2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment

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2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment
Parachute Regiment cap badge.jpg
Cap badge of the Parachute Regiment
1948 – present
CountryFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg  British Army
Type Airborne forces
Role Air assault infantry
Size Battalion
Part of Parachute Regiment
16 Air Assault Brigade
Garrison/HQ Colchester Garrison
Nickname(s)Immaculate Second
Shiny Two [1]
Motto(s)Utrinque Paratus
(Latin for "Ready for Anything")
Maj Gen John Frost CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DL
Lt. Col Herbert 'H' Jones VC, OBE
Drop zone flash 2nd Para DZF.svg

The Second Battalion, Parachute Regiment (2 PARA), is a battalion-sized formation of the Parachute Regiment, part of the British Army, and subordinate unit within 16th Air Assault Brigade whose Commanding Officer for the period 2013-2016 was Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Kingsbury OBE. [2]

Battalion military unit size

A battalion is a military unit. The use of the term "battalion" varies by nationality and branch of service. Typically a battalion consists of 300 to 800 soldiers and is divided into a number of companies. A battalion is typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel. In some countries, the word "battalion" is associated with the infantry.

Parachute Regiment (United Kingdom) formation of the British Army

The Parachute Regiment, colloquially known as the Paras, is an elite airborne infantry regiment of the British Army. The regiment is one of the most elite units in the world. The first battalion is part of the Special Forces Support Group under the operational command of the Director Special Forces. The other battalions are the parachute infantry component of the British Army's rapid response formation, 16 Air Assault Brigade. The Paras are the only line infantry regiment of the British Army that has not been amalgamated with another unit since the end of the Second World War.

British Army land warfare branch of the British Armed Forces of the United Kingdom

The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. As of 2018, the British Army comprises just over 81,500 trained regular (full-time) personnel and just over 27,000 trained reserve (part-time) personnel.


2 PARA is an airborne light infantry unit capable of a wide range of operational tasks, based at Merville Barracks, Colchester Garrison, England. Personnel regularly deploy outside the United Kingdom on operations and training.

Airborne forces Military units, usually light infantry, set up to be moved by aircraft and "dropped" into battle

Airborne forces are military units moved by aircraft and "dropped" into battle, typically by parachute, almost anywhere with little warning. Formations are limited only by the number and size of their aircraft; a huge force can appear "out of nowhere" behind enemy lines in minutes, an action known as vertical envelopment.

Light infantry Type of infantry

Light infantry is a designation applied to certain types of foot soldiers (infantry) throughout history, typically having lighter equipment or armament or a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such as heavy infantry or line infantry. Historically, light infantry often fought as scouts, raiders and skirmishers—soldiers who fight in a loose formation ahead of the main army to harass, delay, disrupt supply lines, and generally "soften up" an enemy before the main battle. After World War II, the term "light infantry" evolved, and now generally refers to rapid-deployment units that specifically emphasize speed and mobility over armor and firepower. Some units or battalions that historically held a skirmishing role have kept their designation "light infantry" for the sake of tradition.

Colchester Garrison garrison located in Colchester in the county of Essex, Southern England

Colchester Garrison is a major garrison located in Colchester in the county of Essex, Eastern England. It has been an important military base since the Roman era. The first permanent military garrison in Colchester was established by Legio XX Valeria Victrix in AD 43 following the Roman conquest of Britain. Colchester was an important garrison town during the Napoleonic Wars and throughout the Victorian era. During the First World War several battalions of Kitchener's Army were trained there. Now, 2nd Battalion and 3rd Battalion of The Parachute Regiment are based there. Today there are new barracks, which, in replacing the Victorian buildings, have made available building land slightly nearer the town centre.


The 2nd Battalion was formed on 30 September 1941, as the 2nd Parachute Battalion, and later became part of the Army Air Corps. The battalion took part in its first active operation over the night of 27–28 February 1942, Operation Biting, the raid on Bruneval in France. [3] On 1 August of the same year, the battalion was renamed the 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment.

Army Air Corps (United Kingdom) aviation component of the British Army

The Army Air Corps (AAC) is a component of the British Army, first formed in 1942 during the Second World War by grouping the various airborne units of the British Army. Today, there are eight regiments of the AAC as well as four Independent Flights and two Independent Squadrons deployed in support of British Army operations across the world. They are located in Britain, Brunei, Canada, and Germany. Some AAC squadrons provide the air assault elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade through Joint Helicopter Command.

Operation Biting British Combined Operations raid during World War II

Operation Biting, also known as the Bruneval Raid, was a British Combined Operations raid on a German coastal radar installation at Bruneval in northern France during the Second World War, on the night of 27–28 February 1942.

France Republic with majority of territory in Europe and numerous oversea territories around the world

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

The battalion was part of the 1st Parachute Brigade, 1st Airborne Division, and fought in the British airborne operations in North Africa, Operation Fustian in Sicily, Operation Slapstick on the Italian mainland and, most famously, the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. [4]

1st Parachute Brigade (United Kingdom) former airborne forces brigade of the British Army

The 1st Parachute Brigade was an airborne forces brigade formed by the British Army during the Second World War. As its name indicates, the unit was the first parachute infantry brigade formation in the British Army.

1st Airborne Division (United Kingdom) Airborne infantry division of the British Army during WWII

The 1st Airborne Division was an airborne infantry division of the British Army during the Second World War. The division was formed in late 1941 during World War II, after the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, demanded an airborne force, and was initially under command of Major-General Frederick A. M. Browning. The division was one of two airborne divisions raised by the British Army during the war, with the other being the 6th Airborne Division, created in May 1943, using former units of the 1st Airborne Division.

British airborne operations in North Africa British operations part of the Tunisian Campaign of World War II

The British airborne operations in North Africa were conducted by British paratroopers of the 1st Parachute Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Edwin Flavell, as part of the Tunisian Campaign of World War II, over the period between November 1942 and April 1943.

After the Second World War, the battalion was reformed and served with the 6th Airborne Division in Palestine. It was then amalgamated with the 3rd Parachute Battalion and renamed the 2nd/3rd Battalion and shortly afterwards disbanded. A new 2nd Battalion was formed later the same year by renumbering the 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion. [5]

6th Airborne Division in Palestine

The 6th Airborne Division in Palestine was initially posted to the region as the Imperial Strategic Reserve. It was envisioned as a mobile peace keeping force, positioned to be able to respond quickly to any area of the British Empire. In fact the division became involved in an internal security role between 1945 and 1948.

5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion

The 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion was an airborne infantry battalion of the Parachute Regiment, raised by the British Army during the Second World War.

In 1951, the battalion was deployed to Ismaïlia, Egypt, after civil unrest in the region, to protect the Suez Canal. [6] In July 1956, 2 Para went to Cyprus to counter the EOKA insurgency. It then took part in Operation Musketeer in November of the same year as part of 16 Independent Parachute Brigade, landing by sea and occupying El Cap. [7]

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country in the northeast corner of Africa, whose territory in the Sinai Peninsula extends beyond the continental boundary with Asia, as traditionally defined. Egypt is bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, Libya to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Suez Canal Canal in Egypt between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea

The Suez Canal is a sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez. Constructed by the Suez Canal Company between 1859 and 1869, it was officially opened on 17 November 1869. The canal offers watercraft a more direct route between the North Atlantic and northern Indian oceans via the Mediterranean and Red seas, thus avoiding the South Atlantic and southern Indian oceans and thereby reducing the journey distance from the Arabian Sea to London, for example, by approximately 8,900 kilometres (5,500 mi). It extends from the northern terminus of Port Said to the southern terminus of Port Tewfik at the city of Suez. Its length is 193.30 km (120.11 mi), including its northern and southern access channels. In 2012, 17,225 vessels traversed the canal.

Cyprus Island country in the Mediterranean

Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, and southeast of Greece.

In June 1961, as part of an 8,000 strong battle-group, 2 Para was sent to Kuwait to forestall a threatened invasion by Iraq. [8] In early 1965 the battalion was rushed to Singapore in response to a threat of invasion of Borneo by Indonesia. In the following Indonesian Confrontation, B Company repulsed an attack by an Indonesian battalion in the Battle of Plaman Mapu. [9] In March 1969, 2 Para went to the Caribbean island of Anguilla to restore the British administration. The men, who were landed by boat from three Royal Navy frigates (along with 40 police officers) were later awarded the Wilkinson Sword of Peace "for acts of humanity and kindness overseas". [10]

In the 1970s, the battalion was sent to Northern Ireland as part of Operation Banner for the first of many tours. [11]

2 PARA guarding Argentine prisoners of war at Port Stanley in 1982. Argentine POWs guarded by 2 Para.jpg
2 PARA guarding Argentine prisoners of war at Port Stanley in 1982.

In 1982, the battalion was part of the force sent to the South Atlantic in Operation Corporate, as part of 3 Commando Brigade during the Falklands War. [12] The battalion's men were the first troops from the main assault body to land on the Falkland Islands. The landing was on the shore at San Carlos Water (codename: Blue Beach). [13] The battalion's first battle was the Battle of Goose Green on 28 May. [14] This was followed by the Battle of Wireless Ridge and then the recapture of Port Stanley. [12]

In August 2001, the battalion was part of the NATO Operation Essential Harvest in Macedonia. This was followed in 2002 by Operation Fingal, in Afghanistan. [15] The battalion also took part in UK operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Following the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing and the enactment of Operation Temperer, 2 PARA were deployed in London to guard key locations, including the Palace of Westminster. [16]

See also

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  1. Bishop 2009, p. 102.
  2. "ParaData roll call: Lieutenant-Colonel Oliver Kingsbury, OBE". Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  3. see Miller, George (1975). The Bruneval Raid . New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc. ISBN   0-385-09542-2.
  4. "Battle of Arnhem". Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 13 March 2008.
  5. Ferguson, Gregor; Lyles, Kevin (1984). The Paras 1940-1984: British airborne forces 1940-1984. Altrincham: Osprey Publishing. ISBN   0-85045-573-1.
  6. "Paras in the Canal Zone". Britains-smallwars.com. 11 December 1951. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  7. "Suez (Operation Musketeer)". ParaData. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  8. "Persian Gulf". ParaData. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  9. "Borneo". ParaData. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  10. "Anguilla (Operation Sheepskin)". ParaData. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  11. "Paras in Northern Ireland". Britains-smallwars.com. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  12. 1 2 see Smith, Gordon (2006). A Battle Atlas of the Falklands War 1982 by Land, Sea and Air. Lulu.com. ISBN   978-1-84753-950-2.
  13. see Clapp, Michael; Southby-Tailyour, Ewen (1996). Amphibious Assault Falklands: The Battle of San Carlos Water. Naval Institute Press. ISBN   978-1-55750-028-1.
  14. see Fitz-Gibbon, Spencer (1995). Not Mentioned in Despatches: The History and Mythology of the Battle of Goose Green. James Clarke & Co. ISBN   978-0-7188-3016-8.
  15. "[ARCHIVED CONTENT] ISAF: Photo Gallery - on patrol and at HQ". Operations.mod.uk. Archived from the original on 26 August 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  16. "First Troops Deployed in Operation Temperer". Warfare.Today. Retrieved 27 May 2017.