Tony Jeapes

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Anthony Showan Jeapes
Born (1935-03-06) 6 March 1935 (age 83)
New Malden, Surrey
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1955–1990
Rank Major general
Commands held South West District
Land Forces Northern Ireland
5th Airborne Brigade
22 Special Air Service Regiment
Battles/wars Malayan Emergency
Dhofar War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross

Major General Anthony (Tony) Showan Jeapes, CB, OBE, MC (6 March 1935) is a former British Army officer who commanded the 22 Special Air Service Regiment during the Dhofar Rebellion.

Early life and education[edit]

Jeapes was born in New Malden, Surrey. His younger brother was Alan Jeapes, the noted BBC TV graphic designer.

He was educated at Raynes Park Grammar School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he did his first parachute course. In February 1955 he was commissioned into the Dorset Regiment as a second lieutenant. Having been promoted lieutenant and commanded the battalion anti-tank platoon in Minden, he was sent to instruct at the Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion in Plymouth and took up free fall parachuting.


In 1958 he joined the 22nd SAS Regiment in Malaya as a troop commander and in 1959 took part in the Jebel Akhdar campaign in Northern Oman,[1][2][3] for which he was awarded the Military Cross.

Back in England, he ran selection for the SAS for a year and then went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1961 as an exchange officer with the US 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Here he qualified as a SCUBA diver with the US Navy and attended an early HALO course, which he did not complete due to a partial failure of his parachutes.

After a short period in the UK with the now amalgamated Devonshire and Dorsets, he was sent to India as part of a small SAS training team in 1963, and with another to Kenya in 1964. He returned to attend the Army Staff College course at Shrivenham and Camberley, following which he was posted to 39 Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland as brigade major.

In December 1968, Jeapes returned to 22 SAS as squadron commander, joining D Squadron in Malaya. After a training period in Iran, he took his squadron to Dhofar in 1970 as the first full squadron to support the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF) in their war against Communist led rebels in Southern Oman.[4][5] The war was not going well for the SAF. He raised the first of six firqats, irregular units formed largely of ex-rebels, named the Firqat Salahadin, and recaptured the town of Sudh.[6] He then raised more firqats and lead operations on to the Jebel Qara to prove the need to establish a firm position on the Jebel.[7] The concept was accepted and the first permanent position was established by the SAS and SAF after the monsoon that year.[8]

Jeapes returned to the UK to attend the National Defence College, Latimer, and was then promoted lieutenant colonel to return to the Army Staff College as a member of the directing staff, where he led the Counter Revolutionary Warfare team. In 1972 he became the Commanding Officer of 22 SAS. He had an eventful tour of command. He led the counter-terrorism team in the Balcombe Street Siege[9] and he continued to take part in and oversee the Regiment's operations in the Dhofar War, being present at the final operation from Sarfait[10] which saw the defeat of the rebels and brought about the end of the six-year war. Finally, he set up the Regiment's rapid deployment to the campaign in Northern Ireland[11][12] and directed their methods of operating there. He was appointed as Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

He was also seriously ill with brucellosis contracted on the Jebel and was given three months' sick leave, during which he wrote the draft of his book SAS Operation Oman.[13]

Career after the SAS[edit]

Jeapes's next job was as a member of the British Military Advisory Team to Bangladesh, setting up the syllabus for and teaching at the state's first joint services staff college. At the end of this he was promoted full colonel and deputy commandant of the School of Infantry at Warminster. He was promoted to brigadier immediately after. Following a short time at HQ UKLF, then at HQ CINCFLEET during the Falklands War, he was appointed in 1982 to command the 5th Airportable Brigade, which he converted during his tour to the 5th Airborne Brigade, thereby becoming the oldest parachutist in the army. It was his regret that this was the only level of command in which he did not lead his troops on active service.

In 1985 Jeapes was promoted major general and appointed Commander Land Forces Northern Ireland.[14] His task was to direct the tactical deployment and command the day-to-day operations of all Army, Royal Marines, Ulster Defence Regiment, and of course Special Forces, against the terrorists in cooperation with the uniformed and special branch members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. It was a job in which he took great satisfaction and achieved a number of successes, for which he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. His final appointment was General Officer Commanding South West District, which contained most of the Army's Arms Schools, the UK Mobile Force and the UK's contribution to the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force.


Jeapes's account of the Dhofar Rebellion, SAS Operation Oman, was written in 1977 but took three years to receive security clearance. It was eventually published in 1980 by William Kimber. Amended copies were published by HarperCollins in 1996 as SAS Secret War and again by Greenhill Books with the same title in paperback in 2005. It is distributed in the USA by Battery Press.

Personal life[edit]

In June 1959 he married Jennifer Clare White, by whom he has a son and a daughter. Major General Jeapes retired in 1990.


  1. ^ Harclerode (2002)
  2. ^ Asher, (2008)
  3. ^ Strawson (1985)
  4. ^ Harclerode (2002)
  5. ^ Asher (2008)
  6. ^ Asher (2008)
  7. ^ Strawson (1985)
  8. ^ Asher (2008)
  9. ^ Geraghty (2002)
  10. ^ Harclerode (2002)
  11. ^ Geraghty (2002)
  12. ^ Wilson (2006)
  13. ^ Jeapes (1980)
  14. ^ Urban (2001)


  • Asher, Michael, The Regiment: The Real Story of the SAS, Viking (2008)
  • Carver, Field Marshal Lord and Akehurst, John, We Won A War : The Campaign in Oman, 1965–1975, Michael Russell (1982)
  • Geraghty, Tony, Who Dares Wins, Little Brown (2002)
  • Harclerode, Peter, Fighting Dirty: The inside story of covert operations from Ho Chi Minh to Osama bin Laden, Cassell (2002)
  • Jeapes, Tony, SAS Operation Oman, William Kimber (1980)
  • Strawson, John, A History of the SAS Regiment, Secker and Warburg (1985)
  • Urban, Mark, Big Boys' Rules: The SAS and the Secret Struggle Against the IRA, Faber and Faber (2001)
  • White, Rowland, Storm Front, Bantam (2011)
  • Wilson, Dare, Tempting The Fates, Pen & Sword (2006)