PARACHUTE JUMP INSTRUCTORS

Many collectors of Rhodesian militaria regard the elite units of the period 1961 to 1980 as being the SAS, Selous Scouts, Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI), Greys Scouts and the Rhodesian African Rifles (RAR). While this is broadly correct I also believe that there were other units that deserved the tag ‘elite’.

One such unit was the Parachute Jump Instructors of the Parachute Training School, New Sarum. Without them, fireforces involving paratroopers would not have been possible; neither would the many reconnaissance missions with the SAS and Selous Scouts soldier’s freefalling into Mozambique. The Rhodesian PJI’s were quite unique in that they were a mixture of both the Air Force and the Army due to the critical shortage of manpower experienced in the later years of the war.

There were more parachute descents into contacts by the Rhodesian Security Forces during the ‘Bush War’ than by any other military in history, yet the injury rate remained below 0.7%. This says an enormous amount about the professionalism and the training techniques of the PJI’s of No 1 Parachute Training School.

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Printed PJI brevets for the ‘work’ and ‘camo’ uniforms were printed on cotton. They were never printed on anything else including canvas.

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