A mystery revealed.

Tue, 09/23/2014 - 00:54

This is a most unusual story so bear with me. The above photo has nothing to do with Hong Kong but then again it does...??? The M.Unit were out training and Hugh Healy Brown, the MU 2IC, turned up with a new member. A person of mixed heritage and introduced by the name of Inspector Raz Erazmus. RHKP. A person full of character..However with the full approval of our bosses we spent a lot of time together whilst he learnt our crafts of bomb disposal, shooting, planning, stealth, staying alive and logistics which certainly opened his eyes and us getting his bum out of the fire on some things when he came out with us on a job or 4 for experience, then he went 'on leave' and we never saw him again. My tour came to an end and I left HK. About 4 years later thro our grapevine I heard that Raz had been killed in 'South Africa' by a rebel mortar bomb thro his landrover, so the remainder of the MU saluted the memory of Raz. I had joined the UK police by this time and again delved into my past trades. In 1996 I was called in front of the Chief Constable and asked to explain??? The South African Govt had sent a delegation to the UK to look into firearms in all its aspects and the Home Office through the Foreign Office had received instruction that Ray Carpenter was to do conduct the meeting with them no one else. So our big boss wanted to know what was going on,  how did the HO. FO and the SAG get my name. I dont know. And that is the photo above. Left to right. Mike a UK 'civil servant' then Brigadier General Claus Bossman. SA Army Major M'komo ANC. Then ??? a leut. in the SA intelligence corps then me. I had them with me for 4 days x 10 hours and covered everything in their file to do list ,then I  happened to mention to BG. Bossman about Raz, one of the RHKP MU going to SA and sadly getting killed and the BG said "I'll tell him your concern when I see him."  It turned out that Raz. Insp. RHKP. MU was the Director of the S.African secret service and had got dead as a cover story whilst he got to work providing evidence against Winnie Madella for tribal killings and months later Raz was on UK telly in court in SA. telling all. I didn't get an invite to SA just a thank you. So how about that for a story with photo, you couldn't even make that one up and goes to show how well regarded the people and training of the RHKP were even in far away countries and how he put that training to work. He is still there today. Enjoy that? unusual eh!

Date picture taken


Patrol Officer 10011 Francois Jacobus Erasmus, Special Branch,British South Africa Police,was killed in a vehicle ambush during Operation Thrasher on the 29th July 1977 in Manicaland,Rhodesia.

Yes, I remember Ras Erasmus quite well, and he was Rhodesian as far as I recall.The British South Africa Police were the Southern Rhodesia force, despite the title. A significant number of ex BSAP officers served in the RHKP

Extreme left is Michael Fidgeon ex  Brit. army now with the UK 'civil service' firearms dept. East of London. Has never been to HK. The bit about Raz being killed in 1977. Thats what we heard later,  but read the story, the Brig. General above was talking about him to me in 1996 when they all came to UK. for the firearms thing and Raz? he later gave evidence in a SA. court. Perhaps there are 2 of them and how did the Brig. Gen and his officers know to come after me by name in that one particular part of the UK. As the above story reads that is what led to our confusion we thought him dead but then some 20yrs later a serving South African Brig. Gen talks to you about him in the present and is working with him and coming to the UK at his directive and when you see Raz on UK TV News at 10 on the Mandella trial???. I'm glad that people are now taking an interest/debate in this at least someone is reading the stories and this looks like a honey of a story in the development. Perhaps his death report had us all over. The mystery, instead of being solved is about to start. Thank you Enid Blyton, Hercule will rise from the grave once again. (perhaps too much embelishment there- or perhaps not)

Just to muddy the water further, as we talked over the days together, the casual comments made by the Brig. General in 1996 made me aware that the Erasmus in Africa 1996 knew of me and the unit members and the times out in HK and thats how they (the SA group) ended up in my part of the woods. Unless Erasmus had a brother or twin in the same type of work and talked between themselves. Good bit of debate though. 

Just to add a further complication -

         Patrol Officer 110634 Christo Johannes Erasmus served from 8/78 to 12/80


W A Erasmus  Constable  South African Police served with SAP Contingent 6/74 on Operations in N E Rhodesia.






Is there any mention in any South African document of an Erasmus on RHKP service 1975, 1976 abouts and then going back to Africa. I think in HK he resided at Ho Man Tin Flats, Kowloon side and had a reputation with the ladies there. --I heard---.    It seems that Erasmusis a popular name in S. Africa and I wonder if it is all the same relations, so Raz (as we knew him when he was with us) is the name we are trying for. 

How about this for an add on..I dont know who reads this site on HK or from where but I have just been given 'corrected information' as follows. The Brigs proper name is Kobus Bosman, and the South African Military Intel Officer is Dirk Desdziek. So David your site is certainly viewed by persons outside the area. There was not even a squeak/mention/reply/comment on the Hong Kong Raz story. A bit more mud in the water I suppose and it only goes to make things interesting. Perhaps your sites next award should be a bit more of the 'international' mentioned in the title.. And just to add a bit more info, who ever contacted me gave me the full office address of the Brig and the Intel officer and their office telephone/fax/email numbers. These have been left off as a result of a request due to internet rules.. So someone out there is reading this site.

This story is rubbish. Francois Jacobus Erasmus (Raz) was born in South Africa of white parentage and served in the RHKP with me from 1966 until 1975 or 6 when he left and joined the BSAP. He was killed in an ambush in Rhodesia in 1977 and is listed on the BSAP roll of honour. NO WAY could he have been the Director of Intellegence in South Africa with a faked death in 1977- the dates do not add up. Shear fantasy!!

Totally in agreement with contribution made by C.J.Glover re.my dear departed mate and former colleague ,F.J.Erasmus('Raz') who served with distinction in the HKP/RHKP for ten years from Sept.,1966 to mid 1976.'Raz' was much loved by all who knew him-whether at work or play(he was also a fearless rugby player ).'Raz' always gave maximum effort in work and play-non more so than when he was heavily involved with the 'aftermath' of the Kotewall Road Disaster(June 1972).

Still think of him fondly.

(far from impressed with the 'stories' put out by Mr.Carpenter....)

Does anyone have a picture of the RHKP Mr Erasmus? It would be nice to put a name to a face.

BTW, I am finding Ray's little stories quite fascinating, please keep posting them.


I have just hidden a previous comment by user 'masang'.

Here's a reminder of the guidelines for writing on Gwulo:

Speculation about historical topics is welcome on Gwulo.com.

Speculation about contributors' personality, or possible motives for what they have or haven't posted, is not.

Masang's comment started:

Photo of 'Raz' after what's been set in print-would not seem appropriate to his name....the 'little stories' from the author-are just inaccurate in detail [text deleted]

I don't see anything disrespectful to Mr Erasmus in Ray's post above. Ray believes the man he met in Hong Kong in the 1970s is the same person that was described to him in 1996, but notes that Erasmus is a popular name - it could be a relative or a different person altogether.

One fact against them being the same person is Ray's note that:

It turned out that Raz. Insp. RHKP. MU was the Director of the S.African secret service and had got dead as a cover story whilst he got to work providing evidence against Winnie Madella for tribal killings and months later Raz was on UK telly in court in SA. telling all.

Wikipedia describes the incidents where Winnie Mandela was accused to have committed kidnapping and murder, and the results of the court case (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winnie_Madikizela-Mandela). They covered the years 1988-91. Presumably any cover story would have been created around the same time, and could not be connected to the actual death of Mr F J Erasmus in 1977.

It looks to me as though the two people surnamed Erasmus must be different.

Regards, David

It is nice to see people taking such an interest in my stories. Stories, persons, incidents and pictures are put onto these sites for historical and rememberance reasons before they are lost forever. Just to finish off this story once and for all, Hugh Healy Brown (our 2ic) introduced Raz Erasmus to the Marksman Unit about 1976 time. He was trained and was with the Marksman Unit on various incidents. He was a very capable person. Although he was with us for a short time it is right that his association for this time requires mention on the Marksman Unit site as a matter of history. But all this is mentioned above if you read it. It is by a coincidence that some 20 years later at a chance meeting with the South African Govt. persons, I mention that a Hong Kong Erasmus left us and went to SA. where we last heard that he was killed and then the Brig. General came out with his Erasmus story. (Again see above) involving the SA Intel service. In Hong Kong 1975-6 there was but one Carpenter and one Erasmus in the HK Police.  But in South Africa there appears to be quite a number of Erasmus, as the above endorsements reveal. So the mystery, through proper debate and enquiry is revealed at last. Although of the same name, my HK. Erasmus does not appear to be the same one as the Generals SA. Erasmus. ( as written above) End of story and what a story it has proved to be involving persons research, involvement and interest from all over the place.