In July 1956 President Nasser of Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal and an Anglo-French military plan was developed to re-occupy it. 3 PARA was directed to conduct a surprise parachute assault upon El Gamil airfield west of Port Said and clear the adjoining coastal defences before an amphibious attack and link-up with Commando forces.
French paratroopers with part of the 1st (Guards) Independent Parachute Company were to capture two vital bridges leading south from Port Said and isolate the town.
At 0515 GMT on 5th November 3 PARA conducted the first and last battalion sized operational parachute assault since the Second World War. Despite vigorous defensive fire El Gamil airfield was captured in 30 minutes. Vicious close-quarter fighting developed as the paratroopers continued the advance through a sewage farm and cemetery nearby, rolling up Egyptian coastal defences. Covering fire was provided to support the amphibious landings that arrived the next day and a successful link-up with 45 Commando achieved.
2 PARA landed by sea and advanced down the canal and dug in at El Cap. This was the limit of the Task Force advance as World pressure was applied to end this controversial campaign.
The 3 PARA parachute insertion had meanwhile inflicted a decisive defeat on the enemy at a cost of four killed and three officers and 29 men wounded.