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Unit The 4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment (4 PARA)

The 4th Parachute Battalion was formed in January 1942 under Lt Col Hope-Thompson and was recruited from volunteers army-wide. Originally part of the 1st Parachute Brigade, it formed the nucleus for the 2nd Parachute Brigade, the last battalion to be recruited solely from volunteers.

Insufficient volunteers were successfully qualifying for parachute training so it was decided future units would be formed by converting existing infantry battalions to the role.

The Battalion was deployed to North Africa in 1943 in preparation for the invasion of Sicily, although in the event it was unused. The Battalion was eventually deployed for the invasion of Italy in September 1943. It then formed part of the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade, which remained in Italy after the 1st Airborne Division returned to the UK in November 1943 to prepare for the invasion of Europe.

The 4th Battalion parachuted into Southern France in August 1944 as part of Operation DRAGOON and again moved with the Brigade to Athens Greece for internal security duties following the German withdrawal in the winter of 1944-5.

The 2nd Parachute Brigade, including the 4th Battalion, came under the command of 6th Airborne Division in Palestine from 3 September 1945 where it served until 24 January 1947. The Battalion sailed from Haifa, as part of the 2nd Parachute Brigade Group,for the United Kingdom where it amalgamated with the 6th Parachute Battalion in December 1947. 

The 4/6th Parachute Battalion was posted to Germany in February 1948 and re-designated as 1 PARA in 1948.

A new 4th Volunteer Battalion The Parachute Regiment was created in April 1967, emerging from a combination of the 12/13th and 17th TA (Territorial Army) Parachute Battalions.

In 1989 the Battalion formed part of a new trial formation called the Parachute Regiment Group (PRG), which alongside 10 PARA(V) and 15 PARA (SV) continued its BAOR NATO reinforcement role.

Further amalgamations occurred in April 1993 when 15 PARA (SV) was subsumed by 4 PARA (V) and also 10 PARA (V) in June 1999. Both disbanded battalions retain representative companies within the present 4 PARA, which is the sole remaining TA Parachute Battalion.

Throughout the latter period 4 PARA(V) has provided individual reinforcements to regular battalions serving on operations from Northern Ireland to Afghanistan today.

Commanding Officers:

4th Parachute Battalion

1942            Lt Col MR Hope-Thompson
1942-3        Lt Col JA Dene
1943-4        Lt Col HB Coxen, DSO
1944-5        Lt Col De V. Martin
1945-6        Lt Col GP Rickord, DSO
1946            Lt Col PHC Hayward
1946-7        Lt Col HB Coxen, DSO

4/6th Parachute Battalion

1947-8        Lt Col HB Coxen, DSO
1948            Lt Col JH Cubbon, DSO

4th (Volunteer) Battalion The Parachute Regiment (4 PARA(V))

1967-8        Lt Col KC Came, OBE
1968-70      Lt Col DW Callaghan
1970-3        Lt Col LP Weeks
1973-5        Lt Col JA Rymer-Jones
1975-7        Lt Col LJH Kent
1977-80      Lt Col PM Beaumont, MBE
1980-2        Lt Col EC Loden, MC
1982-5        Lt Col JA McGregor, MC
1985-7        Lt Col AH Clark
1987-90      Lt Col BK Martin, OBE
1990-2        Lt Col AWG Snook, OBE
1992-95      Lt Col JC Gallagher
1995-98      Lt Col DC Parkinson
1998-00      Lt Col HM Fletcher
2000-2        Lt Col JD Handford
2002-5        Lt Col GS Orpen-Smellie
2005-8        Lt Col BL Baldwin
2008-10      Lt Col AMC Rogers
2010-13      Lt Col J W Boyd
2013-         Lt Col G M Timms MC

by Paradata Editor

Paradata Survey