Pilgrim Days

Pilgrim Days

A Lifetime of Soldiering from Vietnam to the SAS

General Military
  • Author: Alastair MacKenzie
  • Short code: GNM
  • Publication Date: 21 Mar 2019
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About this Product

‘We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go,
Always a little further; it may be,
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow.'

If there was ever anyone who went a little further, a little beyond, it was Alastair MacKenzie. In a career spanning 30 years, MacKenzie served uniquely with the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, the British Parachute Regiment, the British Special Air Service (SAS), the South African Defence Force's famed ParaBats, the Sultan of Oman's Special Forces and a host of private security agencies and defence contractors.

MacKenzie lived the soldier's life to the full as he journeyed ‘the Golden Road to Samarkand'. This extraordinary new work from the author of Special Force: The Untold Story of 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) vividly documents the experience of infantry combat in Vietnam, life with the Paras, the tempo of selection for UK Special Forces, covert SAS operations in South Armagh and SAS Counter Terrorist training on the UK mainland, vehicle-mounted Pathfinder Brigade insertions into Angola and maritime counter-terrorism work in Oman.

Biographical Note

Alastair MacKenzie comes from a military family of long standing and he served as a para-trained platoon commander for 12 months with the New Zealand infantry on combat operations in South Vietnam and in the special forces of South Africa, Oman and the UK, where for four years he was troop commander in the 22nd Special Air Service Regiment. After his retirement as a full-time Army officer he enjoyed a successful commercial career with Royal Ordnance and British Aerospace before moving to consultancy roles. In civilian life he retained an involvement with the Territorial Army as an SAS officer and retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 2001. He obtained his PhD in politics in 2005 and is the author of works including Special Force: The Untold Story of 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) and The Sounds Soldiers' Memorial - Stories of the Fallen. He lives on the South Island of New Zealand.


1. Early Days, 1948-65
2. New Zealand Army, 1966-73
3. 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, 1973-76
4. 22 Special Air Service Regiment, 1976-80
5. 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, 1980-81
6. 44 South African Parachute Brigade (The Parabats), 1981-82
7. KMS Limited, 1982 and 21 SAS
8. New Zealand Army, 1982-85
9. The Sultan of Oman's Special Forces, 1985-89
10. Royal Ordnance plc; Reliance Security Limited; Territorial Army, 1989-94
11. AMA Associates Limited; Territorial Army; and a Return to New Zealand, 1994-present

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