FROM THE ROYAL AIR FORCE REGIMENT TO THE SPECIAL AIR SERVICE REGIMENT:
A few photographs to show a full and fun career of 23 years in the British military from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s:
If someone had to pick out which recruit would later join the SAS, it certainly wouldn’t be the undernourished ten year old centre front row. Eventually Bob got a wee bit bigger. RAF Swinderby, recruit training before going onto RAF Regiment training at Catterick, Yorkshire. Jan 1972.
Preparation for the “Cross Colony March” Hong Kong New Territories, where our team broke the previous record of crossing from East to West taking in every high point and going back down to sea level. Bob was a member of 2 Sqn RAF Regiment, here he is 3rd from right kneeling. Early 1970s.
On the DZ awaiting the last stick of the day to static line parachute jump. UK early 1970s, Bob front right.
Friends for life! Bob spent 3 years in 2 Sqn RAF Regiment, based at RAF Colerne, Wiltshire, before going onto SAS Selection in the mid 1970s.
Quick reaction live fire in a wadi in Dhofar, Oman, 1972.
“One of our defensive positions known as “hedgehogs” on the Salalah Plain, Dhofar, Oman protecting the airfield. On my first trip there as a 17 year old, I would watch the SAS nightly firefights up in the jebel (mountains) about 4 miles to my front. Tracer and explosions flying back and forward. Green tracer from the adoo (enemy) going in, with red tracer from the SAS going back at them. From that moment, I decided that I wanted to be up there as an SAS soldier. I was told by a senior NCO that I’d have to be old enough to shave first, yes still wet behind the ears at that stage! It was those same NCOs, officers and men around me at that time, that I thank for preparing me for SAS selection. They did a fine job. Oman, 1972.”
Having passed SAS Selection, Bob outside his “basha after a 10 mile run through the Herefordshire countryside,” now with B Sqn 22 SAS Regt, in Bradbury Lines, Hereford, England, mid 70s.
Returning from a training dive with boat troop B Sqn, 22 SAS Regt. UK 1970s
“Softy” with an umbrella in the jungle. The NZ SAS Sqn used small umbrellas in the jungles of Vietnam in order to maintain their body temperature during hard routine patrolling when they were static in the rain. I brought it into 22 SAS Regt in the late 70s after doing a NZ SAS Tracking course. If I was sat out all night on hard routine for example, it’s amazing how much comfort can be taken by not losing my much needed body heat, given the daily work rate with little food intake day after day.
Operation Nimrod, Iranian Embassy Siege, London, 5th May 1980. Bob was an assault member clearing the top floor from the roof. He was the man who laid the explosion on to the stairs skylight as a distraction. That would be the first explosion heard on the BBC News live report that day, prior to the balcony team laying their window charge.
Boat troop preparing to “float off” from an O Class submarine. 1980s
Flying to RV with a submarine on a night jump with boats. 1980s
Boat Troop with their Klepper canoes rafting up for a final quick brief before a long haul. 1980s. Bob 5 from left giving the briefing.
Mixed International SF LRRP Team. British, Australian and Malaysian SF. Bob front left. Borneo 1980s
Wadi Tubal, First Gulf War 1991. Bob far right.
22 SAS Regimental RV, Brew up Wadi, Western Iraq, GW1, 1991. Bob left foreground.
Setting up a live fire bank of Claymores demo. Brunei 1990s
The Army School of Infantry title of WO1 (SMI) Sergeant Major Instructor. Just over two terrific years of training lads from other nations as well as our own. Loved my time there, good hard grafting staff, all working as one great team! Early 90s, Jungle Warfare school, Training Team Brunei (TTB). 1992-94.