Pictures

Pat Glover

Lieutenant Joseph Winston Glover

 

Unit : Headquarters, 10th Parachute Battalion

Army No. : 254705

Awards : Bronze Star

 

"Pat" Glover was born on the 16th October 1908, and saw service as a cavalryman with the Royal Sussex Regiment before transferring to the Parachute Regiment. By 1944, the short and stocky 35 year old had become the Quartermaster of the 10th Parachute Battalion, and had achieved a degree of fame in the airborne world by adopting a chicken as a pet and training it as a parachutist. It began in July 1944, when the morale of the 1st Airborne Division was under stress due to a plethora of proposed and cancelled operations. As frustrated as any other man, Glover was prone to taking his mind off the matter by strolling about the Somerby countryside, taking shots at anything that move with is .22 calibre air rifle. On one such excursion, he came across a chicken-shaped weathervane on top of the village church and hit it twice from a range of 60 yards. He recounted this tale later in the Officer's Mess, where someone expressed their doubt that an air rifle could hit a target at that range; the conversation developed from here and eventually Glover found himself defending the principle that any bird in possession of wings and feathers could fly. Not in the slightest deterred by the fact that chickens cannot fly, Glover proposed to settle the argument by taking a chicken with him on a parachute jump in two days time, and by releasing the bird as he descended he would prove to all that it could fly.

 

On the following day he visited the local farm and, without the owners consent, spent an hour attempting to catch a chicken. Having finally secured a reddish bird, he departed and decided to christen her Myrtle, though he never was sure of its sex. On the day of the jump, Glover secured Myrtle inside a zip-up canvas bag attached to his left shoulder, and after he had jumped and his parachute opened, he unfastened the bag to release the chicken. Myrtle put her head out, saw where she was, and immediately retreated back into the bag. When Glover was approximately 50 feet from the ground, he let Myrtle go and, despite much squawking and a graceless flapping of wings, the bird was most definitely flying and made a safe landing. When Glover reached the ground, he was so concerned that Myrtle would run away that he completely forgot to collapse his chute, and dislocated his thumb as he was dragged across the ground, trying to hold a chicken in one hand and attend to his chute with the other.

 

Glover kept Myrtle in his office, perched on an iron bar on his desk. If pressed for an explanation from a superior officer, he decided that he would explain her away as a living rations, reasoning that he would not be a very good quartermaster if he did not plan on food shortages. The pair completed more jumps over the summer, and once Myrtle had completed the regulation number of practice jumps, Glover awarded her with a set of parachute wings which he secured about her neck with an elastic band. Myrtle the Parachick became an accomplished flyer, and by the time of Arnhem she could safely be released from 300 feet and would wait patiently on the ground for her master to collect her.

 

On Monday 18th September 1944, the 4th Parachute Brigade were preparing to take-off with the Second Lift. Glover became worried about the condition of his parachute as he had been in the habit of returning it to his office and kicking it around the floor when previous operations had been cancelled. He requested a replacement but was denied, and so, with a mood of safety first and not risking an accident on the drop zone, he decided that he would keep hold of Myrtle all the way down. Once they were airborne, Glover asked his batman, Private Joe Scott, if he had brought enough feed for Myrtle; he hadn't been able to find any corn but had compensated for this with a few handfuls of Cornflakes.

 

A War Correspondent, most probably Jack Smyth of Reuters, travelled in Glover's aircraft and asked him for a crash course on parachuting techniques. He had completed a few practice jumps before but was in need of some education on the finer points. Glover was quite surprised by this, and helped him to put his chute on, telling him how to make his exit and what he should do on landing.

 

As the formation drew near to the drop zone, flak came up at the aircraft and a few bursts hit Glover's C-47; he likened the noise to someone battering the aircraft with a sledgehammer. The flak became worse, and a few men standing behind Glover, who was to be the first man out, were urging him to jump, but he did not as he wanted the drop zone to be under his feet before jumping. He had not expected the landing to be opposed, but once he jumped it became clear that a battle was raging below, shots were coming up at them, and for a moment he wondered if they had been dropped in the wrong place. Glover deliberately rolled onto his right shoulder as he landed so as to avoid injuring Myrtle, who he quickly entrusted to Joe Scott's care as they made their way across the zone towards the yellow smoke which denoted the rendezvous point.

 

Mortars and shells were exploding all around Ginkel Heath and patches of it had been set ablaze, which a few paratroopers fell into. As they moved across the zone, Glover and his men encountered a very badly wounded Lieutenant of the 156th Battalion, who had been hit in the legs and chest with incendiary rounds and was in a great deal of pain. Glover administered morphia and left to find a medic. Other paratroopers came across this man, known as a brave and popular officer, and they found smoke coming from his wounds and he pleaded with them to shoot him. They did not, but one of them placed the Lieutenant's cocked revolver in his hand. He was later found dead, though it is not certain that he committed suicide.

 

On the following day as the Polish gliders were landing, Glover attempted to replenish the battalion's dwindling water supplies by sending a Sergeant off to find some in a Jeep loaded with dozens of water bottles, but he never saw the man again. At dusk, the 10th Battalion were attempting to withdraw across the railway line near Wolfheze; Glover recalled that the whole area was covered by German machine guns, and to minimise their chances of being seen in the falling light, men would proceed up the railway embankment, lie down, and roll over the top. When Glover was about to follow them, a determined German attack materialised and the paratroopers hastily dug themselves in. Once this skirmish was at an end, Glover suggested to Scott that they should brew some tea, and it was only then that he thought of Myrtle and asked where she was. He remembered that as the attack came in and he began to dig, he had left her in her bag on the edge of the trench, and as Glover felt for the bag he realised that it had been riddled with bullets. Myrtle was dead inside with her feet in the air. They left her in the bag and buried her beneath a hedge a few yards from where she had fallen. Glover wondered whether he ought to remove the parachute wings, but decided to leave them on as she had been killed in action. With the grave covered, Scott rose to his feet, dusted himself off and delivered this eulogy; "Well, she was game to the last, sir."

 

At approximately 03:00 on Wednesday 20th September, Glover was at Battalion Headquarters with Lieutenant-Colonel Smyth and Major Ashworth of HQ Company. In view of the fact that the Battalion was surrounded by the enemy and had become so fragmented that it no longer functioned as an organised unit, Smyth said: "Look, I think we've had it. I've lost my command and I don't know where we are. I think you'd better get in pairs and decide if you want to stick with me or go it on your own." Glover and Ashworth discussed the matter between themselves and were both determined to stay with their commander. By dawn, the remnants of the 10th Battalion had been gathered under Smyth and, harassed on two sides by the enemy, began to make their way towards the Oosterbeek Perimeter. As they drew near to the 1st Airborne Division's lines, Smyth said to Glover, "There are not many Germans between us and headquarters and those that are we're going to charge." The remnants of the 10th Battalion fixed bayonets and surged forward, successfully breaking through to the Perimeter.

 

Smyth reported to Major-General Urquhart at the Hartenstein Hotel that he had just sixty men left. Here, Glover sat down and propped himself against a tree to rest himself and, despite the two pairs of socks that he was wearing, his badly blistered feet. To his left, also propped against a tree, were two dead glider pilots, but Glover was too tired to pay them more than a courteous glance. As he rested, he heard the rumble of aircraft approaching and thought "Oh, my God, what next?", but it turned out to be the RAF bringing in supplies. Once these had been dropped, Lieutenant-Colonel Packe, the Commander Royal Army Service Corps, asked Glover and three other men to retrieve any supply canisters which had landed nearby. He was about to leave when Major Ashworth returned and gave him orders from Lieutenant-Colonel Smyth to proceed to the crossroads at the centre of the eastern edge of the perimeter to discover the British dispositions thereabouts. Having conducted a reconnaissance of the area and returned to the Hartenstein, Glover was told to go back with as many men as he could gather. He found half a dozen and established himself in a house with Lieutenant Saunders of No.18 Platoon.

 

Glover was later moved further forward into a large building, a former restaurant, on the corner of a lane. Along this lane was a knocked-out self-propelled gun, and in view of Glover's former experience as a cavalryman, Major Peter Warr of "B" Company called across to him, from a building behind his position on the opposite side of the road, to have a look at the vehicle to see if it could be brought into action. Glover found the inside to be covered with blood, he noticed that the breech block was missing and there was a strong smell of diesel, which indicated that the fuel tank had been hit. Nevertheless he was able to start the engine and allowed it ten minutes to warm up, but in so doing he made himself a target for both sides; the British nearby saw a functioning German self-propelled gun, whilst the Germans knew that it had been abandoned so the British must be trying to use it. Various explosions rocked the vehicle to such a degree that Glover's false teeth were knocked out. He bravely persevered in the face of this most worrying situation, but it was all for nought as he only managed to coax ten yards of movement from the vehicle before the engine gave up.

 

At dawn on Thursday 21st September, Glover took hold of a rifle and shot at any German snipers that he could see in the vicinity, and he believed that he hit three or four of them. His position was inevitably spotted and a shell was duly directed at his building, resulting in Glover falling from the first floor into the room below. He was not injured, though one private received a shell splinter through the bridge of his nose, which Glover obligingly removed with pliers. He then went to the side door of the house and saw a lone German moving across the road, whom he promptly shot. An enemy tank then arrived on the scene and began to fire into the building occupied by Major Warr and Lieutenant-Colonel Smyth, and he could hear the two officers debating whether they ought to hold their position or fall back. In the end they moved into the building occupied by Lieutenant Saunders, covered by smoke and fire from Glover's position.

 

The vacated building was occupied later in the day by a force of Germans, cutting Glover off and putting pressure on his building by pouring a great deal of machine-gun fire into it. The matter was resolved when the paratroopers charged across the road and drove them out. Glover turned his attention back to sniping, and was about to shoot a German moving across the green to the north of his position when a bullet hit his right hand and severed two veins. A great deal of blood flowed from the wound and even a tourniquet could not stop it. Glover gave command of the building to Sergeant Hughes and set off into the rain to make his way to the Main Dressing Station at the Schoonoord Hotel, a few hundred yards away. He was shot at several times as he moved from house to house, and was further wounded in the right calf when he was caught in a mortar explosion, but he otherwise reached the MDS intact.

 

Glover was helped into the back room which had been converted into an operating theatre. The room was literally covered in blood, and he was lifted onto the makeshift operating table, formed by a stretcher laid across two tables. The doctor told him that morphia was in short supply but he would administer a dose if the pain proved too great, but Glover declined and waved them on to continue. As the doctor was examining his leg he gave Glover a grim smile and said, "Don't look now, but we've got company." Looking behind, Glover saw a German soldier holding a Schmeisser which was pointed straight at him. The doctor said, "Keep quiet, and he'll go away." The German turned his back on the theatre but remained in the doorway. Glover lost consciousness shortly after.

 

On Friday 22nd September, now a prisoner of war, Glover and several other wounded men were put onto a horse and cart and taken to the St Elizabeth Hospital, where he was put in a bed on the top floor. He had taken the precaution of removing his rank badges as he believed he would have a greater chance of escape if he looked like a private soldier. Two days later, he was transported in a similar fashion to the hospital established at Apeldoorn. On the way there was an air raid which prompted the German driver to take cover in a ditch, but the wounds of the airborne men dictated that they had to remain where they were. At Apeldoorn, a Dutch priest visited the wounded each Sunday and slipped additional words into the Lord's Prayer which gave vague directions for any who wished to escape. Glover overheard the words, "Our Father, who art in heaven Captain Peter, Hallowed be thy name Underground, Give us this day Otterloo." It was hardly precise, but he gathered that he should head for Otterloo and contact a Captain Peter of the Resistance.

 

On the 15th October, Glover was about to escape when a fellow officer expressed some concern over the fate of those who would remain, due to the agreement reached between the British and Germans that Apeldoorn would be treated as a hospital rather than a prisoner of war camp on the condition that no one attempted to escape. Glover said that he did not give a damn what happened because it was his duty to attempt to escape. The officer persisted, and eventually forced Glover to take another man with him. As Glover had planned it, they both fell into line with the cooks who were marched from the cookhouse at 6pm every night to their cells nearby, and left the group to hide behind a shelter close to the cookhouse. Here they waited for darkness, and at 19:45 Glover ran across to the green and buried himself beneath an enormous Red Cross flag which had been placed on the ground. The other man was to follow 15 minutes later, but he did not arrive. Glover waited another 15 minutes, by which time he assumed that something had gone wrong so he pressed on without him. From here he drew near to the edge of the compound where he first had to cross a road to get to the wire, but he found that the sentries were too close together on the road for him to have any chance of getting across without being spotted. He waited for a while and wondered what he should do, but eventually there came the sound of an aircraft passing low overhead. Believing that the natural reaction of anyone would be to look up at it as it passed over their head, he bolted across the road when it came over and was not seen. He found that the barbed wire had tin cans tied to it to serve as an alarm if anyone attempting to climb over, but as well as a pair of wire cutters, Glover also had the foresight to bring some string with him to tie the wires together so that they would not rattle as he cut through them. Once through the wire, Glover swam across a dyke and, guided by the escape map and compass which he still had about his person, proceeded in a south-westerly direction towards Otterloo.

 

Glover moved with caution, taking an entire day to find his way around Deelen Aerodrome. He spent most of his time in the woods, and when it rained he developed the habit of using a towel to tie himself to the trunk of a tree so that he did not sleep on wet ground. It was in this predicament that he was once scared half to death by the sudden grunting of some pigs who were searching for food. After three or four days on the run, tired, cold and in dire need of nourishment, he happened across a farmhouse and decided to risk asking the owner for something to eat. The man who answered the door told Glover to go away at first, but he had a change of heart and told him to hide in his garden, where he was later hidden in a hole in the ground.

 

A member of the Dutch Resistance visited three days later and briefly interviewed Glover before leaving him. Another man came on the following day, this time he was armed with a revolver, and he asked who Glover was and demanded to know the passwords that the Division had used for the first two days of Operation Market Garden. Glover thought for a moment and gave him the correct responses, after which the man presented him with a cigarette and also a letter from Brigadier Hackett, congratulating him on his escape and ordering him to do all that the Dutch instructed. It soon became apparent that the man with whom Glover was speaking was none other than the mysterious Captain Peter.

 

Not long after, Glover was given a pair of overalls to put on and told that he was to be evacuated to the Allied lines immediately. He had been found just in time to participate in Operation Pegasus; the successful evacuation of 139 mostly British airborne troops across the Rhine. The two men left the farmhouse on a bicycle, with Captain Peter pedalling and Glover sat on the back. They were soon confronted by a German soldier on a motorbike; Glover feared that his companion might have given him away, but it became apparent that the German was simply lost and had stopped to ask for directions. They continued on their way until they saw a column of some two or three hundred German infantry marching in their direction. The Dutchman asked if Glover had any weapons to hand, he only had his wire cutters, so they decided to run the gauntlet and hope that they were not challenged. Glover did not mention it, but he noticed that the trouser legs of his overalls had been pushed up, revealing the British Army trousers underneath. Fortunately not a single German noticed this and they passed unhindered. After travelling some distance, they arrived in the woods where the participants of Operation Pegasus were gathering for the journey to the riverbank. Glover was put in command of a small group of Americans, and it was for their successful evacuation that he was later awarded the US Bronze Star. He caught the last boat to cross the river, but it had to turn back as they were so eager to be on their way that they had left behind the engineer who had guided them in. His citation reads:

 

Lieutenant (Quartermaster) Glover - quartermaster of 10 Parachute Battalion - took command of a company when all the other officers became casualties during the confusion and bitter fighting West of Arnhem. Throughout two days of fighting, he led his men with great gallantry and complete disregard to his own safety. He was wounded and taken to a German Dressing Station where he displayed great initiative in assisting the Chief British Doctor as hospital quartermaster. Later he escaped and joined up with a body of about one hundred other airborne troops behind the German lines. Here again, he was tireless in his assistance in organising this party. During the subsequent planning and execution of a brilliant mass escape through the German lines, Lieutenant Glover again showed the greatest courage and leadership. His continued bravery and devotion to duty were outstanding.

 

Once across the Rhine, Glover was taken to a hospital in Nijmegen, and has been flown back to England by the end of October. Glover returned home to discover that his wife had, on the 24th September, given birth to their third child, John Winston. Pat Glover died in 1996.

 

Thanks to Henriėtte Kuil-Snaterse for her assistance with this biography.

 

Back to 10th Parachute Battalion

Back to Biographies Menu