May 23, 1917 (Norwalk, CT) – January 21, 1999 (Norwalk, CT); 81 years old
Married to Julia DiZenzo on October 12, 1940 of Port Chester
– Divorced December 21, 1945
Married Helen Macomber on January 22, 1946 in Russell, Alabama
One son, John.
Local address: 126 South Main Street, South Norwalk
Enlisted on October 3, 1942
Serial number 12150041
Unit: 82nd Airborne Division, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (The Red Devils)
Held in German POW camp Stalag 3C Alt Drewitz Brandenburg, Prussia 52-14.
From The Norwalk Hour July 26, 1944
Sergeant Bramwell G. Phillips, one of the first paratroopers to land in Normandy on D-Day is missing in action in France, according to word received by his mother, Mrs. Lottie Mott of 126 South Main Street. Sergeant Phillips enlisted in October 1942, in the 508th Paratroop Infantry, trained at Camp Blanding, Florida, was graduated from Fort Benning, Georgia, and took his advanced training at Camp Makall, North Carolina. He went overseas in December 1943. Before entering the paratroops, Sergeant Phillips was employed at the General Electric Company in Bridgeport. He is a member of the Pastime Athletic Club and Loyal Order of the Moose. His brother, Charles, a Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class, U.S. Navy, is on duty on a merchant ship in shuttle service between England and France, according to a recent letter home. The boys’ foster sister, Mrs. Harold Havens, resides in South Norwalk. Both the sergeant and his brother attended local schools. Charles is married to the former Frances Havens.
From The Norwalk Hour December 29, 1944
Mrs. Lottie Mott of 126 South Main Street has received word from her son, Sergeant Bramwell Phillips, that he was taken as a prisoner by the Germans on June 6, the day after his company, the 508th Paratroop Infantry, landed in France. Mrs. Mott had not heard from her son for a long period and the day following Christmas she received a card from him telling of his capture. Sergeant Phillips entered the Army in October 1942.
From The Norwalk Hour March 23, 1945
Sergeant Bramwell Phillips, son of Mrs. Lottie Mott of 126 South Main Street, who was a prisoner of war in Germany, has been liberated by the advancing Russian troops and is now in Moscow, according to a War Department telegram received by his mother on Monday. Sergeant Phillips enlisted as a paratrooper on October 3, 1942, and went overseas on December 23, 1943. He was captured on D-Day. In civilian life he was with the General Electric Company in Bridgeport.
From The Boston Globe April 10, 1945
Their Radio Rigged in Prison Kept the Nazis Befuddled
By Paul F. Kneeland
It was hot and stuffy in the day coach from Boston that the self-styled “Three Musketeers” had to take yesterday. But you didn’t hear them say anything about it. “After standing up for 23 days in a box car with 37 other guys and with a loaf of bread every four days for six men, this is the life.” It was Sergeant Bramwell G. Phillips, 27, of 126 South Main Street, South Norwalk, Connecticut, glorying in the pleasure of a two-for-15-cents cigar. And his buddies, the other two “musketeers,” agreed. They are Sergeant George F. McNeil, 31, of Willimansett and Sergeant Thomas R. Lynch, 35, of 19 Park Street, Norwich, Connecticut. Sergeant Phillips, who boasted that he had been deloused in every big city in Europe since his flight from Stalag 3 (German prison camp), added this comment: “If we thought the ride was hell, there was even greater suffering when the boys learned that the freight cars up ahead were loaded with munitions. We were shuttled onto a siding for 11 days. Our cars were not marked to indicate that we were prisoners, so there was nothing to do but sit and pray while Allied planes zoomed and strafed our train.” Life in the Nazi prison camp wasn’t without its bright spots, like the arrival of Red Cross packages of food, candy, and cigarettes. “We would have starved without those rations,” Sergeant Phillips declared, “for all the food we got from the Germans was in the following three meals a day: Breakfast – ersatz coffee, no sugar or milk or cream. Dinner – watery potato or rutabaga soup. Supper – a loaf of black bread shared by six men.” The idea uppermost in every man’s mind was escape, escape, escape, the veterans said. About 90 percent of them made some try at it, no matter how feeble the attempt. “When we’d get unmanageable, punishment sometimes would consist of shoving us al lout of the filthy, buggy barracks into a cold rain,” Sergeant Phillips recalled. “And when the gang of us just stood out there and laughed and clowned around in it, I guess the German commandant thought it was something we enjoyed more than disliked, for we were all ordered back to our barracks soon afterwards. This type of ‘punishment’ was rarely meted out thereafter.” Prisoners of war were kept up-to-date on American and allied victories on all fronts through a grapevine system operated by one of the men who smuggled in a short-wave radio. When the German discovered the source of news, they called for an immediate shakedown inspection. “We were ahead of them on that one, too,” the sergeant recounted. “The radio was hidden successfully, but the playful prisoners thought they’d have a little fun with the Heinies. So they strung a long wire from a window, underground in the yard, which the Nazi intelligence corps found and excitedly dug up like a hungry dog scratches for a bone. The wire circled the barracks and finally led off to a spot near a fence. When the Germans came to this spot, they were sure that the radio was buried there. Instead, what they dug up was a board on which the Nazis were told just what they could do to themselves in a functional way. We roared but the Heinies didn’t appreciate our brand of humor.” Just a few days before the Russians liberated 200 from the camp, word was passed around that the German soldiers were getting quite tired of the war, and from reports of friends and relatives in American prison camps, wanted to know how they could go about getting captured themselves and sent to the U.S.A. “And they were offering us escape at 3,000 cigarettes,” he said. “But we were soon on our own when the Russians came into camp. The Germans had tried to evacuate us, but the Red advance was too swift. We balked, we stalled, we were stubborn as hell. It nearly drove the Nazis crazy, but they were driven out – and we headed for Russia and Poland.”
Extract from The Norwalk Hour April 18, 1945
A local soldier who recently was liberated from a German prisoner of war camp by the Russian Army, arrived at his home over the weekend to begin a 60-day furlough which will aid in partially effacing memories of their grueling experiences of the past few months. The liberated soldier is Staff Sergeant Bramwell Phillips. Sergeant Phillips, son of Mrs. Lottie Mott of 126 South Main Street, was captured in Normandy on D-Day, wrote his mother from a German camp on January3, but a few weeks later she received the good news from the War Department that he was in Moscow and would soon be on his homeward way. He arrived in this country a few days ago and was sent to the Boston Port of Embarkation from where he telephoned his mother nightly, later informing her that his leave would begin during the past weekend. The sergeant, who enlisted as a paratrooper on October 3, 19432, and went overseas on December 1943, is on 59-day furlough, at the conclusion of which, will report to Lake Placid, New York. Through cooperation of the Norwalk Chapter, American Red Cross, Sergeant Phillips anticipates a reunion with his brother, Charles Phillips, Gunner’s Mate, Second Class, now stationed in San Francisco, for whom a leave has been requested. Sergeant Phillips on Monday night, shortly after his arrival here, attended a meeting of the Pastime Athletic Club where he was welcomed by friends.
From The Nashville Banner January 12, 1962
Fort Campbell – Sergeant Major Bramwell G. Phillips has been named to the 101st Airborne Division’s top enlisted slot, succeeding Sergeant Major Carl L. Bryson, who has retired after 25 years’ service. A veteran paratrooper, Sergeant Phillips participated in the airborne assault which signaled the invasion of Europe June 6, 1944. Later he was a prisoner of war. Sergeant Phillips is also a veteran of the Sergeant’s Major’s desk. Now in his second tour of duty with the 101st Airborne, he served as Sergeant Major of Support Group and Division Artillery during his previous tour; and comes to the headquarters assignment following a year and a half as Sergeant Major of the division’s 501st Airborne Battle Group.
From The Norwalk Hour January 23, 1999
PHILLIPS, Bramwell G. – Retired Army sergeant major, WWII POW – Bramwell G. Phillips, 81, died Thursday, in Norwalk Hospital. He was the husband of Helen Macomber Phillips. He was born in Norwalk on May 23, 1917, son of the late John and Lottie Tanner Mott. Mr. Phillips was a U.S. Army veteran of World War ll and had been a prisoner of war in Germany. He retired as a sergeant major. He worked for twenty years for the U.S. Postal Service, both in South Norwalk and at Rowayton. He was a member of the Loyal Order of Moose in Norwalk and Bridgeport. He received a Pilgrim Degree and was a former administrator in the Norwalk lodge. He was also a 50 year member of the Old Well Masonic Lodge, a member of the Eagles Lodge, Aerie 588, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Amaranth Friendship Court No. 23. In addition to his wife, Mr. Phillips is survived by a son, John Scott Phillips of Niles, Michigan; a granddaughter; two great grandchildren, and several nieces, nephews and cousins. Friends may call from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Ave., Norwalk, with services to begin at 8:30 p.m. The family requests contributions be made to Moose International, Moose Heart, Illinois, 60539.
Burial information is unknown