Hankley Common DZ - The Final Jump by Joe Stoddart MBE
Where do I start? Many of the old and bold have differing memories of Hankley Common. It was the nearest DZ to the barracks and consequently it was frequently used. The downside was that once you had landed on Hankley inevitably you marched back to barracks.
9 Para Sqn RE decided that this was to be the location for their last jump in the area and decided to make a day of it.The Aldershot Branch of the AEA as well as others were invited. This resulted in families girlfriends AEA members nd grandchildren arriving at Hankley DZ for what proved to be a great day.
The Squadron put on a marvelous display of their skills, there were static display boards weapons and equipment and this was followed by a parachute display from a Hercules (C130) aircraft. Ten sticks of five were dropped followed by the usual fly past by the RAF. It was a great event.
Everything for the spectators went to plan which included a superb BBQ. It really was a day to remember. The day had a tinge of sadness due to the fact that the Squadron would soon be leaving Aldershot for their new permanent base in Rock Barracks at Woodbridge Suffolk.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the OC Major Frazer Ross and SSM Billy Baugh for the invitation to join them on this final farewell and I hope that as we have always regarded 9 Para Sqn as ours; that the bond will hold and that we have a close liaison when they move to Woodbridge.
The Squadron have always played a big part in our lives and we wish them well for the future in their new location. As AEA members long may we support these Paras as well we all remember, the hardship and determination needed to gain the coveted wings and red beret. Just remember, these young men; together with the newly formed 51 Para Sqn are the future of our Association.