Paratroopers from 2 PARA hold a Remembrance service on Exercise Jebel Sahara in Morocco (Picture: British Army).
Paratroopers from 2 PARA hold a Remembrance service on Exercise Jebel Sahara in Morocco (Picture: British Army).
Remembrance

UK paratroopers hold Remembrance service in Morocco 80 years on from Operation Torch

Paratroopers from 2 PARA hold a Remembrance service on Exercise Jebel Sahara in Morocco (Picture: British Army).
Paratroopers from 2 PARA hold a Remembrance service on Exercise Jebel Sahara in Morocco (Picture: British Army).

British paratroopers have commemorated the 80th anniversary of paratroopers jumping into North Africa on Operation Torch, during a Remembrance service on Exercise Jebel Sahara in Morocco.

A Company Group, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment stood to remember the fallen in war, as well as the original 'Red Devils' – the founding fathers of The Parachute Regiment’s reputation in North Africa in 1942, the Army said.

The troops have been training alongside the Moroccan 2e Brigade d'Infanterie Parachutiste to learn and test themselves in hostile desert conditions.

Operation Torch – the Allied invasion of French North Africa – began with amphibious landings in Morocco. Troops of the 3rd Parachute Battalion then parachuted in to capture Bone airfield in Algeria on 12 November 1942.

In the same month, 1st and 2nd Parachute Battalions also jumped in to achieve key objectives in Tunisia at Beja and Oudna respectively.

The newly formed regiment won eight battle honours and were nicknamed 'Rote Teufeln' or 'Red Devils' by German soldiers amazed at their ferocity in battle and how their tail straps (hanging down from parachute smocks) became covered in the North African earth.

Paratroopers from 2 PARA pause on Exercise Jebel Sahara in Morocco to commemorate Operation Torch 80 years on (Picture: British Army).
Picture: British Army.

A Coy's Company Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class Two Adam Croucher said it was "a huge privilege" to be in North Africa for the 80th anniversary of Operation Torch.

"We are incredibly proud of The Parachute Regiment's history, which we're taught about from the first day in basic training,” he said. "We know that, as today's Red Devils, the standard that we aim for was set by the towering achievements of those who served before us," he said.

"The heat and rocky terrain makes the desert an incredibly demanding environment to operate in. For me, to experience it for a few weeks of tough training only adds to the respect I have for the paratroopers who fought here for six months during the Second World War."

Morocco is a long-standing partner of the UK in North Africa, with the first bilateral Exercise Jebel Sahara held in 1989.

The Army says that "training together helps build shared skills and relationships between the two armies to improve their ability to operate together".