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Unit Depot The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces

When the 1st Parachute Brigade moved from Hardwick to the Bulford area in Wiltshire in 1942 an Airborne Forces Depot was formed at Hardwick from the units left behind.

It started as an unofficial establishment, but was created as a properly organized unit, training and holding recruits before they went to the Parachute Training School, as well as rehabilitating the temporary unfit from injuries.

The War Office approved a War Establishment for the Depot on 25th December 1942, appointing Lt Col W. Giles MC (Ox and Bucks) as its first Commanding Officer. The Depot was given an extended role and consisted of a Depot Company, a Pre-Parachute Training Company, a Battle School, Holding Company and an Airfield Detachment, which was stationed at No 1 PTS RAF Ringway. It was during this period that all pre-jump ground training was moved from Hardwick to Ringway.

In March 1944 the Battle School closed, the Holding Unit was moved to Clay Cross, while a new preliminary Battle/Tactical School was set up at Dore and Totley. The Selection Company and Depot Administrative Unit remained at Hardwick.

In April 1946 the Depot moved to Albany Barracks on the Isle of Wight and the involvement of Airborne Forces at Hardwick Hall ceased. In October the Depot moved to Maida Barracks Aldershot, where it remained for 22 years before moving to Browning Barracks Aldershot in 1968.

The Depot organization consisted of a headquarters, Recruit Company with up to five platoons and a remedial training platoon, ‘P’ (Pre-Parachute Selection) Company and Headquarters company, responsible for all administrative and logistic support. A Junior Parachute Company, training junior soldiers and bandsmen for the Regiment formed in 1961 and was disbanded in 1993. The Depot also housed the ‘Red Devils’ free-fall Parachute Regiment display team.

Depot, The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces, closed in early 1993 as part of an Army wide rationalisation of the recruit training system. All recruits were trained initially at the Army’s Individual Training Organization (ITO) at the Army Training Regiment (ATR) at Lichfield, before moving on to the Parachute Company with the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) at Catterick, where they also completed their specialist arms training and P Company. Since around 2002 both Phase 1 and 2 infantry training has been undertaken at ITC Catterick. 

Commandants:
Airborne Forces Depot

1942            Lt Col LW Giles, MC
1942-6        Lt Col RJF Campbell
1946-7        Lt Col TJ Firbank, MC
1947-8        Lt Col TGD Rowley

Depot The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces

1948-50      Col KT Darling, DSO, OBE.
1951-2        Col AWE Daniell.
1952-5        Col HB Coxon, DSO, MC
1957-60      Col G Hewetson, DSO, OBE, TD.

Commanding Officers:

1959-60      Lt Col GR Flood, MC
1960-2        Lt Col JL Waddy, OBE
1962-5        Lt Col SCAN Bishop, OBE
1965-8        Lt Col MAJ Tugwell
1968-70      Lt Col MH Jones
1970-2        Lt Col PLF Baillon
1972-4        Lt Col PF Walter, MBE, MC
1974-7        Lt Col RG Southerst
1977-9        Lt Col GD Farrell, MBE
1979-81      Lt Col MA Benjamin
1981-4        Lt Col SDRW Brewis, MBE
1984-7        Lt Col DL Roberts, MBE
1987-9        Lt Col TA Marsh
1989-91      Lt Col DJ Campbell
1991-3        Lt Col JJP Poraj-Wilczynski

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