Heritage

Parachute Regiment Marks 50 Years In Aldershot

The 50-year bond between Aldershot and the UK’s Airborne Forces has been honoured with a 6ft Para cast in bronze.

The 50-year bond between Aldershot and Britain’s Airborne Forces has been marked in style.

A 6ft Para cast in bronze atop a three-ton block of granite hewn from Mount Longdon in the Falkland Islands has been unveiled at Princes Gardens, in Aldershot.

Parachute-Regiment-Statue-Aldershot-BRITISH-ARMY
The statue depicts an airborne soldier in full battle order and ready to jump from a plane.

It was modelled on a real-life Para, Sergeant Jim Kilbride. He became involved when the Airbourne Forces Association visited him to check on 1980s kit for the sculpture.

He said: "Words can’t describe how honoured I am, how I humbled I am that that is me.

"It could have been anybody.

"Just fortunate that I take a great interest in history and have a collection of period parachutes and equipment."

The statue was unveiled during a Drumhead Service, which is a traditional Army field church service where the regimental colours are laid across the stacked drums to form an altar.

Parachute-Regiment-Statue-Aldershot
As part of the celebrations, there was a grand parade with more than 500 members of the various Veterans’ Associations.

The veterans who took part in the event represented the many Airborne units that called Aldershot their home in the years.

These included 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery, 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, 216 Parachute Signals Squadron, 23 Parachute Field Ambulance and, of course, the Parachute Regiment itself. 

The parade was led by the Regimental Mascot, Pegasus the Shetland Pony.