A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- People -
- Newchurch - Peter Harding -


Corporal 5512063 Peter Harding, 2/4th Bn Hampshire Regiment


Biography from the Book of Remembrance, All Saints Church, Newchurch, Isle of Wight.
Biographical information

Killed in action at the age of 19 years and 8 months CORPORAL PETER HARDING was the only man in the Parish serving in our County Regiment who was to lose his life in the battles of World War II.

Peter was a typical country boy with a true love of the countryside. He was born at Rowlands, between mersley and havenstreet, on 6th December 1924. His parents were George and Alice May Harding and his father was employed on a number of farms in the area. Peter first attended Havenstreet School but on his family moving to Bathingbourne in 1935/36 when his father took a job in the dairy at Bathingbourne Farm, he then attended Arreton School. With his brother and sisters he attended Sunday School here at All Saints, their teacher being Miss Mabel Groves, so long the organist in this Church. peter was a quiet boy according to his contemporaries but he was keenly interested in everything around him and although he did not take part in many sporting activities he had a gift for music and taught himself to play the piano at which he became quite proficient. His great love was gardening and he was also a keen cyclist travelling many miles throgh the surrounding countryside whenever he could.

On leaving school in 1938 Peter Harding took a job as under-gardener for Colonel Campbell at Standen where he was extremely happy doing the work he enjoyed. However on the family moving to Puck Farm at Newchurch where Mr Harding Senior took a job with the Ballard family it was felt that the daily journey from Newchurch to Standen would be too much for a young lad and he obtained a job, still doing the work of his choice, with Mr George Groves at his nursery in Newchurch.

Eventually the Harding family moved to Shorwell but Peter was unable to settle down and he endeavoured to join the Royal Air Force as aircrew. He found that this was not possible and although he could have joined as a member of the ground staff he preferred to join the Hampshires as an infantryman which he did early in 1943. After basic training and then infantry training he joined the 2/4th Hampshire Regiment and went with them to Italy in 1944 where in March of that year the Batallion formed part of the 4th Division of the Eight Army. The Batallion was soon in action in the fourth and final battle for Monte Cassino. In the bloody struggles to cross the River Rapido Peter was to lose many of his comrades killed and missing and his letters home after the battle gave some indication of the horror and ferocity of the fighting. The Hampshires were given a short rest before going forward into action once more, this time in the advance towards Florence and then ensued almost continuous action from the southern shores of Lake Trasimeno northwards. As the British forces neared Florence the troops advanced under heavy shellfire and during the course of the shelling Peter was hit and severely wounded. He was taken to a first aid post but although he received all possible medical attention he died of his wounds on 4th August 1944, the day on which Allied patrols entered the southern outskirts of the city.

Peter Harding lies buried in the British Military Cemetery in the hills overlooking Florence far from the Island countryside he loved.

From CWGC record :

Peter George Harding, son of George Henry and Alice May Harding, of Shorwell, Isle of Wight.

Buried at Florence War Cemetery, grave reference II.B.5.

CWGC record ...


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