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Michael Briody

Michael Briody in 1943

Michael Briody a Lieutenant in 1945

RSM Michael Briody

 

Unit : Headquarters, No.2 Wing, The Glider Pilot Regiment

Army No. : 2717183

Awards : Member of the British Empire, Bronzen Leeuw

 

"Mick" Briody was originally a member of the Irish Guards, with whom he served in the ill-fated Norwegian Campaign of 1940. He later joined the Glider Pilot Regiment and was involved in the Invasion of Sicily in 1943. During Arnhem he was the Regimental Sergeant Major of No.2 Wing.

 

RSM Briody flew to Arnhem with the First Lift in a Horsa glider, chalk no.185, with Staff-Sergeant Marshall as his co-pilot and 28 passengers in the form of No.17 Platoon, "C" Company, 1st Border. As the glider neared Braintree, over England, poor visibility and a fracturing tow rope forced Briody to cast-off. Only one of the ropes fell free, however, while the other swung about as they made their descent and repeatedly struck the fuselage. Briody and Marshall made a safe, albeit dramatic landing near the USAAF airfield "Andrews Field", also known as Great Saling, which was used by B-26 Marauders of the 322nd Bomb Group. The landing was heavy and the glider passed through two fields and a hedge before it came to rest in a tangled wire-fence. Nobody aboard was hurt. While the men of No.17 Platoon, depressed at the turn of events, unloaded the glider, Briody and the Platoon Commander, Lieutenant Bob Crittenden, went to the airfield to seek assistance. They met an American Colonel who was extremely helpful. Crittenden had to refuse his invitation to dinner as they had to return to base at the earliest opportunity, but the Colonel arranged to load the Platoon, together with their handcart, into several of his Marauders to fly them home. All but one man flew to Arnhem with the Second Lift on the following day.

 

For his devotion to duty throughout the battle, RSM Briody he was awarded the Dutch Bronze Lion:

 

R.S.M. Briody throughout displayed splendid devotion to duty and untiring energy in maintaining the efficient working of supplies and ammunition, food and water, without which the unit could not have maintained its positions. R.S.M. Briody exposed himself to every form of fire to collect supplies from containers and to deliver them to where they were most needed and his unfailing cheerfulness and energy was an inspiration to all who came in contact with him. Finally when wounded by a mortar bomb splinter he continued to display great unselfishness and insisted on remaining with his Wing, and finally succeeded in reaching safety when the withdrawal was ordered. He continued to carry out his duties as R.S.M. despite his wounds. This Warrant Officer's continual devotion to duty and bravery was exceptional.

 

In addition, he received the MBE in 1945:

 

R.S.M. Briody joined the Glider Pilot Regiment soon after its formation. Through his keenness, initiative, efficiency and devotion to duty, on the Parade Ground, in the air, and during Military Training he has contributed very largely to the successful growth of the Regiment and to its outstanding achievements during operations. R.S.M. Briody served with the Regiment in Africa and Italy and was a splendid example to all. He piloted a Horsa to Arnhem in September 1944, landed successfully, and fought with gallantry for 8 days. For over 3 years R.S.M. Briody has been an inspiration to all ranks and the present position of the Glider Pilot Regiment is in no small measure due to his tireless efforts.

 

Briody continued to serve in the Army after the war, becoming a commissioned officer and ending his career in the early 1970's as Paymaster as the Parachute Regiment Depot in Aldershot. Michael Briody died in 1991. His granddaughter, Lilian Mann, is seeking any information about him. If you can help write to mann@wcl.on.ca

 

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