We use cookies to improve your experience on our website and ensure the information we provide is more relevant. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we will assume you are happy to accept all cookies on the Army website. You can change your cookie settings at any time.



On 22 June 1940, Winston Churchill called for the formation of an elite corps of troops. Following Churchill's wishes for 'a corps of at least 5000 parachute troops, suitably organised and equipped' - a Parachute Training School was established at Ringway Airport, near Manchester.

No 2 Commando was chosen for the first training in parachute duties and the regiment quickly grew into the 11th Special Air Service Battalion and ultimately, on 1 August 1942, the Parachute Regiment. By the end of WW2, the Regiment comprised 17 battalions.

Following an exceptional parachute raid in Southern Italy, the Paras' first successful raid came in 1942, with C Company of the 2nd Battalion's drop on an enemy radar station at Bruneval, France.

The Regiment wore the maroon beret and the nickname the 'red devils' was bestowed by enemy forces during fierce fighting in North Africa. Following many famous operations during the war, the Parachute Regiment went on to serve everywhere from Palestine to Northern Ireland to the Falklands, playing vital roles and winning numerous awards for gallantry.

More recently the Paras led in war-torn Kosovo and Sierra Leone - including rescue missions that were a precursor to 1 PARA's new fast-deploying role as the Special Forces Support Group.

Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery:

"What manner of men are these who wear the maroon red beret? They are firstly all volunteers, and are then toughened by hard physical training. As a result they have that infectious optimism and that offensive eagerness which comes from physical well being. They have jumped from the air and by doing so have conquered fear. Their duty lies in the van of the battle: they are proud of this honour and have never failed in any task. They have the highest standards in all things, whether it be skill in battle or smartness in the execution of all peace time duties. They have shown themselves to be as tenacious and determined in defence as they are courageous in attack. They are, in fact, men apart - every man an Emperor."

Share this page

Bookmark and Share