Perth plays host to SAS founder’s memorial

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A LARGER than life memorial to the man who founded the crack SAS regiment has been revealed, complete with his trademark duffel coat.

The statue of Sir David Stirling will be officially unveiled in June close to the family home in Perthshire.

His nephew, Archie Stirling, is to attend the ceremony, which will be held under tight security.

The bronze monument has been sculpted by London-based Angela Conner, who has worked for the Royal Family.

She has captured Sir David in the duffel coat he wore in 1941 when the unit first went into action in the Western Desert against Rommel.

The 12ft high statue and plinth, with its magnificent views of the Trossachs towards Loch Lomond, can be seen from miles around.

Yesterday Lt Col Eith Edlin, secretary of the SAS Regimental Association, said: "It will stand as a memorial to a British and Scottish hero. He founded a great regiment and the principles he founded it on and the ethos he left are just the same today as they were then .

"We are trying to keep the unveiling as low-key as possible because of the nature of the regiment and because of the security implications.

"Once it is unveiled it will be a public site. There is a car park, drystone walling and wildflowers have been planted."

The bronze statue of Sir David has already been cast, and is now been giving its final burnishing. The 3ft high plinth is of local stone and has been erected at the site on the Hill O’Row. Last week stonemasons were working on the surrounding drystone walls in preparation for the unveiling.

Lt Col Edlin said: "Angela Conner has produced a really super memorial. The statue alone will be over 9ft high . He was 6ft 5 inches tall when he was alive, so it is only just larger than life."

There will be a story board up on the site telling the regiment and Sir David’s history.

The 150,000 to pay for the statue was raised by members of the association, the family of Sir David and regiments of the British Army.

The son of a brigadier general, Sir David founded the elite fighting force, with the famous motto Who Dares Wins, in 1941 .

Although only a lieutenant in the Scots Guards, he was allowed to establish his own private army for raiding behind enemy lines. The small unit only used parachutes for a brief time, but the romantic designation of Special Air Service was retained.

Sir David was captured fighting in Tunisia, but escaped four times before being sent to Colditz Castle in Germany.

In a distinguished military career he earned the DSO, the Legion d’Honneur and the Order of the Orange-Nassau. Sir David died, aged 75, in 1990, soon after being knighted.