Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell Richard Hardy


Unit : Commando Headquarters, No.46 (Royal Marine) Commando

Service No. : 416

Awards : Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Distinguished Service Order and Two Bars


Lieutenant-Colonel Hardy was commissioned into the Royal Marines in 1924 and qualified as Physical Training Officer. He was given command of No.46 (Royal Marine) Commando in 1943 and led it throughout the Normandy campaign. For actions which occurred in the days before the 4th Special Service Brigade was placed at the disposal of the 6th Airborne Division, Hardy was awarded the Distinguished Service Order on the recommendation of Brigadier K. G. Blackader of the 8th Infantry Brigade. His citation reads:


On 11th June 1944, while serving under command of this Brigade, Lieutenant-Colonel Hardy led his troops during the difficult and trying operation of clearing the woods on both banks of the river from Barbiere to Rots.


Lieutenant-Colonel Hardy displayed great coolness, good judgement and personal bravery in the capture of Le Hamel and Rots which were only cleared out after the stiffest fighting in the hours of darkness after a long day's fighting. Although he would have been justified in recommending that the capture of Rots should be left until the following morning after proper artillery preparation, this officer insisted on carrying out his task even though darkness was falling, adding to his difficulties. The operation was a complete success, and evidence of the fierceness of the fighting is that 122 German dead were buried on the following day. As a result of the action taken by Lieutenant-Colonel Hardy and his Commandos, this Brigade was able to occupy Rots on the following day with only two casualties and thereby considerably improving the positions.


In my opinion the success of the operation was to a great extent due to the leadership of the Commanding Officer and I recommend he be awarded the Distinguished Service Order.


Placed under the command of the 6th Airborne Division, a Bar to the Distinguished Service Order followed:


Lieutenant Colonel Hardy has commanded his Commando with outstanding success from 6th June to 8th October 1944. During this period, the Commando has distinguished itself on many occasions. Lieutenant Colonel Hardy has consistently shown a complete disregard for his own personal safety when under fire and has on all occasions set a magnificent personal example. Two occasions are cited, typical of several, when his personal courage and leadership have been the decisive factor in winning the battle.


On 20th August, at Putot en Auge, the Commando was ordered at very short notice to attack by night a strong enemy position in close country which had repulsed a battalion attack during the day.


Little daylight was left for reconnaissance. While the reconnaissance parties were assembling, a mortar bomb wounded two troop Leaders, the Adjutant, the Signals Officer and the Forward Observation Officer. Lieutenant Colonel Hardy, in order to overcome the setback, personally placed every officer and NCO in his correct position on the start line. Since it was too dark to point out objectives he led the assault himself from the centre of the leading wave and was the first man into the enemy position.


The complete success of this attack was due entirely to his courage, determination and leadership.


On 25th August at Quetteville, he again displayed the greatest resolution and devotion to duty when his Commando was held up by sustained opposition after suffering considerable casualties.


Although wounded at the beginning of the action, his determination to find a way into the enemy position never faltered.


It was at his suggestion that the final and successful attack was made. It was entirely due to his inspiration and personal disregard of danger that the objective was finally won.


Hardy was promoted to Brigadier in late 1944 and posted to the Far East where he took command of the 3rd Commando Brigade. In January 1945, the Brigade carried out an unopposed landing on the Arakan Peninsula in Burma, and subsequently mounted a most successful defence of Hill 170 against heavy Japanese counter-attacks. Lieutenant-General Sir Philip Christison, the Commander of XV Indian Corps, singled out their "magnificent" defence as making a very large contribution to the outcome of the Battle of Kangaw, which he regarded as the decisive action of the campaign. A second Bar to the Distinguished Service Order followed:


This Officer personally planned the assault phase of the two combined operations against [?]yeson and Kangaw during a period of a fortnight under conditions of great haste and difficulty. He led his Brigade in both assaults, and during the continued heavy fighting involved in the subsequent deep advance inland. Throughout the whole of the operations he was in control in the area where fighting was most stubborn, where his calm and cheerful bearing was an inspiration. His Brigade was the spear-head in both operations and their success was very largely due to Brigadier Hardy's able planning and confident leadership.


Brigadier Hardy became Chief Instructor at the School of Combined Operations after the war, but later returned to the 3rd Commando Brigade, and it was for his participation in the Malaya Emergency that he was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire:


Brigadier Hardy was Commander 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and brought this Brigade from Hong Kong to Malaya in May 1950. He relinquished Command of the Brigade in February 1951. On arrival in Malaya he and the Brigade were faced with problems of operating which were entirely new to them and very far removed from conditions of which they had previously had experience. Under his leadership the Brigade rapidly adjusted itself and, as a result of the great enthusiasm and drive which he engendered, the Brigade within a very short period established itself in Perak and made its presence felt to a very marked degree. It very soon opened its score of bandits killed and since then has gone from strength to strength.


Brigadier Hardy was particularly successful in his relationship with the Police and the Civil authorities and by his personality assisted in the creation of a very good atmosphere in which the planning of operations against the bandits were carried out.


There is no doubt that the success of 3 Commando Brigade in Malaya is very largely due to the excellent foundations laid down by Brigadier Hardy and the leadership which he gave the Brigade during the period of his Command in Malaya.


In 1951, Hardy was made Commander of the Royal Marines Depot at Deal, and in the following year served as Chief of Staff of the Royal Marines. He became Commandant General Royal Marines in 1955. He was briefly, albeit unofficially, present during the Suez campaign when he paid a visit to 45 Commando at their landing area. He retired in 1959 and was made Director of the Coal Utilisation Council.


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