Lt. Robert Blair Mayne’s abilities as a warrior and commander led to him taking charge of 1SAS after David Stirling’s capture, and he established a rigorous training program to push his men relentlessly.
In December 1941, Lieutenant Robert Blair Mayne led a successful raid with the Special Air Service (SAS) on an Italian airstrip in Libya, destroying 24 aircraft. Mayne’s abilities as a warrior and commander quickly became apparent, and he eventually took command of A Squadron. Mayne was known for his quick thinking and ability to make decisions under pressure, while his superior, David Stirling, was clumsy and incautious. Stirling’s capture by German forces in January 1943 led to Mayne being appointed commander of 1SAS, which was later redesignated as the Special Raiding Squadron. Mayne pushed his men relentlessly during training and was known for his revelry, and he established a comprehensive training program that included instruction in the use of American and Axis weapons, light and heavy machine guns, and other skills.