THE Parachute Regiment deployed one of its ranks to celebrate the 90th birthday of a commanding officer.

Shetland pony mascot Pegasus V was sent on a surprise visit from Merville Barracks in Colchester to give birthday wishes to General Sir Geoffrey Howlett at his retirement home in Dorset.

Pegasus V, known a Peggy, arrived with his handler, Pony Major Lance Corporal Jamie Richards of the Parachute Regiment, to visit General Howlett, who served as Commanding Officer with the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Region in the 1970s.

He was also Commander of 16 Parachute Brigade, Commandant at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and finally Colonel Commandant of the Parachute Regiment from 1983 to1990.

Accompanying Pegasus V was General Howlett’s old friend General Sir Mike Jackson.

General Howlett said he was delighted to see old friends, including Peggy.