Check this out. Sir Ranulph Fiennes tells it like it is

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by accidentalscaley, Feb 9, 2008.

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  1. It happened to me: Sir Ranulph Fiennes

    The celebrated explorer recalls the military career that fuelled his thirst for adventure, but left him longing for more

    "As I grew up, there was only one thing I wanted to do – follow in my late father’s footsteps by commanding the Royal Scots Greys. When I got to school I knew I needed two A-levels to get to Sandhurst, but just couldn’t get them. This was a real blow, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I had to go to Mons Officer Cadet School – which was for people who wanted to be officers but couldn’t make Sandhurst.

    In February 1963, I finally made my way to Germany to join the Royal Scots Greys. I loved the Regiment, but I hated tank training, so in 1965, when I spotted a three-line ad for a secondment in the 22nd Special Air Service, I went for it. Back then it was a little-known but elite regiment.

    There were 124 would-be troopers and 12 other officers hoping to make it through the first three weeks of tough selection courses. You’d done very well if you made it to Long Drag – a 45-mile cross-country hike carrying a 50-pound pack, 12-pound belt and 18-pound rifle without a sling. Most people out of 100 will have been out by then.

    When it came around, there were just four officers left, and I was with one other hopeful officer-type, Captain Fleming. You’re not really meant to be with anyone else, but we were walking quite close to each other.

    About 10 miles into it with bad weather we realised we might not make it in time. We decided that we were very good SAS material and that it was stupid to be thrown out just because we couldn’t do one hike quick enough. So we decided to speed up by taking a taxi.

    We found a Welsh farmer with a Ford Anglia and for five quid he agreed to spend the next 14 hours taking us to remote areas where we would sit with binoculars waiting for the person we knew was just ahead of us to reach the checkpoint – it would have looked ridiculous if we turned up ahead of him. In the end, we walked far further than if we had just stuck to the straight line on the map. Now, I passed but Captain Fleming didn’t. The SAS never tell you why they chuck people.

    The training that followed was very testing, but I was one of the few that made it through. I felt great when I was given my SAS beret and my badges, but not for long. In the words of my CO ‘pride came before a bloody great fall’.

    That summer, I was due to fly out to Borneo for training, but the week before, a schoolfriend of mine told me about his plans to wreck a big concrete sandbag dam at Castle Combe – it was a very pretty village, and 21st Century Fox wanted to muck it up to film Dr Doolittle .

    So my friend decided that the night before Rex Harrison turned up to film, he would destroy the dam as a protest on behalf of the villagers.

    I’d been doing an explosives course, and had become very good at blowing things up with minimum explosives. At the end of each day I decided not to hand back what I felt I had sort of ‘earned’. I thought it might come in useful. So, for two months my car was growing ever more full of explosives. I was asked to create a diversion, which I did, using incendiaries.

    However, the police had been tipped off and, despite using my recently-acquired knowledge of escaping police canines by plunging up to my nose in a stream, they caught up with me in the car park. I was intensely relieved to be handed a £500 fine rather than a jail sentence, but I was immediately expelled from the SAS.

    I realised that I would no longer achieve my dearest wish, for the Royal Scots Greys might not want a convicted arsonist for their commanding officer."
  2. Presume you are reading 'Mad Bad and Dangerous to Know' ...the man is a total nutscase, he went up the North Face of the Eiger last year and at 63 he is going up Everest again in March.
  3. His autobiogaphy is well worth reading
  4. And his crime fiction, e.g. The Sett. Hard-boiled, no-nonsense military style of writing. Is there anything this man can't do?
  5. Find good fitting gloves.... he chopped off some of the frostbitten bits himself in his garden shed - I SH!T YOU NOT!

    But it might have been his toes, in which case replace 'gloves' for 'socks' in the above... :roll:

  6. Pick his nose with his toes????
  7. Count to 10 on his fingers!
  8. Great minds!
  9. What's his politics? Touch of the Freddie Forsyths? I doubt he's a socialist - all that rugged individualism - but someone claimed he's a UKIP frother, which would be a shame.
  10. This was all covered on Top Gear, in half the time too ;)
  11. Didnt like tank training! Fcuking Girl.
  12. He suffered and attack of Nimby-ism a few years back. Protesting that his land shouldnt come under the right to roam thingy, odd for the greatest living explorer, no?,,2102624,00.html

    Mind you I wouldnt want the Ramblers club in me yard either.
  13. To make ends meet I was doing a bit of courier work and one day had to deliver a parcel to his house/farm.

    Out I jump, back of the van, find the parcel, turn around and there's a pack of snarling huskies bearing down on me, descretion being the better part of valour I jumped in the back of the van. It was a self locking security device type lock. Much embaressment trying to force the doors open wide enough to feed the key through so I could be let out.... :oops:
  14. I drove past Madonna's country pile not long ago with some locals. God is she hated. Even the children - well brought up youngsters - were bad-mouthing her, claiming she tried to get the local aerodrome shut down in case planes buzzed her estate, while the ladies told stories of her being rude to hairdressers in Shaftsbury.
  15. 18 pound rifle hey?