The Parachute Regiment Beret Badge
This Auction is for the Beret Badge as worn by The Parachute Regiment. This is the badge preferred by the Paras over the issued Staybrite badge.
Brand new and unissued, manufactured chromed metal Beret badge, complete with it's mounted lugs and brass split pin.
A guaranteed quality item.
Brief Regimental History -
The Parachute Regiment is the Airborne Infantry element of the British Army. It is an elite unit by virtue of its stringent selection process, rigorous training programme and by the requirement of its role to operate with minimal or no support behind enemy lines and against numerically superior forces. It forms the airborne infantry element of 16 Air Assault Brigade.
The regiment is formed of three regular and one reserve battalions. One battalion, the 1st Battalion, is permanently attached to Director Special Forces in the Special Forces Support Group:
- 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (1 PARA)
- 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA)
- 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA)
- 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (4 PARA)
The 3rd Battalion includes the Guards Parachute Platoon, made up of men from the five Foot Guards regiments.
All Parachute Regiment recruit training and the Pre Parachute Course, (P Company) is undertaken at the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick.
The Parachute Regiment has its origins in the elite force set up by the British Army at the request of Winston Churchill. Britain was inspired in the creation of airborne forces (including the Parachute Regiment, Air Landing Regiments, and the Glider Pilot Regiment) by the example of the German Luftwaffe's Fallschirmjäger, which had a major role in the invasions of Norway, and the Low Countries, and a pivotal, if Pyrrhic, one in the invasion of Crete.
Britain's first airborne assault took place on 10 February, 1941, when, what was then known as II Special Air Service (some 40 men of 500 trained in), introduced themselves to the enemy by jumping into Italy and blowing up an aqueduct in a daring raid named Operation Colossus.
After the Battle of Crete, it was agreed that Britain would need far more paratroopers for similar operations. No 2 Commando were tasked with specialising in airborne assault and became the nucleus of the Parachute Regiment.
World War II
Operation Biting - France
A Würzburg radar on the coast of France was attacked by British Paratroopers in Operation Biting on 27 February, 1942. The electronics of the system were brought back to Britain for examination so that counter measures could be devised.
Operation Husky - Sicily
As part of the Operation Husky four airborne operations were carried out, landing during the night of the 9/10 July, 1943; two were British and two American. The strong winds blew the dropping aircraft off course and scattered them widely. British glider-landed troops fared badly; only 12 out of 144 gliders landing on target, many landing in the sea. Nevertheless the scattered airborne troops maximised their opportunities, attacking patrols and creating confusion wherever possible.
It was during operations in North Africa that the maroon beret was first seen by German troops. Within months they had christened them Rote Teufel - Red Devils. However, this nickname was not a reference to the colour of their headgear but in fact due to the red mud that the soldiers were covered in after heavy rain.
Operation Slapstick - Southern Italy
During the Allied invasion of Italy the British 1st Airborne Division landed by sea near the port of Taranto in the 'heel' of Italy (Operation Slapstick). Their task was to capture the port and several nearby airfields and link with the British Eighth Army before pressing north to join the US Fifth Army near Foggia.
Operation Overlord - Normandy
There were many separate airborne operations during Operation Overlord on D-Day (June 6, 1944) but broadly the task of the airborne forces was to secure the flanks of the landing beaches in Normandy. The British secured the Eastern flank in Operation Tonga. There were other operations designed to take the specific hardened targets notably the guns of the Merville gun battery. Buried under 12ft-thick concrete, the four 105 mm guns, just miles from the beaches of Sword, Juno and Gold, had the capability to engage warships out at sea and sink landing craft heading for the beaches. The task of putting them out of action fell to the 9th Bn Parachute Regiment which they succeeded in doing for 36 hours by killing all but a handful of the gunners.
Operation Dragoon - Southern France
On 15 August 1944, parachute units of the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade, which included the 4th, 5th and 6th Para battalions and lst Independent Pathfinder Platoon, dropped into Southern France between Frejus and Cannes as part of Operation Dragoon. Their objective was to capture the area, destroy all enemy positions and hold the ground until the US Seventh Army came ashore. Once they had captured their initial targets, they were reinforced by three thousand soldiers and critical equipment carried in over three hundred gliders in an operation code named Dove. The drop was almost unopposed and within days the British parachute group was withdrawn by sea to Italy in readiness for future operations.
Operation Market-Garden - the Netherlands
Major-General Roy Urquhart, commander of British Airborne forces, outside his headquarters during Operation Market Garden.
Perhaps the most famous airborne operation of history is Operation Market Garden of September 1944, in which 35,000 troops of the First Allied Airborne Army were dropped 100 miles behind the German front lines in an attempt to create a path across the Netherlands including the bridge over the Rhine at Arnhem. Three complete airborne divisions, the British 1st Airborne Division, and the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, and the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade from the Army were used. The units were dropped at various points along Highway 69 in order to create a "carpet" over which the British XXX Corps could rapidly advance. German opposition was some three times that expected, including two under-strength but very experienced panzer divisions. Although the operation had partial success in the end the British 1st Airborne division was all but destroyed and the bridge at Arnhem remained in German hands.
An interesting story arises from this episode - upon finally surrendering in the ruins of Arnhem, with no ammunition and virtually starved, a German officer reputedly said to a British officer.. 'I fought at Stalingrad on the eastern front but I have never seen troops as good as you at city fighting - where did you learn this?', to which the officer replied 'well it was our first time - but we'll try to do better next time!'
Operation Varsity - Rhineland, Germany
During the Rhine Crossing (Operation Varsity) a total of six parachute battalions, including the Canadians, of the British 6th Airborne Division, supported by glider troops from the Air Landing Brigade, dropped on March 24, 1945, as a complete force, avoiding the mistakes of Arnhem.
Together with the US 17th Airborne Division, the aim of the operation was to secure and deepen the bridgehead east of the Rhine and then advance across country to the Baltic coast, a journey of 350 miles. Their initial objectives were the high ground overlooking the crossing, point at Diersfordter Wald and the road and rail bridges over the River Issel at Hamminkeln.
1946 – 1966
After the Second World War regular airborne forces were reduced to the 16th Independent Parachute Brigade Group while in the Territorial Army there was the 16th Airborne Division (TA), which was reduced to the 44th Independent Parachute Brigade Group (TA) in 1956. In 1954, at the request of the Director of Operations in Malaya, an Independent Parachute Squadron was raised from volunteers from the Parachute Regiment to assist 22 SAS by providing a fourth sabre squadron for operations in Malaya against the Communist terrorists. Some 80 officers and men were selected to form The Independent Parachute Squadron and served in Malaya on operations with 22 SAS until disbanded in May 1957 on return to the UK.
In the Suez Crisis, Operation Musketeer needed the element of total surprise to succeed, and all 660 men had to be on the ground at El Gamil airfield and ready for action within four and a half minutes. At 04.15 hours on 5 November 1956, 3 Para jumped in and although opposition was heavy, casualties were few.
In 1964, 2 Para had been sent to Singapore for jungle warfare training, after Indonesia threatened to invade the Malaysian state of Borneo. The remainder of the unit followed in March 1965, and moved direct to the Indonesian border. A month later one of the biggest battles of the war took place, when an Indonesian battalion attacked B Company of 2 Para. More than 50 Indonesians were killed, and the Paras lost two men with seven injured. This short, but intense Far East deployment, ended in July, the Battalion having been awarded eight decorations including two Military Medals.
Major-General Glyn Gilbert was instrumental, throughout this period, in ensuring the Regiments survival, and in advancing the doctrine of airborne warfare. He also created the Red Devils parachute display team, and instituted the Platoon Sergeants' Battle Course at Brecon Beacons, which was later extended to the entire British Army.
Operation Banner and the Falklands
Throughout "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland, the regiment's battalions undertook many tours of duty. In 1972, while assisting the Royal Ulster Constabulary in preventing a civil rights march from taking place in Derry, twenty-eight civilians were shot, fourteen fatally. This event became known as Bloody Sunday. Allegations of IRA gunfire towards the Paras are strongly disputed; none of the dead or injured were found to have firearms. It was claimed that the British Army put nail bombs into the pockets of a boy after he died. During their tours of duty between 1971 and 1991, the Parachute Regiment lost forty men killed in The Troubles. The first of these, Sergeant Michael Willetts, was awarded the George Cross for saving a dozen lives at the cost of his own during a bombing.
On 27 August 1979 sixteen members of the Parachute Regiment and two members of the Queen's Own Highlanders were killed at Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland by two roadside bombs planted by the Provisional IRA.
Argentine PoWs guarded by 2 Para soldiers
During the Falklands War in 1982, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were used to bring 3 Commando Brigade up to war-strength. The regiment played a prominent part in the conflict, two of its soldiers being awarded the Victoria Cross. The two recipients were Lieutenant-Colonel H. Jones and Sergeant Ian McKay.
During this time the Parachute Regiment was part of the 5th Airborne Brigade. In the 1990s due to defence cuts after the end of the Cold War (Options for Change), the 15th (Scottish Volunteer) Battalion was reduced to a company in 1993 becoming part of the 4th Battalion.
Served in the former Yugoslavia in 1993.
1996 – 2002
The 1st Battalion, augmented by C Company of 3rd Battalion, took part in the Kosovo War in 1999 (Operation Joint Guardian) and tasks given to the Battle group during the conflict included the heliborne assault to secure the Kacanik pass and its strategic assets. This was the only road between the Macedonian border and Pristina and its use was key to the following armoured units.
In 1999 the 10th (Volunteer) Battalion was reduced to a Company leaving only a single Reserve battalion of the Parachute Regiment. This Battalion, 4th Battalion, had its Battalion HQ in Leeds with sub-units located throughout the UK: 10 (London) Company in White City and Croydon; 12 (Yorkshire) Company in Leeds and Hebburn and 15 (Scottish) Company of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
After the civil war in Sierra Leone deteriorated further, the 1st Battalion landed at the country's capital, Freetown, on 7 May, 2000 to evacuate foreign nationals. The battalion was the lead element of a large naval task group, centred around HMS Ocean, that was heading for Sierra Leone as part of Operation Palliser. After the evacuation was completed, they were tasked with retaining control of Freetown airport to ensure that UN supplies could be brought into the country, while also patrolling in the capital city. The rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, had been captured by government forces on 17 May. Operation Palliser ended on 15 June.
After 11 soldiers of the 1st Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) and a Sierra Leone soldier were taken hostage by a rebel faction known as the West Side Boys (West Side Boys was the name favoured by western media, although in actuality, West Side Niggaz was the correct name) on 25 August, "A" Company of the 1st Battalion was deployed to Dakar, Senegal on 5 September, then onto Freetown. Five RIR soldiers had been released on 30 August but after the rebels carried out mock executions, A Company and the Special Air Service, supported by two Army Air Corps helicopters, launched a rescue attempt (Operation Barras) on 10 September, successfully releasing the soldiers and capturing many rebels, including their leader, Foday Kallay. As well as recovering the two Land Rovers that the soldiers of the RIR were ambushed in while patrolling.
In August 2001 the 2nd Battalion took part in NATO's intervention in the Republic of Macedonia to disarm the rebel National Liberation Army, (Operation Essential Harvest).
The 1st and 3rd Battalions together with the Pathfinder Platoon took part in Operation Telic, Britain's contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The two battalions were part of 16 Air Assault Brigade. In addition to this, 120 soldiers of the Territorial Army 4th Battalion were used to augment the regulars.
The regiment was actively involved in operations leading up to the capture of Iraq's second largest city, Basra. After 7 Armoured Brigade pushed into the city on 6 April, the 3rd Battalion cleared the 'old quarter' that was inaccessible to vehicles.
The war officially ended on 1 May, but the Battalion remained in Iraq, operating in the British area in the south of the country. The Parachute Regiment was based in Maysan Province, mostly quiet though they did have sporadic encounters with Iraqi guerrillas. A patrol of six Royal Military Policemen all from 156 Provost Company RMP attached to the 1st Battalion were surrounded and killed on 24 June, 2003 by Iraqi gunmen in Majar Al Kabir. A patrol from the 1st Battalion were also in Majar Al Kabir when it was ambushed by Iraqi guerrillas, coming under heavy attack. Several members of the subsequent QRF were wounded as their Chinook helicopter came under heavy ground fire as it attempted to land.
Sergeant Gordon Robertson was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross – the second highest award for bravery in the face of the enemy after the Victoria Cross – as part of the Honours List in October. This was the first CGC to be awarded to the Parachute Regiment.
The 1st and 3rd Battalion's left Iraq along with the rest of 16 Air Assault Brigade in September.
Roulement tours to Iraq continued for all Battalions of the Regiment as part of Operation Telic; 2nd Battalion deployed in November 2003 on a 6-month tour-of-duty as part of 20 Armoured Brigade, and once again in November 2005 as part of 7 Armoured Brigade, during the deployment with 7 Armd Bde Sgt James Newell was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. This was the first non-officer to receive the award in the 2nd Battalion. Meanwhile the 3rd Battalion sent two Companies to support 12 Mechanised Brigade on Operation Telic 6 in 2004. As well as individual reinforcements to all battalions Cassino Company of 4th Battalion deployed to Iraq in October 2005 for 6 months as part of the Divisional Rear Operations Battle Group (1 Royal Irish, later replaced by 1 Royal Scots in January 06). The following Parachute Regiment soldiers have been killed whilst serving in Iraq: Private Andrew Kelly (3rd Battalion); Captain Richard Holmes and Private Lee Ellis (2nd Battalion)
Operation Veritas, Afghanistan
The 2nd Battalion deployed into the capital Kabul January 2002 to assist NATO's ISAF. They were there to help ISAF provide security and stability following the American led mission to oust the Taliban. The tour was such a success the 2nd Battalion was awarded the Wilkinson Sword of Peace for its efforts.
In January 2006 16 Air Assault Brigade were tasked to provide a single Airborne Infantry Battle Group (3rd Battalion) for operations in Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick. The force was deployed into Helmand Province in the south of the country in June 2006. Almost immediately the 3rd Battalion Battle Group were involved in Operation Mountain Thrust, a U.S.-led campaign to flush Taliban guerrillas out of the hills, billed as the biggest Western offensive in Afghanistan since 2002.
All four Battalions are currently in Afghanistan as part of Operation Herrick with 16 Air Assault Brigade.
- World War Two
- Arnhem (Operation Market-Garden)
- Athens (Operation Manna)
- Breville (Operation Overlord)
- Bruneval (Operation Biting)
- Normandy Landing (Operation Overlord)
- Oudna (Operation Torch)
- Primosole Bridge (Operation Fustian)
- Rhine Crossing (Operation Varsity)
- (Southern France) Operation Dragoon
- Tamera (Operation Torch)
- Falklands War (Operation Corporate)
- Gulf War
Colonels Commandant The Parachute Regiment
- 1942-44 Field Marshal Sir John Dill GCB, CMG, DSO, LLD
- 1944-56 Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery of Alamein KG, GCB, DSO, DL
- 1956-61 General Sir Richard Nelson Gale GCB, KBE, DSO, MC
- 1961-65 General Sir Gerald Lathbury GCB, DSO, MBE
- 1965-67 Lieutenant General Sir Kenneth Darling KCB, CBE, DSO
- 1967-72 General Sir Mervyn Butler KCB, CBE, DSO, MC
- 1972-77 General Sir Roland Gibbs GCB, CBE, DSO, MC, ADC Gen
- 1977-83 General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley GBE, KCB, DSO, MC, ADC Gen
- 1984-90 General Sir Geoffrey Howlett KBE, MC
- 1990-93 Lieutenant General Sir Michael Gray KCB, OBE
- 1993-98 Lieutenant General Sir Rupert Smith KCB, DSO, OBE, QGM
- 1998-04 General Sir Mike Jackson KCB, CBE, DSO, ADC Gen
- 2004 - Present General Sir John Reith KCB, CBE
The list includes those individuals who were, or have claimed to have served in the Parachute Regiment (Regular or TA):
- Michael Asher - Desert explorer and Author
- David Barnes - British Welterweight boxing champion
- David Blakeley - Actor
- Vince Bramley - Author
- Nick Brown - SAS Soldier †
- Bryan Budd VC - Victoria Cross recipient †
- Mark Burnett - Television producer and Falklands War veteran
- Karl Bushby - Adventurer and Author
- Frank Carson - Comedian and Operation Musketeer veteran
- Costas Georgiou aka 'Colonel Callan' - Angolan War Mercenary †
- Eddie Collins - SAS Soldier †
- Lewis Collins - Actor
- Billy Connolly - Actor and Comedian
- Bernard Cribbins - Actor
- Peter Cundall - TV Presenter
- Paddy Doyle - World Record breaking multi-disciplinary athlete.
- Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley GBE, KCB, DSO & Bar, MC - NATO's Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe †
- Dair Farrar-Hockley MC
- 'Johnny' Frost - Operation Market Garden veteran †
- Tony Geraghty - Author
- Frederick Gough - Former MP for Horsham †
- Ben Griffin - Anti-War on Terror spokesman
- John Grayburn VC - Victoria Cross recipient
- Herbert 'H' Jones VC -Victoria Cross recipient †
- Tim Healy - Actor
- Jon Hollingsworth CGC QGM - SAS Soldier †
- Robin Horsfall - martial arts expert and author
- Sir Mike Jackson - Former Chief of the General Staff
- Trevor Rees-Jones - Dodi Al-Fayed and Diana, Princess of Wales' former bodyguard
- Tom McClean - World Record breaking Atlantic sailer
- Ian McKay VC - Victoria Cross recipient †
- Sean Olsson - Winter Olympic bobsleigh bronze medalist
- Alastair Pearson DSO and 3 Bars MC - Former MP †
- Sir Hew Pike KCB DSO MBE
- John Pine-Coffin - Operation Musketeer veteran †
- Richard Pine-Coffin, DSO and Bar, MC †
- Peter Ratcliffe DCM MID - Author
- Ewan Ross - Actor
- Chris Ryan - Author and TV presenter
- Lionel Ernest Queripel VC - Victoria Cross recipient †
- Al Slater MM - SAS soldier †
- Sir James Spicer
- Richard Todd - Actor
- Steve Truglia - World record breaking attemptee
- Dean Ward - Winter Olympic bobsleigh bronze medalist.
- Michael Willetts GC - George Cross recipient †
- Mark Wright GC - George Cross recipient †
- David Purley - F1, F3 and F5000 Racing Driver George Medal recipient †
- David Waterman: British Sports Photographer of the Year 1974, World Press Photo
- United States - 82nd Airborne Division
- Australia - 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
|The Parachute Regiment|
Beret Badge of the Parachute Regiment
||1st Battalion—Special Forces Support|
2nd Battalion—Air Assault/Light Role
3rd Battalion—Air Assault/Light Role
4th Battalion—TA Reserve
1st Battalion—RAF St Athan
||The Red Devils, The Paras|
||Latin: Utrinque Paratus|
("Ready for Anything")
||Quick—Ride of the Valkyries|
Slow—Pomp and Circumstance No 4
||Shetland Pony (Pegasus)|
||HRH The Prince of Wales KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, QSO, PC, ADC|
||General Sir John Reith KCB, CBE|
|General Anthony Farrar-Hockley GBE, KCB, DSO & Bar, MC|
|Drop Zone Flash
MILITARY - BRITISH ARMY
A soldier of the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, armed with the L85A2 rifle during Operation Telic.
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