Blue and Old Gold

The History of the British South Africa Police 1889-1980

Hugh Phillips, Nick Russell & Peter Gibbs



The BSAP held the honour of occupying the Right of the Line―one of the greatest police forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth. In 1889 Cecil John Rhodes was granted a royal charter by Queen Victoria to settle Mashonaland, in what was to become Southern Rhodesia. So was formed the British South Africa Company; its regiment of troopers raised to protect the occupying Pioneer Column dubbed the British South Africa Police, the BSAP. From the 1893 Matabele War, the 1896 Mashona Rebellion and the Jameson Raid, the Anglo–Boer War, through both world wars and finally to the bitter Rhodesian bush war of the 1960s and ’70s, troopers and officers of this fine regiment of policemen, both black and white, were proudly to the fore, in civilian and military roles … until the disbandment of the Force in 1980 when the country became the independent Zimbabwe.


An old gold value indeed it is. Blue and Old Gold - The History of the British South Africa Police (BSAP) is a magnum opus without compare on the history of colonial police in Africa. - Paul Naish


Hugh Phillips was born in the UK and immigrated to Southern Rhodesia in 1951 to join the BSAP.

Nick Russell joined the BSAP as a cadet in 1975 and served at Sinoia and Kariba before attending Morris Depot where he formed part of the mounted squad for the opening of parliament.

Peter Gibbs was born in London in 1903, educated at Aldenham, and lived in Bulawayo since 1936. A number of his books have been published in London and New York. He served in the BSA Police Reserve for 21 years, retiring with the rank of reserve superintendent. He was awarded the MBE in 1964. He is deceased.