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As a pre-war member of the St. John Ambulance, he saw service during the 1940-41 Blitz and later volunteered for the Commandos, undergoing the same rigorous training as the fighting men before being attached to 45 Royal Marine Commando. He landed with his unit on D-Day and was involved in some of the fiercest fighting of the Normandy Campaign. During a bitter battle on the Dutch-German border, Harden, known throughout his unit as Doc, was killed saving the lives of wounded men trapped in no-man's land. Commenting on the posthumous award, the Secretary of State of War said, "I do not remember ever reading anything more heroic."