Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Friday, July 23, 1999 Published at 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK


'Potty' end for Para emblem

The crest of the Parachute Regiment

Plans to junk the famous Pegasus symbol of the Parachute Regiment have been criticised as "potty".

The flying horse insignia of the crack brigade is to be replaced with a new emblem in September when the Paras are merged with the 16th Air Assault Brigade.

But General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, a former senior commander of the Paras, said it was a "rotten idea".

General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley: "The idea of changing it is potty"
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The winged horse with a warrior on it has been the symbol of airborne forces, not just the Parachute Regiment, since they began.

"Taking away a token, although it may seem a trivial and simple thing, is one of those things which strikes at the ideas and morale of an outfit.

[ image: The emblem shows Bellerophon on top of Pegasus]
The emblem shows Bellerophon on top of Pegasus
"The idea of changing it, I suspect because we want to make some new start or break up the old ideas, is to my mind potty."

Former Tory MP Sir James Spicer, who served with the Regiment as a Major during the Suez crisis, said: "I heard about this decision with disbelief. There must be some logical reason for this but I can't for the life of me think what it is."

The Pegasus flash, originally chosen by airborne forces pioneer Major General Boy Browning, features the mythical warrior Bellerophon riding on a flying horse.

It has accompanied the Parachute Regiment throughout its most famous battles, including the abortive assault on Arnhem in 1944 and the Falklands.

[ image: The Paras will keep their trademark berets and silver badge]
The Paras will keep their trademark berets and silver badge
But defence chiefs said the abolition of the symbol was not a "slap in the face" for the famed flying force.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said there was nothing exclusive about the Pegasus symbol, as only two-thirds of Paras wear it anyway.

It is in fact worn by the 5th Airborne brigade, to which only the 1 and 2 Para forces belong - 3 Para, not part of the 5th Airborne, does not wear the emblem.

"The exclusive symbols of the Parachute Regiment are the maroon cap and the winged capped badge and that will not change," he said.

The Parachute Regiment comprises about 1,800 soldiers split into three forces - 1, 2 and 3 Para. Men from 1 Para are currently in Kosovo with K-For, the Nato peacekeeping force.

The new 16th Air Assault Brigade will comprise three helicopter regiments, medics, engineers and gunners.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

15 Jun 99 | Europe
NI 'prepared Paras for Kosovo'

11 Jun 99 | UK
The Paras: Britain's elite fighters

Internet Links

British Army

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online