Memorial Stone Dedicated To Parachute Regiment And Airborne Forces

The monument was officially dedicated at a ceremony in Colchester in Essex.

A memorial stone in honour of the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces has been officially dedicated in Colchester, Essex.

The ceremony was one that many had waited more than a year-and-a-half to be part of.

Veteran Ron Hill started planning the memorial two-and-a-half years ago.

He told Forces News: "We had nothing in Colchester to represent the Parachute Regiment. Other branches got stone monuments, so we thought we'd have one.

"Boys gave their life in the Second World War and we have our own personal friends who’s not with us anymore."

Vice Chairman of the East Anglian branch of the Parachute Regimental Association, Albie Clapson, said: "For any member who had served in the Parachute Regiment Airborne Forces, a day like today is tremendously exciting and dedicates our commitment to those boys who are serving today – the young men of the Parachute Regiment Airborne Forces who continue to serve".

A ceremony was held to dedicate the new memorial stone in Colchester's Castle Park.

Major Adam Jowett, Regimental Headquarters, explained: "They are very much part of the regimental structure, the Parachute Regimental Association. They’ve got a national footprint, obviously it's focused for our veterans, but the serving also join and belong.

"It's that extension of the regiment beyond service, so it's a very important part.

"The location's the best, I think, in that it's readily accessible. It's not within a barracks, so anyone on their way to the park with children can just pause, and remember, see the cap badge, see Pegasus, and take a moment to enjoy it."

Since the formation of 16 Air Assault Brigade in 1999, Colchester has been the home of two of the four Parachute Regiment battalions, including other units that form the British Army's airborne capability.

16 Air Assault Brigade's Senior Chaplain, Reverend Richard Smith said: "There's a strong relationship between Colchester and the Parachute Regiment, and that's relatively new - the brigade came here in the last two decades.

"I think the town itself has warmed to and embraced the Parachute Regiment and I think is proud of everything it's achieved throughout the world."