FORMER head of the SAS Sir John Watts, described as an outstanding leader and a highly experienced commander, has died, aged 73.

Remembered as a short, stocky figure with an engagingly crumpled face and often careless of his appearance, he was involved in major operations including the Oman campaign for which he received the Military Cross.

He was flown into Oman to help deal with a rebel force under Talib bin Ali in October 1958 and the daring attack took place three months later, earning the SAS eight awards.

He received the OBE after the successful campaign to defeat the Communist-backed Adoo in Dhofar, when the Sultan of Oman was deposed.

Mr Watts was appointed director SAS and commander SAS group in 1975 and was received the CBE in 1979.He was appointed CB in 1985 and knighted in 1988.