Airborne Engineers Association

Mike Payne

 

 

Col Mike Payne

 

Col Mike Payne was OC of 9 Indep Para Sqn for 2 years during 1974-76 and passed away on the 29th of November 2006.

Having never previously served in airborne forces Mike faced many challenges when he took over command from his predecessor, Mike Addison. The main one being the disbandment of 16 Para Bde in 1976/77 and the potential threat that this posed for the future of the Sqn. His astute mind and effective lobbying whilst OC ensured that the unit retained a viable parachute capability upon which to rebuild some years later on the formation of 5 Airborne Bde and later, 16 Air Assault Bde. Very few people at the time were aware, or fully appreciated his legacy and 9 Sqn is still the only unit to have continuously retained an airborne role since the 2nd World War. Additionally a notable PR coup of his was the Sqn's return from operations in N Ireland in 1975 by parachuting onto Hankley Common on Valentines Day; it was reported on TV and made all the national newspapers, including the rare honour of a Giles cartoon in the Sunday Express!

On a humorous note Mike once described his time in command as "like driving a very fast racing car with no steering wheel or brakes - it was fine as long as the Sqn was pointed in the right direction but it became a hell of a challenge if it ever started to veer of course."

 

 

 

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