Mel Parry ex B Sqn 22 SAS
It’s with the greatest of sadness that I write this blog post about arguably one of the finest men to have served in 22 SAS Regiment in my time.
I write this as he died from a very long illness today in Hereford. My heart goes out to Mel’s family and close friends.
When I joined the Regiment there were so many senior soldiers to look up to and learn from. However Mel was streets ahead in his thinking of SAS training and tactics in just about all forms.
For years, I tried my best to emulate Mel’s professionalism…yet never ever came close.
He believed like many that training is to be as realistic as possible, and boy did he prove it. It wasn’t just on operations that Mel would show his bravery.
Before he was seen as part of a four man team on that now famous balcony of the Iranian Embassy at Prince’s Gate in London in 1980, he had already proved his bravery in the mountains of Dhofar in the early 70s. Moving forward over open ground from cover to save and patch up a mate who had been hit badly in the lower back. The ground was on fire from tracer, it was like daylight…but he did his thing because he simply wasn’t going to leave him there. The lad survived with life changing wounds, but the Regimental brotherhood looked after him back at Hereford.
But for me there are two incidents in training from Mel that I’ll never forget. The first was while I was on the sniper team for the Special Projects (Anti Terrorism). We were on a range firing from 500 metres. A long distance back then for an anti terrorist scenario with hostages. It was a foggy morning, and the fog would drift to the left and show the targets one minute then obscure them just as quickly the next. I was taking up the first pressure on my trigger when I saw a movement come across my target. It was Mel wearing a parker coat and wellies, just slowly ambling between the targets. We had no forewarning of Mel’s presence, and over my personal radio I heard Mel’s gruff Welsh voice say “I hope that you’re all switched on this morning, because I want to get home safely for dinner later.” Well, it was that type of surprise that Mel would pull, just to bring in the realism…the Small Arms School Corps would have a fit!
The second incident in training was again on the anti terrorist team. We were carrying out the “bus option” where the bus would be positioned and we would take on terrorist targets inside the bus. For safety reasons the bus would be static containing just targets and dummies dressed as hostages. But that wasn’t good enough for Mel. He decided that he would drive the bus with body armour and a ballistic helmet on, with another mate Snapper (also an awesome soldier) acting as a live hostage.
I can tell you, every single sniper was a wee bit apprehensive with their finger on the trigger on Go as the bus moved past from left to right!
But it all worked out well, and the realism of a moving bus and real individuals inside that bus when pulling the trigger just couldn’t be bettered…all thanks to Mel.
Whether it was a live squadron attack on an enemy camp in the jungle, using 66mm and grenades to take out bunkers, or room combat drills…and everything in between, Mel would be at the centre of it all. And there would be very few times that anyone disagreed with his plans.
It’s a sad sad day, no doubt about it, but when it comes to memories of this great man, no one can be in any doubt what he brought to the Regiment. And it was he who would set the bar high to move the Regiment forward, and look at what the young guns can do today.
Here’s to you Mel. xx
10 thoughts on “FOR MEL PARRY QGM SAS”
What a great soldier
RIP Warrior and Blade.
Respect, another legend gone
Mel’s name is well known in Papakura Bob, not just for his exploits, but, along with Blue Thomas, for the legendary kindness that they showed to Kiwis whenever they made their way to Hereford.
Cysgu’n dawel Mel.
RIP Mel, condolences to your family and friends. Thank you for your service.
RIP Mel Parry. Legend.
Bob, thanks for the privilege of a touching and warming post, and another gone too soon, always approachable just like yourself back in the good old days.
my genuine condolences. while ever we speak someones name ,they are not truly gone. Thankyou Bob
Sorry the read this Bob. I read once that Mel also invented a survival knife. Us mortal men would be happy leaving this legacy, let alone everything else you’ve mentioned about some of his exploits in the regiment.
RIP Mel, my condolences to your family and thank you for being a friend to my dad and me.
They are Just a thought away Bob,you must Live on to write The great stories about these outstanding People,Condolences to Family and friends of Mel Parry.