Cyclists in the Great War Wikia
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27 April 1915 -|- James Harding[]

CWGC-list

Rememberance medal

Dubbo Dispatch, 01-06-1915


Biography[]

James Arthur Harding[]

The first Dubbo man killed in action in World War I was a married father of four young children whose death underscored the brutal reality of life on the frontline. At home, a series of fundraisers were planned to assist his grieving family and a lengthy biography detailing his many achievements appeared in the local newspaper, which also hailed his ascent up the military ranks (within six months, he had been promoted from Private to Corporal). There is no doubt that between his work as carrier for a mixed business store, and his involvement in the Dubbo Motor and Cycle Club, Corporal Harding had been something of a community leader. He was not the first man in the area to sign up to the war effort, but he had nonetheless enlisted soon after war was declared, signing his papers on September 18, 1914. By the time he left Australia on December 22, he had already earned an initial promotion to Lance Corporal. He was sent straight on to Turkey and spent the day of the first Gallipoli landing in a boat off Gada Temple, tending to severely wounded diggers, many of who had sustained horrific, life-threatening injuries. By the time he went ashore at midnight, the full extent of the carnage was just becoming evident. By April 27, he had been sent to Quinn’s Post in the Anzac sector of Gallipoli, where he and his unit were separated from the enemy by less than 50 feet. Communications were almost completely cut, and he and his fellow soldiers were met with a volley of gunfire every time they attempted to advance. Like so many others, Corporal Harding did not survive the day. He was shot dead by an enemy sniper and given a quick burial at the foot of Quinn’s Post. (His grave was subsequently lost.) Back in Dubbo, his family was told, erroneously, that he had not lived past April 25. He never reached his 29th birthday, which he had been due to celebrate the following month. His widow, Eva, was subsequently awarded a military pension, although the amount was increased by 50 per cent after she wrote to authorities to point out that her husband’s rank was Corporal, not Private, when he died.


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