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'Chris Ryan'
Born 1961 (age 48–49)
Place of birth Rowlands Gill, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1978 - 1994
Rank Corporal
Unit Special Air Service
Battles/wars Gulf War
Awards Military Medal
Other work Author

‘Chris Ryan’ MM (born 1961) is the pseudonym of a former British Special Forces operative and soldier turned novelist.[1] Ryan came to public prominence for being the only member of the failed eight-man SAS mission, Bravo Two Zero to escape, during the First Gulf War, 1991.

He has subsequently written a number of books, including The One That Got Away, and "One Good Turn", a specially commissioned story for the Quick Reads Initiative, aimed at improving adult literacy. 'The One that Got Away' has since been heavily criticised by the other surviving members of the patrol, particularly in relation to its negative portrayal of Sergeant Vince Phillips, who died of hypothermia during the patrol's attempted escape.



Ryan was born in Rowlands Gill, Tyne and Wear, North East England in 1961. He tried unsuccessfully to get into the army as a boy soldier at 16. His cousin Billy was in the 23rd SAS Reserves, and he invited Ryan to come up and "see what it's like to be in the army".[2] Ryan ended up doing this nearly every weekend, almost passing selection several times, but he was too young to continue selection and do 'test week'. When he was old enough, he passed selection with ease as he had experienced most of it more than three times already. Shortly afterwards he began selection for the Regular 22 Regiment, and after passing he joined 'B' squadron and trained as a medic. However, needing a parent regiment, he, along with another soldier who had joined the SAS from the Royal Navy, planned to spend three months with the Parachute Regiment at Aldershot, but after only eight weeks he was told to return back to the SAS to go with 'B' Squadron to Aden, where they parachuted into the sea to secure the beach heads whilst the British pulled out.[3] He then spent seven years carrying out both covert and overt operations with the SAS in various theatres of the world.

Ryan's travels included southeast Asia, training Pol Pot troops to attack Vietnamese forces that had pushed them out of Cambodia. As journalist John Pilger wrote, "Incredibly, the Thatcher government had continued to support the defunct Pol Pot regime in the United Nations and even sent the SAS to train his exiled troops in camps in Thailand and Malaysia. In March, the former SAS soldier Chris Ryan, now a best-selling author, lamented in a newspaper interview 'when John Pilger, the foreign correspondent, discovered we were training the Khmer Rouge in the Far east [we] were sent home and I had to return the £10,000 we’d been given for food and accommodation.'" [4]

Bravo Two Zero

Ryan was a team member of the ill-fated Bravo Two Zero patrol in Iraq, during the First Gulf War. The patrol was to "gather intelligence;... find a good LUP (lying up position) and set up an OP"[5] on the main supply route (MSR) between Baghdad and North-Western Iraq, but were compromised and subsequently headed towards Syria on foot.

Ryan made SAS history with the "longest escape and evasion by an SAS trooper or any other soldier", covering 100 miles (160 km) more than SAS trooper, Jack Sillito, had in the Sahara Desert in 1942.[6]

During his escape, Ryan received injuries from drinking water that was contaminated with nuclear waste. Along with suffering severe muscle atrophy he lost a potentially fatal 16 kg (35 lb) and subsequently did not return to front line operational duties. Instead, he selected and trained potential recruits, eventually being discharged from the SAS in 1994.

Post-SAS work

Since leaving the SAS in 1994, Ryan has written several books. Such as; The One That Got Away, his non-fiction account of the Bravo Two Zero mission, including fictional bestsellers such as Strike Back (2007) and Firefight (September 2008). He has also written fictional books for teenage readers, such as the Alpha Force Series, and "Code Red". Chris combines successfully writing his bestselling books, along with security lectures and presenting television documentaries including Hunting Chris Ryan.

In 2005, Ryan presented a Sky One show called How Not to Die, detailing how not to die in various life-threatening situations, including violent burglary, mugging, and violent attacks. It was described as "One of the most thought provoking programs of its time", by Chris Thompson in 2006. He acted as the military advisor on the video game I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike, helping to make the game more accurate to real-life military operations, tactics, weapons and equipment. Ryan both co-created, and starred in the TV show Ultimate Force, was a military, technical advisor and played the role of Blue Troop leader Johnny Bell in series 1. He trained and managed a six-man team to represent Team GB at Sure for Men's Extreme Pamplona Chase in Spain, and starred in Hunting Chris Ryan airing on the Military Channel. Ryan produced several programmes titled Terror Alert: Could You Survive, in each programme he demonstrated how to survive disasters including, flooding, nuclear terrorist attack, mass blackouts, and plane hi-jacking.

He lectures in business motivation, and is currently a bodyguard in the USA. In 2009 Ryan starred in "Elite World Cops" aired on Bravo. In the show, Ryan spends time with various law enforcement agencies around the world, giving him an insight to the war on terrorism and drug trade but from a law enforcement perspective.[7]

Ryan has a new program currently showing on Bravo called Armed and Dangerous.

He has written a romantic novel, The Fisherman's Daughter, under the pseudonym Molly Jackson.[8]


Ryan has written the following books:[9]


  • The One That Got Away (1995)
  • Chris Ryan's SAS Fitness Book
  • Chris Ryan's Ultimate Survival Guide
  • Chris Ryan fight to win 2009


Geordie Sharp (character)

  • Stand By, Stand By (1996)
  • Zero Option (1997)
  • The Kremlin Device (1998)
  • Tenth Man Down (1999)

Matt Browning (character)


  • The Hit List (2000)
  • The Watchman (2001)
  • Land Of Fire (2002)
  • Blackout (2005)
  • Ultimate Weapon (2006)
  • Strike Back (2007)
  • Firefight (2008)
  • Who Dares Wins (2009)

Code Red

  • Flash Flood (2006)
  • Wildfire (2007)
  • Outbreak (2007)
  • Vortex (2008)
  • Twister (2008)
  • Battleground (2009)

Alpha Force

  • Alpha Force 1: Survival (2002)
  • Alpha Force 2: Rat-catcher (2002)
  • Alpha Force 3: Desert Pursuit (2003)
  • Alpha Force 4: Hostage (2003)
  • Alpha Force 5: Red Centre (2004)
  • Alpha Force 6: Hunted (2004)
  • Alpha Force 7: Blood Money (2005)
  • Alpha Force 8: Fault Line (2005)
  • Alpha Force 9: Black Gold (2005)
  • Alpha Force 10: Untouchable (2005)

Quick Reads

  • One Good Turn (2008)


  1. ^ Asher, Michael (2003). The Real Bravo Two Zero. England: Cassell. p. 2. ISBN 0304365548. 
  2. ^ Ryan, Chris (1995). The One That Got Away. London: Century. p. 85. ISBN 9780099641612. 
  3. ^ Ryan, Chris (1995). The One That Got Away. London: Century. p. 92. ISBN 9780099641612. 
  4. ^ "The Holocaust In Cambodia And Its Aftermath Is Remembered : Information Clearing House - ( ICH ) Keeping track of the empire's crimes". Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  5. ^ Ryan, Chris (1995). The One That Got Away. London: Century. p. 16. ISBN 9780099641612. 
  6. ^ Ryan, Chris (1995). The One That Got Away. London: Century. p. 233. ISBN 9780099641612. 
  7. ^ "Armed and Dangerous". Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  8. ^ "Aida Edemariam on ex-SAS hardman Chris Ryan | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 
  9. ^ "Chris Ryan". Retrieved 2010-01-08. 

External links


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