The very rare Rhodesian Bush Wars Bronze Cross of Rhodesia and Military Forces Commendation pair awarded to Lieutenant G.J. Schrag, 2nd Rhodesian African Rifles, sometime C Rhodesia Squadron, Special Air Service Regiment, who was one of only five men to receive this combination of awards, gaining his Bronze Cross for an engagement on 31st October 1976, when he amongst other things ‘charged into the riverbed alone and killed both terrorists at a range of less than ten metres’.
The very rare Rhodesian Bush Wars Bronze Cross of Rhodesia and Military Forces Commendation pair awarded to Lieutenant G.J. Schrag, 2nd Rhodesian African Rifles, sometime C Rhodesia Squadron, Special Air Service Regiment, and Rhodesian Signals, who was one of only five men to receive this combination of awards, gaining his Bronze Cross for an engagement with communist terrorists on 31st October 1976, when he amongst other things ‘charged into the riverbed alone and killed both terrorists at a range of less than ten metres’ and was later wounded in action on 7th August 1977.
Rhodesia: Bronze Cross of Rhodesia, reverse officially named; (LT. G.J. SCHRAG); Rhodesia General Service Medal 1965-1979, with Military Forces Commendation device attached to ribbon; (2 LT G.J. SCHRAG), mounted swing style as worn. With the scarce original box of issue for the first.
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Graham John Schrag grew up in Umptali, Rhodesia, now Mutare in Zimbabwe, and for a very short while in Rustenburg, South Africa.
Schrag went on to have a distinguished career with the Rhodesian Forces during the Bush War of 1965 to 1979, serving variously with C Rhodesia Squadron, Special Air Service Regiment, the Rhodesian Signals, and the 2nd Rhodesian African Rifles, the latter for the majority of his service, being one of only five men to receive both the Bronze Cross of Rhodesia and the Military Forces Commendation.
Schrag was put in charge of No.2 Platoon when A Company 2nd Battalion, Rhodesian African Rifles were formed at Methuen Barracks, Bulawayo on 1st October 1975 with Major Andre Dennison in command. Schrag was responsible for turning off the power supply to Espungabera, the Mozambican village just across the border from Mount Selinda after a fire fight with the Army of the Republic of Mozambique which caused a sense of humour failure at high level and having to report to the Commander of 3 Brigade to explain his actions.
Schrag took part in Operation Mardon-Chitanga OO where he earned his Bronze Cross on 31st October 1976, the original citation reading: ‘On October 31st, 1976, a platoon led by Lieutenant Schrag was involved in a two phase, set piece attack on two enemy camps, each of which included a large group of terrorists. Despite coming under heavy fire from the first camp, Lieutenant Schrag led the assault with great determination, forcing the enemy to break and run. Having secured the first camp, the platoon swept through the second camp, coming under close-range fire from two terrorists who had hidden in a riverbed beyond the camp. The platoon went to ground, but Lieutenant Schrag charged into the riverbed alone and killed both terrorists at a range of less than ten metres. He then led his platoon in a sweep of very thick cover where a further four terrorists were killed. Enemy small arms and mortar fire was intense throughout the engagement.’
Schrag was then decorated with the Military Forces Commendation for an action on 7th August 1977, the citation reading: ‘On 7th August 1977, a PATU call sign walked into Rugoyi Police Base in the Makoni TTL with radio failure, but reported a presence of thirty Communist Terrorists, the night before at locstst VQ455454, not too far from St Killian’s Mission. Fire Force was deployed and a mixed group of CT’s and civilians broke cover. The K-Car went into action and two sticks of paras were dropped in very high winds. After Platoon Warrant Officer Wilson broke a bone in his foot the drop was discontinued. Lieutenant Schrag co-ordinated the troops on the ground and in a series of contacts four CT’s were killed. Lieutenant Schrag was then shot in the shoulder and acting L/Cpl G.S. Murray, of 5 Indep, took over. Lt Schrag and L/Cpl Murray did very good work in the contact.’
Shrag’s Military Forces Commendation award was published in the Gazette of Rhodesia on 31st March 1978. Shrag received his Bronze Cross in a medal parade held on 15th March 1978, in the same parade that Captain Schulenburg received the Grand Cross of Valour, the highest Rhodesian award. Major Andre Dennision, Schrag’s company commander received three awards for gallantry on this occasion, whilst Schrag received two.
With the creation of Zimbabwe, Schrag went on to work as an advisor/ consultant / entrepreneur in various places around the world such as the Sultanate of Oman (several times and in different capacities), Yemen, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Southern Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, France and the UK. Somewhere along the line he also had homes in Thailand, Andorra and Cyprus. He died in Zurich, Switzerland on 12th October 2012.
Schrag was appointed Intelligence Officer when the 2nd RAR moved into the new barracks at Fort Victoria on 27th December 1977.