It was a Sunday night and I was unwinding after completing a semester at University College London, where I was a graduate student. I was looking forward to my four-week term break and planned to travel in Scotland with my girlfriend. However, a friend asked me to meet him at a pub near Chelsea Barracks, which was frequented by a few regulars from 22nd SAS (Special Air Service) assigned to Chelsea Barracks and some of the Territorial Army (TA Reserve) members of 21st SAS.

When I arrived I was introduced to the head of the protection team for a Middle East royal resident in London. The principal was returning to his home country and his protective team was augmented by a couple of extra guys going with him to provide armed security. Unfortunately, one of the augmentation guys had been in a motorcycle accident and I was asked to fill in for three to four weeks.

I knew I would have an unhappy girlfriend, but the pay was extremely good and by filling in, I kept the job open for the injured team member. Once I had accepted, the team leader asked, “Are you current on the L9A1, mate?” I was since that is the British military designation for the Browning Hi-Power. Had he asked about the P35, GP, HP or BAP, I would have answered affirmative as well since they are all designations for the Hi-Power. I would expect an Irish accent for the BAP since that designation is generally used in the Irish army.

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