As the surviving men fell back through the 11th Battalion’s positions, Major Harry Lorenzo Gilchrist (A Company, 11th Battalion) who died of leprosy on 26-12-1943 (aged 73), met Cain, who told him that “The tanks are coming, give me a PIAT”. Gilchrist was unable to oblige and so the Staffords regrouped behind the 11th Battalion’s positions; roughly 100 surviving men forming into five small platoons under Cain’s command. Lieutenant Colonel George Lea, who died age 77 on 27-12-1990 in Saint Brélade, Jersey, commander of the 11th Battalion, ordered them to capture a piece of wooded high ground known as Den Brink to cover a fresh advance, and a bayonet charge quickly cleared the enemy there. However, the thick tree roots on the hill made it impossible to dig in, and after suffering severe casualties, Cain took the decision to withdraw back to Oosterbeek.
On 20th September a Tiger tank approached the area held by his company and Major Cain went out alone to deal with it armed with a Piat. Taking up a position he held his fire until the tank was only 20 yards away when he opened up. The tank immediately halted and turned its guns on him, shooting away a corner of the house near where this officer was lying. Although wounded by machine gun bullets and falling masonry, Major Cain continued firing until he had scored several direct hits, immobilised the tank and supervised the bringing up of a 75 mm. howitzer which completely destroyed it. Only then would he consent to have his wounds dressed.
In the next morning this officer drove off three more tanks by the fearless use of his Piat, on each occasion leaving cover and taking up position in open ground with complete disregard for his personal safety.
During the following days, Major Cain was everywhere where danger threatened, moving amongst his men and encouraging them by his fearless example to hold out. He refused rest and medical attention in spite of the fact that his hearing had been seriously impaired because of a perforated eardrum and he was suffering from multiple wounds.
On 25 September the enemy made a concerted attack on Major Cain’s position, using self-propelled guns, flame throwers and infantry. By this time the last Piat had been put out of action and Major Cain was armed with only a light 2″ mortar. However, by a skilful use of this weapon and his daring leadership of the few men still under his command, he completely demoralized the enemy who, after an engagement lasting more than three hours, withdrew in disorder.
Throughout the whole course of the Battle of Arnhem, Major Cain showed superb gallantry. His powers of endurance and leadership were the admiration of all his fellow officers and stories of his valour were being constantly exchanged amongst the troops. His coolness and courage under incessant fire could not be surpassed.
The hostilities in Europe ended on 08-05-1945, when the Allies accepted the unconditional
Upon leaving the army Cain went back to his pre-war occupation with Shell, living in East Asia and then West Africa. In 1951 he was elected to the Nigerian House of Representatives while working there. He returned to Britain in 1965 and settled in the Isle of Man upon his retirement.
Death and burial ground of Cain, Robert Henry.
Cain died of cancer on 02-05-1974, age 65, in Crowborough, Sussex. His body was cremated at Worth Crematorium and its ashes interred in the family grave with his parents at Braddan Cemetery on the Isle of Man.