Portsmouth’s own special forces hero Ant Middleton ‘excited’ to return to his home city

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AFTER spending his military career kicking through doors and killing terrorists, special forces hero Ant Middleton has admitted: ‘I’m ready for my new career – as a civilian.’

The elite soldier-turned-TV-celebrity made his comments ahead of his visit to his home city of Portsmouth on Thursday to promote his autobiography.

Afghanistan veteran Ant, who served in the Special Boat Service (SBS) – the SAS’s sister unit – hopes his book First Man In: Leading From The Front will inspire others to beat their personal demons.

The autobiography focuses on what his life in the military was like, revealing harrowing tales of his time dodging death on the frontline to fleeing from police after assaulting an officer.

But it also shines a light on what growing up as a boy in Portsmouth was like.

Speaking ahead of his trip to his birth city, the 37-year-old said: ‘Portsmouth is like a second home – it’s one of my stomping grounds.

Special forces hero Ant Middleton Picture: Dan Etheridge

Special forces hero Ant Middleton Picture: Dan Etheridge

‘So coming back here will be the highlight of my tour.’

Ant was born at St Mary’s hospital in 1981 and lived with his family first in Hayling Island and then Cosham.

After his father died, he moved to Ferndale, in Waterlooville, and studied at Portsmouth Grammar School.

At nine, he started a new life in France before coming to the UK to join the Royal Engineers at 16 in 1997.

Rising through the ranks, Ant served with the Royal Marines and 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers before joining the SBS in 2008.

Serving as a point man and a sniper for his team, Ant’s book gives a hard-hitting account of what it was like to be the first man to charge into a room full of armed terrorists.

He added: ‘When you’re knocking on death’s door that’s when you feel most alive. It goes beyond fear, it’s like a euphoria – it’s like a drug.

‘When it’s a life or death situation, kill or be killed, your training kicks in, your body works in perfect harmony.’

In his book, the father-of-five speaks frankly about how it feels to take a life: ‘Killing someone feels like gently pulling your trigger finger back a few millimetres.

‘It feels like hearing a dull pop. It feels like seeing a man-shaped object fall away from your sights. It feels like getting the job done. It feels satisfying. But, beyond that, killing someone feels like nothing at all.’

Ant said his special forces training had helped him to adapt to life on Civvy Street.

‘Having trained to be the best soldier in the world I now want to be the best civilian,’ he added. ‘I have taken this on as a challenge and I love it.’

Ant will be promoting his book at Waterstones, in Commercial Road, Portsmouth from 6pm on Thursday.