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How Ranulph Fiennes cashed in on the 'murder' of SAS heroes


Army.ca Dinosaur
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From 2010, but probably a good reminder of how not to cash in on a tragedy... if at all:

Fiennes, not so fine ๐Ÿ˜Š

How Ranulph Fiennes cashed in on the 'murder' of SAS heroes

A gripping 'true' book by the great explorer tells how a sheik sent assassins to kill four SAS soldiers. As it's made into a film, there's just one question: is it all bunkum?

The barren Brecon Beacons in Wales were at their winter worst.

Hurricane-force winds whipped up the snow and freezing rain to a deadly chill factor of minus 50c. Visibility was down to a few yards.

But these were not conditions to halt the SAS.

A notoriously tough endurance test known as the Long March was under way for would-be recruits to the elite regiment - a 41-mile mountain slog in full kit and laden pack, to be completed in less than 17 hours.

Fighting their way through the blizzard, one team - a corporal and captain - could just make out ahead of them what they mistook for a rock protruding from the blanket of snow.

As they got closer, they saw it was the hunched figure of a soldier who had set out before them. He was unconscious, barely alive, his pulse flickering and faint.

They manoeuvred him into a survival bag, and, while the captain went for help, the corporal climbed in beside the frozen man, using his body heat in a bid to revive him.

It was to no avail. When Major Mike Kealy DSO was finally brought off the mountain 19 hours later, he was dead.

His death in 1979 stunned the hardened men of the regiment.

Kealy was a legend after his courage six years earlier in a clandestine war against communist insurgents in the desert kingdom of Oman.

At the battle of Mirbat, he and eight other SAS men fought off an attack by several hundred guerillas, killing up to 80 of them.

Years later, as newly appointed commander of his own SAS squadron, to prove to his men - and himself - that he was as fit as the best of them, he had opted to go on the endurance march.

But alone on the mountain, exhaustion and exposure had got the better of the 33-year-old.

In a white-out worse than anyone could remember, he had ploughed on when others sought shelter. Hypothermia fuddled his brain and judgment.

His young widow, Maggi, was devastated, all the more so because she was the mother of five-week-old twins and a toddler of three. She had no stomach for the inquest, at which his death was ruled an accident.

Nor did she have any idea how, a dozen years later, her husband's death would be dramatically - and, in her view, unfairly - reinterpreted by a man many saw as one of Britain's modern-day heroes, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

In 1991, Fiennes - Old Etonian, ex-military, adventurer, polar trekker and author - published his ninth book.

The Feather Men caused a sensation because it laid out in compelling detail an extraordinary, but faintly plausible conspiracy theory surrounding men of the SAS murdered by hitmen working for an Arab.