A HISTORIAN researching the lives of First World War heroes commemorated on Andover's cenotaph has nearly completed his project.

There are now 232 men and women commemorated on Andover cenotaph and its associated additional plaque.

All but two of these were remembered in Craig Fisher's serialisation, Andover Remembers the First World War, which ran in The Andover Advertiser between August 2014 and March 2019.

The two men who could not be positively identified were Alfred Harding and Charles Warren.

While there was no other trace of a Charles Warren locally, Alfred Harding is also commemorated on both Hatherden and Tangley war memorials.

In both instances he is recorded as having died while serving as a private with the Hampshire Regiment. Only one man of that name died with the County Regiment during the Great War and he was not ‘our’ Alfred.

However, continuing his research, Craig recent uncovered a roll of honour published in the Andover Advertiser in October 1914, which listed all the local men known to be serving with the armed forces at that time.

Among those listed for the village of Hatherden was one Alfred Harding, of the 1st Wiltshires. Armed with this ‘new’ information, we are now able to bring you Alfred’s story…


6669 Private Alfred Harding

1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire Regiment)

Died of wound in France on October 28, 1914, aged 28

Alfred Harding was born in Netheravon, Wiltshire on October 19, 1886. He was the seventh of ten children (seven boys and three girls) of William Harding and Sarah Ann ‘Annie’ Merridew, who had married at All Saints’ Church, Netheravon on October 19, 1872. He was baptised in the same church on February 6, 1887.

Following his education Alfred became a farm labourer like his father and older brothers, working on War Office land around Netheravon.

Alfred was living in Netheravon when he travelled to Salisbury on January 4, 1904 to enlist in to the Wiltshire Regiment, becoming Private 6669 (his older brother, William, was already a serving soldier with the regiment). He would have signed up for twelve years’ short service, typically five years with the Colours and seven with the Army Reserve, so around 1910 he would have returned to his parents’ home and work in Netheravon.

On Christmas Eve 1910, Alfred married Eliza Jane Oram at All Saints’ Church, Enford. The couple moved to Shoddesden north of Andover shortly after where their only child, Alfred William Frank, was born on October 14, 1911.

When war was declared late on the evening of August 4, 1914, Alfred and his young family were living in Hatherden. He would have still been on the Army Reserve and would have been quickly recalled to his regiment.

He was posted to the 1st Battalion Wiltshire Regiment joining the battalion at Tidworth and after re-equipping, crossed to France on August 31, 1914. Unlike his brother, Alfred missed the initial battles and engagements of the war. His first taste of action would have been in early September when the Wiltshires fought in the Battle of the Marne, which halted the German advance into France and started to push them back, and in the Battle of the Aisne. This later action saw both sides start to dig in on the heights of Chemin des Dames, marking the beginning of four years of trench warfare which would come to epitomise the conflict on the Western Front.

It was the following month that Alfred was wounded in action in fighting near the French village of Neuve Chapelle. He was evacuated seven miles south-west to the city of Béthune where he was admitted to No.7 Field Ambulance.

Unfortunately his injuries proved too severe and he died of his wounds on October 28, 1914 aged 28. He was buried in Bethune Town Cemetery.

Following his death his widow Eliza Harding returned to Netheravon with her son. There she married Walter Cannings in early 1919.

As well as being remembered on Andover cenotaph (all Hatherden and most of Tangley’s casualties appear on the memorial), Alfred is also commemorated on Hatherden war memorial plaque, which hangs in Christ Church, and on Tangley village war memorial. On both memorials he is recorded as having served with the Hampshire Regiment and not the Wiltshires. He is also recorded alongside his brother, William Harding, on Netheravon war memorial.

Medals Awarded: 1914 Star and clasp, British War Medal and Victory Medal.

Two of Alfred’s brothers also died during the War. William Harding was born in Netheravon in 1885. He worked as an agricultural labourer and carter before enlisting into the army in Salisbury in January 1903, becoming Private 6149 of the Wiltshire Regiment. After serving for five years he would have been placed on the Army Reserve. He moved to London where he worked in the stores of an Indian-rubber factory in the East End.

Like his younger brother, Alfred, William would have been recalled to the Wiltshires at the outbreak of war. He crossed to France from Southampton on August 13, 1914, arriving at Rouen the next day. William was killed in action on October 25, 1914, just three days before Alfred died of his wounds. It is possible that Alfred was wounded on the same day that his brother was killed.

William’s body was never identified and today he is remembered on Le Touret Memorial, north-east of Béthune. Like Alfred he is also commemorated on Netheravon war memorial.

Henry, known as Harry Harding was born in Netheravon on November 17, 1877. After his education he worked as an agricultural labourer and later as a groom. He married Alice Ann Sanger at All Saints’ Church, Fittleton on October 27, 1906 and the couple had one child, Madeline Matilda Kathleen, born on March 29, 1914.

Harry joined the army at Bulford Camp at the outbreak of war and as a groom was posted as Private SE/4758 to the Army Veterinary Corps as a horse keeper. He arrived in Egypt on March 15, 1915, but later contracted enteric fever (typhoid) and died on August 20 that year at 19th General Hospital in Alexandria. He was buried in Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery. He is remembered on Fittleton village war memorial and on a memorial lectern inside All Saints’ Church, Fittleton.