Captain Rawdon Cecil George Pember MC Military Cross

Service Number 165038


World War 2



Scots Guards
Aged 24
Buried at Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Germany. 43, F, 18
Son of George Ross Pember and of Alice Marion Lucy Pember (nee Macnabb), of Berkley, Somerset.
“Harry” Pember was born in Essex to George Ross Pember and his wife, Alice Marion Lucy Macnab. He had a sister. His father was a stockbroker. In 1932, the family were living at Docklands, Ingatestone in Essex.

Harry was educated at Eton and Matriculated in 1939. He came up to Christ Church, Oxford in October 1939 for one year.
He was gazetted on 14 January 1941 and joined the Scots Guards.

On Wednesday 25 October 1944, he was serving as Acting Captain with the 6th Guards Tank Brigade, 12 Corps 3rd Tank Battalion SCOTS GUARDS
“Captain Pember was in command of the Recce Troop during the advance from OIRSCHOT to TILBURG About 1100 hours enemy Anti-Tank guns were reported in position just EAST of HEILIGEBOOM at the North-West end of the straight road running through marshy area between there and SPOORDONK. Captain Pember was ordered to locate their exact position. He himself led the patrol which was forced to go down the road straight at the enemy guns as it was impossible to by-pass their position for two miles either side. He did so in spite of the lack of cover and was able to report the position vacated by the enemy and the action was enabled to continue.
About 1600 hours that day Captain Pember was ordered to take the six light tanks of his Recce Troop and advance from MORGESTAL in co-operation with a Company of Infantry in armoured carriers to seize the main road bridge East of TILBURG which was thought to be intact. About 1720 hours as there had been some delay in getting the Infantry over the broken MORGESTEL bridge Captain Pember started off ahead of the Infantry towards the bridge which lay some three thousand yards ahead of our leading troops. Owing to the difficult nature of the country which was very swampy and intersected by big ditches he was at 1810 hours still some 400 yards short of the bridge. As the light was then too bad to allow the Infantry who were following up to continue and they were then about 100 yards behind, he was ordered to withdraw. At that moment he found himself in the centre of the enemy company locality defending the bridgehead, and was engaged by heavy Machine Gun fire from all sides. In spite of the twilight Captain Pember's troop fought back most energetically, killing and wounding a number of the enemy who tried to surround them, but in withdrawing three of the light tanks got ditched in close proximity to the enemy. In spite of the fire of 6 - 8 Machine Guns Captain Pember directed the unditching of two of them, but the third which was lying on its side had to be left as it was then quite dark, though the crew were got out safely.
Captain Pember's coolness, leadership and gallantry during this extremely difficult period were outstanding and enabled the troop to extract itself safely from an extremely awkward situation”
He was granted an immediate Military Cross on 28 October 1944.
He was acting in a similar capacity when he was wounded at Dorsten on Lippe and died at Wesel on Rhine on 29 March 1945.
He is buried in the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Plot 43. F. 18.
The notice of his death in The Times requested “no letters except from his friends.”
A memorial notice in 1950 said, “Man’s desperate folly was not theirs, but theirs the sacrifice”
He is commemorated in the church of St. Mary at Berkley, near Frome, by a memorial tablet with a cross in relief on the top.


Country Location Name of Memorial Campaign Names Date(s)
England Eton College In the Cloisters Eton SL6 6DB England Eton College War Memorial World War 1
World War 2
Rawdon Pember 29-3-1945 View

Further information:

Find more information about a specific soldier visit findmypast. The Scots Guards are delighted that their Enlistment Books from 1840 to 1938 are now available at:

If you have information on a specific memorial please send it on to the Historical Committee. The Memorial information required is:

  • Who or what formation of the Regiment is named on the memorial. What event, dates or other inscriptions on the memorial.
  • The country, nearest town/city or other details of location.
  • A description of the memorial with a photograph if possible.
  • For bigger sites a copy of any advertising information or leaflets would be useful.

Please sent any information that you find to: Michael Campbell-Lamerton

As the information on the database builds up Michael Campbell-Lamerton will be sending regular updates to Archives at RHQ who remains the point of contact about for inquiries on past members of the Regiment.