This is the first biography of ‘Boy’ Browning, whose name is inextricably linked with the creation and employment of Britain’s 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 as a hurdler and Great Britain at the 1928 Winter Olympics. In 1932 Browning married Daphne du Maurier, who was ten years younger and became one of the 20th century’s 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 operation’s 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 Queen’s accession. He was a close adviser to the Royal couple who respected 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 Daphne’s 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.
As a fighting soldier “Boy’ Browning had already acquired a reputation in the British Army by the end of the First World War. As a 20-year-old Grenadier Guards lieutenant he had won the DSO... [read full review]The Times Newspaper, Sat 20th August 2011
On three separate counts, ‘Boy’ Browning is a subject for a biography spanning both World Wars, his marriage to the temperamental Daphne Du Maurier and his involvement in the household of Princess Elizabeth and Prince... [read full review]Pennant Magazine
General 'Boy' Browning is best known as the commander of Britain's airborne forces for much of the Second World War, and as the senior commander most directly involved in Operation Market Garden, the famous 'bridge... [read full review]History of War
With a forward by HRH The `Duke of Edinburgh', this extremely readable biography covers virtually all human emotions from the relative happiness of 'Boy' Browning's childhood years, through to the excitement and stress of... [read full review]Susan (Customer Review)
Frederick Browning, or Boy Browning as he was also known, was a man who had to face a trauma that some men never had, fighting in two world wars, he was front line service in... [read full review]Kate (Customer Review)
General Boy is an exciting and deeply researched look into the complex life of Frederick Browning .More commonly known as General 'Boy' Browning, the biography explores the highly regarded General who had a pivotal... [read full review]Paul (Customer Review)
This first biography of the man behind the formation of Britain's Airborne Forces and associated with the failure of Operation Market Garden in 1944 is long overdue. 'Boy' gained his reputation as a fighting soldier... [read full review]Military Illustrated
This is a long overdue book that takes a close look at one of the most controversial British commanders of the Second World War. The popular view of L Gen Sir Frederick Browning has... [read full review]Soldier Magazine
This fascinating biography follows the life of "Boy" Browning through his days at Eton and into the Grenadier Guards, with whom he served as a junior officer in the First World War, and on to... [read full review]Pegasus Archive
THIS is a long-overdue book that takes a close look at one of the most controversial British commanders of the Second World War. The popular view of Lt Gen Sir Frederick Browning has been influenced... [read full review]Maj Mike Peters, AAC, Soldier Magazine 2011
Forty-five years after his death this biography of 'Boy" Browning is timely, at the very least, and many will feel it is long overdue. In Richard Mead it has found an author who has... [read full review]Guards Magazine
General 'Boy' Browning is remembered with affection by his old regiment, the Grenadier Guards, and by all who served in Airborne Forces in world war 2, when he played the leading role in the... [read full review]Michael Hickey
The name Lieutenant General Sir Frederick "Boy" Browning is commonly associated with the ill-fated Operation Market Garden. But, a veteran of the Western Front (he earned a DSO during the Battle of Cambrai), Browning... [read full review]Britain at War Magazine Feb 2011
I have a confession to make – this is a book that I actually started to write a few years ago, but was ‘warned off’ by a Regimental archive that I approached, who informed me... [read full review]Daly History Blog
This biography covers Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Browning’s military career spanning both World Wars, his marriage to the novelist Daphne du Maurier, as well as his post-war royal involvement in the household of Princess Elizabeth... [read full review]History Today
A military biography with a difference. Controversially Accredited for the entirety of the disastrous Market Garden operation much of Lieutenant General Frederick's contributions to Britain are overlooked though they far outweigh this one ill-fated event.... [read full review]Tom
Lieutenant General Sir Frederick 'Boy' Browning is a name synonymous with with the ill-fated MARKET GARDEN operation, when remembered at all. From the onset, Richard Mead's biography sets out to redress this imbalance, exploring the... [read full review]T. Kiernan
I suppose the highest honour any country can bestow on one of their former sailors is to name a warship in their honour. Of course, armies don't have warships but they do name regimental barracks... [read full review]Ned Middleton
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About Richard Mead
Educated at Cambridge University, Richard Mead is a chartered accountant with wide commercial experience. As a military historian he specialises in the Second World War.
He lives near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
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