SAS forced to take out job advert as elite regiment battles recruitment crisis


Numbers have been affected by a drop in the overall size of the Armed Services and a shortage of troops with combat experience

SAS boses are now taking out job adverts as they struggle with a recruitment crisis(Image: MoD/Crown copyright 2017)

SAS bosses have resorted to taking out a job advert as they battle to deal with a recruitment crisis.

An unprecedented call for volunteers to serve as “special forces communicators” has been made in Soldier, the Army’s magazine.

The move follows the disclosure of a struggle to find new members of the SAS, SBS, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group.

SAS soldier in full military combat uniform

Numbers have been hit by a fall in the overall size of the Armed Services and a shortage of troops with combat experience.

Coupled with that has been a relentless increase in the demands placed on special forces units.

The toll of non-stop training and deployment, known as “the wheel of death”, has made joining the SAS less attractive

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The toll they face of non-stop training and deployment, known as “the wheel of death”, has made joining them less attractive. Last night one source admitted: “The talent pool has dwindled.”

The ad in Soldier says: “The Special Forces Communicator is selected for their technical acumen, tactical abilities and physical robustness to deliver and enable information where needed.”

SAS undercover sniper

Successful applicants will be a member of a “trade of trades” and will be entitled to additional special forces pay.

Anyone volunteering must pass a six-month course similar to parts of SAS selection. Recruits do a month of arduous physical training in the Brecon Beacons but get slightly more time to complete tests.

They are then screened for their aptitude for specialist communications and, like all other SAS candidates, must pass courses in conduct after capture, close-quarter battle and elite parachute training.

One source said: “The SFC are very highly rated guys. They go everywhere and do everything the SAS do. They have to be fit and robust.

The SAS was made famous by the Iranian Embassy siege in May 1980(Image: Press Association)

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“They are not members of the SAS but they are attached to it. They have their own badge and motto ‘Colloquendo Imperamus’ which effectively means ‘Command through Communications’.”

The SFCs’ emblem features a sword with Roman numerals and three signal flashes.

The advert in Soldier follows the revelation that special forces troop numbers are seen as “worryingly” low.

Both the SAS and the SBS should have a strength of around 400 to 450 men and need to recruit 20 to 30 a year each, with the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines traditionally supplying the bulk.

Selection courses are run twice a year for up to 120 candidates and usually have a pass rate of around 10 per cent.

But sources said the last two courses have produced far fewer new recruits.

One said: “Ten years ago there were over 100,00 soldiers, whereas today there are 75,000.

A lot of the guys who had combat experience have either left or are too far into their careers to want to undertake SAS selection.

“And the demands on the SAS are so huge many leave to save their marriages.”

Sandhurst’s millions from tyrant states EXCLUSIVE: by Alan Selby

Army bosses pocketed £4.5million in a year from training recruits from regimes with questionable human rights records at Sandhurst military academy.

Some 55 cadets came to the renowned establishment in 2018 from such states.

Bahrain, which is accused of engaging in systematic torture, extra-judicial killing and enforced disappearances, sent five cadets to the Berkshire academy once attended by Princes William and Harry.

Another 25 were sent by the UAE, Oman and Qatar, which between them are accused of infringements including torture, illegal detentions and silencing political opponents.

With many thanks to the: Daily Mirror and Sean for the original story

The Troubles: Legality of Army ‘amnesties’ questioned

There have been calls for a statute of limitations on prosecutions of soldiers who served in the North of Ireland

Any statute of limitations for Troubles-era prosecutions could breach the UK’s international legal obligations, MPs have been told.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee was discussing legacy issues on Wednesday.

It heard from two Queen’s university law professors as well as the Committee for the Administration of justice.

There have been calls for a statute of limitations on prosecutions of soldiers who served in Northern Ireland.

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Prof Louise Mallinder told the committee she was concerned that such proposals would not be compatible with the UK’s international legal requirements and would not be supportive of the peace process.

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“We don’t think that international law necessarily requires prosecutions in all instances, we think there is space for flexibility around how one deals with the past,” she said.

“We think nonetheless under the European Convention on Human Rights there is a clear obligation for effective investigations of serious human rights violations.

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“Where a statute of limitations might conflict with those obligations would be where it creates an obstacle to effective investigations being held.”

Prof Louise Mallinder was appearing before the NIAC Norh of Ireland Affairs Committee

Prof Mallinder said there had not been much clarity over what a statute of limitations would look like, but that the best indication had been the most recent Defence Committee report which talked about a qualified statute of limitations.

The qualifications would only apply to cases that had already been investigated and would not prevent new investigations and possible prosecutions where there was compelling new evidence.

However, she said there had been repeated concerns expressed by the courts and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary about how effective investigations had been into allegations from the past, particularly in cases involving the armed forces.

‘Turned over’ by the Army?
“The question would be how would the idea of repeat investigations be treated and if it was treated in a way to prevent any of those cases being reviewed that’s when the statute of limitations would begin to resemble an amnesty, where it would begin to resemble impunity for state actors,” she said.

“That would be deeply damaging in Northern Ireland and would undermine the Stormont House proposals and I think would be damaging to Britain’s reputation in the world.”

Bob Stewart said solders didn’t feel the military were on their side during Troubles-era investigations

Conservative MP Bob Stewart, who served in Northern Ireland as a soldier, said: “I was never involved in a fatality shooting before 1973, but I do know thereafter we were really turned over.

“To us, it didn’t seem like the military or indeed the Royal Ulster Constabulary were on our side if you were on the receiving end of one of these investigations.”

Kieran McEvoy, another law professor from Queen’s University, told the committee there was a great risk in judging the quality of past investigations using the benefit of hindsight.

“The reality of the numbers of murders that people were dealing with – you had teams of detectives investigating a murder and then they’re moved to a another murder within a couple of days, that’s the human reality of it,” he said.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the original story

Watch “Old Scores – Bobby Sands Documentary 1983” on YouTube

When Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in May 1979, Martin McGuinness promised her a ‘long, hot summer’…

The IRA chief of staff had already identified his target: Lord Mountbatten

But a new book suggests the threat to the 70-year-old earl was well-known and key flaws in his security handed his killers their opportunity

Martin McGuinness, former IRA commander who would go on to become Deputy First Minister
Forty years ago today, Martin McGuinness, chief of staff of the IRA since 1978, was on the verge of realising the ambition he had vowed to fulfil when he took command. He had set his sights, he told the army council and GHQ staff, on creating “a liberated zone along the border.”

On August 27, 1979, he proved his aim was true when the IRA murdered Lord Louis Mountbatten off the west coast of Ireland at Mullaghmore in Co Sligo, just across the border from Northern Ireland.

Later that same day, 18 soldiers, the majority from the Parachute Regiment, were murdered by the IRA at Warrenpoint. A civilian also died after soldiers opened fire, believing he was one of the terror gang.

The bomb was detonated from the Republic on the other side of Carlingford Lough.

McGuinness had added an east/west dimension to his highly successful north/south border strategy.

With many thanks to the: Belfast Telegraph for the original story 


Mountbatten anniversary Service held to mark IRA assassination

John Maxwell and Mary Hornsey lay a wreath in memory of their son, Paul Image Caption John Maxwell

Services have been held to mark the 40th anniversary of two IRA attacks in Mullaghmore and Narrow Water.

On 27 August 1979, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Queen’s second cousin, and three others were killed after a bomb exploded on his fishing boat in County Sligo.

A few hours later, two IRA bombs went off at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint in County Down, killing 18 soldiers.

It was the highest death toll suffered by the Army on a single day in NI.

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In a statement at the time, the IRA said the killing of Lord Mountbatten was “one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country”.

His 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull, and 15-year-old Paul Maxwell, a local boy who was working as a boatman, died when the boat exploded.

Another passenger, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, died the following day.

Paul Maxwell’s mother and father were among those who gathered for an outdoor service on Tuesday.

Lord Louis Mountbatten Image copyright PA
Double DVD featuring over five hours SEARCHING FOR THE CUNT Lord Louis Mountbatten was murdered when the IRA blew up his fishing boat

It was held on a clifftop overlooking the scene of the attack, and began with a minute’s silence.

Paul Maxwell’s mother, Mary Hornsey, said it was “absolutely wonderful that the community came out today”.

“It has helped us enormously because I feel that in the service there was love and support for our family, and we appreciate that,” she said.

Mary Hornsey Paul Maxwell’s mother

Mary Hornsey, said it was “absolutely wonderful” her family had been supported by the community

“I feel really privileged to be here, with all of these people.”

John Maxwell, Paul’s father, said it was “a great thing that so many people took the trouble to turn out”.

Lord Mountbatten, who was 79 years old when he was killed, had traditionally spent summer holidays at Classiebawn Castle near Mullaghmore.

Soldiers targeted
As the news of Lord Mountbatten’s death spread in 1979, the first of two bombs exploded in County Down.

It had been planted under hay on a lorry at the side of the road. When it exploded it killed six soldiers who had been travelling past in a four-ton lorry.

Veterans gathered at the roadside at Narrow Water Image copyright Niall Carson/PA gathered to remember the 18 soldiers murdered by two IRA bombs

As the injured were airlifted from the scene, a second device detonated, killing 12 more soldiers who had been taking cover in a nearby gatehouse.

A short time later, a local civilian, 28-year-old Michael Hudson was found dead nearby. He had been killed by Army gunfire.

Peter McHugh, who was involved in the recovery of Lord Mountbatten’s body, said while there had not been formal anniversary events each year, the bombing was “hugely significant” for people locally.

‘A time when horror visited this coastline’
Video caption ‘A time when horror visited this coastline’
“Time has moved on; it’s 40 years now, there is a huge distance time-wise between what happened, dreadful and all as it was.

“So it’s nice to see that the family is all here.”

At Narrow Water, the names of all those who died were read out and the Last Post was sounded.

Gathered at the scene were the families and friends of those killed and soldiers.

Among them was General Sir Michael Jackson, who had been a major in the Parachute Regiment at the time of the bombing.

Wreaths were laid at the scene.

What were the Troubles?
The conflict in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles lasted almost 30 years and cost the lives of more than 3,500 people.

In August 1969, the UK government sent troops to impose control.

The conflict in Northern Ireland, which has killed thousands, has political and religious roots that are centuries old.

Some people in Northern Ireland, especially the mainly Protestant Unionist community, believe it should remain part of the United Kingdom.

Others, particularly the mainly Catholic Nationalist community, believe it should leave the UK and become part of the Republic of Ireland.

With many thanks to: BBC NI for the original story 

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