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For the Belgian unit, see 1st Parachute Battalion
First Battalion, Parachute Regiment
Cap badge of the Parachute Regiment
Cap badge of the Parachute Regiment
Active 1941–1948
Country United Kingdom
Branch Army
Type Airborne infantry
Role Special operations light infantry
Size One battalion
Part of UK Special Forces
Garrison/HQ RAF St Athan
Nickname(s) Sporting First
Motto(s) Utrinque Paratus
(Latin for "Ready for Anything")

The First Battalion, Parachute Regiment (1 PARA), forms the United Kingdom's Special Forces Support Group (SFSG).[1]

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 RAF St Athan, their barracks in South Wales, personnel regularly deploy outside of the United Kingdom on operations and training.

All personnel will have completed the Pre Parachute Selection (P Company) course at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire (previously it was at Aldershot, Hampshire).

The 1st is based at St Athan, Wales, and is permanently attached to the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG).[2][3] 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.[4] 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.

Under Army 2020, it is expected that 1 PARA will remain as part of the SFSG.[5][6]

History[edit | edit source]

File:Parachute Regiment training jump 1942.jpg

Parachute training 1942

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, part of the 1st Airborne Division.

The battalion took part in operation in Tunisia and Italy before dropping into the Netherlands in September 1944, as part of Operation Market Garden.

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 Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972, when they opened fire on unarmed civil rights demonstrators leaving 14 civilians dead and 13 wounded.[7] The second official inquiry of the killings found 1st Paras actions unjustified and unjustifiable.[8]

The battalion was involved in the NATO operations 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.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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