Major Christopher Perrin-Brown MC


Unit : "T" Company, 1st Parachute Battalion

Army No. : 121945

Awards : Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross


Major Perrin-Brown commanded "T" Company, 1st Parachute Battalion. On Sunday 17th September 1944, the Battalion was attempting to reach its objective on the high ground to the North of Arnhem, when a radio message requesting reinforcements was received from the 2nd Battalion at the bridge. Major Perrin-Brown, who was with Lieutenant-Colonel Dobie when he was deciding whether to go to their aid or continue towards the high ground, later wrote "I don't think David Dobie replied to the message. He just called an O-Group. He was of the opinion that we were in such a muck in the woods that we would never fight our way through. He said, "I'm not going on to the north of Arnhem; we'll try to get down to help Johnnie [Frost] at the bridge." I was instructed to lead off."


For his part in the difficult advance over the next thirty-six hours, Major Perrin-Brown was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. His citation reads:


At Oosterbeek on Monday 18th September at about 0900 hrs Major Perrin-Brown's company was ordered to attack high ground astride the main road. He gained his objective against heavy opposition and held his ground despite intense mortar and MG fire. Later he was given a further objective and it was due to his personal leadership that it was secured. By this time the battalion was being attacked from the rear and there was no other company available. Major Perrin-Brown was again ordered to attack and secure a road junction, which necessitated street fighting. He led his company, now reduced to 22, with great dash and gained the road junction despite heavy opposition including armoured cars. In Arnhem the following morning he once more led the attack against tremendous odds - he personally took his men forward in a brilliant bayonet assault against entrenched enemy. At the end of this assault he had only 8 men left and no other officers. Throughout this grueling action lasting three days Major Perrin-Brown showed outstanding leadership and gallantry and was largely responsible for the advances made.


Major Perrin-Brown was taken prisoner and spent the remainder of the war at Oflag 79. In March 1945, he became the only man to escape from the camp, and with excellent paperwork supplied by the Escape Committee, which carried him through three police checks, he posed as a French worker and was on the run for ten days before being recaptured at Paderburn.


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