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Unit No 1 (Guards) Independent Parachute Company

In 1948 the 6th Airborne Division was disbanded and the Army’s regular parachute force reduced to a single 16th Parachute Brigade. The 1st (Guards) Parachute Battalion was reduced as part of this reorganization and re-designated 16th (Guards) Independent Company the Parachute Regiment. It became the pathfinder unit for the newly formed 16th Independent Parachute Brigade Group and was renamed No 1 (Guards) Independent Company when it became 16th Parachute Brigade.

Guards Parachute members were all serving soldiers with the Foot Guards or Household Cavalry Regiments, attached to the Parachute Regiment.

No 1 (Guards) Independent Parachute Company deployed many times with the Brigade, on anti-EOKA terrorist operations in Cyprus starting in 1956, an element dropped alongside 3 PARA with the 2nd French Colonial Parachute Regiment over El Raswa during the Suez crisis on 5th November 1956. It further participated in the 16th Brigade intervention at Amman Jordan in July 1958, in Cyprus again in 1964 followed by two six-month tours in Borneo in 1964 and 1965, as well as subsequent tours in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

When No 1 (Guards) Independent Company was eventually disbanded on 24 October 1975, most members returned to their parent regiments although some Guards Parachute members went to Hereford to join the Guards Squadron, 22 SAS Regiment, which had been formed in 1966.

The Guards still have a platoon of Guards Parachute Soldiers attached to 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) and have served with distinction in Afghanistan.

For more information on the serving Guards Parachute Soldiers see: Guards Parachute Platoon, 3 PARA


Company Commanders:

1948           Maj R Steele                                    Grenadier Guards
1949-51      Maj J Agnew                                    Coldstream Guards
1951-3        Maj EIL Mostyn, MC                        Scots Guards
1953-5        Maj GP Burnett                                Scots Guards
1955-7        Maj WK Buckley                              Welsh Guards
1957-8        Maj PNR Stewart-Richardson         Coldsteam Guards
1958-9        Maj JDN Retallack                           Welsh Guards
1959-61      Maj JNP Watson                              Royal Horse Guards
1961-3        Maj EC Whiteley                              Irish Guards
1963-5        Maj JGF Head, MBE                        Irish Guards
1965-8        Maj Sir NKL Nuttall                           Royal Horse Guards
1968-70      Maj DV Fanshawe                            Grenadier Guards
1970-2        Maj The Hon WD Coleridge             Coldstream Guards
1972-4        Maj MM Carnegie-Brown                 Scots Guards
1974-5        Maj RJS Corbett                               Irish Guards

by Paradata Editor

Latest comments

Joe Farrell MBE said:

I am ex Guards Parachute Company (Pathfinders) and glad to be on board. I did not realise there was such a marvellous web site for serving and ex Airborne Forces.

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