British and French paratroopers have celebrated their ‘strong bonds and shared values’ with a joint parachute jump in France.

More than 350 troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade and their French partners 11e Brigade Parachutiste jumped onto fields near Mont St Michel in Normandy last week, say the British Army in a release.

St Michael is considered the patron saint of paratroopers and the island monastery was the perfect backdrop for an airborne celebration ahead of his feast day tomorrow.

Lance Corporal Sean Bowden, of 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment, said:

“It was a great jump, the air was very still and I had an amazing view of Mont St Michel on the way down – the ground was quite hard and dry to land on though! Today is about celebrating our partnership with the French – we’re all paratroopers with similar roles, training and experiences and we work together very well.”

According to the release:

“16 Air Asslt Bde and 11e BP – who both serve as their respective armies’ airborne rapid reaction forces – are at the forefront of increased cooperation between the British and French militaries. Since 2013 they have been trained and ready to deploy on joint missions as the Airborne Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (ACEF).”

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David Steeper

But they were aiming for Belgium ! Sorry old joke.

David Taylor

Outsourcing to Ryan Air was bound to be problematic.


The French wings are much coveted amongst our guys. Pretty hard course as well.


Mate the course is tough for the French Airborne guys, like any basic training. However we just rock up and get a few jumps in, using the Transalls and French kit, then get the wings. Used to be able to travel the world and get a few sets of foreign wings, not so common now, but the SA wings a few of us have are pretty rare. In the early millennium the Polish wings were quite novel to wear on your smock. It’s not really important but it’s a bit of a jolly to get a few extra sets collected.


I recall the unit I was attached to (2nd Ranger Bn) at Ft Lewis Washington hosting 3 Para for 2 weeks in the early 80’s. What a fantastically debauched time THAT was… I still have several items including a Parachute Regiment cap and a Heavy Machine Gun section sweatshirt (sleeveless) that I traded for. Between all the drinking and expeditions to “gentlemen’s establishments” in Tacoma we managed to kick them out of C130’s and C141’s from nearby McChord AFB (provided by yours truly) to qualify for U.S. wings. I’m surprised I have any recollection of those events considering the number… Read more »


Damn, I came here with the expectation that we had finally invaded France to take back the Lands they took from us… 😉


‘St Michael is considered the patron saint of paratroopers’

Was a bit surprised to read this – because he is of ‘All Angels’ ?