I first became aware of the Special Air Service Regiment when I was a young sapper serving with 10 Airfield Construction Squadron Royal Engineersduring the emergency in Aden in 1967 - my first operational tour of duty.
The SAS, in 1967, was a secret organization and there were all sorts of rumours flying around about what "The Regiment" was up to. I was intrigued.

It seemed far more exciting than repairing bulldozers, getting coveredin oil and grease all day long.
Little did I know that in less than five years I would be part of this elite unit and facing hundreds of Communist shock troops at the Battle of Mirbat.

I withdrew from Aden in November 1967 on one of the last flights out before the Communist regime took over. Tactical withdrawal they called it. To me it was abject surrender. I also felt I could no longer continue in the Royal Engineers, my enthusiasm for this kind of soldiering had gone.

I made my mind up there and then that when I got back to the UK I would find out more about the SAS and how I could join.
Back in the UK the regimental chief clerk of 10 Field Sqn. explained to me the procedure for applying for SAS Selection. I immediately lodged my application and within a few months found myself on the Brecon Beacons taking part in a series of gruelling Bergen (backpack) marches over very rough terrain.

Mentally and physically I was well prepared because there was no way I was going back to the bullshit and drill that was the Royal Engineers and after three weeks of exhaustive tests I cracked the greatest physical challenge of my life - the Endurance March - forty-six miles across the Brecons with a fifty-five pound Bergen in twenty hours. To pass this final march guaranteed you a place on Continuation Training. This training included weapons and explosives, first aid, resistance to interrogation training and one month in the Far East on jungle training. All with the pressure of knowing that one mistake and you could still end up back in the Engineers.

SUCCESS! The prize was mine. After six months of intense training I became the proud owner of the famous badge and SAS wings. Out of the original 135 runners who had put themselves forward for Selection only 17 made it to the Colonel's office for the presentation of the beret and wings.

I was now badged and posted to 8 Troop, Land Rover Troop, "B" Squadron.
I was pitched straight into squadron life and briefed on an operation that was going to take place in a few months; to retake Dhofar - a province in southern Oman - from Communist insurgents.

My first SAS operation and I was going to get a crack at the regime that humiliated the British Army back in 1967! At the time I was not to know that in less than two years it would all end up with me fighting in the last conclusive battle against Communism that would help to bring down the Berlin Wall seventeen years later.

The Battle of Mirbat, 19th July 1972, was a well planned, determined attack by hundreds of Communist shock troops against nine SAS soldiers - a modern day Rorke's Drift that became famous in military circles but because it was part of a secret war it was a relatively unknown event in the eyes of the public.

Eight years later I was involved in another spectacular "B" Squadron result when we achieved what many considered the impossible - the rescue of the hostages at the Iranian Embassy Siege in May 1980.

For my part, I felt immense personal satisfaction and pride at being involved in two of the greatest SAS Operations of modern times.

Both Operations would live forever in Regimental history.
Both victories had been gained through faultless teamwork, immense physical courage and flexibility in the face of overwhelming odds.
Pete Winner, August 2010

What really happened when the SAS stormed the Iranian Embassy thirty years ago? SAS hero, Soldier 'I', reveals all...

Thirty years ago on 30th April 1980, six terrorists seized the Iranian Embassy in London taking twenty-six civilians hostage. When the SAS were called in to rescue them, among the team was Pete Winner, codenamed Soldier 'I'.

Soldier 'I': The Story of an SAS Hero
By Pete Winner, Foreword by Andy McNab
ISBN 978 1 84603 995 9

30th April, 1980. As SAS trooper Pete Winner prepared for a day of routine shooting practice, six armed Arab revolutionaries entered the Iranian Embassy, opened fire and took twenty-six civilians hostage.

Six tense days later and with one hostage dead, Pete found himself leading a team of soldiers through the maze of smoke-filled Embassy rooms and into the line of fire where, coming face-to-face with one of the "hostages" clutching a grenade, he had to call upon his years of training and experience to make that all-important decision.

Broadcast live around the globe, the Embassy siege was, without doubt one of the most famous hostage situations in modern history and, in turn, proved to be a defining moment for the SAS as it catapulted them directly into the public eye.

But what is it really like to have to make decisions that could change a life or the course of a battle? And how do you survive the inevitable physical and emotional horrors of battle and
then return to normal life once the job is over?

In a captivating and revealing new book, Pete Winner, an SAS soldier for eighteen years, relives not only the dramatic events of April 1980 but also the rest of his rollercoaster career. From the training camps of Hereford to the battle of Mirbat (where Pete was one of just nine SAS fighting 300 heavily armed insurgents), from the streets of Belfast to the icy waters surrounding the Falklands, Soldier 'I' is a frank and provocative account of SAS life – the highs ("the adventure, the danger, the humour, the camaraderie under fire") and the lows ("wringing wet, sleeping rough… senses tormented by seeing bodies ripped apart and blown limb from limb, ears seeming to be ringing permanently with some voice screaming "I'm hit… and any moment it could be your turn next").

It is also the story of Pete's personal struggle to keep his demons in check. Flogged for assault, demoted, admitted to a psychiatric hospital and finally banned from the SAS altogether, his experience is indicative of the tremendous toll the role of soldier can have on "normal" life
and, in writing Soldier 'I', Pete highlights the dreadful effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that are faced by so many Special Force veterans, including many soldiers currently returning from Iraq and theconflict in Afghanistan.

"When we're no longer soldiers, no longer fighting wars or training for wars, some of us find we can't live any other way of life."

Luckily for Pete, he has built a successful career in private security and bodyguarding, roles that have taken him around the world and have given him little time to think. Unlike many others, Pete has come through unscathed. He has survived.

Highly readable and written with a breathtaking take-no-prisoners attitude, Soldier 'I' is a provocative and awe-inspiring book that goesbeyond the frontline to the battles that are played out in the minds ofsoldiers around the world. It is, without doubt, the story of a hero and a survivor.


1965  Joins Royal Engineers

1967  First operational tour to Aden during the "Emergency" Withdrawal from Aden Nov 1967

1968  Posted to RAF Sharjah

1970  Passes SAS Selection and is badged!! Sent to Eight Troop - B Sqn.

1971  First operational tour of duty with the SAS - Operation Jaguar, Dhofar War, Oman 19 Jul 1972

1972  Battle of Mirbat

1974  First posting to Northern Ireland

1978  Hong Kong - training Special Duties Unit of the Royal Hong Kong Police Arrested and sentenced to 6 strokes of the cane under Hong Kong's former judicial corporal punishment law

1980  Passes Selection again and returns to The Regiment having previously been RTU'd Sent to Six Troop - B Sqn. on 30th April.

1980  5th May, Iranian Embassy Siege

1982  Falklands War

1984  Sent to Ward 11, British Army Psychiatric Unit, Royal Hospital, Woolwich

1985  Instructor for the Counter-Revolutionary Warfare Wing

1987  Retires from the Special Air Service Regiment






Pete Winner is a highly qualified instructor in Intensive Surveillance Techniques, Close Quarter Combat and Counter Revolutionary Warfare Techniques.

He also speaks colloquial Arabic and Malay and is a NBC Warfare Instructor with extensive experience in Counter Revolutionary Warfare training having instructed some of the premier Counter Terrorist Teams around the world such as GSG9 of Germany and the Delta Force of the USA.

He trained Her Majesty's Royal Protection Team at Hereford and also HRH Prince Charles in anti-ambush drills [car]. He has delivered training to the Sultan of Oman's Special Forces and the Special Duties Unit of Hong Kong. Various other Police Forces around the world have also been trained by him in Anti Hijack Tactics.

Pete was also part of the training team that trained both Chris Ryan and Andy McNab with all the other members of the heroic Bravo Two Zero team.