David Stirling: The Phoney Major: The Life, Times and Truth about the Founder of the SAS

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David Stirling: The Phoney Major: The Life, Times and Truth about the Founder of the SAS

David Stirling: The Phoney Major: The Life, Times and Truth about the Founder of the SAS

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The other key player in the early SAS, who was never given the credit he deserved, says Mortimer, was Paddy Mayne. Why? Because Stirling feared and envied the talented Ulsterman in “equal measure”. Mayne was one of the few men who had seen through Stirling and recognised him for what he was: an incompetent egomaniac. Mclean, Fitzroy (2004). "Stirling, Sir (Archibald) David (1915–1990)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Wartime Raid is Recalled in Leader's Libel Actions". The Glasgow Herald. Glasgow. 24 May 1968. p.9 . Retrieved 30 March 2015. After the war, Stirling never achieved any real success, other than building his own myth once Mayne was safely out of the way. He got involved in various shady schemes in Africa and other places, often involving former, and sometimes serving, SAS operators, including one to depose the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Mortimer is scathing about how Stirling’s influence in these years ‘corrupted’ the SAS. In fact, it was Bill Stirling, working in Cairo at the time, who wrote much of the memo and made sure it was read by senior officers. Mortimer notes:

Michael Alexander speaks to the author of a new book who thinks SAS founder Sir David Stirling should be regarded as a ‘phoney major’. Goodwin, Nicola (6 May 2010). "SAS: Troopers tell their stories". BBC News . Retrieved 23 June 2017. The SAS: Savage Wars of Peace: 1947 to the Present, by Anthony Kemp, John Murray, 1994, pp. 88–89 [ ISBNmissing] The release of this book around the time of showing of the BBC TV series "Rogue Heroes" based on the prior recent book about the SAS by Ben McIntyre, seems very fortuitous given the BBC serial takes a few (but not many) liberties with the facts.Drawing on interviews with SAS veterans who fought with Stirling and men who worked with him on his post-war projects, and examining recently declassified governments files about Stirling's involvement in Aden, Libya and GB75, Mortimer's riveting biography is incisive, bold, honest and written with his customary narrative panache. From September 1939 to May 1940, apart from a few brief skirmishes, both sides were content to remain behind their defences. This contrast with the blitzkrieg ('lightning war') tactics of the Polish campaign resulted in the war being labelled as the 'sitzkrieg' and the 'Bore War'. Saxon, Wolfgang (6 November 1990). "Sir David Stirling, 74, the Founder of Britain's Elite Commando Unit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved 1 February 2017. However, the Polish Army general plan for defence, Plan West, assumed that the Allies' offensive on the Western front would provide significant relief to the Polish front in the East. [12] The Phoney War was also referred to as the "Twilight War" (by Winston Churchill) and as the Sitzkrieg [6] ("the sitting war": a word play on blitzkrieg created by the British press). [7] [8] [9] In French, it is referred to as the drôle de guerre ("funny" or "strange" war). [a]

If you're coming to Coles by car, why not take advantage of the 2 hours free parking at Sainsbury's Pioneer Square - just follow the signs for Pioneer Square as you drive into Bicester and park in the multi-storey car park above the supermarket. Come down the travelators, exit Sainsbury's, turn right and follow the pedestrianised walkway to Crown Walk and turn right - and Coles will be right in front of you. You don't need to shop in Sainsbury's to get the free parking! Where to Find Us In his excellent new book, David Stirling: the phoney major: the life, times and truth about the founder of the SAS, Gavin Mortimer uses extensive research and impressive access over many years to wartime members of the SAS to tell us the real story of the life of David Stirling and the often troubled infancy of the service.After his capture, Stirling’s war was over, despite a number of abortive escape attempts, which eventually led him to Colditz. The SAS thrived under Mayne for the rest of the war. Following Mayne’s untimely death in a car crash in 1955, Stirling once again used his powers of self-promotion to create his own myth, appropriating many of Mayne’s qualities and successes along the way. in 1984 the new base of the SAS was renamed Stirling Lines (from Bradbury Lines) in his honour. [30] Stirling was at best an incompetent soldier and at worst a foolhardy one, who jeopardised his men's live with careless talk and hare-brained missions. a b McNaughton, Frank (19 September 1939). Edward T. Leech (ed.). "Roosevelt Deplores German Bombings". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Press Company. United Press. p.8. ISSN 1068-624X . Retrieved 9 September 2015. "There is something phoney about this war," [Senator William E. Borah (R. Idaho) in an interview] told questioners yesterday, explaining that he meant the comparative inactivity on the Western Front. "You would think," he continued, "that Britain and France would do what they are going to do now while Germany and Russia are still busy in the East, instead of waiting until they have cleaned up the eastern business." He did not expect an early end to hostilities.

The book's sub-title "The Phoney Major" and the opening chapter lay out the main theme of the book which is the credit given to David Stirling as the founder and leader of the SAS is mis-placed and not supported by the facts. McIntyre's book which had access to SAS records not previously allowed and which the BBC series follows differs considerably with that assessment. Author Gavin Mortimer however has a considerable advantage in making these claims which is many decades carrying out interviews with WW2 members of the SAS before they died (fully listed in the Appendices) plus his wider research and writing on Britain's "special forces" from inception to the current day. How can I put it politely, but when I delved into David Stirling’s life outside the war and what had been written about him in his two biographies, there’s a lot that he embellished,” says Gavin. A heavily armed patrol of L Detachment, Special Air Service troops in North Africa, 1943. David Stirling assiduously (and disingenuously) took credit for the creation of the service. Image: Wikimedia Commons. Hattersley, Giles (4 March 2007). "Playboy trying to keep the kingdom united". The Times . Retrieved 1 February 2021. Mortimer, Gavin (16 December 2022). "Rogues Heroes: What Prince Harry has in common with the SAS's founder". The Spectator.During the course of his research, however, he read a book he regards as the best memoir of the SAS ever written, Born of the Desert by Malcolm James, who was the SAS wartime medical officer. Stirling was born at his family's ancestral home, Keir House, in the parish of Lecropt, Perthshire on 15 November 1915. He was the son of Brigadier-General Archibald Stirling, of Keir, and Margaret Fraser, daughter of Simon Fraser, the Lord Lovat (a descendant of Charles II). Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat was a first cousin. His paternal grandparents were Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th Baronet and Lady Anna Maria Leslie-Melville. [1]

Imlay, Talbot Charles (2004). "A reassessment of Anglo-French strategy during the Phoney War, 1939–1940". English Historical Review. 119 (481): 333–372. doi: 10.1093/EHR/119.481.333. Stirling lived until old age, receiving a knighthood and plaudits from military forces around the world before his death in 1990. Yet as Mortimer dazzlingly shows, while Stirling was instrumental in selling the SAS to Churchill and senior officers, it was Mayne who really carried the regiment in the early days. Stirling was at best an incompetent soldier and at worst a foolhardy one, who jeopardised his men’s live with careless talk and hare-brained missions. In August 1974, before Stirling was ready to go public with GB75, the pacifist magazine Peace News obtained and published his plans. [25] His biographer Alan Hoe disputed the newspaper's disparaging portrayal of Stirling as a right-wing ' Colonel Blimp'. [26] Undermining trades unionism [ edit ] A very well-read man, who cared very much for the men under his command. It will become clear why he did not receive the Victoria Cross, as many believe he should have been awarded.The term "Phoney War" was probably coined by US Senator William Borah, who, commenting in September1939 on the inactivity on the Western Front, said, "There is something phoney about this war." [4] Inactivity [ edit ] People of Warsaw outside the British Embassy with a banner which says "Long live England!" just after the British declaration of war with Nazi Germany a b c d e f Macintyre, Ben (2016). Rogue Warriors. New York: Crown Publishing Group. pp.48–49, 143–146, 149–154. ISBN 978-1-101-90416-9.

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