One of WWII's original SAS members Alec Borrie dies aged 98 trends now
Tributes have been paid to one of the last surviving members of the original wartime SAS after his death aged 98.
Lance Corporal Alec Borrie passed away at his home in Dagenham, East London, earlier this month after suffering from pneumonia.
He had been bedbound for several months after recovering from coronavirus.
Referred to by comrades as 'Boy' because he was just 18 when he signed up, he served under legendary SAS commander Paddy Mayne, who asked him when he joined the unit in 1944 if he liked 'killing people'.
Lance Corporal Borrie was among members of the SAS who were ordered by Winston Churchill to 'cause a nuisance' by conducting guerilla operations against the Nazis during the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the summer of 1944.
He later carried out 'Nazi hunting' operations inside Germany in April and May 1945 under Mayne's command before he was badly injured a few weeks before VE Day when his Jeep was blown up by a mine.
Tributes have been paid to one of the last surviving members of the original wartime SAS after his death aged 98. Lance Corporal Alec Borrie (pictured above in front of his Jeep bearing the SAS's famous winged dagger badge) passed away at his home in Dagenham, East London, earlier this month after being bedbound for several months following a coronavirus diagnosis
Lance Corporal is seen in his bed at his home in Dagenham holding a specially commissioned oil painting of Commander Paddy Mayne. The painting was hung above his bed, prompting him to say, 'thank God I've got my commander watching over me again'
Lance Corporal Borrie's death means that Mike Sadler, 102, is the only surviving member of the original SAS, which was formed in 1941 by Lieutenant-Colonel David Stirling.
Paying an emotional tribute to him, historian Damien Lewis, who interviewed Lance Corporal Borrie just a few weeks before his death, said he was the 'bravest of the brave' - a reference to a moving line in a poem by Irishman James Clarence Mangan.
The full verse reads: 'Twas there I first beheld, drawn up in file and line, the brilliant Irish hosts; they came, the bravest of the brave.'
Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Lewis, the author of SAS Great Escapes, said: 'Alec was lovely. He was a typical SAS guy. He was irreverent. He was sparky.
'He was a maverick. He was very single minded. He had that leftfield way of thinking that you need to have in that unit.
'I can see why he was such a golden member of the unit when he served in it. He was absolutely of type.
'Even in his last years, you could tell that Alec would have been a fearsome warrior when he needed to be. He still had that steeliness.'
Born in Soho Square in London in 1924, Lance Corporal Borrie was making bomb boxes for engineering firm Vickers when he signed up to the British Army in 1942.
He initially joined the Gordon Highlanders but was then transferred to the Highland Light Infantry and then posted to the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland.
In an interview with History of War Magazine, he told how he volunteered for the Special Air Service because he 'wanted to get off the Orkney Islands', which were 'like the Arctic'.
Lance Corporal Borrie is seen with fellow SAS members (from left to right) Joe Craig, Chris Tilling, Arthur Smith and Woody Woodford in France in 1944
Lance Corporal Borrie (centre) is seen with comrades alongside a car bearing the SAS insignia
Lance Corporal Borrie (right) is seen with comrades Joe Craig (left) and Arthur Middleton in Brussels
Lance Corporal Borrie is seen with SAS comrades posing beneath a sign pointing towards Brussels
He added that he did not know what the SAS was when he signed up with two others, both of whom also survived the war.
During a ten-minute interview, Mayne asked him how he 'felt about killing people', prompting Lance Corporal Borrie to say: 'I haven't done it but I think it will be ok.'
Lance Corporal Borrie initially underwent a period of intensive training on the Scottish moors, where he and other recruits carried out parachute jumps.
The SAS's task was to slow down the advance of German reinforcements towards Normany, which was invaded by the Allies on June 6, 1944, better known as D-Day.
The guerilla tactics carried out by Lance Corporal Borrie and others were made especially dangerous by Adolf Hitler's infamous 'Commando Order', which stated that Allied commandos should be killed immediately on capture.
With casualty rates pushing 50 per cent, the risks involved for Lance Corporal Borrie were immense.
He was among the