Colonel (Retired) Stuart Tootal DSO OBE, spent twenty years as a soldier, serving in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In 2006 he commanded 3 PARA as the first UK combat unit to be sent to Helmand province in Afghanistan.
He kindly agreed to return to Liphook and talk about an elite unit of British paratroopers who were sent on a daring and highly risky behind-the-lines mission, which was deemed vital to the success of D-Day.
Dropped ahead of the main Allied invasion, 9 PARA were tasked with destroying an impregnable German gun battery. If they failed, thousands of British troops landing on the beaches were expected to die. Only twenty per cent of the unit made it to the objective and half of them were killed or wounded during the attack.