Karl Beale was born on 12 May 1929. Commissioned into the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment on 14 July 1949, he was awarded an MID in 1952 and Military Cross in October 1953 for operations in Malaya.
He transferred to the Parachute Regiment as a company commander and parachuted into Suez in 1956 and served a tour at Hereford as second-in-command 22 SAS Regiment.
He was promoted to Lt Col. on 30 June 1969 and seconded to SAF 1970-72 where he served as CO NFR. He will be best remembered for establishing an airstrip and base in early 1971, north of the tree line at Akoot which was named ‘Karlsberg’ and was a launching point for many of the subsequent operations in the Western Area including the successful series of Viper Operations. Karl greatly valued his time in Oman and loved both the country and its people.
Returning to UK, Karl was posted to HQ SAS Group as Chief of Staff 1972-73 before retiring in 1977. The following year Karl went back to Oman to take over command of the Sultan’s Special Forces where he served for a time. His last appointment in Oman was as an advisor to the Omani government, working in the Palace Office. Some friends, still living in Oman, have offered us their memories of Karl during this final period of service.
"Karl lived next door to us and we would sometimes witness, while sitting on our patio having a sundowner, a hostage exercise with black-cladded special forces personnel crawling through our garden on their bellies and Karl negotiating with the hostage takers in his underpants!
Karl would entertain us with stories of his time in Malaya, how he was able to sniff a tin of baked beans being opened by the ‘other side’ at a distance of half a mile. He also used to tell us about his preparations for escape and evasion exercises from Dartmoor Prison and how he had buried a couple of suitcases on Dartmoor containing tea and dry biscuits, gold coins and a ‘Peace In Our Time’ suit! Our children were fascinated by Karl’s stories and were always asking him to give them the location of his caches!
He was extremely generous and once gave a memorable cheese & wine party (with caviar) and all guests were handed cheese, wine glasses and excellent wine on leaving!
He loved his children dearly and always referred to them as ‘boy-child’ and ‘girl-child’."
He retired first to Crediton in Devon and later to Warwickshire to be near son, Chris and daughter Caroline.
Karl died peacefully at Kenilworth Nursing Home on 12 April 2019, one month before his 90th birthday.