Waffen-SS foreign volunteers and conscripts



An estimated 325,000 to 500,000 non-ethnic German volunteers and conscripts served in the Waffen-SS:


United Kingdom:
1500+ in the
British Free Corps (ca. 1,100 soldiers)
SS Irish Brigade (about 400 men strong)
20 to 30 from Ireland in the SS-Jagdverbände
1st SS Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler (some known and decorated British Flakhelfer)
3rd SS Division Totenkopf
11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland
SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers (several British, including at least one New Zealander)
United States of America: 15 to 20 in the
SS-Standarte Kurt Eggers and also in
various SS-Volunteer-Divisions (there was not an American Legion)

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Irishmen in the Waffen SS: James Brady, Roscommon and Frank Stringer, Leitrim.


James Brady hailed from an agricultural family in rural Ireland. He was born Roscommon on the 20th may 1920, his mother dying when he was young, and he enlisted in the British Army in Liverpool in December 1938. After he completed his basic training, Brady was posted in May 1939 to join the Royal Irish Fusiliers, who were then stationed on the Island of Guernsey. In the same month, he and Fusilier Frank Stringer got drunk, smashed up a pub and punched a policeman who had come to arrest them. For this offence Brady received a sentence of eighteen months hard labour, Stringer the more experienced soldier got twenty-one months. Both were to serve their sentences in the local prison. The British withdrew from Guernsey leaving Brady and Stringer behind.

Thus in July, when the Germans took control of the island, they became prisoners of war. In September they were moved to a temporary POW facility near Saint-Lo in Normandy. There they remained until December when the entire camp was shifted to Luckenwalde and shortly afterwards, on to Lamsdorff, where they joined a road making gang. In May 1941, about fifty Irish POW's including Brady and Stringer, were segregated in a camp at Friesak under the supervision of Abwekr (counterintelligence) as the nucleus of the 'Irish Brigade'. They were a mixture of officers and other ranks, which were all volunteers in the British Army.

In September 1941 Brady volunteered to fight for Germany against communism. For James Brady to throw his lot in with Germany, the spectacle of Berlin in 1941 would have been a powerful vindication of such a decision. The city was the heart of an empire ‘victorious on all fronts’ , stretching from Norway to North Africa, and from the coast of the English Channel to the steppes of Russia. In Berlin he underwent specialist training, bomb making and espionage operations. Stringer also underwent this course under the Abwehr. In September 1943 Brady was given the choice of service in the Armed Forces and release from the Abwehr. Brady and Stringer reported to an office on the Scheerstrasse where they were inducted into the Waffen SS European Volunteers training camp at Sennheim in Alsace. They were issued with uniforms, had their blood groups tattooed on their left arms, and they went through a course of basic infantry training that lasted until march 1944. Deemed to specialist for the British Free Corp with all their specialist knowledge, Brady, Stringer and 30 others were informed they had been selected for training as part of a Special Forces commando unit. Shortly afterwards they were sent to a training camp at Friedenthal, near Berlin. The unit that they had joined had been set up as a direct result of Otto Skorzenys successful rescue of Mussolini. SS-Jagerbatallion 502. The training course that they joined followed a curriculum that will be familiar to any soldier who has served in commando or special force units. They received instruction in small arms, map reading, grenades, explosives and anti-tank warfare for more than three months before they were deemed ready to join an operational unit - in they case SS-Jagdverbande Mitte. Bored as simple infantrymen, no matter that it was with a special purpose unit, both requested that they receive a posting in accordance with their virtually unique abilities. To this end they were sent back to Friedenthal from where they were dispatched, with a group of fifty others, to conduct a scorched earth operation in Romania.

Romania

Romania, destroying road and rail bridges in the face of the advancing Red Army. Their task lasted for a mere three weeks but by the end of it the unit had been reduced to 22 survivors, including Brady, who was able to return to Friedenthal for two weeks rest. James Brady recalled: (Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 203: )
‘About August 1944, about fifty members of the battalion, including myself, but not Stringer, were posted to Romania. We were in Romania for about three weeks, during which time I helped to blow up two river bridges and one railway bridge.’ According to Skorzeny’s account: ‘They operated 700 km behind the lines. Brady’s group obstructed three passes and located appr. 2000 men from the Ploesti AA batteries in the vicinity of Kronstadt ( Brasov ) of whom 250 were brought back. ‘ This was a German anti-aircraft regiment guarding the vital Ploesti oil fields, smartly turned out and equipped with the latest air defence artillery, who were patiently waiting to surrender to the Russians. The aforementioned 250 troops who were persuaded to stage a breakout succeeded in returning to German lines.’ According to Brady’s account of this spectacular special operation, his first time in combat: “There were only twenty-two of us left when we pulled out of Romania. Some men were killed by the Russians and others by the Romanians.” Girg’s central group bore the brunt of the causalities, the other two groups escaping with minor losses. Interestingly, apart from Girg’s Knight’s Cross, two NCOs of the party were awarded the also prestigious German Cross in Gold. It would be reasonable to speculate that the nineteen remaining personnel received some lesser decoration.

Operation Panzerfaust, Hungary

(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 206 : )After his return from Romania Brady was to rest in Friedenthal for two weeks“ before my company was ordered to Hungary. We went to Budapest as it was our job to get ( Admiral ) Horthy out before Hungary packed in.” “We took Horthy to Munich where he was met by the Deputy of the German Foreign.”

Operation Panzerfaust, the last meaningful special operation conducted on the Eastern Front, took place in Budapest in October 1944. Its background lay in the likelihood that erstwhile ally Hungary, under the dictator Admiral Horhy, seemed likely to sue for an armistice with the Russians. The operation was only in the reconnaissance stage when, on 30th august; Horhy dismissed his pro-German cabinet, and sent a Hungarian Field Marshall to Moscow to make peace. Panzerfaust was a complex plan, requiring amongst other things, the kidnapping of Horhy's son by SD officers, Brady and Stringer, as members of 2 company of Jagdverbande Mitte, had to storm the citadel - the Burgberg - in central Budapest and arrest Horhy himself. The operation was a complete success. Himmler himself told the German Finance Minister Schwerin Von Krosigk, that in the course of the last year, ' I have learned to believe in miracles again'.

Battle of the Bulge, Belgium

Following the success of Panzerfaust, 2 company of Jagdverbande Mitte rested in Berlin, whilst their colleagues of 1 company disguised as American Soldiers took part in the 'Trojan Horse' operation during the Battle of the Bulge.

(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 225: ) Could James Brady have been a member of Enheit Steinlau? When Stringer described spending the months of December and January in Friedenthal, he makes no specific mention of seeing Brady there. Skorzeny was desperately short of personnel who spoke English well enough to pass as Americans, and Haupstrumführer Menzel’s original recruitment of Brady to SS Jager Battalion 502 in March 1944 is very likely to have been influenced by Brady’s remarkable command of the English language. It might not have been necessary for Brady to have any knowledge of American slang; Irish accents were far from rare in the US Army. It seems likely from Brady’s post war statement that his interrogators questioned him on this very point, and he specifically claimed that he had remained at Friedenthal during this period. “We returned to Berlin, where we stayed until the middle of January 1945. I then met Stringer again and we spent Christmas ( 1944 ) together. I heard that one of our companies, the 1 st, to which I was later attached, had been engaged on the western front. I later learned that it was the Ardennes offensive and that the unit had been previously been trained to use American equipment.” It would have been most wise for Brady to deny being a member of Panzerbrigade 150 even if he was involved; while Brady’s admission of his activities against the Russians were serious enough, an admission of having fought against the western Allies could have proved ultimately fatal. Brady may have been a member of the Jagdverband Mitte No 1 Company that took part in the Ardennes; Stringer did not specifically mention that Brady was at Friedenthal with himduring Christmas 1944, nor does he deny it.

The Battle of the Bulge (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945) was a major German offensive campaign launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg on the Western Front toward the end of World War II in Europe. The surprise attack caught the Allied forces completely off guard. United States forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties for any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany's armored forces on the western front, and Germany was largely unable to replace them. German personnel, and later Luftwaffe aircraft (in the concluding stages of the engagement), also sustained heavy losses.

A series of efforts by the daring and innovative Otto Skorzeny convinced the Allied forces to commit their forces at the wrong spots. The first of Skorzeny's plans called for a Trojan horse mission with the 150th Panzer Brigade driving captured American and British tanks; the objective was the capture of bridges on the Meuse. Then German commandos were to be dressed in American uniforms and sent behind enemy lines; these English-speaking commandos were ordered to report Allied movements, change road signs, and even daringly pose as traffic duty soldiers and misdirect Allied trucks carrying soldiers and supplies. 44 of such commandos were sent, and only 8 returned at the end of the battle, achieving various degrees of success. Finally, Skorzeny also spread out rumors that German paratroopers were going to be dropped behind Allied lines. As these rumors grew, the outrageousness of these rumors grew as well, with several versions noting that paratroopers were to be dropped in Paris to seize Eisenhower. Immediately after the battle began, both real and dummy paratroopers under the command of Colonel Friedrich August von der Heydte were dropped to further "confirm" the rumors to confuse the Allied defenses. A unplanned achievement of this paratrooper rumor was that the Americans put up roadblocks at every road junction and checked every passer by for identification, dramatically slowing the transportation system that was so critical for the Allied war effort; even British General Bernard Montgomery was stopped and checked so many times that he later asked Eisenhower for an American identification card to speed up the process.

Final battle for Berlin

(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 229 - 235 : ) Skorzeny’s forces already included several western European nationalities, including two Irishmen. According to James Brady: “About the third week in January 1945, the whole battalion – including Stringer and myself – were taken in lorries to Schwate on the river Oder. Here we held a bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Oder for a month against the Russians. Stringer was in the bridgehead.”

The Oder river was frozen solid and provided no obstacle to the advancing Russians, while the ‘garrison’ consisted only of a reserve battalion of elderly men, 150 officer cadets and their instructors who were on an engineering course, a group of pioneers who could not march, and a number of sick and wounded. It soon became obvious that there was another source of manpower: a stream of retreating soldiers whose units had been destroyed in the fighting to the east. These were given orders to assemble in a barracks where they were fed, issued equipment and organized into new units among which the officer cadets were distributed. Within three days Skorzeny had two new battalions, for which the army provided some staff officers. Arrangements were made to channel the flow of refugees and to evacuate the worst cases by train.

Having established a command post at the village of Niederkronig on the east bank of the Oder, Skorzeny began organizing his perimeter defences; these were constructed by a labour service unit sent from Stettin, and a workforce composed of the remaining male civilian population of Schwedt. The defences consisted of three concentric lines, the out most running five miles outside the town, the innermost within a mile. Observation posts were established outside the outer line and aggressive patrols carried out to the east, some penetrating forty miles behind enemy lines and bringing back prisoners and intelligence. The thick ice on the Oder and the canal parallel to it were dynamited, turning them both into viable obstacles. Skorzeny’s supply officer ( Hauptsturmführer Gerhardt ) located a depot near Frankfurt-on –Oder from which he was able to procure hundreds of MG-42s and ammunition. This machine gun, of such a superlative design that it still remains in service with some European armies, could fire at a rate of 1,200 rounds per minute. The noise of this weapon was ‘likened to ‘tearing lino’ rather than the chatter of a normal machine gun. Given that Brady’s account mentions that he became a machine gunner at this time, it is almost certain that he would have wielded one of the deadly ‘Hitler sagans’ ( Hitler saws ) as the MG-42 was nicknamed due to its lethal effectiveness against Russian infantry attacks.

About thirty miles to the south was a factory from which Skorzeny procured forty new 75 mm anti-tank guns with ammunition. These were presumably the PAK 40 anti-tank guns, capable of knocking out any Russian tank at close range. Goering sent two battalions of anti-aircraft guns, including the superb 88 mm and 105 mm artillery which Skorzeny ( originally an artillery officer ) used as field artillery; the 88 mm in particular had a proven record of being used in this role. Six of Goering’s guns were mounted on heavy trucks and began firing on the Russian lines from several different positions, giving the illusion of greater strength. Another battery was mounted on the barges on the now ice flow canal west of the river, allowing them to fire and rapidly change position most effectively.

From the first day, Skorzeny sent out reconnaissance patrols to establish the extent of the Russian advance, and the first Red Army unit was encountered in Bad Schonfliess, less than fifteen miles from Schwedt. By the 3 February, Skorzeny was able to deploy the two battalions he had formed from the stragglers, and used them to man the outer ring of defences. The second ring was manned by Jagdverband Mitte, while Milius’ SS Fallschirmjager battalion deployed to the east of the bridgehead to take the first brunt of the Russian assault. Reinforcements continued to trickle in, including two battalions of the Volksstrum, a militia raised in the last months of the war from teenagers and elderly men. Badly armed, trained and led, they suffered heavy causalities in combat. One of these battalions was composed from farmers of Konigsberg-Neumarket and led by the local district commander of the Nazi party, while the other was formed from tough Hamburg dockers who fought particularly well against the Russians despite the fact that most were former communists. Another battalion was sent by the Luftwaffe, consisting of personnel who not only had no aircraft to fly or maintain, but who had not even received any infantry training. To the dismay of their highly decorated commanding officer, wisely broke up the battalion and distributed the personnel among the other units, where the airmen were able to benefit from the experience of the veteran infantrymen. More exotic reinforcements were to follow, including a squadron of horse cavalry, a unit of Cossacks and a regiment of Romanian-Germans.

By the 5 February, the long-range reconnaissance patrols to the east were no longer possible as the Russians brought up increasingly stronger forces. Skorzeny himself led a reconnaissance patrol to Bad Schoenfliess, comprised of veteran members of the Jagdverband Mitte, to find the town was already held by the Russians. Three-man patrols stealthily made their way to the towns railway station where they observed over forty Russian tanks. Withdrawing with only a handful of civilians that they had been able to evacuate, Skorzeny gave the order for his troops to occupy Konigsberg, and this was accomplished by the two Volksstrum battalions, the SS Fallschrimjagers and an army battalion. The Russians attacked in force in the afternoon with several infantry battalions, led by the tanks that they had brought up to Bad Schoenfliess, several of which were destroyed at close range by Panzerfausts. During the course of the fierce street fighting which ensued, the leader of the Konigsberg-Volksstrum fled, and his example was followed by two groups of his battalion. The resulting desperate situation was only salvaged by the Hamburg dockers and the Fallschrimjager, the latter suffering heavy losses in the process. After midnight, Skorzeny gave the order for his troops to withdraw from Konigsberg, and he himself returned to his headquarters at Schwedt-on-Oder where he met the district leader who had fled the previous day. This man was charged with cowardice and desertion and subsequently executed.

By 7 February, the Russians, had begun a series of daily attacks on the bridgehead, concentrating on the same three areas, and Skorzeny abandoned his outposts in the villages outside the bridgehead. Apart from T -34s, the Russians were using American supplied Sherman tanks. The commander of the Army Group Vistula’ was not pleased to hear of the evacuation of the villages and at 4 p.m. ordered Skorzeny to present himself at his headquarters to account for his actions. This was during the outbreak of heavy fighting, and Skorzeny was only able to make an appearance four hours late and still dirty from combat, to the fury of Himmler who threatened him with court-martial and demotion. There are slightly varying versions of Skorzeny’s reaction, most describing him as calm and reasonable. The outcome was that Himmler, realising that his ‘generalship’ was coming under increasing scrutiny, invited Skorzeny to dinner during which he promised him a battalion of armoured assault guns.

The battalion actually arrived the following day, when thirty brand new Sturmgeschutz IVs of the 210th Assault Gun battalion arrived at Schwedt under the command of Major Lange, so fresh from the factory that they had not even been painted. The Strumgeschutz ( Stug for short ) assault gun was essentially an armoured fighting vehicle with a fixed turret, the Stug IV mounting a 75 mm gun which would prove effective against all Russian armour. The first effective armour support that Skorzeny had received, they arrived none too soon. They were immediately deployed across the river between Niedersaaten and Konigsberg and were in action the following day when the Russians launched a major assault on Grabow and Hauseberg, one battery stopping an armoured assault by ‘Joseph Stalin’ heavy tanks, destroying thirteen ot them in the process. Shortly afterwards, Skorzeny himself led an assault on Russian positions near Hauseberg, involving both the 210 Stug battalion and Jagdverband Mitte. A Russian flamethrower battalion was wiped out, and a large quantity of artillery and heavy machine guns captured.

The Russians captured Grabow but the town was briefly retaken following a surprise attack by a recent reinforcement from Friedenthal. This was a light armoured company led by Oberstrumführer Otto Schwerdt which included ten veterans of the gran Sasso raid. Following his difficulties in procuring tanks for Panzerbrigade 150, Skorzeny ordered the formation of this unit to ensure the availability of armoured support for Jagdverband Mitte. Schwerdt was soon promoted Hauptstrumführer. Four of the Gran Sasso veterans were killed in the assault on Grabow and were buried in the graveyard there with full military honours.

Hermann Goering paid a visit to Schwedt travelling as far as the front line. He visited a Luftwaffe artillery crew and Sturmbannführer Milius’ command post handing out cigars and liquor.

Skorzeny’s command rose to 15,000 troops, which made him the commander of an ad hoc division although he did not receive the corresponding rank. Brady might have sympathised – he was placed in command of a section, although he did not receive the promotion to NCO rank that such an appointment normally merits.

Although the bridgehead continued to shrink in the face of overwhelming Russian opposition ( the Stug battalion was withdrawn after ten days to be redeployed at Kustrin ), Skorzeny’s innovative tactics kept the position intact for four weeks, even though there was never any possibility of the grandiose counter-attack proposed by Himmler. Skorzeny attributed most of his success to his own elite troops, who had acted as the hard core of his command. He reserved particular praise for Oberstrumführer Wilscher’s company of snipers, who operated in two-man teams from the ‘no man’s land between the opposing lines. The Germans had learned the hard way from the Red Army just how effective snipers could be in warfare, and Wilscher’s snipers were particularly ruthless, specialising in picking off Russian tank crews who were escaping from their stricken vehicles.

Skorzeny was called away from Schwedt-on-oder on 28 February and summoned to Führer headquarters in Berlin. The bridgehead was finally abandoned on 3 March. Sturmbannführer Milius took charge of the demolition party of the last bridge over the Oder as a rearguard attempted to cross it under heavy fire. The charge was detonated and the the bridge destroyed as soon as the last survivor had crossed. Milius’ battalion had suffered heavy causalities during the four weeks of fighting but, along with Jagdverband Mitte , were soon to suffer even worse losses.

By Brady’s account: “At the end of February 1945 we evacuated the bridgehead and were transferred to another bridgehead at Oderbridge.” Within a week of the successful withdrawal of Skorzeny’s forces from Schwedt-on-Oder, orders were received to establish another bridgehead on the Oder south of Schwedt, east of the town of Oderburg and west of the town of Zehden. What Himmler hoped to achieve by this is unclear; apparently it was hoped that the Russians would delay their final assault on Berlin until such time as the east bank of the Oder was cleared of all German forces.

9 March 1945 James Brady and Frank Stringer were now with No 1 Company of Jagdverband Mitte which was now under the command of Hauptsturmführer Manns who had commanded the reinforced company during Operation Panzerfaust in Budapest.

Brady would recall: “The last time I saw Stringer was in the bridgehead at Oderbridge, before I was wounded. He was a lance-corporal.” ……. It is difficult not to be struck by the fierce loyalty to each other displayed by the men of the Jagdverband Mitte and the SS paratroops; it is not difficult to imagine Brady and Stringer contrasting this with their apparent abandonment by the British in Guernsey.


(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 246: ) Codd evidently enquired about Brady and Stringer and was informed that Stringer was engaged on the Eberswalde section on the Berlin front on ammunition supply on the 16.4 .1945.


(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 249: ) Among the many foreign volunteers of the Waffen-SS involved in the bitter street combat now raging in Berlin was James Brady. He was still in Hospital when “the Russians arrived there, and everyone who could fight, including myself was brought into Berlin.” By now Brady was a corporal ( SS-Rottenführer ). Brady the only Irishman to take part in the battle of Berlin only says that “he was wounded in the legs and taken to a hospital in Berlin.”

According to John Codd, Frank Stringer was based near Eberswalde on the day the Russians launched their final offensive on Berlin. Lucky for him and the remaining 250 men of the Jagdverband Mitte, Skorzeny had succeeded in organising a transfer of the unit to his command. According to Stringer: “The remnants of the battalion withdrew to Weildorf near Salzburg, where we remained for about ten days doing nothing.” Milius’ reconstituted SS-Fallschirmjager Battalion 600 was not so lucky. "They were committed to the fighting outside Berlin and were annihilated for a third and final time.”

(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 264: ) a team of officers investigating British Army personnel who had turned traitor. Stringer astutely played down the part he played in Jagdverband Mitte, claiming to have played no part in combat operations.

(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 266 - 268: ) In January 1946 Brady escaped from Luneville camp “with the assistance of some friends”, despite the fact that he was due to be returned to Germany that month. Some 170,000 Germans are known to have escaped from the French camps during this period, over half being recaptured, but Brady remained at large. “I arrived in Germany in March 1946, and stayed at Heilbren, in the American zone, where I had connections, until May 1946.” He was reticent about his activities during this period, claiming that “I do not wish to say anything further as to how I got out of the camp or who assisted me”, and later adding that “I wish to say nothing further about my activities or friends during the period from January 1946 to September 1946.” Remarkably the British showed no interest in investigating Brady’s mysterious activities during this time.

What was James Brady doing in the town of Heilbronn, less than 100 miles from the city of Nuremburg, between March and May 1946? Otto Skorzeny’s accounts offers a fascinating possibility. After his surrender Skorzeny was charged with war crimes and in September 1945 was flown to Nuremburg to be imprisoned there; he shared an aircraft with field Marshals Keitel and Jodl, Colonel-general Guderian and Admiral Doenitz. In March 1946, the American officer commanding the prison suddenly ordered a state of alert – the guard was tripled, anti-tank barricades were erected and machine guns placed around the prison. Fr Sixtus O’Connor, the Irish chaplain at the prison, later confided to Skorzeny that a ‘motorised German guerrilla unit’ had been sighted near the city, which the Americans believed intended to storm the prison and release the prisoners. …. Later Skorzeny discovered that in fact several of his former commandos had indeed been preparing a raid on the prison to rescue him and Doenitz. They were led by a former signals officer of ‘Schutz Korps Alpenland’ who had discharged himself and made his own way to Nuremburg. Still staying there in September, he was incensed to discover that his former commander was being tried as a war criminal and gathered some former members of the Jagdverband. Skorzeny later expressed relief that the rescue was abandoned, claiming that the plan was ‘totally impracticable.’

In May, Skorzeny was transferred from Nuremburg to Dachau, and in the same month Brady left Heilbronn. He received discharge papers from the Americans in the name of ‘Charles Lacy’, whose home town was indicated as nauen in the Russian zone, where he now proceeded.


(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 271: ) Having already noted that ‘the prosecution’s case depended entirely upon the accused’s statements; their case stands or falls by this long statement’, the defence made use of Stringer’s own statement on his behalf, asking the question, ‘was Germany’s war effort helped in the slightest by the inglorious efforts of Fusilier Stringer?’ Stringer’s failures were emphaised, his incompetence as a radio operator in Berdiansk and Friedenthal, his failure in adriving course, and his account of his service on the eastern front which ‘consists mainly of an inglorious performance in the cookhouse’.

Stringer was found guilty; he escaped the death sentence, but was sentenced to fourteen years’ imprisonment. After consideration , two years of the sentence were remitted. Stringer was sent to Wormwood Scrubs prison, where in August he was informed that the British Army Council had decided to remit a further four years of the sentence. This left Stringer with eight years to serve, and in the event he was only to serve half of them.

(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 272 – 277: ) James Brady reached Nauen in July 1946. Since his account mentions that he received civilian clothes at Nauen, this would appear to indicate that he wore military uniform in the interim. Could this be a clue to Brady’s state of mind? It might have been possible, although very difficult, to adopt his real identity again and claim to be an Irish national again in an attempt to get home, had he chosen to do so. Did James Brady really regard himself as a German soldier rather than an Irishman?
Having spent a few days in Dresden, Brady moved to Halle, where he stayed for two weeks.

Having left Halle, Brady moved to Wittenburg. “All this time I was able to live with the assistance of connections and with money made easily in the black Market.” On the 10 September 1946, Brady travelled to Berlin and wandered about the city; where he had lived for the early part of 1942 and had been stationed nearby ( in Friedenthal ) for most of 1944.

The following day Brady reported to the British POW department, where he was interrogated, but did not tell the truth about his prior activities. After nine days ( during which he was evidently being investigated ) he was brought to Hamburg and flown to England, arriving in London on 21 September; where he was accommodated in the Great Central Hotel, the designated ‘transit area’ for former POWs. Three days later, Brady entered a hotel room to be confronted by Sergeant Cash nd Sergeant Skelton of the Special Investigation Branch of the british Army’s military police. At10.30 Brady began to dictate a lengthy statement, the first part of which took until six in the afternoon. He was at something of a disadvantage: his interrogators had a copy of Frank Stringer’s statement, which covered Brady’s activities in some detail, greatly restricting any possibility of playing down his role in the Waffen-SS, as Stringer had done. At ten o’clock the next morning, the trio continued with brady’s account and finished at noon. After this Brady was taken into custody.

On the 2 December 1946, fusilier Brady was tried by court-martial in London. The first charge against him was that,‘Having been made a prisoner of war voluntarily serving with the enemy in that he in Germany and elsewhere between 3rd December 1944 and 8th May 1945 having been made a prisoner of war voluntarily served with the enemy that is to say in the Waffen-SS, part of the German armed forces’. The second charge against him was that of ‘Deserting his Majesty’s service in that he in the field on the 10th June 1945 absented himself from the Royal Irish Fusiliers until surrendering himself to the British authorities in Berlin on the 11th September 1946’. The trial commenced at 11.45 a.m., Brady pleading ‘not guilty’ to the first charge but ‘guilty’ to the second. Major Evans, a solicitor and member of the Judge Advocate General’s office, opened the case for the prosecution by emphasising the seriousness of the charge,‘one of the comparatively few offences under the Army Act which may be punished by Court-Martial … by the maximum penalty known to the English law. That is the death sentence’. He noted that the prosecution against Brady essentially consisted of the statement he had made in September. Sergeant Cash was called to the witness box, and Major Evans read aloud James Brady’s long statement in its entiety. Mr Hazell, the civilian solicitor representing Brady, then questioned Cash, and later Sergeant Skelton, after which the court adjourned at 12.50 p.m.

The court reformed at two o’clock, and Brady’s solicitor submitted that the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie case, having failed to produce anything which calls upon the accused to make an answer to this charge’. Throughout the trial, Brady’s lawyer made a number of observations that would have raised eyebrows in a more politically correct era, among them: “You do not expect wise decisions from young people, especially an Irishman.” Later he noted that “he was a man subjected wholly to British influence and line of thought”, and that "this native of Southern Ireland” had spent only a few months “with ordinary wholesome British influences”. It should be noted that the officers of the court martial were mainly members of the old British ascendancy in Ireland; Colonel Vandeleur, the president of the court, who had led the Irish Guards in the ill-fated attempt to reach Arnhem in 1944, was the scion of one of the landlord families of pre-independence Ireland.

Mr Hazell’s speech for the defence lasted nearly ninety minutes, after which the court closed for a brief recess. It reconvened after fifteen minutes and Colonel Vandeleur arbitrarily announced that the submission for the defence had been ‘over-ruled’. Brady was offered, but declined, his options to give evidence, make a statement or call a witness. The case for the prosecution was summed up, in which it was submitted by reference to Brady’s statement that he had admitted beyond reasonable doubt that he had been made a POW and had subsequently served with the enemy, some points of which were contended by the defence. At 4.45 p.m. the court closed for twenty minutes. Brady’s guilty plea to the second charge was briefly covered, after which his solicitor made a final speech with regard to mitigating factors. Mr Hazell claimed that “this man is a native of Southern Ireland. He is a man that does not regard Great Britain as his country any more than any of us regard France as ours … this country is not his country. He regarded himself as a mercenary and he sold his services where they were best paid, and that happened to be in the British Army.” Having emphasised Brady’s youth at the time of his transgressions, his solicitor drew attention to the eighteen month sentence in Guernsey in 1939, being obviously unaware of the full facts of the matter since Brady in his statement had only admitted that “we assaulted a civilian policeman.” As it was Brady’s lawyer contended that “never in these days would such a sentence be allowed to stand. It might be passed, but it would be reduced on appeal. It was a savage sentence passed on a drunken young fool.” It was Hazell’s submission on the subject of Brady’s abandonment to the Germans that would eventually benefit him most.

Brady was found guilty as charged and sentenced “to suffer penal servitude for the term of fifteen years.” The trial was covered by the press and reported in Irish and British newspapers. Back in Dublin Irish military intelligence noted the trial and sentence and took no further interest in Brady’s case.


(Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 280: ) Frank Stringer’s sentence came up for review in 1950, and he was released in that year.
… it is likely that brady may also have been released early in the same year.

Brady and Stringer returned to Ireland. The outlook for both men would have been grim, no better than that facing them in 1938. Ireland in the 1950s was a time of poverty, high unemployment and massive levels of emigration; half a million Irish citizens are though to have emigrated between 1945 and 1960.

James Brady had one great advantage he had lived the previous twelve years of his life under a pseudonym and now still a young man, was free to adopt his real identy again and live out the rest of his life under it. Brady and Stringer disappear from history in 1951.




Then came the final battle for Berlin. In the days that followed the Nordland Division, volunteers fought to a standstill amidst the ruins of the city, alongside elderly Volksstrum men, young Hitler youths and foreign volunteers who included a French SS Brigade, a Spanish SS Battalion and James Brady and Frank Stringer. Only a handful survived.

James Brady's journey to the last battle was an eventful one. After the rescue of Admiral Horhy, his unit returned to Berlin until January 1945, but the imminent arrival of the Russians meant that even Special Forces had to be thrown into the battle as standard infantry. Along with the rest of his company Brady found himself holding the Schwedt bridgehead against powerful Soviet attacks. They hung on until the end of February 1945 when they were evacuated to a position on the Oder, where a couple of days later Brady was wounded during a Russian counter attack. Whilst he was convalescing he was attached to a training team teaching policemen how to use anti-tank weapons, before returning to the Oder on the 25th march where he was promoted to Sturmann. Two days later his unit was all but wiped out in a Russian attack and Brady himself was wounded in the head, causing him to be evacuated to Grunau where he remained until the Soviets arrived. He evaded capture and escaped from Grunau and made his way to Berlin where he was given the rank of Rottenfuhrer and took part in the last battle for the capture of the Reich.

During the Berlin fighting, Brady received his third and final wound in the service of the Waffen SS when he was hit in the legs by shrapnel; injuries that put him in a German military hospital until 10th may when it was overrun by the Soviets. Even so, he escaped from Russian captivity and went underground for over a year living on his wits and with the help of other SS Veterans, until he turned himself to the British Authorities in Berlin in September 1946, sixteen months after the end of the war.

Unterscharfuhrer of the SS Jagdverbande James Brady was court-martialled in Curzon Street, Mayfair, London in December 1946, he was jailed for 12 years.

Hail James Brady and Frank Stringer, heroes who fought so Europe could be free of tyranny. An inspiration to us today in that very same struggle.

SS-Jagdverband Mitte was an SS unit formed from foreign volunteers, the troops of the 502nd SS Jäger Battalion, troops of the Sonder-Einsatzabteilung z.b.V. (Probationary Special Assignments Detachment) and vast parts of the Brandenburgers (mostly for Jagdverband "Ost" and Jagdverband "Südost").


During the Second World War, two young Irishmen served in the armed forces of Nazi Germany, swearing the oath of the Waffen-SS and wearing the organisation's uniform and even its distinctive blood group tattoo. Ironically these young men had originally joined an Irish regiment of the British army, and but for a twist of fate would have ended up fighting against the Germans. Instead, the pair were recruited to the German special forces after they were captured on the island of Jersey. Under the command of Otto Skorzeny, the man who rescued Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from a mountain top prison, they were involved in some of the most ferocious fighting of the war in the last days of the Third Reich. This account, which also covers some of the other Irishmen who sided with Nazi Germany, draws heavily on their own accounts and on state papers which have been released in recent years.
The bookHitlers Irishmen by Terence O'Reilly.


There are files on both Brady and Stringer at the National Archives in England.

National Archives:
WO 71/1132 - Stringer, F. S. Offence: Aiding enemy whilst P.O.W. 1946
WO 71/1149 - Brady, J. Offence: Aiding enemy whilst P.O.W. 1946


Ordering the NA files can be quite expensive, and if you want to save some money you can purchase a copy of Richard Landwehr's 'Siegrunen' Issue #65, which has word for word, James Brady's statement to M I 5 after the war.

O’Reilly is an establishment writer who is quite anti- National-Socialist and anti-German, a strong believer in the Holohoax and describes many WW2 surviving, former military Germans, such as Otto Skorzeny and Hans Ulrich Rudel as Holocaust deniers. Notice how he describes Rudel (Hitler’s Irishmen Terence O’Reilly, p 297: ) “Skorzeny was known to have associated with both Rudel and Degrelle after the war. Rudel was an insanely courageous dive-bomber pilot, who had destroyed over 500 Russian tanks and became the most decorated officer in the Luftwaffe.”

Did anyone or does anyone know what James Brady's real name was?09 Jun 2019.