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Location of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in southern Africa
Location of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in southern Africa

William Harper (22 July 1916 – 8 September 2006) was a politician, general contractor and Royal Air Force fighter pilot who served as a Cabinet minister in Rhodesia (or Southern Rhodesia) from 1962 to 1968. He signed Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1965. Born into an Anglo-Indian merchant family in Calcutta, he joined the RAF in 1937. He served as an officer throughout the Second World War and was wounded in the Battle of Britain. He emigrated to Rhodesia on retiring from the air force. Entering politics with the Dominion Party in 1958, he became Minister of Irrigation, Roads and Road Traffic in the Rhodesian Front government in 1962. When the Prime Minister Winston Field resigned in 1964, Harper was a front-runner to succeed him, but lost out to Ian Smith. After leading opposition in the Cabinet to some of Smith's negotiations, he was dismissed. He left for South Africa before majority rule began in Zimbabwe Rhodesia in 1979. (Full article...)

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