Private Cecil John Hardy (19593)

2nd Bn, The South Wales Borderers, 87th Brigade, 29th Division, B.E.F.

Malvern Commemoration: Holy Trinity North Malvern,

Burial/Commemoration: Alexandra (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

Nature of Death: Died of wounds received at Gallipoli, at Alexandria, Egypt 16/11/1915

Age: 31

Next of Kin: Son of Robert and Fanny Hardy of Malvern of 3 Sydenham Place, Newtown Road; husband of Julia Hardy of 2 Henley Place, Newtown Road

Previous Employment: Miner in the South Wales coalfield, latterly Risca, Monmouthshire

Capbadge of the South Wales Borderers

The Hardy Family

The Hardy family were not an ‘old’ Malvern family. Robert Hardy, a waiter, 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.

Cecil’s early years

They had a large family; Cecil John and his twin brother Bernard George, born on 31st August 1884 were sons number 6 and 7 (or 7 and 6!).  They were both christened on 1st April 1885 at Holy Trinity Church, North Malvern.  Bernard being recorded first in the baptism register, indicating perhaps who was older of the two!

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, Worcestershire he had become a coal miner and lived at Bargoed in the Rhymney Valley. 

Mining in South Wales

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 on 13th January 1910 (though the couple chose to have him christened at Julia’s home village of Longdon in May of that year).  Julia Hardy bore two more sons between 1910 and 1914.

First World War

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.


Cecil landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 3rd October 1915.  He was a reinforcement to the 2nd South Wales Borderers.  This unit, a regular unit of the 29th Division had previously been stationed in the Far East and had been instrumental in taking Germany’s colony of Tsiang-Tao which lay off the Chinese coast.

Men of the 88th Field Ambulance at rest in a bivouac camp above Cape Helles, Gallipoli, 1915.

Men of the 88th Field Ambulance at rest in a bivouac camp above Cape Helles, Gallipoli, 1915. © IWM HU 105655

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.

November 1915

On 4th November 1915, the 2nd South Wales Borderers were relieved in the front line trenches, known as “Parsons Road,” and moved into support positions.  Some men of A Company remained to man machine guns and bombing stations in the line or in support.  A group of 82 men carried ammunition up to the Border Regiment and worked on a new section of trench.  The Battalion War Diary noted that there were two men wounded.

One of these men was Cecil Hardy.  He was evacuated off Cape Helles aboard a hospital ship – it was 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 15th General Hospital, Alexandria.

15th General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt 1915.

15th General Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt 1915.


Cecil Hardy was buried at Chatby Cemetery, Alexandria.  His family requested an inscription be added to his headstone which reads:

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember him. Till we meet again.”

Alexandra (Chatby) Military Cemetery

Alexandra (Chatby) Military Cemetery (c) AWM

News reaches Malvern

His death was reported in the Malvern News in December 1915.  Cecil was survived by his wife Julia and five children – Mabel (b. 1908), Harold (b. 1910), Cecil (b. 1912), Arthur (b. 1914) and Reginald (b. 1915)

At some point Julia Hardy moved back to Henley Place, Hospital Bank in Malvern, only a few minutes walk from her mother at Sydenham Place, Newtown Road. She remarried a man named Robbins in 1926 and died in Derby in 1959.

Mrs Marian Knibbs, Derby 2003
Malvern News 18/12/1915
War Diary 2nd South Wales Borderers
Holy Trinity, North Malvern Baptism Register
1901 Census
1911 Census

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