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Unit 1st Parachute Squadron RE

1st Air Troop Royal Engineers was established in late 1941 to support the infantry element of 1st Parachute Brigade.

In early 1942, 1st Air Troop RE was expanded to four troops: A, B, C (each composed of a Captain, three subalterns and 36 other ranks) with a Headquarters Troop  and redesignated as 1st Parachute Squadron RE on 16 February 1942. 1st Air Troop's Officer Commanding, Captain Stephen Dorman, was promoted to Major and took command of the squadron.

The squadron was attached to 1st Parachute Brigade until 18 June 1942 when it joined 1st Airborne Division RE on formation.

Members of the squadron were deployed  on the Bruneval raid. Their stick commander, Captain Dennis Vernon ( B Troop Commander) was subsequently awarded a Military Cross for his actions on the raid  to remove vital components of a radar from occupied France for analysis by scientists back in the UK.

The squadron was also deployed to North Africa, Sicily, Italy and Arnhem where squadron personnel helped to play a crucial role at the bridge.

A force, about 60 strong, under the command of Captain Eric Mackay, took up positions in the school house close to the bridge. They played a significant role in the defence of the bridge, one sapper having knocked out six or seven armoured vehicles with a Piat anti-tank gun and fought magnificently in the infantry role. Captain Mackay was subsequently awarded the American Sliver Star.

Remnants of the 4th Parachute Squadron were transferred to 1st Para Sqn towards the end of 1944 when 4th Para Sqn was disbanded.

1st Para Sqn RE was further strengthened with reinforcements, and redesignated as 1st Airborne Squadron RE, attached to 1st Airborne Division, on 26 March 1945.

by Paradata Editor