Who Dares, Wins is a motto that originated with the British Special Air Service. It is normally credited to the founder of the SAS, David Stirling.
The Special Air Service or SAS is a regiment of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950, and is regarded by many as the best such force in the world. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world.
David Stirling was born at his family’s ancestral home, Keir House in the parish of Lecropt in Perthshire (near Stirling). He was the son of Brigadier General Archibald Stirling, of Keir and Margaret Fraser, daughter of Simon Fraser, the Lord Lovat, (a descendant of Charles II, King of Scots). His cousin was Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat, and his grandparents were Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, 9th Baronet and Lady Anna Maria Leslie-Melville. He was educated at Ampleforth College and Trinity College, Cambridge. A tall and athletic figure (he was 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 m) tall), he was training to climb Mount Everest when World War II broke out. Stirling was commissioned into the Scots Guards from Ampleforth College Contingent Officer Training Corps on 24 July 1937. Aware that taking his idea up through the chain of command was unlikely to work, Stirling decided to go straight to the top. On crutches following a parachuting accident, he sneaked into Middle East headquarters in Cairo (under, through or over a fence but spotted by guards) in an effort to see Commander-in-Chief General Claude Auchinleck. He ran into one office, only to come face-to-face with an officer he had previously fallen out with. Retreating rapidly to shouts of ‘Guards, Guards’, he dodged into another office, Stirling came face to face with Deputy Commander Middle East General Ritchie. Stirling explained his plan to Ritchie, the latter immediately convincing Auchinleck (in the office next door) to allow Stirling to form a new Special Forces unit.