354574 (2723752) Antony BRADY, 3 Irish Guards & Royal Irish Fusiliers

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by dbf, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks to Wills, for the link.

    Transcribed from

    Major Tony Brady, sniper section, 3IG.png

    N.B. There is a further 15 minutes of conversation at the end of the tape which have not been transcribed.

    Attached Files:

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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD


    Obviously I’m here today to talk about Market Garden and the operation there. So if I start off: What is your name?
    Name, Anthony Brady, retired Major, full time in the Army 35 years, started life as a Guardsman in the 3rd Battalion the Irish Guards, in the Guards Armoured Division. Then I was commissioned from the Field into Royal Irish Fusiliers and I stayed there for the rest of my service.

    Oh right, can you describe your role during the Operation?
    My role in the 3rd Battalion was in the Sniper Section. Although it started with companies - 4 and 2 Company - it was then pulled under the I.O. in the R.H.Q. and sent out to companies as required. In Operation Market Garden some of them stayed with companies, the others, such as myself, went with the Sergeant sniper and we were just behind R.H.Q. We were travelling from the Start Line in a 15 cwt with the Sergeant and we followed this through, with Tac H.Q., till we got to Valkenswaard.

    That’s really - we [Sniper section] didn’t do anything cos it was all happening up front.

    Of course, so you were much further down the convoy.
    Well there were - there were two squadrons, sabre squadron, squadron carrying No. 1 Company, Tac HQ, then there was us and odd bods - ‘O’ Groups and that sort of thing - and then there was the rifle company again, the third rifle company - cos there were only three - following up in TCVs but there was another squadron coming up as well.

    Can you recall when you were briefed about the Operation?
    Well we were briefed in fact - I reckon we got very little briefing. I know the companies were briefed and we were briefed - it was on the Sunday morning when we were briefed if at all, by the Drill Sergeant who was looking after us, amongst other things. Very briefly, and just tell us that there was this huge operation coming off and that we were all going to reach for the Zuider Zee and be home for Christmas. I mean we didn’t get any more than that.

    Right but you were told you’d be home for Christmas?
    That was the great line and if there were any troops of course they were these ‘white bread’ battalions.

    Had you operated with airborne forces previously, had you ever ... ?
    No, we’d been through them after we landed on the beaches and went through ...

    ... so by the time you arrived in Normandy they were actually ...
    Oh they were holding the left flank - 6th Airborne - and I remember going through them over Pegasus bridge as we went up to do Op Market Garden and thinking: By God I’m glad I’m not in that lot, dug in the ground with not much support. No, there was no combined training. I don’t know if there was anywhere else, I doubt it.

    So obviously you had this briefing on the Sunday morning, which wasn’t particularly fulsome?
    No and and we went to Mass in the church I always remember that and then we assembled in the yard of a huge factory which you see down there.

    Yes. Is that south of the bridge or was that ...
    ...It’s south of the bridge and to the - if you were facing the bridge to the right. All the vehicles - follow-up vehicles and christ knows what - were there and we sat there for a long while till we suddenly saw this strange sky covered in aeroplanes. I remember the thing we discussed, somebody said: ‘I hope to God I get through this without being wounded or killed’ or something like that. And one man, Corporal Hall, who said: ‘I’d hate to be wounded by a potato masher or a grenade. By god that was the very thing that hit him that night in the village. And I thought well, you know.

    And this, you saw the pack forming up, did you see a convoy, obviously you were in the convoy?
    Well it was like a car park and we were starting to get over that bridge. I mean, No, there were two bridges I think there was another, by that time they’d built a Bailey bridge ...

    ... Bailey bridge across it ...
    We didn’t get very far, we probably got further than anybody because we were with the R.H.Q. We got a couple of miles up the road. What happened the rest just sat there until we cleared all that nonsense that was going on. We hadn’t been gone five minutes when there were bloody flames going up in the front, cos I remember a vehicle on fire.

    Was that from 88s, or was that from the air?
    I suspect - no it wasn’t from the air - it was from either 88s in the woods - I can show you on the map - and/or bazookas, and the thing came to a halt because tanks couldn’t get off the road and then we seemed to be there forever, cos I remember we made - Sergeant Keane made pots of tea in the back in the 15 cwt.

    The only time I saw a War Correspondent - fellow who wrote, Chester Wilmott came up with a dizzy blonde and a jeep, took one look at it and buggered off - I remember that.

    Really, so Chester Wilmot, he was travelling by ground though, he wasn’t ...

    Yeah, but there was a fella from the Daily Mail, who had to be dragged off the leading tank, reporting, he was brilliant, got in all the details and he was following all these Typhoons coming which came in. There was a taxi rank of them, and they came in fairly soon after the halt and they were firing the things from behind us, going down the road like express trains. It was claimed, I think Joe says he thought in his memoirs, that perhaps one of our tanks was hit by them. I’m sure they weren’t because ‘Tinker’ Taylor who was a great friend and recently died, he said he was absolutely certain they weren’t - they were firing into the Germans and of course they turned the whole thing.

    So that was able to ...
    ...that cleared the road and then we had the problem of getting up, clearing the tanks off the road, because it was very narrow.

    We’ll take about this, this road too narrow that you’ve talked about. I’ve driven that stretch, it’s actually quite authentic, but ditches as well?
    Yes there were a lot of ditches and then the fields themselves were...

    ...marshy or ?...
    I wouldn’t have said so, but not ideal. No, the main thing were ditches, where it all happened. And then the woods stretched away, so if you’d gone off the road into the field as they did I think for one stage, to get back on the road they couldn’t make any progress - and these buggers were in the woods. The truth of the matter is we hadn’t cleared the Start Line.

    Right OK, so that was the problem.
    It was as simple as that. I mean they all assumed we’d have good jolly all the way up to Arnhem if you like.

    And you think was that a sort of common view, that it would be a quite simple progress?
    You see the other thing is as usual we had one of Monty’s barrages, they came, everything and kingdom come came down on those woods, but the Germans had got the measure of that, they knew and they’d move out. They also had a lot of Bazookas as they call them, dug into those ditches and that did play merry hell with the leading tanks.

    So the - I’ve seen a Fire plan for the start, a very complicated Fire plan, but it seems quite narrow on the road ...
    It is narrow on the road and of course the 88s. I couldn’t tell you how many there were but I got the Germans plans and who was where and although they were hotch-potch they were backed up by an SS crowd who said you don’t go backwards you stay where you are...

    ...you stay where you are and you fire...
    I do remember very soon after we got halted, the next thing was they were running down the roads - prisoners - with their groundsheets looking like bats and they gave themselves up. We moved on then to - eventually to Valkenswaard.

    So when did you get to Valkenswaard?
    Go there that evening and when we got there pulled in and that bloke who’d said he didn’t want to be wounded came up in a H.Q. TCV, halted and that moment the Germans got through Valkenswaard behind a fire engine and they were throwing potato mashers into vehicles, and they threw it into this vehicle and wounded this poor bugger.

    Right, so he prophesied what would happen?
    All very extraordinary really.

    What was the people’s reaction when you arrived there?
    In the evening, in the main square they were all over the place but I’ll tell you an amusing thing when we were forming up to go across the Start Line, H-Hour, what it was, a very good friend of mine, he’s still alive, Wilson, he said he was was sitting on the leading tank and all the Dutchmen were coming from Mass on bicycles waving, saying Hello Tommy. Just oblivious!

    This was before the Airborne troops had landed?
    And he says: they’re all waving on those bloody bicycle tracks which I nearly got killed on so many times.

    Sit up and beg bikes...

    The first night, well I’ve got to confess, we as a Sniper Section were isolated from the others and there was a door open and a light on and we went into the house and there was a meal on the table, just like that - including a roast chicken and went down the cellar, there was a reinforced cellar, nobody there, double bed - a maid. Oh you can’t get in that. Anyhow, we were mulling around making a cup of tea on the pavement and somebody said: ‘Well you’ll have to mount a guard on the vehicle and all night, so kip down somewhere.’

    Well, in the end we ate the chicken and we all went downstairs and the first time I’d seen - any of us had seen a bed since June. So we got in the bed. Well the funniest thing of all was there was this one man called Lightfoot, huge man who had been a gardener or something in New Brighton. He was a gardener and he couldn’t resist collecting things - bootlaces - anything he could lay his bloody hands on. When we got in the vehicle the next morning the Dutchman ran up to the vehicle we were in and he said: “Look chaps, don’t mind you eating our supper, we don’t mind you sleeping in our bed but can I have my bloody alarm clock back?” And we all looked at Lightfoot. Jeez an alarm clock! Could you imagine it!

    So you stayed there for the night ...
    Stayed there for the night. The next day there was chaos and there’s a photograph of it in most magazines or books on Valkenswaard. There were the Grenadiers, the Micks, every bugger. I mean if they dropped one bomb they could have got rid of the Division. They were storing prisoners under the bandstand, my friend was put in the hospital. I think it was a convent or something and we milled around there till eventually the Grenadiers took off and we followed up to Eindhoven. The outskirts of Eindhoven, from my point of view, the R.H.Q. with Vandeleur set up his H.Q. in Philips, the ...

    ... in the factory?
    No the house, private house, lovely private house, and we dug in, in the lawn somewhere and the companies went off trying to secure those bridges. Now I didn’t, we didn’t take any part in that but eventually the bridges were secured. We then went on the advance and I think it was then that the Americans - I hadn’t seen any Americans...

    I was going to say when did you first see ...
    I saw the Americans the first time crossing the ?Wilshelm? canal or one of these funny canals which they’d mended. I do recall when sitting smoking in a slit trench in the lawn, Herr Philips - the son - came out and gave us, John and I, a lecture on how we’d misunderstood the Japs and really they were jolly good chaps and so on. God, you know. Terrible.

    So you were there? ...
    We were there the whole night I think.

    So was that the night Eindhoven was bombed or was that the em...?
    No we weren’t bombed there.

    Right so you were OK?
    We were all right.

    You stayed there, the fighting went on to the north where the companies linked up with the Americans...

    ... and then you pushed on, or?
    Well, what we did, was first, after Valkenswaard it was a clear run you see, but it was after Eindhoven that these bloody little canals were...

    ...and we were held up quite a while while they took those things.

    ... cos they had to fix a bridge, didn’t they ...
    ... Yeah they had to fix a Bailey - took bloody days!

    And did you see the bridging?
    Went over it. No I didn’t, we were on our flank, as it were. It struck me at the time the whole of that Operation, there were so many rivers to cross you’d think you’d have assault boats and bridging right up forward.

    So where was it then, on the convoy?
    Well, it was on the narrow road trying to get up! I mean it must have had a job because there was at least another Div. coming up - TT Div. and Christ knows how many tanks all on that one road. Looking back, and something I learned on exercises in Germany, if you’re going to cross rivers, have a lifeboat or two upfront. Bloody silly!

    If you read the Tac or Ops Orders of the other Div - I think it was the 4/7th or some Officer asked at the ‘O’ Group, and it’s written down: What happens when we get to Nijmegen and the bridge is blown? And some Staff flake very wisely said: “Well there’s lots of barges on the Rhine.” Well you know.

    That was the plan?
    I don’t know if that was the plan - cuffed it, but I mean, if the bridge had been blown at Nijmegen that would have been it!

    That would have been it. Yes.
    Full stop.

    That question was asked last week...
    No way. It took a while to build that second Bailey bridge.

    We were very keen to question on the idea of what Horrocks actually thought, you know. With this plan, did he’d think he’d make it to Nijmegen and find a bridge there ...
    ...I don’t think anybody did. By that stage you’ve got to remember we’d had been in a cock-up at Goodwood, we’d wiped the battalion out in Normandy, been on the bloody go from June till August, got a break in Brussels, got down to the first load of canals after Lemain? and got hell knocked out of us there, and then when we started in Market Garden, by the time we’d got to Nijmegen, well you can see from the Casualty List.

    I personally think in retrospect it’d been better, instead of using aeroplanes for troops, they ought to have flown supplies up to the airfields. I don’t know, I’m not ... but I know at the time we were all very cynical. I mean, they were not like not soldiers today, they were National servicemen and people like myself, who said you know ... All I remember saying, I do remember saying to myself: Well Christ hope I survive this. And then I said: Well if I do I’ve only got to go into another bloody nonsense.

    One battle after another...
    Yeah you know and the novelty had worn off long since. I was much more interested in cups of tea and a good night’s kip. I mean Normandy! I did not know when we were there how the bloody hell we were going to get out. And as Browning said - was it Browning? - ‘When an Army gets its head down, it’s bloody difficult to get it up!’

    And you’ve seen obviously around you so many people around you who’d been casualties...
    A whole battalion!

    And then you go on and on and then you think you just live from day to day, so long as you get fed and what not. We left Nijmegen and we slowly made progress, by which time it must have been three or four days at least.

    So you drove up the road and in the end you sort of reach Grave?
    We got to Grave - I remember getting to Grave well, cos we stopped. You know the bridge at Grave?

    I do yes...
    There’s a bunker or a ...

    ...a pill box on the left.
    ...a pill box on he left. We stopped opposite it and the first Yanks I saw were there. And they were very friendly, they’d been in North Africa with the - I think with the 1st Battalion [Irish Guards].

    Yes the 82nd Airborne
    And they said: ‘You’re Micks, we know you.’ I always wondered how they defended themselves with these weeny little rifles. I thought I’d like a gun that fires a bit further.
    And we weren’t there for long, got out of the truck and we were talking and a jeep appeared, I remember that, and there was a bloke driving it, a General. And he stopped and he said: Where’s your C.O.?

    I hadn’t a bloody clue where he was really. And he said: Where would he be? And I said you know: ‘Well, he’s upfront, we hope.’ You know.

    And he had a barathea battle dress, a gold chain here and it was obvious who it was - it was Browning. And he looked as if he was poncing down Bond Street. He was rather angry cos we didn’t know where anybody was. So he turned about and buzzed off in his jeep. And the Americans said: Who in the name of Gawd’s that? What the hell’s he doing? He’s lost his way from London or something! But of course he’d got a whole Headquarters...

    He had yeah.
    ...south of the bridge and I think the Coldstream or people were diverted to guard it.

    So they were told to guard it, yes? Of course, yes.
    Sometime or other. Anyway we got across the Grave bridge, got across the Grave bridge safely and then we stopped in some funny little village, Malk? or some village which was on the map. We were there for hours while they made up their minds -
    A. they had to clear the roundabout or the bridge areas, and
    our lot were sorting out how they were going to get across the pond.

    So you were waiting...
    We were waiting in fact outside a house. I remember the woman saying: “Do come in but take your boots off.” I thought: Sod that you know. You could suddenly get a call.

    The only other thing I must admit I was a bit, I suppose, immature. On the way up to Grave - I see it to this day - there’s a school, or there’s a playground with swings and we were stuck there for so long, I got pissed off, went over and got on the swing. I was whizzing up and down and then I could hear them say “Start Up!” I remember the Drill Sergeant saying: “Get over here you bloody fool!” and then whizzed off the swing, got in the thing and went off. But you know something like that... The only other thing about the Dutch were - anything came in the way of the counter-attack or shelling, they bloody well got in your slit trench.

    At least they made it so awkward that you put them in and you got out. No, we stuck outside Nijmegen...

    So this was sort of the afternoon, there was a battle going on in the park there...
    ...the park - there was a raging battle. We were sorting out the bridge, the 2nd battalion and no infantry, but the 2nd battalion, who were using all their ammo, firing the Yanks across. They then had to bring these stupid little canvas boats up...

    Right, did you see them go past all?
    No they went up, if you look at the map, they went up our left flank, around. No didn’t. But they must have been miles behind.

    And then eventually one evening - I’d have to look at the Diary - we started to move into Nijmegen which was really a bit weird - it was sort of buildings on fire, the odd sniper and all the furniture, the Dutch had put in the pavements and we moved slowly through that to just quite near the big roundabout. We were diverted to the Post Office or Telegraph centre.

    That was to the right of the ...?
    To the right, a huge building and having got there - we hadn’t been there long, when I was called over by the Adjutant or somebody and he said: ‘Brady you’ve got to go in the ambulance. It’s got an SS man and the orderly is Jewish and he’s frightened.’ So, I got in with this crowd, it was full of wounded and it went off - and I realise now - it went off towards the south, to where the erm... Divisional ...

    ...towards the heights maybe, towards the Groesbeek area, or?
    ... towards where the Div. Headquarters was ... down towards the Dutch border and it wasn’t very far but I remember driving down there with a bloke who looked absolutely dead and the SS bloke, and bundled them out and it was the Forward Dressing Station, or something like that. Dropped them, came back. Then I was told to go up on the first floor and guard prisoners.

    This was still in the Post Office?
    Yeah, and we stayed in the Post Office, I remember, until the man who guarded the bridge, a Captain in the SS, was brought in - swaggered in - and he sat in the schoolroom with us outside of it, two of us, and a couple of Luftwaffe personnel - who had the audacity to ask me for a light for their cigarette. But he was a nasty piece of work and he was commanding that bridge. Well in the end they took him down to Joe Vandeleur. No, he went down to the IO and he was given a grilling I suppose and then he asked Joe for a car to go to this prisoner of war cage.

    Was this before the bridge had been crossed, or...?
    Eh, no the bridge had been crossed and we were waiting to go.

    Right. It was the morning after...
    ... It was the morning after, cos we didn’t go across till two o’clock that afternoon. It was that morning and Joe - he asked for Joe and Joe kicked his arse down the stairs and he disappeared. But then you see, we then all assembled again to cross the bridge.

    Had you suffered many casualties as a group ...?
    We hadn’t, not really, no because the Grenadiers had taken it ...

    They were doing the fighting in the park ...

    They had to keep our shower till we got across the bloody bridge. So about two o’clock, got in this vehicle, 15 cwt, again, and two down behind a squadron, across the bridge and I remember, you’ve seen photos of bodies hanging off the bridge and there was a bloke ...

    Was there anybody else on it, were people clearing it

    or was it and was there a lot of fire coming in?

    Nothing, so it was very quiet on the bridge?
    Very quiet, got to the far end and we just motored off the end and you go down and under the railway and then we started this abortive effort to get to Elst.

    So you were down in the sort of, the little village of Lent isn’t it, I think?
    Yeah round there.

    There was the church wasn’t there, as well there in Lent?
    Yeah we went further than that down that - the old road.

    So the road that goes down to Elst?
    Yeah, that road.

    So down the road that goes down towards Elst?
    We hadn’t and R.H.Q. was in a cottage, I remember that, and I was then sent to a field near the cottage, two of us, and there was one company in front of us and a company to the right of the road. But this was after the tanks had been brewed up and they were being attacked. And the next thing was Joe set up his Headquarters in a cottage and the cottage caught fire. So they were yelling: “Come on Brady, come on Cronan, come and help take the furniture out!”

    I always remember this, it’s awful really, in every Dutch house there’s a big picture of the Sacred Heart and being a Roman Catholic I thought well I’m going to do a good, get a brownie point here. I seized it and ran out into the yard as I did this somebody said: “Look down the field, they’re coming down the field.” I remember saying: ‘Sorry mate.’ Phush! Seized my rifle and then we got down the end of the field, and there was an SS man who gave himself up, huge youth and he got into my slit trench with me, he was crying. I told him to stop blubbing and gave him some chocolate or sweets and I said: ‘I don’t know what you’re crying about. You’re going to England, not like us. Go and meet all the rest of your family up the road in a minute.’

    Absolutely and so that was an SS? SS soldier or...
    SS, yes, they belonged to the 9th and 10th.

    9th and 10th who were dug in around there.
    And on the right where I showed you where those guns were, well we were there for at least a day and a night, and very thin on the ground.

    Really, so what kind of armour did you have with you?
    We had a bit of armour up at the back but that was stuck getting up the road. They had an ‘O’ Group, I know that, and they decided that it was a waste of time trying to go on. And I mean there we were until the other Division went round and took over and we were pulled back for a rest in the big area where the nice Schloss is.

    Right, OK.
    The Welsh Guards got through and took Elst and were there for a several days, very peacefully, shooting - if you read in their memoirs, there was nothing happening and they were shooting snipe or something.

    Then they were pulled out and we were told to go and take over from them. Christ we were only there five minutes and they must have looked us up saying ‘Now this is that crazy crowd’ and it all started. For crying out loud, for four days we got hammered up there.

    So the Germans put in a counterattack again?
    They put in two days, one of which I can claim I spotted - cos in that time of year in Holland you get fog.

    Oh yes.
    So I was sent out one morning to the right hand forward company which I think was 4, and um, got out there. ‘What do you want me to do?’ The Company Commander was much more busy wondering what he was going to have his breakfast. I think it wasn’t much. I went up there, I was feeling absolutely rotten with cold and got settled down. Just about to light up and I heard voices in the mist. Forward. I said to the bloke with me: “John this is odd, what the hell is this?” He said listen, listen and you could hear them shouting and they were Germans. So I said: ‘I think the queer fellas on the move down.’ So we rushed back and warned them. As it happened they missed the company and right passed into a farm behind, which you can see on the map and it’s there today.

    Was that because of the fog, they couldn’t see?
    Yeah, and it was led by a Warrant Officer. Another interesting thing is they fired 2” mortar at them. The blokes came over and I remember getting a nice pair of binoculars from a Warrant Officer, which was taken from me by the Drill Sergeant.

    However, that was first day there and it seemed to go quite well and the people on the other company up the road were getting all hell, they were further forward and they were getting hell knocked out of them, on the first day. And the next day we went out the same place and there was another attack and it was very heavy and I remember trying to get somewhere, to get into the slit trench just after we arrived and a young Officer said: ‘You can’t use our slit trench, you’re not in our Company.’ And I said ‘Oh sod you’ and I went off down the road and then they overran the company.

    I went back with John to R.H.Q. and on the way back I found some Gunners, anti-tank gunners in the middle of a field. And they said: “What are you doing? Are you running away?” “Not running away, I’ll tell you at any moment now you’re going to be run over by the Germans who are coming down.” Went to R.H.Q. and stayed there.

    The other company got virtually nearly overrun and the tank got right up and if you read in the War Diary, Harvey-Kelly who’s still alive, fired a Piat at it, missed and fired another one and my great friend said “Oh for God’s sake hit it this time” which he did. They looked up and then drove back but there was a big dyke you see which stopped them getting across.

    The anti-tank gunners up there buggered off and our blokes were trying to fire it. Of course they hadn’t a clue what they were doing with a 17-pounder.

    They’d just left the gun?
    Left the gun. And it was a funny old set up, we got reinforcements shortly after that and we then had a company that was - we had 1, 2 that was - the 4th company which took over from the Green Howards, I think on the right flank and they had a queer old set up in the Green Howards. No, we were nearly overrun. The R.H.Q. which was in a jam factory up in Elst got burnt down. We got another company of Welsh Guards came up to help us and what they were trying to do was get back to the bridge but we did stop them.

    So that was their plan?
    That was their plan. By God, we stopped them. It was lucky because they were on foot. They did bring tanks over. You see what they had, was - they had a ferry further down - upstream, would be upstream and they were ferrying tanks and and things over. And it was all quiet till they got that over, cos they couldn’t get across Frost bridge for want of a better word. And they were getting across there cos that is really quite like an island.

    So they were flanking you?

    Which I suppose leads on actually to Arnhem?
    Arnhem well, it was our people in one one of the reports that I was reading the other day, a friend of mine says they went up as far as Arnhem, the river, not the bridge and they brought some blokes back with photographs on them.

    Do you see any of these, were they evacuated?
    No I didn’t actually, they must have gone through while I was doing something else. I do remember another - two things at Elst apart from that ... going up in the morning was tricky cos at night people were laying lines, you see it was all done by telephones - the wirelesses never bloody worked except on the Gunners and Tanks. The poor old Linesmen used to be clobbered by patrols. But once we were - twice there the Drill Sergeant had to go and get ammo and he’d got the wrong turn. He went into Elst turned right instead of left and when we were going down the road people were shouting “Stop! Stop!” We were heading up to the bloody bridge. The other thing - cos they could not read maps, he was lucky we had a map.

    The other time - the final time we were pulling out we had two prisoners in the back of the truck I was in and again he took the wrong turn, this time south and we stopped and he shouted: “Get out of the truck while we turn it and we’ll come back.” So we all got out, the prisoners, two other men and myself and my partner - the other sniper - and then he turned round and when John and I rushed to get in the truck and a voice was shouting ‘Wait for us, wait for us!’ The prisoners! So I said: ‘Get in!’ I always remember this to my dying shame, he got in, I handed him my rifle. You know by this time they just wanted to give up. So we come back and then we were taken for a rest. We crossed back to the area of the escarpment...

    ...the hill

    So you crossed over the bridge did you?
    We crossed over the Bailey bridge. Oh the Bailey bridge that’s where thats where FitzGerald, God rest his soul - he’s dead now. Old Dennis said in his memoirs, he said it was just: ‘The lights and bangs reminded me of the 4th of June.’ Eton! I thought: Bugger that. Just get across. One thing I hated was being in a truck and the truck we were travelling had all this ammunition in it. And this Bailey bridge. It was then of course they were using frogmen.

    Right, so you knew about the frogmen?
    I didn’t, we didn’t, we give a monkeys really.

    Cos the railway bridge...
    That was gone, they were taking... The railway bridge. I’m told there were German troops till the last moment and they had in fact had horses and carts going over it till the last moment. One of our tanks claimed he aimed for the cart rather than - save the horse. Clown. Anyhow we went down to rest and there’s a road that leads down from Nijmegen down to Cleve and those places and we were in a field there near a school. The R.H.Q. was in the school, which got shelled and wounded some of our prisoners in there, but for the most part we were there it was all right except they had Drill Parades every bloody day.

    So even though you were resting you had Drill?
    Oh God, Drill! And there was one bloke who had been rewarded at Joe’s Bridge. He was in my company originally and he and three others were grabbed by our Sergeant Major Osborne and told to go and guard the people taking the explosives off of Joe’s Bridge and he did. They all got MMs. Two of them disappeared, deserted the following week, and this fellow who was a mine of business, he stayed on for a reward and he was put in the snipers. So when we came to rest at Nijmegen he said: ‘Oh I want to go back every night to see my mates on the bridge.’ And he said to the Drill Sergeant, ‘Drill Sergeant I’m all right Drill Sergeant I’ll be back in the morning.’ I said: ‘What the bloody hell do want to go down there for, they’re shelling that every night.’ ‘Ah but there’s Margy’s Brothel down there and it’s wonderful fun.’ And I said ‘Bloody hell.’ Trimble! And he went back every night. My God, I can’t believe it.

    So that was that. We were still there at Nijmegen and then we were moved further south while they were making up their mind
    and we were guarding the bridge I think. Didn’t involve us at all. In fact I got a trip twice to Brussels to collect things with the car and
    Drill Sergeant cos I could speak a bit of French. And one of the that happened when I was away - a jet, the first German jet was crashed into the field nearby. Of course by the time they got there, the R.A.F., there was nothing left. There was sort of like a ‘herring bone’, everybody had ...

    ...picked all the bits off it?
    They were bloody angry.

    Gosh. So you moved sort of ...
    ... to the American, yeah ...

    Even at your position, cos I think you said to me last time you were the baby, you were the youngest...
    I was 21 when we crossed the Seine, crossed into the Seine, it was my 21st birthday. I was very young.

    Did you sort of thing this was a good plan, or a bad plan, or a...?
    You know they were very different. I probably thought more than most cos all my life and at school I’d been interested in military history. So I was quite excited about what was going on and luckily, being with the Drill Sergeant who always went to ‘O’ Groups, who’d come back, both of them would tell you what was happening. So I’d had a fair ...
    I don’t think other people cared, gave a monkey’s. They really didn’t. They were not like the troops today, who one could be proud of. I mean they were national servicemen, they got half the pay that we got. I was on regular pay cos I joined as a Regular to get an extra few bob. No they didn’t really and you know they’d heard it all before - in as much as we’d been told this that and the other, but it never worked out quite as it was expected to.

    Did you think that you could get to Arnhem? I mean, I take it you knew that that was ...?
    Yes. No I don’t. I honestly, I mean I didn’t think it was likely. Because we had a far healthier respect for the Germans. The Germans were bloody good soldiers. You only needed one 88, or two, on a road - a narrow road and you were snookered. I don’t think we really believed it, no, to be honest.

    I mean, you’ve said to me in the past about the road, was that the big problem? Was it the fact that the road was too narrow?
    And there was too much going up it. It was like, as I said: if you got two funnels and put them end to end, much as you pour it in, you couldn’t get it out the other end. It’s impossible. I’m amazed that they did it the way they did, but it was all done I think, in the last moment.

    Yes, the planning was done very quickly, wasn’t it?
    If you’d looked at it: we were in a bridgehead over Joe’s Bridge for at least a week. And those woods - they attacked us quite badly from those woods and then we were relieved by another regiment. And we went to rest, while they were preparing us to go up the road. They were aware that those woods held troops. I’m surprised they didn’t send out recce patrols, or even clear the woods before we got - it’s the old thing, we didn’t clear the Start Line.

    But you know when - I remember being commissioned, the thing they taught you at the OCTU was: Never make the Plan fit the Appreciation and that’s what they did. They made - they were going to cross and go and do what they did and then they wrote the appreciation to - even to the extent when told there were Tiger tanks by that Airborne fellow, who’s still alive. They didn’t want to believe it.

    Was this do you think because they wanted to use the Airborne forces?
    They wanted to use the Airborne forces and Frost & Co. You see the Germans never used them after Crete. If they’d used them as an infantry regiment and gave them some experience - they’d had less experience than the greenest of the troops going forward.

    So this was the 1st British Airborne?
    Yeah, very green. I mean you could see from what happened in the event. They dropped miles away, dropped... I mean as for the wireless sets - it’s unbelievable.

    You said about the transport aircraft. Would it have been better do you think to use those for infantry ...
    I would have thought having got, captured Brussels for nothing. We, No. 1 Company went up to the airfield. There was also an airfield at Eindhoven. I would have thought the Dakotas would have been better bringing up food, ammo, petrol mostly for the tanks. But when we were in Nijmegen we were on German rations.

    I think I told you this, in the Quartermaster went to a Dutch RAC Depot and he got Dutch rations which were revolting but nevertheless it was something - black bread and porridge and garlic. And he was looking at the list and he said ‘Who else is using you?’ ‘Oh well the Germans come in the afternoon.’ The Germans were coming in the afternoon and we were doing the ... but you see everything came from Arromanches.

    They still came from Normandy?
    Yeah. The only people who made any use of evacuating as far as I gather was the wounded. But I would have thought I would have been more use to bring up the necessary re-supplies, even reinforcements. That’s one thing. Secondly, I think I gave you the air plan for the Typhoons, for ...

    Oh yes, yes.
    Now if you look at that the same day they were beating up barges on the Seine and everything. It’s great pity that they didn’t have more air support all along but then the R.A.F. refused to give air support at Nijmegen because of the pylons...

    Oh right
    ...and everything else.

    Right it wasn’t so much flak it was more the...
    Well, they may have known, they may have known. But see those bloody pictures I gave you. But you see there again, those photos, the air photography - I was Forward Air Controller after the war and the whole time in Germany. Photos are taken, you give an end flight report, it goes down to Div., but the photographs, they never get to the people who really need them in time.

    So the Intelligence is ...?
    Well, by the time they’ve raced them through, the General gets them, they’re in an in-tray but the people who want them first of all they don’t get them and b. they don’t understand them.

    No, no.
    I mean if you show the average air photography to an average bloke, he doesn’t understand them.

    No of course not, the topography of it, it’s all...
    And you know, if you read one of the Divisional reports - relieved us on the left, which Division was that? - 43 - it says could you ask the R.A.F. to bomb the Germans tomorrow instead of us for a change. You know they - friendly fire was...

    Right, so there was plenty of it
    ... plenty of it.

    Were people using any marking devices?
    Yes, we all had yellow things and pink things but I don’t think anyone really realized um... and no, I suppose the pilots were pretty young, I mean inexperienced. But no, by and large they did us proud - when we got them.

    When you got them, yes. I’m going to ask you three final questions.
    Yeah do, sure.

    You talked about finding a German Intelligence depot or a German Intelligence unit at Nijmegen.
    Yes, I’ll get back on this. This was after the war when I was doing all my research, I got a message from a woman in London and she said ‘Can you help me about a German unit that was in Valkenswaard?’ So I said ‘Well tell me what you want to know’ and I got on to my contact, sadly he died two years ago - Joop. I said ‘Joop, was there a German unit there? She says there was a German unit, equivalent to Bletchley - code breaking. He said ‘Yes.’ I said ‘Where was it?’ He said ‘Oh I’ll send you pictures of it.’

    It was a huge farm and they had this unit near Ostend or Zeebrugge and then as D-Day came they moved them to this place. And he said they arrived one day, cleared the whole farm and set up this thing and no one could go anywhere near it. It’s extraordinary and I never knew anything about it until this woman said she had a job in the bunker and she used to listen in to Churchill and Roosevelt
    and if they were saying anything wrong, it had to be cut off immediately but they - she told me this unit and it’s got a name and I’ve got pictures of it somewhere I’ll let you have, it was doing what we were doing and intercepting conversations between Roosevelt and Churchill who was not always tactful by what he was saying. And it moved there till a few days before we went to Valkenswaard and then they buggered off into Germany somewhere.

    Right, OK.
    Then I said to her, Joop was coming over to London, so I said ‘Well let’s meet in London in R.H.Q.’, he’ll tell you what he knows about it. So we met, she arrived - and with her son - at R.H.Q. and we took them to a little restaurant, Italian restaurant and he told her all he knew
    She wanted to write a book about it. Whether she ever did or not, I don’t know.

    I’ll have to find out.
    But she was keen to but there was some reason why she didn’t or wasn’t. Anyhow I’ve got - Joop sent me something on it, I’ll dig it out for you.

    Thank you, that would be very interesting.
    And it seems to me extraordinary that no one ever mentions it any time.

    Totally unaware of it.
    But you see in the same token in France, I discovered, when we were attacking in Sourdevalle, nearby there was a German radar unit
    which upped and away’d the day after we captured that piece of land. I got maps and I know where it is but no one knows what it was doing. What I suspect what it was doing was locating raids, and the time, that time a lot on, the VE thing. It upped and away’d
    But I always remember in our Battle Group there was an R.A.F. unit and I wondered if they weren’t involved in ....

    So not sort of a regiment or anything like that...?
    For some extraordinary reason there was an R.A.F unit and I often wondered if they didn’t go and see what was there, or. But it was a small radar unit.

    Interesting, I’ll look into that as well. My penultimate question is about Joe. You talk about Joe, your C.O.
    ‘Joe’ Vandeleur, yeah.

    What was he like?
    He was a character I mean - he was a character, to put it mildly, he was always in command but not always in control. You see what you got to realise - these fellows were Company Commanders. He was Adjutant just before the war - where suddenly they get put in a position where they’re fighting a most heavily trained skilled army and it’s all very new to them. It’s a bit confusing. He was an eccentric in the best of times, quite old - he was older than he should have been - but he wasn’t - Monty said ‘nobody above a certain age’, but as he was a Guardsman... Terrible thing was there was a desperate lack of people who could command in the Regiment. These Regiments are very small.

    Coming back from North Africa, the were some people in North Africa, they had a bloke Montagu-Douglas-Smith [ Montagu-Douglas-Scott http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claud_Andrew_Montagu_Douglas_Scott ]
    who was a pre-war Reservist. Then they came to us, suddenly being turned from a Training Battalion into a regular and to be honest they just hadn’t got the experience. I don’t think they - their idea of an Armoured Division was ‘Infantry Brigade. Armoured Brigade’ but they had no idea of a joint thing which the Germans had. It was difficult for them.

    So was it sort of learning on the job?
    I think really it was. Nobody had anybody with any experience. Those who had a bit were captured at Dunkirk, the [1st] Battalion was routed out of Norway. They then went to North Africa - people in North Africa fought a very different sort of war, and learnt a lot but lost a lot, and we were suddenly trained in Yorkshire and put into Normandy. The Americans changed in Devon and put into the right flank peninsula. I mean you think they could have even trained us in Dover.

    Yes it would have made sense.
    But I tell you an interesting thing - the thing we were absolutely obsessed with security.

    The Americans?
    We are. I asked a German not many long years ago ‘Did you have censorship?’ He said ‘No, we had nothing like that’ and they all had cameras. He said, ‘What’s the point?’ If I tell you I’d seen a British tank, my mother about a British tank, who the hell’s going to be interested in that? But our letters were read and re-read and crossed out and of course the blokes used to put terrible things in to shock the young officers.

    They were doing the censoring, yes. So Joe was...
    He was a good character.

    Was he popular with the men?
    Yes he was popular, I mean he was... he talked like a comic in bubbles. Snap: pop pop pop pop pop and I mean when - He had, apart from a scout car, he had a Humber staff car and had two loud speakers and on the inside he had a recording of classical music which he liked, which he played whenever we were out of the line resting. He thought it was wonderful. It was blown up at Joe’s Bridge much to my relief, and he said ‘how disappointed the troops were’. But you know he was a good soul, I mean, he was kind to me. I went across to Normandy under Field Punishment.

    Oh yes I was, I tell you, they didn’t muck around in those days. We were in billets in Eastbourne and each day there was a billet orderly. I happened to be that morning billet orderly and my Platoon Sergeant - who got an MM - he said ‘Where’s the key of the billet?’ Somebody, some clown said ‘It’s down the loo.’ and he said “Brady go and get it out of the loo.” I got as far as saying “What?” and he said “You’re disobeying an order, fall in!” I had to get the bloody key out of the loo but I was doubled down to the Battalion Headquarters. Get down there, marched in eventually.

    ‘Disobeying an order? You realise what a serious crime this is and you want to be an Officer.’ Oh Mother of God! He said: ‘I don’t know what to do, it’s a Court Martial offence.’ But I’d already volunteered to go, not for another Officer’s test, WOSB. I’d failed the first one and was due for a second one, and I said ‘No, I want to go with the Battalion.’

    Anyway, he said ‘Well I’m going to let you off lightly.’ He said ‘14 days Field Punishment.’ Well in the old days they tied you to a bloody gun or something! But in Eastbourne, they put on big packs and you had to answer every call, you didn’t get any money or anything. Think the pay was stopped. It really was very grim. They used to parade and it was a Bank Holiday at Eastbourne and we were parading with the defaulters who were there anyhow. Up - and they were going up and down the Front and ‘Left turn, right turn, about turn.’ A woman came up and said to the Drill Sergeant, Thackeray: ‘I’m going to report you to the War Office!’ He said ‘If you don’t get off my Parade I’ll put you in with them!” Well of course that got me into trouble cos whenever we ‘faced’ I got the giggles. And whenever we turned round left turn, right turn, we faced together, god, I couldn’t help it and that gave you an extra bloody hour’s Drill. So I spent my luck. Anyhow...

    ...you were very good at Drill at the end?
    Well I wasn’t any better but I always was the last one off. Anyhow we get off to Normandy and the R.S.M. came up to me in the Field on the first day and he said: ‘Ah, C.O’s been kind to you and he’s going to let you off that.’ But it never went on my documents so I was quite relieved but I’ll always remember old [Sergeant Major] Grant. I called on him after the war, he got an M.M. He was a character. He had a water bottle full of rum, but he was a good soldier.

    I think, cos you mentioned to me - and it’s my last question - you mentioned about Joe and the film A Bridge Too Far. I think you said that he was quite a character during that film.
    Yes in ... Michael Caine!

    Michael Caine talked very fondly about him.
    He does. He said to one flake - I’ve got some photos for you, I think, of him, I’ll let you have them - Caine said another week - cos Joe used to lecture him on how to behave like an Officer.

    Yes, I heard one story about him telling him how to put a cravat on properly.
    That’s right. Another week with that bloody man I’ll be like a Guards Officer. I got some photos, I’ll let you have them, there’s no hurry is there.

    No. I mean the film, I take it obviously you’ve seen the film.
    Yes at the most - as Joe said to him said to the man producing, what’s his bloody name?

    Richard Attenborough.
    Yeah he said to Richard Attenborough: ‘You know it wasn’t very much like this, you know. It wasn’t really like this.’ And that was said to him ‘God Joe you’re not paying for it the Americans are.’ Those were his very words.

    Yes, I think a number of people have said the same.
    I mean there were all sorts. I had a nice bloke from the Division came into London and they asked me would I help, so I put him in the Victory Club and I looked after him got him down the Airborne and so now I keep in touch with him but I haven’t recently and he was in that lot and I think we got on quite well together. But I mean when you think of it, you look at the map - a bloody great German Army in Antwerp and...

    You leap-frogged over them.
    ...they could have come back! It was obvious. I remember going back eventually to be commissioned, going down that road, they’d have been still cutting that road months after.

    Yes I mean the line - well, we only really captured that area...
    ..we captured the road!

    ...right at the end. Did you ever after the war, I mean you had a long career after the war, did you ever study it again?
    Yeah I went back to - when I was in Germany. I was always in an Armoured Division in Germany and we’d got all back to how we started
    before we went to you know - same old mistakes, it used to be heart-breaking. However we used to train down in Bourg Leopold, Belgium training there and when I was down there I used to take a couple of times to look at Joe’s Bridge and I had followed it but I didn’t realised when I left, again we lost the whole battalion in February just before we went across the Rhine taking a pointless attack
    lost two companies there. When in the Reichswald Forest cemetery, hell of a lot of Irish Guardsmen there.

    Couldn’t think how they got there. I was stationed at Goch, down the road, with the R.A.F. as a Liaison Officer. Couldn’t think how they’d got there. At that time I was busy with the children coming up but I’ve gathered quite a lot about it as well, still going on as well and working.

    Course you are, you’re working on that. I mean, do you think, cos we look at this operation, we look at Market Garden so much. There were a lot of other operations in the war...
    Well I think you know, this is the trouble. I’m going over next June. I got an invitation - because I was made a freeman of St Charles de Percy - from the mayor Would I come over? and I’ll go over on the 6th of June and I’ll go to the cemeteries where our friends are, lay a wreath and spend the day with them and come back. But all these celebrations and the last one last year, they’re all for D-Day, and afterwards some of those divisions - 51st Highland - and those divisions in the Hill, 112 - slaughtered, it was like the Great War.

    And it’s got, I think there’s two reasons - the PR, there’s no story in it as there is in D Day, and there’s no story... I mean let’s face it, my brother was in Anglia Television and they did very good documentaries. I remember when I was in Berlin and they came, the bloke who was doing it, came to stay with us and they had to go to East Germany to get the best archive material. Anyhow, half-way through it, Anglia said to the people ‘Do you really want to really want us to go on filming this absolute cock-up - the General’s hiding in a cupboard, and everything’s going wrong and do you really want to?’ And they said ‘Yes’. But you see ...

    So there was no real interest then and they didn’t think that was a story? They just sort of - because it was a defeat...
    ... a defeat. But you see we have a great knack.

    We do.
    Absolute knack and it’s a great pity because um ... Goodwood was an absolute cock-up.

    I might come back if I may and talk to you about Normandy. The College might well go to Normandy next year instead of going back ...
    Well I wish they would. There again, it is extraordinary, I say this to you: there was a battalion suddenly cooked up in the war from the Training Battalion, the 3rd Battalion, I’ve given you a list of the casualties. At the end of the war they couldn’t get rid of it quick enough and I feel - and I’m going to talk to them about it, I’ll make no bones about it, there’s a battalion, we should have been given Colours. Our Battle Honours have been put on the 1st Battalion’s and I feel like many of us that it was rather a pity. Even if there wasn’t a battalion we should have had Colours in memory of the dead. But they didn’t and I do think it’s a pity because a lot of the men after the war felt - well a lot of National Servicemen and what have you thought well they’re all going back now to be on the Guard in Buckingham Palace all that - and the tail wagging the dog. I say this sincerely and I’ll say this to anyone.
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    3rd Battalion, Irish Guards
    001 Link ALBON MB 2724774 3RD BN 02/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    002 Link ALLBUTT LL 2724407 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    003 Link ALLDIS AV 2724119 3RD BN 08/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    004 Link ALLEN RE 2718779 3RD BN 09/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    005 Link ALLEN W 2719151 3RD BN 22/07/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    006 Link AMBROSE R 2722999 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    007 Link ANDERSON EN 2723353 3RD BN 03/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    008 Link ARKWRIGHT J 2720765 3RD BN 09/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    009 Link ASHTON J 2721176 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    010 Link ASHWORTH E 2722895 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    011 Link ASPINALL GT 14514367 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    012 Link BALL KJ 2721832 3RD BN 22/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    013 Link BAMFORD H 2721250 3RD BN 18/07/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    014 Link BARLOW J 2721917 3RD RN 07/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    015 Link BARLOW RL 2723812 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    016 Link BARRY EA 2717534 3RD BN 16/05/1943 IRISH GUARDS
    017 Link BARRY G 2722072 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    018 Link BEGLEY JP 2724789 3RD BN 04/03/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    019 Link BENT HE 2719254 3RD BN 28/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    020 Link BERESFORD W 2720827 3RD BN 07/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    021 Link BOGGIS BJ 14664830 3RD BN 02/10/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    022 Link BOLAND MP 2721083 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    023 Link BOOTH SJ 2720609 3RD BN 20/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    024 Link BORSBEY J 2722123 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    025 Link BOSWELL T 2721313 3RD BN 14/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    026 Link BOURKE PO 295058 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    027 Link BOWEN W 2723089 3RD BN 14/10/1943 IRISH GUARDS
    028 Link BOWERS F 2721681 3RD BN 01/05/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    029 Link BRACEGIRDLE H 2724349 3RD BN 30/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    030 Link BREEN T 2716778 3RD BN 30/03/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    031 Link BRESLIN EJ 2721333 3RD BN 07/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    032 Link BRIDGE SG 2724739 3RD BN 02/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    033 Link BRIGGS J 2722611 3RD BN 12/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    034 Link BRITTON GC 2723648 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    035 Link BRODERICK FJ 2718263 3RD BN 22/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    036 Link BROWN A 2724382 3RD BN 05/03/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    037 Link BROWN AT 14692029 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    038 Link BRUCE WRR 176774 3RD BN 07/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    039 Link BUCKINGHAM DHP 2722034 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    040 Link BUCKLAND RE 14581915 3RD BN 27/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    041 Link BYRNE J 2724032 3RD BN 03/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    042 Link CARRUTHERS J 2722126 3RD BN 01/10/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    043 Link CARTLEDGE S 2721125 3RD BN 07/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    044 Link CATLING RW 2724872 3RD BN 21/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    045 Link CHARLESWORTH K 2724351 3RD BN 08/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    046 Link CLANCY R 2724529 3RD BN 21/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    047 Link CLUSKEY P 2719556 3RD BN 21/08/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    048 Link COLE E 2720772 3RD BN 21/10/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    049 Link CONNOR J 2723341 3RD BN 01/10/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    050 Link CONROY J 2717181 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    051 Link COOKE MR 2722104 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    052 Link CORKRUM TA 2721593 3RD BN 08/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    053 Link DAVIDSON T 2721108 3RD BN 07/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    054 Link DAWSON S 2724353 3RD BN 21/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    055 Link DEE PB 2723495 3RD BN 14/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    056 Link DEE M 2723677 3RD BN 17/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    057 Link DELANEY MJ 2703025 3RD BN 17/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    058 Link DEVINE RJ 2724791 3RD BN 05/03/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    059 Link DINGWALL D 2723623 3RD BN 18/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    060 Link DOBSON FA 2723804 3RD BN 28/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    061 Link DONNELLY J 2724294 3RD BN 09/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    062 Link DOUGLAS WJ 2720741 3RD BN 05/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    063 Link DOWNEY W 2724254 3RD BN 24/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    064 Link DOWNEY R 2723744 3RD BN 21/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    065 Link DOYLE WJ 14441956 3RD BN 01/10/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    066 Link DOYLE J 2718840 3RD BN 22/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    067 Link DOYLE JA 14436399 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    068 Link DUDLEY MV 93020 3RD BN 09/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    069 Link DULLARD P 2716800 3RD BN 25/10/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    070 Link DUNN J 2719614 3RD BN 10/09/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    071 Link DUNNE M 2718093 3RD BN 15/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    072 Link EAGER G 2723836 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    073 Link EARDLEY-WILMOT AR 104182 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    074 Link ELLIOTT EB 2719380 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    075 Link ENGLAND TH 2718941 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
    076 Link ENGLISH TJ 2721894 3RD BN 08/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    077 Link FARROW AF 2722649 3RD BN 19/07/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    078 Link FEE J 2724794 3RD BN 29/04/1945 IRISH GUARDS
    079 Link FERGUSON GS 2723795 3RD BN 08/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    080 Link FISHER-ROWE GE 102718 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    081 Link FITT G 2723874 3RD BN 03/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS
    082 Link FITZMAURICE EN 253926 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
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    234 Link SMITH SJ 2722871 3RD BN 21/02/1945 IRISH GUARDS - at Hommersum
    235 Link SMITH H 14220908 3RD BN 11/08/1944 IRISH GUARDS - at Sourdeval
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  4. borneo72

    borneo72 Junior Member

    Brilliant article thanks for posting,

  5. borneo72

    borneo72 Junior Member

    Brilliant article at #2, thanks for sharing.

  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thanks for the reply Dave,
    I think he's rather forthright - pulls no punches, particularly about the place in history it's been given.
  7. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

  8. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Great effort Diane, thanks for sharing

  9. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
  10. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    Nice read, thank you for that.

    I met Wilson and Brady a few years back near Valkenswaard. Lovely chaps!
    dbf likes this.
  11. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I was very saddened to hear, through my friend Andy, that Tony had died on Sunday 7th.
    His work as regimental historian was an inspiration to those of us interested in the Irish Guards during WW2 and his passing will surely be a great loss particularly to all those who knew him best.
    There aren't that many left from the 3rd Battalion; certainly not with the same dogged determination to ensure that the 3rd was given its due in regimental history.

    A true Mick.
  13. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

    lol "..Philips - the son - came out and gave us, John and I, a lecture on how we’d misunderstood the Japs and really they were jolly good chaps and so on..."
    In wartime; business above all..never mind civilian casualties....
    Frits Philips.
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    "Weaponology" Sniper Rifles (TV Episode 2007) - IMDb

    Weaponology (TV Series) Sniper Rifles (2007)
    3m 42s

    Tony Brady:
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD



    The Guards Magazine

    Major Antony Brady
    Late Irish Guards
    by Lieutenant Colonel D M Hannah MBE
    formerly Irish Guards


    Antony Brady, ‘Tony’ to his family and many friends, died peacefully at home in the Cotswolds on 9th September 2014. Born in 1923, Tony was educated by the Jesuits at Stonyhurst before enlisting as a Guardsman. According to his contemporary, Lt Col William Harvey-Kelly:

    Tony Brady was due to go for a commission in 1944 but put it off as he wanted to take part in the invasion of Normandy, which he did as a LCpl in the 3rd Battalion snipers where he was a confidante of Col J O E Vandaleur. Having taken part in the fighting in Normandy, Belgium and Holland (Op MARKET GARDEN), he left at the end of 1944 to be commissioned into the Royal Irish Fusiliers, so he had a very profound view of all the operations of the 3rd Battalion Irish Guards in 1944.

    Tony retired from the Army in 1978 after many years of loyal service, including four busy years with BRIXMIS from 1967 to 1971, at the height of the Cold War. He was a member of the Quis and served as the Regimental Archivist for many years. As well as recording devotedly the history of the 3rd Battalion, he often represented the Regiment at events in France and Holland. He visited and laid wreaths at Mick graves every year, building close and important links with local families and authorities, especially at Cagny and St Charles de Percy in Normandy, where along with many members of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, Tony received his baptism of fire in the bitter battles to breakout from the D-Day beachhead. Recalling this period, Tony was a fount of information, with a degree of detail reflecting the extent to which these days were formative and remained with him. However, Tony was always inclined to focus on lighter moments. The book The Guards against the Hohenstaufen (La Garde contre la Hohenstaufen) by the French authors Georges Bernage and Michel Leteinturier, contains a typical anecdote of the fighting around St Charles de Percy:

    ‘While Lt Col Vandaleur was establishing his command post to the west of the Château, a small patrol of HQ Company snipers commanded by Tony Brady set off in pursuit of German snipers who were operating in the park of the Château. As recounted by Tony: “an enemy sniper had inflicted a number of casualties on us during the previous day, but he had been killed; I set off on this beautiful summer day and entered the Château, wondering who might live in this delightful building; to my surprise, I discovered, laid out on a table, a bowl of fresh strawberries with a small metal jug of cream next to it. For a moment I considered whether it might be booby-trapped but then sat down and helped myself to the lot, eating it as if at an English summer picnic or a school cricket match; clearly the Château’s previous occupants, including the enemy snipers, had departed in haste ... so I enjoyed the strawberries and cream without any qualms!”’

    Mick contemporaries recall that Tony earned an enviable reputation as a tough, resourceful, daring and highly intelligent infantryman whose rank and role as a LCpl sniper belied the extent to which his Commanding Officer, Col J O E Vandaleur, relied upon him as a key advisor; as one senior officer remarked, ‘he was known as someone who read the battle facing the Micks almost better than anyone’.

    Tony carried this expertise with him throughout his long commissioned service with the Royal Irish Fusiliers and with BRIXMIS. I am indebted to one of Tony’s BRIXMIS colleagues, Col Roy Giles, for the following extract taken from the BRIXMIS website:

    As the BRIXMIS Adjutant, it was Tony who briefed me on the inner workings of the Mission, but also he introduced me to Potsdam Local touring before handing me over to full-time tourers for more distant adventures. He was able to do this in February 1968 because he was still (enthusiastically!) holding the pass of the departed Nigel Broomfield, the ‘Touring Captain’, who I was nominally replacing. Tony was of course at heart and by profession a proper infantryman, and he really loved getting stuck in, especially after several years of putting up with all the tall stories that tourers liked to tell! In his Adjutantal role he of course vetted our claims and paid out our allowances, but he was much more than an administrator. He was our ‘Father Confessor’ to whom we could turn in times of trouble. He was particularly sympathetic and helpful to our wives and families when things went a bit haywire. From January to April 1970 I was really glad to effectively give him another spell ‘off the leash’ when we swopped jobs for three months. Let me finish with a story that Simon told about Tony and ‘a certain Senior Officer’ (and those in BRIXMIS in the late 1960s can guess who that was ...!). Being given a roasting by this very fierce red-tabbed gentleman, Tony recalled: ‘I couldn’t understand what he was saying to me until I got him to take his teeth out of my arm!’

    Tony was such an easy chap to get on with. His long military service and amenable personality had made him an expert observer of the human condition, and you did well to heed his advice. He was a great companion and an amusing raconteur, with many stories that he enjoyed telling, often against himself. He was someone who always made time for you. We in Brixmis were indeed fortunate to have Tony as our lynchpin.

    In retirement, Tony did much to ensure that the sacrifices of those with whom he served in 1944 were recorded, notably in the archives in RHQ, and commemorated appropriately, especially at Cagny and St Charles de Percy where he was always warmly welcomed by many of the locals who became close friends over the years. The way Tony was feted speaks volumes about how today’s inhabitants of Normandy view their liberators of 70 years ago and has made a modest but important contribution to Anglo-French relations as a result.

    With enthusiastic participation in many staff rides and battlefield tours, Tony also made a conscious and significant contribution to the process of ‘passing the baton’ of knowledge and understanding about the achievements of those who fought in North West Europe at the end of the last war. Even as recently as 2009, Tony accompanied an Oxford UOTC trip to Normandy. Many of the officer cadets present have subsequently been commissioned and Tony was credited with bringing light-hearted anecdotes to the study (of operations) as well as deeply moving accounts of life on the front line. Dr Rob Johnson, the accompanying Oxford Don, noted Tony’s explanation of the difficulties of street fighting, and the threat posed by snipers, nebelwerfer mortars (‘Moaning Minnies’) and German armour. Tony explained that even after the British advance had passed on to the River Odon to the south, German units continued to infiltrate, snipe at and bombard Cheux: the Welsh Guards lost three commanding officers in as many days and there was a constant stream of ambulances and combat supply vehicles passing through the ruins.

    Invaluable as Tony’s contributions were to the studies of the Normandy campaign, it was the message of remembrance and reconciliation that Tony personified that impressed the officer cadets most of all. Many described the small drumhead service held at the small and beautifully maintained Commonwealth War Grave Commission Cemetery at which Tony spoke, as being the memorable high point of the week.

    At home in Shipton-under-Wychwood and for the last few years in Cheltenham, close to his son Guy, Tony was a familiar and popular local figure and with his wife Elizabeth (Mickey), always providing a warm welcome to many visiting family and friends from across the world. Tony’s funeral, a two-hour Requiem Mass, was well attended by family and many friends and former military colleagues including from the Micks, from the Royal Irish Fusiliers and other Irish regiments. Tony was buried in Burford cemetery. As Col Roy Giles reported on the BRIXMIS website:

    Everything that was said, formally during the service and informally afterwards at the reception, highlighted Tony’s humane and friendly nature; … the priest revealed that when the staff at the local Post Office were told Tony had died, many burst into tears. What an extraordinary sign of the deep affection that Tony Brady could inspire, across the board, amongst civil and military alike.
  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From Up the Micks!: An Illustrated History of the Irish Guards; Wilson:
    Screenshot 2019-10-04 at 19.29.52.png
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
  18. XRayX

    XRayX Aalst-Waalre

    Met him a few times. Great story teller. He Unfortunatly died a week before our last scheduled meeting.
  19. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    My Dad was also a L/Cpl in No. 1 Company. He once told me a story of an amusing encounter with one of the snipers in his battalion. I often wonder if it was Tony Brady he spoke to since Dad recalled the sniper having a posher accent than would be expected from someone in the ranks.

    One of his friends had volunteered to gather some intel. Dad was roped in to help and he wasn't too pleased. They were sent for by the officer who explained what they were to do: one of their snipers had killed a german soldier and they were to retrieve the body, using a stretcher whilst wearing SB armbands. Dad wasn't impressed at all with the plan. As he put it: "the armbands would only attract more interest from the Germans, not less". The German in question was on the other side of a hedge. The open field they were to traverse was about the size of a football pitch; to make matters worse it was flooded, knee-deep. Their officer ordered Dad to leave behind his Bren, another reason to put him in a foul mood. The two of them went to speak to the sniper to get precise directions. Dad recalled asking the sniper why he didn't go himself, seeing as he already knew exactly where to go. "Oh I'm much too valuable for that!" he was said to reply. Although this was true, it didn't improve Dad's mood.
    As the two men passed by their platoon, all eyes were anxiously trained on them both. Dad ditched the stretcher and his armbands and picked up a bren from another section. Then he and his pal started to cross the field and, gathering pace, his friend gained on him as they weaved around. By the time they'd got two thirds of the way down, the germans had started to fire at them in earnest, bullets ripping into the water next to them. Dad's mate passed him again, this time in the other direction. Dad followed and when they got back to safe ground, he said to his friend: 'If you ever volunteer us for anything again, I'll kill you myself.'
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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