Portsmouth paratroopers who fought side-by-side say city will 'always' remember the fallen

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A PAIR of paratroopers who fought shoulder to shoulder for almost a decade say Portsmouth will never forget the sacrifice of its veterans – even after their generation has faded away.

Ken Allen, 81 and John ‘Burt' Hicks, 73, both served in the First Paratrooper District Regiment, having grown up in Portsmouth.

From left, John Hicks and Ken Allen. Picture: David George

From left, John Hicks and Ken Allen. Picture: David George

Ken, who now lives in West Wittering, served for 18 years and reached the rank of Regimental Sargeant Major, while John rose to the rank of Corporal after nine years.

Together, they joined other veterans in Guildhall Square for Remembrance Sunday, along with thousands of Portsmouth residents.

The pair say that Remembrance is one of the few times in the year that they see each other, but are always impressed by the crowds that turn out to honour the fallen.

John said: ‘Our paratroop regiment was formed from odds and ends from all over the place, so it was nice to find someone else that was from Portsmouth.

‘We don’t see each other too often, but always bump into each other at Remembrance Sunday and it’s good to catch up.’

Ken said: ‘Portsmouth always does so well with Remembrance, and seeing the youngsters here is great.

‘We come here every year and it’s always a good turnout.

‘The number of us old codgers is starting to dwindle, but it’s nice to know that the youngsters of today will be carrying on our memory once we’re gone.’