By Pat Carty
11 November saw nations celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice – an agreement between the Allies and Germany, which required the latter to leave all occupied territories in Western Europe within two weeks, and also surrender their 5,000 guns, 25,000 machine guns, and 1,700 aircraft.
Whilst Nations celebrated the 100th anniversary, so did their military units. However, unlike most conventional forces within the UK, who provided personnel to man public parades throughout villages, towns and cities, the Special Air Service (SAS) held their own parade at Credenhill in Herefordshire and far away from public eyes.
Credenhill Barracks is situated within the grounds of the former RAF Credenhill, also known as RAF Hereford, which was commissioned as a non-flying base and housed a range of training schools from 1940 until its closure in 1994.
After the British Army obtained the site in 1997, an extensive rebuilding program commenced redeveloping the base for the SAS. As soon as it was practicable, the SAS commenced relocation of its staff and equipment from their former base in Hereford, including their famous SAS Clock Tower, which was re-erected adjacent to the new parade ground,
The move was completed in May 1999 and followed on 30 September 2000 by an official opening ceremony. The barracks were also renamed “Stirling Lines”, in honour of the regiment’s founder; Colonel David Stirling. Incidentally, in addition to the creation of a new “Regimental cemetery”, which replaced the traditional one at St Martin’s church in Hereford, work is still ongoing to add additional facilities to the base.
For this years 100th Armistice service, serving and past regiment members and their families gathered at the Credenhill Base chapel. Following the usual armistice service, “Titan 11 and 12” – two of the residential blue and white 658 Squadron Army Air Corps Dauphine helicopters, overflew the clock tower and dropped poppies.
Prior to the poppy drop, “Titan Flight” (which initially consisted of three Dauphines – the third being used for “over-watch”), had previously prepositioned to Shobdon aerodrome, where three Special Forces support staff also laid wreaths.
Incidentally, Shobdon was a former British Army camp, which acted as a reception point for casualties arriving from the Battle of Dunkirk.
Photo: “Titan Flight” preparing for take-off. SAS Drop Poppies on Armistice Day November 11, 2018. Photo by Pat Carty.
Author: Pat Carty is a NATO accredited journalist who covers military news, events, operations, and exercises; including special operations forces. He is a contributor to SOF News as well as several other military defense publications