Charlie 'Terminal' Moraine is a former special forces soldier who served in the legendary (especially since it's now defunct, along with most of the legendary British Army regiments) 53 Assault Reconnaisance Squadron in some of the world's hot spots (well they were hotspots if you were a special forces operative anyway) including Northern Ireland, Oman, Columbia at the height of the drugs war, and Chelmsley Wood in the West Midlands.
As a prelude to his regular column, his former commanding officer when he was a mere private in the 8th Royal Calthrops (Prince George's Very Own) gives this glowing eulogy.
"Reader. Whilst I sit here at home in my study, my two dogs, Thorneycroft and Sminky plying me with the kind of obsequeious reverence that's been on distinctly short rations since my retirement, I like to ponder the position this country might hold in the world today, were it not for the contribution made by 53 Assault Recconaisance Squadron since its inception in the last War. With better schools and hospitals, perhaps, but I am not going to pander to the ghastly bleating of the inner city by conceding this or otherwise denigrating the achievements the Squadron have made in allowing successive British Governments to pursue their foreign policy aims. Not to mention the fear and respect which 53 Assault Recconaisance Squadron, the SAS and other special forces units engender in other, lesser Nations, lacking the backbone and spunk that the author of this book embodies.
The special forces soldier is thought to have evolved from his progenitor, homo substantia legendaro, a species not dissimilar to homo sapiens sapiens, though with distinctly underdeveloped regions of the brain which deal with the sensation of pain and sense of fear, in the latter stages of the last ice age. During this time he migrated northwards, following the retreating ice cap. It is thought that he did this in order to maintain his more familiar environment of extreme hardship. In so doing he came into contact with homo sapiens sapiens and inflicted particularly severe losses on its menfolk, way out of proportion to his numerical strength, cut off and appropriated its food supply, became particularly adept in the arts of weapon handling, those being largely carved from bone, flint etc, and stole all the women.
The modern descendants of this formidable species have found their way into 53 Assault Reconnaisance Squadron as the unit developed during World War Two, and the subsequent decline of the British Empire, reaching its pinnacle with TV programmes such as Survival Course, Urban Self defence Essentials and of course Good Effort: Can You Take The Pain?, where common-or-garden folk who have the temerity to move in non-military circles are invited to better themselves by undertaking a modified version of the Squadron's selection process. Along with his seminal work, The Sand Shall Not Have Us: the True Story of Sigma Patrol, Sergeant Moraine has forged an immediately recognisable brand name for himself in the clandestine, anonymous world of special forces memoir publishing, and it is with great pride that he should see this bolstered with further endorsement from myself.
This book is not for the fey of heart, one which I should be anxious to obscure from the line of sight of one's wife or servants; exploits are described graphically, but wholly accurately, as only twenty or thirty years of lapsed time and an eye on a TV deal can inspire. The law is laid down to those who have had the audacity to circumvent, frustrate, belittle, or obstruct the Queen's writ regardless of whether it applies in their land or not, and for some reason fail to embrace the benevolent beams of rose-pink light shone upon the greater part of the great continents, ranges, deserts, forests, jungles, islands, cities and settlements of this globe over the last few centuries.
For those of you thumbing throgh these pages, perhaps in your school or university bookshop, having already decided to cut out altogether a commission in the cavalry or guards, and pursue a career either in diplomacy, the civil service or plantation management, immediately upon graduating, I should say 'Stop! Listen in!' Why not consider the army? It's a tough life, granted, but nothing which a little Pond's Cold Cream and some sterile swabs can't alleviate, and I should hope that the escapades most dashingly recounted within these pages will act further to influence your decision.
For those of you still in prep school who have not yet been sent away, you may wish to consider joining your local branch of cadets; simpy ask nanny to find out where it is located and telephone them post-haste. And those of you who have not passed your eleven plus, fear not, there is a place even for you in the army; remember Sergeant Moraine only passed his by a whisker, and look at the heights he attained.
In summation, I am sure that you will enjoy this book, I know I did, it reminded me of my days in the Squadron in the 1950s, only we hadn't cottoned on to the idea of writing a book about our exploits and selling it by the four-tonner load. Bugger
Brigadier-General Sir Alun Thomson-Foals, DSO (Bar), MC, OBE, BDO Stoy Hayward.
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