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23 PFA Old Comrades Association

Our Association came into being in its current form in 1993. Prior to this, individuals and ex members met often by chance during the Annual Airborne Forces Weekend held in Aldershot. Post Parade would see many hundreds of forces members visit the 23PFA camp, serving 23 PFA and all of the other Units of the then 16 Parachute Brigade and later as part of 5 Field Force. The gatherings, staffed by 23 PFA serving members not on deployment not only showcased the developments in PFA technology and equipment but also gave like-minded and interested personnel a point to aim for where they would meet up with old pals and acquaintances and make many new ones. During this event, the Unit would lay on a social function to allow all visitors the chance to swap stories,  get up-to-date with personal and family events and commiserate over shared losses..

 

On the 1992 Armed Forces Weekend there had been a much larger gathering of the old clan, ex members from a wider range of service dates and varied experiences in an enormous number of countries. This led to a realisation that here was something special and very much worth preserving for as long as possible; a belief that there was a great deal of history to be preserved and much more to follow and a shared goal to preserve and promote the special ethos that had evolved over the years.

There was also a realisation that it was becoming more and more difficult for the Serving Unit and its members to admin these functions due to the increase in the military commitments. In addition there was a difference in focus with those older ex-members understanding the value of long term friendships and comradeship, whilst younger members were focused on the current pressure of service

 

From that weekend on, using surviving PFA records, coupled with information from those attending, a list of some 500 ex serving members names and addresses was compiled by Major (Rtd) Maurice Bruen who (like a fool) volunteered as Secretary for the newly devised group and he continued in that post for 10 years.

The intial list was varried with not only the ex 23 PFA members but also included all of the surviving known members of the Original Airborne Units formed in 1944; 181 Air Landing F A -16 PFA (who's number has been resurrected in the newest formation 16 CSMR based in Colchester) also 44-45-46-144 PFA's 17-127-133-195-224 -225pFA plus former Doctors and medics attached to other airborne formations and most importantly of all ALL CAP BADGES.