Article by Ant Middleton.
I was in the military for 13 years in total.
I joined the Royal Engineers at the age of 16 and in all honesty, it was just a way to get back to the UK.
We moved to France when I was nine and I dreamed of getting a job that would get me back home.
The military was perfect as it would give me somewhere to live, something to eat, a place to learn new skills and full-time employment.
I had no idea that I would go to the highest possible level and serve in the Special Forces.
I started in the Royal Engineers and went on to 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers.
I then served in the Royal Marines before passing selection and serving in the Special Boat Service (SBS).
I’m proud to have achieved the ‘Holy Trinity’ of the UK’s Elite Forces – P Company, Commando Course, UK Special Forces Selection.
Selection was hard right up until the very end.
During the final stage of my selection process, I was on the run for five days in the Highlands of Scotland.
I ate one slice of bread. I was hallucinating after day three and doing 30 miles on foot a day.
I’ve never been so cold in my life. I managed to evade the hunter but went straight into interrogation for two days.
Psychologically, it nearly got to me. I really had to dig deep to keep my mind occupied.
Obviously, I can’t tell too many stories from my time in Afghanistan with the SBS.
However, when working as a helicopter sniper and this vehicle was firing at us, we did what we had to do.
Flying back, the Chinook was a bit shaky and the pilot told me that four bullets had gone through the window where I’d been sitting and hit the inside of the roof of the helicopter.
The bullet holes were about three centimetres from the hydraulics. Just a few centimetres to the left and they’d have hit my head.
I decided to leave the military after four years in the SBS. I felt like I had done everything that there was to do and had experienced a lot of active service.
I had been privileged enough to serve at an elite level and I was still young enough to leave, spend time with my family and forge another career path.
I went on to be close personal security for diplomats in Africa and for VIPs and celebrities in the UK
Then the opportunity to work with Channel 4 on ‘SAS: Who Dares Wins’ came along.
Channel 4 were looking to start making their new show and were asking questions about the Special Forces.
The Special Forces community is a very small, close-knit one, so my name was suggested to them and they got in touch.
I was already running a Special Forces-style course for high net worth companies, which I showed them and they loved it… so we put it on a bigger scale.
I went and spoke with them in London about it and have never looked back.
It’s quite strange to think that I went from the shadows to the limelight but I’ve learned to adapt to my lifestyle.
I’ve done two series of SAS: Who Dares Wins, we are filming a third later this year and ‘Mutiny’ has started this week on Channel 4.
The first two episodes were on this week and will be every Tuesday at 9pm from now until the end of the series.
It was an epic challenge. I took on the role of Captain William Bligh and lead 8 men in a 23ft wooden boat across 4,000 miles of ocean to re-enact the journey that Bligh and his men had to take after the Mutiny on the Bounty.
It was hardcore, definitely one of the hardest challenges I have ever faced.
I’m about to start work on a survival and engineering based show called ‘Escape’… but that’s all I can say about it at the moment.
One of the great things that the TV work has bought is the opportunity for charity and brand ambassadorships.
I’m an Ambassador to the Pilgrim Bandits and the RNLI, both amazing charities that I’m proud to represent.
I’ve recently become an ambassador to Forces Cars Direct, a company who save military personnel money on new cars.
I just got a car from them and I had no idea that the Armed Forces were entitled to tax-free and tax paid offers.
It’s great to work with a company that is actually doing something to save our men and women some of the money that they work so hard to earn.
Reported by Forces.net