Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.
Frank Harding was born in the 4th quarter of 1893 in Brockham, Surrey to cowman Frank and Sarah Ann (nee Duffell). He was baptised on 3rd December 1893 at Christ Church, Brockham. At the time of his baptism the family lived at Root Hill in Brockham.
Frank’s father Frank was born in the 4th quarter of 1866 in Brockham to labourer James, born about 1814 and Euphemia nee Jordan, born about 1824, both in Betchworth, Surrey. Frank snr was baptised on 30th of December 1866 at Christ Church, Brockham. Frank’s mother Sarah Ann was born in the 2nd quarter of 1869 in Dorking to agricultural labourer John born about 1840 in Betchworth and Caroline born about 1824 in Horsley, Surrey. Frank married Sarah Ann in the 4th quarter of 1890 in Reigate, Surrey.
At the time of the 1891 Census, Frank snr and his wife Sarah Ann lived with Frank’s widowed father James at Bushbury, Brockham, Surrey.
Frank had six known siblings: Charles born about 1895; Albert born about 1899; Euphemia born about 1897; Eva born about 1902; Ernest born about 1905 and Stanley born about 1906, all in Betchworth.
At the time of the 1901 Census, the family lived at 1 Root Hill, Brockham. Frank was working as a cowman on a farm and Sarah Ann was at home looking after their children: Charles, Albert and Euphemia. The household further comprised of Frank’s father, farmer, James.
At the time of the 1911 Census, the family lived at Burland Cottage Brockenhurst, Betchworth. Frank snr had been totally blind for the last seven years. Sarah Ann was a housewife. The household further comprised of their children: farmworkers Frank and Charles; Albert, Eva, Ernest and Stanley. Sarah Ann stated that she had given birth to nine children of whom seven were still alive. The accommodation had four rooms.
Frank Harding enlisted into the Royal West Kent Regiment on 7th September 1914 in Reigate. He was a Private with regimental number 2661. At the time of his enlistment he resided in Dorking.
Later he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. His new regimental number was 5474. As part of the Queen’s Regiment Pte Harding disembarked on 15th June 1915 in France. Harding was wounded in the foot on 1st July 1916 and was sent to England on 7th July 1916.
He returned to France on 11th December 1916 to 11th August 1917. Harding was severely gassed on the 1st July 1917; he was totally blind for three days, but ultimately recovered his sight and health.
After his reoccupation Frank was transferred into the 56th London Regiment and subsequently posted to the 4th (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers). His new regimental numbers were 76227 and GS/76227. As part of the 4th London Regiment he disembarked on 30th March 1918 in France and remained there until his death. In April 1918 he was again wounded.
Frank Harding was killed in action on 2nd November 1918 in France. He was killed only few days before the armistice terms were agreed by Germany. He is commemorated on the Famars Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France. His memorial reference number is: 20.
He received the British War and Victory medal and the 1915 Star.
In April 1918 Frank received the Military Medal for distinguished conduct in the field. Letter from his Commander reads: “During minor operations to advance our outpost of April 19th, 1918, Pte. Harding was engaged as a runner. He carried messages from the captured outpost line to the company’s headquarters, and also over the open to the attacking troops on our right. Although the enemy bombarded heavily the newly captured outpost line and barraged the ground forward of the company’s headquarters, this man delivered all messages with great speed, even though he had to journey over open (there being no trenches), which was barraged by enemy artillery and swept by machine gun fire and snipers. He guided parties in delivery of S.S.A. bombs and wire to the flanks successfully and by so doing aided the troops on our flanks to maintain their positions until ordered to withdraw. His work was splendid, while his coolness under such conditions was exemplary”.
Frank’s father Frank Harding received 11s and 6d on 30th October 1919 in Soldier’s Effects.
Frank’s parents later lived in Stonebridge, Dorking, Surrey.
|Son of||Frank and Sarah Ann (nee Duffell) of Root Hill, Brockham|
|Brother of||Charles Harding|
|Regiment||1st/4th Battalion. London Regiment. Royal Fusiliers|
|Date of Death||2nd November 1918|
|Place of Death||France|
|Cause of Death||Killed in Action|
|Cemetery||Famars Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord, France|