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Timeline Suez (Operation Musketeer) 5 November 1956 – 11 November 1956

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.

by Paradata Editor

Lance Corporal Tarbin's account of Operation Musketeer.

Find out more about Lance Corporal Tarbin's account of Operation Musketeer.

by Rebecca Blackburn

16 Para Brigade's Air Contact Teams

A short article on the development of 16 Para Bde's Air Contact Teams

Find out more about 16 Para Brigade's Air Contact Teams

By Lt Col Derek Reavill

GENERAL SIR FRANK KING'S PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF OPERATION MUSKETEER (SUEZ) 1956

General King's personal account of the Suez crisis while GSO2 (Air) at 16 Para Brigade HQ. Reproduced with the kind the permission of Max Arthur.

Find out more about GENERAL SIR FRANK KING'S PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF OPERATION MUSKETEER (SUEZ) 1956

by ParaData Editor

Personal Account of the Suez Drop by Brig Paul Crook

Read the personal account of Brig Paul Crook of the drop on El Gamil Airfield, Suez in 1956 originally compiled for 'Men of the Red Beret', by Max Arthur. Compiled for ParaData by Harvey Grenville and reproduced by kind permission of Max Arthur.

Find out more about Personal Account of the Suez Drop by Brig Paul Crook

Reproduced for ParaData by kind permission of Max Arthur

Operation Musketeer: Corporal Tony Lowe’s Story

On the 4th of November 1956 I was with 16th Independent Para Brigade HQ assembled in Cyprus 1956 and billeted just outside Nicosia on the Kyrenia road. I was aged 27 and had been in the Parachute Regiment already some 7 years...

Find out more about Operation Musketeer: Corporal Tony Lowe’s Story

Written by Joe Lowe from Corporal Tony Lowe's verbal accounts

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Graham Alcock said:

I lived in D block at Aldershot barracks near the drill hall at the time of Suez. I was ten years old. My father was RSM J Alcock ex Coldstream Guards and 1 and 2 SAS.

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