General Boy: The Life of Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Browning

By Richard Mead

Overcoming challenges was well within in his remit, although some hurdles always seemed to be beyond his capabilities. Lieutenant General Sir Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning is inextricably linked with Britain’s airborne forces in the second world war and, in particular, with Operation MARKET GARDEN. This biography covers Browning’s whole life, including his commission into the Grenadier Guards; his service on the western front; his athleticism on the international stage (which may surprise some), and his life – his marriage to Daphne du Maurier, and his work as Chief of Staff and trusted adviser to Mountbatten. As the commander of 1 Airborne Corps, Browning’s role in the Netherlands took its toll. He received much of the blame for ‘a bridge too far’, and the events cast a long shadow over the latter stages of his military career. However, this did not stop him also being appointed Comptroller and Treasurer to the then Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and Treasurer to the latter following the Queen’s accession. This isn’t the most relaxed read at times, but it is an illuminating companion for anyone who wants to understand some of the motives for Browning’s actions and reactions during certain, er, notable campaigns…

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