Article by SHS Students – 9th March 2010

Andy McNab started in the Army at the age of 16. Not only does he write novels but he also writes for well known papers such as The Sun, The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph. When he started in the Royal Green Jackets (a branch of the military) he couldn’t read or write, so he was educated there and they said “you’re not stupid, you just haven’t been educated.”

Andy McNab stayed in the infantry for 8 years and thought about going to the special air service. When he was in the SAS he spent a lot of time in Colombia stopping the exporting of Cocaine. Going all around the world he has learnt Spanish and Swahili. He never thought that his novel Bravo – two – zero would be so successful.

On Tuesday 9th March 2010, Andy McNab – the commander of bravo-two-zero – came to Stourport High School to promote his new book DropZone and luckily we had a chance to interview him. Here is a snippet of our exclusive with Andy McNab

SHS – What was it like working for the SAS?
McNab – It was great. I was an infantry soldier first. It was different because everyone calls you by your first name not your surname.

SHS – What were you put in juvenile detention for?
McNab– Breaking into some flats, we broke into the same flat 4 times so the police were expecting us.

SHS – What made you want to write books?
McNab – I didn’t really. It’s just that all the newspapers were saying that bravo-two-zero single-handedly won the war; so to stop all the rumours I wrote bravo-two-zero.

SHS – Why do you hide your identity?
McNab – Because I spent lots of time in Northern Ireland and there was a terrorist war that stopped during the 90’s. I had to go undercover in one of the main towns/cities and I lived there pretending to be someone else. We would get an Irish guy to come in and talk to us and if I show my face I potentially put him and his family at risk.

Following this report Andy McNab delivered an inspirational presentation about how books have changed his life and his life in the SAS. The hall was packed with over 400 students and teachers form 10 schools around the county. We were very fortunate to be able to conduct this interview shared the opportunity with a local radio SHS and a SHS form the Stourport Times.

Source: Stourport High School website


Tuesday 16th March 2010

Best-selling action author and former Bravo Two Zero commander, Andy McNab, met hundreds of students during a visit to a Stourport school.

The decorated ex-member of the SAS was at Stourport High School and VIth Form Centre to launch his latest book, Dropzone , set around his hobby of skydiving.

He talked to students from years nine,10, 11 and 12 along with more than 400 students from 10 other secondary schools, including King Charles I School in Kidderminster and The Bewdley School and Sixth Form Centre.

Julie Benkwitz, school librarian, said: “The atmosphere was electric as Andy shared some of his amazing life experiences with them, which ranged from his various missions during the Gulf War to his love of skydiving.

“Then the students had a wonderful opportunity to ask Andy any questions that they wanted. The hall was buzzing after the talk as the students eagerly queued up waiting to have their books signed and to have the opportunity to meet and chat with Andy.”

Students from Stourport High also interviewed Mr McNab as part of the BBC School Report project.

They discussed his time in juvenile detention and how he joined the infantry in 1976, as well as his 10 years service in B Squadron 22 SAS.

During that time, Mr McNab worked on both covert and overt special operations worldwide, including anti-terrorist and anti-drug operations in the Middle and Far East, South and Central America and Northern Ireland.

In Northern Ireland he spent two years working as an undercover operator, resulting in him having to keep his identity hidden.

Gulf War patrol Bravo Two Zero was the most decorated patrol since the Boer War and Mr McNab was the British Army’s most decorated serving soldier when he left the SAS in February, 1993.

The interview with him from the school visit is available both on the BBC website and on the school’s website, at shs.worcs.sch.uk

Source: Kidderminster Shuttle news


Do you have the observation skills of an S.A.S. sniper? See if you can track the vehicle in the video below and describe exactly what you observe. Pay attention to ambient sounds as they too provide part of the picture.

vehicletracking from Jon Marquis on Vimeo.


Andy McNab: “How you vote at this election is going to affect soldiers’ lives.”

The Sun
By Tom Newton Dunn
Published: 15 Mar 2010

SAS hero Andy McNab last night backed the Conservatives in the General Election – and slammed Gordon Brown for “betraying” Britain’s Armed Forces.
The ex Who Dares Wins soldier accused the PM of underfunding frontline troops for years.

Sun Security Expert Andy, 49, has voted Labour before. But after talks with David Cameron, he said: “I’m impressed. The Tories are the future.”

And the SAS legend insisted he was speaking for thousands of soldiers last night as he vowed to vote for the Conservatives.

But he is sickened by years of Brown starving the military of cash for vital kit – then denying it at the Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq.

Andy said: “It’s time for a change.

“After the way Gordon Brown betrayed the Forces, there’s not a single person I’ve spoken to from my old regiment who’s voting any other way than Conservative. Cameron’s got the SAS vote – that’s for sure.”

He explained “For Gordon Brown to go to the Iraq inquiry and tell porkies was outrageous.How little he has given the MoD to help them fight five wars in 13 years is VERY clearly on record. To then go straight out to Helmand province in Afghanistan – as he did – and pose for photos with the troops to look like the Forces’ friend was unforgivable. That was the last straw for me. It was a cynical PR attempt to bury bad headlines. Anyone who uses our soldiers on the front line like that deserves nobody’s respect. It is a betrayal of everything honourable they stand for.”

Endorsement from the popular Who Dares Wins figure is a big boost for the Tories, as Britain faces the risk of sleep-walking into another five years of Gordon Brown. An opinion poll yesterday showed the Conservative lead over Labour had slipped to just FOUR points. Andy – who became an author after famously leading the SAS Bravo Two Zero patrol in Iraq in 1991 – met Mr Cameron yesterday to discuss defence. The men also spoke of Andy’s two other passions – adult education and halting the rise of the British National Party.

After the lengthy meeting, Andy told The Sun: “Without doubt, the Tories are the future. I’m impressed by Cameron and the straight answers he gave to my questions. I believe he does get the Forces and what they need. And I think he has the will to see Afghanistan through. Now is not the time to go wobbly about the war.”

The Conservative leader told The Sun: “Andy’s backing means a huge amount to us.”

Go here to read the full article

By Andy McNab

“At the beginning of the New Labour project in 1997, I voted for Tony Blair, like a lot of people in this country did. He promised a great vision for us. But I don’t believe Labour ever delivered on that vision.

The education of our kids is far from where it should be.

Social mobility is at its lowest for generations.

And the economy is in an appalling state.

The great dream all seems to have turned to ruin.

But probably worst of all for me is the way Labour have let down the Armed Forces.

It’s crucial for every fighting man and woman out in Afghanistan and everyone who supports them – all the way up the chain to the MoD – to know they have strong leadership at the top.”


“Gordon Brown never gives that impression. You always get the feeling the Iraq and Afghan operations were Tony Blair’s idea, which he never quite signed up to. That’s probably why he wasn’t prepared to pay for it.

We need a change.

I believe Cameron understands the Armed Forces and what they’re after. From the equipment projects that need to be funded, all the way to the psychological treatment the guys need when they come back from the front line. I’ve also had a lot of conversations with Liam Fox, the man who will be Cameron’s defence secretary. He understands the Armed Forces too. From the way Cameron talks about Afghanistan, it’s also clear to me that he’s got the will and the intent to see it through now.

I am confident the Tories will do what is needed.

So they’ve got my vote this time.”

McNab & Cameron in The Sun


 Why does Andy McNab still hide his face?
Nearly two decades have passed since the former SAS soldier launched his writing career, but his identity is still protected

Laura Barton – Guardian.co.uk, Monday 15 March 2010

The years have been kind to Andy McNab. Though nearly two decades have passed since the former SAS soldier launched his publishing career with the bestseller Bravo Two Zero, McNab has remained steadfastly untarnished by the hands of time. Owing to security reasons, the portrait on his bookjackets has shown him only in shadowy profile: a glimpse of white skin, a brush of silver hair, and a certain squareness to his frame.

This is not to say that McNab has lain entirely low: he will make promotional appearances, though photography is banned; he will appear on TV, though only in a balaclava, or, as in the case of his last BBC Breakfast outing, with just his elbow on view. In yesterday’s Sun he appeared again, standing next to David Cameron to endorse the Tory party. The photograph revealed a vaguely burly man in a brown cord blazer and striped shirt, the space between his top lip and his spiky hair obscured by a large black box – “for security reasons” the Sun explained. But as the years have gone by, some have begun to question McNab’s continued need for anonymity, others have even suggested that the main purpose of these shadowy appearances is to feed the Myth of McNab. After all this time, is one of Britain’s best-selling authors really still such a security risk?

“Absolutely,” says Mark Lucas, McNab’s agent for 17 years. He points out that all former SAS soldiers-turned-writers uphold a similar level of anonymity (with the exception of Chris Ryan, because he only ever went on one mission). “He took part in a number of operations of a very sensitive nature,” Lucas explains. “People with very long memories” were involved.

“In a way [the anonymity] is a fig leaf,” says Dr David Claridge, managing director of Janusian Security Risk Management. “He has clearly sought publicity, but at the same time he’s not really allowed to seek publicity.” Indeed, prior to publication, McNab is legally required to submit his writing to the Ministry of Defence.

So what about this week’s unusually revealing Sun photo? “Ah,” laughs Lucas. “How do you know it’s him?”

Source: The Guardian


Published 15 March 2010

ActuaLitté : GoSpoken specialises in selling eBooks on mobile phones. What do you say to people who think mobile screens are too small to read on ?

Andy McNab : I can often see iPhone owners reading books on their device when I’m on the train. We want to offer the same service to customers who have chosen to trust other mobile phone brands such as Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Nokia, , Palm etc. on top of offering mobile reading on the iPhone device.

Nowadays no one leaves home without 3 things : Their keys (hopefully!), wallet and mobile phone. Mobile books allow our customers to read when they can’t take a book with them or don’t wish to carry one around. Our customers tell us that they read more and more often since they’ve discovered gospoken.com (on the bus, train, in queues) and the screen size on certain older phone models is a tiny compromise compared to the fantastic added value mobile reading brings them on a day to day basis. Beside, there are lots of fantastic large screen size phones coming out every quarter.

To be honest, if the book is good, I don’t care how I read it, I just want to read it!

ActuaLitté : Gospoken.com offers both eBooks and audio books. When will you also offer paper books ?

Andy McNab : We are actually already selling (English-speaking) paper books from my own site and from gospoken.com. This will become very interesting when we can integrate the paper offering to the digital’s. Imagine just a minute if you could purchase a hardback title and get the digital version for free or at a reduced price to download on your phone or your eReader.

However Mobcast’s current focus is to offer a digital books platform that will allow customers to download books on up to 3 devices (eReaders, PC, mobile phones) from gospoken.com and the co-branded eBook shops (white-label sites) we’re running for our partners.

ActuaLitté : Google Books recently digitised lots of books that were out of copyright and make them theirs. Do you think what they’re offering to publishers & authors to compensate losses is fair ?

Andy McNab : No, I do not. However, the fact is that Google thinks they can do it so therefore why not? There is still a final decision to be made in the US courts that will finally decide if Google are allowed to continue. Besides the monetary arguments there is also a cultural concern. The majority of books Google propose to put online are ringing with language. So therefore

European language books of scholarship will not be represented as fully as they should.

ActuaLitté : How do French publishers react when you explain what you do and the opportunities you can bring ? How do their reaction differ from the American and British publishing houses ?

Andy McNab : The feedback on our eBook apps has been positive so far and the French publishers have shown great interest in the opportunity to reach the mobile operator portals and app stores’ customers. There are over 55M mobile phone subscribers in France and the mobile networks have got years of experience in selling high-quality content which they do with music and games for example. Bottom line is that everybody has a mobile phone but not everyone can afford an eReader.

The reaction we get from them may differ slightly because of Mobcast set up. We are a pro-active retailer transforming the digital files into mobile eBooks. But we will be able to work with their current digital books delivery platforms when we launch our eBook shop delivering epubs to eReaders and PC.

Our final goal is to offer a legal market place for digital books and allow people who want to consume books on wireless connected devices (eReaders, PC and mobile phones) to do so. For this, we are determined to work out a technical solution with the French publishers that would work for mobile phones too.

ActuaLitté : When will we see GoSpoken offering develop in France ?

Andy McNab : Our D2C offering will be localised for the French market in the next 3-4 months. We’re also in the process of uploading French content to the app stores. Last but not least, we are in conversations with French networks so watch this space!

ActuaLitté : Why not set up subscription models with operators and manufacturers ?

Andy McNab : This is also something Mobcast is looking at setting up with both mobile operators & manufacturers using their API but also on our D2C offering. Stay tuned!

Source: ActuaLitté