CATTERICK GARRISON was the venue when a 28-year-old officer became the first woman in the British Army to pass the highly-demanding entry test for the Parachute Regiment.

Captain Rosie Wild, who only joined the Army three years ago, has just become the first woman to pass P Company, the All Arms Pre Parachute Selection, one of the most gruelling challenges that soldiers undertake. Once the exclusive domain of male soldiers, since the mid-1990s it has been open to female solders to apply. Although several attempts have been made by women, Captain Wild is the first to pass and complete the course, which many men fail.

The 21-week selection course is completed separately from recruits joining the Parachute Regiment and ends with eight notoriously tough challenges. These involve marching ten miles carrying a 16kg backpack in just under two hours, completing an aerial course, carrying a 60kg telegraph pole as a team, running two miles with a backpack and rifle, within 18 minutes, a 2.2-mile steeplechase, marching 20 miles with a backpack and rifle, carrying a 79kg stretcher as part of a team and taking part in a boxing contest.

The successful soldier was described by a senior officer as a “trailblazer” after passing the P Company course. Brigadier John Clark, Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, said: “She is a trailblazer and we hope that her achievement will encourage other women to have a go. A more representative force will only make us stronger.

“Captain Wild is now keen to get on with joining her next regiment in a new role supporting the British Army’s Air Assault Task Force.”

Although awarded the coveted maroon beret of the Parachute Regiment, she will not join the Paras. Captain Wild will be posted to 7 Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.

The course and ceremony took place at Catterick Garrison.