He was a danish major, who imigrated to United Kingdom shortly after the breakout of WW2. There he joined in british SBS, and with succes - carried out many missions in the greek islands & Italy.
He was awarded three Military Cross' and one Victoria Cross.
Anders Frederik Emil Victor Schau Lassen, born at "Høvdingsgård" on 22nd of September 1920 as the son of Captain Emil Victor Lassen (esq.) and Suzanne Maria Signe Lassen, born Raben-Levetzau.
Anders Lassen went to the boarding school "Herlufsholm" and graduated in 1935. He left Denmark in 1938 to become a sailor and an apprentice in the merchant navy. April 1940 to January 1941 he was a gunner at M/S "Leonora Maersk" sailing on the British supply routes. For this duty he was after his death awarded "The Atlantic Star", which is very rarely given to army officers.
He joined the British Army in 1940 as a private in The Buffs. Joined the British Commandos in February 1941. Promoted to 2nd Lt. 20th of May 1942, to 1st Lt. 20th of November 1942, to Captain 13th of September 1943 and to Major on 9th of October 1944. Killed in action on 9th of April 1945 in Commachio, Italy, while single handed attacking and destroying three German pillboxes. He was 24 years old. He was posthumely awarded the Victoria Cross as the only non-British Empire soldier in World War 2.
During his service he fought in North Africa as member of the Small Scale Raiding Force, in The Aegaean Sea and Italy as member of D Squadron 1st Special Air Service Regiment as a part of The Special Boat Squadron.
Major Anders Lassens decorations include The Victoria Cross, 3 Military Crosses, King Christian the 10th Memorial Medal, The 1939-45 Star, The Atlantic Star, The Africa Star, The Italy Star, The British Victory Medal and the Greek Sacred Legion, some of them awarded posthumely.
On 9 April1945 at Lake Comacchio, Italy, on Operation Roast, Major Lassen was ordered to take a patrol and raid the north shore of the lake, causing as many casualties and as much confusion as possible to give the impression of a major landing. In the face of overwhelming enemy numbers he fulfilled his mission, three positions being wiped out, and when he was mortally wounded he refused to be evacuated so that the withdrawal should not be impeded and his men's lives endangered. Corporal Hunter of the Royal Marines also received his VC in the same operation with his Commando.
The London Gazette of 4th September, 1945, gives the following particulars:-
In Italy, on the night of 8th/9th April, 1945, Major Lassen was ordered to take out a patrol and raid the north shore of Lake Comacchio. His task was to cause casualties, capture prisoners and give the impression of a major landing. The patrol was challenged and came under machine-gun fire. Major Lassen himself attacked with grenades and silenced two enemy posts, capturing two prisoners and killing several Germans. The patrol had suffered casualties and was still under fire. Major Lassen moved forward and flung more grenades into a third enemy position, calling upon the enemy to surrender. He was then hit and mortally wounded, but whilst falling he flung a grenade, wounding more of the enemy and enabling his patrol to capture this last position. Finally, he refused to be evacuated lest he should impede the withdrawal and endanger further lives. His high sense of devotion to duty and the esteem in which he was held by the men he led, added to his own magnificent courage, enabled Major Lassen to carry out with complete success all the tasks he had been given.
Anders Lassen came from a family with strong relations to adventure and the military:
His father, Captain Emil Victor Schau Lassen fought on the Finnish side in the Winterwar between Finland and Russia 1939-40 and was decorated with The Finland Lion, The Finland Liberty Cross and The Finland Memorial Medal.
His grandfather, Axel Frederik Lassen, was a adventurer who became a planter in Sumatra. Born 1858, died in Copenhagen 1925.
His great grandfather was 1st Lieutenant Emil Victor Schau, killed in action at Dybboel on the 18th of April 1964. Emil Victor Schaus brothers were
Captain Boe Schau (killed in action at Mysunde 1850),
2nd Lieutenant Edward Schau (died of typhoid in 1855),
Major Ernst Schau (killed in action at Dybboel 18th of April 1864),
2nd Lieutenant Harald Schau (died of his wounds after the Battle at Fredericia 1851),
1st Lieutenant Valdemar Schau (died of typhoid in 1859) and
Agricultural Trainee Gustav Schau (died of typhoid in 1850).
There is an excellent book about him called Anders Lassen VC, MC, of the SAS by Mike Langley.
"During his service he fought in North Africa as member of the Small Scale Raiding Force, in The Aegaean Sea and Italy as member of D Squadron 1st Special Air Service Regiment as a part of The Special Boat Squadron."
Lassen's service with the SSRF was on raids on the French Atlantic coast, not in North Africa. Earlier he had served with Maid Honor Force (comprising many of the same men) on the SOE operation to steal German and Italian merchant ships from the neutral Spanish port of Fernando Po in West Africa. By the time he joined the SB Sqn they were separate from 1SAS. Here his service included operations on Crete, the Aegean islands, mainland Greece, Yugoslavia and Italy.
Ved gavlen af sct. Peders kapel - lige ud til Præstø fjord, i ly af store bøgekroner - har vi rejst en mindesten. Her vender hver forår de vilde svaner tilbage, og her har han fisket og jaget, sommer og vinter i al slags vejr. Sin manddomsgerning øvede han langt herfra i fremmede lande, men jeg tror at når hans tanker søgte hjem, vendte de ofte, ligesom de vilde svaner, tilbage til denne friske,
Danske strand, hvor han som dreng havde været så lykkelig.
De dekorationer, der er blevet ham til del efter hans død, har vi modtaget med taknemmelighed -- dog mildner alverdens æresbevisninger ikke sorgen over tabet af en elsket søn.
Men står jeg en dag ved mindestenen og ser solen glimte ud over vandet og mærker vindens susen i de store bøge, så er det som jeg kunne høre Anders sige:
"Jeg har gjort hvad jeg kunne mor, og endnu er du ikke glad." og så føler jeg, at jeg skylder ham - ikke alene at være taknemmelighed, men også glad over - at han, i den korte tid, han fik lov til at vandre her på jorden, var sit land en tapper kriger og en god og kærlig søn.
Written by he's mom:
At the gable of Sct. Peders chapel - right next to Præstø inlet, in the shadows of the big beechwoods,
we have raised a memorial stone. Every spring, the wild swans return to here, and here has he gone fishing and hunted. Summer and winter, in all kinds of weather.
He performed he's manhood-deeds long away from here, in foreign countries. But I think that when he's thought's searched home, they returned, like the wild swans; back to this fresh danish beach, where he as a boy had been so happy.
The decorations, that has been part of him after he's death. Have we recieved with great gratitude. Although all awards in the World, will never relieve the sorrow over the loss of a beloved son. But when I stand at the memorial-stone and see the sun glint over the sea, and feel the winds whistling in the big beechwoods'. Then it's, like I could allmost hear Anders' say:
"I have done what I could mom, yet you are not happy." Then I feel that I owe him, not only my gratefullness, but also being happy, that in this short time he walked here on Earth, he was a brave warrior for he's country, and a good and loving son.