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The man who dared; SAS FOUNDER TELLS FOR FIRST TIME HOW LEGEND WAS BORN.

Byline: By RICHARD SMITH

THE full story of how the elite SAS was forged from "misfits, rogues and rule breakers" can be revealed for the first time.

The regiment's creator Col David Stirling spoke about it in a filmed interview for a reunion in 1984.

The footage has been locked away - until now. Stirling, with a reputation as a playboy, was a second lieutenant in Egypt in 1941 when he dreamt up the idea while in hospital.

Despite being on crutches, he scaled a fence to break in to HQ and convince a general to back his idea for small raiding groups wreaking destruction behind enemy lines. He was made a captain and recruited a special force of 65.

Stirling said in his interview: "It was a new type of force, developing new methods using maximum guile."

At first, mid-ranking officers denied Stirling's Originals equipment so they stole it and built their own base in Suez. The first official mission in November 1941 went badly during a storm and only 21 of the 65 survived. But they carried on - and night after night Stirling and his men blew up German planes.

In all, they destroyed nearly 400 aircraft plus fuel dumps.

SAS: The Originals begins at 9pm tonight on The History Channel.

TRUE HERO

The son of a brigadier general, 6ft 5in Stirling was thrown out of Cambridge University for gambling. He died in 1990 at 74.

richard.smith@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

1942 Stirling with one of original SAS groups; REUNION: Original SAS members 1984; FILM: Stirling, 1984
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 22, 2008
Words:260
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