During WWII, Winston Churchill called for the formation of an elite corps of troops. Seventy-five years later the Parachute Regiment is still one of the most respected units worldwide.
Impressed by the success of German airborne operations, during the Battle of France, the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, directed the War Office to investigate the possibility of creating a corps of 5,000 parachute troops.
On 22 June 1940, No. 2 Commando was turned over to parachute duties and in November, re-designated the 11th Special Air Service Battalion, with a parachute and glider wing. It was these men who took part in the first British airborne operation, Operation Colossus, on 10 February 1941.
But now a new book looks at the present soldiers of one of the world’s most famous fighting forces – telling the gripping story of the regiment ‘in their own words’ with a focus on modern conflicts.
Tough, highly adaptable and efficient, the Parachute Regiment has established itself as one of the finest fighting forces in the world. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its founding, renowned historian Max Arthur has compiled this enthralling oral history of the modern Parachute Regiment.
This unique chronicle is told through the voices of more than a hundred of the soldiers themselves, and of those involved closely with them. Whether in the Falklands, Kosovo, Iraq, Sierra Leone or Afghanistan, the Paras have maintained their reputation for being where the fighting is fiercest and where the odds of survival are often stacked heavily against them.
The gripping, visceral first-person narrative makes The Paras stand apart from conventional regimental histories as one of the most remarkable accounts of conflict ever published.
Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery:
“What manner of men are these who wear the maroon red beret? They are firstly all volunteers, and are then toughened by hard physical training. As a result they have that infectious optimism and that offensive eagerness which comes from physical well being. They have jumped from the air and by doing so have conquered fear. Their duty lies in the van of the battle: they are proud of this honour and have never failed in any task. They have the highest standards in all things, whether it be skill in battle or smartness in the execution of all peace time duties. They have shown themselves to be as tenacious and determined in defence as they are courageous in attack. They are, in fact, men apart – every man an Emperor.”