Pete Winner invested 18 year in the SAS, the special forces unit of the British military that has a reputation for being just for the toughest that the tough. Here he recommends few of the ideal books that provide a feel for what it"s prefer to it is in in the SAS or "Special waiting Service."



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You’ve simply finished reading The shoot Gallery by Gaz Hunter.

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Yes, obviously Gaz Hunter is a pseudonym. I understand the guy well, I know his name yet I am no going to cite it here. He did fairly a many of business in the SAS, he’s really experienced. He was at the Waco Texas massacre where the cult leader hosted all those people and eventually they scorched the place down and also killed around 100 the them. It to be a devastating event and he to be there as an adviser. He also left the SAS because that a while and also went to Afghanistan to train the Mujahideen and also he ended up on the frontline through them fighting the Russians in the beforehand 1980s.

So v this book, The shoot Gallery is a nickname. He remained in the green Jackets when he to be a young soldier and he was in northern Ireland once things to be pretty warm in the 1970s in Londonderry. Since they were always getting shot in ~ they referred to as their camp ‘the shoot gallery’. Yet he doesn’t just talk about Ireland; over there are many other interesting things in the publication as well.

With regards to espionage, that writes in detail about the regiment’s joining in going over the eastern German border right into the Russian-occupied east Germany and doing monitoring on Russian installations and spotting where equipment was being stored. So there was lots of surprise driving about at night which provides it all an extremely interesting stuff.

But is he giving secrets away, because I recognize that in your book, Soldier ‘I’, friend are very conscious that not offering anything away and protecting your password of conduct?

I have to admit ns hadn’t read about that side of the regiment’s occupational in a book before this however then again the Berlin wall surface has come under so the isn’t providing any active secrets away. This is around the past, things like looking at how they might spot devices even despite it was spanned in tarpaulin.


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I know you room a large Ian Fleming fan so stop talk around your second choice, Doctor No, i beg your pardon was among your early on inspirations.

Well, this is the one wherein James Bond has to go out to Jamaica and also investigates the loss of Strangways, the head of terminal J in Kingston. What ns really like about all his books is the attention to detail. It was all based on his experiences when he functioned for navy intelligence during the war. He could use terminology prefer Sit Rep. Many human being had never ever heard the Sit Rep prior to but in Special pressures if you desire to understand what’s going on in a ar you ask for a Sit Rep, which means a instance report. And then over there is every the specialised devices which girlfriend can acquire from Q. We have the same set-up in the SAS called Ops Research, where all brand-new gadgets room tested and demonstrated and taken out right into the field to be used, for this reason he really was composing from genuine life experience.

How walk he inspire you?

Well, the didn’t do me desire to it is in in M16. You have to be pretty intelligent and also a public school boy for that. Ns just had a standard education. But it certainly inspired me to want to go out and also have one adventure. Once I very first heard of the SAS as soon as I was the end in the Middle eastern in the 1960s it sounded as close to to that kind of James Bond lifestyle that you can get.


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Your next publication is Bravo two Zero, i m sorry is created by a friend of yours, Andy McNab.

This is fantastic book all around survival. The is the survive of the person spirit against adversity. As soon as the chips were under Andy and the other men with him had to escape and evade detection throughout hundreds of mile of open desert in the extreme cold before they can get to safety. And they weren’t really equipped for that kind of harsh weather.

What happened was lock were sent out behind opponent lines to execute what we call an OP, which method an observation post on one MSR – main supply route. They were really looking for the activity of Scud missiles since you have the right to put a launcher on an articulated truck and also it moves across the desert. Unfortunately, they to be dropped turn off in the dark and also when it came to be light they witnessed that castle were almost on optimal of one Iraqi position. So they to be compromised and also the balloon go up and they had to what we call pest out, i m sorry is once you have actually to obtain all your tools together fairly sharpish and make a operation for it!


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They do a operation for it and also it was a good couple of days prior to they made it to safety. All the moment they to be being pursued across the Iraqi desert in vehicles and Andy and also his gang had to escape and evade, which we are trained to carry out as part of ours SAS selection. With lesser men, the totality lot of them most likely would have actually died. As it was, among the males froze to death but practically all the rest either escaped or were captured. In Andy’s case, he to be captured and tortured and also held until the Iraqis ran the white flag up. For this reason this is a actual survival story. The men who escaped and also are alive today had all excellent SAS selection and to be fit men so they are roughly today to tell the story.

I know that plenty of of you from the SAS say that it is really difficult for civilians to know the type of instances you go through, but can you try and explain what the is like.

Well, i have never had to escape and evade however other hardships space things like as soon as you space on a mission favor one I had actually of retaking a plateau where I remained in the full heat that Arabian nights. The was warm at night and during the job it gets as much as 40 degrees. There isn’t enough water and also then on optimal of the you room lugging every this really, really hefty equipment about – normally uphill.

It’s again an additional survival the the fittest exercise. If you’re no fit you’re not going to get up there and you will certainly be left behind. The SAS gift a macho organisation, you don’t desire to let her mates down.


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Let’s get ago to your other Ian Fleming choice, From Russia v Love.

Well, this is all about the Cold War. That is a comparable story come what Gaz Hunter was right into – going throughout the eastern German border, lurking around, possibly acquiring captured and also tortured by the Russians. There was just stuff in there the really got hold of my attention. Because that example, as soon as they to be being privately filmed while they to be making love in the hotel. That is stuff that have the right to be used against you.

Do you have honey catch in the SAS?

It has actually been well-known and, of course, there are some ready locals roughly Hereford wherein the SAS room based. Go you understand that an old nickname for the SAS is Sex and also Suntans?!

Is there the same form of glamour in the SAS the you find in the James shortcut books?

When you are gaining bitten through mosquitoes in some stinking tropical or dying of thirst over there is no glamour there. But there is, of course, the pride in being part of the élite and also there space glamorous work when you gain taken out of the jungle and find you yourself bodyguarding the brother Ambassador that Kabul. The SAS watch after him.

And once you left the SAS and worked for one of the exclusive security firms, who are component of the circuit the ex-SAS people, you had actually some nice glamorous jobs.

Yes, i once had to look after £90 million-worth of diamonds in 2 briefcases with a friend. I thought we would have an armoured car and protection, however no. Castle belonged to the Sultan that Brunei and they were a current for his brother. So ns was sat in first-class in brothers Airways through £45 million-worth the jewels stuffed under my seat.


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So, the was component of the Bravo 2 Zero patrol and also when they had actually to pest out they were laying up throughout the day and also marching in ~ night. Chris Ryan at some point somehow gained detached from the remainder of the group in a blizzard. The wandered off and got lost. You need to remember this is during some that the worst weather they had actually had because that 30 years. The went that alone and also decided to walk for the Syrian border and, by thin luck, in the end he do it and also crossed the border come freedom. I think it reflects a substantial amount the spirit and also stamina.

What’s the setting like when civilization come ago from missions like that when you think they had died?

Well, it’s common SAS – let’s gain down the pub and get pissed. As soon as you room on the booze you deserve to tell united state the story down there! So the is basically what happens.

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Was the a similar deal as soon as you were celebrating your effective mission to relax the hostages from the Iranian Embassy in London and also Margaret Thatcher pertained to visit you?

Yes, it was pure exhilaration. Girlfriend realise what a good success you have actually made of one operation. I would certainly imagine chris would have felt exhilarated to have actually escaped being captured and tortured. After ~ the siege it was a different kind of exhilaration. Maggie Thatcher to walk in to watch us, prefer Caesar returning to the Senate. She said, ‘There is nothing sweeter than success and also you boys have obtained it.’ and we every went, ‘Yeah, come and have a drink, Maggie.’ and also she did. And then John, who was one of the males on the balcony in ~ the embassy, want to watch the news, and she was wandering about, so he shouted in ~ her: ‘That woman at the prior sit down!’ and also she did, cross-legged in prior of the TV for this reason we might all clock our success top top the news.