Lacking funding to purchase and operate own aircraft, the Rhodesian police established the British South Africa Police Reserve Air Wing (PRAW). Equipped with private aircraft, mostly flown by owner pilots, this extended policing across a country that had few roads, reaching remote villages and farms, separated by long distances. Established in 1967, the PRAW assisted in the capture of criminals, transported police officers, and flew in support of police operations. During the 1960s, it was expanded into three flights with more than 20 aircraft.
By 1974, the PRAW included five flights, by 1979, nine, with two of its pilots being awarded the M.B.E. for outstanding services. As the conflict in Rhodesia escalated, it began actively cooperating with the Rhodesian armed forces: its miscellany of Beechs, Cessnas, Pipers, and Taylorcraft – all apparently ‘sports and utility’ aircraft – were armed: sometimes with light machine guns installed in underwing pods, but often with heavy machine guns that fired through the side doors, de-facto converting them into mini-gunships.
Based on extensive use of official documentation, participant recollections, and richly illustrated, the British South Africa Police Reserve Force Air Wing Volume 2 continues an account of this service.