In 1970 at the height of the Cold War, the young Sandhurst-trained Sultan Qaboos of Oman, with secret British military backing, took on the communist rebels in a fierce but little known war. Along with regular British Army and ‘contract’ officers, the SAS played a key role in this bitterly fought but ultimately successful campaign.
The value of winning the ‘Hearts and Minds’ of the local population was quickly recognised and this is where a select band of Royal Army Veterinary Corps officers came in. The local economy was a primitive one based on agriculture and the author, freshly qualified and, by his own admission, somewhat naďve particularly in military matters, found himself solely responsible for the veterinary care of a territory the size of Hungary.
Attached to A Squadron, 22 SAS, Andrew Higgins learnt how to respond to the Jebali people’s love and concern for their animals who provided their livelihood – goats, camels, sheep and cattle. Then there were the Sultan's horses, dogs, birds and even bears.
His first-hand experiences and anecdotes of life dealing with every level of Omani society from rulers to black slaves and their varied livestock make for wonderfully atmospheric and often amusing reading. In short, With the SAS and Other Animals is an unusual and potent mix of Special Forces action and veterinary experiences. Readers may well conclude that it really shouldn’t have happened to a vet even in a desert war!
This book does more than it says on the cover. It's a veterinary memoir that also offers insight into British Military Interventions abroad.
Andrew Higgings writes well. He does not inflate... [read full review]The Veterinary Journal
This delightfully written book succeeds on several levels as a Military history, an adventure story, a handbook for young RAVC COs who continue to have compatible opportunities to win hearts and minds, and a window... [read full review]Veterinary Record
When Suffolk based author Dr Andrew Higgins became attached to 'A' Squadron 22 SAS, he suddenly found himself responsible for the veterinary care of a territory the size of Hungary. With British assistance, the... [read full review]Suffolk & Norfolk Life
When Suffolk based author Dr Andrew Higgins became attached to 'A' Squadron 22 SAS, he suddenly found himself responsible for the veterinary care of a territory the size of Hungary. With British Assistance, the... [read full review]Bury Free Press
Andrew Higgins's With the SAS and Other Animals is the story of the author's experiences as a vet with the SAS in the Dhofar War in 1974. His role was to win the local... [read full review]Country Life Magazine
Plucked from the damp of Northern Ireland where he was serving with the Army Dog Unit at the height of the “troubles” in 1974, Andrew Higgins, a recently graduated veterinary officer in the Royal Army... [read full review]Brigadier Paul Jepson QHVS
This is a book not to miss. This is not “Herriott on a camel” but it is an informative and entertaining account that the reader will find absorbing and enjoyable. The author provides a rare... [read full review]Firetrench reviews
This book is very readable. I found it hard to put down. It gives a wonderful insight to local and expatriate life in the Middle East at the time. The SAS, to which Andrew was... [read full review]The Clench Magazine
This is a brilliant book. It needs a place on the shelves of every book-lover with an interest in the Army, the Middle East, expatriate life in a developing country and that vital response to... [read full review]Peter Adams
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