When war broke out, South Africans and Rhodesians rallied to answer the call from Britain. The video below outlines South Africa’s heroic contribution, but Rhodesia is so politically incorrect that no footage detailing the extraordinary sacrifice of her menfolk can even be found.
Southern Rhodesia never had conscription, but, in proportion to its white population contributed more manpower to the British war effort than any other dominion or colony, and more than Britain itself. White troops numbered 5,716, about 40% of white men in the colony, with 1,720 of these serving as commissioned officers. The Rhodesia Native Regiment enlisted 2,507 black soldiers, about 30 black recruits scouted for the Rhodesia Regiment, and around 350 served in British and South African units. Over 800 Southern Rhodesians of all races lost their lives on operational service during the war, with many more seriously wounded.
The territory’s contributions during the First World War became a major entry in many histories of the colony, and a great source of pride for the white community, as well as for some black Rhodesians. It played a part in the UK government’s decision to grant self-government in 1923, and remained prominent in the national consciousness for decades. When the colonial government unilaterally declared independence from Britain in 1965, it deliberately did so on Armistice Day, 11 November, and signed the proclamation at 11:00 local time.