PARAS’10 – Colchester

Venue: Colchester

In its 4th year, the event is a testing 10 mile route on the local training area, watch out for the obstacles/stream crossing.

Founded by WO1 JJ Wilson The PARAS’10 was hosted by The Parachute Regiment in Aldershot 1982 – 1993. Since the Paras left Aldershot in 1993, this legendary event was dormant until it was revived by Major Sam McGrath in 2008 in Catterick, N.Yorkshire. Due to its success in Catterick the race was taken to the home of 16 Air Assault Brigade in Colchester in 2012 and was revived in Aldershot in 2013. It is regarded as The Ultimate 10 Mile Endurance Race. For more information, visit

USMC Start line 2014

United States Marine Corps Marathon

For the second year running, a 7 man team of serving and retired Paratroopers will be taking part in the 40th Anniversary Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC to raise money for SUPPORT OUR PARAS.

The race will take place on Sunday 25 October this year and participants will embark on the 26.2-mile journey in the 40th MCM starting at 7:55 a.m.  There will be a live broadcast conducted by Comcast SportsNet with highlights of the MCM’s background and history.  The MCM promises a spectacular start with international flags from 54 different nations and the firing of the M2A1 Howitzer.

If you’d like to support our team, please visit their fundraising page at

I Played the Piano and Made The Tea amends

I Played the Piano and Made the Tea – one soldiers time in 10 PARA

“As a child and young man whenever I asked ‘What did you do in the War, Dad?’ the reply was always the same; ‘I played the piano and made the tea.’

Private Alec Wilson enlisted in 1940 joining The Wiltshire Regiment for basic training and subsequently transferring to The 2nd Battalion, The Royal Sussex.  In 1942, the battalion began its conversion into one of the ‘new-fangled’ parachute battalions, becoming The Tenth Battalion, The Parachute Regiment.

I Played the Piano and Made The Tea‘I Played the Piano and Made the Tea’ details Alec’s time with 10 PARA and the action he saw including his time in Arnhem as part of Operation Market Garden as well as going on to talk about his time as a POW in Czechoslovakia.  Written by Alec’s son, the book even delves into the lives of some of the other men who served with Alec and the roles they had within the battle.

The books proceeds have previously been donated to The Parachute Regiment Afghanistan Trust, and following the closure of the charity, the author, also called Alec, has generously chosen to continue donating these proceeds to SUPPORT OUR PARAS.

Alec initially wrote the book as something for his children and grandchildren to read so they could learn about his father’s time in the military, but the book has since proved popular with a much wider audience.

In his foreword, Colonel John Waddy OBE, says “I hope, that in writing this book, Alec will inspire other sons, and grandsons, to discover the stories of their parents and grandparents, which otherwise will be lost for ever, especially in this electronic age when much seems to be so fleeting.”

If you are interested in buying a copy of ‘I Played the Piano and Made the Tea’, please get in touch with Alec on for more information.

Richard Taylor group (2)

Barclaycard jump with Red Devils for SUPPORT OUR PARAS

At the beginning of September, 7 members of Barclaycard staff joined The Red Devils to do a tandem skydive in aid of SUPPORT OUR PARAS.  Here, Richard tells us how the day went.

The day started with good weather and after the formalities of signing in and completing the brief training we were ready. The anticipation built through the day as we had been allocated teams that were due to jump in the afternoon. The waiting was by no means boring however as we were able to sit in the sun and watch the other teams jump and then parachute down. As fewer people remained left to jump we knew our turn would be soon.

Richard Taylor (2)Our team had been divided into smaller groups and finally it was the chance of the first two individuals to jump. They were given jump suits, hats (that were very fetching) along with gloves and harnesses before being shown to the plane. We watched as the plane taxied and took off then waited to spot it appear high above our heads. From the ground it was actually possible to see the people as they left the aircraft, falling as tiny dots in the air before they reached the appropriate altitude and the parachutes opened. It was difficult to tell who was who as they flew overhead and landed however we soon recognised some smiling and exhilarated faces.

The jump itself is something I would highly recommend and I would say that the anticipation of how it would feel was in fact a lot worse than the actual experience.

Richard Taylor (3)Apart from the exhilaration of falling at 120mph, the views were amazing and the professionalism and pleasant demeanour of all the people involved was incredible. It really is a fantastic way to raise some money for a very worthy cause. I for one am already looking forward to doing another!

If you want to make a donation towards their fundraising efforts, please visit their fundraising page. 

Palmer Silverstone Press-6

Palmer and Paras Racing defiant after Silverstone

Support Our Paras Racing and driver Derek Palmer emerged from the latest rounds of the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone battered and bruised, but defiant.

That defiance was emboldened by the presence of a significant number of veterans and serving members of the Parachute Regiment on race day.

Palmer Silverstone Press-4And in addition to the Red Devils dropping in on the Northamptonshire circuit, the Parachute Regiment Band played the National Anthem for the podium ceremony at the end of Race 2.
The Mallory Park-based team’s race cars are prepared by injured ex-servicemen from the Parachute Regiment, with all team profits being donated to Support Our Paras, the official Regiment charity.

Staring 28th on the 30-car grid for Sunday’s opener, under clear blue skies, Palmer narrowly missed out on a top 20 finish, bringing his TENA Men-backed Infiniti home in 21st.

“I started 28th and finished 21st, so that was a big positive,” Palmer said. “But I lost a barrow load of time at the start avoiding an incident, which happened right in front of me, involving Stewart Lines and Nick Hamilton.

“The field is to tightly packed competitively, that it was difficult to close the gap back to the cars in front, but ultimately we were unlucky not to finish in the top 20.”

The 28-year-old Zurich-based racer from Lesmahagow then looked on course to finish in the top 20 in Race 2 before he became the meat in a BTCC sandwich.

Palmer Silverstone Press-3Pushing hard to pass the Audi of Hunter Abbott for 20th, Palmer was hit from the rear by the Toyota of Simon Belcher. The impact propelled the Scot into the rear of Abbott’s car causing damage to both.

While Belcher recovered to finish 22nd, Palmer lost two places, eventually bringing his damaged car home in 23rd.

“It was all pretty hectic at the start, but we did pretty well out of it,” Palmer, who started 25th, explained. “As the race progressed, Hunter caught me and got past, but I managed to hold on to the back of him.

“Then everything started to close up again towards the last six or seven laps. The guys ahead were struggling; I caught them; the group behind me caught me, and all of a sudden we were a train of about five or six cars on the same part of the tarmac.

“Ultimately we made contact coming down into Turns 2 and 3. I got pushed from the rear by Simon, which then catapulted me into the back of Hunter.

Palmer Silverstone Press-1“It’s frustrating, because again it ultimately it cost us a potential top 20 finish. It was a pity because we’d been racing and  competing really well up until that point.”

Starting from 29th on the grid for the day’s finale, Palmer brought his Support Our Paras Racing Infiniti home in 23rd, having struggled to maximise performance on the soft compound tyres.

“We knew from the degradation we’d seen in the opening two races on the medium compound that we’d just about got away with it over a race distance,” the Scot explained.

“So we knew when we put on the soft compound tyres it was going to be touch and go: and that’s exactly what happened.

“From our perspective, on our car, the performance just dropped off the edge of a cliff: ultimately we were about two-seconds a lap slower than where we wanted to be, despite me giving everything in the car.

“I think we were also loosing a wee bit of boost from the engine, but we need to analyse the figures to confirm that.

“But our biggest problem was that we simply couldn’t get the soft compound tyres to work for us this weekend.”

As BTCC rookie Palmer and his team head for the season finale at Brands Hatch in a fortnight, he reflected on Silverstone and his self-imposed raised expectations.

“Everyone knows we’ve had a tough debut season, essentially due to a number of circumstances we didn’t have any control over,” he said. “But we’ve risen to the challenges; and those challenges keep on coming.

Palmer Silverstone Press-2“Race 2 was going well, but again we were unfortunate to get involved in the incident with Hunter and Simon. It wasn’t an incident of my making, but once again we suffered because of it.

“We’ve got to the stage in the team’s development that we’re constantly raising the bar of expectation at every race weekend, and because of that we’re harsh on ourselves when we don’t meet those self-set goals.

“But we’ll persevere. We always knew how tough entering the BTCC was going to be, but we’re in this for the long haul and we know the results will come.”

Photos: Copyright Jakob Ebrey

SOP logo with RCN

Regimental Charity Administrator – Maternity Cover

An opportunity has arisen within the Headquarters of The Parachute Regiment for a Regimental Charity Administrator. This will be a 12 MONTHS maternity cover post.

20150928_PRC Admin AdvertisementThe successful applicant will work in a small team providing the administrative function to the Regimental charity SUPPORT OUR PARAS.  The candidate will have proven experience in office administration and be a self-starter who is capable of working with limited supervision to provide support to a busy fundraising charity. Previous experience of working in the charitable sector would be beneficial.

The appointee should have excellent interpersonal and IT skills and be competent in all forms of communication.

The successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Provide clerical support to the Regimental charity
  • Advise, support and communicate with donors/individuals wishing to raise money for the charity
  • Maintain content and monitor websites and social media
  • Provide support at fundraising events
  • Monitor social networking sites
  • Maintain and control charitable databases
  • Act as Secretary at the charity meetings
  • Work closely with the Regimental Association and Headquarters
  • Act as the point of contact between the charity and the Regiment
  • Process charity Gift Aid (with RHQ Accounts Dept)

Location – Merville Barracks, Colchester CO2 7UT

Travel – There will be a requirement to attend conferences and meetings in London and elsewhere as the need arises; therefore a current driving license would be preferred.  Accommodation, subsistence and travel will be provided at Civil Service equivalent rates.

Salary – The salary on offer will be between £14K and £18K depending on experience.

Hours 40 per week – flexible.

Overtime Overtime paid as time off in lieu.

Please send a copy of your Curriculum Vitae to The Regimental Secretary at by Friday 09 October 15.

Interviews will take place on Thursday 15 October 15.

Jon Bridel (3)

Fundraiser Jon Bridel documents his commemorative jumps in Arnhem 2015


On the Friday, I was in the first jump of 20 in two vintage Antonov AN2’s, the World’s largest bi-plane. The flight was about 20 minutes from the base to the DZ. We lobbed out at 13:00 at 1,200 feet over a small Drop Zone (DZ) at Renkum and it was approximately a minute from exit to landing. As we came in the wind was gusting 20 mph. I saw a friend below me so took avoiding action. I then turned into wind and landed going backwards due to the wind but luckily had no injury and managed to avoid the trees and the nasty angled bank. I struggled to get up and flatten my parachute in the strong winds without Capewelling. I took off my authentic helmet (which was kindly lent to me by a friend whose father had served as an officer in the SAS many years ago) and put on the maroon beret. The two aircraft buzzed the DZ. I then took out my vintage brass and copper hunting horn and blew it out of respect for Lt Col Johnny Frost who commanded the Regiment at Arnhem Bridge. In the photo below one of our colleagues is in the tree to the left and the cornfield is behind. I landed in front of the tree behind me.

Jon Bridel

On Saturday Dr Henry G and I attended the official remembrance ceremony and parade at Ginkel Heath and briefly saw our fellow Pompey Para, Arthur Bailey. Henry and I then participated in the Race to Arnhem in over 100 WW2 vehicles wearing our uniforms. A Dutch friend who had served in their Special Forces had kindly invited Henry and I onto his jeep which was proudly flying the Union Jack and Pegasus Flag. The police stopped all the traffic so we could get from the Renkum DZ, which was now very quiet, to Arnhem Bridge. We ended up in an escort of 80 WW2 motor bikes with our jeep number two. As always the Dutch were out in their thousands to greet us and we threw sweets at the little ones – the puzzled looks on their little faces as we drove by was priceless. Union Jacks and Pegasus Flags were flying from houses, blocks of flats and offices. As we saw WW2 veterans we saluted them. We then drove to the Hartenstein Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek where we saluted and met several more WW2 veterans.


Twenty of us signed up for the Driel DZ on the Sunday. This is a jump over the River Rhine onto a small DZ on the south of the river. Most of the original DZ is now built on. It was clear most of us had little sleep as our brains buzzed all night preparing for the jump. We met for the briefing early and it was confirmed the weather was much better this time. After all the usual checked and getting kitted out, off we went in the two Antonovs. Our Antonov had been used by the Polish military. At 12:00 I jumped number two at 1,200 feet with a Polish friend of course as number one. The chute opened well but my toggles decided to play hide and seek amongst the straps so I spent a couple of seconds grapping them. I saw the red smoke and headed towards the DZ floating past my colleagues, found a good spot, turned into wind and landed.  We put on our berets and had a celebration drink of Polish “Old Krupnik” which went down very well. We then headed off to the Polish War Memorial and the General Sosabowski Monument in the town to pay our respects before relaxing at a local cafe with a nice beer. In the photo below I am the second parachute on the left.

Jon Bridel (2)

A massive well done to all those who jumped and special thanks to Roy for organising everything, all the ground crew and Alan and Ian (both of whom have been doing the James Bond film parachute stunts since the 1980’s) for being such exceptional jump masters.

That night Henry drove me to Oosterbeek, Arnhem where we met at our Dutch friend’s house for dinner with his family and friends. He explained how his grandparents who were in the Dutch resistance had been captured blowing up a bridge. They were to be executed when the Parachute Regiment turned up and freed them. If they had not been saved, our friend would not have been born. Before dinner, we had a minute’s silence to remember those who fought at Arnhem. He showed us a German helmet with a 303 bullet hole that had been found in their garden: we were having dinner in the original battle zone.

It is a great feeling remembering and supporting our brave veterans and showing our appreciation to them by our actions. I hope to raise £6,000 this year to raise much needed funds to support veterans of all conflicts and their families. Please visit the link below if you would like to make a donation:

Clarke Hillyard 'Never Forgotten' (2)

Serving Para is raising funds on UK drag car racing scene

Serving Para Clarke has taken the SUPPORT OUR PARAS name on to the drag car racing scene.  With some much needed upgrades to ensure it can reach the speeds needed on the circuit, the car, called ‘Never Forgotten’, will be raising funds and promoting the charity when it races.

The car’s race number, 453, is a tribute to the number of British soldiers lost in Afghanistan and Clarke hopes the car will become known as a tribute to the fallen.

Clarke Hillyard 'Never Forgotten'The car made its debut outing recently at the end of the UK drag racing season and the car proved to be a popular talking point, with many people asking about the charity as well.  Clarke managed 4 passes and also got a new personal best at 12.7 on the ¼ mile track.  The car will be put through its paces during testing over the next few months, ready to race again when the season begins next year.

Big thanks to Clarke for choosing to give something back and we wish him all the best when the season begins again next year!

HRH Prine Charles visits ITC Catterick 10 Sept 15 (1)

Colonel-in-Chief visits The Parachute Regiment Depot

The Parachute Regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales KG, KT, PC, GCB, AK, QSO, ADC(P), visited The Parachute Regiment Depot on 10th September 2015.

Despite a tight schedule The Prince of Wales made time to have a photograph taken with all the training teams before being treated to a Trainasium demonstration by the young recruits. Accompanied by The Regimental Colonel, Lt Col Radbourne, The Prince of Wales also took the time to talk to members from all three Battalions, as well as a selection of recruits, where he was pleased to hear that many in the audience had come in from leave especially.

PARAS'10 Peta-a

PARAS’10 – Catterick

Venue: North Yorkshire

The original PARAS’10 race, now firmly established as one of the UK’s “must do” endurance challenges. Located at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire.

Founded by WO1 JJ Wilson The PARAS’10 was hosted by The Parachute Regiment in Aldershot 1982 – 1993. Since the Paras left Aldershot in 1993, this legendary event was dormant until it was revived by Major Sam McGrath in 2008 in Catterick, N.Yorkshire. Due to its success in Catterick the race was taken to the home of 16 Air Assault Brigade in Colchester in 2012 and was revived in Aldershot in 2013. It is regarded as The Ultimate 10 Mile Endurance Race. For more information, visit