Mass parachute drop over Normandy to mark 80th anniversary of D-Day SAVED after Mail on Sunday exposed how the RAF was being given just ONE PLANE for the event

Grant Shapps said Airbus A400M transport planes will now take part on June 5

A mass parachute drop over Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day has been saved after The Mail on Sunday exposed last week how the RAF was being given just one plane for the event.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed last night that four giant Airbus A400M transport planes will now take part on June 5.

The about-turn will enable 450 British paratroopers to play a full part in saluting the famous drop behind enemy lines in 1944 that marked the start of the invasion of Nazi-occupied France.

A source said that overall, the Paras would have 450 soldiers ready to take part, with 250 from the Parachute Regiment and others drawn from airborne units within 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team (stock photo)

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (pictured) confirmed last night that four giant Airbus A400M transport planes will now take part on June 5

Troops from the 48th Royal Marines at Saint-Aubin-sur-mer on Juno Beach, Normandy, June 6

Troops from the 48th Royal Marines at Saint-Aubin-sur-mer on Juno Beach, Normandy, June 6

Sherman tanks of 'B' Squadron, 13/18th Royal Hussars, and men of No 4 Army Commando advancing towards Ouistreham, 6 June 1944

Sherman tanks of 'B' Squadron, 13/18th Royal Hussars, and men of No 4 Army Commando advancing towards Ouistreham, 6 June 1944

Last night Mr Shapps commended this newspaper for exposing the decision to allocate just one of the transport planes.

He said: 'Decisions surrounding the details of this important commemoration had not been brought to me as Secretary of State, so I commend The Mail on Sunday's role in highlighting the issue.

'The moment I was alerted, I was determined to remedy the situation. This D-Day commemoration is especially important as it's the 80th anniversary and sadly, this will probably be our last opportunity to do this on a large scale.

'If we fail to remember the past, we run the risk of history repeating itself. So I had no hesitation in ordering an appropriate response.'

King Charles, who completed the Army's parachute training course on being appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment in 1977, is set to join President Joe Biden and the remaining D-Day veterans at the commemoration.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood commended Mr Shapps for 'stepping in so quickly and taking the bull by the horns'

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood commended Mr Shapps for 'stepping in so quickly and taking the bull by the horns'

The British paratroopers will drop from the sky over Normandy on June 5 in tribute to the 18,000 men from Allied forces who landed there shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944. Dome parachute drop from C-130 Hercules transport aircraft as part of the D day 100 commemorations, Sonnerville, France

The British paratroopers will drop from the sky over Normandy on June 5 in tribute to the 18,000 men from Allied forces who landed there shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944. Dome parachute drop from C-130 Hercules transport aircraft as part of the D day 100 commemorations, Sonnerville, France

A Commemorative Parachute Descent takes place over Sannerville, France, during commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings

A Commemorative Parachute Descent takes place over Sannerville, France, during commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings

The British paratroopers will drop from the sky over Normandy on June 5 in tribute to the 18,000 men from Allied forces who landed there shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944, to secure key sites ahead of the main invasion.

However, The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that despite the Parachute Regiment hoping for four A400M transport planes, to allow 450 men to jump, only one had been made available.

A senior Parachute Regiment source blamed the decision on 'shameful, short-sighted, cost-cutting' and 'an insult to those who made the ultimate sacrifice' for Britain on D-Day.

It revived a bitter row over the Government's decision to phase out the last of the RAF's old Hercules C-130 transport planes, much beloved by paratroopers.

Tory former Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said the decision had demonstrated 'a sad, simple truth – that today's RAF lacks heavy lift transport capacity after all the Hercules transport fleet, which served our nation so well for more than 50 years, was scrapped to save money'.

Last night, final details for the drop involving four planes were still being drawn up (stock photo)

Last night, final details for the drop involving four planes were still being drawn up (stock photo)

The MoD confirmed last night that there would now be 'four UK A400M aircraft involved'. A drone view shows a member of Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) clearing away sand on sculptures of some 80 soldiers as part of an installation erected on Stone Bay, ahead of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Broadstair

The MoD confirmed last night that there would now be 'four UK A400M aircraft involved'. A drone view shows a member of Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) clearing away sand on sculptures of some 80 soldiers as part of an installation erected on Stone Bay, ahead of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Broadstair

But sources said that after Mr Ellwood urged Mr Shapps to act on The Mail on Sunday's revelations last weekend, the Defence Secretary 'read the riot act' to his officials and demanded that four A400M planes be provided.

Last night, final details for the drop involving four planes were still being drawn up.

A source said that overall, the Paras would have 450 soldiers ready to take part, with 250 from the Parachute Regiment and others drawn from airborne units within 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team.

These will include medics from 16 Medical Regiment, sappers from 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment, signallers from 216 Parachute Signal Squadron and gunners from 7 Para Royal Horse Artillery. The Red Devils parachute display team will also jump.

Last night, Bournemouth East MP Mr Ellwood commended Mr Shapps for 'stepping in so quickly and taking the bull by the horns'.

He added: 'It was unacceptable for the Ministry of Defence to provide only one plane for what will be such an historic commemoration of the D-Day invasion.

'The Parachute Regiment and others taking part will be very happy with this change of heart.'

The MoD confirmed last night that there would now be 'four UK A400M aircraft involved' in the 'commemorative jump by UK paratroopers on the 5th of June alongside Allied counterparts'.

A spokesman added: 'The number of UK personnel dropping will be confirmed in due course.'

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