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Reg Seekings, founding member of the Special Air Service and buried in Stanton near Bury St Edmunds, features in BBC Drama SAS: Rogue Heroes





The story of Sergeant Major Reg Seekings is currently being played out in a BBC drama, where the founding member of the Special Air Service (SAS), is played by actor Theo Barklem-Biggs.

Seekings, who died in 1999, is buried in the churchyard of St John the Baptist Church in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, with his wife Monica.

Though the unassuming headstone mentions the SAS, there is no hint of the dramatic experiences Seekings encountered during World War Two, where in one of his operations he landed by parachute on D-Day.

The Stanton-based Blackbourne Local History Society is keen to celebrate the history of the founding member of the SAS, who according to his obituary in the Independent moved to Suffolk in 1982.

Born in 1920, Seekings grew up near Ely and enlisted in the Cambridgeshire Regiment aged 18 – even though he was almost completely blind in one eye.

He was involved in the first ever SAS operation in North Africa in 1941, when 64 men took part in a parachute drop in Gazala.

Reg Seekings is in the front of this photograph taken in Egypt in 1942. Also pictured are Johnny Cooper far right and Pat Riley is in the passenger seat. All three of the men feature in SAS:Rogue Heroes. Picture: Gavin Mortimer
Reg Seekings is in the front of this photograph taken in Egypt in 1942. Also pictured are Johnny Cooper far right and Pat Riley is in the passenger seat. All three of the men feature in SAS:Rogue Heroes. Picture: Gavin Mortimer
Reg Seekings is being played by Theo Barklem-Biggs in the BBC drama SAS: Rogue Heroes. BBC/Kudos/Rory Mulvey
Reg Seekings is being played by Theo Barklem-Biggs in the BBC drama SAS: Rogue Heroes. BBC/Kudos/Rory Mulvey

However, due to high winds the operation did not go to plan and only 21 of the men, including Seekings, returned from the operation.

Thankfully future operations were more successful, and during his time in North Africa alone, Seekings took part in 10 raids and destroyed more than 15 aircraft.

After his efforts in Africa he was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal.

Seekings went on to serve with the SAS in Sicily and in Italy.

The headstone of Sergeant Major Reg Seekings and his wife Monica. Picture: Peter Palmer - Blackbourne Local History Society
The headstone of Sergeant Major Reg Seekings and his wife Monica. Picture: Peter Palmer - Blackbourne Local History Society

It was during his time in Italy that Seekings survived a mortar attack on a truck.

Remarkably he was also hit by a bullet in the back of the neck in Normandy.

According to the Independent, despite the best efforts of a medic who was actually a dentist, the bullet remained in his neck for the remainder of World War Two.

The character of Reg Seekings in SAS Rogue Heroes. Picture: BBC/Kudos/Sifeddine Elamine
The character of Reg Seekings in SAS Rogue Heroes. Picture: BBC/Kudos/Sifeddine Elamine

Following his time in the SAS, Seekings returned to Ely to run a pub alongside his wife.

The couple then moved to Southern Rhodesia, where Seekings worked in a police anti-terroist unit.

It was in 1982 he moved to Suffolk.

Actors Alfie Allen, left, and Theo Barklem-Biggs in SAS: Rogue Heroes. Picture: BBC/Kudos/Rory Mulvey
Actors Alfie Allen, left, and Theo Barklem-Biggs in SAS: Rogue Heroes. Picture: BBC/Kudos/Rory Mulvey

Interviewed on Instagram ahead of the release of SAS: Rogue Heroes, the actor who played Seekings described his character as a 'prominent amateur boxing champion'.

Theo Barklem-Biggs said Seekings had the extraordinary capacity to remain calm, collected, and even vicious under pressure, particularly while facing death.

Episodes of SAS: Rogue Heroes can be watched on BBC IPlayer, with the last episode scheduled to be broadcast this Sunday, December 4, on BBC One.

It is hoped there will be a second series of the show.