The 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion was formed from the 10th Battalion The Somerset Light Infantry in November 1942. It initially belonged to the 3rd Parachute Brigade but was transferred to the 5th Parachute Brigade as the 6th Airborne Division was formed in 1943.
The Battalion jumped into Normandy on D-Day the 6th June 1944 and relieved the glider-borne coup de main that had captured the bridges across the Orne River and Canal. It participated in the defensive battles around Breville and the eventual break-out to the Seine, before being withdrawn back to the UK in August.
The Battalion saw action in the Ardennes during the winter fighting of 1944-5 and in March 1945 jumped under fire during the Rhine Crossing as part of Operation VARSITY afterwards forming part of the 6th Airborne Division advance to the Baltic. The Battalion's B Coy suffered particularly heavy casualties just one month before of the end of the war in Europe at Wunstorf and Neustadt on 7/8 April 1945 (see link below).
Once the war in Europe ended the Battalion was moved to the Far East with the 5th Parachute Brigade between 1945-6, after which it was returned to the 6th Airborne Division in Palestine. The Battalion incorporated 17th Parachute Battalion in July 1946 but retained its name. When the 5th Brigade was disbanded its manpower was redistributed among the remainder of the Division and 7th Parachute Battalion was re-designated 3 PARA in July 1948.
1942-4 Lt Col H N Barlow OBE
1944-7 Lt Col RG Pine-Coffin, DSO, MC
1947 Lt Col TCH Pearson, DSO
1947-8 Lt Col PD Maud