SAS War Diary to break cover at the the Royal Armouries, Leeds - Friday, 4 November 2011
The SAS War Diary – published to mark the 70th anniversary of the Special Air Service – makes its first public appearance on November 10 and 11 at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.
SAS historian and author of “The Originals”, Gordon Stevens, will deliver a fascinating lecture into the diary’s history and its unique insight into the crack regiment’s birth, development and secrets.
The event – which follows unprecedented interest in the diary’s launch triggering orders from all over the globe – will allow museum visitors to leaf through the publication, billed as one of the most astonishing manuscripts to emerge from the Second World War.
Publisher Martin Morgan will introduce Gordon Stevens to Leeds’ audiences at a lecture at 7pm on November 10, followed by a chance to see and handle some of the Royal Armouries’ collection of Second World War weapons.
Martin Morgan said, “The story behind the diary’s publication is truly remarkable. In early 1946, a former SAS soldier tasked himself with one final mission. The SAS had been disbanded and there were no plans to resurrect it. The soldier’s self-appointed mission was simple: to find and preserve whatever documentation he could before the SAS was forgotten and its story lost for ever.
“The soldier tracked down the Top Secret order authorising the first ever SAS operation; he sought out photographs of the original members of 1 SAS, including men lost on that first operation; he somehow acquired the after-action reports from the few who survived.
“Then with more photographs, operational orders and reports (all Top Secret), and a handful of newspaper articles from Britain and even America, he traced the story of the SAS through North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France, on to the drive through Europe for Berlin, until the final march past when the SAS was stood down.”
Martin added that by the end of his mission the soldier had produced something unique – the first-ever history of the SAS, collated by one of their own men. He then locked it away for half a century until – shortly before his death – he visited the SAS Regimental Association and gave it to them.
Tickets for the November 10 event, which includes a reception, are priced at £5. A percentage will be donated to the SAS Regimental Association.
Tickets can be bought from the Royal Armouries shop website or contact James Walker on 0113 220 1888.
For more details about the diary, please visit www.sasdiary.co.uk
Copies of the diary – weighing 25lbs and bound in leather – will be on display. Prices start at £975.
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Notes to editors
- Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour and has sites in Leeds, HM Tower of London, Fort Nelson and Louisville, Kentucky. It is the first British national museum to open a permanent presence in another country
- Admission to the museum is free. However, there may be a small charge for some special events.
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- Information Line: 0113 220 1999
- Website: www.royalarmouries.org
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