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VALLEY PATRIOT of the MONTH ~ Fr. James Broderick – 39 Bombing Missions Over Nazi Germany in a B24 Liberator

By: John Cuddy – January, 2020

B24 Fr BroderickOriginally hailing from Gloucester, Massachusetts, Fr. James Broderick is now a Catholic priest living in retirement at the Archdiocese of Boston’s Regina Cleri Home for Retired Priests. After graduating from Saint Ann’s High in Gloucester, with the Class of 1943, he joined the US Army Air Corp. Father Broderick completed his pre-deployment training in Biloxi, Mississippi and Sioux City Iowa, completing flight training and practice bombing runs across the Nevada desert before leaving for Europe.

Father Broderick served in the European Theater of Operations, reaching the rank of Master Sergeant before the war ended, and before he could even legally drink a beer. Fr. James “Jim” Broderick was assigned to the crew of a US Army Air Corp’s B24-H Liberator as a bombardier, flying during the air campaign against the Germans during the Second World War. During the war, US Army Air Corp crews, along with RAF and Free French Air Crews, bombed Germany around the clock. While serving with the 445th Heavy Bombardment Group as part of a 10-man B24-H Liberator crew, he flew on thirty-nine bombing missions, and an additional twenty auxiliary missions. This was the same unit that Hollywood actor James “Jimmy” Stewart served in.

B 24 HDuring World War II, there were three heavy bombers being flown by the US Army Air Corp, the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator, and very late in the war, the B-29 Superfortress. How dangerous was bombing the Germans during World War II? On September 27, 1944, Fr. Broderick’s unit was on a bombing mission over Germany. The flight of thirty-five bombers was jumped by over one hundred and fifty German fighters. In the ensuing fight, twenty-nine German fighters and twenty-five American bombers were shot down. Only four of the thirty-five American planes made it back to their original base. The next day, only one was fit to fly! For the Unit’s service during World War II, the airmen of the 445th received the Distinguished Unit Citation.

After defeating the Germans and saving the world in 1945, Master Sgt. Broderick became one of the millions of American Veterans who were being demobilized after their service to our nation during World War II and returned to civilian life. Using his GI Bill benefits, he attended and graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. After college, he worked as a banker for Old Colony Trust, reaching the rank of Junior Vice President.

During our conversation, Fr. Broderick told me, about the Irish waitresses treating him badly during business lunches at the Durgin Park Restaurant. The poor service and rude treatment continued until a coworker told the girls that they too, were Catholics. While working as a banker, he met a young woman and became engaged to be married. During his marriage preparation, he attended Catholic Retreat, it was on this retreat at St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, he made the decision to become a Catholic Priest.

One of his more interesting assignments as a priest, was ministering to Quechua Indians in Peru. The tribe was so remote, that Father Broderick often traveled by horseback while serving the tribe. Recently, at the age of 93, he had the opportunity to ride again at the Myopia Hunt Club. He also served at many local parishes, including Sacred Heart in Haverhill, MA, Our Lady of the Presentation in Brighton, MA and Immaculate Conception Parish in Newburyport, MA Although he grew up as an only child, his room at Regina Cleri, is covered with photos of the dozens of families he ministered to during his career as a priest.

Interviewing him, I learned that one of the most remarkable traits this man has is; the humbleness he displayed when discussing his life; as an airman, a college student, a banker, and a priest. During World War II all the 16.5 million men and women who served faced danger, and the prospect of dying at a young age. The risk was particularly high in bomber crews in the European Theater and submarine crews in the Pacific Theater.

Father Broderick talked to me about his bombing missions over Nazi Germany with the same demeanor and with the same ease, as he did during our discussion of his duties serving in a parish in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Truly a “hero in our midst”.
Please join us at the Dracut American Legion on RT 113 in Dracut, on February 15th, 2020, at 7pm as we pay tribute to US Marine Corp Veteran’s Phil and Don Everly with a free concert highlighting their music. Family event, with no admission.

The Dracut American Legion asks all World War II and Korean War Veterans to call 603-518-5368 and sign up for an Honor Flight to the Memorials in Washington DC!

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John Cuddy served in the US Navy’s Construction Battalions (known as the Seabees) after retiring from the Navy; he earned a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in economics from the University of Massachusetts on the Lowell Campus. He has been employed in Logistics at FedEx for the last 22 years. If you know a World War II veteran who would like their story told, please email him at John.Cuddy@Yahoo.com. ◊

ValleyPatriot

ValleyPatriot

The Valley Patriot is a free monthly print newspaper serving Northern Massachusetts, and Southern New Hampshire. The print edition is published by the 10th of each month and is distributed to 51 cities and towns.

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25 Responses to VALLEY PATRIOT of the MONTH ~ Fr. James Broderick – 39 Bombing Missions Over Nazi Germany in a B24 Liberator

  1. Larry Webster Reply

    February 1, 2020 at 9:19 AM

    Great article about a wonderful man. Fr. Broderick also served as Pastor of St. George Parish in Haverhill, MA.

  2. Debbie Hogan Vicente Reply

    February 1, 2020 at 5:58 PM

    He also served in Chelsea Mass at Our Lady of Grace Parish.

  3. Rosemary Hughes from OLG!!!! Reply

    February 1, 2020 at 10:47 PM

    An amazing man who dedicated his life to God and helping others. Plus, he is hilarious, has the sharpest wit and is the most loved person you may ever know on this Earth❤️ We are so lucky to know him.

  4. Mary Vaughan Reply

    February 1, 2020 at 11:47 PM

    Beautiful article about a great man who truly understood the call to serve in every capacity. His genuine love for God and life has shined through those he has served. Thank you for all of the humble ways in which you have served.
    Mary Vaughan
    Our Lady of Grace

  5. Liz Hughes VanderAarde Reply

    February 2, 2020 at 9:57 AM

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute to this incredible man! Father Jim has been a part of our lives for decades — growing up
    In the OLG parish of Everett-Chelsea. We flew each of our three sons from Minnesota to Massachusetts to be baptized by this humble man they consider their honorary grandfather” – he not only saves lives, but changes them. For his presence in our lives, we are eternally grateful!

  6. Steven Whalen Reply

    February 2, 2020 at 4:52 PM

    Thank you Father Broderick for all you did for us kids growing up at Our Lady of Grace over the years. We all attended your masses every Sunday morning, then you married all of us later in life.

    God bless you
    Steven Whalen
    Our Lady of Grace Chelsea/Everett

  7. Tiffany Bonanno Reply

    February 2, 2020 at 9:18 PM

    Such a wonderful man. He was the priest at St. George’s Church when I was a girl. Later, he blessed my marriage vows and baptized my son.

  8. Margo DiBiasio Reply

    February 2, 2020 at 11:16 PM

    Many fond and funny memories of Father Broderick. He married my mom (Margaret Keene) and dad (Robert Griffin). He baptized me and led many, many masses I had attended throughout my childhood and much of my adolescence at Our Lady of Grace, Everett/Chelsea, MA. We truly missed him when he was transferred to another parish. I can still here his booming voice in my mind!!
    I enjoyed reading this article so much. There were many details I had no idea about!
    Thank you!
    Margo (Griffin) DiBiasio

    • Margo Reply

      February 2, 2020 at 11:17 PM

      *hear his booming voice (oops!)

  9. C Reply

    February 3, 2020 at 6:57 PM

    He was a great ma . I was an alter boy for him. He was the priest until they closed St George’s Church in Haverhill MA

    • C Reply

      February 3, 2020 at 6:58 PM

      *man

  10. Mary Robinson Fortin Reply

    February 3, 2020 at 8:42 PM

    I remember Father “B” from Our Lady of Grace in Everett/Chelsea, Ma. Always happy friendly part of the family. Loved and respected by many people. It is an honor to know him.

  11. Kathleen Reply

    February 4, 2020 at 6:43 PM

    Is there an address where we can send a card with our love to him?

    • Joyce Tomaselli and Gracemarie Tomaselli Reply

      February 5, 2020 at 12:18 PM

      Hello Kathleen,
      Fr. Broderick lives at:
      Regina Cleri Residence
      60 William Cardinal O’Connell Parkway
      Boston, Massachusetts 02114
      Telephone to receptionist 617-523-1861

  12. Patricia Crosby Reply

    February 4, 2020 at 8:20 PM

    This article moved me to tears. Such a blessing to read this on Facebook. He was a priest at Our Lady of Grace, Everett, Chelsea. He married my husband and I in 1974. Patricia Saraceno, and James Crosby. He also baptized our 3 children. We loved him so much, and often wondered about him. We moved away from the area, in 1987. My memories of the parish always close to my heart. Plan to have my funeral mass at Our Lady of Grace, be buried at Woodlawn Cemetery. Fr. Broderick, we often spoke of you through the years. How special, and blessed to have known you. God bless you. Would love to send you a card, if someone can give an address.

    • Joyce Tomaselli and Gracemarie Tomaselli Reply

      February 5, 2020 at 12:19 PM

      Hello Patricia,
      Fr. Broderick lives at:
      Regina Cleri Residence
      60 William Cardinal O’Connell Parkway
      Boston, Massachusetts 02114
      Telephone to receptionist 617-523-1861

  13. Joyce Tomaselli and Gracemarie Tomaselli Reply

    February 5, 2020 at 12:01 PM

    Thank you very much Tom Duggan for this January 2020 The Valley Patriot of the Month front page story written by Veteran Hero writer John Cuddy about Fr. James Broderick. It is a wonderful heartwarming story about a truly amazing man who served our country! Fr. Broderick is a very well known priest who served in many Catholic parishes. He is a brilliant and very humble man with a quick wit and sense of humor. His homilies are memorable and he shared so many great stories. We greatly appreciate everything he has done for our country and continues to do for the church.

  14. Joyce Tomaselli and Gracemarie Tomaselli Reply

    February 5, 2020 at 12:16 PM

    We recently had a great visit with Fr. James Broderick at Regina Cleri in downtown Boston at the Government Center area:
    Regina Cleri Residence
    60 William Cardinal O’Connell Parkway
    Boston, Massachusetts 02114

    You can call Regina Cleri at 617-523-1861 and ask to be connected to his room. He has a telephone in his room and we believe that he would love to hear from, have a visit or a card from his friends!

    • Patricia Crosby Reply

      February 5, 2020 at 12:29 PM

      Thank you so much for publishing the address and phone number to get in touch with Fr. Broderick, was a blessing to find this on Facebook. Great memories of him at Our Lady of Grace parish. Grateful

  15. Karen Wernig McLoud Reply

    February 7, 2020 at 2:47 PM

    I was thrilled to see this article about Fr. Broderick. I never knew about his service to our country, only God and the church. Our family came to know Fr. while he was at our Parish of Our Lady of Grace Church in Chelsea adjacent to its school in Everett. I attended OLG for 4 years. Fr. Broderick traveled to my Parish in Plymouth NH to perform the ceremony when I got married almost 42 years ago this spring. He was a good friend of the family needless to say… funny man too. We were nervous that he was not going to be able to make the trip to NH because we had heard he fell into a grave, broke his arm weeks before our wedding date! Ask him if that was a true story! Give Father our warmest wishes and tell him Fred & Marguerite Wernig’s daughter Karen says hello!

  16. Vickie Steex Reply

    February 7, 2020 at 6:41 PM

    That is a beautiful article. I have often though of Father Broderick. He baptized my daughter and it was so special. I’m so happy some included his address. His sermons were so long but we never minded because we always walked away, learning something we never knew. God take care of Father Broderick

  17. Karyn Festa (Carrillo) Russo Reply

    April 12, 2020 at 8:27 PM

    Knowing him from OLG he married me and baptized my two sons. Wonderful gracious man.with a big heart and wonderful personality. I even taught CCD for him. My sons and I love him and very honored to have known him.

  18. Abbie Reply

    April 18, 2020 at 1:43 PM

    Thank you Fr. Broderick for all that you did for me. I miss you.

  19. Fr. Joseph P. Annese Reply

    May 21, 2020 at 10:00 PM

    Fr. Joe Annese
    He was a pastor’s pastor could hear him preaching all the way down the Cape. He was so very good to my Mom in her later years. I served with him several times when I returned to Chelsea. Of course, every one knew that he smoked too much and he had some harsh words for anyone who suggested that he quit.

  20. Joyce A. Tomaselli Reply

    August 31, 2020 at 5:59 PM

    We are so sorry to learn this sad news. We are very grateful that we had an opportunity to spend time with him at Regina Cleri when John Cuddy interviewed Fr. Broderick for The Valley Patriot Hero of the Month January 2020. We loved Father so much and always thought that we would see him again. He was a very special priest and very interesting man who shared his great stories. This picture truly captured his amazing smile. We pray that he rests in God’s eternal peace. ❤️❤️https://www.facebook.com/hriccatholic/photos/a.201848126993210/923656304812385/