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The "Red Devil" paratrooper of British airborne divisions

With their maroon berets and because of their courage in battle German soldiers in North Africa gave the well-deserved nickname of “The Red Devils” to British Paras.

Field Marshall Montgomery KG, GCB, DSO, DL, is quoted as saying about Paras: "When the Red Beret is seen in battle, it inspires confidence, it is indeed reassuring and good to know that those who wear it are courageous, highly trained valuable men, and it at once inspires confidence".

Red Devil


The maroon beret was chosen by General Sir F. Browning GCVO, KBE, CB, DSO, DL, Officer Commanding Airborne Forces and it was first worn by Parachute Battalions in combat during the North African landings in November 1942.

Today, the “Red Beret” is worn with pride by paratroopers.

This drawing depicts a Para of the Parachute Battalion wearing the general issue battledress. On his right shoulder sleeve he wears the embroidered parachutist brevet, the "Pegasus" shoulder sleeve insignia, the "AIRBORNE" shoulder tab common to all British and Commonwealth Airborne Forces and the beret badge of the Parachute Regiment first worn in May 1943.

Glider troops not being airborne qualified do not wear paratrooper wings and their red beret has the arms of service badge of their unit.


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