History, Uniforms, Medals & Insignia

This website is an attempt to fill the gap in current Insignia and Militaria books covering The Rhodesian Security Forces, most of which have very little, if any information on the various Prison Services/Departments in Rhodesia.

My thanks to the Collectors and ex Prisons Personnel who have helped me with this research, especially Doug McRobb and the late Brian Ruff. Special thanks as well to; Gordon Campbell, Rory Drainer, Andrew Field, Craig Fourie, Carl Keith, Randal Kennerley, Miles MacDonald, Richard Perry, the late John Vye, Dudley Wall.

If anyone has any additional information, photographs, documents, uniforms, insignia, etc., please contact me via the email link below. I am especially interested in any articles or books that have the history of any or all the individual Prison Services.

Wayne M. Kennerley



Approximate dates of Prison Service Titles

Title Shoulder Title Initials Approx. Period of use
Southern Rhodesia Prison Department S.R.P.D. Pre 1953
Federal Prison Service F.P.S. 1953 – c1963
Federal Prison Service ? PRISONS Pre 1963 ?
Southern Rhodesia Prison Service S.R.P.S. c1963 – c1965
Rhodesia Prison Service R.P.S. c1965  - 1980; *
* An item of correspondence headed “Rhodesia Prison Service” has been noted with the date 25th March 1965, which pre-dates the declaration of UDI on 11th November 1965.

Rhodesia Prison Service Flag

RPS FlagRPS Flag

SAVA Journal 5/96 (31 December 1996) illustrates and discusses the flag of the Rhodesia Prison Service on page 137. “It was a light green flag, proportions 2:1 with the badge of the Prison Service in the centre. The badge consists of a yellow lion with red tongue and white claws, standing on a white bar. The background colour of the circle in which the lion stands is also light green. Above the circle is a yellow Zimbabwe Bird as crest, outlined in dark brown. At the base of the circle are red and yellow flames*. The circle is surrounded by the words “Rhodesia Prison Service” in white, with a white border, the lines of the circle in black. Through the centre of the badge [vertically] is a sword in a sheath inlaid in silver and gold with a black point. The guard and pommel of the sword are gold and the hilt black and white.”

* I have been informed by an ex R.P.S. Officer, who was involved with the introduction of the flag, that the ‘flames’ below the Sword actually represent the ‘Flame Lily’, Rhodesia’s National Flower. The R.P.S. Flag and R.P.S. Cap Badge were designed by Alan Simpson.


Contact – John Lovatt
Contact II – Paul L. Moorcraft
Insignia and History of the Rhodesian Armed Forces 1890-1980 – Dudley Wall
Military Badges and Insignia of Southern Africa – Colin R. Owen
Rhodesia Medal Roll – Edited by David Saffery
Rhodesia: Orders, Decorations and Medals and their Ribbons 1890-1980 – J.P.I. Fforde and A.W. Rich
Service before Self – M.P.  Radford

Links to other Rhodesian related websites

Internal Affairs

Rhodesian Militaria

Southern Africa Militaria

Copyright © Wayne M. Kennerley 2019

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