Biography of RSM Michael Briody

2717183. Warrant Officer Class I. Michael Briody.

Regimental Sergeant Major, No 2 Wing The Glider Pilot Regiment.

Michael Briody was born in Thomastown, County Kilkenny in 1911, and enlisted into the Irish Guards on the 11 July 1930 and was transferred to the Army Reserve in 1933. He rejoined the Colours on the 1st September 1939.

He took part in the ill-fated Norwegian Campaign April – June 1940.

Michael volunteered for the Glider Pilot Regiment on the 9th January 1942 and became the first RSM of the 1st Battalion, The Glider Pilot Regiment.

He went to North Africa with the main part of the 1st Bn, The Glider Pilot Regiment in April 1943 and then went to Italy with the 1st Airborne Division in September 1943. He returned to the UK in January 1944.

On the 17 September 1944 he took off from RAF Blakehill Farm as the pilot of a Horsa glider carrying 17 Platoon, C-Company 1st Bn The Border Regiment. His second pilot was S/Sgt. Marshall, but they suffered a broken tow-rope near Braintree in Essex. The glider landed near the U.S. airfield ‘Andrews Field’ also known as ‘Great Saling’, in use with the American 9th Air Forces 322nd Bomb Group.

They successfully took off again the next day after the American Air Force Colonel had them flown back to their own airfield in his Marauder bomber aircraft.

During the course of the battle ‘Mick’ Briody was wounded and temporarily taken prisoner. He escaped and made his way back across the River Rhine with the main force on the evening of 25th September 1944.

For his action in the Battle of Arnhem he was put for and awarded the Dutch Bronze Lion, by Major-General R.E. Urquhart himself;

Arnhem 17 to 25 Sep 44.

RSM Briody throughout displayed splendid devotion to duty and untiring energy in maintaining the efficient working of supplies and ammunition, food and water, without which the unit could not have maintained its positions. RSM Briody exposed himself to every form of fire to collect supplies from containers and to deliver them to where they were most needed and his unfailing cheerfulness and energy was an inspiration to all who came in contact with him. Finally when wounded by a mortar bomb splinter he continued to display great unselfishness and insisted on remaining with his Wing, and finally succeeded in reaching safety when the withdrawal was ordered. He continued to carry out his duties as RSM despite his wounds. This Warrant Officer's continual devotion to duty and bravery was exceptional.

In addition, he received the MBE, which was announced in the London Gazette 11 October 1945.

RSM Briody joined the Glider Pilot Regiment soon after its formation. Through his keenness, initiative, efficiency and devotion to duty, on the Parade Ground, in the air, and during Military Training he has contributed very largely to the successful growth of the Regiment and to its outstanding achievements during operations. RSM Briody served with the Regiment in Africa and Italy and was a splendid example to all. He piloted a Horsa to Arnhem in September 1944, landed successfully, and fought with gallantry for 8 days. For over 3 years RSM Briody has been an inspiration to all ranks and the present position of the Glider Pilot Regiment is in no small measure due to his tireless efforts.

He was commissioned on the 9 January 1946 and became the Quartermaster of the Glider Pilot Regiment, being awarded the M.B.E. about the same time and deploying to Palestine with the 6th Airborne Division in February 1946.

He was posted to the 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment in July 1946 as the Q.M.

He transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps on the 1st November 1946, joining 716 (Airborne) Light Composite Company, RASC of the 6th Airborne Division and returned with them to the U.K. in March 1948.

In July 1948 he was posted to 63 Company, RASC in the 2nd Parachute Brigade as part of the British Army Of The Rhine, returning with them to the UK in November 1949.

In June 1951 he was sent to Cyprus along with the 16th (Independent) Parachute Brigade Group and then onto Egypt in October 1951, staying there until July 1952.

In July 1952 he transferred to the Royal Army Pay Corps.

He became the Paymaster for the Depot The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces in April 1956 and stayed there until April 1971.

He retired on the 29 June 1971.

Michael Briody died in 1991, and is buried in Kingsbridge, Devon.


Written by R Hilton

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