HARDING, Lionel Cox

Lieutenant, 5th Mountain Bty., Royal Garrison Artillery (90th Heavy Battery RFA).

Born

23rd August 1895 at Westwood Ho!, North Devon.
Son of Mr Herbert Olive Denman Harding (Judge, Indian Civil Service), and Mrs S. L. Harding (nee Cox), of 10, Kingsley Terrace, Westward Ho!, Devon and of Trichinopoly, Madras Pres’, South India.

Education

Westwood Ho! Junior School, 1903 - 1909.
Blundell's School, “Petergate”, Sept 1909 - Dec 1913.
He played in the 1st XV, 1913; Hockey XI, 1913.
He was in school OTC 1909 – 1913, gaining his Cert A in 1912, going to camp the same year and gaining promotion to Sergeant in 1913.

Service

He made application to Woolwich whilst still a student at Blundell’s on 24th November 1913 and left school to enter the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, entering as a Gentleman Cadet in 19th position. He joined No 5 Mountain Bty. Royal Garrison Artillery on 14th February 1915 and went with them to France. He was injured on 16th June. His major wrote that he had “very gallantly taken one of his guns to an advanced position in the trenches and had got here successfully under heavy shell fire one night showing great skill and courage in the operation. On the morning of the attack his gun opened fire at short range and destroyed the parapet of the German trenches opposite him. He was firing for about one and a half hours the gun was damaged and he sent his men back to cover. Needless to say he remained till the men had left and just before he would have started a shell hit the gun pit and he was wounded by shrapnel in ten places. During the rest of the day he was in the dugout where the doctor dressed him and as he had been given morphia he slept most of the time. He awoke once to ask how the fighting was going on and once when there was a scare of gas he wanted to help his men to get their respirators on…” He was taken to No. 2 Casualty Clearing Station the next day.

Personal Information

His application to Woolwich provided the following personal details:
Age last birthday, 18. Height 71½” (5’11½”) Chest 37½”, Weight 154lbs, Hearing good, Teeth good, Vision sufficient (near sight .6) Colour vision normal. Whilst on service his personal servant was Gunner 34439 William James Chaney.

Death

18 June 1915, aged 19.
Died of multiple wounds received in action on 16th June at No 2 Casualty Clearing station based near Bailleul.

Burial/Commemoration

Grave I. D. 28.
He is buried in Bailleul, Communal Cemetery Extension which his major described in his letter as “…close to town. The officers are in the middle of the graveyard and each grave is marked with a wooden cross with the name of the officer printed on.” He added “I hope someday that I may meet you and tell you how sorry I am to lose the boy, how bravely he died and how much I sympathise with you.” Reverend C. J. Loynes C. F. reported details of the burial in grave number 1360 to the War Secretary later that month.

Memorial

Bailleul is a large town in France, near the Belgian border, 14.5 kilometres south-west of Ieper and on the main road from St. Omer to Lille. Bailleul became an important railhead, air depot and hospital centre, with the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 11th, and 53rd Casualty Clearing Stations quartered in it for considerable periods. The earliest Commonwealth burials at Bailleul were made at the east end of the communal cemetery and in April 1915, when the space available had been filled, the extension was opened on the east side of the cemetery. The extension was used until April 1918, Both the Commonwealth plot in the communal cemetery and the extension were designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

After death

His parents were still in India and so his Aunt (his father’s sister) Miss Louisa Elmer Harding of Kingsley Terrace, Westwood Ho! undertook responsibility for receiving his personal goods. All his remaining pay was sent to his father before all his expenses were paid, so the Army Secretary wrote to his Aunt asking her to make payment £1.5.0d for the wages of his servant Gunner W. J. Chaney which had been overlooked. This she did immediately. His camp kit (not itemised) was sent to his Aunt’s house at Westwood Ho!

Research

Commonwealth War Graves Commission - www.cwgc.org
The Blundellian, Nov 1916 p 237
The National Archives, Public Records Office, Kew WO 339/14376
“The Register of Blundell's School, Part II 1882 – 1932” (1932) MAHOOD, A.S., Ed. Entry No.5318
Cemeteries & Memorials in Belgium & Northern France (2004) Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 25/541

 

[ back to previous page ]