Kiel Canal Parachuting Accident, September 1974.
I have had a longer conversation with Vic Cowie and he throws up some interesting observations on this debacle.
The 15th (British) Parachute Battalion was formed in 1945 from the 1st Battalion the Kings Regiment in India. It belonged to the 77th Indian Brigade, part of the 44th Indian Airborne Division.
Following the Japanese surrender the Division was reorganised and relocated in October and November 1945. It was also renamed 2 Indian Airborne Division.
At the end of 1945 decisions were taken on the future of 2 Indian Airborne Division, which eventually resulted in its reorganisation and 'nationalisation' in preparation for the independence of India.
The effect of the reorganisation was to result in all British troops being withdrawn from 2 Indian Airborne Division, including the 15th Parachute Battalion, and formed into the 6th (British) Independent Parachute Brigade although it remained under Divisional command.
The unit was disbanded in 1947 as a result of Indian independence and reformed in the UK as the 15th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion (TA) under the command of Lt Col AS Pearson.
In 1967 it was re-designated 15 PARA (SV) and came under command of 44th Parachute Brigade (Volunteers).
15 PARA suffered the highest loss of TA soldiers during a major NATO exercise in September 1974 when a parachute mis-drop south of the Kiel Canal resulted in the drowning of six paratroopers. Much heavy-drop equipment and other soldiers parachuted into the canal, which was still open when the drop occurred. Ships lights may have been mistaken for DZ markers.
By 1989 the Battalion formed part of the Parachute Regiment Group (PRG), continuing a NATO reinforcement role for BAOR Germany.
The Battalion was amalgamated with 4 PARA(V) in April 1993, retaining a representative rifle company based in Scotland.
15th (British) Parachute Battalion
1945 Lt Col G Astell
1945 Lt Col TBH Otway, DSO
1945-6 Lt Col PGF Young
1946-7 Lt Col G Lea, DSO
15th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion (TA)
1947 Lt Col AS Pearson, DSO, MC
15th (Scottish) Battalion The Parachute Regiment (TA)
1948-53 Lt Col AS Pearson, DSO, MC
1953-6 Lt Col PS Sandilands, DSO
1956-9 Lt Col JS Cousland, TD
1959-62 Lt Col JH Graham, MBE,TD
1962-5 Lt Col RCV Stewart, TD
1965-7 Lt Col L Robertson, TD
15 PARA (SV)
1967-9 Lt Col L Robertson, TD
1969-71 Lt Col JG Starling, MBE, MC
1971-3 Lt Col JEN Giles, MBE
1973-6 Lt Col JUH Burke
1976-8 Lt Col HM Pollock
1978-81 Lt Col PE Wood, MBE
1981-4 Lt Col EAJ Gardener
1984-6 Lt Col CPB Keeble, DSO
1986-9 Lt Col WP Conn
1989-91 Lt Col MH Argue, MBE, MC
1991-3 Lt Col SD Cave, TD
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