The Rigger Operating with the SAS.

Author Rating:
Average User Rating:
  • Author:
    Jack Williams.
    The Security Forces’ campaign against Republican and Loyalist terrorism in Northern Ireland since 1969 has taken many forms. At the heart of all operations has been the need for first class communications. A graphic personal account, the Rigger exposed the extreme risks undertaken by specialist signal operators in order to provide and maintain the essential element. The author, who served alongside the SAS and other covert units, spares no details in describing the dangers, tensions dramas and humour of life at the sharp end. Climbing 400 foot masts is not for the faint hearted at the best of times, but in the middle of bandit country and being sniped at, and in some cases being hit, by IRA gunmen takes a special sort of bravery .

    First of all this book is not about the SAS or any other Special Forces it’s about ordinary bleeps who are undertaking their day to day task in extraordinary conditions. It’s a story of mateship, the type that can only be found in the services, it’s about getting on with life in a life threatening environment where even a spoken word overhead can get you killed. Also it’s about a cold courage that enables men to do their jobs day in and day out under serious threat, not for them the hot rage of a contact and return fire.

    Jack seemed to be an unlikely candidate for the Army let alone a rigger, he seems have most of his childhood in A and E having various bones reset following falls from trees, bikes and often just falls! He was an old sweat by the time he arrived in NI and describes being taken around by a team mate and being shown the ropes, quite literally. The signals team decided it would be better to abseil from the top of towers when under fire rather than monkey climb down. The first attempts caused scrapes and bruises as they discovered that unlike cliffs, towers are not solid and each time they jumped out the got smashed by the inside of the towers. One of Jacks oppos is posted away and a newcomer is shown the ropes, only to drive into an IRA funeral with horrific consequences. Later on three more of the unit are killed by sniper fire.

    Jack recounts coming home from the Mess drunk one evening; his description of the journey home rang bells and the way he talks about this drunk gave me a hangover in sympathy. He tells sad tales, humorous ones and enlightening insights in to how a non sneaky beakey unit managed a covert life in Northern Ireland. I have to say this was a painfully good read and well worth five mushrooms .
Hoverpot and Gout Man like this.

User Comments

To post comments, simply sign up and become a member!
  1. mad_mick
    Plus, how the INF said how brave that was climbing the mast in the dark.... till you looked through a starlight scope and then realised the newly issued civilian Scotchbrite jackets made them look like they were illuminated by a spotlight.
      sirbhp likes this.
    1. Krazy_Ivan
      Are you the Mick who used to beast me around Blandford in 98-99?
      Krazy_Ivan, Oct 1, 2015
  2. Krazy_Ivan
    I read this a few years ago, before going to "the" unit.

    I can't remember any mention of the 24 hour drinking sessions. Or owt about pissed up operators going mental and launching the brick sized Jenga blocks around when some bleep had the temerity to beat them at it....
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Krazy_Ivan
      I didn't mean scaley operators, I meant "operators", you know the ones who thought they were God's gift. ;)
      Krazy_Ivan, Oct 3, 2015
    3. mad_mick
      Aaah, the bow before us before we get back on a heli whilst you do the green army 6 month/2year tour?
      mad_mick, Oct 3, 2015
    4. mad_mick
      To be honest, the only sad posing I ever saw was SBS.
      mad_mick, Oct 3, 2015
  3. mad_mick
    Anyway that will be 2 ordered, one for me and one for the ex-BTLO 8Bde as a crimbo pressie
      sirbhp and Toptotty like this.
  4. mad_mick
    Not read the book ... yet, but I hopes it mentions how as a semi-covert unit it sometimes referred to itself as "Jiff Taxis" as if anybody needed an unplanned fastball run to an airport they seemed to catch the call.
    1. Krazy_Ivan
      Aye, pity the poor bleeps. It was always us who "copped" runs to City or International.
      Krazy_Ivan, Sep 28, 2015