My bold. I can think of some examples but probably unhelpful at interview.Just wondering if there is anymore not so well known history about the paras that i could mention that will impress the interviewer.
Yes to this! Can think of a few things I want to add inSuits me fine. How about a regimental history thread? Not only the dry, official versions but also the overlooked and seldom recorded nuggets which embody the Airborne Spirit and are often the stuff of legend?
1973 Op Banner ‘Invasion’
This might be of interest to some. The first quoted extract is from Big Boys’ Rules by Mark Urban:
“One incident, which could have been even more serious than that involving the SAS, is related by a member of the Parachute Regiment. A patrol commanded by a colourful NCO nicknamed ‘Banzai’ was landed in a field by an RAF helicopter. The pilot had made a map reading error, putting the soldiers down too far south, well inside the Irish Republic. When Banzai and his patrol sighted Irish Army armoured cars and troops moving to the north of them, they concluded that they were witnessing an invasion of Northern Ireland. Alarmed, British Army officers were readying their own armoured cars to fight the Irish Army before it was realised that Banzai’s patrol was inside the Republic.”
The late Jim ‘Banzai’ Burton was later CSM of B Coy 2 PARA amongst other subsequent appointments.
To add context in the early 1970s there was speculation that the Republic of Ireland might invade across the border into Ulster. This sounds fanciful now but at the time it was considered a serious possibility.
The terrain of South Armagh along the border is very rural. From the air it is a vast patchwork of green farm fields which is why patrols sometimes strayed across the border when ‘navigationally challenged’ or in other words ‘totally lost’. Depending on the political climate and the good humour of the Garda Síochána a straying patrol might be arrested or simply pointed in the appropriate direction.
A credible source adds more detail to Mark Urban’s sketch:
“When the patrol exited the chopper they did the standard SOP and sat tight. This is when a steady stream of Ferret, Fox and other armoured vehicles were observed heading north along a nearby road. Banzai had no timely way of working out the patrol’s exact location on the ground but he knew that the designated LZ was well within the North and that he had not moved away from the LZ. He communicated what he had observed back to battalion and was ordered to stay put and observe.
It was at this point that the flapping began in the head-shed. Banzai’s report was escalated up the Army’s NI chain of command and then across to London. The British Embassy in Dublin received an encrypted signal alerting it to developing events on the border. Apparently the report almost reached 10 Downing Street.
Meanwhile, a member of the Garda Síochána on his routine rural beat had noticed the helicopter activity and sauntered across the fields with a local farmer to see what was up. Happening upon Banzai’s patrol he pointed north and chuckled “You’re too far south boys. But it’s not a problem. Just walk that way for a quarter hour and you’ll be back in the North, so you will.”"
Banzai’s ‘invasion’ became the stuff of legend.
Agreed. It's generally the blokes on the ground who make history while the head-shed write it up....we can promote some of the less stuffy and dry regimental histories!