The South African 1st Parachute Battalion was set up under Commandant Willem Louw on 1st April 1961.
This resulted after selected members of the South African Army received training and instruction at RAF Abingdon and from the British Parachute Regiment.
Operations by 1 Parachute Battalion (soon nick-named ‘Parabats’) began in South-West Africa (now Namibia) and were to continue along the border with South Africa and Angola for nearly 20 years. In April 1978 the 44th Parachute Brigade was established with the addition of 2 and 3 Parachute Battalions.
This was followed in May by Operation REINDEER, South Africa’s first major conventional airborne operation. All three battalions conducted a parachute assault on a large SWAPO base at Cassinga in Angola, supported by fighter-ground attack aircraft. The operation was successful and due to the heavy SWAPO loss of life, controversial. A last minute helicopter extraction barely saved the force from being overwhelmed by the arrival of a Cuban manned armoured column.
|Cmdt WP Louw||1961-65|
|Cmdt J Fourie||1965-67|
|Cmdt MJ du Plessis||1967-68|
|Cmdt GJ Viviers||1968-72|
|Cmdt JPM Möller||1972-74|
|Cmdt TE Olckers||1974-77|
|Cmdt (Col) DJ Moore||1978-81|
|Col AL van Graan||1982-83|
|Col CE le Roux||1983-88|
|Col JR Hills||1988-90|
|Col L Rudman||1990-91|
|Cmdt JPJ Brooks||1992-94|
|Cmdt M Taljaard||1994-95|
|Lt Col CL Cilliers||1995-97|
|Lt Col C Botha (Acting)||1997-98|
|Lt Col JPJ Brooks||1998|
|Lt Col JPS le Roux||1998-2000|
|Lt Col E Fullard||2000-02|
|Lt Col C Rogers||2004-09|
|Lt Col D Mziki||2009-|
Compiled with the kind assistance of Jeff Schur.
Unit history under development.Read More
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