Lieutenant Brian Robertson Browne

 

Unit : "B" Company, 9th Parachute Battalion

Service No. : 138930

 

Lieutenant Browne commanded one of "B" Company's platoons. He landed miles from his intended drop zone and was subsequently captured. He escaped during July, however, and the following the report he wrote of his experiences for MI9.

 

1. Capture

 

I was dropped on the night of 6th June 1944 seven kilometres inland from VILLERS-SUR-MER (FRANCE, 1:250,000, Sheet 8, U 2983), about 20 kms. away from our objective. I met my batman, Private RENWICK, G. (now Prisoner of War).

 

We ran into a cycle patrol of what I think were S.S. troops and I shot three of them. We made contact with a party of two officers and 33 Other Ranks and with them made towards our own lines. We split up the party and I continued with a party of three to cross the DIVES river. After crossing it I met a party of six, and we manoeuvred round, trying five times in all to get back to our lines. Whilst a glider pilot, C.Q.M.S. RIDGEWAY, and X were trying yet again to cross, this time in civilian clothes, which had been given to us by French helpers, we were captured West of TROARN (U 1667) on 2nd July.

 

We had considerable difficulty with a German colonel, who was going to have us shot because of our being in plain clothes. When we produced the uniform which we had hidden he agreed to take us prisoners of war.

 

I was moved to a Divisional Headquarters (location unknown), where I was interrogated. I refused all information and the interrogation was not unduly pressed. On 3rd July as we were moved to BONNEBOSQ (N.W. Europe, 1:250,000, Sheet 7, U 4495), where I was kept till 17th July, when I was moved to FRESNAY LE [?], about five kilometres from FALAISE (Sheet 8, U 13).

 

2. Escape

 

On 20th July F/Lt J. CAMPBELL, a Spitfire pilot, 2/Lt Rudolf AUGARDEN, an American, W.O. Al ZACHARUCK, a flight Lieutenant in the R.A.F., whose christian name was David, a private (name unknown) who was a member of the 12th Parachute Battalion and I sawed through the ceiling of a stable with a small key saw used for cutting bread. We pushed the boards up and got into a barn later that night. We then lowered ourselves on a rope made from blankets and parachute ripcord to a road which [line unreadable] of the chaps who were [split?] in pairs, my companion being W.O. ZACHARUCK, R.C.A.F. We went due South and arrived near COURTELLE (U 1423), where we eventually made contact with some members of the resistance movement. They hid us between COURTELLE and GIEL (U 1422) in a barn till about 2nd August. From here we moved in plain clothes with the resistance people to BABLOVILLE (U 1624). We were here till about 15th August in a room next to a cafe.

 

We helped the resistance in the use of their arms and assisted them on their raids.

 

After being chased and hiding again in a barn at MONTGAROULT (U 1920) we made our way to our own lines, reaching them two kilometres from [ECOUCHE?] (U 1816).

 

We were evacuated to BAYEUX and left NORMANDY on 23rd August.

 

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