1st Air Troop RE

1st Air Troop RE

1941 to 1942

Formed in World War II, 1st Air Troop RE was the first airborne forces unit of the Royal Engineers.

The Joint Memorandum by the Chiefs of Staff in May 1941 set out that the existing 11 Special Air Service Battalion should be expanded into a parachute brigade as soon as possible. As a first step, in July, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff authorised the raising of brigade headquarters, four parachute battalions and one air troop of Royal Engineers.

1st Air Troop RE was formed in September 1941, under the command of Captain S Dorman and Lieutenant D Vernon, and attached to 1st Parachute Brigade from 3 November 1941.

Thirty other ranks made up the troop; all were volunteers and came from a variety of engineer units, including bomb disposal, a survey unit, a training battalion and others from Field and Field Park Companies. The senior NCO at that time was a sergeant.

Airborne Engineer support was subsequently expanded to four troops and 1st Air Troop was redesignated 1 Para Sqn RE on 16 February 1942.

Sources:Orders of Battle 1939-1945 prepared by Lt Col Joslen; Airborne Forces compiled by Lt Col Otway; and the notes of Norman Swift.

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