Remembering my rifle

My compliments to Craig Allen for an outstanding article on the SLR (The Commonwealth’s Right Arm, BAW, October 2023), made even better for me by the mention of the country of my birth – Rhodesia – as having acquired this weapon as its standard infantry rifle.

This was before the counterinsurgency guerrilla war fought by us in the late- 1960s through to 1980. In this the SLR remained in service, its reliability outweighing its age.

By the mid-1960s, Belgian-made FNs had replaced the SLR as our front-line combat rifle. Then, as economic sanctions and an arms embargo took its toll, the South African R1 version became prevalent. Everyone, however, continued to refer to this fine weapon as the ‘FN’.

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