View Full Version : The British SAS catch all

10-21-2007, 12:49 PM
BRITISH special forces have crossed into Iran several times in recent months as part of a secret border war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Al-Quds special forces, defence sources have disclosed.

Complete Times article here:


10-21-2007, 05:32 PM
Whatever may or may not be the case with cross-border fighting, this more or less officially confirms what at least one British commander in Iraq stated publicly a year or two ago, than an undeclared war between Britain and Iran was underway. It would certainly be possible that British troops fighting weapons smugglers and IRGC Al-Quds Force troops along the border might find themselves in hot pursuits situations. I've also noticed that the Iranians have not attempted to capture British troops in recent months like they have done at a few times in the past.

10-22-2007, 07:30 AM
I find exposes like The Times article very odd. Why was this published and who "leaked" the information? There is no way a journalist did normal reporting in Iraq to discover this. Yes, compiling rumours and snippets from a safe place, guarded by UK troops.

Am I the only person who wonders whether Rupert Murdoch, who owns The Times, has encouraged such a story? Using such a story as some advocate war on Iran to indicate the UK will join in.


10-22-2007, 12:11 PM
Such doings are as old as mankind as we all well know and without collaberation, the Public focus on such a report on a scale from 1 - 100 comes in probably around .6 at best. It makes good filler for credentialed sock puppets on the televison to wag their tongues over and pontificate but more than anything, it probably enhances sales of violent video games for pimple-faced teens.

Bill Moore
11-11-2012, 05:35 PM
Political correctness to the extreme is threatening UK as much as the US. This is simply unacceptable, the British people need to mobilize and put pressure on the idiots that made this decision.


Lt Col Richard Williams, who won a Military Cross in Afghanistan in 2001 and was Sgt Nightingale’s commanding officer in Iraq, said the sentence “clearly needed to be overturned immediately”.

He said: “His military career has been ruined and his wife and children face being evicted from their home — this is a total betrayal of a man who dedicated his life to the service of his country.”

11-29-2012, 08:27 PM
An SAS sniper has been released after his 18 month sentence for illegally possessing a pistol was cut and suspended by the Court of Appeal. Sgt Danny Nightingale, from Crewe, admitted possessing the 9mm Glock pistol and 338 rounds of ammunition at a court martial earlier this month. The judges heard Nightingale had forgotten he had the gun and cut his sentence to 12 months and suspended it.


A slightly unexpected result, partly as the Sgt had admitted the offences, but widely considered outside the military as an injustice. Several e-petitions started and just maybe the court listened. The court being a civilian court and this is the first time its existence has come to the fore.

11-30-2012, 01:53 AM
similar to Jury "Nullification".

Our Ayala case (PMC shot prisoner he had cuffed, where prisoner killed the HTS gal that the PMC was guarding) had a similar result - probation (comments on result, here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=71559&postcount=49), here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=71592&postcount=50) and here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=71609&postcount=51)).

Army Times article (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/05/ap_army_contractor_050809/) reporting sentencing.

This result met strong disapproval from Zero Antropology, Whitewashing a U.S. War Crime in Afghanistan: The Trial of Don Ayala, “Human Terrain” Mercenary (http://zeroanthropology.net/2009/05/07/whitewashing-a-us-war-crime-in-afghanistan-the-trial-of-don-ayala-human-terrain-mercenary/).



Bill Moore
11-30-2012, 05:45 AM
JMM, it seems a huge stretch to compare a contractor who killed a handcuffed person with a soldier who tried (whether intentional or not) to bring a weapon back home from the war zone, which at one time not that long ago wouldn't even considered an offense.

11-30-2012, 07:30 AM
The comparison is to two examples of judicial nullification, not an argument that the crimes were equivalent. Obviously, murder (the original charge in Ayala, a capital crime) and illegal possession of a weapon (18 months) are not the same. Do you think I'm so stupid as to contend they are ?

The judicial decisions in both cases, however, ended up with the same result - both defendants were freed. I don't have any problem with either result. The person who wrote the Zero Antropology article obviously would have held for the murder charge against Ayala - or, if forced by the plea, the maximum sentence for manslaughter. Freedom or detention depends on who your judge (or jury) is.



Bill Moore
12-01-2012, 03:38 AM
The comparison is to two examples of judicial nullification, not an argument that the crimes were equivalent. Obviously, murder (the original charge in Ayala, a capital crime) and illegal possession of a weapon (18 months) are not the same. Do you think I'm so stupid as to contend they are ?

The answer to your question is of course not, but I wasn't sure where you were going with your comparison. Thanks for clarifying. Bill

12-01-2012, 05:37 AM
in going from a capital crime down to a lower felony, drawing in this case a $12,500 fine and 5-years probation. I haven't tried to find the sentencing transcript, where I expect the judge laid out the legal reasons for the sentence.

My approval of the sentence was not legalistic - some would say my belief is totally simplistic. We send these young men and women into bad places and worse situations. So, we have to take care of them. I don't ask anyone else to agree with me.



12-01-2012, 10:02 AM
Past achievements must never influence a sanction for illegal behaviour. You cannot accumulate legal goodwill that way. There's no rule of law if you could / can, for law simply doesn't recognise accumulated goodwill.
It only recognises jail time served innocently as accumulated goodwill, and only so to some extent.

I don't think bringing back some minor booty should be a major offence at all, depending on how it was acquired (battlefield pick-up of a Makarov being no problem, taking a golden Saddam gun from a pile of already captured guns is another thing).

12-02-2012, 01:34 AM
from Fuchs
Past achievements must never influence a sanction for illegal behaviour. You cannot accumulate legal goodwill that way. There's no rule of law if you could / can, for law simply doesn't recognise accumulated goodwill.
It only recognises jail time served innocently as accumulated goodwill, and only so to some extent.

in a subject matter area that tends to be dreary.

You don't know how funny this really is. :)



04-10-2013, 12:42 PM
An update, one that I know causes some controversy within the UK military:
Despite his conviction being quashed at the Court of Appeal, military prosecutors intend to hold a re-trial. A preparatory hearing is scheduled at the Military Court in Wiltshire on May 1st to commence this process and Danny will plead not-guilty.


Oddly the outline of the case only refers to the pistol found, not the rather large amount of ammunition - which I have yet to see an explanation for.

Yes, there is an appeal for donations.

04-10-2013, 01:52 PM

338 rounds of pistol ammunition is not a large amount of ammunition. 7 boxes gets lost in most people's garden shed. If it was loose it would get lost in the little drawer in the kitchen where you put things you don't know where else to put. Shoot, 200 rounds is just a good afternoon's practice.

04-10-2013, 08:59 PM

I agree that:
..338 rounds of pistol ammunition is not a large amount of ammunition...

He may have a good excuse for the gifted pistol being forgotten, but the ammunition there is no explanation to date. It is that big gap that those UK military I spoke simply could not accept, to the extent of dismissing his entire case.

05-02-2013, 05:27 PM
From the BBC:
The Medical Board of the British Army said Sgt Danny Nightingale should be discharged on medical grounds after suffering brain damage in 2009. A judge ordered the retrial of the 38-year-old from Crewe, on Wednesday.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22387128 and on the re-trial:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22370943

Interesting comment by Sally Nightingale:
Danny belonged to one of the finest Regiments in the world because he is a fighter. Although he is obviously upset that his career is over, we'll get it through together and once the Court Martial is over, start his re-integration to civilian life. A bigger question for me is how the Service Prosecuting Authority felt able to say repeatedly during the Court of Appeal proceedings that Danny had been certified fit for duty when it is clear that the opposite was in reality the case.

Red Rat
05-02-2013, 06:21 PM
Seems straightforward to me, it depends on the time the Service Prosecuting Authority (SPA) was referring to. I suspect that the SPA was referring to the time of the offence, the Army Medical Board is referring to now.

While serving, like many soldiers, Sergeant Nightingale may have wanted to continue serving (there is nothing to indicate that he did not) and therefore may not have presented the full range of symptoms necessary to make a determination of being unfit to serve. His defence however relied heavily on aspects resulting from his injuries. Different times, perspectives and information presented.

I am slightly disconcerted by this case. A soldier was found with an illegal firearm and ammunition. I think the last time that someone was not jailed for this type of offence was a Dundee Grandmother With Her Grandfather's War Souvenir (http://news.stv.tv/tayside/209982-grandmother-jailed-over-heirloom-gun-has-sentence-quashed/). The report on the link is worth reading as it goes into many of the legal issues. Firearms is a Reserved Issue with regards to Scottish legislation and there is no significant difference between Scottish and English law on this. English legal precedent is also applicable in Scotland.

06-10-2013, 08:03 PM
Hidden away in a BBC regional news area:
Danny Nightingale had been recommended for the discharge after suffering brain damage in 2009....the retrial...is expected to start on 1 July.


07-25-2013, 09:30 PM
Sgt Danny Nightingale avoided a jail sentence today, with a suspended jail sentence for possession of the ammunition. The military judge was very critical of the defence given and the public campaign.

Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10202288/Judge-criticises-former-SAS-sniper-Danny-Nightingales-spurious-defence-as-he-avoids-jail.html or http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23450909

11-10-2013, 12:40 PM
France maybe the focus here, then you read this:
During its five-year cycle of remembrance, the regiment lays 371 wreaths at memorials and individual graves in 20 countries, commemorating 493 casualties sustained during the Second World War and in post-war operations. There are 100 casualties commemorated in France, and monuments adorn places as distant as Sarawak in northern Borneo and the Silent Valley of South Yemen.

Living up to their motto 'Who Dares Wins' after D-Day:
he squadron did not parachute their way into Occupied France, as the men involved in Loyton did, but simply drove their 20 Jeeps through enemy lines in darkness as the Battle of Normandy raged about them. For 250 miles they journeyed, in British uniform, through the heart of enemy territory, often in broad daylight.


08-28-2016, 12:46 PM
I have merged three small threads, each had a different theme, but all concern the British Special Air Service Regiment, commonly known as the SAS. One thread referred to the campaign in Iraq, which is now historical.

The thread title has been changed to The British SAS (merged thread).

08-28-2016, 01:02 PM
Prompted by a full review (the second link) of this newly published volume set here is the author's explanation:
A seminal project that brings together the moving stories of every Special Air Service and Long Range Desert Group casualty of the Second World War. Meticulously and passionately researched over 13 years, this exhaustive work is a unique combination of operational reports, personal service records and medal citations, all given colour and depth through correspondence with next of kin and the recollections of those that were there. Lavishly illustrated, with many photographs published for the first time, it celebrates the extraordinary and largely unreported bravery of 374 casualties now commemorated in seventeen countries.Link:http://www.sas-lrdg-roh.com/index.html

The review article starts with some history of their first mission:
Exhausted and filthy, the soldiers of the newly-formed SAS stand side-by-side in the desert. Hours earlier, an abortive raid had seen more than half their comrades either killed or captured, but the men of the soon-to-be-famous force still manage to raise a grin. The newly-discovered photograph from 1941 is the only known picture of the elite unit’s first ever raid, carried out by founder members known as the Originals.Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/27/exhausted-filthy-but-unbowed-the-birth-of-the-sas/

10-10-2016, 07:29 AM
A NYT review of Ben McIntyre's book 'Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS', which covers their birth in WW2:
...this volume features an ensemble of eccentrics, mavericks and malcontents. And, in this case, one visionary, David Stirling, who invented an elite commando unit that would become the prototype for a new kind of modern warfare...Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/books/review-rogue-heroes-ben-macintyre.html?

The book awaits attention here, so one day my review.

In those days there were the true experts, Michael Sadler and his navigation skills, so necessary to get the SAS in their initial airbase raiding mode across the desert.