Captain Bernard Walter Briggs
Unit : Headquarters, 1st Parachute Brigade
Army No. : 129061
Awards : Military Cross, Mentioned in Despatches.
Captain Briggs was a founder member of the Parachute Regiment, and had served with them in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. For his conduct at Arnhem he was awarded the Military Cross:
Early on the night of D Day (September 17th) Captain Briggs was given command of a mixed force of Brigade HQ, Signals, Royal Engineers and Ordnance personnel, and ordered to hold an important sector EAST of ARNHEM Bridge. The position was difficult to hold as fruit trees and shrubs gave the enemy a covered line of approach.
During the following two days the enemy repeatedly attacked this position with tanks and infantry in greatly superior numbers. They were driven back each time with heavy losses. The position was under continuous mortar fire. During the afternoon of D+2 and morning D+3 the situation was made more difficult by the enemy setting fire to the houses Captain Briggs party was occupying. In spite of this and resulting enemy infiltration he continued to hold the position until every house was burnt down. He then skilfully withdrew the remnants of his force to "A" Company's position and continued to fight with them.
Captain Briggs skilful and inspiring leadership was an example to all and it was undoubtedly largely due to his efforts that the most important and difficult position was held for so long.
Prisoner of War 21.9.44
Bernard Briggs continued to serve in the British Army after the War. During the Korean War he was Mentioned in Despatches whilst serving with the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. He later served in Kenya with the King's African Rifles, and Aden with the Aden Protectorate Levies. He retired from the Army at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
My thanks to Simon Myddleton-Briggs.
Back to HQ, 1st Parachute Brigade
Back to Biographies Menu