We were delighted to see such a great turnout at the 9th Para Battalion Annual Reunion Dinner, held at the Union Jack Club on Saturday 17th September 2022. More than 70 members of the 9bn family attended, including many new faces from the younger generations.
Toasts were made to her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth; our secretary Paul Hill had written to the Queen to send our warm wishes and notify her of the dinner, and he read out her reply – likely one of the last few letters she sent – which was extremely moving. This was followed by a toast to the King.
The French contingent were in attendance – Pascaline and Gaetan Dagorn representing the battery, along with Sylvie Dupont, the Deputy Mayor of Merville-Francville. Captain Adrian Teare gave grace, and the president of the 9th Battalion Reunioon Club, Tony Lea welcomed everyone to the dinner. Col John Power gave an update on the Regiment.
A highlight of the evening was when Connor Taylor, a member of David Walton‘s party, was presented with a set of ceremonial Parachute Regiment wings by Phil Ward, the last remaining 9th Battalion veteran at the dinner, in recognition of him being awarded his wings as a paratrooper earlier the same week.
Given the large turnout – and the UJC room’s maximum capacity of 80, we may have to take bookings for next year’s dinner on a first-come-first-serve basis! Let’s hope that the fantastic attendance translates to the 2023 Pilgrimage – it would be great to see the numbers increase for the annual Normandy trip too! If you are interested in attending the 2023 Pilgrimage, look out for details on the website and in the Facebook Group; dates likely to be the 4-8 June (TBC).