A FORMER paratrooper has taken to the skies once again to settle once and for all a long running argument with his friends.
Philip Hull, from Fletcher Crescent, Rastrick, wanted to prove a point to his mates in the pub that he served in the Parachute Regiment in the early 1970’s.
“My friends have always joked that I never used to be a paratrooper and that I was the squadron tea boy and used to just peel potatoes,” said the 66-year-old. “They said that instead of wings I had two soup ladles on my arms. They thought I was the cook or something.
“I saw the Bing Is For Doing competition and entered it to see if I could do a jump out of Hercules C130 aircraft.
“I got a phone call back saying they couldn’t do that but could organise a tandem sky dive from a plane. It was a shock because I had never won anything in my life.” Wife Christine stayed at home but he was well supported by grandchildren Ebony, 15, and Kurt, 12, who travelled down to Hinton Airfield in Northamptonshire, with him.
Once there, not only did he complete two tandem sky dives, 42 years after his last parachute jump, it was arranged for him to do the tandem with a Red Devil, and wore his old parachute regiment uniform and his red beret.
Working as a mason brick layer, he spent time in the regiment serving in Cyprus with the United Nations. He was also an eye witness of the first IRA bombing which killed six people at the 16th Parachute Brigade’s Aldershot Barracks.
In the early 1970s when he was a member of the Parachute Regiment and he had to do eight jumps as part of basic training and two or three more a year.
As the parachute launches were conducted in combat situations he used to jump from 800 metres during action and 1,000ft at night.
“To wear the Red Devil uniform just made my day,” added the father-of-five.
“We were going to jump from 10,000ft but decided to go from 12,5000. I enjoyed it so much we did it twice,” added Phillip.
“Both Ebony and Kurt said that I must of been mental to do the jump at my age but they both said they were very proud of me.
“My mates have seen the pictures and the video of the skydive and they are still joking that it wasn’t really me doing the jump. They said it must of been a stunt double.
“I really enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to jump from the plane again. It is something I would definitely look to again.”