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Unit 63 Parachute Squadron RCT

63 Para Sqn RCT was formed in 1965 as a result of the McLeod reforms which reorganized British Army Logistics. Its predecessor unit was 63 Company RASC (Parachute Brigade).

Initially it operated as an independent squadron supporting 16 Parachute Brigade until 1967 when it was assimilated into The Parachute Logistic Regiment, (later designated as 1 Parachute Logistic Regiment), as a result of manpower cuts.

Mostly garrisoned in Arnhem Barracks, Aldershot, the whole  squadron was deployed to Northern Ireland in 1969.

Based in Lisburn, County Antrim, 63 Sqn had one troop of 42 Sqn RCT under command and formed another ad hoc troop from vehicles impressed from Northern Irish Militia units. In addition to providing Motor Transport Detachments to most Infantry Battalions in 39 Brigade, 63 Sqn also provided a Riot Squad which played an active role in all the major disturbances in the second half of 1969.

63 Sqn also contributed troops to a composite Zulu Squadron in 1972 which operated in Northern Ireland, latterly under the command of 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Wales in North West Belfast. The squadron conducted patrols, weapons and explosives searches, and operated vehicle check points. During this period members of Z Sqn were involved in a firefight with 3 gunmen, one of whom was killed. A corporal from 63 Sqn was awarded a Mention in Despatches.

In early 1973, 21 members of 63 Sqn were detached to 7 PARA RHA and deployed as infantry, manning road blocks around Belfast City Centre.  Thereafter members of 63 Sqn completed Operation Banner tours in Northern Ireland attached to other units.

The final parade prior to disbandment was held at Montgomery Square, Aldershot, on 10 December 1977 and 63 Sqn was formally disbanded on 31 March 1978.

by Harvey Grenville

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