Private David Warden

 

Unit : Medium Machine Gun Platoon, Headquarters Company, 3rd Parachute Battalion

Army No. : 2766656

 

David Warden was one of the few members of the 3rd Battalion who made it into the Oosterbeek Perimeter. On Wednesday 20th, when the Lonsdale Force were under heavy attack in their isolated position in Oosterbeek, he and several comrades were fighting from a ditch that was filled with three feet of water, in some fields just north of the river bank. A tank shell had exploded near Warden and left him concussed. Upon recovering he realised that Lance-Corporal Walter Stanley had been badly hit and was about to fall face forward. David Warden grabbed hold of him around his waist and kept him above water. Though in a deep state of shock, Stanley was aware that he was about to die and spoke to Warden about his wife, before singing a few lines of the song 'I'll walk beside you in the years to come'. The brave Lance-Corporal died soon after, and Warden left his body leaning against the ditch, however despite this, Stanley has no known grave.

 

In the intense fighting towards the end of the battle, David Warden believed he saw two Germans enter a house near to his position. His suspicions were comfirmed when a stick grenade was thrown out of a window into his slit trench. The explosion immediately killed Sergeant Blakeley and wounded Warden in the leg. He returned the favour by throwing a grenade of his own through the window where the other one came from. The two Germans ran out of the back door but were both killed by Warden and Private Tongs who opened fire with their Sten guns. When the grenade he had thrown exploded, the house caught fire and burned to the ground.

 

In 1950 Warden revisited the area and met an elderly Dutch gentleman, whom he discovered was the owner of the house that his grenade had destroyed. The man was under the impression that the Germans were to blame for the ruin of his home, and he was still quite furious about it. David Warden couldn't find it in his heart to reveal the truth of the matter, and so merely commented "Oh dear, how terrible....".

 

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