2010
09.21

As I’m still working on the interview with Andy (sorry, got a day job too), here’s a report from one of our contributors. Andy was at the National Army Museum in London on the 15th this month, for one of his popular talks. Thanks Gary!!

Chelsea, London 18.45 hours.

I jump out the Taxi excited and ready for Andy McNab’s second talk at the National Army Museum in London. The shop is already packed with people and I make a dash to the stack of ‘Worn Torn’ books. I need something for Andy to sign!
On the way back I notice my wife talking to Bear Grylls, the star or Born Survivor. McNab has celebrity fans it seems!

Andy starts his talk to a packed hall with a outline of his career in the army. From Green Jacket boy soldier to selection and his time in the SAS. He seems keen to talk about the education of young soldiers in the UK forces. This has been a theme of both of Andy’s talks and it is clearly something he is passionate about.

He then talks about the work he has done since the army, in the private sector, on movies and writing books.

He opens it up to the audience to ask questions.

There are a couple of ex servicemen who are interested in the amount of people applying for the armed forces, and the quality. Andy answers saying there are record amounts of recruits and that although the media doesn’t say, a lot of men want to go to Afgan to fight and enjoy it. The start fitness is often poor but they are soon trained to a good standard fitness, a standard which Andy says, never changes.

Andy talked about the private military companies and their drain in the special forces soldiers from the British Army. Often now, people are being encouraged to stay in the forces, the money often isn’t as good as it’s reported and companies are businesses and they are focussed on making money. Often using British soldiers to train men from Commonwealth countries as this is a cheaper option.

There was a very funny moment when Andy said that the Army has done a deal, rather than having free postage from home, the soldiers have free internet Wi Fi. Given the choice, soldiers would much rather have porn then sweaty Mars Bars!

A young man asked how difficult it is to get into the SAS and how quickly you would be on covert ops. Andy said the standards are so high, only maybe 10 people would make it out of 200. Sometimes there are none that make the standard. However, should you pass, you would be on covert ops straight away as that is what the SAS are all about. He said the young man should try.

Finally Andy talked about his efforts with the government to get ex-soldiers into work after the army. They have good skills, great work ethic and experience and that can be transfered into the public sector. Sainsbury’s is the latest to offer manager jobs in their stores to ex-servicemen.

As I made way to the shop for my book signing I thought about Andy being in the Air Troop and decided to ask him when was the last time he jumped out of a aeroplane. This summer he grinned! In Switzerland. He signed my book and I was off.

Another fantastic night with a proper SAS hero!

Gary Curtis
UK