N Dellar and Gen. Frost discuss the Yellow Lanyard

This story first appeared in the ‘Parachute 2 Club’ Newsletter, and was then included in the book ‘Without Tradition. 2 PARA – 1941-45’, by Robert Peatling on page 220:

General Frost .. writes about that extinct Yellow Lanyard.

THE FIRST Commanding Officer in January 1942 issued every member of the 2nd Parachute Battalion with a yellow lanyard to be worn on the left shoulder. It was not long before parachute rigging lines were plaited and dyed with Mepacrine, issued in Africa. After several post war amalgamations of Battalions the lanyard was discarded.

It was deliberate War Office policy that the newly merged battalions represented all the battalions formed during the war and not just the original three battalions. However, this is easier said than done and I am proud to think that the present 2 Para like to think of themselves as the direct descendants of the old.

Norman Dellar says: My own specimen nestles in a 1914 Princess Mary’s Christmas tin dreaming of the days when it was part of a parachute, severed, plaited and immersed in golden liquid to be proudly worn on my left shoulder. It travelled around the Mediterranean area quite happily but in September 1944 it was taken POW and in an unusual but proud way let its owner down. I was not interrogated until arriving at Stalag 12A (Limburg) and was asked for number, name and rank, and remembering those well fed German and Italian POW’s in England added “I was a farm labourer.” I refused to give my Unit and the fat, bespectacled Jerry ordered, “take off your smock" I did and in a triumphant voice he said, “you wear the yellow lanyard, you are the second Battalion, we know all about you”.

We travelled to 4B and to 4F, Muehlberg and Zwickau. ‘Lanyardii’ was never confiscated, it never occurred to them that it consisted of 30ft of silk cord, useful for escape purposes if the occasion arose.

In 1945, after ex-POW leave we were posted to 2 Bn at Bulford and in March 1946 to Palestine. In Haifa we amalgamated with 3 Bn in December 1947 and ‘Lanyardii’ was taken down and posted to the kitbag.

I wonder if some high thinking CO will ever read his Bn history thoroughly and decide that ‘Lanyardii Mepicrinus’ must once again take its rightful place on a proud left shoulder. ‘Lanyardii’ we salute you, you are neither extinct nor forgotten.

Kindly supplied by R Hilton

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