Tony Jeapes

Last updated

Anthony Showan Jeapes
Born (1935-03-06) 6 March 1935 (age 86)
New Malden, Surrey
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service1955–1990
Rank Major general
Commands held South West District
Land Forces Northern Ireland
5th Airborne Brigade
22 Special Air Service Regiment
Battles/wars Malayan Emergency
Dhofar War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Military Cross

Major General Anthony (Tony) Showan Jeapes, CB , OBE , MC (born 6 March 1935) is a former British Army officer who commanded the 22 Special Air Service Regiment during the Dhofar Rebellion.


Early life and education

Born in New Malden, Surrey, he was educated at Raynes Park Grammar School and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he did his first parachute course. In February 1955 he was commissioned into the Dorset Regiment as a second lieutenant. [1]


In 1958 he joined the 22nd SAS Regiment in Malaya as a troop commander and in 1959 took part in the Jebel Akhdar campaign in Northern Oman, [2] [3] [4] for which he was awarded the Military Cross. [1]

Back in England, he ran selection for the SAS for a year and then went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1961 as an exchange officer with the US 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne). [1]

After a short period in the UK with the now amalgamated Devonshire and Dorsets, he was sent to India as part of a small SAS training team in 1963, and with another to Kenya in 1964. He returned to attend the Army Staff College course at Shrivenham and Camberley, following which he was posted to 39 Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland as brigade major. [1]

In December 1968, Jeapes returned to 22 SAS as squadron commander, joining D Squadron in Malaya. After a training period in Iran, he took his squadron to Dhofar in 1970 as the first full squadron to support the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF) in their war against Communist led rebels in Southern Oman. [2] [5] The war was not going well for the SAF. He raised the first of six firqats, irregular units formed largely of ex-rebels, named the Firqat Salahadin, and recaptured the town of Sudh. [5] He then raised more firqats and lead operations on to the Jebel Qara to prove the need to establish a firm position on the Jebel. [4] The concept was accepted and the first permanent position was established by the SAS and SAF after the monsoon that year. [5]

Jeapes returned to the UK to attend the National Defence College, Latimer, and was then promoted lieutenant colonel to return to the Army Staff College as a member of the directing staff, where he led the Counter Revolutionary Warfare team. In 1972 he became the Commanding Officer of 22 SAS. He had an eventful tour of command. He led the counter-terrorism team in the Balcombe Street Siege [6] and he continued to take part in and oversee the Regiment's operations in the Dhofar War, being present at the final operation from Sarfait [2] which saw the defeat of the rebels and brought about the end of the six-year war. Finally, he set up the Regiment's rapid deployment to the campaign in Northern Ireland [6] [7] and directed their methods of operating there. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 1977 Silver Jubilee and Birthday Honours. [8]

He was also seriously ill with brucellosis contracted on the Jebel and was given three months' sick leave, during which he wrote the draft of his book SAS Operation Oman. [9]

Career after the SAS

Jeapes's next job was as a member of the British Military Advisory Team to Bangladesh, setting up the syllabus for and teaching at the state's first joint services staff college. At the end of this he was promoted full colonel and deputy commandant of the School of Infantry at Warminster. He was promoted to brigadier immediately after. Following a short time at HQ UKLF, then at HQ CINCFLEET during the Falklands War, he was appointed in 1982 to command the 5th Infantry Brigade, which he converted during his tour to the 5th Airborne Brigade. [10]

In 1985 Jeapes was promoted major general and appointed Commander Land Forces Northern Ireland. [11] His task was to direct the tactical deployment and command the day-to-day operations of all Army, Royal Marines, Ulster Defence Regiment, and of course Special Forces, against the terrorists in cooperation with the uniformed and special branch members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. It was a job in which he took great satisfaction and achieved a number of successes, for which he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. His final appointment, in 1987, was General Officer Commanding South West District, which included most of the Army's Arms Schools and the UK Mobile Force. [10]


Jeapes's account of the Dhofar Rebellion, SAS Operation Oman, was written in 1977 but took three years to receive security clearance. It was eventually published in 1980 by William Kimber. Amended copies were published by HarperCollins in 1996 as SAS Secret War and again by Greenhill Books with the same title in paperback in 2005. It is distributed in the US by Battery Press.

Personal life

In June 1959 he married Jennifer Clare White, by whom he has a son and a daughter. [1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Who's Who 2010, A & C Black, 2010, ISBN   978-1-4081-1414-8
  2. 1 2 3 Harclerode (2002)
  3. Asher, (2008)
  4. 1 2 Strawson (1985)
  5. 1 2 3 Asher (2008)
  6. 1 2 Geraghty (2002)
  7. Wilson (2006)
  8. "No. 47234". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 June 1977. p. 7085.
  9. Jeapes (1980)
  10. 1 2 "Army Commands" (PDF). Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  11. Urban (2001)

Related Research Articles

Special Air Service Special Forces of the British Army

The Special Air Service (SAS) is a special forces unit of the British Army. The SAS was founded in 1941 as a regiment, and later reconstituted as a corps in 1950. The unit specialises in a number of roles including counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, direct action and covert reconnaissance. Much of the information about the SAS is highly classified, and the unit is not commented on by either the British government nor the Ministry of Defence due to the secrecy and sensitivity of its operations.

Artists Rifles

The Artists Rifles is a regiment of the British Army Reserve. Raised in London in 1859 as a volunteer light infantry unit, the regiment saw active service during the Second Boer War and the First World War, earning a number of battle honours. It did not serve outside Britain during the Second World War, as it was used as an officer training unit at that time. The regiment was disbanded in 1945, but in 1947 it was re-established to resurrect the Special Air Service Regiment. Today, the full title of the regiment is 21 Special Air Service Regiment (Artists) (Reserve) and with 23 Special Air Service Regiment (Reserve), it forms the Special Air Service (Reserve) part of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF).

Sultan of Omans Armed Forces

The Sultan's Armed Forces are the Royal Army of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman, Royal Air Force of Oman, Sultan's Special Force and other defense forces of the Sultanate of Oman. Since their formal establishment in the early 1950s, with British assistance SAF has twice overcome insurgencies which have threatened the integrity or social structure of the state, and more recently have contributed contingents or facilities to coalitions formed to protect Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

General Sir Peter Edgar de la Cour de la Billière, is a former British Army officer who was Director SAS during the Iranian Embassy siege, and Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in Operation Granby.

Royal Army of Oman Land warfare branch of Omans military

The Royal Army of Oman is the ground forces component of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces. It was founded in 1907 as the Muscat Garrison. It has a current strength of 125,000 personnel.

Dhofar Rebellion Civil war in the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman

The Dhofar Rebellion, also known as the Dhofar War or the Omani Civil War, was waged from 1963 to 1976 in the province of Dhofar against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman. The war began with the formation of the Dhofar Liberation Front, a group which aimed to create an independent state in Dhofar, free from the rule of the Omani Sultan Said bin Taimur. The rebels also held the broader goals of Arab nationalism which included ending British influence in the Persian Gulf region.

The History of the British Army's Special Air Service (SAS) regiment of the British Army begins with its formation during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War, and continues to the present day. It includes their early operations in North Africa, the Greek Islands, and the Invasion of Italy. The Special Air Service then returned to the United Kingdom and were formed into a brigade with two British, two French and one Belgian regiment, and went on to conduct operations in France, Italy again, the Low Countries and finally into Germany.

Peter Ratcliffe, is a former British Army soldier who served in the Parachute Regiment and the Special Air Service in a career of almost thirty years, during which he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry in action during the Gulf War. He is the author of the book The Eye of the Storm (2000).

General Sir Timothy May Creasey was a British Army officer who became General Officer Commanding of the British Army in Northern Ireland, as well as the commander of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces.

Lofty Large

Donald "Lofty" Large was a British soldier and author.

Firqa (military)

A Firqa is a local militia unit loyal to the Sultan of Oman raised in the Dhofar region of Oman during the Omani Civil War (1963-76). The British were known for utilising Firqa during their counter insurgency operations in support of the Sultan's operations in the region, converting former enemies into pro-government militia to aid in counter-insurgency; this was a tactic the British had successfully employed in Malaya. Forming local Firqa was therefore great way to employ surrendered enemy personnel (SEPs) and thus pacify areas of the Dhofari Jebel and set the conditions for infrastructure development.

Lieutenant General Sir John Peter Barry Condliffe Watts was a British Army officer who became Chief of Defence Staff for the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces.

Jebel Akhdar War

The Jebel Akhdar War or the Oman War, also known as Jebel Akhdar rebellion broke out in 1954 and again in 1957 in Oman, as an effort by the local Omanis in the interior of Oman led by their elected Imam, Ghalib Alhinai, to protect the Imamate of Oman from the occupation plans of sultan Said bin Taimur, backed by the British government, who were eager to gain access to the oil wells in the interior lands of Oman. Sultan Said received direct financing to raise an armed force to occupy the Imamate of Oman from Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), a consortium of oil companies that was majorly owned by what is known today as Royal Dutch Shell, Total, ExxonMobil and British Petroleum (BP); the latter was majority-owned by the British government. The Imamate was eventually supported by Arab states. The war lasted until 1959, when the British armed forces decided to take on direct interventions using air and ground attacks on the Imamate, which won the Sultanate the war. The declarations signed by the sultans of Muscat to consult the British government on all important matters, the unequal trade treaties signed by the two sides favoring British interests, the cessation of the Omani Kuria Muria islands to the British, and the vast control over the Sultanate's government ministries, including defense and foreign affairs, exerted by the British rendered the Sultanate a de facto British colony. The UN General Assembly adopted the 'Question of Oman' resolution in 1965, 1966 and again in 1967 that called upon the British government to cease all repressive action against the locals, end British control over Oman and reaffirmed the inalienable right of the Omani people to self-determination and independence.

Major General John David Carew Graham, was a British Army officer who was instrumental in the installation of Qaboos bin Said as Sultan of Oman in the 1970 Omani coup d'état.

Brigadier Andrew Christopher "Andy" Massey OBE was a British Army officer who served in Oman, Dhofar and Northern Ireland. He was a commander of the 22 SAS Regiment before retiring as a Brigadier.

Operation Simba

Operation Simba, and the subsequent fighting around high ground near Sarfait, was the longest running conflict of the Dhofar Rebellion. On 17 April 1972, a battalion of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces (SAF) landed by helicopter to establish a position on a dominating ridge at Sarfait, near the border with the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY). The aim was to interdict the supply lines used by the guerillas of the PFLOAG from the PDRY to the interior of Dhofar, which ran along the narrow coastal plain beneath the foot of the escarpment at the southern end of the ridge.

Sultans Special Force

The Sultan's Special Force (SSF) — Arabic: قوات السلطان الخاصة, transliterated:Qawat al-Sultaniya al-Khasah is a separate force branch within the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF) and although equipped to carry out land defense operations, it is not part of the Royal Army of Oman.

Northern Frontier Regiment (Oman)

The Northern Frontier Regiment (NFR) was formed in March 1957 and was one of the first two properly constituted infantry regiments that Sultan Said bin Taimur of Oman formed. The regiment's crest is two crossed drawn traditional Khanjar daggers pointing downwards, with scrolls carrying the regimental title in Arabic i.e. Kateeba al Hudood al Shamleeah. Members of the Regiment who served in Dhofar are entitled to wear the General Service Medal Oman, its ribbon design illustrated on the right.

Jebel Regiment (Oman)

The Jebel Regiment (JR) was formed in October 1970 and was one of the extra two properly constituted infantry regiments that Sultan Qaboos of Oman formed to augment the Omani Army in its operations in Dhofar. The regiment's crest is two crossed traditionally embossed Martini–Henry Rifles overlain vertically with a single traditional Khanjar dagger sheathed, with scrolls carrying the regimental title in Arabic. Members of the Regiment who served in Dhofar are entitled to wear the General Service Medal Oman, its ribbon design illustrated on the right.

Brigadier Jack Spencer Fletcher, was a British Army officer who played a key part in the Dhofar Rebellion.


Military offices
Preceded by
Barry Lane
General Officer Commanding South West District
Succeeded by
Anthony Pollard