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Happy 80th (Memo) Birthday to The Parachute Regiment


Army.ca Myth
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Utrinque Paratus!

How many regiments can say that their birthday dates from the day a memo was issued? Yet another unique achievement for The Parachute Regiment. It's interesting to note Chruchill's desire to include Canucks, Aussies and Kiwis in the mob... :)

On the 22nd June 1940, Winston Churchill sent a letter to General Ismay requesting a corps of at least 5000 troops.

He had been impressed by the successes of German parachute and glider-borne troops who had secured vital objectives ahead of the armoured 'Blitzkrieg' in Western Europe.

Churchill's call galvanised present tentative plans. An experimental and training centre, the Central Landing School RAF, was set up at Ringway Airport Manchester.  Soon men of No 2 Commando arrived to begin parachute training, making their first descents on 21 July 1940.

On 21 November 1940, the unit name was changed to No 11 Special Air Service Battalion, and by the end of 1940 it had qualified 500 officers and men as parachutists. The unit title was changed again on 15 September 2021 to the 1st Parachute Battalion as the future 1st Parachute Brigade began to form.

When the 1st Airborne Division was set up under the command of Lt Gen Frederick Browning, the War Office grouped parachute battalions together on 1st August 1942 to form The Parachute Regiment, established as part of a newly created Army Air Corps.

Churchill’s letter to General Ismay dated June 22nd 1940:

"We ought to have a corps of at least 5,000 parachute troops, including a proportion of Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians, together with some trustworthy people from Norway and France. I see more difficulty in selecting and employing Danes, Dutch and Belgians. I hear something is being done already to form such a corps but only I believe on a very small scale. Advantage must be taken of the summer to train three forces, who can, none the less, play their part meanwhile as shock troops in home defences. Prey let me have a note from the War Office on the subject."