Lt Frank Ellis Ladner, 1st Field Squadron, Military Cross


During the first phase of the attack on the Hitler Line on the 22nd and 23rd May 1944, Lieutenant Ladner was in command of a troop which had been ordered to sweep and clear all mines on the Acquino-Pontecorvo road lateral from Point 731175 to 74, 6213. During the whole of this time, the road was consistently under heavy enemy shell and mortar fire but this officer was always in the lead of his troops and, with absolute disregard for self-protection, was ever encouraging and assisting his men by every means in his power. His inspiring example was largely responsible for enabling the road to be quickly cleared of mines, thereby allowing the leading brigade of the Division to push ahead at best possible speed in their attack on the Hitler Line, allowing the enemy no time to reorganize his defences.

On the 30th May 1944 during the action about the Ceccano area, Lieutenant Ladner travelled forward under intense enemy mortar and machine gun fire to contact the leading armoured regiments of the 5th Canadian Armoured Brigade and then proceeded from there to reconnoitre enemy minefields which were in the area between San Filippo and Cole Bove and covered by German patrols. Although these patrols at times were within 200 yards of him, this officer successfully completed his task and through the information he gained was able to organize mine-lifting parties to clear a path for the tanks to advance ad continue the attack at a time when delay might have been critical to the divisional plan.

By the performance of his tasks at imminent risk of capture by enemy patrols and death from enemy fire, Lieutenant Ladner demonstrated courage, initiative and determination far beyond the normal line of duty.

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