Special Raiding Squadron
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The Special Air Service (SAS) has its origins in the North African desert. It was formed in 1941 to undertake small-scale raids behind enemy lines. Many of its men were drawn from Commando units in the Middle East including Nos. 7, 8 and 11 and also operated under the title L Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade. A brigade was usually made up of around 5,000 men, so this name was a fiction designed to deceive the enemy.
On the 28th June 1940 Captain J.F. Durnford-Slater was appointed Lieut. Colonel and ordered to raise and command No 3 Commando after volunteering for Special Service whilst Adjutant of the 23rd Medium and Heavy Training Regt., RA.
Lance Sergeant William McNinch died during operations at Termoli Italy with the Special Raiding Squadron having left the Commando. A veteran of the Litani River raid he died when a shell hit the truck that he was sitting in. He was awarded the Military Medal in recognition of distinguished service during operations on the day before his death.
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