Christmas is almost here — have you gotten that special commando in your life something special? Here’s our suggestions for gifts that will make any Andy McNab fan merry!


From the Times Online:

The most senior reservist SAS officer in Afghanistan has resigned over the death of three of his colleagues and a female Intelligence Corps soldier who were blown up while travelling in a lightly armoured Snatch Land Rover.

Major Sebastian Morley, who commanded 23 SAS, one of two Special Air Service reserve units, is understood to have been disgusted by the death of his comrades who died when their vehicle drove over a landmine in Helmand province on June 17. He is said to have included highly critical comments about equipment in Afghanistan in his resignation letter…Read full story at the Times Online. 

Major Morley sounds pretty courageous to me, and I hope civilians will join him in demanding the very best kit and thus the best chance for survival for our men and women fighting overseas. 


Special Forces fighting in Afghanistan are among hundreds of troops whose pay is incorrectly docked by a new computerised system, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.

Members of the Special Boat Service who fight the Taliban daily are being short-changed by more than £400 a month and some face defaulting on mortgage payments. They are among 300 servicemen affected by faults in the £269 million Joint Personnel Administration system introduced to harmonise the £6 billion annual Forces wages. Some SBS troops, who are recruited almost exclusively from the Royal Marines, are having to rely on help from a welfare fund set up by friends of the unit. SBS commandos complained to Adml Lord Boyce, the former head of the Armed Forces, during his recent visit to Afghanistan. “It must be a worry for those not getting the pay they have expected because their mortgages might be in danger or they might not be able to pay bills,” Lord Boyce said. “That might play on people’s minds and affect operational efficiency.” It was “very unsatisfactory”. A commando said he had spoken to a senior officer about the problem but was told he was in the same position. “The thing that annoys me it that we put our lives on line but I have spent half a day sorting out something I should not have to do on leave.” An MoD spokesman admitted “issues” with JPA. “We would like to apologise to any individuals who may have been [effected].”

Sounds like business as usual to us.


A daring dawn raid led by the British Special Boat Service in western Afghanistan yesterday resulted in the rescue of two Italian hostages from Taliban hands and the death of nine of the kidnappers.

The multinational rescue team ambushed the convoy transporting the hostages, and after a fierce gun fight nine of the Taliban lay dead while one hostage was wounded.

As usual, the SAS got credit for this SBS action, at least in the Italian press.

Read the full story at the Times Online.


Investigative journalist Michael Smith is the British Press Awards specialist writer of the year. He wrote the following article for the Timesonline.

September 16, 2007

Britain’s elite force is fighting its bloodiest conflict since the second world war in Iraq and has killed thousands of insurgents

Three suicide bombers, three cafes – many dead. That was the warning given by an informant to his MI6 handler in Baghdad in the summer of 2005 as a group of insurgents planned devastating attacks.

The bombers, swaddled in explosives under loose shirts, were preparing to hit the cafes with simultaneous explosions to cause maximum panic. Scores of people might die.

In the bloody chaos of Iraq, sifting hard fact from rumour and traps is never easy. But this intelligence seemed detailed and well sourced: the informant identified the targets, the date and the safe house from which the bombers would make their attack.

It sparked swift activity among the SAS, which in Iraq is facing its most severe challenge since it was set up during the second world war.

Read the article here


If you thought operating behind enemy lines for days was tough, try keeping your greedy kids from doing the hungry-vulture bit over your leftovers once you’ve ridden the midnight train to Slab City :

A FALKLANDS War hero who was sent to the islands three weeks before the Task Force arrived has put his medals up for auction – and they could go for £10,000.
SBS Royal Marine Sgt Tim Collins won the Military Medal for gallantry after he and three colleagues hid in a hole in the ground and reported on Argentinian troop movements. The men became known as the Interflora Squad because they had to cover themselves in new foliage each day to stay camouflaged.
Sgt Collins, now in his 50s, also won the South Atlantic Medal with rosette.
He auctioning them along with his General Service Medal with Northern Ireland clasp and his naval long service medal.
Also going under the hammer is a picture of the Interflora Squad drawn by a war artist.
He is selling his medals to prevent his children arguing about them when he is gone.

Perhaps I’m a bit thick, but the guy’s got four medals and a painting–so I assume he has more than five kids? Or can’t just divide evenly and then sell the one leftover? Far be it from me to question a war hero, but this sounds like another case that proves child-rearing can be tougher than combat.
If you want a go at his medals, here’s the auction page. You have ’til 21 September to save up for it (scroll down a bit on the auction page to see the medals).
Click here to read the full story in the Dorset Echo.