7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion

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 It participated in the defensive battles around Breville and the eventual break-out to the Seine, before being withdrawn back to the UK in August.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

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Group photos_30

Photos_54

Newspaper extracts_1

  • Newspaper cutting relating to Parade in Singapore, 1945

    Newspaper cutting relating to Parade in Singapore, 1945

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Letters and Cards_4

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Medal Citations_5

  • Military Medal Citation for W/Sgt Ernest Lucas, 7th (LI) Para Bn, Normandy 1944.

    Military Medal Citation for W/Sgt Ernest Lucas, 7th (LI) Para Bn, Normandy 1944.

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  • Citation for award of Bar to Military Medal for Sgt Lucas, 7th (LI) Para Bn, Normandy 1944.

    Citation for award of Bar to Military Medal for Sgt Lucas, 7th (LI) Para Bn, Normandy 1944.

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  • Citation for the award of Capt Vere Hodge's Mention in Despatches, 1945.

    Citation for the award of Capt Vere Hodge's Mention in Despatches, 1945.

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  • Military Cross Citation for Major 'Tiger' Reid 1945

    Military Cross Citation for Major 'Tiger' Reid 1945

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  • Military Cross citation for Captain Eric G Woodman

    Military Cross citation for Captain Eric G Woodman

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Documents_2

  • Orbat for 7th (LI) Parachute Battalion, 6 June 1944.

    Orbat for 7th (LI) Parachute Battalion, 6 June 1944.

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  • Account of the operation carried out by A Company, 7th Bn (LI) The Parachute Regiment on 6 June 1944.

    Account of the operation carried out by A Company, 7th Bn (LI) The Parachute Regiment on 6 June 1944.

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Aerial photos_1

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