Extraordinary Editions

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The Story of The Diary

The story of The Diary is remarkable.

In early 1946, a former SAS soldier tasked himself with one final mission.  The SAS had been disbanded and there were no plans to resurrect it.  The soldier’s self-appointed mission was simple: to find and preserve whatever documentation he could before the SAS was forgotten and its story lost for ever.

The soldier tracked down the Top Secret order authorising the first ever SAS operation; he sought out photographs of the original members of 1 SAS, including men lost on that first operation; he somehow acquired the after-action reports from the few who survived. 

Then with more photographs, operational orders and reports (all Top Secret), and a handful of newspaper articles from Britain and even America, he traced the story of the SAS through North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France, on to the drive through Europe for Berlin, until the final march past when the SAS was stood down.

By mission end, the soldier had produced something unique – the first ever history of the SAS, collated by an SAS man.  Not only that, in the event of the SAS being consigned to a footnote in history, and with many of the documents he had copied either destroyed or lost forever, he had saved the story of the SAS during World War 2.

But the soldier did something else.  He collated his work in a single massive war diary, measuring 17” x 12” x 4” and weighing over 25 lbs, and bound it in leather “liberated” from Nazi Germany. Without knowing it, the soldier had created an icon. Shortly before his death, he visited the SAS Regimental Association, and gave them … The SAS War Diary.

The Association locked The Diary away in its archives … and its existence remained a secret …. Until now.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Special Air Service, and in collaboration with the SAS Regimental Association, Extraordinary Editions have received unique clearance to produce a once-in-a-lifetime limited edition series of The Diary. The lion’s share of the profit is going to the SAS Regimental Association’s welfare fund. 





The original Diary with the 2011 Anniversary Edition

reproduced silk map

Comparing the print - the original page is on the right