11 Bats

This sounds like the contents of a Test cricketer’s kit bag. In fact, it is the name of the biography of an SAS operative Anthony “Harry” Moffitt. It is a voluminous book given to me by my son in February for my 70th. I have been intending to write a precise on it for most of this year.

It is a story of combat, cricket and the SAS. As most of our members are interested in cricket, and many of us wore the Nation’s uniform, this should be an interesting read.

Trooper Moffitt was deployed overseas on a total of eleven occasions. On each occasion he either took a bat with him, or acquired one while on deployment. That included one that was purchased for him in Pakistan and smuggled into Afghanistan.

As a cricket fanatic, “Harry” saw improvised matches while on deployment as a means of maintaining moral and mental stability. To quote; “If we didn’t have cricket, I felt, we would drive ourselves mad waiting for the next rocket attack.”
“Often, while we were playing our games, Taliban or Al-Qaeda fighters were watching from the hills, talking about us to each other on their radios. For some reason they were less interested in shooting at us than in bad mouthing our cricket technique.”
On one occasion the interpreter, listening via Motorola radio, told “Harry” that the “badies’ reckoned that he was a rubbish bowler!
“Harry” invited them to come down and play. The deal would be that whoever lost the match, had to leave the valley! The invitation was declined.
Moffitt naturally lived with his wife and children in WA, where the SAS were Head Quartered. His back yard became a “cricket ground” with spectator seating etc. When at home he spent many hours relaxing with a beer and mates at the MCG (Moffitt Cricket Ground.)

He openly discusses the stress of deployment, leaving the family for long periods of time. His very capable wife managed to keep all in order, and as he matured, “Harry” started thinking about a post service career.

He started studying for a phycology degree and ultimately used this for the betterment of many SAS troopers. Phycology seems a strange career path for a trained killer, but he is obviously a very intelligent and resourceful person.

The 11 bats with some very significant signatures on them.

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