The Red Devils parachute jumped into the base at Chicksands on Saturday, kick-starting the Bedfordshire Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
The spectacular display was enjoyed by a crowd of dignitaries, former and current Service Personnel, and their families. After landing, the parachute team’s leader Corporal Nathan Connolly presented a wreath, a lone bugler played the Last Post, and two minutes’ silence was held in remembrance of those who gave their lives for the Country.
This was the last display this year for the Red Devils, the British Army’s freefall display team, which performs 60 displays a year in the UK and internationally. The Officer Commanding the team, Captain Joe Palmer, promised a “fast and furious” display, and the team delivered, with 7 parachutists performing intricate manoeuvres, falling from 2000 feet at ground-speeds of up to 50 mph before braking at the last minute to touch down perfectly around a huge poppy painted by local schoolchildren.
The event was particularly poignant for two of the jumpers, for whom this will be the last display with the Red Devils. Lance Corporal Chris Sharman, who has been with the team for 7 years, performing over 2500 jumps, and Lance Corporal Alexis Mcnaughton, who has been with the team for 3 years. Alex said he was “Definitely going out on a high. It was an awesome event to go out on.”
The Bedfordshire Royal British Legion Riders “The Clangers”, and Mike Lewis Racing, led by Mike, a former Parachute Regiment Soldier, also displayed their vehicles.
Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal Website: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/poppy-appeal-2016/