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Unit 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion

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 It participated in the defensive battles around Breville and the eventual break-out to the Seine, before being withdrawn back to the UK in August.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.

Commanding Officers:

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

by Paradata Editor

The dash from the River Weser to the River Leine April 1945

Appendix from 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion War Diary recording the battle to capture Wunstorf airfield and the explosion at Neustadt bridge. Both incidents inflicted heavy casualties on B Company.

Find out more about The dash from the River Weser to the River Leine April 1945

Courtesy of Mark Hickman and the Pegasus Archive.

Clearing of Flak Gun positions on 27/28 March 1945 by 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion

An appendix to the 7th Battalion's War Diary recording the capture of over sixty German prisoners and eight dual purpose anti-aircraft/tank guns.

Find out more about Clearing of Flak Gun positions on 27/28 March 1945 by 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion

Courtesy of Mark Hickman and the Pegasus Archive

Report on action by B Coy at Bob's Farm 10 July 1944

A brief report on B Coy's attack on a farm occupied by German forces in the Bois de Bavent during the Normandy campaign in which 3 men were killed and 20 wounded including the officer commanding, Major Bob Keene.

Find out more about Report on action by B Coy at Bob's Farm 10 July 1944

Courtesy of Mark Hickman and the Pegasus Archive

Six Days Adrift in Normandy, June 1944.

A brief personal account of the experience of R.A. Lycett (Tony), separated from his unit after dropping into Normandy on D-Day, June 1944

Find out more about Six Days Adrift in Normandy, June 1944.

By R.A.Lycett (Tony)