World War Two British Special Air Service “Desert Rats”

A number of “private armies” formed by by orders of different high ranking military figures abounded in British forces in World War Two. Most were consolidated or abolished at the end of the war. An exception was the elite commando group known as the Special Air Service or SAS.   This group is similar to the Delta Force of the US Army. The SAS performed some spectacular feats in World War Two including daring behind the lines sabotage against Rommel’s Afrika Korps.


sas colonel stirling

18 January 1943 British Special Air Service in North Africa during World War Two. A close-up of a heavily armed patrol of ‘L’ Detachment SAS in their Jeeps, just back from a three month patrol. The crews of the jeeps are all wearing ‘Arab-style’ headdress, as copied from the Long Range Desert Group.  They are being greeted by its commander, Colonel David Stirling, on its return from the desert.


sas north africa

Two members of 1 SAS , Captain D C Mather MC, Welsh Guards and Captain G Alston, Royal Artillery (nearest camera) in a heavily loaded jeep