Paras march back in time

Paratroopers march past Chesterfield Town Hall in 1943
Paratroopers march past Chesterfield Town Hall in 1943

Ex-servicemen will be marching on Hardwick Hall to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Parachute Regiment.

The hall’s grounds hosted 20,000 raw recruits during the 1940s where they were toughened up for war service by lengthy marches and spartan accommodation in Nissen huts.

Memories and snapshots of life at Hardwick camp will be shared at the annual Airborne Forces Day on Sunday, May 13.

Organiser David Mellor, secretary of the Chesterfield branch of the Parachute Regiment Association, said: “The aim of the event is to invite those who did their training 1941-1946 at Hardwick Camp.”

A large number of ex-Paras, families and friends from all over the country are expected at Hardwick to mark the landmark anniversary.

The Red Devils Parachute Display Team will launch the event with a drop at 10am, followed by a Battle of Britain memorial Dakota fly-past at 11am.

Wreaths will be laid during a memorial service at 11.15am.

A march past at midday will involve veterans of Airborne Forces, a platoon from the Parachute Training Company at Catterick and a parade of branch standards.

Military vehicles and an exhibition of the history and photos of Hardwick Camp in the 40s will be on display.

For further details on Sunday’s event, call Mr Mellors on 01909 721113.

l The photo shows members of the Parachute Regiment marching past Chesterfield Town Hall in 1943.