The distinct maroon beret has been an international symbol of elite airborne forces since it was chosen for British Parachute regiments in World War II.
Officially introduced in 1942, at the direction of General Frederick Browning, commander of the British 1st Airborne Division, the colour of the beret was reportedly chosen by his wife, Lady Browning, the novelist Daphne du Maurier.
It was first worn by the men of the 1st Parachute Brigade in action in North Africa during Operation Torch, November 1942.
In February 1943, the brigade fought notable actions at Bou Arada and Tamerza, Tunisia against their German counterparts, the Fallschirmjäger, where they earned the nickname “Die Roten Teufel" - the Red Devils.
The Paras saw action in Sicily, Italy and in Normandy 1944 with the 6th Airborne Division on D-Day, where their mission was to destroy the Merville Gun Battery and capture and hold bridges to prevent the enemy reaching the landing beaches.