Henry Eric “Eric” Harden

Henry Eric “Eric” Harden

Birth
Northfleet, Gravesham Borough, Kent, England
Death 23 Jan 1945 (aged 32)
Brachterbeek, Maasgouw Municipality, Limburg, Netherlands
Burial Nederweert, Nederweert Municipality, Limburg, Netherlands
Plot IV. E. 13
Memorial ID 8016362 · View Source
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World War II Victoria Cross Recipient. He was gazetted for the award on March 6, 1945 for his actions as a lance corporal in the British Royal Army Medical Corps, attached to the No. 45 (Royal Marine) Commandos, on January 23, 1945 at Brachterbeek, Netherlands during Operation Blackcock in the latter stages of World War II. He has the distinction of being the only British Army medic to receive the Victoria Cross. Born in Northfleet, Kent, England, he served with the St. John Ambulance Service prior to the outbreak of World War II. After enlisting in the British Army as a medic, he saw action during the Nazi Blitz of London, England from September 1940 until May 1941. He later volunteered to serve as a medic for the Royal Marine Commandos and was killed in combat at Brachterbeek, The Netherlands at the age of 32. His Victoria Cross citation reads: "On the morning of 23 January 1945 the 'A' Troop to which LCpl Harden was attached was ordered to attack the railway station at the village of Brachterbeek in Holland. Whilst moving towards that objective one Section of the Troop was caught in the open by heavy machine gun fire, followed by mortar and artillery. Three marines fell wounded and Harden ran across the 100 yards of open ground, gave his comrades first aid, and carrying one marine on his back brought him to safety. Harden was slightly wounded in this act, but he insisted upon going out again to rescue the others. With two stretcher bearers, another casualty was brought out but was hit again and killed. The NCO and the stretcher bearers then returned to collect the third injured man, and in so doing LCpl Harden was killed. The remainder of the stretcher party reached safety". In addition to the Victoria Cross, he received the British War Medal (1939-45). His Victoria Cross is on display at the Army Medical Services Museum in Mytchett, Surrey, England. There are two plaques in his memory on either side of the Vlootbeek Bridge (subsequently renamed the Henry Harden Bridge) near where he was killed. Additionally, a memorial in his honor marks the site where he died. The book "Commando Medic" Doc Harden VC" (2012) by Stephen J. Snelling, gives an account of his life.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Peterborough K
  • Added: 23 Oct 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8016362
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Henry Eric “Eric” Harden (23 Feb 1912–23 Jan 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8016362, citing Nederweert War Cemetery, Nederweert, Nederweert Municipality, Limburg, Netherlands ; Maintained by Find A Grave .