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Ex 10 Para members

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Personal stories ... 

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Geoff Butler

My involvement with 10 Para started when I was a 14 year old schoolboy in 1968. My schoolmaster was then 1st Lt Malcolm Brown who was then OC Anti-Tanks which in that year 1968 was based at White City. The RSM was then Patch Williams. I remember guys like Colour Sgt Osbourne, Cpl Basmajin, Cpl Shaun Hackett, and of course Slim Kelly. I remember a helicopter exercise at Stanford chasing 21 SAS around. I also remember firing Anti-Tank weapons on Salisbury Plain. The 105 then before Wombat. I remember a ballooning weekend on Wormwood Scrubs...

I then met Malcolm Brown again in 1974 in a hanger in Hullavington when I was a 2 Para soldier, jumped on the fateful night drop on the Kiel Canal where the guys in 15 Para drowned. I was last man in the stick and just about managed to land in a field on the canal bank well short of the DZ. In 1978 I joined 10 Para initially with 2 Company 6 Platoon at Blackheath which had just opened at Blackheath. I was then reunited with Malcolm Brown again this time he was Major Malcolm Brown OC Recruit Training Wing. Nicknamed (Peanuts as he could not stop eating them)
I became an instructor there for three years. By now the RSM was George Collier who was my first platoon Sgt when I joined 2 Para.
The Battalion was spread out in as follows:
(Formed 1 April 1967, from 10th (County of London) Battalion The Parachute Regiment (TA).
1 Coy White City + MT
2 Coy Croydon and Blackheath
3 Coy Finchley
November 1971: Support Company formed at Aldershot with Mortar platoon at Leigh-on-Sea.
1 April 1978: '4' Company formed at Chelsea, London from Defence Platoon 44 Parachute Brigade.
HQ Coy Duke of York's Chelsea
Signals Duke of York's Chelsea
5 (HSF) Company formed in 1982
Detachment of Anti-Tank platoon formed at Portsmouth in May 1987:
2 Company formed detachment at St Mary's Cray (KENT) in October 1987:

1 April 1992: Battalion re-organised with three rifle companies and one support company.
1 Company at White City, London disbanded.
Support Group formed Aldershot by re-designation of Support Company.

1 April 1995: Anti-Tank platoon and Mortar platoon disbanded.
1 April 1997: Mortar platoon reformed at Aldershot.

1 July 1999: Battalion disbanded as result of the Strategic Defence Review. 'HQ' Company, '2' Company and Mortar platoon amalgamated as '10' (London) Company 4th Battalion.

Note on support platoons:
This Mortar platoon existed outside the Fire Support Battalions, and was reintroduced to have Parachute trained mortar support. Other support platoons (Recce, MMG and Assault Pioneer) were common for all battalions.

Training Wing in 1978-82 was technically based at the Duke of York's but we used to do 4 recruit selection courses per year. These were based at Finchley for three weekends and then on weekend 4 we moved to St Martins Plain Camp Folkestone where we did a full week training tactics and live firing with a battle march from Dungeness to Hythe ranges along the sea front through Dymchurch. The second week saw us doing a final exercise and then on the Friday we ran P Company at Aldershot, this consisted of Tranasium Assault Course Steeplechase, Log race, stretcher race and of course the milling.

We stated Cadres on week one with about 150 applicants by the time we got to the end we had about 25 to 35 passes with about 25 left for recourse or discharges. Many left before going on the two week camp. Our Sunday morning run at 7am down the North Circular Rd sorted a few out ... read about the "Ten Miler"

The standard was high for selection and we had many arguments who was to pass or fail at the end of course selection briefing.

Geoff Butler
Ex Sgt 10 Para Training Wing and 2 Para

[ Sgt Geoff Butler ]

Medway Armed Forces Day 2015 ... Bob right >>>>

A 90th Birthday surprise for a Burma Chindit and Para Veteran from Chatham. please click here

Geoff Butler can be contacted by clicking here


Prosper Keating

An excellent article from Prosper
The 10th Parachute Battalion in Somerby 1943-1944 ... read more here

I was in 10 Para from 1982 to 1992. 4 Coy, then Sigs Plt, with a move to White City – which most of us hated – and then Intel Section. Pissed off the Head Shed so never made it past Lance Jack but was RSI and had BW wings as well. Did a stint at Training Wing in Finchley, which was 3 Coy’s location as well. Our P Coy was at Finchley, followed by a final weekend at Depot plus two weeks at Depot (Malta Barracks) and then Brize.

Shot by myself in the air of members of 10 Para jumping with 271 Fallschirmjäger in 1989. 

Lt McAlpine-Downie, OC Intel Section and L/Cpl Keating, RSI Sigs Plt, with German writer and veteran of Holland, Crete, Russia, Normandy and Brest, Erich Kuby after getting our BW wings in 1989.

Want to see more photo's ... click here you may be in one ?

Jump with London TA

Brian Dean

Initially, I was in a Craphat TA unit (Signals) I was on Salisbury Plain and watched in awe as a Battalion drop went in. That was my introduction to Para Regt. I realised I was in the wrong mob, as I had only jumped out of a 4 tonner. I got home (Liverpool) and contacted
4 Para (v). They told me they could always use a good radio op and they arranged the paper work and off I went. I remember the admin officer, Capt Chris Forrest (Twiggy) from 2 Para, telling me you only need to bring your PT kit and a sense of humour.

After much physical abuse, blisters, strains and more blisters I got through P Coy, I loved Brize Norton; it would have been Abingdon for (most) you eh? I settled in as the OC’s radio op, and not long after lost my civvy job. The PSI C/Sgt Dave Moore ex PF Plt suggested an ‘S’ Type with 1 Para. Well it sounded like a good idea at the time. And that was me from 85 to 98.

Steve Wilson (Ginger)

Junior Parachute Company 1981-82, 2 Para 1982-5, 10 Para 1988-89.
Picture 1: D Coy, 2 Para, Belize Airport, 1983. The visit of General Wilson.
Picture 2: 2 Para drop, Hankley Common 1984.
Do you recognise yourself ? ...

Pete Hill

I do remember being presented with my “Wings” by a major in Abingdon he said “Welcome to the Airborne Brotherhood “ I thought I was joining the Mafia, later I realized it was something more dangerous. I join 10 Para in White City about 74 when they were still in the wooden building before we took over the RM brick building CP was OC and Staff Knox MM was there to name but a few, Mrs Cp said to me on the night of CP's Leaving Bash: "I will never forget you". Get your filthy minds out of the gutter. I came from the 10th Royal Hussars / 651 Sqn AAC I was a regular for 9 years. Now you may be wondering why a cavalry man would want to give up his nice little armoured car / tank to Tab every where.

Well after Aden I did not like the idea of brewing up in one, and Secondly I met Mike Jackson in Germany (1968) he was a Sgt (2 Para) at the time and he was running the RAPA (Rhine Army Parachute Association in a place called Bad Lippspringe near Paderborn. It was a Sky Diving School run by the Army but we had to pay I think it was about 300 marks for the course as it was not an officially recognized sport. The Aircraft we used was a DH Rapide It was made of canvas there was a little yellow square reinforced with plywood you had to stand on holding the strut if you missed the square your foot would go through the wing great fun Huh and that’s how I got into parachuting. I was living in Kensel Rise and worked in Shepherds Bush for Coca Cola as computer operator and I use to drive pass 10 Para & the BBC on my way to work in the morning one day I went in and the CSM said I could do as much parachuting as I wanted for “FREE” so I joined. I was a Cpl in the Signals Platoon as an instructor until about 78. If anyone remembers me and wants to chat email me.

To contact Pete ... Email: pete-hill@ntlworld.com ... Instant Messenger: pete-xrh@hotmail.com ... Website: www.xrhgb.com 

A GRANDFATHER from Hoddesdon successfully helped foil an armed raid – with the help of a spatulal
By David Cosgrove thanks to Hertfordshire Mercury

[ John Simons ]

Ex-Paratrooper and security guard John Simons, 77, was enjoying a relaxing break in Montcaret in south-west France with his family, when he heard shouting in a newsagent. John with the grateful French newsagent John’s instincts took over and he flung himself into action to thwart the efforts of two criminals, with the help of the kitchen utensil which he brandished "like a cutlass". The Goodwood Close resident, who had just bought a pizza with his nine-year-old grandson Cameron, was assisted by the pizza van owner.

The unlikely duo rushed to the aid of the newsagent, whose screaming had alerted them to the crime. John has lived in Hoddesdon since 1980 and his two children – Jonathan, 43, and Lianne, 38 – both studied at the John Warner School. He said: "It was very hot and I saw two guys were going into a local newsagent’s and they were wearing coats, which was a bit strange. "All of a sudden there was quite a commotion and shouting and my instincts and years of training kicked in. "The pizza guy hopped out of the back of his van and we both headed for the newsagent’s. I had picked up a pizza spatula, which I used a bit like a cutlass.

"The two men in coats were in the newsagent’s – one had a gun and the other had some kind of bludgeon. "Between the two of us we managed to pin one guy down and got the gun and called the local police. "The other guy started to run but he was obviously worried about his partner giving him away, so he came back and bowled me over. "Because I’ve got two metal knees it’s hard to get up off the ground so the two guys did manage to get away, but we prevented anything being taken from the shop." French Police are continuing to investigate the incident, but John was lauded for his efforts by the newsagent. Grandson Cameron, a pupil at Westfield School, received the real fruits of his granddad’s labour – free sweets for the remainder of the holiday. However, John’s wife Yvonne was slightly less enamoured with her husband’s heroic efforts on July 30, the day after he had turned 77.

The have-a-go-hero said he went home to a severe telling off from his better half for getting involved. Remarkably, it was almost 40 years to the day since John was involved in another armed raid, in his role as a guard with Security Express. John’s efforts in July 1972 saw him blasted in the leg by a sawn-off shotgun, as a gang made off with £20,000 from the Berkeley Square branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank in Mount Street. His story featured on the front page of both the Evening Standard and Evening News. Asked if he had any second thoughts about putting himself in harm’s way, John said he did not. He said: "If I thought it was dangerous I wouldn’t have done it. You just have to act on what’s happening.

"And anyway when you’re trained in the Paras you’re brought up to the think you’re the toughest person in the whole of the world. "I thought I’d got past all the stupid things and I try and enjoy a quiet life, but now and then it doesn’t enjoy me!"

Andy Selfe who was at 2 Coy in the 70s has sent me these photos of his time with 10 Para ...

I am South African, and at that time, the reason I could serve was that I was born and spent my first few months there. SA wasn't exactly a popular nation at the time!

I did some interesting things, I think, apart from the yearly run of exercises. I had done National Service here and was a corporal crew commander in an Armoured Car unit, and I was made L/Cpl as a penguin still.

I suppose the most interesting things were being in the middle of the starting of 6Pl at Hollyhedge House (which seems to have exceeded our wildest expectations!), competing with Gerald Oliver in the '76 Devizes to Westminster canoe race as members of 10 PARA, finishing and even getting a medal!, and an exchange to train with 11 Speccial Forces Group (Abn) in '75.

As usual the TA swallowed up all my spare time towards the end, with 2 drill nights a week (Croydon & Blackheath) and almost every weekend with training the new Cadres as well as our own exercises, and Camp and normally a course as well in any year.

Naturally I'd like to share the pics and scans of the papers, is this what you'd like?

Andy 24296552

please read more here.

Andy Selfe

I was part of Support Coy at Aldershot in 1982-83, then got injured after a year and called it a day. Then I had another go aged 36 in 1996 (due to my age Mick Cotton advised me that I would have to come back via a hat Reg). I did P Coy, again, and came into Support Coy Mortars Aldershot before we were disbanded in 1999, I went to Arnham when we laid up the Colours.

I was one of the lucky ones retained and went to Mitcham Road to join 4 Para. I stuck it out for another year before the old injury started to play up again and left in 2000. Not sure if there have been any reunions but I recently spoke to Major Stu Newcombe, OC 4 Para, he said that so many guys are on deployment these days that there aren’t many left back home.

Take care,

Steve Plummer. (24666092)

I had the honour to serve in 2 coy X Para from 74-78 my company commander was Maj. Chappell then Capt Oliver, Csm was Steve Jones and my original Platoon Commander was Sgt Sandy Saunders , C/SGt Derek Cook was the company clerk who jumped at the Rhine crossing Ww2.

I remember starting on training wing then at white city where the Csm was a Psi Bob Richer with Maj Casenove in command the 2 week camp where we completed most of the training was in Sennelager. After a couple of years it was decided to form a new platoon in Blackheath ,6 platoon and the first members were the platoon commander Lt Martin Branton, (who I trained as a private on training wing before he took a commission), platoon Sgt Graham Sheeley( later flight Lt RAF) myself and L/CplMalcolm Honeywell. I remember our 1st drill night just the 4 of us but later 6 platoon became the biggest within 2 Coy.

I was also fortunate that when I was first on training wing my section commander was a very good soldier named Mick Lithchfield who after he left X para to help his brother who owed a farm in Rhodesia I saw on Tv panorama cleaning a GPMG as part of a Fireforce fighting for the then rebel government, Mick appreciated that when I was a recruit I kept quite and carried out everything he asked because I had only left The Royal Marines (regs) some 6 months before. I also played football for the TAVR and toured Germany Managed by Maj Cottage TD, I also played as a ringer for Support company Aldershot manager Cpl Pancho Watts

Hope this is of interest


L/Cpl John Smith aka Smudge or Cabbage head as named by C/Sgt Ian Hutchinson PSI