British Paratrooper 1940-45 by Rebecca Skinner

By Rebecca Skinner

This new heritage of the British Paratrooper, from 1940 to 1945, info the original education, guns and gear utilized by those elite troops. encouraged via the exploits of the German Fallschirmjäger within the blitzkrieg campaigns, Winston Churchill referred to as for the formation of a 5,000-strong Airborne strength in June 1940. From those beginnings the Parachute Regiment turned one of many most well known devices of the British military either in global warfare II and as much as the current day.

A wealth of first-hand and in the past unpublished fabrics brings the heritage of the normal Para to lifestyles, drawing at the author's place as a curator of the Regimental Museum. Illustrations and pictures light up the gear and wrestle functionality of the elite 'paras' within the context of a few of the main major campaigns of worldwide struggle II, together with D-Day and Operation market-garden.

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Following on from the drop into Beja, on 24 November 1942 Lt. Col. Hill led the 1st Parachute Battalion in battle at Soudia against an enemy of around 300 Italian troops. Hill, however, had reason to question the quality of these troops. Having approached three tanks, he fired through the visor of one, and the Italian crew immediately surrendered. On approaching the second tank, he banged on the side, and the crew surrendered. Sadly for Hill the third tank was manned by a German crew, who were not going to surrender quite so easily and opened fire, resulting in him being hit in the chest, arm and neck.

These were opportunities for the men to celebrate; families scraped together their rations and improvised to make the best possible day. One solider recalls the men drinking from jam jars as beer glasses were in short supply, and a meal consisting of a slice of spam, a slice of chicken, topped by lettuce and margarine or Marmite, with some items acquired through the black market. His new wife had impressively managed to obtain a two-tier wedding cake by skimping on her rations in the lead-up to the big day.

Most Sundays, a church parade was held and religion was seen as important to a soldier’s welfare. However, even in this area, Airborne Forces were leading the way. Upon formation of the 1st Airborne Division, Padre John Hodgins had been appointed as senior chaplain. During his interview, he had been asked what he felt about religious instruction and had replied that he had no right to instruct a man what to believe. Instead of religious instruction, he created a ‘Padres Hour’ during which men would discuss the big important questions.

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