He is shown here with members of the Long Range Desert Group in North Africa, where Rommel called him "the Phantom Major." He stood 6 feet 6, and was in training to climb Mount Everest when WWII broke out.
He formed and trained the first elements of the SAS on the premise that a small unit of elite, highly trained commandos could create more havoc and exact more damage on the enemy than a platoon, or even a company, of regular soldiers. It was a hard sell at the time, but the Special Air Service became (and remains) the gold standard of Special Operations forces worldwide. (The plum training slot for U.S. Special Operations
people is an assignment to train with the SAS at Hereford...)
David Stirling was knighted in 1990. He died a few months later, on November 4, eleven days before his 75th birthday.