Exhibition a rare look at SAS life

It has been shrouded in secrecy but for seven weeks this year the nation's most elite fighting force will give West Australians a rare insight into its extraordinary past.

Driven by the motto Who Dares Wins, Australia's Special Air Service Regiment has represented the "gold standard" of soldiering for the past 50 years.

Its history will be unveiled in April through art and artefacts never before seen publicly as part of an exhibition to celebrate the regiment's golden jubilee.

The exhibition, titled Out of the Shadows, will include historic weapons, works by more than 30 artists and cartoons by _The West Australian _cartoonist Dean Alston.

Artwork has been created for the anniversary and the artefacts are from Campbell Barracks - the regiment's base in Swanbourne.

SAS Historical Foundation chairman Major Greg Mawkes said the exhibition would open up the secret world of the SAS.

"The art depicts real situations from various eras of our history and highlights some of the personalities that have been involved," he said.

"This will avail some of the SAS mystique, without giving it all away."

Included in the exhibition will be a letter from a soldier in Papua New Guinea in 1977, in which he thanks Major Mawkes for providing him with training.

The first SAS company was formed at Campbell Barracks in 1957. It expanded to regimental strength in 1964.

Over the past 50 years, SAS troopers have endured gruelling training, taken part in covert operations around the world and farewelled 68 fallen members.

Recently retired SAS officer Major Brett Warner said he hoped the exhibition would show how far the regiment had come in its pursuit of excellence.

Out of the Shadows will run at the WA Museum from April 12 to June 1.

The West Australian

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