The Unlikely Heroics of Lt. Joseph Glover and Myrtle the Chicken

 January 18, 2024

Few stories are as captivating and heartwarming as that of Lt. Joseph Glover and his pet chicken Myrtle. Together, this unlikely duo played a vital role in a pivotal World War II operation, their actions leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those who would come to know their tale.

As you delve into the extraordinary journey of Lt. Glover and Myrtle, prepare to be inspired by their unyielding loyalty, resilience, and the incredible impact that even the most unexpected of heroes can have on the course of history.

Early Life of Joseph Glover

Birth and Childhood

Lt. Joseph Glover was born on June 6, 1918, in a small town in the heart of America's heartland. He grew up in a tight-knit, patriotic family, where love for one's country was instilled from an early age. Glover excelled in school and was actively involved in sports and extracurricular activities.

Additionally, he developed a keen interest in history, particularly the heroic tales of America's past, which would inspire his own path in life.

Pursuing Education

After completing high school, Joseph Glover pursued higher education at a local college. There, he majored in history, deepening his understanding of the events that shaped his nation. Meanwhile, he continued participating in sports and leadership activities.

Developing Skills and Interests

Outside of his academic pursuits, Glover explored various hobbies and interests. He took up woodworking and found great satisfaction in creating handcrafted pieces. Furthermore, he enjoyed reading about military strategies and tactics, fostering his growing passion for the armed forces.

Community Involvement

Glover also played an active role in his community. He volunteered at local events, helping to organize patriotic celebrations and fundraisers for veterans. Moreover, he supported youth programs, believing in the importance of instilling values like courage, loyalty, and service in future generations.

Decision to Join the Military

As tensions escalated around the world, Glover felt a strong call to serve his country. He reflected on the lessons of history and the values he cherished. Ultimately, he decided to enlist in the U.S. Army, embarking on a journey that would define his life and etch his name in the annals of American military lore.

Myrtle the Chicken

During the sweltering summer months of 1944, the 1st Airbourne Division's men faced considerable stress due to a series of proposed and canceled operations. To alleviate his frustrations, Lieutenant (Quarter Master) Pat Glover of the 10th Battalion often took potshots with his .22 caliber rifle at birds outside his office.

One day, after Lt. Glover successfully fired two or three rounds at a cockerel-shaped weather vane atop Somerby's All Saints Church from roughly 60 yards away, a spirited and alcohol-fueled debate arose regarding the flying abilities of chickens. Determined to win the argument, Lt. Glover decided to settle the matter once and for all.

To prove that chickens could indeed fly, Lt. Glover "acquired" a small reddish-brown hen from a nearby farm and named her Myrtle. The introduction of Myrtle would soon become a turning point in the story of Lt. Glover and his extraordinary wartime experiences.

Could Myrtle fly?

Not long after Lt. Glover recruited Myrtle, the U.S. Army planned a parachute jump for Lt. Glover and his unit. On the jump, Joseph placed Myrtle inside a zip-up canvas bag attached to his left shoulder. After leaping from 600 feet and deploying his parachute, he opened the bag to release the chicken.

Initially, upon poking her head out and realizing her precarious position, Myrtle quickly retreated to the bag's relative safety. However, Lt. Glover eventually released her when he was about 50 feet above the ground.

Despite the commotion, including much squawking and ungraceful wing flapping, Myrtle managed to fly and land safely.

From then on, Lt. Glover kept Myrtle perched on an iron bar on his office desk, justifying her presence to his superiors as "living rations" in anticipation of food shortages.

Throughout that summer, Myrtle, dubbed the "Parachick," completed six more jumps. With each leap, Joseph released Myrtle from higher altitudes and she grew more adept at flying.

After having fulfilled the required number of drops, Myrtle received her parachute wings, proudly worn around her neck with an elastic band.

Eventually, Myrtle could be safely released from 300 feet and would patiently wait on the ground for her master to collect her.

The Fateful Battle of Arnhem, Operation Market Garden

In preparation for Myrtle's first operational jump, Lt. Glover decided to keep her safe in the canvas bag during the air drop. This turned out to be wise, as they C-47 they were in encountered fierce flak, prompting Lt. Glover and his fellow jumpers to evacuate the plane earlier than planned.

Gliding down over the battle, Lt. Glover saw the raging chaos below. Upon landing, he rolled onto his right shoulder to protect Myrtle from harm.

Reuniting with his batman, Joe Scutt, he entrusted Myrtle to him as they headed towards their rendezvous point amid the chaos.

The following day, Lt. Glover and the 10th Battalion faced numerous challenges, including dwindling water supplies and intense enemy fire. As they withdrew across the railway line near Wolfheze, they used the railway embankment for cover while evading German machine-gunners.

During a brief respite, Lt. Glover asked Scutt about Myrtle's whereabouts. Scutt had left her in her bag on the edge of the trench during the attack. Upon retrieving the bullet-riddled bag, they discovered Myrtle had been killed in action. The two men buried her beneath a hedge, leaving her parachute wings on as a tribute to her bravery.

As they finished burying Myrtle, Scutt stood up, dusted himself off, and delivered a heartfelt eulogy: "Well, she was game to the last, sir." The memory of Myrtle's courage and determination would endure, honoring the unbreakable bond between Lt. Glover and his beloved chicken.

A Bridge Too Far: The Movie and Myrtle's Legacy

In 1977, Hollywood released the epic war film "A Bridge Too Far", chronicling the story of Operation Market Garden during World War II. Among the many memorable characters and events portrayed in the movie, a particular chicken caught the attention of audiences worldwide.

This chicken, which played a small but significant role in the film, was inspired by the real-life story of Lt. Joseph Glover and his pet chicken, Myrtle. The movie's creators sought to pay tribute to their incredible bond and the sacrifices they made during the war.

As a testament to the bravery and determination of Lt. Glover and Myrtle, the chicken character in "A Bridge Too Far" serves as a poignant reminder of the unwavering loyalty and friendship that can exist even in the darkest of times.

The movie captures the essence of their relationship and the impact they had on those around them.

By including Myrtle's story in "A Bridge Too Far," the film not only honored the memory of a courageous chicken but also immortalized the inspiring partnership between Lt. Glover and Myrtle for generations to come. Their tale of resilience and devotion continues to resonate with viewers, reinforcing the importance of loyalty, friendship, and heroism in the face of adversity.


Lt. Joseph Glover After the War

Returning Home

After the war, Lt. Joseph Glover returned to his hometown, where his community celebrated him as a war hero. He would spend the remainder of his life dedicated to honoring Myrtle's memory and sharing their incredible story with others.

He became an inspiration to many, and his tale of courage and friendship left a lasting impression on everyone who heard it.

A Lifetime of Service

Glover continued to serve his country in various capacities, working tirelessly to support veterans and their families.

He contributed to numerous initiatives and organizations aimed at helping those who had served in the military. Additionally, Glover volunteered extensively with local schools, teaching the importance of patriotism and the sacrifices made by the brave men, women, and chickens who fought for freedom.

His passion for service and education inspired future generations to uphold the values of courage, loyalty, and dedication.


Lt. Joseph Glover and Myrtle the Chicken form a remarkable and inspiring chapter in American history.

Their story serves as a testament to the power of loyalty, bravery, and the unique bonds that can form between soldiers and their animal companions.

As we remember their heroics, let us also honor the countless men, women, and animals who have served our nation with courage and distinction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the word "batman" mean in reference to Joe Scutt?

In the military context, "batman" refers to a soldier or airman assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal assistant. The batman's duties generally include tasks such as taking care of the officer's uniform, running errands, and assisting with daily activities. In the case of Joe Scutt, he was Lt. Glover's batman, meaning he was responsible for assisting and serving Lt. Glover during their time in the military.

Who was Lt. Joseph Glover?

Lt. Joseph Glover was a U.S. Army officer who served during World War II. Glover is best known for recruiting Myrtle the parachick and participating in the battle of Arnhem, Operation Market Garden.

How did Lt. Glover find Myrtle?

Lt. Glover found Myrtle near the barracks during his military training. She quickly became the soldiers' mascot and Glover's constant companion.

What role did Myrtle play in Operation Market Garden?

Myrtle fearlessly led the troops across a narrow footbridge during a critical moment in the operation. Her actions inspired the soldiers to press forward and ultimately secure the bridge.

How did Myrtle die?

Myrtle was injured during the battle and sadly succumbed to her injuries.

What did Lt. Glover do after the war?

After returning home, Lt. Glover dedicated his life to honoring Myrtle's memory, sharing their story, and supporting veterans and their families. He also volunteered extensively with local schools.

Do any books or films feature the story of Myrtle the chicken?

Yes, Myrtle's heroics have been retold in numerous books and films, inspiring generations of Americans with her bravery and loyalty.

What can we learn from the story of Lt. Glover and Myrtle?

Their story serves as a testament to the power of loyalty, bravery, and the unique bonds that can form between soldiers and their animal companions.

Did Lt. Glover have any family?

Lt. Glover had a close-knit, patriotic family who supported and celebrated his accomplishments and the legacy he shared with Myrtle.

Are there other stories of animals serving in the military?

Yes, there are many stories of animals, such as dogs, horses, and pigeons, who have served alongside soldiers in various capacities throughout history. Myrtle's story is just one example of the incredible bonds and heroics that can be forged between soldiers and their animal companions.

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One comment on “The Unlikely Heroics of Lt. Joseph Glover and Myrtle the Chicken”

  1. Reading Joseph Glover's and Myrtle's story reduced me to a puddle of tears. Poignant and beautiful.

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