15th (King's) Parachute Battalion

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15th (King's) Parachute Battalion
Parachute Regiment cap badge.jpg
Cap badge of the Parachute Regiment
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Infantry
Role Airborne
Size One battalion
Part of 77th Indian Parachute Brigade
Nickname Red Devils[1]
Insignia
The emblem of the Second World war British Airborne Forces, Bellerophon riding the flying horse Pegasus British Airborne Units.png

The 15th (King's) Parachute Battalion was an airborne infantry battalion of the Parachute Regiment, raised by the British Army during the Second World War.

The 15th Parachute Battalion was formed in India during 1945 from the 1st Battalion the King's Regiment (Liverpool). Prior to this the battalion had been part of the Chindit special force. It was assigned to the 77th Indian Parachute Brigade, part of the 44th Indian Airborne Division.[2]

The war ended before the battalion was committed to any combat but a number of officers and sergeants parachuted into Japanese Prisoner of War Camps in Java, Sumatra, Bangkok and Singapore to provide aid to the prisoners.[2]

Territorial Army[edit]

The battalion was disbanded in December 1946 and reformed by the Territorial Army (TA) in 1947 as the 15th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion (TA). In 1967 it was re-designated 15 PARA (SV) and came under command of the 44th Parachute Brigade.[3]

In June 1974, Warrant Officer Class 2 John Gordon McRae, became the first territorial to be awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal.[4] During a practice parachute jump from a C-130 the parachute of one of his men failed to open. The man crashed through McRae’s rigging and as he did so McRae managed to keep a hold of him and they both descended safely on the one parachute.[5]

During September 1974 the battalion suffered the highest loss of TA soldiers during a major NATO exercise. Dropped off course six men landed in the Kiel canal and drowned. Defence cuts in April 1993, resulted in the amalgamation of the three remaining TA parachute battalions. The battalion numbered 4th Battalion, Parachute Regiment, retains a rifle company (15th (Scottish) Company) based in Scotland.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Otway, p.88
  2. ^ a b "15th (King's) Battalion". Paradata. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "15th Battalion". Paradata. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  4. ^ "15th (Scottish) Battalion Parachute Regiment". The Scots at War. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 46412. p. 11747. 25 November 1974. Retrieved 6 April 2011.