The Military Man
A Spirit forged in the heart of battle
Even in a distinguished and promising military career, Sir Ranulph Fiennes stood out. He was full of courage, eternally brave, willing to go places others viewed nervously.
But he also had convictions. Ideas. And a cheeky character that could easily get him into trouble. That spirit of adventure was burning bright within.
Sir Ranulph might not have had the marks to get into Sandhurst, but he was able to secure a commission to the Royal Scots Greys - his father’s old regiment - by attending another academy, the Mons Officer Cadet School, in Aldershot, the home of the British Army. He served with the tank regiment during the Cold War and was then seconded to the elite fighting unit, the Special Air Service (SAS), in 1965 as the youngest captain in the British Army.
His specialism - demolitions - would soon get him into trouble with his new army leaders. Using explosives accumulated from training leftovers, Sir Ranulph attempted to demolish a dam built by 20th Century Fox for the production of the film Doctor Doolittle in the Wiltshire village of Castle Combe, reputedly the prettiest village in England. Caught out, he was discharged from the SAS.
The military career did not end there, though - in fact, the spirit of adventure was about to be set alight by time in the Middle East. Sir Ranulph spent the last two years of his service seconded to the army of the Sultan of Oman, fighting a rising communist insurgency supported by neighbouring South Yemen. He commanded the Reconnaissance Platoon of the Muscat Regiment and saw extensive active service in the Dhofar Rebellion, leading raids deep into rebel-held territory. He was eventually decorated for bravery by the Sultanate.
The military - that life-long dream and the family business - had stirred something deep within Sir Ranulph Fiennes. He wanted more from life, something with less following orders and more pushing the boundaries and stirring the pot. The spirit of adventure was burning bright after his commission in Oman, and Sir Ranulph was ready to take up his next mantle: world-conquering explorer.