Military Cross attached to wooden shield
William Eric Harding was born in the Kendal area on the 10th September 1896. He was the son of a Congregational Minister, Reverend A. Harding. He attended Harrogate Secondary School before attending Oldham Hulme Grammar School for three years from September 1910.
William took a commission as an officer and made Second Lieutenant on the 30th April 1917. He was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in France on the 26th September 1917. The medal was embedded within a wooden shield as can be seen on the photograph.
The medal citation in the London Gazette of 9th January 1918 reads After capturing his objective he noticed that the succeeding waves which were coming up had been checked by hostile machine-gun fire. He thereupon collected a party of twenty-five men and after opening a burst of rapid fire, rushed the machine-gun which was eventually captured’.
Little is known about William’s career after the war. He followed his father into the Church and, in 1931, wrote a book about Park Congregational Church in Ramsbottom where he was the incumbent. He died on 8th April 1957 at the age of 60.
William’s medal and shield were donated to the museum collections in 2014.