The Rhodesia Regiment was formed in 1899 to fight for Queen and coun-try during the Boer War. It was the leading unit in the Relief of Mafiking. With an Australian unit it fought bravely and successfully against the overwhelming odds of a major Boer force at Elands River. It was disbanded in 1900 but 1-Rhodesia Regiment was reformed in 1914 to to assist in the successful conquest of the Germans in German South West Africa.
2-Rhodesia Regiment was formed to fight against the Germans in the East Africa campaign commanded by the renowned General Von Lettow-Vorbeck. When 2-RR was withdrawn from East Africa many volunteers from both Battalions volunteered to join South African and British forces on the Western Front. Many were KIA, particularly at the Battle of Delville Wood where only 407 of the 4 200 South African and Rhodesian troops deployed survived. Other Rhodesians were attached to the Kings Royal Rifle Corps where they fought on the Western Front and later in the Salonica Campaign.
In World War II, with fears of the wanton slaughter of World War I still in recent memory, Rhodesia introduced conscription to combat volunteering, which had resulted in Rhodesia losing 6% of its male population. With The Rhodesia Regiment as their parent regiment, many thousands of Rhodesians were posted in small numbers to various British and South African regiments, the Royal Navy and particularly to Rhodesia Squadrons of the RAF, where more than 100 DFCs were won by Rhodesians.
The Rhodesia Regiment fought gallantly in the Bush War achieving much success against their terrorist enemies by inflicting heavy casualties on them, although they paid their own price in blood, losing more than 300 men during the course of the war. This time they fought for the survival of Rhodesia, their homeland without the benefit of allies. Sociologically these losses were a heavy price to pay for a small white popu-lation of some 300,000, when compared to the British Army which over much the same period lost some 380 men from a population of 55 million during the Afghanistan campaign.