poppy field


Maasbracht (NL) memorial service 2019

Maasbracht memorial service, 2019

”The Citation”

In North-West Europe on 23rd January, 1945 the leading section of a Royal Marine Commando Troop having come under intense machine-gun fire was ordered to make for some houses close by. Four of the section had been wounded and were left lying in the open. Under continuous fire Lance Corporal Harden at once went forward and with great coolness and bravery attended to the four casualties. He then carried one of them back to cover. He was ordered not to go forward again and an attempt was made to bring in the remaining casualties with the aid of tanks, but this proved unsuccessful owing to the heavy and accurate fire of anti-tank guns. A second attempt under a smoke-screen also proving unsuccessful, Lance Corporal Harden insisted in going forward with a volunteer stretcher party and succeeded in bringing back another badly wounded man. He went out a third time, and whilst returning with the stretcher party, he was killed. Throughout this long period Lance-Corporal Harden displayed superb devotion to duty and personal courage of the highest order. His action was directly responsible for saving the lives of the wounded brought in, while his complete contempt for all personal danger, and the magnificent example he set of cool courage and determination to continue with his work, whatever the odds, was an inspiration to his comrades and will never be forgotten by those who saw it

Above is the citation related to the Victoria Cross, awarded posthumously to LCpl Harden for his heroic behaviour.


The above events occurred on that fateful day of 1945 in the vicinity of the small town of Maasbracht in the Netherlands, South of Roermond. The town and the local school hold a short service every year at his memorial stone, even 74 years after the event.


The Rheindahlen Branch, RBL, located just on the other side of the German/Dutch border, provide backing to the service and lay a poppy-wreath in commemoration. Local school-children formed the majority of the congregation so it is hoped that his memory will be honoured for many years to come. The service this year was on Sunday, 21st January 2019.


The photographs below show the memorial stone and our member, Chris Farrell, reading the citation to the assembled.