Memorial honouring Laurieston SAS soldier renowned for Iranian Embassy siege to be unveiled

A lasting legacy to a Laurieston man who was involved in one of Britain’s most famous counter-terrorism operations is set to be unveiled.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 4:45 pm

The memorial, in honour of John McAleese, was first mooted by the Ancre Somme Association Scotland as a way of recognising the Special Air Service (SAS) soldier for the part he played in the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege.

John was among the SAS squad that stormed the London building after six armed men took 26 people hostage.

The gunmen, who were members of the Democratic Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Arabistan, demanded autonomy for the southern Iranian province of Khuzestan and sought the release of prisoners captured during the Iranian Revolution of 1979, plus their own safe passage out of the UK.

John McAleese MM Commemoration Society members, including John's twin brother William (back left). Picture: Snaphammy Photography.

Following a tense six-day siege, and the death of a hostage, the government decided a safe passage would not be granted.

McAleese and his fellow SAS soldiers then launched their assault, rescued the remaining hostages and killed five of the hostage-takers during a 17-minute raid.

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The dramatic assault was broadcast live on TV and turned the SAS overnight into national and international heroes.

Born in Stirling, John was brought up in Laurieston, where a number of his family still live, and died in 2011 at the age of 62.

His eldest son, Sgt Paul McAleese, was killed on active service in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Helmand Province.

The Ancre Somme Association, a Scottish charity, strongly believes John McAleese was a national hero and that his actions in 1980 in the storming of the Iranian Embassy are deserving of recognition in his hometown.

For some time the Ancre Somme Association have been working towards this objective.

The Armed Forces charity formed a John McAleese MM Commemoration Society to deliver the project, which needed to raise £50,000 in order to fund the memorial.

A service will take place in Laurieston on Thursday, August 26 (2pm) at Laurieston Cross when a bust of John will be unveiled to ensure his vital role in the Iranian Embassy siege will be remembered for posterity.

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