David Stirling was an aristocrat, innovator and special forces legend that earned him the nickname 'The Phantom Major'. His formation of the Special Air Service in the summer of 1941 led to a new form of warfare and Stirling is remembered as the father of special forces soldiering. But was he really a military genius or in fact a shameless self-publicist who manipulated people, and the truth?
For his new book 'David Stirling: The Phoney Major' military historian Gavin Mortimer extensively interviewed SAS veterans who fought and worked with him and poured over declassified government files that paint a very different picture of the glittering legacy Stirling has secured.
In this episode, he gives Dan an explosive analysis of Stirling's complex character: the childhood speech impediment that shaped his formative years, the pressure from his overbearing mother, his fraught relationship with his brother, Bill, and the jealousy and inferiority he felt in the presence of his SAS second-in-command, the cold-blooded killer Paddy Mayne.
Produced by Mariana Des Forges
Mixed and Mastered by Dougal Patmore