Private James Hardy
Unit : 16 Parachute Field Ambulance
Army No. : 1556339
Awards : Military Medal.
After carrying out his duties as a medical orderly for 6 days during fighting in the Arnhem area, Hardy was captured at a Regimental Aid Post on 23rd September 1944.
The wounded and the medical personnel were moved to a German Aid Post in a wood nearby, and here, at the request of a British officer, Hardy was allowed to continue his work, although he was later removed to Willem III Barracks at Apeldoorn. On 5th October 1944 when the majority of the wounded had been evacuated, Hardy hid in the cookhouse.
The next day, to make himself as inconspicuous as possible, he joined a fatigue party and returned to the cookhouse in the evening. Without attracting the attention of the two sentries, Hardy and a paratrooper succeeded in crossing the courtyard to reach the outer wall; an observation post was located nearby but finally they reached an opening in the wire which in some parts replaced the wall. Before they gained open country they had to climb over two barbed wire road barriers. They made their way to Hurlsherst, from where their journey was arranged. A Canadian Officer praised Hardy's conduct during the final crossing of German lines at the beginning of January 1945.
He went out alone under fire on to the ice covering the flooded countryside to bring back members of the party who had dispersed when the enemy were encountered. He failed to find them. A wide canal had still to be crossed; Hardy swam to the other side and, although owing to the overhanging ice he had difficulty in climbing on to the further bank, he finally did so and secured a wire, enabling the two remaining members of the party to follow without being swept away by the current. They met a British unit the same afternoon, near Dodewaard.
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