Aten, R.

Date of birth:
August 9th, 1895
Dutch (1815-present, Kingdom)


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Second World War (1939-1945)
Burger (Civilian)
Awarded on:
March 31st, 1952
For having distinguished himself in battle against the enemy by having performed especially courageous and tactful acts as member of a subversive organisation in Noord Holland. In the night of September 26th , to 27th, 1944, after an attempt by other members of the resistance a few days earlier had failed, he, together with a comrade, managed to remove an explosive charge of more than 2.000 lbs, packed in carton boxes which had been laid by the Germans in a column of the Hembrug over the Noordzeekanaal. To that end he had to swim some 200 metres, then somehow he had to reach a manhole about five feet down, push aside the electrical wiring entering through the manhole and then climb up inside the column to where the charges had been laid. Subsequently he passed the boxes down to his assistant who made the boxes sink. This operation took some four hours and was carried out a few metres away from a German sentry; moreover, the battery of his flashlight died after an hour's work so the operation had to be continued in darkness. The return trip was again made by swimming.
In the night of October 17th 18th he made a reconnaissance again, this time alone, to find out what the enemy had done after having discovered the sabotage. It appeared the charge had been closed off from beneath by a wooden hatch and a sentry was posted only a few yards away. A renewed attempt to remove the charges had to be abandoned.
Royal Decree Nr.98, dated March 31st, 1952.
Bronzen Leeuw (BL)