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SAS Soldier's Story Told After Years Of Wrangling

NZ SAS Soldier's Story Told After Years Of Legal Wrangling

SOLDIER FIVE by Mike Coburn The SAS book the British Government tried to ban

After years of legal wrangling, New Zealander Mike Coburn's personal account of the now infamous Bravo Two Zero mission into Iraq during the Gulf War, Soldier Five (published by Mission Vista) is now available in bookshops nationwide.

Mike Coburn was a soldier in the doomed SAS mission sent behind Iraqi lines in 1991. Following the patrol's compromise, one soldier escaped to Syria and three perished. The four remaining members, including Coburn, were taken prisoner, beaten horrifically and repeatedly, and held in hideous conditions until their repatriation at the end of the hostilities. In the years since their release, a number of accounts of the mission have been published, including the books written by other Bravo Two Zero patrol members, Andy McNab and Chris Ryan.

In 1998 Coburn made the conscious decision to record what truly happened. He felt compelled to properly document the events leading up to and during the mission, and to tell the true story that had become fictionalised and over-exaggerated in previous books and films. "The book," he says, "was born out of frustration more than anything else - years of frustration at being forced to keep quiet and not pass comment, at not being able to respond in kind to allegations or distortions regarding Bravo Two Zero, the events and its personalities." It was, however, to be some years before Coburn could release his account of mission.

In an unexpected move the British Ministry of Defence, after reading the Soldier Five manuscript, refused to enter any negotiation surrounding the publication of the book and four years of often hostile litigation ensued. The case eventually went to trial at the High Court in Auckland in 2000, and then to the Court of Appeal in May 2001. Finally, in March 2003, the Privy Council upheld the Court of Appeal's decision to allow publication of Soldier Five.

But Soldier Five is more than just another account of an SAS mission gone wrong. Mike's re-telling of the story is a tribute to those soldiers - Vince Phillips, Bob Consiglio and Steve Lane - who didn't make it back and the ultimate story of courage in the face of adversity, mishap and circumstance. It is also the story of one man's experiences as a Special Forces soldier, his ambitions, his loyalties, his relationships and his incredible fight for the freedom to tell his own story.

SOLDIER FIVE The Real Story of the Bravo Two Zero Mission written by Mike Coburn

RRP $34.95 NZ Release Date - 26 February 2004 Published by Mission Vista Ltd.

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