No. 3 PTS Chaklala 1941
No. 4 Middle East Training School RAF KABRIT 1942
The unit was designated No. 4 METS by the SAS who had formed a training detachment there; the first PJIs arrived from Ringway early in 1942. They were F.S Jim Averis and Sgts Markwell, Welch and MacGregor (nicknamed ‘The Toffs’ by the SAS). These were followed in December by Gerry Turnbull, Jack Gascoigne, Len Munden and Norman Davey. In January 1943 they were further augmented by Sgts. Robbie Robertson, Vic Kent, George Eccles, Bluey Lambirth, ‘Wullie’ Hamilton, Lofty Bowerbanks and Alf Card.
(History of Middle East Parachute Training by F.S. Alf Card)
‘Natch’ Markwell Operational Sortie
Kabrit Course programme
No. 4 Parachute Training School RAF RAMAT DAVID 1943
The school moved to Palestine in January 1943 and, although it was in effect No. 2 PTS, for some reason retained the original No. 4 designation.
No. 4 Parachute Training School Gioia del Colle Italy 1944
In June 1944, following Brigadier Hackett’s 4th Parachute Brigade redeployment from the North African theatre, No 4 PTS was relocated to Gioia Del Colle, south of Bari on the Italian Adriatic coast.
No. 2 Parachute Training School RAF AQIR 1946
In 1946 the final move was made to RAF Aqir (now the Tel Nof Airbase), firstly under the command of Flt. Lt. Todhunter, followed by Flt.Lt. John Saxby and subsequently Sqn.Ldr. Bernard Stannard. The School was now known officially as No. 2 PTS.
John Saxby recalls (see also SKYDIVERS):
“- it seems a long time ago when Stannard and I tried out a free fall from 10,000 feet at Aqir in Palestine in 1947 using wrist watches. I was about to hand over command of No 2 PTS and proceed on demobilisation and it seemed a jolly end to my RAF career. Group Captain Geoffrey Wood was the Station Commander and took a bit of persuading. Before I left Stannard and I took a Dakota up to 10,000 feet over the station, Aqir – bloody cold – to let them all see what a drop looked like. Our usual DZ was Yibna some miles away. At 1000 feet as I remember the school instructors did a demonstration jump with Statichutes as usual, and at 10,000 feet Stannard and I baled out wearing standard Pilot Type parachutes. I spent a lot of the previous night trying to be sure that my maths was right – 120mph = feet per second ??? = how long dare I wait ??? We used our wrist watches to time the drop before pulling the release. Knowing no better I adopted the standard exit position and reached TV in that position – surprised to feel myself ‘standing’ in the air with the wind whistling past but no feeling of falling – how naive we were. But then I began to tumble and was sick, remembering to keep my boots out of the way! Finally I saw Stannard’s parachute deploy and decided to rely on his maths and deployed my own”.
PTS Staff Aqir 1946
METS/PTS PEREGRINATIONS 1942-1946