SAS commander whose troops strayed into Republic of Ireland died at age 85

A former commander of the SAS who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles has died.

Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Baty had also served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and was the son of a World War One military veteran.

According to an obituary which appeared in the Daily Telegraph of London, he failed the selection test for the SAS twice, but was admitted on the third try.

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It is said that he learned Malay, Arabic and German during the course of his career.

Lt-Colonel Brian BatyLt-Colonel Brian Baty
Lt-Colonel Brian Baty

The obituary goes on to give details of his posting to Northern Ireland as follows: “April 1976 he moved to Northern Ireland to command D Squadron.

“Shortly after his arrival, eight of his men based in South Armagh were arrested and accused of crossing the border carrying arms. Baty defended them in a Dublin court and explained that they had made errors because they were using inadequate maps; they were let off with a fine.

“At the end of an exacting tour, he received a Mention in Despatches.”

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He additionally saw action while posted to south-east Asia, and to Oman in the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula.

Despite leaving school in his early teens, he rose steadily through the ranks of the British Army.

He went on to command the SAS’ training wing, and reportedly reorganised the selection procedure for the outfit.

He was awarded an MBE in 1984.

The Telegraph further reported that he had moved to Sri Lanka after retiring from the Army, and worked there for a private security firm.

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It concludes by saying he eventually settled in a village in Herefordshire, and that following his death at the age of 85 on February 27 this year, he is survived by widow Shirley Grose, and their two daughters.