Sir David Stirling

David Stirling was the founder of the Special Air Service. He was born in Doune, Stirling (1915). He entered the second world war as a sub-lieutenant and volunteered for the newly formed No. 8 Commando Unit which in 1941 formed a group called Layforce which was trying to reduce the advance of the German Africa Corps in North Africa.

Stirling was frustrated when Layforce was disbanded as he saw a opportunity for a small mobile force being able to cause considerable damage to the enemy. After discussions with British Deputy Commander in the middle east (General Ritchie) the formation of the Special Air Service took place.

He was captured by the Italians in 1943 and after four escapes they handed him over to the Germans where he was placed in Colditz Castle. He spent the rest of the war there. In the 15 months up to his capture it has been reported that the SAS had destroyed over 250 enemy aircraft on the ground, hundreds of vehicles and a huge quantity of stored supplies.

Field Marshall Montgomery was quoted as saying "The boy Stirling is quite mad, quite, quite mad. However, in a war there is often a place for mad people."

He was knighted in 1990 and died the same year. The memorial has stood since 2002 on the Hill of Row, near his ancestral home, looking towards the Perthshire mountains.