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  • Rusty Firmin

The Siege: Operation Nimrod

Updated: May 30, 2023

The breaking of a terrorist siege in the heart of London in 1980 catapulted the normally secretive SAS onto the world stage. The audacious daylight assault, carried out in the full glare of media scrutiny, made the Regiment and it's motto, 'Who Dares Wins' an indelible part of UK culture. The techniques used in the operation were quickly studied and copied by other special forces and counter-terrorism units around the world.

The SAS Regiment's reputation increased dramatically after the action during the Iranian Embassy Siege and the Regiment received an enormous amount of applications by people who were impressed by the action with the codename Operation Nimrod. The SAS Regiment's service thereafter also became increasingly sought after by foreign governments.

Rusty Firmin led an assault team from the back at ground level. As they crept into position, he realised he had forgotten his gloves and can be identified by his bare hands in the now famous photograph of the rescue.

Prior to the events of that day few of that generation would have been aware of the existence of the Special Air Service - by the following day everyone had heard of them and they were the envy of the world.


Group of people with weapons for Operation Nimrod.
The Siege: Operation Nimrod

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