Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Wednesday, 29 September 2010 14:14 UK
SAS medal awarded after embassy siege sells for 98,000
SAS medals
Three campaign medals from an SAS career

A collection of SAS memorabilia, including a gallantry medal awarded after the siege at the Iranian embassy, has sold for £98,750.

The Queen's Gallantry Medal was won by Sergeant Tommy Palmer - he died in Northern Ireland in 1983.

His family, who live in Hereford, auctioned three of his medals, and other items from his army career.

These included the protective hood he wore when the SAS stormed the Iranian embassy in London in May, 1980.

Military career

SAS soldier
Sergeant Tommy Palmer, in combat gear

Sgt. Palmer joined the Hereford-based SAS in 1973, aged 22, from the Royal Engineers.

At the time he was one of the youngest soldiers ever to pass the rigorous selection test for the SAS.

During his time with the regiment he served in Dhofar, and did several tours in Northern Ireland.

In May 1980 he was one of the SAS troopers who took part in Operation Nimrod, which released hostages being held at the Iranian Embassy in London.

The dramatic end of the siege was carried live on television news, with the now familiar black-clad figures lobbing stun grenades into the building, and disappearing through the embassy window on their rescue mission.

The 11-minute operation ended the six-day siege, with 19 hostages released.

Five terrorists were killed, and one captured.

He also took part in the operation to retake the Falkland Islands, in 1982.


Iranian embassy siege, May, 1980
The dramatic end to the six-day siege as the SAS go in

The auction lot included three medals:

  • The Queen's Gallantry Medal.
  • The Campaign Service Medal, 1962, with two bars, for service in Northern Ireland and Dhofar.
  • The South Atlantic Medal, 1982.

Also included in the lot was the uniform he wore at a private investiture held at Buckingham Palace, and letters, pictures and paintings from his time serving with the SAS.

Sgt. Palmer died on 8 February 1983, aged 31, near Lurgan in Northern Ireland

He and another SAS soldier were on a covert operation, when the car they were driving overturned and struck an embankment.

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