Who Dares Wins Star Was Basra Captive
One of the ex-special-forces soldiers featured in Channel 4's SAS: Who Dares Wins was the center of a dramatic rescue in Iraq, it has been revealed. 
Colin Maclachlan, a sergeant in the 22nd Special Air Service (SAS) was arrested by Iraqi police in Basra on September 19th, 2005. Maclachlan and another SAS soldier were returning from dropping off 2 MI6 agents at the Kuwaiti border when their vehicle broke down on a remote road. They subsequently hijacked a taxi and drove it towards their base at Basra palace. However, they were stopped at a checkpoint by Iraqi police. There were suspicions at that time that the police infiltrated by local militia. As the police tried to capture the 2 SAS soldiers, a brief fire fight ensued and an Iraqi policeman was killed. The 2 men were eventually arrested and taken to a nearby police station.
While in custody, the men underwent mock executions. Photographs of the 2 SAS soldiers, bandaged and handcuffed, were released to the media, as were pictures of the men's weapons.
Concerned with their missing men, local SAS commanders organized a quick reaction force (QRF) which included Warrior IFV armoured vehicles and infantry. Intelligence from surveillance drones identified the building where the 2 SAS men were being held and the QRF was mobilized. A crowd of angry locals had gathered outside the police station. The British vehicles were attacked with petrol bombs, injuring a number of soldiers, and causing them to withdraw.
Not long after that, the Warriors returned, this time carrying SAS soldiers. The Warriors broke through the police station compound walls and the SAS stormed the buildings and successfully extracted their comrades.
It later transpired that the rescue mission had been ordered by SAS commanders in Basra without authorisation by superiors, who had previously denied permission for the raid. Given a fait accompli and to save face, the Army brass retrospectively green-lighted the operation.
Maclachlan had served with 22 SAS in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. In 2000 he took part in Operation Barras, which, ironically enough, was a mission to rescue British soldiers captured by rebels in Sierra Leone. He subsequently left the Regiment to pursue another career.
In related news, it has been reported that Maclachlan and other former United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) operatives featured in SAS:Who Dares Wins face being shunned by the units in which they once served. Due to the secretive nature of their trade, there has always been an unofficial code of silence that former SAS and Special Boat Service (SBS) were expected to respect. A rash of memoirs by ex-SAS soldiers - notably Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNabb and the One That Got Away by Chris Ryan - proved massively popular when they were published following the 1991 Gulf War. For breaking the code of silence, authors like McNabb and Ryan have been given the status of persona non grata (PNG), meaning they are not welcome at social functions - such as reunions - held by their former regiments.
The MoD eventually changed the rules so that anyone joining a UKSF unit would have to sign a legally-binding non-disclosure contract. It is not thought that the ex-UKSF men appearing in the Channel 4 reality show will be in trouble for breaching their contracts since the show has official MoD backing.
SAS: Who Dares Wins airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 4.
More info / further reading:
- 1. SAS TV star reveals he was rescued from Saddam thugs after army mutiny
- 2. SAS defied MoD to rescue two of its men held hostage in Iraq as top commanders 'prepared to quit' over ban on mission
- 3. SAS hero was rescued as he was about to be shot
(Edinburgh Evening News)