Para Qualification

#1
Can any of the old war horses on here tell me what the para qualification badge that is worn on the cuff? Its basically an open parachute, but no wings attached? Who qualified for them? What was the criteria? Its been many many years since I last saw one on a blokes uniform, so is it still awarded?

Cheers
 
#2
It used to be referred to as the "light bulb" because of it's shape and was awarded to blokes who'd completed the BPC but were not going to serve in an airborne unit, i.e guys going off to BAOR. A guy from AAC got awarded one on my course in the 80's but still sewed normal para wings on his jumper anyway.
 
#4
Many years ago all the soldiers from the Parachute Regiment were drawn from other Regiments as there was NO direct entrants into the Regiment. Once the Parachute Regiment no longer required you or that you could no longer meet the physical requirements then you were RTU [Returned To Unit] You were not allowed to keep your full wings until the mid 1960's but you could wear a wingless parachute on the lower part of your sleeve on right arm to show that you had been a Paratrooper. The Officers always refused to comply with ruling and kept there full wings and after many complaints from all the other ranks then the ruling was altered to allow all those that had served to keep the wings. It was at this time also that that Officers were stopped from wearing their wings above their left breast pocket.
 
#5
I thought the wings over the left breast pocket signifed a certain number of operational jumps?
 
#6
There are only a very few of the old and bold still sporting the light bulb. Yonks back, there was opportunity to do the BPC on a fill up basis and, mostly officers, did just that to gain a bit of airborne experience and awareness. There are possibly still one or two folk knocking about who did the BPC without P Coy - an expedient to train people to drop to meet urgent operational requirements. It is no longer run - given the difficulty we have even in getting Para Regt fellows jump qualified its not too surprising.
 
#9
GoodIdeaAtTheTime said:
I thought the wings over the left breast pocket signifed a certain number of operational jumps?
Not really, in the SAS during the war there was a rule that said if you did an op jump you could wear your wings on top of your breast pocket, however this was outlawed towards the end of the war as dress dictates only pilots and similar (observers etc) could wear them there
 
#10
GoodIdeaAtTheTime said:
I thought the wings over the left breast pocket signifed a certain number of operational jumps?
Parachute-qualified SOE personnel generally wore wings over the left breast pocket. Those officers wearing them like that in the 50s and 60s may have served with SOE in the war.
 
#12
The wings above Gen Guthrie's medals are pilots wings not parachutists. And i'm surprised he has the lightbulb badge as i was under th eimpression that once you'd earned your para wings you could wear them ever after; you just were'nt in date. A modest General then!
 
#17
Gluck_ab said:
The wings above Gen Guthrie's medals are pilots wings not parachutists. And i'm surprised he has the lightbulb badge as i was under th eimpression that once you'd earned your para wings you could wear them ever after; you just were'nt in date. A modest General then!
That's not Guthrie but Gen Mike Walker our current CDS!!!
 
#19
See Below:

The authority on the grant, wearing & forfeiture of the parachute badge is AGAIs. An extract of which I have produced below.

"The parachute badge is a mark of distinction and evidence of technical achievement. Every officer and soldier who is a qualified parachutist and is granted the right to wear the badge may, unless deprived of the right, continue to do so even though no longer liable to carry out parachute duties.

To qualify for the award of the parachute badge every parachutist must either:

a. Have made a parachute drop on operations against the enemy.

b. Have successfully completed the appropriate selection course and a basic parachute course at a recognized RAF Parachute Training School and have subsequently been on the posted strength of a unit where he may be ordered in the course of his duties to drop by parachute; or

c. Have successfully completed the appropriate selection course and a basic parachute course at a recognized RAF Parachute Training School without subsequent service in a unit where he may be ordered to parachute in which case qualifications relates to the parachute badge without wings." (Colloquially referrred to as the "Lightbulb".)
 
#20
As I have said before, all the Para's at one time were drawn from Infantry Regiments and you had to be trained soldier before you could apply. Once the Para's no longer required your service for any reason you would lose your right to wear the parachute wings, but could wear what you call a light bulb on your sleve to indicate that you were once a para. By the early 1960 there wwere endless complaints that the officers who were RTU kept their wing while OR lost theirs, so it was changed at this time so that every could keep their wings wing they were RTU.
 

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