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After the war, the British War Office did not entirely disband the SAS regiments, but the French and Belgians returned to their own countries. The SAS was no longer a regular army unit but Territorial Unit 21 SAS Regiment still existed.

However, in April 1948, the Malay Races Liberation Army began an insurrection which transformed into the Malayan Emergency. Two years later Brigadier Mike Calvert practically re-created the SAS as a commando unit reminiscent of jungle troops like Chindits. Territorial Unit 21 SAS was redeployed from the Korean War and sent to Malaya.

Many other members were recruited from the original SAS, other units, Rhodesia, and even army prisons. The intended unit name "Malay Scouts" was scrapped for the reborn SAS.

Training new recruits took time. They learned tracking skills from Iban soldiers from Borneo. They began to patrol in teams of 2 or 4 men. Less than sanitary conditions forced them to learn first aid. They also learned local languages and respect for the local customs and culture. Patrol periods in the jungle were progressively extended to three months. Soldiers unsuitable for jungle warfare dropped out. At that stage they were mainly armed with pump-action shotguns.

They also earned the respect of some of the indigenes by helping them. By the end of 1955 there were 5 SAS squadrons in Malaya. They stayed in mopping up operations until the end of 1958.

Strings of other missions followed. The SAS fought anti-sultan rebels in Jebel Akhdar, Oman in 1958-1959. They fought Indonesian-supported "guerrillas" during the Indonesian Confrontation in Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak in 1963-1966. They also tried to pacify the situation in Aden in 1964-1967 before the withdrawal of British troops. They fought against another insurrection in Dhofar, Oman in 1970-1977.

Borneo 1966

Most of these deployments were clandestine. Membership, missions, and the whole existence of SAS became a secret. The Regiment's role was expanded to bodyguard training, counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism. They also began to work in civilian clothes on missions unless they could use uniforms of some other unit as a ruse. The British Secretary of Defence still does not discuss the SAS or its operations.

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