BRODY HAND (1 of 7)
In a note written to Zig Boroughs, April 16, 2000,
Brody said, "I have tried to recall as [much] as I can [after] 50+
We were captured on the +5 or +6 day
- June 11 or 12.
My group was made up of 1. Bob Nobles; 2-. Robert
Harper; 3. Thomas Kelley; 4.
[Connaghan]; 5. Broughton Hand.
His story follows:
So when we took off the 4th of June 1944, we went to the airfields
to load up. We were ready to go on the night of the 4th. Of course
the rains and storms were going on, and, as everybody knows,
Eisenhower had to call off the jump. So it was arranged for June the
5th. We all stayed at the airport where we always had a big time,
because they always had such good food. All of them had bicycles
that they rode around back and forth. We stole all their bicycles
that we could get our hands on. We rode to town and got back out and
had a good time. We got everybody in the air corps mad, but that
amounted to nothing to us. Next day it began to clear off a little
bit, so we loaded up the night of the 5th. At that time, I weighed
190 pounds and wasn't any of it fat like it is now. I suppose I had
over 100 pounds of weight I was carrying. I carried a Thompson sub
machine gun. The boys talked me out of carrying any beer. They said,
"You'll find plenty of wine, beer and stuff when we get to France."
I said, "OK, but I'm gonna take my cigarettes. I still smoke, and
besides that, you can buy anything with cigarettes." So I threw my
gas mask away and filled my gas mask pouch with cigarettes, seven
cartons of Lucky Strikes. I said, "When I hit the ground, I want to
be ready to wheel and deal with all those French people. I'm making
They said, "Well, how are you going to get by without that gas
I said, “Look, we're jumping behind the German lines. I’m not
worried about any gas. The Germans are not going to gas themselves.
We don't have to worry. That's just a bunch of bull, carrying that
damn thing." So that's what I had: seven cartons of cigarettes and
on each hip I had twenty-five pounds of pentalite. That's explosive,
kind of a soft explosive that you can mold into shape charges or you
can cook over it. You take a little piece of it, break it off, and
you could light it with a match and cook over it, or whatever you
wanted to do with it. It had to have a primer and detonator to
explode. I had fifty pounds of pentalite, five pounds of TNT, one
land mine, and fourteen concussion caps. So with all my gear and
everything else that I had, I was loaded down.
Some were jumping with machine guns and some were jumping with part
of a mortar. You could break a mortar down into two sections just
like you could a machine gun in two sections. We all jumped with
that kind of load, so it was hard to get into the plane. We had to
get help to push us in. By then it had cleared up and we left. We
weren't in Nottingham. We were at the airfield, outside of
Nottingham. The planes took off three abreast, C47’s, 46's. They
could take off on the ground. They didn't have to have concrete
runway. We probably had two squads in my plane. We had some extra
people. We had an extra machine gun crew, an extra two people with
communications, and our jump master, who was Lieutenant Bruce Bell.
So we ended up jumping with eighteen men, not the usual twelve men.
We took off before dark, and circled around England, probably three
or four hours at least, before the last of the planes were able to
get up. It took us that long to get in the air. We had over a
thousand planes, that night, full of paratroopers. By then, it was
dark and most of us slept part of the way over. Some buddies and I
decided to sign a dollar bill for each of us to keep. Course we
weren't supposed to carry any money with us, but that didn't stop
us. I still have mine. The Germans didn't take it away from me. It
Myatt, England 1944, Good Luck Happy; Bramwell Phillips, Best to you
Hap; Pfc. Furman D. Bailey; and Max J. Grissom.