In Greek mythology Pegasus was a beautiful, winged horse. He sprung from Medusa’s body when her head was chopped off by the Greek hero, Perseus. Without a mother, Pegasus roamed free and wild.
While drinking from a well, Bellerophon managed to slip a golden bridle over Pegasus and capture the horse. The golden bridle had been a gift from the goddess Athena. Bellerophon tamed Pegasus and used the horse during his adventures. One of these adventures was the slaying of Chimera. Chimera had the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a snake. It killed and ate humans. Many brave men had tried slaying Chimera on foot but without any luck. Bellerophon used Pegasus to fly to the monster and kill it.
Bellerophon made the foolish decision to try and fly Pegasus to Mount Olympus (heaven, according Greek mythology). Zeus, quickly put a stop to Bellerophon by throwing him from Pegasus. Bellerophon survived the fall, but he was crippled. As for Pegasus, he made it into heaven where he spent his days carrying lightning bolts for Zeus.
Because of his faithful service to Zeus, he was honored with transformation into a constellation. When the stars are out, you might be able to see the Pegasus’ constellation, which was named after him.
During World War II, the silhouetted image of Bellerophon the warrior, mounted on the winged Pegasus, was adopted by the United Kingdom’s newly-raised parachute troops in 1941 as their upper sleeve insignia. The image clearly symbolized a warrior arriving at a battle by air, the same tactics used by paratroopers. The square upper-sleeve insignia comprised Bellerophon/Pegasus in light blue on a maroon background. The insignia was designed by famous English novelist Daphne du Maurier, who was married to the commander of the 1st Airborne Division (and later the expanded British Airborne Forces), General Frederick “Boy” Browning. The maroon background on the insignia was later used again by the Airborne Forces when they adopted the famous maroon beret in Summer 1942. The beret was the origin of the German nickname for British airborne troops, The Red Devils. Today’s Parachute Regiment carries on the maroon beret tradition.
During the airborne phase of the Normandy invasion on the night of 5-6 June 1944, British 6th Airborne Division captured all its key objectives in advance of the seaborne assault, including the capture and holding at all costs of a vital bridge over the Caen Canal, near Ouistreham. In memory of their tenacity, the bridge has been known ever since as Pegasus Bridge.
Our founder-director served in the Indian parachute regiment. In salute to the brave paratroopers across the globe, and also imbibe from the free flying adventurous spirit of the fabled winged horse, we adopted Pegasus as our logo.