SAS – Rogue Warriors episode 3: The remarkable story behind the fighting force. Stirling is locked away in Hitler’s most secure prison and leadership of the SAS passes to Paddy Mayne.
Stirling is locked away in Hitler’s most secure prison – Colditz. Leadership of the SAS passes to Paddy Mayne, a man who has built his reputation on the battlefield as a warrior of the first rank, but has no interest in charming high command. In 1943, the SAS leaves the desert for Europe to enter a darker and far more complex theatre of war, led by a man who is often drunk and disorderly and prone to acts of savagery. They will face the terror of execution and the trauma of civilian casualties. And they will be the first to witness the nightmare of Belsen concentration camp.
SAS – Rogue Warriors episode 3
Lieutenant Colonel Sir Archibald David Stirling, DSO, OBE (15 November 1915 – 4 November 1990) was a Scottish officer in the British Army, mountaineer, and the founder of the Special Air Service. He saw active service during the Second World War.
Stirling was commissioned into the Scots Guards from Ampleforth College Contingent Officer Training Corps on 24 July 1937. In June 1940, he volunteered for the new No. 8 Commando under Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Laycock, which became part of Force Z (later named “Layforce”).
On 1 February 1941, Layforce sailed for the Middle East, in support of the capture of Rhodes, but were soon disbanded after suffering heavy casualties in the Battle of Crete and the Battle of the Litani River. Stirling remained convinced that due to the mechanised nature of war, a small team of highly trained soldiers with the advantage of surprise could attack several targets from the desert in a single night.
Believing that taking his idea up through the chain of command was unlikely to work, Stirling decided to go straight to the top. On crutches following a parachuting accident, he stealthily entered Middle East headquarters in Cairo (under, through, or over a fence) in an effort to see Commander-in-Chief General Claude Auchinleck.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Blair “Paddy” Mayne, DSO & Three Bars (11 January 1915 – 14 December 1955) was a British Army soldier from Newtownards, capped for Ireland and the British Lions at rugby union, lawyer, amateur boxer and a founding member of the Special Air Service (SAS).
During the course of the Second World War he became one of the British Army’s most highly decorated soldiers and, by destroying 47 aircraft in a single action, he may well have destroyed more German aircraft than the RAF’s highest scoring ace. He was controversially denied a Victoria Cross.