Jan 29th 2016, 13:58
A retired Church of Ireland cleric was awarded France’s highest decoration this week for his role in World War II. On Tuesday (January 26) Irish veteran Canon Robert William Marsden was named Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French Ambassador to Ireland Jean–Pierre Thébault during a ceremony at the Residence de France.
Born in Dublin in 1924, Canon Marsden trained with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He joined the infantry voluntarily and went on active service in Normandy in 1944. Robert landed in the Mulberry Harbour as part of the 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, and joined the 50th Northumbrian Division with which he took part in the liberation of Brussels.
The 1st Battalion was then sent on to Nijmegen in the Netherlands, on the road to the battle of Arnhem. Due to severe losses, the 50th Northumbrian Division was then sent to reinforce the 7th Armoured Division more famously known as the “Desert Rats”. He finished the war near the Kiel Canal in the German state of Schleswig– Holstein.
Upon his return, Canon Robert Marsden was ordained Church of Ireland Deacon for St James’ Parish, Dublin, in 1950 and Priest in 1951. He served as Port Chaplain in the Missions to Seamen in Dublin Port between 1954 and 1958. He also served as Rector of Parishes in the Clogher Diocese in Currin (Scotshouse), Drum, Clones and Killeevan. He was made Canon and Precentor of Clogher Cathedral. He retired in 1994 and now lives in Sandymount with his wife.