1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment
|1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment|
Cap badge of the Parachute Regiment
|Role||Special operations light infantry|
|Part of||UK Special Forces|
|Garrison/HQ||MOD St Athan|
(Latin for "Ready for Anything")
An airborne light infantry unit, the battalion has, since 2006, been the main contributor of manpower to the Special Forces Support Group and is capable of a wide range of operations. Based at MOD St Athan, their barracks in South Wales, personnel regularly deploy outside of the United Kingdom on operations and training.
The 1st is based at St Athan, Wales, and is permanently attached to the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG). To be selected for the 1st Battalion, Paras first have to have served two years with the 2nd or 3rd battalions. Once selected, they receive further training on additional weapons, communications equipment and specialist assault skills. All men within the Parachute Regiment can expect to serve with the SFSG on rotation. This ensures that the advanced military skills taught to the SFSG are maintained in the other two regular battalions.
The 1st Battalion can trace its origins to 1940, when the No. 2 Commando were trained as parachutists. In 1941, the battalion was assigned to the 1st Parachute Brigade which also included the 2nd and 3rd battalions. The 1st Parachute Brigade was part of the 1st Airborne Division and remained with it throughout the war.
The battalion took part in operations in Tunisia in late 1942 to May 1943, suffering heavy casualties. The battalion and the brigade took part in Operation Fustian, when the Allies invaded Sicily and, again, suffered heavy casualties and was withdrawn to England in late 1943 to train and prepare for the Allied invasion of France. The battalion wasn't used in the initial invasion on 6 June 1944, D-Day, but was held back in the UK in reserve in case any of the five invasion beaches encountered serious difficulties and needed support. The plan turned out not to be required. During the fighting in Normandy numerous plans to drop the 1st Airborne were formed, none of which came to fruition. Finally, in September 1944, the battalion dropped into Arnhem the Netherlands in September 1944 with the rest of the 1st Airborne Division, as part of Operation Market Garden where they suffered extremely heavy casualties and never saw combat again for the rest of the war.
After the war the battalion was reconstituted in 1946, and affiliated to the Brigade of Guards and served with the 6th Airborne Division in Palestine. It was disbanded in 1948, only to be reformed by the renumbering of the 4th/6th Battalion. The battalion was part of Operation Musketeer in 1956.
In the 1970s, the battalion first deployed to Northern Ireland in Operation Banner. The battalion was central to the events of both the Ballymurphy Massacre in August 1971 and the more famous Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972, when they opened fire on unarmed civil rights demonstrators leaving 14 civilians dead and 13 wounded, the greatest killing of British subjects by government forces in one incident since the Anglo-Irish War. The second official inquiry of the killings found 1st Paras actions "unjustified and unjustifiable". To date, none of the killers have been prosecuted.
The battalion was involved in the NATO operation in Kosovo in 1999, Operation Agricola. One Company was also selected to provide support for the Special Air Service in Sierra Leone during Operation Palliser in 2000. In 2003, they were deployed to the Persian Gulf for Operation Telic in Iraq. In 2006, it was announced that the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, would in future be based at RAF St Athan, in Wales, and assigned to the Special Forces Support Group, which is part of the United Kingdom Special Forces.
- 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment
- 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment
- 4th Battalion, Parachute Regiment
- Pathfinder Platoon
- List of Second World War British airborne battalions
- The Troubles
- "The Parachute Regiment - British Army Website". Army.mod.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "SFSG forms in Wales". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 3 March 2011.
- Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 12 Nov 2007 (pt 0013)". Publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "1PARA". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "Regular Army Basing Matrix by Formation and Unit". Aff.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
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- [dead link]
- "Bloody Sunday Report Released - Bloody Sunday Killings Called 'Unjustified and Unjustifiable". News.gather.com. Retrieved 2010-06-15.
- 1 PARA at Army.mod.uk
- Parachute Regiment War Dead
- Palace Barracks Memorial Garden
- Exairborne Forces history page
- British Army Unit Locations 1945 on