The RCEL and UK Services Charities

ZANE is in effective partnership with all the UK service charities who operate through the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL). However, we cannot expect ex-servicemen welfare charities to provide all the necessary financial support or to pay for the ZANE staff.


Therefore ZANE’s funds are needed to top up the services’ provision.

  • ZANE has identified needy WW2 veterans and their widows (and others) and has distributed over £2m in past years on behalf of these charities.
  • ZANE has supplied over 100,500 grants to desperate and destitute recipients since its inception.
  • Your donations enable ZANE to help around 600 ex-servicemen and their wives or widows each year.

ZANE Trustees are grateful for the generosity of the services charities and RCEL.

Ex-Servicemen and Women

Mr. Moyo – “The support we receive from RCEL gives me the faith in my life to fight on in difficult times”

Ex-Servicemen Stories

Ex-Servicemen Stories

Please find some examples of people whom ZANE helps. Although their basic grant is supplied by the RCEL in England they are only able to receive this help because of the ZANE infrastructure. On top of this ZANE provides money for their bus fares and help with food and medicines.

The group of 12 ex-servicemen and widows of ex-servicemen who undertook the journey to Bulawayo, over 300km, to apply for assistance. They travelled by bus, arriving late afternoon so slept on the open pavements outside the railway station before coming to our office early in the morning, all smartly dressed, smiling and happy for the chance to apply. What marvelously gracious men and women they are.

Mr M. Ndhlovu

Mr Mutsengi

Born 24 March 1933, married with 7 adult children.

Joined Rhodesian African Rifles (1RAR) in November 1952 and served until July 1958. During this period he served in the Malaya campaign for 2 years the Malaya Start and Rhodesia General Service medals.
He chose to leave the Army in 1958 (as many did) having served long enough to be paid a gratuity on leaving; this means he receives no Army pension. After the Army he worked in the private sector as a security guard for a further 20 years but again receives no pension from them either. On retirement he returned to his rural home where he has lived ever since as a subsistence farmer. Most of his sons are themselves unemployed and his daughters are married (which here means they are now responsible for their in-laws and no longer able to help their own parents).

He is fit, still farming but his efforts entirely subject to droughts (which are frequent) and political interference especially during election periods.

Mr Ndhlovu has only just learned about the grant scheme; his application will take 2-3 months to process and he is likely to receive about US$400 as an annual grant. He had to travel about 300km from his rural home to our offices, a journey that takes all day. With the group he travelled with, he slept overnight on the pavement at the local railway station before presenting himself at our office – smiling, wearing his best clothes and grateful.

Mrs Beatrix Matowe

Mrs Matonhodze

Born 16 April 1945, married to Tobias Matowe in 1958 and has 6 adult children.Her husband joined the Rhodesian African Rifles (IRAR) in 1955 and served with the Rhodesian then Zimbabwean Army until his retirement in 1988. He served in the Malaya campaign in the 1950s and was awarded the Malaysia Service medal along with Long and Exemplary Service, Rhodesian General Service and Zimbabwe Independence medals.

On retiring from the Army he worked for a Government Parastatal for 8 years before his retirement in 1996, when he finally returned to his rural home. He died in 2007. His pension was stopped and Mrs Matowe has not been able to get the widow’s pension due to her. She does, however own a small house in one of the larger towns from which she receives a monthly income (when the tenants pay on time). Like most women her age, she looks after grandchildren as her daughter died leaving them in her care. Mrs Matowe came 300km across the country to apply for the grant which she had not known about until recently. She is likely to receive US$400 as an annual grant.

Mr Tekere

Mr Mudungwe

Born 20 February 1931, married with 7 adult children.

He joined the Army in February 1949 and served in the Rhodesian then Zimbabwean Army. Though Tekere did not himself serve in Malaya, he was an instructor and trained many servicemen for the Malaya campaign.

He does receive a Zimbabwean Army pension but lives as a subsistence farmer. His eyesight is failing and he is increasingly frail, nevertheless he undertook the 300km plus to come to our offices in Bulawayo to apply for a grant that will take 2-3 months to process and likely to give him an annual amount of US$400.