Aldershot - Gone but not Forgetten
In early 2011 the Airborne Assault Museum staff of Jon Baker and Becks Skinner travelled to Aldershot, from Duxford.
When the 1st Parachute Brigade moved from Hardwick to the Bulford area in Wiltshire in 1942 an Airborne Forces Depot was formed at Hardwick from the units left behind.
It started as an unofficial establishment, but was created as a properly organized unit, training and holding recruits before they went to the Parachute Training School, as well as rehabilitating the temporary unfit from injuries.
The War Office approved a War Establishment for the Depot on 25th December 1942, appointing Lt Col W. Giles MC (Ox and Bucks) as its first Commanding Officer. The Depot was given an extended role and consisted of a Depot Company, a Pre-Parachute Training Company, a Battle School, Holding Company and an Airfield Detachment, which was stationed at No 1 PTS RAF Ringway. It was during this period that all pre-jump ground training was moved from Hardwick to Ringway.
In March 1944 the Battle School closed, the Holding Unit was moved to Clay Cross, while a new preliminary Battle/Tactical School was set up at Dore and Totley. The Selection Company and Depot Administrative Unit remained at Hardwick.
In April 1946 the Depot moved to Albany Barracks on the Isle of Wight and the involvement of Airborne Forces at Hardwick Hall ceased. In October the Depot moved to Maida Barracks Aldershot, where it remained for 22 years before moving to Browning Barracks Aldershot in 1968.
The Depot organization consisted of a headquarters, Recruit Company with up to five platoons and a remedial training platoon, ‘P’ (Pre-Parachute Selection) Company and Headquarters company, responsible for all administrative and logistic support. A Junior Parachute Company, training junior soldiers and bandsmen for the Regiment formed in 1961 and was disbanded in 1993. The Depot also housed the ‘Red Devils’ free-fall Parachute Regiment display team.
Depot, The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces, closed in early 1993 as part of an Army wide rationalisation of the recruit training system. All recruits were trained initially at the Army’s Individual Training Organization (ITO) at the Army Training Regiment (ATR) at Lichfield, before moving on to the Parachute Company with the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) at Catterick, where they also completed their specialist arms training and P Company. Since around 2002 both Phase 1 and 2 infantry training has been undertaken at ITC Catterick.
Airborne Forces Depot
1942 Lt Col LW Giles, MC
1942-6 Lt Col RJF Campbell
1946-7 Lt Col TJ Firbank, MC
1947-8 Lt Col TGD Rowley
Depot The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces
1948-50 Col KT Darling, DSO, OBE.
1951-2 Col AWE Daniell.
1952-5 Col HB Coxon, DSO, MC
1957-60 Col G Hewetson, DSO, OBE, TD.
1959-60 Lt Col GR Flood, MC
1960-2 Lt Col JL Waddy, OBE
1962-5 Lt Col SCAN Bishop, OBE
1965-8 Lt Col MAJ Tugwell
1968-70 Lt Col MH Jones
1970-2 Lt Col PLF Baillon
1972-4 Lt Col PF Walter, MBE, MC
1974-7 Lt Col RG Southerst
1977-9 Lt Col GD Farrell, MBE
1979-81 Lt Col MA Benjamin
1981-4 Lt Col SDRW Brewis, MBE
1984-7 Lt Col DL Roberts, MBE
1987-9 Lt Col TA Marsh
1989-91 Lt Col DJ Campbell
1991-3 Lt Col JJP Poraj-Wilczynski
Group Photograph of Airborne Forces Depot, WO and Sergeants' Mess, 1947
Airborne Establishments N.C.O Instructors School, Potential Training Cadre No.1 November 1947
Group Photograph of Corporals' Mess, Airborne Forces Depot
Group Photograph of Officers' Mess of the Airborne Forces Depot, 1974
Group Photograph of the Pre Parachute Training Company, Airborne Forces Depot, 1957
Group Photograph of the Sergeants' Mess, The Parachute Regiment Training Centre, December 1946
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 279
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 272
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 278
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 280
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 275
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 277
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 266
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 281
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 2 TA 1950
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course, 1950
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course, 1950 (1)
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 283
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 282
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 284
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course 285
WO's Mess, Airborne Forces Depot, 1950s
442 Platoon, Aldershot, May 1978.
Group Photograph of 414 Platoon
A recruit intake - probably Platoon Intake 167, 1959
Demonstration and Experimental Company, Depot, The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces.
Demonstration and Experimental Company, Depot, being inspected by Field Marshal Montgomery, early 1950s.
336 Platoon, Depot Aldershot
Sgts' Mess Fancy Dress, Aldershot, late 1960s.
298 Platoon, date unknown.
P Company Staff. 1988.
Intake of 10 PARA (V), 1987.
Recruit cadre T104 February 1985
P Company 415 platoon, February 1956.
274 Pln, Recruit Coy during a training lecture, Film Room, Maida Bks, 1964.
Group Photograph of Parachute Training Course, 1940
Group Photograph of visit by Major General Browning, to the Airborne Forces Depot and School, 1942
Group photo believed to be members of Course 102, RAF Ringway, February 1944.
Group Photograph of Airborne Forces Depot, WO and Sergeants' Mess, 1945
D 5 stick from Parachute course 154 RAF Ringway, March 1945.
Group Photograph of the WO and Sergeants' Mess, the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Depot, 1947
Airborne Establishments N.C.O Instructors School, Potential Training NCO's and Star Cadre No.2 January 1948
Southern Command Obstacle Course Team Royal Tournament, 1948
Group Photograph of Sergeant's Mess, Parachute Course Administration Unit, 1949
Group Photograph of the WO and Sergeants' Mess, the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Depot, 1949
Visit by the Commando Association to the Airborne Forces Depot, 1950
Group Photograph of the WO and Sergeants of the Airborne Forces Depot, 1951
P Company Depot Aldershot c1951
Recruits, Aldershot, September 1951.
Group photograph of the Corporals' Mess, Airborne Forces Depot, c.1952
P Company, Aldershot, July 1952.
Group Photograph of the Airborne Forces Depot contingent for the Coronation of H.M Queen Elizabeth II, 1953
Group photograph for Passing Out Parade, Aldershot, 1953
Soldiers from Airborne Forces Depot enjoy a night out in London, 1953
1 Platoon, Pre Para course at Aldershot, November 1953.
Middle: Pte Pavett, Airborne Forces Depot, Aldershot, 1954.
Group of recruits at Airborne Forces Depot, Aldershot, 1954.
Group Photograph of WO and Sgts' Mess, Airborne Forces Depot, June 1954
Group Photograph of WO and Sergeants' Mess, Airborne Forces Depot, 1956
413 course group photo, January 1956
Members of Recruit Company, Depot 1956
Group photo of Parachute Course 425, Abingdon, July 1956
Para Depot, Aldershot, 1957.
Platoon Intake 156 Depot 1958
Group photograph of Platoon 217, signed by Col John Waddy, 1960
Group photograph of Brecon Battle Camp, 1961
Group photo of P Company recruits, Feb 1961
Group Photograph Platoon Intake 242, 1962
262 Platoon, Maida Barracks, February 1963
Intake photo of 279 Platoon, Maida Barracks, 1964.
A battered photograph of a platoon intake Maida Barracks c1965
Intake photo of 297 Platoon, Maida Barracks, 1965.
314 Platoon, 1966.
371 Platoon in Brecon, 1971.
371 Platoon, Brecon, 1971.
P Company 1972
All Arms P Coy 766, 1972.
Group Photograph of the Officers' Mess, the Airborne Forces Depot, 1973
Group photograph of Depot Para 397 Pln, 1973
Intake photo of All Arms P Coy Course 809 September 1975.
Group Photograph of the Officers' Mess, the Airborne Forces Depot, 1976
443 Platoon, Aldershot, 1977
Group photo of Depot PARA Sergeants Mess, Airborne Forces Day, Aldershot, 1978
Group Photograph of the Officers' Mess, the Airborne Forces Depot, 1978
453 Platoon, Depot Para, June 1979.
Bill Surman's retirement after 31 years at Depot both serving and civilian, August 1979.
455 and 456 Platoon
460 Platoon 1980
Group Photograph of the Officers' Mess, the Airborne Forces Depot, 1980
480 Platoon, Depot Para, 16 July 1982.
Passing Out photograph of 478 Platoon, March 1982.
478 Platoon Passing Out Parade, 2 April 1982.
480 Platoon, Depot Para, June 1982.
Recruits and Junior Para Coy members at a Skill At Arms Meeting (SAAM), July 1983.
506 Platoon, Depot The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces, October 1984 – April 1985.
508 Platoon Passing Out photograph, May 1985.
Passing Out photograph of 510 Platoon, October 1985.
513 Platoon Passing Out photograph, January 1986.
515 Platoon Passing Out photograph, March 1986.
517 PlatoonPassing Out photograph, June 1986.
519 Platoon Passing Out photograph, October 1986.
Recruit Cadre 3/87 Depot Para Aldershot
TA Training Team, Depot Para, c1987.
Passing Out photograph of 522 Platoon, January 1987.
TA P Coy Group Photograph c1988
533 Platoon, Brize Norton, March 1988.
541 Platoon Passing Out photograph, February 1989.
Passing Out photograph of 543 Platoon, April 1989.
Group photograph of P Coy Course, Aldershot, July 1990
574 Platoon Passing Out photograph, July 1992.
Permanent Staff, Recruit Company, Depot, July 1992.
Group Photograph of the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Depot, 1992
Passing Out photograph of 581 Platoon, August 1993.
Passing Out photograph of 583 Platoon, December 1993.
676 Platoon Passing Out photograph, August 2002.
Controlled landing from the parachute tower.
Photograph of American visit to the Airborne Forces Depot
Para recruit walks high balance beams as Instructors look on during P Company
After a Depot " Beasting" Training
Photo of Albuhera Barracks, Aldershot during the 1950s.
A NAAFI van at Pegasus Village, Aldershot, c.1960
P Company, Log Race, 1960's.
The View From Caesars Camp down onto the training areas, 2011.
Cpl Windon hanging around during The Colonel in Chief's visit 13 May 1980.
Recruit Pete Gurney milling, Depot, Aldershot, c1991 December.
RSM JC Lord and CSM J Alcock on the square at Aldershot, 1947
Colonel Darling with Field Marshal Montgomery during a visit to the Airborne Forces Depot, 1949
Ptes Cliff Watts (Demonstration Platoon, Depot) and John Warner (2 PARA), January 1949 Beaulieu
Pte H Wilson and 'unknown' going on first leave after basic training, 1954.
Pte Harry Fynn posing for Airborne Forces Depot photo
Aldershot Trainasium, circa 1957
Pegasus Village, built by self-help from 9 Para Sqn RE, Aldershot, 1959
Indoor recreation at the opening of Pegasus Village, 1959
Family in caravan in Pegasus Village, Aldershot, 1960
Training Fan run by Depot Staff at Farnborough Air Show, 1961
Soldiers advance during Brecon Battle Camp, 1961
Members of 10 PARA 'Milling' - Browning Barracks' Gym 1968
Maj Gen Farrar Hockley at Passing Out Parade for 371 platoon, 1972.
Pte Neil Parkin on the Trainasium, 1974
A 10 PARA recruit on the shuffle bars of the Trainasium during P Company, 1977.
Pte Greg Allen ready to jump after Passing Out Parade of 442 Platoon, 1978.
The cage at Queens Avenue, Aldershot, 1979.
10 PARA Training Wing Log Race Aldershot 1982
10 PARA Training Wing Assault Course Aldershot July 1983
10 PARA Training Wing Steeple Chase Aldershot July 1983
Greg Allen, ‘giving verbal encouragement’ to a recruit during the steeple chase, Depot Para, 1986.
Band Practice Room, Montgomery Lines, Aldershot, 2011.
Officers Mess Block, Montgomery Lines, 2011.
One of the Stores Areas, Montgomery Lines, 2011.
The Interior of the Garrison Church, Aldershot, 2011.
The Trafalgar Inn, Aldershot, 2011.
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