Tag Archives: 1901

Corporal William Henry Harding, D.C.M.

William Henry Harding was born on 5th November 1892 and was baptised on the 1st January 1893, at the Mitcham parish church in Church Road. His parents were William Henry and Phoebe Harding, living in Fountain Road.

The 1901 census shows their address as 43 Fountain Road, and the occupants were:

William H Harding, Head, aged 33, born 1868, flower seller
Pheoby Harding, Wife, aged 27, born 1874, flower seller
William H Harding, Son, aged 8, born 1893
Leonard Harding, Son, aged 9, born 1892

He joined the Army on 22nd October 1908, becoming a private in the 1st East Surreys, 3rd Battalion (Special Reserve). His service number was L/9806. He had said he was 18 years old, but was nearer 16. The Surrey Recruitment Registers show that physically he was 5 ft 3 and three-quarter inches tall, weighed 9 stone, and had grey eyes and brown hair.

He was stationed in Dublin, Ireland, when WW1 started.

Corporal W.H. Harding was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his outstanding bravery. He went into noman’s land and rescued his officer, 2nd Lt. Wilfrid Allen Davis. Cpl W.H. Harding was wounded but although he got him back, Lt. Davis subsequently died.

The entry in the London Gazette reads:

For conspicuous gallantry on “Hill 60,” when he beat off the enemy’s assault by throwing hand grenades, freely exposing himself though the trench was being heavily bombed.

Lt-Gen Sir John Roberts presented the medals.

Cpl W.H. Harding was also awarded the British War Medal, 1914 Star and Victory Medal.

He was discharged 22nd August 1917.

He died in 1954, aged 61.

Sources

Ancestry.com. Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912
Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933
London Gazette, Publication date: 29 June 1915 Supplement:29212 Page:6379

Stoker 1st Class Frederick George Aimes

Frederick George Aimes was born on 20th March, 1901, in Brixton.

Working as a wood sawyer, he joined the Navy at 18 years old on 12th May 1919, serving on the Vivid II.

He married Ivy Ethel May Stone in 1924.

In 1934 he received the RN Long Service and Good conduct Medal.

He lived with his wife Ivy Ethel May at 4 Poplar Avenue, Mitcham, between 1930 and 1939.

1953 OS map

He joined HMS Hermes on 24th August 1939 and died when his ship was sunk by Japanese aircraft on 9th April 1942 in the Indian Ocean.

The sinking of HMS Hermes was reported in the Portsmouth Evening News – Friday 10 April 1942:

Portsmouth Evening News, 10th April, 1942, page 1.
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

CRUISER CLAIM UNTRUE
Tokio Boasting

The aircraft carrier H.M.S. Hermes has been sunk ten miles off the coast of Ceylon. An Admiralty communique states that she was sunk by air attack and that a large proportion of her crew (complement 660) may have reached land.

It is known that an earlier Japanese claim to have sunk two cruisers is quite untrue.

The Hermes (10,850 tons) completed in 1924, was the first vessel specially designed as an aircraft carrier.

The Japanese are to-day laying claims to more successes in the Indian ocean. Tokio asserts that yesterday two cruisers, a destroyer, a patrol vessel, and six otherships were sunk while a third cruiser was damaged. The claims included 46 Allied aircraft shot down.

There is no confirmation of these claims.

The Admiralty communique states:- “The Board of Admiralty regrest to announce that the aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Hemes (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, M.V.O., D.S.C., R.N.) has been sunk by Japanese air attack of the coast of Ceylon. No further details are known, but it is probable that a large proportion of the ship’s company of HMS Hermes have reached land, as she was only about ten miles off shore when she was sunk.

Sunk near Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was called then, the wreck of the ship has attracted divers. The website Dive Sri Lanka has accounts on 8 expeditions to the wreckage over a period from 2005 to 2014.

Sources
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 1126
Service

General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 2a; Page: 704
Marriage

Ancestry.com. UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 147
Long service medal.

Ancestry.com. Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1962 Reference: CC802/47/6Residence at Poplar Avenue

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, London; Admiralty: Royal Navy Seamen’s Services Continuous Record (CR) Cards; Class: ADM 363; Piece: 437.
Service Record.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission

Service Number D/SS 120797

Died 09/04/1942

Aged 41

H.M.S. Hermes
Royal Navy

Son of George and Connie Aimes; husband of Ivy Ethel May Aimes, of Mitcham, Surrey.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.