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Den Brotheridge (Hero)

malta

welsh brummie
I have enjoyed reading the threads on WWII, and I wonder if you know the first allied soldier killed in action on D Day on operatoin Tonga was a local lad from Smethwick.
Born in 1915,Lieutenant Herbert Denham Brotheridge was an officer in D Company,Oxfordshire and Buckinghanshire Light Infantry, 6th Airborne Division.
Den or Danny to his men was first class athlete it was predicted he would become a professional foolballer after the war, Den was at ease with his men, he would go their barracks at night sit with his lads and talk football bringing his boots and polish them as he talked while his batman lay on his bed.
Major John Howard had chosen him to lead No1 patoon, their mission was to secure Pegasus bridge, on landing he was to take his patoon knock out a pillbox cross the bridge ans secure the opposite bank.
In Exeter on the eve of the battle Den went drinking with his Sergeants and got drunk, he knew he would be the first man on the bridge, he was also bothered that his wife Margaret was expecting a baby in less than a month and would not be seeing them till the operation was over.
The glider came down almost perfectly Den and his lads ran for the bridge while crossing he pulled out a grenade and threw it at a michine gun as he did he was hit in the neck by a bullet he lay on the bridge mortally wounded, eventually he was taken to a first aid post were he died.
Den is buried in Ranville not in the Military Cemetery but in the churchyard,
If anybody intends going to Ranville go and spend a minute with Den our local HERO I am sure he would appreciate it.
 

sheldontony

master brummie
Been to Pegasus a couple of times. This is Pegasus Cafe (I believe run by a French woman that has a house in Tanworth in Arden) and the Ranville cemetery where a lot of the Paras are buried

DSCF0001.jpgDSCF0005.jpg
 

Steve R

master brummie
Malta

I have only just come across this thread and impressed by the information you have supplied. I am aware of Dan's exploits having read the books and visited the bridge over the river Orne on a few occasions. This area is well worth a visit and the fairly new museum is very good. The original bridge now stands out front of that museum having been replaced by the new one in 1994, there was some upset caused as it was replaced shortly before the 50th Anniversary and some thought the French could have waited but to be fair they have kept the original in tact which still shows some battle damage. On the night of 5 June 1944 the attacking force took off towed in gliders from RAF Tarrant in Dorset. the gliders landed as close as 47 yards from the bridge at from 16 minutes past midnight making it now June the 6th (D Day). It would be difficult to dispute that the men from the Ox and Bucks were the first to land in France to liberate it. There were two men killed, first was Lieutenant Den Brotheridge (first man killed on D Day) he died crossing the bridge during the assault, Lance Corporal Greenhalgh was drowned when his glider landed in water. This was a vital battle as the control of this bridge stopped reinforcements heading towards the landing beaches.

Steve R
 

malta

welsh brummie
Thanks Steve, Den was one of the many unsung hero's, if it wasn't for them I hate to think where we would be today
Regards Malta
 

Steve R

master brummie
Malta
Spot on my friend.
His was an example of bravery that would be lost on many people today. He was the first but many others followed. Have you ever read the 'After the battle' magazine on Normandy? Fantastic magazines written by enthusiasts who visit the battlefields and compare them to how they look in modern day. In that magazine there was a fair bit of information on Pegasus Bridge as the battle as it was key to the success of D Day. The glider pilots also deserve recognition as thier flying that day was said by the American to be the greatest example of precision flying by glider pilots of the war.

Steve R
 
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DavidGrain

master brummie
This is short notice but I have heard that a statue of Den Brotheridge is making a whistle stop tour of the country before finding its final location in the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth. It will be on display today (6th March 2019) at Villa Park from 1.30 to 3.30pm. The statue is made from old bullet cases
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
I'm glad to hear that you are also a subscriber to After The Battle magazine, Steve, as I have been for many years. The Then and Now photographs are excellent as are all the articles, and they ensure that these brave men are not forgotten.

Maurice
 

Dave M

Pheasey Born Bumper
This is short notice but I have heard that a statue of Den Brotheridge is making a whistle stop tour of the country before finding its final location in the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth. It will be on display today (6th March 2019) at Villa Park from 1.30 to 3.30pm. The statue is made from old bullet cases
Visited
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
Thanks Dave. My information came from the Smethwick Local History Society who have an obvious interest in this item of news and they had quite a lot of difficulty in finding information about this exhibit today. The sculptor was the person who made the Knife Angel from the thousands of knives handed in in the knife amnesty. Each bullet in the base represents a life lost on D-Day.
 
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