Hew Pike was destined for the Brigade of Gurkhas until half way through his final term at RMA Sandhurst, when he applied instead to join The Parachute Regiment. He served with 3 Para from 1963 until early 1966, as a Platoon Commander in A Coy and then as Intelligence Officer. This included a year in Bahrain 1964-5,the Radfan Operations of May 1964, and the Battalion's tour in British Guiana 1965-66, where he led a memorable patrol mostly by boat along the Wenamu River on the Venezuelan border, having inserted by Grumman flying boat onto a long disused landing pool on the Cuyuni river.
He then acted vas ADC to General Sir Kenneth Darling,then Colonel Commandant of the Regiment, firstly at HQ Srategic Command at Wilton and then at HQ AFNORTH in Oslo. He returned to the Regiment in Sept 1967, joining 1 Para (Patrol Coy) for the final 3 months of their time in Aden,initially in Sheikh Othman and subsequently on the defensive perimeter securing Khormaksar Airfield until the withdrawal of all British forces on Nov 1967. He was Adjutant of 1 Para 1968-70, when the Battalion was deployed to Belfast for the first time, on the Shankill and the Falls Roads through the winter of 1969-70. After tours at the School of Infantry and with 16 Independent Coy in 44 Para Bde(TA), followed by a year at the Army Staff College, Camberley, he became the last Brigade Major of the old 16 Parachute Brigade before its disbandment in 1977. He then commanded A Company 3 Para in Osnabruck and again in Belfast before returning to the Battalion as CO in 1980,, after a 6 month exchange in the USA. An 80/81 winter tour on the North Armagh and Co Fermanagh border was followed by a year of training and the Battalion's momentous deployment to the South Atlantic as part of 3 Commando Brigade in April 1982. 3 Para's part in the operation being chiefly hallmarked by the arduous advance across East Falkland and by the terrible and bloody battle for Mount Longdon.
Hew Pike's subsequent career took him through the command of 22 Armoured Brigade in North Germany, the re-established 3rd Division in Bulford, the RMA Sandhurst and the UK and Germany based deployable Field Army. After this he spent a year (1997-8) in Bosnia as Deputy Commander (Operations) of the American led Stabilisation Force,-he did what turned out to be his last jump with a Polish Para Bn at Tuzla in Northern Bosnia- before his final task in the Army as GOC and Director of Operations in Northern Ireland, in the difficult political period following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998.
How grateful I am for such a run over 40 years, and especially for the magnificent Parachute soldiers of all ranks and backgrounds with whom I have served. I especially remember those who were in my Platoon in the Radfan and in my Battalion in the Falklands Campaign. I owe them so much and salute them all, most particularly those who were killed in action.by Hew Pike