New Book: ‘Legendary Warrior of the SAS: Robert Blair Mayne DSO’ by John O’Neill
An e-book on the life of Lt. Col. Robert Blair Mayne, DSO, offers a fresh insight into the life of the renowned SAS soldier, based on newly published private papers and photographs.
Author John O’Neill reviews in the new e-book evidence to conclude that Blair Mayne suffered from PTSD resulting from stresses in his personal life and impressive service career – which may be at least partially responsible for events that lead to his death in a car crash.
‘Legendary Warrior of the SAS, Robert Blair Mayne DSO’ is available on-line at http://www.ptsdresolution.org/BM_book.htm, priced £7.95 - 90 per cent of the proceeds are donated to the charity PTSD Resolution, which provides free counselling to ex-servicemen and women to relieve the effects of military trauma.
Operation Bigamy, aka Snowdrop, took place on the night of 13th September 1942, 70 years ago, near Benghazi, Libya. The operation was led by the founder of the SAS, David Stirling. It was a diversionary raid for the main attack on Tobruk, Operation Agreement. Stirling’s second-in-command was Robert Blair Mayne, who was given command of ‘A’ squadron. Mayne went on to lead 1st SAS, and became one of the most famous soldiers in the history of “The Regiment”.
Much has been written about Blair Mayne since his death 57 years ago; and there has been speculation about his complex character, his courageous exploits, and his untimely and unglamorous death. John O’Neill’s book provides further insight into the nature of the soldier and the man, by reviewing private papers that have come to light only recently.
A key to understanding Blair Mayne, O’Neill explains, is the way he dealt with the transition from operational to civilian life after the war – which is a highly topical issue with current attention on both the physical and mental impact on UK veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns in the 2000s.
Whilst posthumous psychological assessment is not possible with any certainty, O’Neill writes, with what we know now about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD may well have affected Blair Mayne’s behaviour, and indeed his decline and death. An interesting book to read in its own right for all military history enthusiasts, it is a further contribution to a body of knowledge for clinicians and other specialists in the field of military mental health, concerned with early diagnosis and effective treatment, which is still sadly lacking from contemporary reports.
About the author: Through his own experiences with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the treatment he received, the author John O’Neill seeks to understand Blair Mayne’s experiences and their personal impact. John O’Neill, who is related to Blair Mayne, spent 23 years in academia and business, after graduating with a PhD from Imperial College, London. O’Neill grew up in Essex, a few miles from where 1st SAS were based at the end of WWII.
PTSD Resolution, which receives 90 per cent of the proceeds of sales of the book, helped John overcome his own problems with PTSD. The charity provides treatment through a national network of counsellors.
The programme employs HGT, Human Givens Therapy, and has an 83 per cent success rate for the nearly 300 UK veterans treated to date. This is similar to the recovery rate in a recent study of 599 stress-related cases from the general population who received therapy using HGT: over 70 per cent reached a significant and sustained improvement after an average of 3.6 one-hour sessions.