Granddad's ties collection: Parachuting teddybear

HE117

LE
Hmmnnn.......... that's news to me. I was at the school locale ( Abingdon & Pitts Road )until 1970 when I joined the nascent JATE for the HALO trials. I've never seen a blue 'Edward Bear' tie not to say that one doesn't exist as things evolved.

The Edward Bear jump course was for Sandhurst students and DS. It' was four jumps only - 2x balloon and 2x aircraft ( usually an Andover if available, as 46 Sqn were based at RAF Abingdon. The pilots enjoyed a re-role from their UK airfield technical tasks) This airframe was single door and a textbook student vehicle.

There was no 'Lightbulb' badge issued to any of these students similar to no badge issued to the Cranwell cadets, undertaking pilot training. The latter undertook the same two week, 4 x jumps course syllabus, Prince Charles being one of these students.

The 'Lightbulb' badge has already been discussed in other forums.
Well I hate to contradict Alec, but although my addled brain may have been confusing the tie, the "Lightbulb" was worn at Sandhurst in 70 - 72 to my certain knowledge!

I know this was not a local aberration as Keith Spacie was a company commander at Sandhurst at the time and would not have stood for any unofficial para walting being sanctioned!
 
Hang on. I got photos. It probably is blue. Or green....and there you go. It's green. Anyone have any ideas on the other ties?
Possibly an Akrotiri station tie, EBC, possibly Canadian and most likely yank.
 
Well I hate to contradict Alec, but although my addled brain may have been confusing the tie, the "Lightbulb" was worn at Sandhurst in 70 - 72 to my certain knowledge!

I know this was not a local aberration as Keith Spacie was a company commander at Sandhurst at the time and would not have stood for any unofficial para walting being sanctioned!

Respectfully, I don't feel that you are contradicting me. I've seen the 'Lightbulb' on service dress when visiting, usually
 
Respectfully, I don't feel that you are contradicting me. I've seen the 'Lightbulb' on service dress when visiting Sandhurst, usually on DS staff who are not in a Para PID role. I sincerely doubt that the badge was issued following a 4 jumps course. The Lightbulb ( as I guess you already are aware ) was awarded following the 8 descent course.
 

HE117

LE
Alec_Lomas said:
Respectfully, I don't feel that you are contradicting me. I've seen the 'Lightbulb' on service dress when visiting Sandhurst, usually on DS staff who are not in a Para PID role. I sincerely doubt that the badge was issued following a 4 jumps course. The Lightbulb ( as I guess you already are aware ) was awarded following the 8 descent course.

Ah.. clearer!

However I am positive the Edward Bear course in the early 70s was 8 jumps.. I need to contact some of my chums who did do the course. I was due to do Edward Bear in 72, but as a result of being thrown out of a car at Nethers I was in the R Herbert at the time alongside a mutual acquaintance..

I am sure cadets wore the lightbulb for doing EB!
 
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HE117

LE

HE117

LE
Alec_Lomas said:
Respectfully, I don't feel that you are contradicting me. I've seen the 'Lightbulb' on service dress when visiting Sandhurst, usually on DS staff who are not in a Para PID role. I sincerely doubt that the badge was issued following a 4 jumps course. The Lightbulb ( as I guess you already are aware ) was awarded following the 8 descent course.

Ah.. clearer!

However I am positive the Edward Bear course in the early 70s was 8 jumps.. I need to contact some of my chums who did do the course. I was due to do Edward Bear in 72, but as a result of being thrown out of a car at Nethers I was in the R Herbert at the time alongside a mutual acquaintance..

I am sure cadets wore the lightbulb for doing EB!
Ok.. just to confirm I have just had a reply from my chum.. he is hazy regarding the number of jump.. two balloon and he thinks two at Weston, but he does confirm he got a Lightbulb badge for it!
 

Kurty

Swinger
Morning @Kurty,
The first one looks like Brigade of Guards colours but I haven't a scooby what the flamingos(if that's what they are), represent.
He said his gramps was in Africa a lot as he himself was born in Zambia, then moved to Egypt, italy then UK. I might be better off looking for a similar forum, but of an Africa/Zim nature. Thanks tho.
 
Ok.. just to confirm I have just had a reply from my chum.. he is hazy regarding the number of jump.. two balloon and he thinks two at Weston, but he does confirm he got a Lightbulb badge for it!

The course description is correct - 2 x balloon followed by 2 x a/c , the DZ throughout being at Weston-on-the-Green. I cannot offer any explanation on the award of the 'Lightbulb' Most unusual.
 
A customer of mine had a nice framed photo of him and his brother on the day of the former's passing out from Sandhurst sometime in the late 50s or very early 60s. I remarked on 'the lightbulb' and asked who he'd served with. Both were solely county regiment, Leicesters if I recall correctly.

He said it was the Edward Bear Course and the badge was only worn while at Sandhurst.

It may have been a temporary aberration which lasted until someone looked up the correct regulation. Indeed, it may be a recurring aberration because similar tales exist through the 60s and 70s.

Edit// Some research says that officer cadets on the long (2 year) course, at RMC Sandhurst could give up holiday and take up extra PT. This led to AAPC and Abingdon or, I suppose, Upper Heyford before that. Successful candidates were awarded the lightbulb, which they could wear for the rest of their career. This had the advantages that the personal development effect of completing parachute training was offered to all cadets who wished to take it up; and that there were a number of officers serving, across the infantry, who could more easily (and were possibly drawn to) volunteer for service in The Parachute Regiment. There was no direct commissioning into The Parachute Regiment at the time. Those who did so simply exchanged the parachute qualification badge for the parachute qualification badge with wings, since they had already passed P Coy. Otherwise they would complete P Coy and BPC prior to moving to The Parachute regiment.

This later changed such that Officer Cadets could undertake a four jump equivalent of the Aircrew Parachute Experience course (it settled down to be 2 x balloon and 2 x aircraft, usually Andover). Although there was additional PT prior to the course, there was no P Coy and no badge was awarded. That seems to be why The Edward Bear Club came about: its ties, plaques etc. becoming the enduring proof of having taken part. At various points it seems that the wearing of the light bulb continued at RMC/RMAS although it was not, strictly correct. It also seems that some newly commissioned officers arriving at their unit, having done the Edward Bear thing, would encounter suitably, and properly, qualified wearers of the badge and would put it up because they thought, or were told, they were entitled, Here we encounter the old canarde that it is, 'OK in mess dress/pullover/certain orders of dress'. Such 'entitlement' was a sort of Chinese whispers.

It was the case from the 80s, that increasingly, everyone who attended No 1 PTS Brize Norton would put up wings. This was not helped by the fact (I saw it happen) that all successful students were handed a set of standard wings; Para Reg, all arms, SAS, regardless of entitlement. This strengthened the argument that: 'I wear them because I was presented them'. Now, of course, it is so difficult to get on the course that wings are the most likely outcome by a long way. I remain sceptical of some specialists who, no matter how much I admire their specialism, I feel are stretching the point beyond the regulation.


While we are on the subject of 'The Light Bulb', 'The Parachute Badge with Wings' and whether it is awarded 'in perpetuity' [thread drift]; When 10 Para was reformed, its first batch of PSIs came, not from Parachute Regiment, but from The Royal Fusiliers, something to do with being a County of London Battalion, or something. A small number of these were parachute qualified from wartime service, as were a high proportion of TA (re)joiners. The non qualified PSIs were quickly whisked off (possibly after P Coy) to Upper Heyford for a course and duly served 'winged up' until the time came for return to their parent regiment. At that point they were instructed to take down the wings and replace them with the light bulb. The argument being that they had not served as part of Airborne Forces but were simply 'attached for training duties' and were therefore not entitled to The Parachute Badge With Wings. This was told to me by a former PSI of this period who, when he joined the PRA was only allowed associate Membership. He was a member of my local branch. Unlike some of his contemporaries he had not gone on to serve in Para Reg by transfer nor by electing to serve his reserve commitment in an airborne unit. Some of these Fusilier PSIs joined TA airborne units, however briefly, just for the completeness of properly qualifying for their wings by serving in an Airborne unit.

The intricacies and fine details of correctly qualifying for badges with parachutes on is hard enough (and fascinating) to unpick, without people (including quite senior officers) making up their own criteria.
 
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