Chris Dixon, the famous Rhodesian Air Force’s “Green Leader,” succumbed to cancer on October 21, 2011 in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The “Green Leader” raid took place in October 1978, in retaliation for the shooting down of an unarmed civilian passenger aircraft and the brutal murder of crash survivors.
On September 3, Air Rhodesia Flight 825, on route from Kariba to Salisbury, the capital, was shot down by guerrillas from Joshua Nkomo’s ZIPRA group using a Soviet-supplied air-to-ground missile.
Eighteen of the fifty-six passengers survived the resultant crash. Five of the least-wounded of the survivors managed to walk to a local village to ask for water.
While they were gone, the ZIPRA guerrillas who had shot down the plane arrived on the scene. Ten of the survivors who were unable to escape were hacked, bayoneted and shot to death. Three managed to crawl off into the bush and hide, and, together with the five who sought water (and had returned while the massacre was in progress) were the only survivors.
As a result, the Rhodesian Air Force launched a series of raids, known as Operation Gatling, on ZIPRA training camps in Zambia on 19 October 1978.
"Freedom Camp" at Westlands Farm near Lusaka was attacked by Canberras, Hunters, and K-Cars (Alouette III helicopters).
After the first bombing run, squadron leader Chris Dixon took his aircraft into position over the airport of Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, to prevent any military intervention by the Zambian Airforce. It was during this operation that the famous “Green Leader” communication with Lusaka Tower was made (hear it in the videos below).
While Green Leader and his men pinned down the Zambians, Rhodesian Army ground troops moved in and “mopped up” the Zipra camps. It is claimed that 3,000 ZIPRA guerillas were killed in the raids, while one Rhodesian fatality was recorded.
Chris Dixon’s recording entered Rhodesian folklore, and, with his passing, an era comes to a close.