David and Bill Stirling, two Scottish brothers serving in Cairo in the summer of 1941, founded the SAS (Special Air Service), Britain’s elite special forces regiment.
The Stirlings had the notion for a tiny volunteer parachute squad to launch guerrilla operations deep within enemy territory as the British campaign in North Africa was not going well. Although the British Army had in 1940 formed a parachute battalion in the UK (which would become the Parachute Regiment), the SAS was ‘special’ because it was much smaller in size and focused on guerrilla warfare, such as attacking enemy airfields and disrupting their lines of communication. Only active duty military personnel are eligible to join the regular 22SAS Regiment, and only a small percentage of candidates who attempt the infamous “Selection” course succeed. Few people were aware of the SAS for many years following the war.