Hereford – City, Cathedral and SAS Connections

Hereford has a long-established tradition as a market city. The city stands on a flat river plain surrounded by hills.
Hertfordshire farmland is the original home of the renowned beef breed of ‘white face’ Hereford cattle and the connection with cattle breeding is reflected in the livestock and general market held each Wednesday and general markets on Saturdays, which attract visitors from across the county and beyond.

Local products can be bought at the Farmers Markets held throughout the year.

There are many events held in the county and places to visit outside Hereford. Tourist contact details are at the end of this section.

Hereford River Wye

River Wye with Hereford Cathedral in the background

 

old house

The Old House in High Town is a beautifully preserved building, one of the county’s finest. It has a date of 1621 carved on shields (held by angels) under the eaves of the central gable of both the north and south sides of the house. The Old House has been a museum since 1929 and has been aptly described as ‘a casket of jewels’. Inside the house each room contains furniture and items of the 17th Century period and it gives visitors a fascinating and valuable insight into life in that century. I can thoroughly recommend a visit. The House is open all year Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, and also during April-September on Sundays 10am-4pm, Bank Holiday Mondays 10am-4pm.

 

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Hereford SAS connections

 

Hereford is a market city, but in military circles Hereford is famous as the ‘home city’ of the Special Air Service, the SAS or ‘Regiment’ as it is also known.

interior St Martin's

The SAS parish church used to be at St Martin’s, until it was decided to use the barracks grounds for a new chapel. This photo is of the interior of the church and the SAS dedicated window is on the left hand side before the altar steps (out of sight in this photo).

SAS window 1

Hereford is justifiably proud of its connection to the Special Air Service Regiment, whose main base is at Credenhill on the outskirts of Hereford, as anyone with a computer will be able to find out in about ten seconds from the many sites devoted to the SAS.

SAS window with tributes and remembrance books below.

SAS window 2

The SAS window in detail with a list of the campaigns in which the Regiment fought from World War Two on, including some not well known to the public such as Malaya and the Jebel Akhdar in the 1950s, Borneo, South Arabia, Radfan in the 1960s, Dhofar in the 1970s. The list also includes Northern Ireland, the Falklands War in 1982, and Iraq in 1991.

SAS inscription

 

Inscription below the window with the Pilgrim poem alongside, which has become the motto of the SAS:

‘We are the Pilgrims, master, we shall go always a little further:

It may be beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow,

Across that angry or that glimmering sea.

White on a throne or guarded in a cave

There lives a prophet who can understand

Why men are born: but surely we are brave

Who take the golden road to Samarkand.’

SAS monument

Monument in the middle of Hereford which records the SAS winged dagger emblem and the SAS role in the Falklands War, where they lost a great number of men due to an accident in which a helicopter crashed in the sea while transferring troopers from one ship to another. Others were also killed in combat.

 

Some historic SAS equipment:

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A long-wheel-base Land Rover known as a Pink Panther or Pinkie, which was lovingly restored recently. This model would have been in use during the 1960s. It has two mounted heavy GPMG weapons (General Purpose Machine Guns) front and rear. There is also a place for a shotgun housed within the container above the front wheel, in photo. The vehicle was painted pink as it was found that the colour provided the best camouflage in the desert.

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The rear-mounted weapon with tubes underneath which would have contained smoke grenades or similar. Army rucksacks, known as Bergens, are seen on the back of the vehicle.

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Driver’s seat with combat jacket and shamagh, an Arab headdress, over the back of the seat. The area between the seats housed the radio equipment. Pouches of WW2 and contemporary equipment are slung over the sides.

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An outrider’s bike as used in desert terrain. I was told this one probably dated from around the 1980s era. Outriders were (and are, possibly, although drones may have taken that role) used as scouts for a column of SAS vehicles and were also used to pass messages between vehicles when radio silence was being observed.

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Typical patrol combat clothes and weapons from the 1960s era, with jungle pattern jacket and belt kit incorporating pouches for supplies. The combats on the left were worn by the patrol commander, those on the right by a signaller.

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Other equipment including radios; and ration packs foil wrapped on the right hand side.

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Combat clothing from the 1990s, blending perfectly into the background. It would have been worn by a tracker and scout with five years’ service, someone who was also a signaller and demolition expert.

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Clothing as would have been worn during the First Gulf War by the patrol medic, who had five years’ experience and was also trained as a signaller.

 

 

Telephone number 01432 260694.
For information about all Herefordshire events, accommodation, etc, these can be found by viewing the Tourist Information.

Centre website at:
http://www.visitherefordshire.co.uk

Telephone number 01432 268430

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