b. 31/07/1876 Wellington, New Zealand. d. 13/04/1928 Wellington, New Zealand.
William James Hardham (1876-1928) was born on 31st July 1876 in Wellington, New Zealand, the son of George Hardham (who hailed from Surrey, England) and of Ann Hardham (who hailed from Sussex, England). He joined the Cadets in 1891, and the Volunteers in 1894, serving with the New Zealand Contingent in the South African War from 1900-1902, taking part in operations in the Transvaal, west of Pretoria, and in operations in the Transvaal.
He was mentioned in despatches (4th October 1901), and was awarded the Victoria Cross (also 4th October 1901) for his actions at Nauuwpoort on 28th January 1901 as a Farrier-Major.
On the 28th January, 1901, near Naauwpoort, this Non-Commissioned Officer was with a section which was extended and hotly engaged with a party of about 20 Boers. Just before the force commenced to retire Trooper McCrae was wounded and his horse killed. Farrier- Major Hardham at once went under a heavy fire to his assistance, dismounted and placed him on his own horse, and ran alongside until he had guided him to a place-of safety.
He was presented with his Victoria Cross by King Edward VII at Horse Guards Parade on 1st July 1902, and also received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with five clasps, and King Edward’s Coronation Medal. He went on to serve with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles at Gallipoli in 1915, and was wounded. He later became Military Commandant of the Queen Mary Hospital for Sick and Wounded Returned Soldiers at Hanmer Springs, New Zealand. Hardham was the only New Zealander to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the Boer War.
Hardham was a former Wellington Province Rugby Union captain, and played against the All England Team in 1904. He was also a keen cricket and tennis player. He married Constance Evelyn Parsonstown in March 1916. Hardham died on 12th April 1928, aged 51 in Wellington, and was buried in Karori Soldier’s Cemetery, Karori, Wellington. His medals are held by the Queen Elizabeth II Army Memorial Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: QEII ARMY MEMORIAL MUSEUM, WAIOUROU, NZ.
BURIAL PLACE: KARORI'S SOLDIERS CEMETERY, WELLINGTON, NZ. CIRCLE O, PLOT 20
William Hardham's medal group on display at the Army Museum, Waiourou, New Zealand