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Glen McBride

F/Lt Glen McBride, Landing Officer, 101 Beach Flight
No. 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron

Glen McBride was an Australian who had joined the R.A.F. in 1941. After service in Malaya, the Maldives, Burma, China and India he came to the UK at the end of 1943, hoping to participate in the coming invasion of North West Europe. After taking leave and effecting a transfer to the R.A.A.F. he spent a short period with No. 3 Embarkation Unit in Liverpool and No. 2 Embarkation Unit in Southampton. He was posted to No 1 R.A.F. Beach Unit in early March 1944 and assigned to No 101 Beach Section.

His arrival coincided with that of Flight Lieutenant J. N. Dobbin MC, posted from No. 4 Beach Unit. Dobbin, promoted to Squadron Leader, was placed in command of 101 Beach Section. Glen McBride was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and appointed Landing Officer. When 101 Beach Section commenced ‘Toughening Training’ on 19th April 1944, Glen McBride, was given the additional role of Training Officer. Around this time, No. 1 Beach Unit was renamed No. 1  Beach Squadron and  101 Beach Section was renamed 101 Beach Flight.

Glen McBride 1945

Flight Lieutenant Glen McBride in 1945

The following extracts, dated ‘D Day 6.6.44’ are entries from the Operations Record Book of No 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron:

Time

Summary of Events

0725

    ‘H’ Hour D Day.
Assault on Queen Roger Sector (OUISTREHAM to LION-SUR-MER by 8 Brigade, 3rd British Infantry Division supported by 185 and 9 Brigades and Nos. 5 and 6 Beach Groups. No. 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron and No. 976 ‘B’ Balloon Squadron landing concurrently with Nos. 5 and 6 Beach Groups.

0925

     No. 101 R.A.F. Beach Flight and Nos. 50 and 53 ‘B’ Balloon Flights began to touch down at H plus 120 minutes.
     Strong opposition from shore encountered, shell and mortar fire being heavy in addition to all types of small arms fire
.

1055

    No. 287435 F/Lt G. McBride, RAAF, Landing Officer and 8 airmen touched down at H plus 210 minutes.

1115

   S/Ldr J. N. Dobbin MC and party in LCI touched down at H plus 230 minutes. The craft carrying this party was hit just below the water-line as it touched down on the beach - no R.A.F. casualties

Glen McBride described in his memoirs what he did immediately after his landing:

“Our first job was to dig slit trenches, and it was only a matter of minutes before we had holes for ourselves in the soft sand. With me were my batman, Little, a W.O. from the Transport Section, one of the Squadron Leader's sergeants, and five Service police.

Once the slit trenches were dug I sent the W.O. to reccy a place where he could set up workshops, and told the Service Police and the sergeant to stay put while I reported to the Colonel. The Colonel told me that there was little I could do because the assaulting troops had not advanced far enough inland to allow a reconnaissance to be made for the Beach Maintenance Area.”

 The Colonel was Lieutenant-Colonel D. H. V. Board of the 5th Battalion, The King’s Regiment who was the commanding officer of No 5 Beach Group to which 101 Beach Flight were attached. Glen wrote, This was the last time I saw Colonel Board. An hour later he was reported missing; his body was not found till next day.” (Lieutenant-Colonel Board was killed by a German sniper.)

“I put my Service Police on traffic duty and looked around to see what I could do myself. Still lying on the beach, and as far back as the second lateral road, were hundreds of our wounded. A P.O.W. cage had been put up on the beach and a lot of Jerries had been herded into this. I borrowed eight of the Jerries and went in search of stretchers.”

Glen and his group of German prisoners worked to recover the wounded for the best part of two hours and then he “handed the Jerries back to their guards and went in search of the Squadron Leader”.

“The Jerries were a willing team,” he said, “and hastened about their work, although I wasn’t even armed; I’d handed over all my packs and equipment to Little.”

Part of a longer entry in the Squadron Operations Record Book timed at 1230 on D Day reads as follows:

Time

Summary of Events

1230

    The M.T. Repair Section ‘A’ Echelon under No.364056 W/O T Hughes established an emergency Drowned Vehicle Park almost immediately and rendered great assistance to the Army Recovery Sections of REME.
    The Landing Section under F/Lt G. McBride RAAF was fully occupied in assisting to restore order on the beaches and assisting the Army Beach Companies in clearing the beaches. F/Lt G. McBride and No. 644472 A/F/Sgt Fry H.C. being examples to all.
.    The R.A.F. Police Section under No. 510810 Sgt Frost F.J. took up traffic control duties immediately on the beach and road laterals, rendering invaluable service. No. 1007284 Cpl Thorman H.L. displaying great devotion to duty during this period.

Glen McBride was 43 years old when he landed in Normandy. When No 1 R.A.F. Beach Squadron returned to the UK at the end of August 1944 it was the end of Glen’s active service with the R.A.F.. He returned to Australia via the USA early in 1945.

SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 1 JANUARY, 1945

 Air Ministry,1st January, 1945.
The KING has been graciously pleased to give orders for the publication of the names of the following personnel who have been mentioned in despatches:-

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE

Acting Flight Lieutenants-.

G. McBRIDE (Aus.287435)

See Gazette Issue 36866 at www.gazettes-online.co.uk

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Copyright © J.M.Fenton, 2007-2011

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