4th Regiments Airborne Role

Discussion in 'Gunners' started by civvy_tendencies, Apr 26, 2009.

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  1. I am trying to pull together some information on the Airborne Gunners and need a little help.

    As I understand it, in the late 70s 7 Para RHA moved to Germany and 4th Regiment was tasked with providing support to airborne forces. Did 4th take on the 'Parachute' title or did any of the Batteries in the Regiment do so? And how did the support to the Para Bns work in practice?

    If you can help, it would be really appreciated.

    C_T
     
  2. 4th Regt took over the airborne role in 1977 from 7 RHA and moved into Lille Bks, North camp, Aldershot.
    Each Bty consited of about 25% Parachute trained soldiers which formed an LPBG Element (Leading Parachute Battle Group).
    the idea was if the airborne brigade dropped by parachute there would be enough para trained soldiers to give all round gunnery support to whichever battalions battle group were deployed until the rest of the regiment were landed later on.

    in 1984 7 RHA returned to Lille bks and adopted the same role with LPBG elements but had a heavy para recruitment to try and get the Regt to over 50% para trained, 4th Regt did a direct swap and moved to Osnabruck in W. Germany and re roled to a Medium Field Gun Regt.

    hope this helps.

    D 07
     
  3. I don't think either 4th Regt or 7 RHA were actually officially "in role" para at all. They were non-airborne field regiments with a small para establishment for an LPBG FOO group and Javelin troop (P Troop). The remainder of the para trained personnel came about because of an unofficial system whereby "in role" Brigade units shared out their unused para training slots and para pay. At that time, for example, para smocks & helmets were "starred items" issued in (very) second hand condition from a QM's bukshie pool, because the Regiment was not established to hold them as normal 1157 clothing items.

    7 RHA managed to get up to about 85% para trained by about 1988, which is when the regiment officially re-named as 7 Para RHA. I can't recall what happened on the establishment side, but I'd guess that the MoD provided the funding during 1987/8 for the para pay and equipment scales.
     
  4. I disagree with you slightly, I served in both Regiments, and I remember all the gun battery's having para trained personel on the guns as well as FOO parties. 4th Regt still had a lot of Para trained personel after the move to Germany, The Regt was still very airborne motivated even though they re roled to heavier guns

    and although officially 7 RHA didnt get the title 7 Para RHA until 1988 I remember QMSI MCKay instilling in all of us what he termed as ABI (Airborne initiative), everyone who had returned to Lille Bks where euphoric about being back in the airborne role, which made it a very exiting place to be.We all wore DZ flashes on our combat jackets and on our No2's the pegasus badge on our left arm. we had an air adjudant and everything was geared towards airborne operations

    I would dare anyone to tell BSM Biff Byford that 7 RHA wasnt an airborne Regt, cos he'd probably take them round the back and introduce them to his NI gloves.

    But I do take your point re official designation of airborne Regts, however they are listed on para data

    http://www.paradata.org.uk/units/british?page=5

    http://www.paradata.org.uk/units/british?page=7


    D 07
     
  5. I heard from a former TSM of mine, formerly of 7 Para RHA, that when he joined them, they could barely scrape a fully manned "Para" Bty - namely not that many were para qualified.

    4th Regt went to the Falklands with light gun and presumably had a contingent of Para trained personnel.

    They now have more para trained, but still doubt that they are 100%.
     
  6. PM CivvyGit on here mate, he'll help you out.
     
  7. When I joined the Regt in 87, out of a Bty strength of 95 we had 3 non-para trained blokes. These were the lads that had failed P Coy during the transistion from Osnabruck to Aldershot. They were retained as they'd joined 7th whilst it was in the field role in Germany. My first issued para smock when I passed P Coy certainly wasn't second hand or a starred item either. We were issued 2, both of which were on 1157.
    The helmet was second hand, as they all were at that time, being issued from BQMS's as long as they were serviceable.

    The regiment was officially titled '7th Parachute Regiment RHA' on June 1st 1988.
     
  8. We had stacks of 7 RHA on my P Coy in 83, I think that was when they just coming back to Aldershot, quite a few of them still live around here.
     
  9. True Jack, most of the lads after their 22 seemed to settle there. Mind you, being in the same place for 19 years helps too.
     
  10. Yes, there was quite a rate of transition in the lead up to the renaming in June 88. I was describing the situation when I arrived in early '86. I think what happened was that during 1987 the Regiment/ the Gunners finally won the MoD lobbying for the change in role, and were officially allowed to move to a universal P-Coy requirement for recruits. Unofficially, the Regiment had already been for some time holding non-para arrivals in HQ Bty "Pre Para" - which is why the batteries were understrength but nearly all-para.

    I'm pretty sure that the para kit availability was achieved ahead of "establishment" changes, and was the result of some creative QM'ing.... (I wonder if Bob Harmes is here on Arrse to fill in the details...?).

    I remember on the re-naming parade that the RSM was filling his lungs to grab the honour of being first to address the "new" Regiment, but that the adjt got in there first.... LOL
     
  11. 4th had at one time about 120 total men para trained. Most of 29 Bty and a scattering of others around the Regt. Only about 57 were being paid for being in role.

    A few of these transferred to 7th when the changeover happened in '83/84 and a few more appeared in later years as their career moved them around. Quite a few ex 4th lads still living in the Aldershot area as they married local girls bought property and moved back at endex.

    The first four P coys in 1983 that 7th sent men back to do, saw over 150 men pass. This figure slowed down over the next few years as the slightly less fitter and people with recurring injuries struggled to get through. Some of them were never going to make it but stayed in the Regt as they had been there before the new role was announced.

    I was on the prepara staff in '84 in Aldershot and when prepara was running this was abused by wasters from the trg establishments who didn't want to go to Germany.They would volunteer for 7th, do the prepara course attend P Coy for a few days then get RTU'd. Some of these managed to do this for quite some time and couldn't be posted out as they were "injured".
     
  12. Thank you to all those of you that helped out and posted comments.

    C_T
     
  13. going off track slightly;

    I joined 4th (29 bty) late 1983, (was never airborne), and got posted out to the traz with the regiment in 1984.

    A couple of weeks ago I was down in the shot on a course, and went back for a look at lille barracks for the first time in 25 years. Diissapointment! the guardroom has gone, looks like a crash gate now, its all roundabouts and new road layouts........ looks like the old camp has been pretty well demolished and rebuilt, only things I recognised were the north camp and the elephant and castle, and that was by name only.......

    morale of the tale is never go back, its never the same, I keep meaning to swing by Bramcote one day, but it might just shatter all the remaining illusions of my youth!
     
  14. going off track slightly;

    I joined 4th (29 bty) late 1983, (was never airborne), and got posted out to the traz with the regiment in 1984.

    A couple of weeks ago I was down in the shot on a course, and went back for a look at lille barracks for the first time in 25 years. Diissapointment! the guardroom has gone, looks like a crash gate now, its all roundabouts and new road layouts........ looks like the old camp has been pretty well demolished and rebuilt, only things I recognised were the north camp and the elephant and castle, and that was by name only.......

    morale of the tale is never go back, its never the same, I keep meaning to swing by Bramcote one day, but it might just shatter all the remaining illusions of my youth!
     
  15. Too true! We left the shot 6 years ago, and I was back a year or two ago and it had changed then. By the way, don't go back to Bramcote. I returned there after 12 years or so for a quick POL and the nostalgia nearly destroyed me. A shadow of it's former self.