Talk:Special Air Service/Archive 1

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Sex Training?

This article might need to be reverted to an earlier version, due to edit for the stage of training at 4 weeks.

What the Hell!

Who wrote this?:

The Special Air Service (SAS) is the best commando-elite unit in the world except for the Israeli commando unit "Sayeret Mat'kal".

What a stupid thing to say, is there any proof of this ?, when have the Israli forces ever proved themselves as good as the SAS.

Its wrong to say that any special forces unit is the number 1 best unit in the world. There is no way of completly knowing for sure. Most keep their training and tactics secret anyway. The SAS have been around since World War 2 and have earned their reputation if other special forces can prove themselves then fair enough. But you really can't say one is entirely better than another.

You could look into it in more detail and explain how different special forces are better in different areas.

'Good' is a matter of opinion, different special forces do different tasks and therefore all of this "SAS are teh best", v's "no way dude, im telling ya delta are da best" comments are nonesense and have no place in a factual encylopedia. Its like trying to compare a car and a van - while they both fucntionally do the same thing, they do it in very different ways with different goals.

Adding The Republic of Ireland

Ok I'm new to this. I just noticed that the Republic of Ireland was left out as a country to join from. Many people make the mistake of assuming The Republic of Ireland is in the commonwealth which is false. Anyway that's it.

Former Trooper

SAS Reserves, 21 & 23

I don't know if anyone holds this information who could post it here, but I think a greater expansion on details about entrance, training and selection to the SAS(R) would be a good addition to the article, given that you can join straight from civilian life ( Also relating to this, the SAS(R) men are presumably not as highly trained etc. as the regular SAS regiment (as you must undergo further training and selection to pass from SAS(R) to SAS, and those in SAS(R) have no prior army experience), so perhaps a greater expansion (if possible) on what type of roles they can fulfill would be useful, as this isn't fully covered by the list of roles covered by the regular regiment, SAS 22.

Perhaps the link to the SAS(R) recruitment page should be posted too in the 'links' section.

External links being deleted

Why aren't these external links : and accepted ? I added them twice and twice they were removed. The first link is an excellent site - very well done, good layout and all. The second has interesting video clips. Yosy 00:15 September 15 2006 (UTC)

Odd term

i think the term battle space is abit odd, i appreciate its on of these new techno warfare terms, but what does it mean in reality? i'm not in the military and thus have no idea what the term means, could it be replaced with more easily understood terminology.

Books Of The SAS

One should read about the Special Air Service, there are many books on it. I've just read about SAS, Behind Enemy Lines, it's a rather exciting book. At the end of Chapter 02, the books describes how David Stirling (the founder of SAS) got captured by the unit's Dental Doctor. Well, it's a really enjoyable book, so I would like you to read it. It's by Will Fowder and it includes other books at the end of the book.

Early edits

What is CT? - Patrick 14:22 Dec 15, 2002 (UTC)

counter terrorist I'll change it. Mintguy

I moved the following list from the main article here, as it seems to be not so relevant. --Lorenzarius

Add name here if you were in the special air service

Name reg' number
I've deleted the names, PERSEC and to a certain extent OPSEC, plus even if those details are real they are probably not from the men themselves. - Red7

(these aren't British army soldier numbers, what are they?)

It seems unlikely that the SAS accepts members from 'the entire world'. Don't you have to be a member of the British Army before you can apply? DJ Clayworth 21:00, 17 Oct 2003 (UTC)

There are SAS regiments in other countries; for example, Australia.... but that's probably not what the sentence meant. 21:49, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Members from other Special Forces around the world can be assigned to the SAS as a way to share knowledge and skills. for example members from US SF have served time with the SAS and vice versa. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:36, 29 March 2007 (UTC).

He could be referring to Commonwealth members, who can join the British Army, and as such the SAS. Red7 15:44, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Can you? I think I remember reading on the Royal Marines website that those from the Commonwealth are restricted in the kinds of jobs they can do. Is that right? Does anybody know? 00:19, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't know about Army, but I was looking on the Royal Marines website and although Commonwealth citizens are able to join, they're restricted to the kinds of jobs they can do - in fact, there are very few jobs available for Commonwealth citizens. I don't know how difficult it is to acquire dual citizenship, but you'd have to do that before you can get into any decent position. Or become an Officer. It's probably similar for the Army. I guess they don't trust you unless you're a citizen. 12:25, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
By the way, just in case someone thinks I'm trying to be different people here, I'm not; it's just that, for some reason, every time I turn the computer on I've got a different IP address. 10:47, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

The SAS doesn't deal in "terrorism". However, it is highly likely that it, like all counter-terrorism forces, deals with assassination. Of course, that's only an allegation... just like gravity is only a theory. ugen64 21:49, 25 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Granted that this is highly likely, I have been wondering why it was mentioned especially regarding their role in N.I. --Palapala 07:11, 2004 Mar 26 (UTC)

Just what colour is the boathouse at Hereford? (I'm kinda guessing there isn't one) -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 00:35, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)

And it's Heh-ra-fud not here-ford... other than that the film was quite good. :). Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 10:06, 5 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I guess they were too scared to correct De Niro's illustrious method acting. Shame though, bit of a distraction Dainamo

>They have been part of every major British conflict since World War Two< Not so, they were reformed for the Malayan emergancy and had no involvement in the Korean war which the Brits had some serious involvement in.

>They destroyed an Argentine submarine in Cumberland Bay,< My understanding is that was a Wasp helicopter from HMS Endurance that attacked the Sante Fe and that it was damaged, not destroyed.

> Bravo Two Zero. The books, Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab and The One That Got Away by Chris Ryan differed in the details of the mission.< I'm not sure what these incredible works of fiction written under pseudonyms are doing in a factual account in an Encyclopaedia.

>The SAS Selection is the toughest selection procedure of any Special Forces team in the world.< This statement is partisan and is offered without any support or qualification. Indeed it's questionable if SAS selection is 'tougher' than that of even other British formations including the Royal Marines SBS and Brigade Recce Group (formerly Mountain and Arctic warfare Cadre) let alone the rest of the World! < No, it is the toughest in the world!

>Apparently the more conventional officers in the British army do not much appreciate the "unruly" SAS members. During operations, SAS troopers and their officers are sometimes known to call each other by their first names! < This sort of trite, tabloidesque trivia should be removed as it adds diddly squat. For one thing it was common for British soldiers from line regiments of the British Army including the Ulster Defence Regiment and Royal Marines in Northern Ireland to call officers by their first name on operations.

I don't know much about the subject at hand, but perhaps you'd consider creating an account here. That way it's easier for folks to talk to you, particularly if your IP address changes. You can also get credit for the changes you've already made without an account. There's no need to use your real name (most folks seem not to). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 11:58, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I am glad that you are keen to improve this page, and have been doing just that (assuming you are Nick in South Africa too now!). A couple of points about bits you have removed though. Although "McNab" and "Ryan"'s books could be regarded as fixture, I don't think not mentioning them at all is the right way to go, particularly as they were previously mentioned in the context of the new book by Mike Coburn that debunks them (supposedly, I haven't read it). These books and men were the most public part of the SAS in the 90s - they deserve a mention if only for debunking.
Secondly about the "toughest selection procedure" business... obviously that is subjective and Brits are likely to say the SAS is the toughest. It should be mentioned almost as a propaganda and linked to a mention of SAS: Are you tough enough? - the TV programme which I saw as a blatant PR exercise. Not surprisingly the selection procedure is called "as tough as any in the world" on that programme. (Neatly, if we mention Tough Enough - then we might also Mike Stroud (physician) who appears on that programme, and as an explorer has done a lot of joint exporing with Ranulph Fiennes, whose article I have just written. </end plug for copy-editors to my new article> --Pete/Pcb21 (talk) 23:29, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Indeed. Perhaps we should have a "The SAS in popular culture" section, covering the huge amount of media interest in the regiment (SAS diet books, SAS survival books, incessant Eddie-Stone-yelling TV shows, and indeed the popular accounts you mention). I recon that (for stuff like that, which gets the excitable excited) we either have to put in a sane version ourselves or end up having to copyedit an insane one later on. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:52, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Finlay I think that your suggestion is good and the way to go, 'A SAS in popular culture' section as a 'bucket' for the myths, legends and tabloidesque ‘noise’ surrounding the British SAS. That would leave the main section to contain a more dispassionate, level headed overview more fitting for an encyclopedia. I'll leave you to create it and move stuff around unless you want me to do it? User Nick_in_South_Africa

I'm afraid I've not read enough (any, really) of said popular culture, so I don't really know fact from faction from fiction here. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 10:32, 16 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Oh and this page does need lots of work, partly content and partly the clunky style that's a little 'cheesy' in places IMO. Ive started by updating the Northern Ireland stuff under Counter Terrorism, it would be good if different eyes could proof read it. I have a little concern over the number of Arconyms I've used and if this makes reading it Nick_in_South_Africa.

Finlay, the British SAS have probably along with the Israeli Sayeret Matkal the best combat record of any special forces unit in the world. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that their training is the toughest in the world. I'm not sure what the problem is with that statement. Serbitar 06:08, 20 Jun 2006

List of operations

In the list of operations section at the end, suggest removing the raids not conducted by the SAS, and the SAS raids in the duplicate section on the British Commandos page. Or do people feel there is any merit in this duplication? CVA

It does look like it needs sorting out, please feel free to dive in. If there were joint SAS/BC operations, maybe we needs a separate page that lists all operations and indicates participants (i.e. SAS, BC, or both). Pcb21| Pete 10:17, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Hope the respective dedicated pages are more concise now. A separate page that list 'all' operations would probably be too long. Their were far more organisations than just the Commandos, SAS and SBS. Again one factor is that some appear not to be aware of is that ‘The’ Commandos were a specific force. Probably victims of their own success, it was their style, manner and activities which popularised the term ‘commando’ in the English and other languages. Hence people, and the media, may refer to a ‘commando raid’ or an action being carried out by ‘commandos’ in reference to style or manner but not actually meaning the force of that name.

‘The’ Commandos in W.W.II fought in some 147 actions, but, there were many more ‘commando’ engagements by other ‘commandos’. For example, in the Far East came about the Small Operations Group comprising COPP 7 and 8 (Combined Operations Pilotage Party), 60 men of the SBS, Royal Marine Detachment 385 and the Sea Reconnaissance Unit. SOG mounted around 170 operations, while in the same theatre were 3 Commando Brigade with Nos. 1, 5, 42 and 44 Commandos, and the Dutch Troop of No.10 (IA), then later No.45 Commando, without mentioning the Australian commandos, or men there earlier like Burma II Commandos, V Force, Force Viper and Commandos who volunteered for Mission 204 with the Chinese. CVA 05:03, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

What about Northern Ireland? They killed a decent number of IRA men in hits —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:23, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

NPOV issues

On the whole this is a good article, although it needs some copyediting to tighten up some of the writing. I've got a few minor NPOV issues with this article - not enough to make a fuss, but enough to raise them.

In later years there was much made in the press about SAS deployments to the Province, but this publicity bore little resemblance to the actual tours of duty by SAS squadrons having more to do with government propaganda and press speculation. - this is a statement of fact which we cannot be certain of. Needs to be rewritten from a neutral stance. There are a number of similar statements of "fact" which are either not known or cannot be rigidly verified - we need to take a less committed tone here as well. Manning 23:48, Aug 10, 2004 (UTC)

Bartlett You're absolutely correct on the tone, even though these are facts and quite well documented, and in the public domain, as indeed is almost all of this article. But candidly I aint gonna bother to throw time at the problem and dig up references, why not just go in there and edit for tone?--Nick-in-South-Africa 21:49, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Isn't a little POV to speak of the SAS's "penchant for killing unarmed republicans"? Suggest "reputation" rather than "penchant". Efortune 12:07, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Many SAS men, although forbidden to follow suspects into the Republic of Ireland, nevertheless did so. Some were caught and arrested by Irish police. Controversially, they were rarely charged with firearms offences, but were returned to the British authorities. Is this speculation or fact. It probably true but other than the incident when the soldiers were fined are there any other documented instances. Irish Republicans is too general a phrase but it'll be hard to find a npov alternative. Terrorists will get up some peoples noses just as freedom fighters will annoy others; also exactly how many people killed by the regiment has it actually been proved were unarmed, and known to be so, when killed?

From the 2003-2005 section: After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the SAS (the FIRST force to enter Afghanistan, many months before the U.S. ever deployed), along with the Australian SAS, were involved in silent operations in Afghanistan (Most of which were secretive, until their successful outcomes,after which the U.S. would take the credit). [...] The SAS helped with storming the flats in West London and are believed to have fired several shots in the process. However, nothing was truly "seen" and they remain the silent professionals and the world's top special force (the predecessor of all others). This seems incredibly POV. I get the impression the bolded passages was added by some fanboy to emphasise the superiority of the SAS. The somewhat inferior phrasing certainly suggests it. I would edit it myself, but I'm still somewhat of a WP noob, so.. :) -MMad

Yup, POV rubbish - sadly there is a rash of special forces fanboys, British and otherwise. I've removed it. -- Necrothesp 03:44, 28 August 2005 (UTC)

Can we remove the picture that claims to be of SAS soldiers storming the Iranian Embassy? That photo was not taken at the seems to have been taken during training somewhere (most likely the Killing House in Hereford). I was at the Iranian Embassy in early December 2005 and there are no bricks visible on the building but there clearly are in that photo. Also, there is no grass either in front of, or behind, the building but grass is clearly visible in that photo. One last point...none of the soldiers who stormed the embassy did so from the ground. They either entered through windows at the front or from skylights in the roof. That photo was not taken at the embassy and should be removed. --colchar 02:25, 9 March 2006

Doesn't look like the embassy to me either. I'm going to change the description to a training photo and move the photo to a relevant section. Stu ’Bout ye! 09:16, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Delta Force

Now, I have to say, I always understood that Delta Force was largely based on the SAS. Certainly, a number of books I have read present this view. And take this quote from the article on the founder, Charles Beckwith: "Delta Force was formed partly in response to growing terrorist actions worldwide, and on Beckwith's own experiences when cross-training with the British SAS years earlier." -- Necrothesp 09:48, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Your assuming that basing something on experience cross training means that it was based on the SAS structure. It's a common/typical logic fallacy :) Delta is based more on the US Marine Corps Force Recon (Nonsense!). As for the Navy Seals although they have crosstrained with units like the SBS/SAS and the German equivalents that does not imply anything since they are based on the UDT which predates the SAS/SBS. Dick Marcinko (whom i've had the privledge of a few drinks with) the founder of Team Six even says in his bio Rogue Warrior that its not based on any specific organization, but a combination of training routines he himself created. I'm open to discuss this further if you wish.  ALKIVAR™ 11:41, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I don't think we need to take too much notice of someone who doesn't know the difference between 'your' and 'you're'

Are you sure about this? Delta falls under the US Army's Special Forces umbrella. The Marine Force Recon is more akin to the Army's Rangers than its SF component. Given the era Delta was created, and the operations they're known to have taken apart in, it fits more in line with the SAS. Richard Marcinko is a rash and colorful individual, but he's taken quite a few liberties as far as military administration works. Gibson Cowboy 17:38, 26 November 2005 (UTC)


This page seems to support the claim that the structure and operational training proceedues of Delta force are based on the SAS [1]. There are many other similar references to Beckwith using the SAS as a model. Jooler 12:39, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not assuming anything. I'm basing my assumption on books by people who know far about the subject than I do, who have based their conclusions on statements by Beckwith himself (whom, one assumes, should have known). As to SEAL Team 6, I make no assumptions, since I know next to nothing about the SEALs (apart from their ludicrous claims that they're the best special forces in the world ;)). -- Necrothesp 13:16, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The comment on the Beckworth article was added by a very brief contributor (less than 25 edits) [2]. I wouldn't go taking his word as fact. Second, Jooler, your quote comes from a random student writeup? Again not something i'd take as fact. I've asked a few of my friends at the Pentagon for an "official" statement regarding Delta's origins, but as its still considered classified I may not get a response. Until I see an official US Army related site state that Delta was based on SAS it doesnt belong.  ALKIVAR™ 18:53, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. I wasn't taking his word as fact. I've read it elsewhere. In actual books, no less. Can't give you a reference (it was a while ago - I'm not unhealthily obsessed with special forces), but here's a more trustworthy web source [3]. Mind you, I wouldn't trust any statements from official sources on special forces either - they're as likely to give misinformation as any student. At the end of the day, most of what we think we know about any of them is quite possibly inaccurate (since most of what has been written by actual ex-members is written for profit, not accuracy, and plays on what people want to hear - quite frankly, I wouldn't believe most of it), so if we don't allow a bit of conjecture we may as well junk all these articles! -- Necrothesp 23:23, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Its one thing to specify its conjecture, another is to specify it as fact w/o verification. I guess we can split it 50/50, put back Delta, but leave Seal Team Six off the list.  ALKIVAR™ 23:26, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Seems fair. As I said, I don't know anything about the Seals anyway. -- Necrothesp 01:30, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Whoever this Alkivar character is. I think that you need to stop believing everything that you hear from the U.S. military friend. I served in the U.S. army for 23 years. 8 in regular army and the rest in special forces where I received my delta credentials for 10 years. The Detatchment D is very highly based off of the SAS and we train with them on a regular basis to keep up our standards. I was there, anything else that you read or hear is garbage

I was a unit administrator for a SF unit before and we had quite a few Brits and Delta guys come through. Some Delta were cocky, most were pretty laid back. Same could be said for the British. Since these guys were attached to us, I took care of whatever paperwork required. After all, they're still Army personnel. Gibson Cowboy 17:38, 26 November 2005 (UTC)

It's many years since I read Charles Beckwith's book (Delta Force(?) ISBN 0380809397) but I seem to remember him describing his period with 22 SAS, being wounded in Malaya(?) and writing a paper proposing the setting up of a similar organisation in the US military. It was ignored until there was interest after a terrorist incident and he got the go ahead to form Delta Force then. It seemed to be directly related to his experiences with 22 SAS. --jmb 21:51, 9 May 2006 (UTC)


If the MP5KA4 is the standard weapon of CRW, why do none of the CRW photos support this declaration? Also can it truely be said that the SAS has a standard weapon? Ben W Bell 13:30, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The MP5KA4 isn't the standard weapon of the CRW team, It is There own personal choice such as MP5A3/ MP5A2. The MP5K wouldn't be used because it is design to be a PDW that can be concealed and be used at a very short range.

MP5A4? I thought those SAS troopers were actually using MP5A3 since their MP5s has a retractable stock instead of a fixed buttstock? Eikichi 00 14:11, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Special Forces units are never so predictable as to use the same weapon over a long period of time. The MP5 is reliable and is favoured by the SAS. Many believe that they use it all the time due to the publicity the SAS received after the Iranian embassy incident and the revelation that the MP5 was used there. But they use different weapons in different situations. Since the 80s, newer, better SMG/PDWs have been developed, such as the MP7A1 and the P90. SMGs are most effective indoors; carbines and assault rifles are [generally] better all-weather weapons, and a documentary a few years back noted the SAS regularly practice and operationally use a range of sniper rifles, such as the L115A1 and L96A1.

"Officers serve only a term of four years" "New members are on probation for a period of four years". Has to be something wrong here. DJ Clayworth 13:50, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

My understanding is that NCOs who join are on probation for their first four years. Officers are not, because they only serve four, as opposed to an NCO who could serve as much as fifteen or so. Geoff B 07:47, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Officers serve for three year terms and are then required to return to their parent outfit (helps to spread experience throughout the army). They can come back for another term with the SAS later in their careers. Normally they command a troop in their first term of service and a squadron during their second. There are some exceptions to this as DLB served virtually his entire career with the SAS. colchar 13:31, 4 February 2006

The beret colour seems to be referred to as "sand" or "beige" in about even numbers. We should mention both. DJ Clayworth 14:40, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I'm surprised we don't have articles on the Australian and New Zealand Special Air Services, linked from here. Anyone? DJ Clayworth 14:42, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

They are. Look near the bottom. -- Necrothesp 15:00, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, I missed that. I added a short reference near the top, since an Australian probably thinks of their SAS as the SAS and will be looking for it under that name. DJ Clayworth 16:59, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Huh? Why would they think that? Everyone knows the British one is the original. That's funny! 12:30, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Where? Show an outside source that calls it that!!!! --B1link82 14:44, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)
    • Try The Complete Encyclopedia of the SAS by Barry Davies, an ex-SAS man, or this page from the Allied Special Forces Association (penultimate paragraph) or this about the Australian SAS or this. Just for starters. -- Necrothesp 15:00, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

B1link82, exactly what is your objection to stating that the beret is sometimes called the beige beret? DJ Clayworth 16:42, 8 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Source of recruits

The article states that only members of the British Army or the RAF Regiment can apply to join the SAS. However, the 2002 Navy Officer's Career Regulations (which seem to have disappeared off the MoD site, annoyingly enough) explicitly state that "[m]embers of the RN and RM may volunteer to serve in both the Special Boat Service (SBS) and Special Air Service (SAS)".

They also strongly imply that members of RAF units other than the RAF Regiment can apply ("Both the SBS and SAS conduct a number of briefings to RN, Army and RAF units designed to give personnel an insight into each unit, how best to prepare for UKSF [United Kingdom Special Forces]..."; [emphasis added].) Anyone know for sure? — Franey 15:41, 25 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Members of the Royal Marines have served with the SAS since the 1970s. In his autobiography, The Killing Zone, Harry McCallion refers to a marine nicknamed 'Nasty Neil' who would later serve with him in the SAS. colchar 13:31, 4 February 2006

At least a dozen Royal Marines served with Special Boat Squadron, 1 SAS and subsequently Special Boat Service commanded by Jellicoe and then Sutherland. Nominal rolls are given in end of war disbandment schedules held by The National Archives in the UK. 11:39, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

Beige beret etc, please don't start the edit war over the beige beret again. It is frequently known as the beige beret and always has been. Also, please don't delink things just because they're red - red links will eventually lead to articles and turn blue. Finally, it is standard formatting in Wikipedia to put disambiguation links (in this case to the Australian and NZ SAS) at the top of the page. Thanks. -- Necrothesp 21:17, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

If I may be permitted to add - the beret is informally known as the 'sand hat' by everyone who wears it. After all, the real honour lies in wearing the belt. Darth Doctrinus 00:08, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
None of the former soldiers who have written about serving in the SAS talk about wearing the belt...they all talk about how they felt when they were handed the beret though so I have no idea what you are talking about. colchar 11:06, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
The distinction is the belt, the beret is worn by most of the personnel with the Regiment, including logisticians, REME etc many of whom will not have undergone selection. They'll wear it with the cap badge of their parent unit. The exception is R Sigs personnel who will have undergone SF Communicator Selection (a similar, but not as intense, beasting phase followed by the core skills that they need to support ops. Troopers who have undergone selection also wear the blue stable belt, which distinguishes them from everyone else wearing the beret.ALR 17:06, 23 August 2006 (UTC) Editing

Can you please try and make your edits at the same time, not one edit continually after the other, it makes it much easier to tell what has changed instead of looking through dozens of smaller edits. Also if there is something you are not sure of then don't put it in, don't add it and then put a comment saying you're not sure about it. Ben W Bell 08:33, 19 July 2005 (UTC)


I seem to remember that the SAS is sometimes referred to as just "Special Air" within the one part or other of armed forces? Any truth in this? -max rspct 20:56, 29 July 2005 (UTC)

I think so, although everyone I knew in the army called it the "sass".

Geoff B 07:43, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

No - the SAS are known informally as 'The Regiment.' The 'Sass' is used by hopeless walts and their ilk. Darth Doctrinus 00:10, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Ah well, there's none of those in the Army. Geoff B 20:30, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

If someone talks about "The Regiment" a military audience from the same unit will think he's just talking about their regiment. I've always heard them referred to as "Hereford". Yorkshire Phoenix (talkcontribs) 11:56, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

No no no it's The Regiment!! All the wannabes call it "sass" but everyone else i know calls it the Regiment. No mistake. the Regiment, not "sass," "hereford" or "special air".

Naturally people in 22 SAS would call it "The Regiment" because it is their regiment. Soldiers in other regiments (SAS wannabes or not) don't call it that: it all depends on context. I've worked with Commandos and if they said "The Regiment" they meant their own and they said "Hereford" if they meant 22 SAS. Non-SAS soldiers in units close to 22 SAS may well call it "The Regiment": like I said it depends on the context. Yorkshire Phoenix (talkcontribs) 16:09, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

The conventional riposte was always: 'There is Brown 'sass' and a Tomato 'sass'[add to list to taste] but there is only one SAS; with each letter pronounced separately. In just the same way as the RAF once insisted-It's not 'raf' it's R A F and say the same for R A F Regiment. 13:33, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Jungle section needs editing

Some rubbish written here, after serving in the UK Forces I can state that the SAS are more commonly referred by regular forces as 'sass',never The Regiment ,as stated earlier this would would only ever refer to the speakers own regiment.Also people that use such terms as 'Walts' are 99% certain to be 'Walts' themselves and are trying to give themselves a little kudos by applying such terms as only the SAS themselves would ever use that term. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:47, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

"Soldiers will learn to live, fight and survive in the jungle, and will have to take care of every cut, scratch, blister, and even eating equipment, as it could easily get infected." Their eating equipment could get infected? I don't think that's what the author was trying to say... This sentence really needs to be rewritten (don't wounds always have to be taken care of?) but I'm not quite sure what it should say. --JdwNYC 17:18, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

i see yoour point there. nice way of putting it unlike some people on here. what ti means is that even the tiniest scratch need looking after, mos tpeople will get a cut and just leave it but in the jungle it could get infected - houghone! thanks

Bold textsoem other guyBold text SBS is based in poole on a small island, thought you might want to know, may hel por something :)

Cuts and sores left untreated in a jungle environment become tasty landing strips for the female Bottfly, which will lay its eggs in the wound. The larvae are barbed and cannot be removed completely. The larvae eat human flesh until they turn into mature flies and buzz off (literally). Treat those wounds when you're in the jungle, kids! Oh, and don't even THINK about eating monkey meat. The SAS found that out the hard way in Central Africa.


The history of the SAS is not wholly British, although some Angophiles would like ir to be. It is closely associated with the LRDG, which, in 1941, at the time when the SAS was formed, was entirely made up of NZ troopers. Later around 1942, some Rhodesians and British soldiers joined. The LRDG was the idea of a British officer, true. But then Z force was an American idea. But the Americans would never claim Z force to be an American unit. Z force is clearly Australian. The whole article about the SAS is heavily biassed towards the British. There is hardly any mention of the French, Australian, New Zealand and most of all Scottish involvement in the SAS. Wallie 09:12, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

If the nationality of its members is the key criterion for determining which country a unit belongs to, then the Brigade of Gurkhas is Nepalese, and the French Foreign Legion is anything but French. And the Scots are British too: looks like you made the "Anglophile" mistake of assuming Britain = England.... Franey 10:01, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
The LRDG began as largely New Zealand, but soon became largely British, since the NZ Division couldn't spare any more men. Read the article on the Long Range Desert Group and the links from it. Also remember that until after WWII there was huge overlap between British and Dominion units. Officers and men from one country frequently served in the armies of others, and quite often units were entirely multinational - these people were British subjects, remember. Nobody is denying that the Dominions had large input into these units (as you seem to think we are - a chip on your shoulder perhaps?), but to unnecessarily emphasise it throughout the article just looks stupid - this is, after all, an article on the British SAS, not the LRDG and not the Australian or NZ SAS, which have their own articles. The fact is the majority of men in the SAS, and also in the LRDG, were actually British. And I of course endorse Franey's comment - the Scots ARE British! -- Necrothesp 12:24, 21 September 2005 (UTC)

The OP clearly has a chip on his shoulder and is in dire need of an education. The very fact alone that he has proven incapable of differentiating between Britain and Scotland proves this as such. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:20, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

Battle Honours

Somebody keeps removing the list of SAS Battle Honours. Let's get this straight. Battle Honours are official. They are awarded by the Crown. The SAS has been awarded these Battle Honours and no others. Whether you agree or disagree with the list is not the point - the fact remains that these are their Battle Honours. -- Necrothesp 23:58, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Could User:Hammersfan explain why he reverted the nice, clear list of Battle Honours to a single clumsy line? --Khendon 06:51, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Never used the editing thing before so forgive me if this is the wrong place. The SAS was involved in the Dhofar War in the Sultanate of Oman. The wiki atricle should mention this (unless it does and i missed it :/). I believe that Victoria cross was awarded to one of its members during this camgaign. Just a thought.--Discojim 13:40, 14 August 2006

No VC has ever been awarded to an SAS soldier. There is, however, a campaign by some former members to have a soldier who served in Oman awarded a VC because, at the time, his actions were only acknowledged with an MID (because the war was, technically, a secret). But you are entirely correct that they did serve there (briefly in the 1950s and again in the 1970s).--colchar 11:10, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

The above post is incorrect. The VC was awarded to Major Anders Lassen in Italy in 1944 and is counted as the 'first SAS VC'. Anders Lassen was a Danish national. He was commissioned as an officer in The Buffs (As the sovereign of Denmark is the Colonel of the Regiment) subsequent to operations with SOE. He transferred to 1 SAS and was in 'D' Sqn which became Special Boat Squadron. Special Boat Squadron, 1 SAS formed the nucleus of the new Special Boat Service in the Middle East when 1 SAS at squadron strength as SRS (Special Raiding Squadron) returned to the UK for reformation for ops in North West Europe. SBS- a war-formed regiment of GHQ, ME - continued to wear the cap badge and wings originated with 1 SAS and was brigaded in 'Raiding Forces', ME with the LRDG and others. The brigade equivalent force of the Raiding Support Regiment (RSR)and Popski (PPA), etc all wore the SAS parachute wing. 16:45, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Could whomsoever explain why they have reverted the battle honours sub section to a previous version which has incorrect data? I reshuffled the section to read, in time order, from the present to the past and corrected the mis-stated World War 2 honours, grouping them generally and specially; having verified all from a reputable current published account as well as from the original policy files in the UK National Archives and the HMSO published lists. I also put the 2006 published ref in the references section. How much more does anyone have to do to persuade you crackerjack to stop your ill-considered edits?

Sorry, that idiot appears to be me. If it was, I'm sorry. Apparently I thought it was vandalism, which it quite obviously wasn't. Feel free to put back what I reverted - see the History tab for previous edits, if you don't know about it already. Oh, and watch out, it seems you're close to being blocked for vandalism. Again, though, sorry. --Jonnty (talk) 02:37, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I wouldn't know and I haven't vandalised anything. But I see the piece has re-reverted to the first version which is wrong because it rams together honours which are actually separated. My attempt wasn't pretty in layout, due to inexperience, but it was right. Could someone please recover this and do a better job? 13:33, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

NPOV again

I removed the following assertions from the opening paragraph:

  • one of the most famous military organisations in the world: certainly true in Britain, doubtful worldwide. Over half the world's population is either Chinese, Indian, or African: is the SAS really that famous in those parts of the world? (E.g., in India, the SAS are nowhere near as famous as the Indian National Army, who are not very well known in Britain.) Consider that until the Iranian Embassy siege, few people even in Britain were really aware of the SAS.
  • the smallest and most secretive regiment in the British Army — taking each point one at a time:
    • smallest — really? Smaller than all the TA units? Doubtful, as the SAS itself includes two TA regiments. And the Special Reconnaissance Regiment is rumoured to be only half the size of the SAS — except we don't know for sure, because the MoD won't say. Which brings us to our next point...
The territorial army doesn't have its own regiments, only battalions. Infact some TA battalions are bigger than their regular battalions. You need to clarify and understand the difference between a Regiment and a Battalion. Its worth noting though that its probably not the smallest regiment because cavalry regiments of the household division are of battalion size, so are likely smaller - also its a grey area because the exact size of the regiment remains undisclosed. Nick
    • most secretive — thanks to various memoirs by Andy McNab et al., we know quite a bit about the SAS, unlike the SRR, about which we know very little (not even how big it is). There have been some books by former members of 14 Intelligence Company, the SRR's predecessor, but nothing on the scale of the SAS industry. Plus there's the possibility of units that we're not even told about — like Security 150, the UK's own special forces UFO retrieval unit.... ;)
    • regiment — now this is pure pedantry, but the SAS is not a regiment, it's a group of three regiments: 21 SAS, 22 SAS, and 23 SAS.

Franey 10:13, 23 November 2005 (UTC)

--22nd SAS is a regiment. What you are referring to (a group of regiments) is a Brigade...officially known as the SAS Brigade. colchar 11:14, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

The problem here is that some people have written parts of the article as though it's about 22 SAS alone, which it's not, of course. Some people don't even seem to accept that 21 and 23 SAS are "real" SAS, which I think would be news to them! I would say that the bit about being the smallest regiments in the British Army is probably correct, though (disregarding the SRR, which nobody seems to know much about). TA regiments are not particularly small. As to secretive, well, the SAS itself is secretive - there's a difference between their official secrecy and the industry that's grown up around them, most of which (as with most special forces) is probably rubbish. Most famous? Purely subjective, but probably not wholly unjustified, since it does say "one" of the most famous. What is "famous", though? -- Necrothesp 11:17, 23 November 2005 (UTC)
It's an interesting point. For example, the Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises some 20 odd different Regiments. The Special Air Service Regiment is - likewise - composed of 3 different Regiments. What a wonderful thing the British Army is! Darth Doctrinus 00:12, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Quite true: the distinction between regiment and battalion only exists in the infantry (where, due to the lack of a Corps of Infantry, every regiment is a corps in its own right). In every other arm, including the SAS (who are listed in the order of precedence with the infantry but aren't), a battalion is called a regiment and its parent can be either a regiment (as is the case with the Royal Artillery, Royal Tank Regiment and SAS) or a corps (all the rest, less any I missed). To summarise: 21st Special Air Service Regiment (Artists), 22nd Special Air Service Regiment and 23rd Special Air Service Regiment are regiments within the Special Air Service Regiment (a regiment). Yorkshire Phoenix 15:28, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

In the Northern Ireland section.

Why must the killing of the unarmed IRA members in Gibralter be justified with a comparison to the IRA. The IRA were supposed to be terrorists. Surely using their actions as a comparison means the same criticisms could be levelled at the SAS?

ALso with reference to "22 SAS's reputation, or rather mystique, grew to the extent that during the Balcombe Street siege, the IRA surrendered once the SAS deployment was publicised. Considering the SAS's reputation, this was probably a pragmatic move on their part."

This could be lifted staright from an Andy McNab novel - stick to facts not mythology.

I have changed the lines which refer to Robert Nairac as being an SAS officer. He was not. Someone changed it back so I fixed it again. Nairac was not in the SAS...he was in 14th Int. For proof of this check Ken Connor's Ghost Force, Anthony Kemp's SAS: Savage Wars of Peace, Tony Geraghty's Who Dares Wins, Barry Davies' Heroes of the SAS, Peter MacDonald's The SAS in Action, and Nigel McCrery's The Complete History of the SAS. Please stop changing it to refer to Nairac as an SAS officer when the available evidence clearly proves that he was not. colchar 13:44, 4 February 2006.

While I am myself unsure of Nairac's status, I really would not recommend describing any of these books as "proof" or "evidence". Most writing about the SAS and other British intelligence organisations needs to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. They're secret for a reason! -- Necrothesp 20:13, 4 February 2006 (UTC)
14th Inf. that sounds like an infantry division not a regiment? can you please clarfiy - there seems to be alot of confussion here about what is a regiment, a battalion and a division. I suggest if people do not understand the difference that they should aviod editing or posting here as with an organisationally complex set of regiments such as the SAS people are posting jiberish in the wrong sections.
The unit is called 14th Int(elligence), they specialised in covert intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland until they were merged with other units to form the SRR.
Incidentally the term regiment has a number of different uses: 1) an organisation that is referred to in it's title as a "Regiment", these are usually from the combat arm and can contain any number of battalion sized subunits. (e.g the Royal Regiment of Artillery or The Gloucester, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment) Combat support and service support units are usually "Corps" 2) Within certain regiments and corps, the individual battalion-sized subunits are sometimes known as regiments (e.g. 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, part of The Special Air Service Regiment along with 21 and 23; or 2nd Signal Regiment, part of the Royal Corps of Signals). 3) The word one uses to indicate generally any organisation within the army that all share the same capbadge ("What regiment where you in?") Pocad
Is it true that the SAS is the only "Regiment" in the British Army where the senior "Regiment" is a TA unit i.e. 21 SAS was founded before 22 SAS? I remember some friends who were members telling me that many years ago. --jmb 15:41, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

As a historian I must look at sources critically so I am well aware of the bias that exists in certain texts. But all of the books on the SAS openly discuss those members of the regiment who were killed in NI (Al Slater, Westmacott, etc.). Why, if they talk about those who did die in NI, would they lie about Nairac? In addition, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we are forced to accept the evidence that is available. The evidence available states that Nairac was not SAS so we must accept that. If evidence to the contrary is provided the conclusion can then be re-evaluated...but not until new evidence comes to light. Also, while the special forces may be secret, a lot of what is written in these books isn't. And these authors have been banned by the MOD because of it. Based upon that I don't think these books are fabrications (unlike books such as Bravo Two Zero and The One That Got Away which were largely fabricated). I also know a former member of 14th Int and I've asked him about Nairac. He claims that Nairac was definitely from 14th Int and not from the SAS. Last, but not least, Nairac isn't buried in the regimental plot at St. Martin's Church in Hereford which is the regimental graveyard, nor is he listed on the clock tower at their base (the names of all members of the SAS who die on operations are inscribed there). colchar 16:25, 4 February 2006.

As I said, I don't know for sure about Nairac's status. I've read sources that claimed he was SAS, sources that claimed he was 14 Int (including the DNB), and sources that claimed he was neither. Personally, I would suspect that you're probably right about 14 Int. I just think it's a bit extreme to claim that such works, while certainly more serious that McNab's populist rubbish, are any sort of proof. -- Necrothesp 02:21, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

'Proof' might have been too strong a word. The most reliable evidence available claims he was 14th Int but you're right, proof probably isn't the right word to use. I'll change it in the morning. colchar 1:54, 5 February 2006

March 23'rd 2006

The article says the SAS assisted in the operation to free Norman Kember in a raid in Iraq on the 23/03/06, at present according to all news reports this is only speculation and authorities have refused to confirm wether or not this is the case. This should therefore be removed until it has been confirmed the SAS were involved.

It seems to be pretty clear from this! [4] But it's a mere footnote with regard to this article, if worth mentioning at all. Jooler 00:15, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
This has been confirmed. It was confirmed by Kember who said the troops told him they were SAS and by the divisional commander in iraq who also as a side note said they were SAS. (although SAS is often interchangeable with SBS so i suppose its ambiguous)

Changes of June 12

Could we stop the back and forth pissing contest aboud which special forces group is the best? Thanks. MKV 06:46, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Order of Precedence

In practise, this is of no significance, as a unit as a secretive as the SAS would never be involved in a formal parade.

I am sure that I have seen the SAS (probably TA unit) take part in the annual Remembrance Ceremony at the Albert Hall where presumably they enter following the order of precedence. --jmb 23:22, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I have also seen the SAS Regt on parade and have removed the above speculation from the article. Every regiment has it's place in the order of precedence, whether people consider it to be relevent or not. Yorkshire Phoenix (talkcontribs) 07:37, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
That's probably true now, though until somewhat recently the SAS wasn't part of the normal order of battle so probably didn't fit into the regular precedence Alci12 10:36, 26 July 2006 (UTC)


I note that there is a tag on the training section suggesting it be split out into a discrete article, but no corresponding discussion. I'm not going to hunt down how long it's been there for. Since Selection is now a joint activity for SAS and SBS then it makes sense to split it out, snag is I don't know the break point at which one can then elect to go on to SBS selection. Is it after badging for those choosing to remain SAS or not? From media comments it appears that SRR training is not common with SF selection, but there may be areas of commonality. It would slim the article down a bit.ALR 13:57, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

SF wings

The SF wings badge is now used by SBS as well, at least during the early stages of Op Oracle, which was about the time the Squadron was upped to Service etc. Not out of the question that's when it started. I can't document that but I see it quite frequently and they're generally referred to as SF wings rather than SAS wings.ALR 14:16, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Fair enough, if you've seen them. Personally, I've never seen a Marine wearing them and never heard them referred to as anything other than SAS wings. But a lot of things have changed in the last few years. -- Necrothesp 14:32, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, they slightly different. The SBS have introduced a new set of wings for their use, called (unofficially) the 'canoe style' wings. They are much flatter across the base than the more traditional wings used by the SAS. I will upload pics of the 2 styles for comparison, so please refrain from posting until I do so. Cheers. Darth Doctrinus 16:10, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I haven't seen them side by side to compare, and having drawn attention to it I can appreciate the difference, although I'll hopefully get a closer look at the SBS wings later in the week. It'll be good to see them side by side when you get the chance to scan them. When were they introduced? the ones I've seen have been potentially been from about 2001, plus perhaps a year to 18 months.ALR 18:07, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

SBS wings.JPG
Keen observers will note the much flatter profile of the SBS wings. Hope this helps someone. Darth Doctrinus 07:04, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

The wings, or officially, 'parachute qualification badge' ceased to be unique to 1 SAS on the formation of 'Raiding Forces' in the Middle East in 1943. By arrangement all parachute qualified men serving with this roughly brigade equivalent unit and sub branch of GHQ, MEF were awarded them. The badge ceased to be issued with the disbandment of the Regiment although men 'in possession' could and did continue to wear them as a matter of course. Broadly the same design of badge was re-instituted with the reformation of the Regiment for wear by those serving with it. The regulations for wear and the design patterns have been varied over the years. The first 'SF' wings actually bore those letters and were worn by the men and women of the Jedburgh teams, so is also alluded to as 'Jed wings'. The pattern fell out of use with their disbandment. 13:49, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Structural Edits

I just came to this page while I was researching a few things, and I had a few problems with the grammer and tone, especially in the 'Boat Troop' section, which I edited. Over the whole article, there seems to be occasional slips into jargon and a style that seems a bit Bravo-two-Zero, which might be fine if you're up on the subject, but for a layperson like me, it just becomes annoying, and seems out of place in an encyclopedia. I'm not trying to be too critical, the article as a whole reads well - I don't want to step on any self-confessed experts toes, just attempting make it easier to understand. I'm putting it in the talk page as I think the whole article needs some subtle tweaking just to help improve its readability. I'll just include some of the changes as examples, sorry if I've gone into a lot of detail over what are cosmetic changes, it's just I get the feeling those who've written this page will be pretty exacting when it comes to technical details, and I wouldn't want to confuse anything.

"Troopers will also learn how to handle certain types of boats. Fast patrol boats have a fibreglass hull with an inflatable lip over the top to increase it bouyancy and allow for better manoeuvrability. Rigid Raider boats have also been around for a long time. These are large boats often used to help carry larger amounts of people or cargo to the shore. Also in use is the Gemini inflatable boat. It is used primarily for sending small groups of soldiers onto a shore undetected."

Don't understand the need to explain the inflatable lip and the bouyancy thing - it has no relevance to the SAS, so took it out. The boats being 'around for a long time' means very little. Just shifted this whole paragraph around a bit, removed a lot of the closely repeated words, so:

"Troopers also learn how to handle certain types of boats. Gemini inflatable boats are used primarily for sending small groups of soldiers onto a shore undetected. Fibreglass hulled Rigid Raider fast patrol boats are larger, and are used to help carry more people or cargo to the shore."

  • Are there more boats? For example, are they trained to drive small gunboats or clippers?

"Demolitions is also a big part of diving. The soldiers must be able to stop a ship or blow up a bridge. Navigation underwater is also taught. All navigation is done using a compass. Being lost underwater, in hostile territory is not a good day. The men also practice heliborne entry into the water. A helicopter some 50 feet above the water will go into a hover and the men will simply jump out . Parachute drops in the water are also very common. The soldiers have to seal their weapons to avoid them getting a jam. This is normally done with a "dry bag"."

  • The ' not a good day' doesn't scan well; I understand, but I shifted the structure again slightly, trying not to lose any of the technical details. I also moved it above the preceding passage. The training described in this passage is stated as being important, and seems critical, wheras the preceding passage describes a dangerous procedure, but one that is ultimately of less value:

"Locking out of submarines is also taught. This is very dangerous. At certain depths the pressure could kill the trooper, if the cold, lack (or excess) of oxygen or nitrogen narcosis doesn't get to him first. While the SAS would probably not be called upon to assault an oil rig or take down a ship, these are still practiced. When performing these operations, the men usually wear dry suits so that they don't come down with hypothermia. Long rope-type ladders (commonly referred to as Jacob's Ladders) are attached to a ship or oil rig using a telescopic pole. The assault team will then use the ladders to gain entry. Snipers are usually put on smaller boats near the target (usually smaller ships to hide among regular sea traffic), or they may be left in the boats to provide security, or they can even be flown in quickly via helicopter as the assault begins. Assaults like these will usually be carried out by members of the SBS."

  • I didn't understand the first sentence the first few times I read it. It still doesn't make a huge amount of sense, and led me to actually research the procedures involved in lock-in/lock-out operations. I simplified it, as there really isn't room or need to go into huge detail, especially after you read on and realise it isn't a major part of SAS work. Anyhoo,

"Demolitions is a big part of diving. The soldiers must be able to stop a ship or blow up a bridge. Underwater Navigation using a compass is also taught. The men practise heliborne entry into the water. A helicopter will hover some 50 feet above the water, and the men will simply jump out . Parachute drops into the water are also very common. When in water, the soldiers weapons must be sealed to prevent jams. This is normally done with a "dry bag".

Deployment from submarines is also taught. This is very dangerous, given the pressure at certain depths, the cold, and the risks inherant in relying on breathing equipment while underwater (such as nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity). When performing these operations, the men usually wear dry suits to ward against hypothermia. Long rope-type ladders (commonly referred to as Jacob's Ladders) are attached to a ship or oil rig using a telescopic pole. The assault team will then use the ladders to gain entry. Snipers are usually put on smaller boats near the target (usually smaller ships to hide amongst regular sea traffic), or they can even be flown in quickly via helicopter as the assault begins. Though the SAS would probably not be called upon to assault an oil rig or a ship, they are still trained for it. Assaults like these would usually be carried out by members of the SBS."

  • All through this article, the seperate sections seem to have a focus on sexy SAS procedures and equipment over simple facts, an example being the aforementioned submarine deployment, which is given a detailed section, yet surely would be better suited to shifting to the SBS wiki entry. I started on the Mobility section but gave up after a bit - I'll come back to it if that's ok.
  • There doesn't seem to be a strong focus on heirachy in the writing- the most important, basic facts should go at the top of the section, descending down through the procedures. So even with the changes, more work needs to be done in those sections - maybe a list of the skills that each group is trained with would be easier to read and take in? Anyway..Robertkerans 05:35, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

The section on troops was added to this article only very recently and was formerly a separate article largely written by someone who has since left Wikipedia after numerous edit wars over his POV SAS fandom. That's why it was so unencycopaedic. So it does need some severe editing. Cheers. -- Necrothesp 10:42, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

Fact Tags

I'm not going to start edit warring over it, but wholesale removal of fact tags is inappropriate and not particularly constructive. Some of the requests were for material which is reasonably well accepted however could be described as unsubstantiated puffery without some form of referencing, the others were cruft unless sunstantiated. The whole portfolio of UK SF related articles leaves something to be desired, substantiating things will improve that.ALR 11:37, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you're getting at here. I think you might want to check the edit history. There hasn't been "wholesale removal of fact tags". Only two were removed (fairly reasonably, as far as I can see, since they dealt with facts - is there any dispute that the SAS is the principal British Army SF organisation? Is it not supported by an air wing?) and six added. That doesn't really amount to a wholesale removal! In fact, it's a 100% increase! I would agree with you that the UKSF articles leave something to be desired, but it's not restricted to the British units. SF articles sadly do attract people who want to make bombastic and unsubstantiated claims about how their own country's unit is the best and how its members are superhuman. It's a fact of life. -- Necrothesp 13:14, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Reviewing again I see the detail, tiredness I'm afraid. In any case there was no justification for removal, it's simple enough to ask for clarification. In any case the point of the tags removed, I can point to sources here, but I'm not able to use them.:
  • do we know if the SAS is principal? What is the comparative strength, and indeed given the size of DSF it's probably not. Mind you that opens the debate, is DSF a joint asset with FLC assets allocated or under command. Linguistic subtleties.
  • Whilst you and I know that SF Air Wing is in support, is there anything published in the public domain that references that. Not disputing that it is, but it could do with justification.
And as to the standard not being restricted to UK, doesn't matter. Set a standard, others can either aspire to it, or not bother.ALR 13:22, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I think arguing whether the SAS is the principal SF organisation of the British Army (not armed forces, note - it doesn't say that) or not is pure semantics. It's got three battalion-sized units. It's by far the largest. Yes, I do think that makes it the principal organisation. I don't actually think it's particularly valuable to put fact tags on individual things that aren't controversial. It does make the article look rather messy and I don't think it serves much purpose. "The SAS is entirely composed of little green martians masquerading as human beings" requires a fact tag. "The SAS is supported by the SF Air Wing" doesn't. That's not making any weird or POV claim about it. Just my opinion, of course. -- Necrothesp 14:16, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I think calling an SAS regiment "battalion-sized" would be stretching it a bit. Yorkshire Phoenix (talk) 14:19, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, battalions/regiments do vary immensely in size. Compare the manpower of an armoured regiment with that of an infantry battalion. Yet they are considered to be the same size militarily. As is an SAS regiment - it's commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel, it's divided into squadrons and troops, it's as much a battalion-sized unit as any other. But "battalion-equivalent" if you prefer. -- Necrothesp 14:34, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
But SAS squadrons number about 50 men, or half the size suggested by the name: far less subtle than the difference between a cav sqn (90?) and an inf coy (120?)
But an SAS regiment is still a battalion-equivalent unit with a full battalion-equivalent organisation: CO, RSM, RQMS, Adjutant, QM etc, each holding full rank as in any other battalion-equivalent unit. SAS regiments are treated in every way as battalion-equivalent units in the order of battle, notwithstanding their smaller size. That's my point. And since every SF unit is on the small side, I fail to see what the argument is anyway - the SAS is still the biggest, which is actually what I said! The rest is just semantics. -- Necrothesp 17:14, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Notwithstanding that it is useful to reference where possible, this is supposed to be an encyclopedia after all. The article isn't intended to be a repository of all available information on the subject, but a fair summary and indicator in other directions. I'm very conscious that many of the published sources for these things are the various 'memoirs' and of dubious reliability as a result, however there is some level of corroboration with regard to selection, organisation etc. Some of the items I tagged I'm prepared to take at face value, but an uninformed reader could reasonably challenge.
In terms of 'looking messy', yes the fact tags do that, but all the more incentive to find a reference in support. An article is more credible if it's adequately referenced.
wrt the SF Air Wing issue being a given, without a reference one of the USian readers could reasonably ask the question of whether the individual formations within DSF are individully supported by other assets. We've just recently had the insistence that 63Sqn R.Sigs only support UKSF(R). I know that's not the case, but could usefully use an open source reference to substantiate that.ALR 15:57, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
I tend to be of the opinion, as I said above, that only very contentious 'facts' should be tagged. A list of decent references should cover the less contentious stuff. Yes, of course it's good if each statement is footnoted, but I'm still not convinced of the necessity of tagging every other sentence. It doesn't happen in most other articles unless the material is contentious. -- Necrothesp 17:18, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

ALR , Necrothesp and Yorkshire Phoenix - unfortunately this is an article where myth, fantasy and small kernels of truth are easily interwoven, embellished, and even fabricated. I agree with Necro's instinctive distate of fanboy cruft - and I'm sure ALR holds the same view. So where do we go from here? I believe we must allow you 3 chaps to keep the idiots at bay, and as ALR says - we need substantiated links if this article is to survive and be of worth. Would I be permitted to sweep through the article and highlight those 'factoids' that are total tosh and then report back? I don't pretend to be a Wiki guru, but I do know about the subject at hand. Phoenix - thanks for helping with those images, by the way - I'm all fingers and thumbs!!! Darth Doctrinus 19:30, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


I believe special forces selection has been standarised throughout UKSF. The Selection and training section should therefore be split with the common UKSF element moved to either United Kingdom Special Forces or a new special forces selection article with the section in this article taking over from the point where the SAS candidates split from the remainder of UKSF and thus start their actual "SAS training". The remaining section in this article would obviously reference and link to special forces selection, wherever it is. Does anyone disagree? Yorkshire Phoenix (talk) 12:50, 14 August 2006 (UTC)


I've requested a view from the WP:RS people about the Specialoperations web site as a source, whilst it contains some reasonably accurate content, the majority is grossly inaccurate fanboy cruft, so I'm wary about using it. The Santa Clara University student personal webspace would constitute a personally published site and is not considered reliable since it lacks peer review. A pity because it's probably better written than specialoperations. I'll let this discussion run for a day or two before deleting it though. Notwithstanding that I think Peter Radcliffes book probably has enough detail to be considered a source, I'm just not sure whether it constitutes reliable or not. Does his status as a former LE Major within the Regiment give him more credibility than some of the other 'authors' on the subject? I used to have a copy, not sure if I still have it so I'll need to dig around.ALR 08:33, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree that these "fanboy" websites cannot be considered sources for an encyclopedia: there are scores, if not hundreds of them, mostly plagiarism from unaccredited tertiary sources put together by people with no knowledge other than what they have read in said sources.
Personally I consider Peter Ratcliffe a reliable source. As a former RSM of 22 SAS I consider him the voice of the Regiment and a counter to some of the fiction compounded by other authors. Yorkshire Phoenix 08:45, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
OK, I've removed the references to the questionable sites. The organisational stuff can reasonably come from Ratcliffe, with the caveat that it's potentially only current to about 1998 ish when he left.
In general I note that the page is now quite long. I'd revisit the suggestion above for a distinct SF Selection article and move the training aspects out to there. The only snag is that I don't know at what stage in selection SBs vacate Credenhill and move down to Poole to run around with Kleppers a lot.ALR 09:58, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

All silver insignia

I've moved the following claim from the article to here.

The British SAS insignia is all silver. This is usually confused with SAS units of other countries.

The capbadge itself is embroidered in colour (silver/white, Oxford and Cambridge blue, etc) and this is also how the insignia appears in other places I have seen it (such as a stained glass window in the B Sqn, 23 SAS all ranks bar. I'm assuming good faith and working on the assumption that the editor means collar dogs, etc: except I though they were brass (or rather staybright, but gold in colour). Yorkshire Phoenix 10:07, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Capbadge representation

The capbadge is in natural colours and is worked thread in cloth. It is now available in two versions in British service, the second version being an officer's pattern 'puffed version' worked in silver wire. All metal cap badges have never been worn by the British regiments except for silver metal badges introduced for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II for the Guard of Honour provided by 21 SAS (Artists) on route lining detachment. The cap badge is invariably represented as metallic or in gold and silver by the designers of illustrations for the media who like this kind of iconography. The badge and design itself is of utilitarian cloth intended to neither catch nor shine in wear and is as it is because it was possible for the original Detachment to have badges made up by a British firm of taylors in Cairo and for all ranks to pay for their cap badges and wings themselves with coming to the official notice of the Army authorities until after the insignia had been taken into use and unremovable by 'right of battle' so to speak. 12:37, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

To the unhelpful individual who reverted this page to the Army website page version of the capbadge. Would you please just stop and engage brain. There was discussion here about what was and wasn't correct and somebody then supplied an image of the cloth cap badge as issued and as worn. So why on earth is it better to substitute a drawing (and an incorrect one at that) of this, even if it does come from MODUK?

Somebody has, yet again, reverted this page to the incorrect representation of the capbadge. The page had an actual cloth capbadge, as issued on it in settlement of this line of debate, so why have we now gone back to misinformation again? I've deleted the .gif simply because it is wrong. I hope that somebody with the skill I do not currently possess will restore the correct capbadge representation to this page. 12:34, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Edits placeholder

I've slimmed down the organisaiton section and tried to improve the wording a bit. This is an excerpt which I'll put in training later:

All SAS members have to pass a rigorous selection procedure, but due to the part-time nature of the TA, the selection process for members of 21 SAS and 23 SAS is stretched over a period of over a year. Signallers must also undergo a similar selection process to become Special Forces Communicators, however this concentrates on strategic and tactical SF communications rather than the advanced military skills of SAS troopers.[citation needed]

ALR 16:23, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

From mobility Troop to History

During Operation GRANBY, the British involvement in the 1991 Gulf War, the motorbikes proved invaluable. On one occasion a patrol behind enemy lines was spotted by Iraqi forces who immediately sought to escape. The SAS pursued them until outriders pulled in front of the Iraqi trucks making them stop. When the rest of the patrol engaged the trucks, two outriders got caught in the cross fire, one of whom died. For his actions, Corporal Denbury was posthumously awarded the Military Medal. ALR 20:13, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

No lie until the last lie

A former FBI hostage negotiator hawking his book on Talk of The Nation said "No lie until the last lie" comes from the SAS and relates to being honest until you distract him to kill him. --Gbleem 19:39, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

History help

Can anyone help me with some background history to a man who is commonly known as the godfather of the SAS? His name was Major/Quartermaster Tom Burt. I know he was stationed at Wivenhoe Park, Essex during the second world war and I believe he died in the 70's. Any info would be gratefully received. Thanks Tiggywinkle 18:26, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Major Tom Burt was awarded the MBE, along with Major 'Bill' Barkworth for their services with the SAS in World War 2 and subsequently with the SAS War Crimes Investigation Team from March 1946 which was commanded by Barkworth from inception until disbandment along with the War Crimes Investigation branch, North West Europe of 21 Army Group (subsequently BAOR: British Army of the Rhine). KeepSureSilence 12:05, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Pop culture section

The guideline at Wikipedia:WikiProject_Military_history#Popular_culture is that these sections should not be allowed to cruft up the article with every appearance of the topic. With that in mind I'm intending on removing the pop culture section, perhaps replacing it with a paragraph drawing attention to the phenomenon. The only important aspect is the books by various former personnel, everything else is just noise.ALR 11:48, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Look, I don't want to conflict with you again, and I understand what you are saying about the pop culture section. I have tried to shorten it, removing trivia as per WP:MILHIST and WP:TRIVIA. Please feel free to clean up what I have done, but also please recognise that the Regiment's appearance in popular culture is a large part of its identity. --anskas 21:14, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm still rather concerned by this confrontation fixation, I'm not particularly interested in confrontation or conflict, except in a professional sense (I don't get paid for it here).
I'd disagree that the appearance in pop culture is part of the Regiments identity, perhaps in pop cultures perception of the Regiment. There has been a clear influence on security, as already highlighted with regard to the introduction of non-disclosure. In any case I think the pop culture perception needs no more than a paragraph identifying the phenomenon, it doesn't need an exhasutive list of trivial appearances..ALR 16:30, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Hi I just added a bit about the SAS Survival Guide, by John Wiseman Karate freak 22:00, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

  • Recently added the reference to Action Force and Action Man toys of 1980s and popularity off the back of Op Nimrod, which I have tried to place in context and reference. Appreciate this may not fit with your interpretation of the article and am happy to go with the consensus.Dick G 02:37, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I think despite what many people think, Call of Duty 4 should be included in the popular culture section, think about it, about 80%(estimation) of the missions are based on the SAS, and plus in light of what some have said about the pop culture being a large part of the SAS' identity alot of the people i know (including me) didnt even know the SAS existed until Call of Duty 4 was released. Maxtitan 16:59, 18 March 2008

I agree wholeheartedly. I realize that this is not an American-only site, but even as someone who is a more-than-casual reader of military history, I had no knowledge of the SAS before playing CoD4. Every article devoted to Easy Company or the US 101st Airborne mentions the litany of video games depicting the campaigns of those units, no real reason why it doesn't deserve at least a passing mention. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:09, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree totally too. Why cant we note CoD4? No offence but this sounds that its just because some guy doesnt like CoD4 or games so they cant be added? Like maxitan said, about 80% of the game is about SAS. Why is game less notable than some book or dramatized TV show? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:37, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
I also agree. Not including a mention of the HUGE part the SAS plays in Call of Duty 4 is just stupid. The game alone made a lot of people who didn't even know the S.A.S. existed become interested in learning about them. Whoever wrote the comment on the main page about strictly not adding COD4 references sounds like a jerk who has something against video games. Simple as that. There should be a vote/debate on this matter. One person's opinion on whether or not something should appear in an article is NOT the law or final say on Wikipedia. Who are you to tell everyone else that something cannot be mentioned? Are you doing the same thing on EVERY other article about a military group? I'd like an answer please. JOK3R (talk) 20:00, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
If any of the three of you can find a reliable, credible and authoritative source which suggests that some game has any real cultural significance with respect to the SAS then feel free to suggest its inclusion, until then it's just fanboy cruft.
ALR (talk) 15:38, 3 April 2008 (UTC)


I'm confused as to why the history section is now partway through the description of the Regiment currently? I'm not overly comfortable about bringing it further up the page without significant rework, it's turgid and text densse at the moment. Notwithstanding that it would be useful to do something about it, and bringing the issues about the province into the section are useful.ALR 18:24, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Right, that makes sense. I should have posted here before making the changes, please feel free to revert. Based on WP:MILHIST#Unit_or_formation, the history of the regiment should really precede information about the unit today. I think the Northern Ireland sub-section works well in the overall history section, and it might be an idea for us to organise the history into conflicts, geographical areas, and roles. —anskas 19:14, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
I had a brief discussion on this on the project page, consensus at the time was just to go with what was more appropriate. As I see it people are looking for what the unit is now by preference, then history later.
That suited me in part because I'm not a big history buff, it's interesting but doesn't inspire me. I'm more interested in current tactical employment, doctrinal development, capability, C2 etc. I'm grateful for someone coming along to hack the history section into shape.ALR 19:33, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Excalibur or Sword of Damocles?

Always thought that the sword on the cap badge was that of Damocles not Excalibur? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:06, 7 December 2006 (UTC).

Yeah, someone had removed that part, I put it back in unless someone can provide a definitive source that it is one or the other. Ben W Bell talk 12:43, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


Hi what SAS stuff do you know that might be interesting for me to know —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:43, 8 December 2006 (UTC).

Whilst I note that you appear to have strong feelings about the use of the Regminet emblem on the article persistent deletion is probably not the best approach. If you can provide a photograph of the cap badge that would be extremely useful, but until then a drawn representation seems perfcetly reasonable. Please discuss on the article talk page to reach an consensus decision. ALR 14:48, 8 January 2007 (UTC)


This page has got to be easily the worst entry I have ever read in Wikipedia. As Wikipedia is intended as an encyclopedia it is clearly inappropriate to include such poorly drafted speculation and inacurate conjecture which comprises the sections dealing with recent events and training and selection.

The author/s of these entries are clearly not aware of the detailed information available through the MOD with regard to UKSF selection and training. Anyone attending the SF briefing course would be aware of this. The author/s sources, if indeed they have any, appear to have been drawn from tabloid newspapers and other unreliable publications.The entry for Mountain troop training illustrates this particularly well as does the reference to SBS selection.

Furthermore the author/s cannot comment with any certainty about recent UKSF operations since as correctly mentioned in the article all members of UKSF sign a confidentiality agreement which prevents any discussion of current or past UKSF operations and as also pointed out in the article the MOD does not comment on them either. Hence any references to recent operations are not from reliable sources and should be excluded from this article as unreliable speculation.

The internet is full of innacurate web pages devoted to the worlds various SF units and it is not something that Wikipedia should mimic. It is a fact that there is little available, detailed, verifiable information about current and recent UKSF operations and thus the entry in Wikipedia should reflect this. If this results in a brief article so be it. Better that than some adolescent, barely disguised, fan site.

Whilst I'd agree with much of what you say I'd caution that anyone who has been on an SF briefing course would also be aware of the classification of that material and it's consequent lack of availability in drafting the article.ALR 08:14, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

I have one. My father was a member of the original SAS. I am new to this service so if someone tells me how to post a photo I will take a picture of it and I will post it. SAS2 10:37, 26 April 2007 (UTC)in memory of a great man. Who Dares Wins! JAH


Can't someone going into a museum and take a picture of the cap badge to stop all the bickering over whether or not a drawing is right or not. There must be one somewhere that one can be photographed to end it all. --jmb 16:49, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

tbh I don't think I've ever seen a cap badge anywhere it could be photographed. My personal view is that in the meantime it's the closest we've got and all it needs is appropriately titled. Given the number of people who've also variously put it back in there also appears to be a consensus that it's reasonable to use it.
It is, to use the vernacular, close enough for government work.
ALR 21:11, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
It is not close enough. The badge representation on this article is wrong and always has been. It is wrong in both geometry and in colours and I cannot, for the life of me, understand why it keeps being reverted on this site when all the evidence shows it to be incorrect. Nobody in this community would willingly allow incorrect spelling (We would show variant spelling as a matter of course) and we not agree to poor grammar or written accounts that do not provide succint and accurate expositions on the topic they are addressing. 'Photographing the badge' in a museum will not help because we are dealing with something that has more than one representation over time. I'm about to timeout so I will revisit with some more advocacy to resolve this issue for the benefit of us all as soon as may be. 18:53, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Well if it's changed over time then any representation, whether drawn or photographed, can be identified with the effective dates. All these things can be done, in fact identifying it as a representation rather than the badge itself identifies that it may not be completely accurate.
ALR 20:46, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

You are overly hopeful as to effective dating (For reasons set out below) and we are still not addressing the fact that the current badge drawing that some seem wedded to without warrant is incorrect because it clearly shows gold or metal flames. As far as I am aware (and it was my duty as well as an interest to care about this sort of thing for several thousand hours of effort, because, yes, I was once entitled to wear this badge during my British Army service) there is now no drawing, original depiction or written or oral account of how the cap badge came into being. There are, unpublished, undated, private photos, which I have seen and do not have consent to publish to the world, of the original badge design competition which show the idea worked out in whitewashed stones at the entrance to the camp at Kabrit. There is a consensus published both to the world and privately to past and present members of the regiment that the cap badge design is attributable as stated in the article under reference and the same for the parachute qualification badge attributed to John Lewes. We know how the design was first implemented because there are at least 8 public domain photographs of known or attributable dating of David Stirling wearing the 'Arthur's sword' cloth badge and also of the design worked as a painted badge, complete with the Crusader shield background, on the door of his 'blitz buggy'. Other photographs, of similar verifiable provenance, published to the world show cap badge variants in wear on blue side cap or beret of white, sand, red (maroon) or beige, successively. Unpublished, private photographic portraits, hand coloured with great skill by Cairo photo shops also show the colours and threading.There are a number of specialist published books which show scalable photographs of variant patterns of the badge as worn during World War 2 and after the re-formation of the regiment in the UK and in Malaya and demonstrate that, as the badge was only ever produced by copying from cloth examples, over time the overall proportions of the shield, weapon and scroll have changed from a clear depiction of a Roman gladius pattern to a dagger. Dating of variants is problematic because they are all based on oral testimony and usually without collateral paperwork. When the cap badge was used as a sign on vehicles, after the capture of David Stirling it is depicted in white, shows only the weapon, wings and scroll on a square background because that was British Army regulations for a formation sign borne on vehicles. Post-war, in the UK, sticky back, printed transfer (or decal if you prefer the US term) versions of the badge in light blue and white were sometimes used and applied on the doors of third line vehicles. It is therefore the case that the cap badge , per se, is of cloth, the Crusader shield is integral to the depiction and the colours of red, two tone blue and white with a bladed weapon of Roman pattern are the defining characteristics of the British Army badge. Other variants in metal or gold or silver are either special purpose; as in for particular forms of dress or are those taken into use by the regiments and units that derive from the British original.That is why the depiction on this problematic and not particularly good article should be improved by somebody with the competence to do this that I presently do not possess, but in any event the incorrect depiction should be taken down because it is misleading and incorrect. 16:59, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

The history section

At the moment this leaves a lot to be desired, and given that the history of military units bores me mindless I have no intention of raking around to improve it. In it's entirety it is unreferenced and as such liable for deletion. I will mark it as unreferenced, give it a couple of weeks and then delete it if nobody can provide some substance. In terms of style it is written in schoolkid english, as highlighted above the recent operations material is pretty fanboyish and could use some sensible referencing. I've got rid of copies of various memoirs which I had in the past which could provide some reliability to the material on selection etc so it would be useful if someone else could skim the material and reference it, we might need to caveat with the selection and training only being good to 1997 when they memoirs stopped.ALR 21:19, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Without wishing to become a bore on this, as noted above the section on selection and training is largely garbage and not appropriate for an encyclopedia. This is especially true of the main page which is not even consistent with the main article on selection nad training. Even that contains bizzare irrelevancies, for example the inclusion of "stand to" in the training phase adds nothing to a knowlege of selection and training. The British Army has been standing to since the days of Wellington. Instead just cut this stuff out and stick to the bare facts or least something that can be verified. The more I read of this article the more it resembles the countless fan sites and forums found on the net.
Whilst I appreciate the point of view that this article, as with many SF related articles, leaves something to be desired, I'd see more benefit in actually doing something to improve that situation rather than carping about it in the talk page. The briefing course material is essentially inadmissible as source material due to it's confidentiality but there are other, open source, publications which are reasonable. There would be some value in exploiting open source publications to add something to the article.
Unfortunately since WP prefers verifiability over truth there will remain some fanboy cruft. We can remove much of it under the guidance at WP:RS, but not all.
ALR 23:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Fair point, though I do note that you state that you yourself have no intention of improving this article either! My original intention was not to suggest that SFBC material be used as a source but that the previous author/s were not even aware of it's content or scope and that statements made in the article were absurd even to the most casual of readers more so if they had any type of previous military experience. My disappointment stems from the high quality of many Wikipedia articles that are often very factually informative. To an uninformed reader this article is very unhelpful. Still as you say there is little point in carping about something without redressing the balance yourself though I suspect any attempt to do so would result in a swift reversion. Good luck.
I've already done some work in improving the current content, but it gets a bit wearing keeping the garbage out. The various memoirs are the most reliable available for Wikipedias purposes. What your comments have prompted is a realisation that many of the fact tags have been in place for some time and there is clearly no appetite to actually insert references. It's probably reasonable to excise chunks of the article now.ALR 08:57, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry ALR but in my code of conduct your comment At the moment this leaves a lot to be desired, and given that the history of military units bores me mindless I have no intention of raking around to improve it. In it's entirety it is unreferenced and as such liable for deletion. rules you out as a fit and proper person to make decisions about this mess of pottage. If this bores you mindless why don't you point your unquestioned competence and expertise at something that does engage you and leave others to fix it? The problem with this topic (and Wikipedia in general I suspect, subject to whatever anyone else may wish to say with greater expertise and knowledge) is that we lack protocols that routinely enable verification and authentication without providing return addresses or other tracers. I personally decline to provide tracers because of my background; because it might bring either myself or others for whom I am responsible or owe a duty toward into hazard and because I don't want to incur the obligation of responding to all and anyone to my disbenefit. I can and have re-written some of this site in a self-evidently checkable form and making references to facts which can be checked for accuracy. I have done so because this is a forum devoted to knowledge for its own sake and not from a particular point of view, although we can, of course, never escape having one. All that appears to me to have happened so far is knee jerk reversion to previous edit on the basis of what appears to be a misapplied belief either in the veracity of published sources or an overwheening sense of unchallengable editorial judgement. At several thousand hours of effort on this topic, some of which is in the public domain, I can say that the published trail on the history of this Regiment up to the time of the Falklands is riddled with easily avoidable factual error and deliberate, as well as inadvertant, mis-statement about facts events and persons, from the first officially authorised history onwards, which are only now becoming verifiable for what they are as the mosaic of British official records, of a stunning and complex array of privacy and security markings are downgraded and released to public scrutiny. I am somewhat entertained to see that data I have supplied to the BBC, under legal conditions of all due diligence and despatch coupled with source anonymity conditions and subsequently used by that organisation in its output in many forms have been incorporated into this page but without reference, or the references have been deleted! 16:52, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Your own perosnal 'code of conduct' has no place on Wikipedia. Please be civil, remember verifiability, that paragraphs are your friend and over-long sentences are your enemy. Geoff B 17:11, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Who is being uncivil? Your points are philosophical ones and your miskeyed observation reflects the portrait of yourself on your registration. 17:40, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

Who'se second to the SAS?

I've removed the line in the first paragraph about who might be considered to be second best to the SAS, particularly since it was one of those breathless fanboy comments about it being either Delta or Green Berets since I'm conscious that the terminology indicated that it's someone who doesn't know what they're on about. It appears that there might be a subset of editors who think this is encyclopedic and disagree with me about the absence of a requirement for the line. It's not substantiable, because it is an Opinion and therefore has no place in the article.ALR 22:31, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

May I suggest that it is not worth spending any time whatsoever replying to a comment that contains the aberration 'Who'se'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:21, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Colonel Commandant and templated data

The SAS Regiment on formation in 1947 had a 'Colonel Commandant'- the first was Sir Miles Dempsey. The designation is 'Colonel Commandant' because, in the British Army, those regiments which are 'Corps of the British Army': which is a legal definition now meaning, essentially, capable of creating or raising additional units and having permanent existence as one of the 'Forces of the Crown', was what the regiment had become. That is why I want the label on the box changed-I just don't have the current skill to do the fix myself. I'd appreciate some help. 16:34, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

The infobox is a template, so it's generated as it's invoked and populated with the entries that you put into the script. The label you see on the edit page is just to match entries to the template structure. There is no way to change it without altering the template, and that would affect every article where it is used, so not an option.ALR 18:42, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. However, the community set this up so it can be altered by consent for cause stated and evidenced, but I don't know how to do that. If you, or anyone else does, could they please help out? The factual point is as stated previously and is of general application throughout the Wikipedia on articles which deal with this topic.- British Army regiments which are 'Corps of the British Army'; a legal definition for the 'Forces of the Crown' have the appointment 'Colonels Commandant' issued to them along with the Corps Warrant and with permission to have and bear Colours, raise a band and march at a particular pace on ceremonial occasions. The fact that the regiment, to my knowledge, has no Colours (taking Rifle regiment traditions), has yet to raise a band (One is usually borrowed and often from the Para, if possible, as and when required) and the march pace is, pragmatically, as for Line infantry, not Rifles, is neither here nor there. Regiments which are not 'Corps of the British Army' have the appointment title 'Colonels of the Regiment' who rank after Colonels Commandant and are not as big wheels as the former. Just to further complicate matters, since these are traditions, not all of which are fully documented or codified explicitly, even in the policy files of the British government departments responsible for this sort of thing, there are also 'Colonels in Chief'; usually the sovereign of the UK or an associated country (The Buffs are an apposite example, due to the Anders Lassen connection, since the Danish King of his time held that appointment) and there are 'Honourary Colonels', ie, those officers of distinction and example who have been in the regiment concerned (ie, 21, 22 or 23 respectively)selected by the canvass and consent of the serving Regiment and its past members, who are held to be worthy of that mark of respect. I, personally, recall some, eg; Brian Franks (2 SAS and 21 SAS) who re-raised the regiment and Iain 'Black Jack' Lapraik (SBS and 21 SAS) but I have yet to write them up, or at all, due to the lack of reliable and verifiable sources on them and in line with the Wikipedia policy of no original research. 11:10, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
First, can I recommend that you do register an account, I'm cognisant of your concerns above but would tell you that I've just done some sniffing around and picked up some informaiton. If you register an account then you obfuscate that.
Second, can you please use paragraphs. It makes reading your talk page comments much easier.
Third, the place to raise the issue of the template is the Military History project talk page.
Fourth, despite the concerns above with respect to referencing there is still a distinct absence of evidence for most of what you're putting in. Please review the guidance at WP:NOT, Verifiability, Realiability and Original Research and note that this is not personal webspace to host an essay, anything in the article should be referenced, and given the nature of this topic I would expect that to be fairly rigorous. I am aware of a recently published history of the Regiment which goes into more depth on the origins, as you are outlining, but I haven't had an opportunity to read it yet. I saw it in Waterstones the other day. With that in mind I'm going to spend some time in the near future going through what you've put in and identifying what I feel needs referencing, this should allow us to identify what the key points are. It's useful to have all this material, but we also need to ensure that it complies with the policy and reads in an encyclopedic fashion rather than as a personal essay.
Given the size of the history section I think we're reaching a situation where it would make sense to break off a distinct article on the history of the Regiment. I'll give some thought to how to do that as there are a couple of approaches from the Manual of Style which we could work with.
ALR 11:46, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not writing a personal essay and have not interest whatever in being identified. I'm trying to bring an article on this topic up to some sort of reasonable standard for all of us on a potentially pareto optimal sort of way, insofar as that is possible. I go with the fragment of expressed opinion which indicates overall dissatisfaction with the quality and topic range of this problematic piece and I don't have that much time left in order to do so.
I have not put many references in simply because 'the published literature' is codeable as 'E5' to 'F6' on the usual information evaluation scale and it is not clever to be both 'judge and jury' in one's own cause: The point is to seek and obtain evaluation by others and agree a consensus which accords with the facts.
I know of no recently published work dealing with the regiment in World War II which either points up some of the items I have signalled as of interest to readers of an encyclopedia, or that maintains a good level of overall accuracy. (The latter being determined by reference to first generation records; principally those held for public inspection by anybody at the UK National Archives). That, of course, is my opinion, which is why it so stated here and not elsewhere. I draw on research completed for the BBC for a radio programme broadcast some time ago as well as other BBC output. The broadcast and unbroadcast material met and meets the BBC verifiability criteria so I think it worth further dissemination and consideration. 14:24, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
So what you're saying is that you're refusing to cite sources? Fair enough, once I've identified what needs cited if it remains uncited after a reasonable length of time, say a week or so, then it gets removed. I've already referred you to the policy that applies.ALR 14:37, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
No, not at all. I have and do cite openly verifiable public sources, I know, or have good reason to believe are correct. The problem is to point up the sections of those; especially printed published books which are verifiably correct since there are actually so few of them. Example; I think there is only one conventionally published book which even gets the numbers of men and composition of the first operation correct. If you were to evaluate on consensus of published sources the account now presented in this article would be disconfirmed. To arrive at a verifiably accurate account you needs must revert to the extant original records and work forward. Bombay aircraft will only hold 11 paratroops, so 5 x 11 = 55. However an unpublished account from the GHQ Observer officer says he was there, etc so the count is 55-1. The LRDG published accounts, compared with their original records plus the other accounts from the L Det men gives a recovery figure of 21 identifiable personnel. The fates of the missing men are discoverable by analysis of the War Graves Records and the published POW lists, and so forth. To cite every bit of this evidence mosaic would produce a citation tail which would 'wag the dog' of the article and I don't think that is what this marvellous enterprise is all about. 16:45, 27 January 2007 (UTC)
See Verifiability and No original research neither of which are negotiable. Should you find a reliable source which contains the information you wish to inject then feel free to cite it, without a citation it is liable to deletion.
ALR 17:40, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

Radio programme

BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a programme on the original SAS Regiment tonight at 20:00. This includes interviews with David Stirling and many of the original members of the regiment. --jmb 14:39, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

Archive Hour
3 February 2007
Saturday 3 February 2007 20:00-21:00 (Radio 4 FM)
SAS - The Originals: The remarkable story of the birth of the SAS, told by the men who were there and who were The Originals. Presented by Gordon Stevens.

This is the same material as appears in both the published hardcover and paperback version of his transcripts published last year, which have long been lodged at the IWM for research use and were originally made for a proposed TV series. Extracts also appear in Hoe's biography of Stirling and in the biography of Almond's. The BBC, on Radio 4, has also previously transmitted a programme-Of One Company: The beginning of the SAS- which contains interviews with Mather, Bond, Stirling, Bennett, etc. In all cases the interview transcripts, as you might expect, contain numerous demonstrable, unforced errors of fact and recollection; which is why oral history should always be treated with circumspection and fact checked against other sources. 15:59, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

American involvement in the SAS in World War 2

This aspect of the topic has yet to be addressed. The published sources show 'L' Det's second CSM after Operation Squatter (and first RSM on the formation of 1 SAS) was C G G 'Pat' Riley, an American citizen. An American, Captain David Lair, who wore the uniform of the French Foreign Legion, was purportedly killed with 'L' Det on Operation Bigamy but this writer knows of no reliable sources that confirm this statement drawn from the biographies. In 1943 USA Major General R L Maxwell in correspondence with MO3 at GHQ, MEF, suggested it might be good to form an American unit along the lines of the SAS and proposed attaching a Lt Sumner Gerard, USNR and 1stLt Theodore Schulz for experience. A Captain Stanford, AUS and the aforementioned Lt Gerard, USN are subsequently shown as attached to 'D' Sqn, 1 SAS from Jan 6, 1943 but for how long this writer does not know. This writer knows of no published sources which either confirm or expand on these bare facts derived from examination of publicly available archival documents. KeepSureSilence81.19.57.130 16:14, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Unref sections

I've added the unreferenced section tag to the alliances and the inspired by sections:

Alliances, if the section is included then it should be as comprehensive as possible. Fairly clear cut that the Aussi and Kiwi Regiments are derived from the Regt, but there are others, Delta being probably the most significant and reasonably formalised (there is a plaque outside the O's mess Dining Room).

The inspired by section is starting to resemble the List of special forces units article with every tom, dick and harry being listed. We either need some rigour round about sourcing, or we remove the lot. Offhand, Aussi and Kiwi Regiments and Delta have very clear derivation, although an extract from something to highlight Charlie Beckwith and his background would be useful.

ALR 14:54, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm no expert on the subject, but today's reduction of the list has to be a good thing. I imagine all special forces around the world influence the practices and policies of others to some extent, just as happens with organisations in any field. I'd also suggest that "based on" or "modelled on" is a better section header than "inspired by" - restricting the list to those whose structure, approach, etc. are directly based on that of the SAS.

Black Troop and numbers

No mention of Black Troop (within mobility sqn) or actual numbers in the SAS? -- maxrspct ping me 16:38, 6 June 2007 (UTC) there's a reason for that... black troop is shaky boat's business, not blades —Preceding unsigned comment added by Grumpy McFudd (talkcontribs) 00:32, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

French SAS

there are french SAS. here's a picture of an old unit "1st French SAS"' "fanion" (don't know the word in english). era is indochina war (1946-1954). on this old unit the motto is english but but the later the french SAS motto became "qui ose gagne" which is the french translation of "who dares win". i believe they trained State of Vietnam paras as SAS unit known as TDND. TDND 5's emblem is very similar to the SAS. Paris By Night 15:59, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Sword or Dagger

For god's sake would someone take in hand the idiot who keeps reverting, without references or logic, the 'winged sword' to a 'flaming dagger'! It's well documented in countless references that it's a winged sword. There are a number of cheap coffee-table books and ill-informed kids website that say otherwise - but check with any official military resource, anybody who's been a para, the Imperial War Museum or any of the countless references and you'll find it's a winged sword (Excalibur) on a crusader shield. Even the article says this, a bit further down. 13:17, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Actually you are right about the "sword" bit, but wrong about the "wings". Read "The Originals" by Gordon Stevens ISBN 978-0-09-190182-0, Page 57, "(Bob Bennet)....designed by Bob Tait....he called it a Flaming Sword, but it became a winged dagger over the years", "(Johnny Cooper)....Bob Tait MM & Bar....designed it......and it's not a winged dagger. They're flames. The sword of Excalibur. When "The Winged Dagger" came out we laughed our heads off."</ref>

These are the words of "The Originals" and as such can be considered the only truly authoritative source. If both Bob Bennet and Johnny Cooper say it is a flaming sword, and the designer himself, Bob Tait called it that, who are we to argue? It just goes to show that many "references" are quite wrong. I have also spoken directly to an LRDG veteran who knew and worked with many of "The Originals" who confirmed the same thing. It is a sword, is meant to represent Excalibur, and they are definately flames, not wings. They may look like wings but that was not what the disigner had in mind. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:33, August 30, 2007 (UTC)

Weapons ?

Why there is no weapon section ?--Max Mayr 21:04, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Because article the sequence written out of. Looking try weapons under information for.

'English speaker' 7th December 2007


I noticed the article makes mention of “vetting”, but links the word to the article on security clearance. I think that vetting is more concise, and a quick scan of this page tells me there hasn’t been any discussion on the matter, so I’ve gone ahead and changed it. — NRen2k5 15:19, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

The article on security clearance was far more helpful, but perhaps not precise enough. I've altered it to link to the correct article. Wiki-Ed (talk) 11:36, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

SAS Philosophy warring

I've noticed some (relatively minor) edit warring going on over the last day or so about which version of the 'philosophy of the SAS' part to have in the article. Police,Mad,Jack (talk · contribs) wants this version while Blackshod (talk · contribs) is going for this version. And apparently I'm not the only one to have noticed it; BillCJ (talk · contribs) has just reverted the article to the last revision without either of these pieces in until it is sorted out on the talk page, an action I fully agree with.

However, I can't see any real difference between the two (apart from the wording and the lack of references in the first version I linked to above) so I'm somewhat confused as to why this conflict has occurred. I think the best solution would be for the two of you to come up with a compromise here on the talk page and then, once consensus is reached, to add that version back to the main article. Blair - Speak to me 10:40, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Blackshod included things about no sense of class among wives - what has this to do with the SAS? That was my problem with it.


One further suggestion: the info would be better placed within the history section, not the Lead. The Lead is intended as a general introduction/overview/summary. Also, this may offer oppurutnity for (sourced) annotations explaining some of the points such as the no-class wives item. - BillCJ (talk) 16:59, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

CORRECTION NEEDED WITH REF: Winged "Sword of Damocles" ring any bells guys Lethargicandstupid (talk) 12:24, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Former members

Chaps, the former members section is starting to really kick the arse out of inclusion. Is there much objection to, at the very least, culling those without their own unique articles. I'd also question the inclusion of some whose notability is unrelated to their service.

Grateful for any other thoughts.

ALR (talk) 10:47, 17 May 2008 (UTC)


ALR (talk) 14:41, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

I would at least remove those without there own article page Jim Sweeney (talk) 10:23, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

There is now a artical page to cover this (Archangel1 (talk) 17:27, 24 June 2008 (UTC))

Other Special Forces inspired by the SAS

Can anyone enlighten me on the criteria for being included in the "Other Special Forces inspired by the SAS" section? It looks like this section get a lot of revisions, I added Sayeret Matkal and it was removed even though I cited a reference. If a consensus can't be made as to qualifying criteria I think this section should be removed. Motti (talk) 14:11, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I agree. There a number of sections in ths article which are change for no apparent reason. Something whic seems to go hand in glove with military article on Wiki. Maybe some of the contributors should stop looking down from the ivory tower at their fellow contibutors and realise that they are not the font of all knowledge (Archangel1 (talk) 22:05, 27 July 2008 (UTC)).
Personally I'd be quite happy to get rid of the section, since there are no clear criteria for inclusion. If you look at WP policy then any cleaim to have been inspired by should have some form of independent, authoritative, validation, not a self claim. In all honesty that leaves only the Aussi and Kiwi SAS and Delta. Everything else is unverified.
One of the major issues with this area is the absence of authoritative sourcing. Some may, or may not, have access to material which is more credible, but unless it's available in the public domain through inherently reliable routes then it's little more than speculation at best, if not the aspirational meanderings of those who seem to lack confidence in their own achievements without pinning it on something else.
ALR (talk) 22:44, 27 July 2008 (UTC)


Where an earth did the fact that the SAS provide CP for VIP's? the reference given is a highly un-reliable one. For information CP teams are provided by the Royal Military Police (Close Protection Wing) (the RAF Police also have a smaller CP function). The RMP train the SAS in defensive driving techniques for when the SAS are required to operate undercover mobile surveillance. I am going to remove this mis leading senetence.--Pandaplodder (talk) 15:59, 27 September 2008 (UTC)