9 Parachute Field Regiment was raised in April 1943 at Kumbergaon, Pune, India, by Lt Col RA Eden as 9 Field Regiment of the Royal Indian Army. The unit was raised as a pure Madrasi unit and was converted to become the first Parachute Field Regiment in the Indian Army in November 1945.
Later on it was commanded by Lt Gen Sir William Pike, who eventually became the Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff. He and Lady Pike attended the unit's Silver Jubilee and visited once again in 1985.
The unit briefly formed part of the 2nd Indian Airborne Division while located in Qetta (in present day Pakistan), prior to independence; and between 1946 and 1948 was involved in internal security duties at Quetta, Karachi and Satara.
The first Indian Commanding Officer post independence, in 1947, was Lt Col FSB Mehta, an Army Aviator.
Following independence, the unit has been involved in numerous operations including: ‘Operation Polo’, 1948, when the state of Hyderabad was annexed by India; ‘Operation Vijay’ in 1961 which ended Portuguese colonial rule in Goa, the culmination of which was the capture of Daman; and ‘Operation Cactus Lily’, during the Indian-Pakistan conflict of 1971.
The Regiment, to its honour, has produced several generals, among them Gen SF Rodriguez, the Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army.
Compiled with the kind assistance of Col Gurulal Toor.
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