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"Gunner Israel Harding V.C born on 21st October 1833 he joined the Navy in 1849 aged 16 (with such an auspicious birthday he was surely bound for naval career). Gunner Harding fought in the Zulu War of 1879. It was whilst under attack in 1882 that a 10 inch spherical shell with fuse burning lodged on the main deck above a hatch covering a magazine of ammunition and 25 tons of gunpowder. He threw water over the fuse then plunged the shell into the tub of water. Harding retired from the Navy in 1885. He was invited to be one of the pall bearers at the funeral of John Robarts. With the outbreak of the 1st World War in 1914, Harding re-enlisted to serve again despite being 80 years old. Sadly he sustained a broken leg whilst serving on a mine sweeper following an explosion. Harding died in 1917 aged 83 years. He is the last VC to be buried in Highland Cemetery."
Source: St Nicholas Wickham
Posts : 7086 Join date : 2009-04-24 Age : 52 Location : Down South.
"Medal entitlement of Chief Gunner Israel Harding Royal Navy ( HMS 'Alexandra' ) Victoria Cross Baltic Medal ( 1854-55 ) - not included Ashantee Medal ( 1873-74 ) - not included Egypt Medal ( 1882-89 ) 1 clasp: "Alexandria 11th July" Khedive's Star ( 1882-89 ) ( Egypt ) Brazilian Medal - not included Among several specific instructions in Israel Harding's Will were the following bequests. To his son Joseph: Baltic Medal, Brazilian Medal To his daughter Emma Castopa: Victoria Cross To his daughter Louisa Annette: Ashantee Medal To his daughter Annetta Alexandra: Egypt Medal & Khedive's Star Israel Harding was born in Portsmouth on the 21st October 1833 and following his education enlisted into the Royal Navy, first as a Cabin Boy, serving on HM.s.v. 'Echo' with his father, and subsequently being posted to all parts of the world:
1849 - HMS 'Arrogant' - Home Station 1853 - HMS 'Excellent' - Royal Naval Gunnery School 1854-55 - HMS 'Cressy' - Operations in the Baltic Sea against the Russians ( Baltic Medal ) 1862 - HMS 'Barracouta' - Expedition to Mexico and occupation of Vera Cruz 1871 - HMS 'Gladiator' - South American Station (*) 1874 - HMS 'Victoria Emanuel' - West African Station ( Ashantee Medal ) 1882 - HMS 'Alexandra' - Arabi Pasha Rebellion, Egypt, bombardment of Alexandria ( Egypt Medal ) 1883 - took part in Admiral Markham's Arctic Expedition (*) Israel Harding was in charge of a Royal Naval party put ashore in Rio de Janeiro to assist in putting out a fire in a munitions factory. For this action he was awarded a Brazilian Medal and a Testimonial Letter from Princess Eugenie, the Imperial Regent of Brazil. [ London Gazette, 15 September 1882 ], During the Naval Attack on Alexandria, Egypt, 11 July 1882, Mr. Israel Harding of Her Majesty's Ship "Alexandra".
"At about nine o'clock on the morning of the 11th July, whilst Her Majesty's Ship "Alexandra" was engaging the Forts at Alexandria, a 10-inch spherical shell passed through the ship's side and lodged on the main deck. Mr. Harding heard the shout "there is a live shell just above the hatchway", rushed up the ladder from below, and, observing that the fuse was burning, took some water from a tub near, and threw it over the projectile, then picked up the shell and put it into the tub. Had the shell burst, it would probably have destroyed many lives". Israel Harding was invested with his Victoria Cross by, Admiral Sir Frederick Beauchamp Seymour, C-in-C Malta, on 14th November 1882. An extract from an article in "The Strand Magazine, dated 12th October 1896, entitled "Sailor VCs"
That fine, jovial-looking seaman, Chief-Gunner Israel Harding, gained his V.C. on board the Alexandra, at the bombardment of Alexandria. At first the practice of the Egyptian gunners was somewhat erratic, but it improved and very soon well-placed shells were dropping here and there on the British ships. "One", says Mr. Harding himself, "fell close to the sheep-pen on the Alexandra and killed all the poor animals - the only damage the missile did. The next shell tore away our strong iron stanchions, bounded along between Captain Hotham and Staff-Commander Hoskins, then tore a chunk out of the main-mast, and finally went overboard, little regretted. A third shell exploded in our steam launch, killing one man and maiming many others.
At this time I was passing through the main upper decks to inspect the supply of ammunition for the guns, when a huge shell from Fort Ada came plunging through the Alexandra's port bulwark - just past the feet of Commander Thomas, who was standing on the hammock netting. The projectile was deflected by a metal stanchion, and then entered the Commander's cabin, where it exploded with an appalling roar, tearing and destroying everything.
I was then about to descend the ladder of the next deck leading to the after powder magazine, when another great shell pierced the ship's side and passed through the torpedo lieutenant's cabin. It then struck the strong iron combings of the engine-room, and bounded onto the deck among the blue-jackets, who instantly screamed "A shell" A shell".
"My own course of action was decided upon as quick as thought. I just picked up that shell, and flung it into a tub full of water. It was heavy, hot, and grimy. It is dreadful to think what would have happended had the shell exploded. Close at hand was the hatchway leading to the magazine which at that moment contained twenty-five tons of gun powder. For this act of duty, concludes Mr. Harding modestly, "I was promoted to chief gunner, and later on recommended for the Victoria Cross."
Israel Harding died at his daughter's house, Silkstead House, Billinghurst, Sussex on the 22nd May 1917, aged 83, and was buried four days later in the Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth."
Posts : 10186 Join date : 2009-04-07 Age : 64 Location : Melbourne, Australia
Subject: Gunner Israel Harding VC. Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:11 am
Littlehand I'm not sure who made a mistake but this may be better suited for Petty Officer Tom , your first post doesnt mention he was in the Zulu war , and I checked the Forsyth Roll and didnt see him in there either , possibly your second post is the one with the incorrect information , happy to be corrected but I doubt he was in the zulu war ! . 90th
Gunner Israel Harding, V.C. did not serve in the Zulu War. On 5 July 1876 he was appointed to HMS Castor, which was the Drill ship for the Royal Naval Reserve at North Shields. The July 1879 Navy List shows he was still on “Castor” at that time.
Whoever wrote up the article stating he fought in the Zulu war was in error, probably confusing the Ashantee war with the Zulu war. Gunner Harding certainly did not need to have his record embelliished
The following record of his war and meritorious service taken from the January 1883 Navy List:
HARDING, I., served in "Cressy," 1854-55, in the Baltic during the Russian war (Baltic Medal); Gunner of "Barracouta" in expedition to Mexico and occupation of Vera Cruz, 1862; Gunner of "Gladiator," 1871; received Medal and Testimonial Letter from the Princess Imperial Regent of Brazils for services rendered at Rio de Janiero; Gunner of "Victor Emanuel" during the Ashantee war (Ashantee Medal); Gunner of "Alexandra," present at the bombardment of Alexandria, 11th July, 1882; mentioned in despatches by the Commander-in-Chief' for having displayed conspicuous bravery in seizing an unexploded shell from the deck and placing it in water before the burning fuze had time to perform its work, thereby preventing in all probability great sacrifice of life; promoted to Chief Gunner, and V.C. for this service.
Petty Officer Tom
Posts : 10186 Join date : 2009-04-07 Age : 64 Location : Melbourne, Australia