• Robin Horsfall

A good landing is one you walk away from.

Robin Horsfall presents the sixth in a short series of humorous soldier’s memories.

6

Charles

Charles was tall blue eyed and according to most women extraordinarily handsome. I had known Charles since I was eighteen he was two years older than me and already one of the Parachute Regiment’s free fall team. When he wasn’t performing as a ‘Sky God’ he would return to normal duties as a member of 2 Para Mortar Platoon.

One night at about midnight the door creaked open and Charles sneaked into our four man room with a young woman on his arm. Although the lights stayed off and we remained silent it was difficult not to be aware of what was taking place across the room. A few whispered words were followed by an exclamation from Charles. ‘Okay, I can arrange that!’ The lights went on and Charles leapt up and drew a large bag from beneath his bed. ‘Get up you lot’ he shouted this lady is going parachuting.’

Intrigued and interested we watched and assisted Charles to fit the naked girl into the harness of his freefall parachute and red helmet with a devil emblazoned on the side. The webbing did little for her modesty but it was all in fun. Charles pulled the rip-cord and spilled the chute onto the floor and then opened the window – we were two floors above the ground about thirty feet high. Initially we were worried that he intended to drop her to the ground but it soon became clear that his intention was to lower her to the floor by gently feeding her out the window on the rigging lines with our assistance.

The large square window was conveniently tipped back to the horizontal and we sat her on the ledge trying hard to avoid injury on the window latch. We lowered the latest Red Devil to the ground to shouts of glee ‘I’m a paratrooper’ she shouted. As four heads leaned out of the window to watch her descent a shadow in uniform appeared in the dark. Six feet from the ground we dropped her onto the gravel where she sat half covered by parachute silk. ‘I’ve landed’ she shouted ‘I’ve landed’.

The shadow loomed over her silhouetted against the night sky. ‘I’m very glad you’ve landed safely madam. I’m the duty officer and I think it’s time you rolled up your parachute and went home.’

Everything in this story does bear a resemblance to persons who lived their lives to the full!

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