William Emlyn HARDWICK MC+Bar, MiD

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HARDWICK, William Emlyn

Service Number: 861
Enlisted: 7 January 1915, Leongatha, Victoria
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 21st Infantry Battalion
Born: Breconshire, Wales, 12 March 1885
Home Town: Leongatha, South Gippsland, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Carpenter
Died: Killed in Action, Montbrehain, France, 5 October 1918, aged 33 years
Cemetery: Tincourt New British Cemetery
Plot X, Row E, Grave No. 19 INSCRIPTION HIS THE JOY AND OURS THE PAIN BUT ERE LONG WE'LL MEET AGAIN
Memorials: Australian War Memorial, Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

7 Jan 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 861, Leongatha, Victoria
10 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 861, 24th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
10 May 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 861, 24th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ulysses, Melbourne
10 Apr 1916: Honoured Mention in Dispatches, "...for distinguished and gallant services rendered during the period of General Sir Charles Munro's Command of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force..."
21 Aug 1916: Honoured Military Cross, Pozières, 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When his platoon was held up by fire from a mine crater he rushed forward with three men killing two of the enemy and dispersing the remainder. He set a fine example of courage and initiative.'
23 Oct 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, 21st Infantry Battalion
25 Feb 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 21st Infantry Battalion
18 Aug 1918: Honoured Military Cross and bar, "The Last Hundred Days", 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When the flank of an advance was seriously hampered by machine gun fire, he led forward a party, drove the enemy from their position, captured a machine gun and six prisoners, and established a post on the captured ground under heavy fire. He showed great courage and skill.'
5 Oct 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 21st Infantry Battalion, Montbrehain

Help us honour William Emlyn Hardwick's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

William was born in Brecon on March 12th, 1885.

The family lived at 24, Pendre, Brecon in the early years of his life, before moving to 2, Jubilee Place, The Avenue, Brecon by 1901. William worked as a painter and plumber's apprentice before he emigrated to Australia in 1906. He departed from London on November 16th, aged 21, on the SS Ortona bound for Brisbane. He is listed as a painter. By 1910 he had settled in Leongatha, Australia, working as a carpenter and builder. In January 1915 he enlisted with D Company, 21st Battalion, 6th Australian Infantry and became a sergeant. In May 1915, aged 30, he embarked for Gallipoli on the HMAT A38 Ulysses. In January 1916 he was involved in the retreat from Gallipoli, by which time he was company sergeant major and had been mentioned in dispatches. Later in 1916 he served in Arabia and the Suez Canal zone and was commissioned as second lieutenant. On March 25th, 1917, aged 32, he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry in France, and on 28th of August 1918 he was awarded a bar to the Military Cross, again for gallantry in France. William was killed in action on the Hindenburg Line in Northern France on October 5th, 1918, aged 33 years.

His brother also fell. He was Ordinary Seaman Cyril Hardwick HMS Indefatigable. Signaller Killed in action, the Battle of Jutland May 31st, 1916, aged 18 Remembered at Portsmouth Naval Memorial

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Biography contributed by Geoffrey Gillon

He was the third son of Thomas Hardwick of Avenue Road, Brecon. His mother Mary was listed as Mrs W Norman of 7 Mount Street, Brecon, in later records (Thomas Hardwick had died by then). One of William’s brothers was called Thomas. His sisters were Lilly Norman and Elsie Hill. William was as an apprentice carpenter for four years. He was a member of the Brecon Church Lads’ Brigade.

He emigrated to Australia, where he enlisted in January 1915. After joining the 21st Australian Infantry Battalion, he left the country in May 1915. While fighting in Gallipoli, he suffered an injury to his right ear. In 1916 he was Mentioned in Despatches for “distinguished and gallant services” with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

He was promoted to Lieutenant in February 1917. Two months later, he was awarded the Military Cross for his conduct on the Western Front, described thus: “When his platoon was held up by fire from a mine crater he rushed forward with three men, killing two of the enemy and dispersing the remainder. He set a fine example of courage and initiative.”

His right elbow was wounded and he left his unit in May 1917. His left ear was damaged at the same time, leaving him hard of hearing and with fluid oozing from both ears. He was given home duties while recovering, and rejoined his battalion in France in August 1918. Soon after he was awarded a bar for his MC for leading forward a party at Hereleville, near Amiens, when the flank of an advance was hampered by machine-gun fire. He “drove the enemy from their position, captured a machine gun and six prisoners and established a post on the captured ground under heavy fire”.

He is remembered on the Brecon war memorial which stands in the grounds of St Mary’s Church.

The memorial was unveiled in November 1920 by Mrs Best, who lost three sons in February and April 1917, all killed in Mesopotamia. The Celtic cross remembers the fallen of the First World War while the flower beds and gates nearby are dedicated to the memory of those who died in the Second World War.

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