Specialist Army Engineer Squadron Restored

A specialist engineer squadron has been revived to support the Army’s rapid reaction force.

Suffolk-based 12 Parachute Headquarters and Support Squadron has been restored to the ranks of 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment, after a ceremony at Woodbridge’s Rock Barracks.

During a parade, the Squadron’s history of Second World War operations in Burma was also celebrated.

The Squadron, which was disbanded in 2013, will take responsibility for the 23 Para Engr Regt’s resourcing, administration and training, as well as its specialist diving, design and reconnaissance capabilities.

Following the reorganisation, 9 and 51 Parachute Squadrons are left as 23 Para Engr Regt’s two combat engineering squadrons.

They will now work as more focused units that can be reinforced with 12 Para HQ & Sp Sqn’s specialist capabilities when required.

The Squadron’s new emblem includes a spinning wheel or Ashoka Chakra representing its adoption of the airborne role during the Second World War in Burma and symbolising the Hindu tenets of evolution and understanding.

It also includes a Sutton Hoo Helmet, an ornate Anglo-Saxon helmet dug up near Woodbridge.

“It is important that we shape our forces to face our demanding operational role and a hugely proud occasion to start a new chapter in the Squadron’s rich history.

“The Squadron encompasses a wide range of specialist capabilities that we can use to support the wider Regiment as required and we look forward to a busy future.”

12 Para HQ & Sp Sqn can trace its history back to 1784 when a Corps of Royal Military Artificers unit was formed to build fortifications at Halifax in Canada.

Under different identities and including at least five previous periods of suspended animation the squadron has served with distinction in the Crimea, Boer War, First and Second World Wars, Korea, Aden and Northern Ireland.

Its most recent incarnation saw it reformed in 2002 with the creation of 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault) and deployed on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan before being disbanded in 2013.