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3 Commando

3 Commando was nicknamed the "Lovers", or sometimes "The Green Machine", the latter coming from the green jerseys its men wore in intra-regimental sporting competitions. The "Lovers" nickname emerged during the mid-1960s, and had its origin in the off-duty reputation of its soldiers, who were reportedly very popular amongst the young women of Salisbury. This reputation also contributed to the design chosen for the Commando emblem and flag in 1968, during Operation Cauldron.




Bob Smith (Shoulders) ... above

Bob Smith, ex Brit Paras, served in 11 Troop, 3 Commando, as the troop corporal from 1975 - 1977. A fine soldier, though highly unconventional, he was nicknamed "Shoulders" because of his awkward gait, caused by an upper torso out of proportion with insufficient leg-power. He always wore a filthy green balaclava, festooned with guinea fowl feathers, porcupine quills and the tails of small mammals, and used this piece of headgear to clean out his curry-infested mess tins. He was transferred out of the commandos after an altercation with an officer. He died of cancer c. 1986 while working on the Arcturus Mine, outside of Harare.

Frank Neave ... right

Frank Neave was a lance-corporal in 11 Troop, 3 Commando from 1977-79, Ex brit Paras, he was 'recruited' byhis buddy 'Shoulders' Smith. He was a fine soldier. Sadly he was killed in 1982 when he was electrocuted working on his swimming pool pump in Harare. He leaves his wife Clare and 2 children

2 Para Wings3 Commando

As the Commando's "Lovers" had not yet seen action on Operation Cauldron, Captain Spike Powell and Lieutenant Chris Pearce suggested that a more suitable emblem than anything military might be a banana. The banana was adopted, and the Commando's insignia became a numeral "3", emblazoned on a banana, with the word "Lovers" above and the designation "Commando" beneath, all on a green shield. This emblem endured for the rest of the RLI's history.

Flags were adopted by each 3 Commando troop during the same operation: 11 Troop followed a similar vein to the Commando itself in its adoption of the nickname "Legs Eleven", and a flag depicting a pair of female legs on a green background. When, around the same time,

Rhodesia's army during the 1970s was one of the best trained in the world, going up against a very poorly trained but well-equipped insurgent force. The security forces in Rhodesia maintained an overall kill ratio of about eight-to-one in their favour throughout the guerrilla war. And the highly trained Rhodesian Light Infantry achieved kill ratios ranging from 35-to-one to 50-to-one. ... The Rhodesians achieved this in an environment where they did not have air and artillery support, nor did they have a significant advantage over their Soviet-supported opponents. The only thing they had going for them was their superior training, and the advantage this gave them added up to nothing less than total tactical superiority.


This page was started because of a comment by Vic Thorn Facebook link

Hi guys, there was intense discussion on Saturday evening about the circumstances of the deaths of two of our illustrious comrades Frank Neave and Shoulders (Bob) Smith. I have been as guilty as anyone in stories as to how these two great muckers of mine ended their days. So as I am supposedly an academic I did some research. Please find two links here from the RLI association website, which finally clarifies their demise.
RIP my friends until once again we meet in the great halls of Valhalla.


From their friends

Paul Blissett said,
Served with Frank in 2 Para SIG's. Great guy a sad loss RIP Airborne Brother.

Kenny Munro said,
Frank was best man at our wedding 72 great lad RIP Frank

Gordon GoodGrief said,
I remember Shoulders. Great guy. He was Signals C Coy 2 Para left for Rhodesia around 75. We saw him on TV with C Squadron. Think he was also D Coy 2 Para

Liam Northfield said,
I was chatting to Chris Cocks (ex 3 CDO) about shoulders and he got chatting to his son who lived a happy life in London doing business I do believe, unfortunately he never knew his dad (Bob)

Ginge Dawes said,
I remember shoulders in D Coy 2 Para.

Dave Mannion said,
I remember when he came to vist us in berlin not that they remembered much!

David Smith said,
I also remember Shoulders, great bloke, R.I.P. maucker.

Dave Wright said
Two legends of the signals platoon , R.I.P

Steve Kettless said
Was in Sigs with Frank and kept in touch with him till 79/80 when it started to fold up. Cracking bloke R.I.P mate.

Michael Hagan said
After Rob left Support Commando, RLI, he moved to a unit that turned captured Zipra guerrillas caught in the bush .He died in Umtal
I drank with a few RLI guys in cape town and he often got a mention.Top guy



Personal note from the webmaste (Dave Smart) ... I remember Shoulder very well, excellent soldier, well respected and taken from us, far to early in life
want to add your personal tribute, please contact me via email


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