Cathays Cemetery unveils memorial to Cardiff survivor of ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’

A special memorial has been unveiled today at Cathays Cemetery to honour John Henry Harding of the 13thLight Dragoons who took part in, and survived, the Charge of the Light Brigade.

The existence of the grave has been known for some time but was marked only by a small wooden cross that had deteriorated over time.

The Friends of Cathays Cemetery were approached by Martin Berkeley, a retired officer of The Light Dragoons, to see if it would be possible to provide a more fitting memorial.

Harding, a native of Glastonbury, enlisted at Bath in 1850 aged 19 and served in in the army for more than 12 years taking part in all of the four main battles in the Crimean Campaign.

In 1870 he settled in Cardiff, becoming licensee of the Gardeners Arms on City Road, which he renamed the Military Canteen, and later taking on a similar establishment in Wyverne Road, Cathays. He died in poverty in 1886 but was given an impressive funeralwith the cortège headed by about 70 soldiers from the Welch Regiment.

Councillor Michael Michael, Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment said:”November is a month when we are reminded to reflect on the sacrifices made by the many men and women in conflict.

“It is fitting tribute toJohn Henry Harding to mark his important service during one of the most well-known military events in history, during this month of remembrance.”

John Harding’s great-great grandson, and one of many descendants, Tim Hill said “My mother always told me about a family link to the Charge of the Light Brigade, but I did not know what that link was. It was only when I started researching the family history that I found out that he was my great-great grandfather and where he was buried.

“The family are delighted that he is now being honoured with a headstone.”

John Farnhill, Treasurer of the Friends of Cathays Cemetery,said: “The Friends of Cathays Cemetery are delighted to be involved with the unveiling of this significant headstone. It is said that Cathays Cemetery is the history of Cardiff set in stone and that each stone has a story to tell.

“This memorial to John Henry Harding will not only preserve his story and his memory which were at risk of being lost, but also links Cardiff to one of the most well-known military engagements of the 19thcentury – The Charge of the Light Brigade.”

The memorial to John Henry Harding was unveiled at Cathays Cemetery on Tuesday, November 23 attended by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Rod McKerlich;Lord Lt Morfudd Meredith,Tim Hill, great-great grandson and other descendants of John Henry Harding;Martin Berkeley, a retired officer of The Light Dragoons andTreasurer, John Farnhill, and representatives from Friends of Cathays Cemetery.

The event was organised by John Farnhill along with Martin Berkeley and descendants of John Harding, with the full support of Cardiff Bereavement Services and Mossfords Monumental Masons. 

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