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Corporal JOHN WILLIAM HARPER

Service Number: 4751678
Regiment & Unit/Ship

York and Lancaster Regiment

The Hallamshire Bn.

Date of Death

Died 29 September 1944

Age 28 years old

Buried or commemorated at

LEOPOLDSBURG WAR CEMETERY

V. B. 15.

Belgium

  • Country of Service United Kingdom
  • Awards Victoria Cross
  • Additional Citation note

    The citation in the London Gazette of 2nd January, 1945, gives the following details: In Belgium, on 29th September, 1944, the Hallamshire Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment attacked the Depot de Mendicite, a natural defensive position surrounded by an earthen wall and a dyke and strongly held by the enemy. Corporal Harper, disregarding the heavy fire, led the section that he commanded up to the wall, and killed or captured the enemy holding the near side. The platoon commander was seriously wounded, and Corporal Harper took over command of the platoon. He then climbed over the wall and routed the Germans directly opposing him. Finding the dyke too deep to cross, he was ordered to establish his platoon on the far side of the wall, between it and the dyke. This he succeeded in doing with the loss of only one man, having himself by then climbed the wall three times. Finally he was fatally wounded while directing his company commander to a ford which had been discovered by the neighbouring battalion. The success of the battalion in driving the enemy from the wall and back across the dyke must be largely ascribed to the superb self-sacrifice and inspiring gallantry of Corporal Harper. His magnificent courage, fearlessness and devotion to duty throughout the battle set a splendid example to his men and had a decisive effect on the course of the operations.

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Buried or commemorated at