Hock Hochheim's Combat Talk Forum

General Category => Unsecret Lives of Walter Mitty => Topic started by: Hock on October 13, 2009, 05:44:08 PM

Title: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: Hock on October 13, 2009, 05:44:08 PM
Gayle Rivers, pseudonym name of a claimed former ANZAC (Aussie) SAS from the 1960s and 1970s, later a "gun for hire." Says he worked in Ireland vs. the IRA (have we heard that zinger before!)

See his book (published in England in 1985)

Anyway have any scoop on the guy? Real? Unreal?

Special attention Joe Hubbard! Does "Des Doom" or your other cronies know about this guy? This book?

Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: JimH on October 14, 2009, 09:02:28 PM
I read this book over 20 years ago.
Seemed like BS to me.

On page 2 ,he says he was a member of Anzac SASR and did his time working with US   Special Forces in Vietnam.(69-70)

On page 23 of the book he says:
After Vietnam he started an air cargo company in South Africa.
(He also sold Military equipment and Explosive devices)

He moved to Switzerland and was in and out of London frequently when he WAS INVITED to join F Troop of 21 SAS .
He first entered the DUKE OF YORK BARRACKS in 1975.
He says he was a short stint training in 21 as F troop was for civilians who were operators.
(pg 25) He was soon running operations in South Armagh hunting IRA Terrorists.

The time period to find members of F troop 21 SAS Duke of York Barracks London has probably run its course by now,34 years,though if one were invited or knew someone who attended their meetings one may find some former members from this time line,1975,and ask about this ANZAC SASR/ 21 SAS member.
Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: Hock on October 14, 2009, 10:42:54 PM
I read this book twice! Accidentally!

I read in in the 1980s too. Kind of forgot about it and when in South Africa in...2002-ish, I found it in a used book store there (different cover and different sub-title. And read it on the plane back. It sure was familiar! And I finally realized I'd read it years before, but read it again anyway (long fligth!)

I stumbled upon it the other day on back shelf and wondered if it was for real or not? It seemed at times to be real, but it sure is great entertainment anyway.

Maybe Hubbard will ask around.

Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: Hepcat on December 14, 2009, 10:02:11 PM
I read a couple of his novels many years ago, one called the Five fingers and another one about an extraction in post Shah Iran.

Sorry, no idea on his real world situation. 
Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: Hock on December 14, 2009, 11:24:13 PM
If you are interested, there is quite a bit of talk about him here:


Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: JimH on December 15, 2009, 08:39:32 AM
An interesting note for Older Martial artists:
Nobuhiko Ochiai,the journalist mentioned in the SOCNET piece as having interviewed ,and translated the Gayle Rivers Books into Japanese,is the Brother of Hidy Ochiai famous Karate and weapons expert.
Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: Hock on January 28, 2011, 08:49:02 AM
This is...from a reader linking us to the Los Angeles Times in 1985:

'True' Thriller Draws Heat for Secret Author March 27, 1985
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

LONDON It reads like a James Bond thriller, but an author's note insists that "every incident in this book is true, and the people are all real."

Writing under the pseudonym Gayle Rivers, the author describes himself as an anti-terrorist killer trained by the SAS, Britain's Special Air Service. The book, entitled "The Specialist," has just been published in Britain and is to be brought out soon in the United States.

On the jacket, it says that Rivers has hunted IRA terrorists in Northern Ireland, killed IRA gunrunners in Europe and the Middle East, assassinated Basque terrorist leaders in their hide-outs in France, led commando raids against Iranian oil installations, carried out covert missions in Lebanon to help protect U.S. Marines and led U.S. Special Forces teams on a mission to assassinate Syrian intelligence officers.

Accuracy Questioned
A colorful account of derring-do, the book has generated controversy here because knowledgeable military people have seriously questioned its accuracy.

Brig. M. F. Hobbs, the British army's director of public relations who himself has served in Ulster, said: "The passages in the book that refer to Northern Ireland do not appear to bear any resemblance to reality at all."

Another British officer said that to "anyone who knows how the SAS works on the inside, it rings all wrong."

A ballistics expert, Peter Eliot, was quoted in the Sunday Times as saying: "Everything (the book) says about firearms or ballistics is either wrong or misquoted from technical journals."

Nevertheless, its publishers, Sidgwick & Jackson, and Rivers' agent, George Greenfield of John Farquharson Ltd., are standing by Rivers.

"I have every reason to believe his account is accurate," Greenfield said. "I've checked the story with some SAS sources of my own."

Author's Real Name?
According to the London Sunday Times, Gayle Rivers is the pseudonym of Raymond Brooks, the 37-year-old head of Mesa Corp., a Swiss-based arms firm that has run into financial difficulties. The newspaper said Brooks once volunteered for an SAS reserve unit but failed to qualify for extended service.

Neither the British publishers, Sidgwick & Jackson, nor the American publishers, Stein & Day, will acknowledge that Gayle Rivers is Brooks.

Sol Stein, president of Stein & Day, said: "I am satisfied that Gayle Rivers is who he says he is and did what he says he did."

The American publisher suggests that British newspaper articles that raise doubts about Rivers' story are "disinformation," planted by intelligence agencies that do not want to admit to having used Rivers' services.

Stein said his publishing house plans to bring out the book April 15 in the United States with a first printing of 50,000 copies.

Parts of the book have been serialized in the London Sunday Mail, and the book has been chosen by the Military Book Society in London as its April selection.

Howard Cooley, an officer of the Military Book Society, said: "We bought the book on the basis that it was offered. I am not in a position to judge its veracity. One has to rely on publishers all the time in making judgments like these."

According to promotion material put out by the British publishers, Rivers joined the New Zealand Special Air Force and somehow managed to get to Vietnam, where he was attached to the "U.S. Green Berets," the Special Forces of the U.S. Army.

'An Elite Professional'
It was there, this material says, that "he received the grounding in special warfare that was to carry through to a lifetime of special covert operations as an elite professional."

In the opening chapter, the reader finds Rivers driving his Porsche alongside Lake Geneva. The phone in the car rings; it is a U.S. Marine Corps major calling from Beirut after the bombing of Marine headquarters there.

Rivers is summoned to Beirut and paid $160,000 to lead a five-man Special Forces team in a raid on a Druze apartment building in West Beirut. The mission: to capture or kill three senior Syrian intelligence officers.

To carry out the operation, Rivers says, he and his associates used mountaineering gear and techniques to cross from one building to another, and he says that they killed a dozen Druze and Syrians.

Americans familiar with U.S. operations in Beirut question whether the U.S. Marine Corps or the Central Intelligence Agency, both of which are said to have approved his selection, would call on a Swiss-based mercenary to lead such a raid.

IRA Terrorists
The scene then shifts to Northern Ireland, where Rivers says he was enlisted by the SAS, as a reservist, to conduct operations against Irish Republican Army terrorists moving across the border.

"It's absurd," a British officer who commanded a brigade in Ulster commented. "It's against our law to use reservists in Northern Ireland. . . ."

Military sources said privately that a man named Raymond Brooks did serve briefly as a volunteer in the SAS reserve but failed to qualify for extended service.

Michael Evans, the defense correspondent of the London Daily Express, also identifies Rivers as Brooks. Evans said he interviewed the author of "The Specialist," who told him that some of the incidents described in the Northern Ireland section were a combination of incidents, a composite, to give the public "an idea of the sort of things encountered by the SAS."

Work in Iran
The book ends with Rivers' accounts of work that he said he did on behalf of the Iraqi army in the war with Iran.

The final chapter has Rivers entering the Iranian town of Dezful at the request of the Iraqis in order to place mines and booby traps. According to Rivers, the Iraqis had a "large garrison" in the heart of Dezful, were planning to withdraw and needed Rivers to blow up key installations before the arrival of Iranian forces.

Historians say that the Iraqi army once claimed to have seized and briefly occupied an air base and radar station near Dezful but that it never occupied that city.

Greenfield, Rivers' agent, said that Rivers had published an earlier book in collaboration with a writer named James Hudson. He said it is called "Five Fingers" and is a fictional account of Special Forces missions in Vietnam and China.

Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: Joe Hubbard on February 01, 2011, 06:57:35 AM
I just stumbled on this thread.  My guy probably doesn't know him because Rivers claims he was in 21 SAS which is part of the Reserves.  I have no idea what the Reserves were doing back in the 1970s.  Maybe Mick Coup knows?

Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: JimH on February 01, 2011, 10:59:44 AM
Since the 1960's 21 and 23 SAS,(TA / Reserves), have been training in Real World missions.
The 60's to the 80's the Mission was able to have usable SAS troops ,capable of going immediately to work with their active 22 SAS Counter part in operations in Europe,Germany,if need be.
We saw and see current 21 and 23 SAS  activated to the Gulf for operations.
Members 21 and 23 SAS went active and served in the first gulf war,some on B20 were out of 21 SAS.

The 1970's saw a good few 21 and 23 SAS use the training to develop a saleable skill set and sought and got work in Rhodesia.

Mr Brooks /Rivers used the Reality of 21 SAS and the Duke of York Barracks to establish a realistic tie to his F Troop of specialist/Covert civilian operators.
Mr Brooks /Rivers says he never completed training in the 21 SAS as his prior activities fast tracked him through and into F Troop.

In the 1970's one could meet and find members of 21 and 22 SAS in and around the pubs in the North Audley Street,Oxford Street,W1 area.
Many would see you were an American Military member and come over and start talking to you and tell you they were SAS and show you their ID Card,some would ask if they could come shoot at our range and some would ask if you heard of any work .

Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: Hock on August 22, 2011, 07:22:05 AM
For a fairly unknown book, I am amazed at how many guests look at this page.

Title: Re: Gayle Rivers. Real? Unreal? Deal?
Post by: SabreActual on October 15, 2014, 05:25:44 PM
"Five Fingers" was and remains an excellent book, IMHO.

"Gayle Rivers" was a cat who hung out with real deal SpecOps guys and turned his association into books.

He is closest to author Jim Pollack who years ago wrote "Mission MIA".  Jim was never in the service but had the good fortune to be introduced to some folks who were primarily SF - his primary technical advisor and ghost co-author for Mission MIA was CSM Dan Pitzer (Retired) - who was with Rowe for 4 years in the camps in VN.

Pollack got into the SOA for a bit but started to believe and then promote himself as a former SpecOps guy...and was soon after sent packing by all.

Another guy from back in the day who played the same game was Jim Shults, first of Soldier of Fortune then Gung-Ho.  Shults proffered himself after awhile as being former SF (8th Group, Panama).  When he got shut down it was learned he'd been stationed in Panama, on the Pacific Side, with the conventional Army (and on the shooting team).  But SF...not hardly.

Rivers was cut from the same crowd.  However his book Five Fingers went on to become a classic.