No. 53. The Parachute Regiment
'Red Devil' Freefall Team Member:Freefall Dress
Airborne Soldier:Combat Dress with Light Anti-tank Weapon
Background: Islander Aircraft with Team Members Descending
From a watercolour painting by Christopher A. Collins.
Postcard No. 53 THE PARACHUTE REGIMENT
In June 1940, inspired by the success of the German Airborne Army, the
then Prime Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill, called upon the War Office for
the formation 'of at least 5,000 Parachute Troops'. This prompted the
establishment of an experimental and training centre at Ringway Airport,
Manchester. By the year's end 500 officers and men had qualified as
parachutists. On 1st August 1942, parachute battalions which had until
then no parent Regiment or Corps, were formed into The Parachute Regiment.
The figure illustrated on the left is a member of the parachute Regiment
Freefall Team, the Red Devils. Dressed as for carrying out a parachute
display, he is wearing a ram air square parachute system which is
lightweight, fast and highly manoeuvrable. The container does in fact
house two square parachutes. The reserve parachute is for use in an
emergency and is a lightweight version of the main canopy. All members of
the freefall team are primarily soldiers drawn from the regular parachute
The other soldier is wearing Combat Clothing. His cap badge, which is
normally silver in colour, has been painted black for use in combat. He is
shown preparing to fire the 94mm Light Anti Tank Weapon or LAW 90. This is
a rocket system, with a disposable launcher, which can be carried and used
by one man. The rocket had wrap around folding fins to provide stability
in flight. It is automatically armed after travelling about 20 metres.
The Red Devils twin turboprop Islander aircraft is seen in the background
with two team members descending.
Copyright © 1992 Published by Geoff White Ltd.
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