Theodore Hardy VC
Thodore Bayley Hardy, VC, DSO, MC, a Chaplain in the British Army was 51 when war broke out. After initially being rejected because of his age he eventually managed to be accepted for service as Temporary Chaplain and attached to the 8th Battalion, the Lincolnshire Regiment.
He was soon proving his worth, awarded the Distinguished Service Order on October 18th 1917 quickly followed by the Military Cross on December 17th. In July 1918 he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His citation read:
"For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty on many occasions. Although over fifty years of age, he has, by his fearlessness, devotion to men of his battalion and quiet, unobtrusive manner, won the respect and admiration of his whole division. His marvellous energy and endurance would be remarkable even in a very much younger man, and his valour and devotion are exemplified in the following incidents -
An infantry patrol had gone out to attack a previously located enemy post in the ruins of a village, the Rev Theodore Bayley Hardy being then at company headquarters. Hearing firing, he followed the patrol and about four hundred yards beyond our front line of posts found an officer of the patrol dangerously wounded. He remained with the officer until he was able to get assistance to bring him in. During this time there was a great deal of firing and an enemy patrol penetrated between the spot at which the officer was lying and our front line and captured three of our men.
On a second occasion when an enemy shell exploded in the middle of one of our posts the Reverend TB Hardy at once made his way to the spot despite the shell and trench mortar fire which was going on all the time and set to work to extricate the buried men. He succeeded in getting out one man who had been completely buried. He then set to work to extricate a second man who was found to be dead.
During the whole of the time he was digging out the men this chaplain was in great danger not only from shell fire but also because of the dangerous condition of the wall of the building which had been hit by the shell which buried the men.
On a third occasion he displayed the greatest devotion to duty when our infantry after a successful attack were gradually forced back to their starting trench.
After it was believed that all our men had withdrawn from the wood, Chaplain Hardy came out of it and on reaching an advanced post asked the men to help him to get in a wounded man. Accompanied by a serjeant, he made his way to the spot where the man lay within ten yards of a pillbox which had been captured in the morning but was subsequently recaptured and occupied by the enemy. The wounded man was too weak to stand but between them the chaplain and the serjeant eventually succeeded in getting him to our lines.
Throughout the day the enemy's atillery, machine-gun and trench mortar fire was continuous and caused many casualties.
Notwithstanding this very gallant chaplain was seen moving quietly amongst the men and tending the wounded, absolutely regardless of his personal safety."
Hardy was appointed Chaplain to His Majesty in September but was unfortunately was wounded in action shortly afterwards, again tending to the wounded. He died in Rouen on October 18 1918, shortly before the war ended.
His medals are on display at The Museum Of Army Chaplaincy in Hampshire.