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Another fighting soldier, Johan Meiring, Bronze Cross of Rhodesia, said about Dennison that somehow his battles seemed bigger brighter and bolder. His war was always noisier, far noisier, than the fights of other soldiers.

At one stage of the Rhodesian conflict, A Company 2-RAR held the current record, notching up the largest single kill of the war, eliminating 32 of the enemy after a bloody day-long battle on Rhodesia's south-eastern border with Mozambique - But Dennison's war was largely a blunt, no frills operation. There was no glamour in the killing ground. The glamour was at home.

She was his pert attractive British wife, Helen. After the failure of this, his second marriage, and her subsequent return to her aristocratic home in Britain, there were other glamorous women. There were other wars, too. Egypt, Cyprus, Aden, Borneo, The Oman and Northern Ireland. Of these he spoke as little as he did of his women. But there were unguarded moments when Dennison hinted of dark deeds. Like the elusive IRA leader holed up in his Londonderry safe house, where the frustrated SAS could not legally reach him for months on end. Then came the mysterious, never explained shotgun blast in the dark of the night, snuffing out the IRA man on his own doorstep when he answered the coded knock known only to his mistress.

There was an equally inexplicable incident when the newly arrived British Commissioner designate, Field Marshall Lord Carver, flew in to meet 2-RAR. Moving down the line of officers at 2-RAR HQ in Fort Victoria, the Field Marshall paused to exchange a few words with each. Introduced to Dennison, he paused briefly but then moved on wordlessly, ignoring the outstretched hand. Dennison never spoke about it and no one thought of asking Lord Carver. Mostly he kept his thoughts to himself and wrote of the war as he had seen it. He would labour into the night over his diary, recording events while memories still jangled fresh in his mind.

There were reports of large fireforce actions and of 2-RAR officers and men receiving bravery awards. And there were tersely worded Combined Operations HQ's communiqu̩s announcing deaths in action.

Hardcover, 394 pages

Published December 1989

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