Sunday, May 3, 2015

Uniform of a Lieut-Colonel of the Parachute Regiment - Falklands circa 1982

The following series of photographs are of the No. 2 Dress (Service Dress) uniform of a Lieutenant-Colonel of the Parachute Regiment circa 1982 (Falklands War). Although comprised of all authentic elements, the uniform has been “re-constructed” to represent that of the commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion (Green lanyard) of the regiment, who was present for the total action.

Not as well known as Lieut-Colonel Herbert “H” Jones VC MBE (2 Para), his name is Lieut-Colonel Hew William Royston Pike, and he planned and executed the highly successful frontal assault by 3 Para on the Argentinian forces in the critical Battle of Mount Longdon. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) for this action. He had been previously appointed a Member of the Military Order of the British Empire (MBE). Subsequently he was promoted to the rank of Lieut-General, and appointed Knight Commander of the Bath (KCB), before retirement in 2001.

Here is a photograph of Lieut-Colonels Pike (left) and Jones (right) standing on the flight deck of HMS Hermes during the voyage south to the Falklands in late April 1982. A second later photograph shows Lieut-General Sir Hew W.R. Pike MBE DSO KCB, prior to his retirement in 2001.

Essentially the complete uniform was acquired in 1987, not that many years after the conflict with Argentina. As I can best recall the uniform had belonged to a Captain or Lieutenant of 3 Para (by number of pips), but there was no name anywhere on the uniform. There was a label inside the coat labeled "Burton Tailored"(still a major high street clothier in the UK). It is fabricated out of fine khaki barathea wool. The original owner may well have served in the Falklands Conflict. The ribband bar represents Lieut-Colonel's Pike's awards subsequent to the issue of the South Atlantic Medal, but before his DSO.

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