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  • Robin Horsfall


Robin Horsfall presents the third in a short series of humorous soldier’s memories.



Tiny was awarded his nickname in the traditional military response to his height; he was six feet three inches tall an unusual height for a paratrooper. Tiny came from 216 Royal Signals Corps (Airborne) and joined the SAS in 1979. His great intellect produced a unique and unusual sense of humour. One day while we were idle and resting in the mountainous jungles of Brunei he lightened the day by suggesting that we speak with Welsh accents for the rest of the day. ‘Get off my mountain’ led on to so many clichés that any real Welshman would have opened fire. We tried the ‘Geordie’ accent the next day and failed miserably deciding that it would be easier to do brain surgery.

In 1981 B Squadron returned to Hereford and an opportunity was taken to arrange for a squadron photograph at great expense from squadron funds. A lunchtime slot was arranged so that all available members of the unit could don their uniforms, leave their duties and assemble for the photograph. Seats and benches were arranged in the usual manner for the traditional face on picture with the senior ranks in the front. After a considerable amount of shuffling the squadron was ready. Tiny stood just behind my left shoulder in the back row, ‘Stand still!’ and the historic picture containing the famous team that assaulted the Iranian Embassy the previous year was taken for posterity.

A few days passed while we waited for our individual copies to arrive but unfortunately, due to some unknown incident they were cancelled and returned. Tiny was called to the OC’s office where he was bawled out for a considerable period and threatened with all sorts of dire punishments. Bewildered we all wondered what terrible crime he had committed and how it was linked with the photographs.

Before being destroyed the photographic proof was made available for all to see. There just over my shoulder stood Tiny wearing glasses. Protruding from the rims of his spectacles were two long thick bouncy springs with huge, blue eyes on the ends.

(Picture shown was the replacement).

Everything in this story does bear a resemblance to persons who lived their lives to the full!

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