1 and 3 PARA were flown to Cyprus in January 1956 to augment the Island’s security forces in response to the Greek Cypriot EOKA terrorist campaign to achieve political union or ‘Enosis’ with Greece. They were followed by the remainder of 16 Parachute Brigade and 2 PARA in July.
A continual round of village cordon and search operations, road blocks, curfews, law enforcement and riot control followed. Operations were directed against terrorist enclaves in the Kyrenian and Troodos Mountains and the Paphos Forest. Colonel Grivas’s EOKA HQ was captured, providing a major intelligence coup, but he escaped.
A process of relentless attrition led to the elimination or capture of leading hard-core terrorists and substantial quantities of arms and ammunition were recovered. By 1957 EOKA was on its knees and a truce to pave the way for political discussions declared.
1 and 3 PARA were extracted for the Suez Operation in December 1956 and 2 PARA returned in 1957.
1 PARA returned to Cyprus in April 1958 to March 1959. Initially stationed at Whittington Camp Agios Dimitrios, Nicosia, opposite the British Military Cemetery Wayne's Keep. From there companies were posted to Platres, Kykkos Monastery and Pinewood Valley Ski Resort in the Troodos mountains.
Cyprus was declared a Republic in 1960 and four years later 1 PARA was back, this time with UNFICYP, to keep the Greek Cypriot and Turkish factions apart. The red beret was exchanged for light blue for the first time since 1942 and a number of parachute battalion UN tours subsequently followed.