The Hardy family were not an ‘old’ Malvern family. Robert Hardy was from Tadcaster, Yorkshire, and his wife was born in Tavistock, Devon. They married in London and moved to Malvern in about 1877. They lived in several places in the Malvern area, first of all in Cemetery Road, then in different addresses in Link Top and they finally came to settle at 3 Sydenham Place, Newtown Road. They had a large family; Cecil John and his twin brother Bernard George born on 31/8/1887 were sons 6 and 7 (or 7 and 6).
On the 1901 Census Cecil Hardy is shown as being a chemist’s boy, though at which chemist is not known. However by February 1908 when he married Julia Davis at Longdon, he had become a coal miner and lived at Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley.
Soon after, in November 1908, the first child Mabel was born at Bryn-coch, on the Pontardawe Road near Neath. The family settled for a while in Maesteg, Glamorgan, where Cecil was still employed underground in the coal industry. Their first son, Harold was born there in January 1910, and Julia Hardy bore two more sons between 1910 and 1914. At some point before the Great War the family moved to Risca, near Newport, and presumably this is where they were living when, at Newport, Cecil enlisted in the in the South Wales Borderers. His regimental number would seem to indicate that he joined the army between October 1914 and January 1915, but this is only an estimate.
He served with the 2nd Battalion at Gallipoli, which had previously been stationed in the Far East and had been instrumental in taking Germany’s colony of Tsiang-Tao off the Chinese coast. It is likely that Hardy, who would not have enlisted early enough to take part in this action, would have been sent out as a draft to the Battalion while they were at Gallipoli – possibly in July 1915.
The winter of 1915 was an unpleasant, monotonous period on the Gallipoli peninsula. The troops were cut off from civilization, with no rest billets behind the lines, and often due to the breakdown in shipping arrangements, no fresh food for days. With water scarce as well the situation of troops such as Hardy was miserable.
He was wounded on the 4th November 1915, only a few days after the birth of his fourth son, Reginald, back home in Wales. He died of these wounds eleven days later either at Alexandria or on a hospital ship bound for Egypt. He was buried at Chatby Cemetery, Alexandria. An inscription added to his headstone reads: “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him. Till we meet again.”
His death was reported in the Malvern News in December 1915. At some point Julia Hardy moved back to Henley Place in Malvern, only a few minutes walk from her mother at Sydenham Place, Newtown Road. She remarried in 1926 and died in Derby in 1959.
Mrs Marian Knibbs, Derby 2003
Malvern News 18/12/15