2nd Parachute Battalion

2nd Parachute Battalion

1941 to 1947

The 2nd Parachute Battalion was formed at Hardwick in Derbyshire using volunteers from across the Army in September 1941 under Lt Col Flavell.

C Company under Major JD Frost conducted the second British parachute raid of the war on 27 February 1942 against a German radar installation at Bruneval on the Channel coast in France. Vital radar components and German technicians were captured and the group successfully taken off by the Royal Navy. This was the first battle honour awarded to The Parachute Regiment, which was formed shortly after in August 1942, and reaffirmed Prime Minister Churchill’s belief in the future of airborne forces.

All parachute battalions became battalions of The Parachute Regiment on its formation, within the Army Air Corps. As such it was formally designated as 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, however in practice it was commonly called by its original formation name, 2nd Parachute Battalion, until disbandment.

The battalion departed for North Africa with the 1st Parachute Brigade and dropped at Depienne on 29 November 1942. Frost was the battalion commander this time and the objective was Oudna, nine miles from Tunis. This was briefly achieved but unexpectedly heavy German resistance prevented the link up with the advancing 1st Army and the 2nd Para Bn was isolated 56 miles behind enemy lines. Attacked by German air and armour, Frost conducted a fighting withdrawal to regain the Allied lines, losing 16 officers and 250 men en route. During the next five months to April 1943 the battalion fought through the winter as line infantry. Oudna became a Parachute Regiment battle honour.

The 2nd Para Bn dropped with the 1st Parachute Brigade during the hard fought costly attempt to secure the Primosole Bridge in Sicily on 13 July 1943; it also participated in the later sea landings and fighting around Taranto in Italy the following September. In November the battalion returned to the UK with the 1st Airborne Division.

During Operation Market Garden the 2nd Para Bn dropped at Arnhem on 17 September 1944 and with recce and airborne engineers and some 3rd Para Bn soldiers, captured the road bridge. The force was soon cut off but held its ground against incessant German tank and infantry attacks for three days and four nights. The division objective was to hold for 48 hours before being relieved by the advancing XXX Corps, which never arrived. By dusk on 20 September Lt Col Frost was wounded and his battalion reduced to a few survivors ordered to break out. Lt John Grayburn, with A Company, was awarded a posthumous VC.

After the war the under-strength 2nd Para Bn deployed to Palestine and was amalgamated on 13 December 1947 with the 3rd Para Bn to form the 2nd/3rd Parachute Battalion, It was disbanded the following year. 

The present day 2nd Battalion, also known as 2 PARA, was re-formed in July 1948 from the 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion.

Commanding Officers

2nd Parachute Battalion:

1941-2 Lt Col EWC Flavell, MC
1942 Lt Col GP Gofton-Salmond, OBE
1942-4 Lt Col JD Frost, DSO, MC
1944-5 Lt Col JWB Marshall
1945-6 Lt Col JD Frost, DSO, MC
1946-7 Lt Col DRW Webber

Amalgamated with 3rd Bn to form 2nd/3rd Parachute Bn

1947-8 Lt Col TH Birbeck, DSO

Read More

Photos_46

Post-combat reports_5

Poem_1

Letters and Cards_6

  • Letter sent by Harry Marshall's OC in 2nd Para Bn following the Battle of Arnhem, 1944.

    Letter sent by Harry Marshall's OC in 2nd Para Bn following the Battle of Arnhem, 1944.

    1 Item
  • Postcard of the Villa Stella Marris (Beach Fort) on the Bruneval beach, 1923.

    Postcard of the Villa Stella Marris (Beach Fort) on the Bruneval beach, 1923.

    1 Item
  • Letter from Lt Col Campbell about personnel yet to return from Op Simcol, 1943.

    Letter from Lt Col Campbell about personnel yet to return from Op Simcol, 1943.

    2 Items
  • Letter regarding 2nd Battalion Battle Honours, 26 February 1956.

    Letter regarding 2nd Battalion Battle Honours, 26 February 1956.

    1 Item

Group photos_41

Personal accounts_3

Medal Citations_9

  • Citation for the award of the Military Medal to Sgt David Grieve, Bruneval, 1942.

    Citation for the award of the Military Medal to Sgt David Grieve, Bruneval, 1942.

    1 Item
  • Citation for the award of the Military Cross to Major Richard Ashford, Oudna, 1942.

    Citation for the award of the Military Cross to Major Richard Ashford, Oudna, 1942.

    1 Item
  • Citation for award of Military Cross to Lt John Timothy, Tunisia, 1943.

    Citation for award of Military Cross to Lt John Timothy, Tunisia, 1943.

    1 Item
  • Citation for award of DSO to Major Lonsdale, Sicily, 1943.

    Citation for award of DSO to Major Lonsdale, Sicily, 1943.

    1 Item
  • Citation for the award of the Military Cross to Captain Victor Dover, Sicily, 1943.

    Citation for the award of the Military Cross to Captain Victor Dover, Sicily, 1943.

    2 Items
  • Citation for the award of the Military Medal to Cpl Neville Ashley, Sicily, 1943.

    Citation for the award of the Military Medal to Cpl Neville Ashley, Sicily, 1943.

    2 Items
  • Citation for award of Military Cross to Major John Timothy, Arnhem, 1945.

    Citation for award of Military Cross to Major John Timothy, Arnhem, 1945.

    1 Item

Documents_4

  • Maj Tatham Warter's Evasion Report. 2nd Para Bn.
    P+

    Maj Tatham Warter's Evasion Report. 2nd Para Bn.

    5 Items
  • 'Gapping The Minefield' Instructions
    P+

    'Gapping The Minefield' Instructions

    5 Items
  • Bruneval Commemorative Cover 1992, signed by John Timothy, Rodney Section Commander.

    Bruneval Commemorative Cover 1992, signed by John Timothy, Rodney Section Commander.

    2 Items

Aerial photos_2

Maps_2

Pre-combat reports_1

War Diaries_1

Official accounts_1

Official documents_2

Solo photos_2

Newspaper extracts_1

Latest Comments

There are currently no comments for this content.

Add your comment

Donate

Make a donation to Airborne Assault ParaData to help preserve the history of The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces