Former Precentor of Clogher awarded Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur


An Irish World War Two veteran has been awarded France's highest military honour at a ceremony in Dublin.

Canon Robert William Marsden, 91, was presented with the honour on Tuesday, 26th January 2016 by the French Ambassador to Ireland, Jean-Pierre Thébault.

The Dublin native was recognised for his courage and role with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, with whom he served in Normandy in 1944. Commending Mr Marsden for his active service in France during the war, Mr Thébault said: "He demonstrated exceptional acts of courage, he put his life at risk like thousands of Irish people." Mr Marsden was also present for key moments during the war, including the liberation of Brussels and the battle of Arnhem in the Netherlands.

Canon Marsden spoke of his pride in receiving the Legion of Honor, one of the world's most widely recognised decorations. "I was very thrilled to tell you the truth, I am proud to have been honoured in this way, very proud," he said.

When he returned to Ireland, he was ordained Church of Ireland Deacon for St James' Parish in Dublin in 1950 and also a year later as Priest. Following more than 40 years serving in the Clogher Diocese in Currin (Scotshouse), Drum, Clones and Killeevan, he was made Canon and Precentor of Clogher Cathedral.

He also worked across the border in the North of Ireland during the Troubles, striving to achieve peace. "I wanted to maintain the spirit of comradeship that kept us going during the dark days of wartime," he added.

Mr Marsden, who retired in 1994, now resides in Sandymount, Dublin, with his wife Betty.