This is the first biography of Boy Browning, whose name is inextricably linked with the creation and employment of Britains airborne forces in the Second World War. Commissioned into the Grenadier Guards, Browning served on the Western Front, earning a DSO during the Battle of Cambrai. As Adjutant at Sandhurst, he began the tradition of riding a horse up the steps at the end of the commissioning parade. Browning represented England and Great Britain as a hurdler at the 1928 Winter Olympics. In 1932 Browning married Daphne du Maurier, who was ten years younger and became one of the 20th centuries most enduring and popular novelists with titles such as Jamaica Inn and Rebecca. Browning commanded two brigades before being appointed to command 1 Airborne Division in 1941, later acting as Eisenhower’s advisor on airborne warfare in the Mediterranean. In 1944 he commanded 1st Airborne Corps, which he took to Holland for Operation MARKET GARDEN that September. Allegedly coining the phrase a bridge too far, he has received much of the blame for the operations failure.In late 1944, Browning became Chief of Staff to Mountbatten. In 1948 he became Comptroller and Treasurer to Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip and then Treasurer to the latter following the Queens accession. He was a close adviser to the Royal couple, who respected and valued his judgment.By this time, Boy and Daphne lived separate lives with Boy working at the Palace in London and Daphne reluctant to leave her beloved Cornwall although the marriage remained intact. Questions exist as to Daphnes sexuality and Boy had a succession of discrete mistresses. After a nervous breakdown probably due to marriage problems, he resigned in 1959 and retired to Cornwall. Browning died in March 1965.
This “sets the record straight” after the misrepresentation of ‘Boy’ Browning in the film A Bridge Too Far.
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