131 Airborne Engineer Regiment (TA) was formed in 1947 and consisted of 4 Airborne Field Squadrons, 299, 300, 301, 302 and RHQ elements. It provided engineer support for 16 Airborne Division (TA), which consisted of three brigades - numbered as 44, 45 and 46 Parachute Brigades from 1950.
In 1956 16 Airborne Division (TA) was reduced in size to become 44 Independent Parachute Brigade Group (TA) (consisting of four Parachute Regiment battalions). 131 Regiment was retained complete and was renamed 131 Parachute Engineer Regiment (TA) the Squadron's being renamed.
299 Parachute Field Squadron, RE (TA)
300 Parachute Field Squadron, RE (TA)
301 Parachute Field Squadron, RE (TA)
302 Parachute Field Squadron, RE (TA)
Regimental Headquarters (RHQ) based at the Duke of Yorks Barracks Chelsea.
In April 1965, it took part in a summer camp to the Radfan, Aden heralded as the first operational action by reservists since the Second World War when 300 Parachute Squadron was attacked by rebel tribesmen on 12 April 1965 whilst working with 24 Field Squadron RE on the construction of the Dhala Road at Al-Milah, near the Yemen frontier.
There were two fatalities, Squadron Sergeant Major John Lonergan of 300 Sqn and Sgt Atfield of 24 Fd Sqn, and three wounded during the action. The Regimental Doctor, Major Clive Samuel, was awarded an MBE for attending casualties in the open.
It was during this period, in the mid 1960s, when the Regiment reached its peak in terms of manpower with some 1000 volunteers.
In 1967, in the second major reduction and post-war reorganisation of the TA, 44 Independent Parachute Brigade Group (TA) was reduced in size to three Parachute Regiment Battalions, a Royal Artillery Battery and a Royal Engineer Squadron.
131 Parachute Engineer Regiment (TA) was reduced in size to become 131 Independent Parachute Squadron RE (V) and the squadrons which made up the regiment were correspondingly reduced to become the Troops of the new squadron. Headquarters and Support Troops were based at Kingsbury, with the three Parachute Field Troops inheriting the numbers and locations of the squadrons that had been their predecessors.
In 1977 reductions in Regular and Territorial Airborne Forces were announced and on 31 March 1978, 44 Independent Parachute Brigade Group (TA) was disbanded after a parade at Altcar Ranges.
131 Independent Parachute Squadron's uncertain future was assured when on the 1st April 1978 it was accepted onto the order of battle of 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines, as 131 Independent Commando Squadron RE (V). 131 became the only TA unit on the order of battle of a regular brigade. In order to wear the green beret of commando forces every soldier who wished to remain with The Squadron in it's new role had to pass the Commando Tests and in July 1978 a specially run Airborne Engineers Commando Conversion Course was undertaken as annual camp for that year. The Squadron retained an official parachute capability with the support of 3 Commando Brigade.
In 2006, however, 299 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers (V) was reformed, from 1 Troop of 131 Independant Commando Squadron RE (V), as part of 72 Engineer Regiment (V) and converted again to a Parachute role. Members then had to complete P Company to again wear the coveted Maroon beret.Read More
Make a donation to Airborne Assault ParaData to help preserve the history of The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces