of Beira. This blockade consisted of two elements: air surveillance of the Mozambique channel to identify ships passing through, and a sea patrol to intercept suspect ships approaching Beira. Thus the ‘Beira Patrol’ was spawned.