Disbandment of 16 Parachute Brigade

A Defence Review in 1975 reduced the Army’s parachute force to one parachute battalion group. This led to the disbandment of 16th Parachute Brigade on 31st March 1977. Brigades were for a period replaced by ‘Field Force’ formations and the 6th Field Force retained a parachute battalion group with a limited airborne role.

This was an event observed with some sadness and nostalgia as many previously elite Airborne Corps and Supporting Arms units lost their parachute capability and the coveted red beret.  

The Parachute Regiment had one ‘in-role’ battalion and another ‘next-for-role’ battalion with a reduced parachute training requirement. The third battalion became subject to ‘Arms Plot’ moves with the rest of the infantry, in the UK and BAOR in Germany. The in-role battalion had a limited parachute Arms and air-lift support and was called the Parachute Contingency Force, running a parachute company ‘Spearhead’ roster.

Brigades were re-introduced again at the beginning of 1982, but the Parachute Battalions remained within Infantry Brigades. 3 PARA for example went to the Falklands with 3 Commando Brigade, while 2 PARA was with 5 Infantry Brigade and temporarily attached at one stage to the Commandos.

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