RATCLIFF, Kenneth Leslie
On February 5th 1945 a raid was planned across the River Maas to snatch a German prisoner from behind the German lines. Bad weather forced the mission to be abandoned but a collapsible canvas boat used was left behind on the far bank. The boat was ordered to be retrieved and Mne's. Kenneth Ratcliff, Charles Brandon, and David Williams were sent across the river to do so.
On the way back, the boat capsized, and three marines were swept down the cold waters of the Maas – here 650ft wide – by the strong current. Wearing combat boots, battle dress and leather jerkins, the three men struggled – Williams especially as he could not swim – and eventually drowned. The bodies of Mnes Charles Brandon and Kenneth Ratcliff were subsequently washed up downstream and buried, while Williams’ corpse was eventually recovered from the water and laid to rest in a shallow grave by the river. [read more]Sources Royal Navy News report 9th June 2016 CWGC MOD.