The 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment (1 PARA)

The 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment (1 PARA)

The present day 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, also known as 1 PARA was formed in 1948 from the 4th and 6th Battalions.

(For further information on the 1st Parachute Battalion which was formed in 1941, please click here)

From mid 1951 to 1954 it saw active service in Cyprus, the Canal Zone in Egypt and during counter-terrorist operations against EOKA in Cyprus in 1956. It participated in the amphibious landings at Suez during the crisis in November, before being back in Cyprus again in 1958.

During the 1960s 1 PARA served with the Bahrain garrison between 1962-3, a United Nations peace-keeping tour in Cyprus in early 1964 before returning to Bahrain again in 1965 and 1966. The Battalion covered the eventful withdrawal from Aden in 1967 after 127 years of British rule.

The first of its 12 Northern Ireland Op BANNER emergency tours began at the end of 1969, including the ‘Bloody Sunday’ riots in Londonderry on 30th January 1972. Tours were to continue intermittently and total 96 months up to September 2005. (See below for list).

In 1973, the Battalion went on a sixth month tour to Cyprus which started in May and saw paratroopers based in Polemidhia Camp join the UNFICYP peacekeeping force. They returned home later in 1973. The following year, the Battalion was awarded new colours (the first since 1950) alongside the other three regular battalions and 4 PARA. After 2 years in Berlin, which included "the finest tattoo ever staged by HM armed forces", the Battalion returned from leave. They subsequently went to the Netherlands and were involved in the filming of "A Bridge Too Far" from August 31 to September 17 1976, during which time they carried out 927 parachute descents on board 11 Dakotas as part of the filming. There followed a UN tour in Cyprus at the end of 1976 which had started by October and saw paratroopers returning to Cyprus, based in St David's Camp. When the 16th Parachute Brigade disbanded in 1977, 1 PARA became part of 6th Field Force on its return to the UK and completed an Emergency Tour in Hong Kong in 1980. Three years of public duties followed in Edinburgh until in January 1983 the Battalion moved to Bulford and took on the Ace Mobile Force Land (AMF(L)) role. Four winters in Norway as the Army’s Mountain and Arctic Battalion followed until May 1987 when the battalion returned to Aldershot, joining the 5th Airborne Brigade.

Training and four more Northern Ireland tours preceded the Battalion’s first conventional deployment since Suez in 1956. The 1 PARA Battle Group secured the Kacanik Defile on the Macedonian border in an air-mobile helicopter insertion spearheading the entry of the NATO KFOR Peace Keeping Force into Kosovo in 1999. Thereafter the Battalion assumed responsibility to restore order in the anarchic conditions that prevailed in the capital of Pristina, when the operation transitioned to peace-keeping.

In May 2000 a 1 PARA Battle Group conducted a rapid deployment to Freetown Sierra Leone to protect a Services Evacuation of UK and other civilian nationals threatened by rebel forces. Their firm action during Operation PALLISER stabilised the situation. Another rapid operation was conducted the following September when A Company Group was suddenly deployed for Operation BARRAS, a joint SAS rescue mission to save British military hostages held by a rebel group called the west side Boys. The mission was completely successful.

Three years later the 16th Air Assault Brigade advanced into Iraq in February 2003 as part of the Anglo-American Coalition to secure the Rumaylah and West Qurnah Oil Fields during the second Iraq War. Both 1 and 3 PARA Battle Groups secured the main south –north route to Basra and 1 PARA took control of Al Amarah in the northern part of the Iraqi Maysan Province. It returned to the UK in July 2003.

More recently the Battalion has been re-designated a specialist role as infantry support to UK Special Forces operations in various theatres throughout the world.   

Northern Ireland Tours:

Op BANNER                        Oct 1969 - Feb 1970             4 Months
Residential                          Sep 1970 - May 1972         20 Months  
Op MOTORMAN                    Jul - Nov 1972                     4 Months
Op BANNER                         Apr - Jul 1978                      4 Months
Spearhead Reinforcement     Nov 1981 - Jan 1982            2 Months
Op BANNER                         May - Oct 1982                    4 Months
Op BANNER                         Jul - Nov 1988                     4 Months
Residential                          Feb 91 - Jul 93                   30 Months
Op BANNER                         Dec 94 - Jun 1995               6 Months
Op BANNER                         Jun - Dec 1997                    6 Months
Op BANNER (RRB)               Dec 2000 - Jun 2001            6 Months
Op NIBAT 1                         Mar - Sep 2005                    6 Months

Commanding Officers:

1st Parachute Battalion

1941-2        Lt Col EE Down
1942           Lt Col SJL Hill, MC
1942-3        Lt Col AS Pearson, DSO, MC
1943-4        Lt Col P Cleasby-Thompson, MBE, MC
1944           Lt Col KT Darling, DSO
1944-5        Lt Col DT Dobie, DSO
1945-6        Lt Col TCH Pearson, DSO
1946-8        Lt Col EJB Nelson, DSO, MC

(Formed Jul 48 from 4th/6th Para Bn)

1948-50      Lt Col JH Cubbon, OBE
1950-1        Lt Col CHP Harrington, DSO, MC
1951-2        Lt Col DW Jackson
1952-4        Lt Col HLEC Leask, DSO, MC
1954-56      Lt Col Jackson
1956           Lt Col JSS Gratton
1957-9        Lt Col GG Reinhold, MC
1959-61      Lt Col J Awdry
1961-2        Lt Col TJ Pine-Coffin, DSO
1962-4        Lt Col PDF Thursby OBE
1964-6        Lt Col JDC Graham, OBE
1966-8        Lt Col MJH Walsh, DSO
1969-71      Lt Col MS Gray, OBE
1971-3        Lt Col D Wilford, OBE
1973-6        Lt Col PS Field, MC
1976-9        Lt Col JB Brierley, OBE
1979-81      Lt Col DMG Charles
1981-4        Lt Col I McLeod, OBE, MC
1984-6        Lt Col MD Jackson, MBE
1986-8        Lt Col JG Reith, OBE
1988-90      Lt Col RW Trigger MBE
1990-93      Lt Col AWJ Kennett
1993-95      Lt Col G McFall
1995-98      Lt Col J James, MBE
1998-00      Lt Col P Gibson, DSO, MBE
2000-2        Lt Col N Davies, MBE, MC
2002-5        Lt Col T Beckett
2005-7        Lt Col MP Christie, MBE
2007-09      Lt Col GP Hill
2009-12      Lt Col AM Wright MBE
2012-14      Lt Col ED Sandry
2014           Lt Col AJE Truett MBE

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Events involving this Unit



Post-combat reports_2

Group photos_120

DZ Flash_1

Paintings and Prints_1

  • 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment, D Company, 12 Platoon, 3 Section  by Phylis E Fraser, 1950s.

    1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment, D Company, 12 Platoon, 3 Section by Phylis E Fraser, 1950s.

    1 Image

Solo photos_22


Medal Citations_3

Official documents_2

Newspaper extracts_7

Magazine extracts_1

Nominal Rolls_1



Letters and Cards_1

  • The Address by HM King George VI at the Colours presentation, 19 July 1950.

    The Address by HM King George VI at the Colours presentation, 19 July 1950.

    1 Item


Aerial photos_1

Book extracts_1

  • Lt Col Wilford, 1 PARA CO, assesses bomb damage on the Shankhill Road, Belfast, 1972

    Lt Col Wilford, 1 PARA CO, assesses bomb damage on the Shankhill Road, Belfast, 1972

    1 Item


  • Service News notification about the 1 PARA 'Pegasus' pony patrols in Hong Kong, 1980

    Service News notification about the 1 PARA 'Pegasus' pony patrols in Hong Kong, 1980

    1 Item

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