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Lieut-Colonel Sir (Archibald) David Stirling


1915 - 1990

The Phantom Major, who founded the Special Air Service (SAS). Born at Keir House (Stirling), the son of a senior army officer, Brigadier General Archibald Stirling of Keir. Stirling was educated at Ampleforth College (Yorkshire) followed by the University of Cambridge.

Stirling joined the Scots Guards at the outbreak of World War II. He was selected to join an elite 'commando' unit and saw service on the Island of Rhodes. He was transferred to the Middle East and, horrified when his unit was disbanded, persuaded his superiors of the benefits of 'special operations' where small groups were parachuted behind enemy lines. Thus a new unit called L-Detachment Special Air Service came into being, with Stirling in command. Working alongside the Long Range Desert Group, Stirling's unit caused chaos, destroying aircraft, airfields, supply dumps and ships. They disrupted communications and hindered the German General Rommel's ability to be able to prosecute the war.

In 1943, while still in the desert, Stirling was captured by the Germans and placed in a Prisoner-of-War Camp. However, he escaped four times, was recaptured and eventually sent to the infamous Colditz Castle, where he remained until the end of the conflict. His brother, William, commanded the SAS while Stirling was incarcerated.

Following the the war, Stirling pursued business opportunities involving Africa and was also part of a syndicate which won a franchise to operate Hong Kong's television service.

Highly decorated, Stirling's awards included a DSO and OBE. He was knighted in 1990, dying a only few months later at his home in Scotland. He was buried in St Cumin's RC Churchyard at Morar.

Stirling is remembered by a statue on the B 824 Doune to Bridge of Allan road, near his former family home of Keir House.


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