The U.K.’s Special Air Service needs no introduction to anyone remotely interested in Military History. However, there is much more to learn about this Elite unit when you trace its existence and influence across the once worldwide British Empire. Much of the power of the British influence derived from their colonies and stock of available military recruits. Even today, Australia and New Zealand have kept the title of the SAS for their Elite units.

After the end of WW 2, the British government saw no further use for the Unit and disbanded it in October of 1945. Within a year of that decision, a reversal was made and they resurrected the SAS from their Territorial soldiers and continued training for future conflicts on the horizon. In 1950, Britain committed to help the U.N. stop the aggression of Communism on the Korean Peninsula. After 3 months of preparation, 21 SAS was given orders to Korea. During this same time period, another problem arose in a British administered country, Mayala, that suited the Units capabilities.

In 1948, Communist Guerrillas began attacking British infrastructure and challenging their rule. These insurgents were a reconstituted arm of the British trained units to fight Japanese occupiers in WW 2. The terrain and tactics of the opposition were difficult to counter with the conventional forces in country. Sabotage and hit and run operations began against the transportation system as well as the lucrative rubber plantations vital to Britain. They came from the impenetrable jungle and disappeared back into it.

The British had learned many valuable lessons in jungle warfare fighting the Japanese in South East Asia. This training and experience still lived on in the commanders of the Malayan detachment. With forces being committed to the Korean conflict and the need of manpower worldwide, it was decided to make a recruiting drive for men across the Colonial Empire to try out for the SAS. Troops were raised to fill ‘A’ squadron and ‘B’ squadron, mainly from British Territorials who were experienced and geared up for war time deployment to Korea.

The men immediately set up headquarters for the ‘Malayan Scouts’ whose primary mission would be reconnaissance and interdiction of the Communist Terrorists ( called CT’s ) along their known supply routes. It was a steep learning curve for the two squadrons with jungle illnesses taking a brutal toll.

In 1951, Major ‘Mad Mike’ Calvert who was the commanding officer of the expedition decided to take a trip to the far away African colony of Rhodesia. Rhodesia had contributed greatly in proportion to their population in WW 2 and a few had served in the SAS. Those lads who had felt that they had missed their chance to fight for the Crown due to their youth during the war applied in droves. It caused quite a stir and they cut the applications off at 1000. From those 1000 applicants, they were carefully screened and 100 men were chosen to be a part of the Malayan Scouts and the rebirthed SAS.

Once they were chosen they were trained by two Rhodesian veterans of WW 2, Lt. Peter Walls and Lt. Ron Campbell-Morrison. Both were combat experienced and were expected to be replaced by a British commander once in country. With great fanfare and a crowd of 3000 people in Salisbury, the 100 were sent off to war. Upon arrival in the harsh jungle environment, they were faced with the reality of a hard bitten counter insurgency campaign. Their reception was none too friendly and the men of A Squadron made an impression on the young men. Being highly motivated and unspoiled they remained hearty and willing to get on with the mission at hand.

As a small, self-contained and isolated unit is sometimes prone to, there were disciplinary problems amongst the A squadron. While the Rhodesians did a six week work up, discipline was restored amongst the others and several men were sent packing. The Rhodesians would be C squadron, the unit designation that would stick with them far into the future. Also, a change of events would gear a certain individual for a larger epoch in history. After the training course in country, it was decided that the Rhodesians would not be split up nor have a British commander. Peter Walls would command C Squadron for the duration. Lt. Walls would later become the Combined Operations Commander for the Rhodesian Army during the Bush War.