All posts by natalie

Commando Speed March 2017

The Commando Speed March is a military event that occurs every March and is based on the test that British Commando recruits faced.

During the Second World War, potential British Commandos would get off the train at Spean Bridge and be expected to speed march through the Scottish Highlands to the gates of Achnacarry House.  They also had to carry their fighting order weighing 36lbs.  Recruits were given just 1 hour to complete the 7 mile route, and those that failed to achieve this time would be returned to their parent unit.

In 1996, this speed march was reconstructed, based on this initial selection test, to raise funds for the Commando Benevolent Fund and the Airborne Forces Charities.  Not quite as far as the P Coy 10-miler, The Speed March has since become an established annual military event attracting over 300 entrants a year, each wearing either a maroon or green t shirt.

Who can enter?

This event is open only to Military Personnel.  Members of the Armed Forces, Foreign Military, TA Units and Regimental Associations are all eligible to apply for a place in the Speed March.  Army Cadets wanting to participate must be accompanied by adult staff and Health and Safety rules are applied.  Cadets also carry a reduced load and participate in the ‘fun run’.

In 2015 teams from both 2 PARA and 3 PARA took part.

This year the event will be held on 11 March 2017.  For more information, visit

This event is another great way to raise funds for SUPPORT OUR PARAS and you can even use it as training for the PARAS’ 10.

Veteran’s Grant – Rhine Crossing Commemorative Event 2017

The Airborne Forces Security Fund is again making a grant available to veterans of The Rhine Crossing to assist with the cost of their commemorative trip this March. The grant is £300 for a veteran, £300 for his wife or partner and £300 if a carer is needed. The maximum grant is therefore £900.

A completed 2017 Rhine Crossing application form and a copy of your travel documents e.g. ferry or hotel booking, should be returned to:

The Airborne Forces Security Fund
Merville Barracks

For all enquiries please contact:

Aconcagua Challenge

In January 2017, they will attempt Mt Aconcagua, Argentina, the highest peak in the Western and Southern Hemisphere.  The AGS team will need to acclimatise and climb with high quality protective kit as their injuries will be hypersensitive in such adverse conditions.


The team is made up of 13 individuals, three of whom are ex-PARAS wounded and disabled in Afghanistan.  The team has already walked to the North Pole and climbed Mt McKinley, Mt Elbrus and Mt Kilimanjaro.  Read more about them below.

martin-summit-5Martin Hewitt
Martin is a former PARA Captain who was injured whilst leading his men in combat in Afghanistan.  The injuries paralysed his right arm and ended his military career.  Since leaving the army, Martin has represented GB in Paralympic World Championships Downhill Ski racing and in 2011, he walked unsupported to the geographic North Pole with HRH Prince Harry as part of the Walking with the Wounded team.

Martin founded the Adaptive Grand Slam project and in 2012, his team climbed Mt Manaslu, Mt McKinley and Mt Everest.

jaco-summit-1Jaco van Gass
South African born Jaco was severely wounded during his second tour of Afghanistan when he was hit by an RPG during an intense fire fight.  He sustained numerous injuries including the loss of his left arm at the elbow, blast wounds to upper thigh, a fractured knee, shrapnel wounds and a collapsed lung.  After 11 operations and intense rehab, Jaco has been challenging himself by completing marathons all over the world and raising money for various charities.  In 2011, he trekked unsupported to the North Pole and broke a few world records in the process.  Later that year, Jaco became the first South African to conquer Mt Manaslu.

img_1488Terry Byrne
Terry completed two tours of Iraq before being injured in August 2008, when he sustained a below knee amputation of his right leg and a damaged right hand and amputated little finger.  He was the fastest ever amputee to be discharged, leaving hospital after just 4 months.  Since his injury, Terry joined the GB cycling team, obtaining two world records and winning the word championship for the team sprint.  Terry joined the Adaptive Grand Slam team in 2012 and is a core team member, providing essential experience and continuity to new members.

The team are hoping to raise some money for SUPPORT OUR PARAS.  Their target is £6,961 – one pound for every metre the mountain is high.  Show them your support by visiting their fundraising page.

New 16 Assault Brigade Flash

On Monday 30 November 2015, 16 Air Assault Brigade will re-subordinate under Commander Field Army (CFA), from Joint Helicopter Command (JHC).

To mark the occasion 16 Air Assault Brigade will change the Brigade Flash, back to ‘The Pegasus’, on a simple dawn parade held on Wednesday 25 November 2015.

Click on the image below to view the letter from the Regimental Lt Colonel in full.

20151020_New 16 Assault Brigade Flash

Paras unite to rebuild car at Brands Hatch

The Support Our Paras Racing debut season in the British Touring Car Championship ended at Brands Hatch with the injured ex-Paratroopers again highlighting the major steps forward they’ve taken this year.

In what unquestionably has been a baptism of fire for the TENA Men-backed team, the Paras united to rebuild the front-end of Derek Palmer’s Infiniti in less than 90 minutes.

Having delivered an impressive drive in the opening race on the 2.4-mile Grand Prix Circuit, working his way through from 27th on the grid to finish 21st, the 28-year-old from Lesmahagow was upbeat ahead of the day’s second race.

Paras Racing Brands Hatch (2)“The car feels really good,” Palmer who, like the Paras, made his BTCC debut this season, said immediately afterwards. “We’ve made a number of changes to the rear of the car, which means it’s now totally different to drive, and I’ve adapted my driving style to maximise the best from it.

“The main thing is I feel we’ve made a big step in the right direction. I enjoyed the race, got a good result and now we look forward to the final two races of the season.”

Unfortunately, after lining up 24th on the grid for Race 2, and eyeing a potential top 15 finish, Palmer’s outing lasted less than a lap before he was punted off by the Volkswagen of former champion Alain Menu.

“Again I made two or three positions off the start, which was good,” Palmer continued. “Menu was behind me, and when everyone came down into Clearways, the fast right-hander entering the start-finish straight, he just outbraked himself and wiped me out in the process.

Paras Racing Brands Hatch (5)“He was given a reprimand by the stewards, and he came and apologised afterwards, but the damage had been done. There was a huge amount of damage to the front-end of the car.”

That damage amounted to around 20 new parts, according to team principal Derek Palmer Snr.

“The damage was extensive,” he explained. “Front wings, front bumper, radiator cowling, the monster bar on the front: they were all destroyed. It was a major job for the boys.

“But they pulled it all apart, rebuilt the front end of the car from the engine forward and had it ready for Race 3, and all in less than 90 minutes. Around 20 new parts had to be introduced to the car, so it was an expensive rebuild.”

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.

And John Price, one of the injured ex-Paras — watched by Lieutenant General John Lorimer, The Colonel Commandant of The Parachute Regiment, who made a special visit to support the team — was one of the first to get on with the repairs to the damaged Support Our Paras Racing car.

Paras Racing Brands Hatch (4)“It’s what we do,” he said. “That’s why we’re here and part of the team, to challenge ourselves and show everyone that we’re capable of mixing it with the best.

“We may have been new to motorsport and the BTCC when we were here in April for the season-opener, but we learn fast, and we work perfectly as a team, especially when we’re under pressure.
“The car looked a mess when it arrived back at the garage after it was taken out in Race 2, but we just took a deep breath and got on with it. We were never in any doubt we’d have the car back on the grid for Race 3.”

Staring from 30th and last place on the grid, Palmer battled through to eventually finish 23rd.

“It’s testament to the guys that we were even out for Race 3,” the Zurich-based scot said. “Sure it’s been a baptism of fire for the team this year, but we’ve all learned so much and we’ll be back bigger, better and even stronger in 2016.”

Photos: Copyright Jakob Ebrey