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William Hardman was born in Hammond Street, Preston in 1894 and was the youngest son of railway clerk Thomas Hardman and Isabella Eccles. William`s parents were both from Preston and they were married at Emmanuel Church in Preston on the 7th April 1890 when Isabella was 17 years old. The following year a son John (1891) was born and then a daughter Ellen (1893).

By the time of the 1901 Census William and Isabella appeared to have separated and the whole family had split up. William now aged 6 was boarding at 10 Milner Street with Robert and Nancy Southward and their two children. His father Thomas was living with his mother Nancy Hardman and his brother Richard at 96 Brougham Street and Thomas also had his eldest son John living with him. William`s 8 year old sister Ellen was living with her Aunt Alice Wignall and her maternal grandmother Ellen Eccles at 36 Miles Street while their mother Isabella was living with Ernest Hughes, an iron moulder from Stalybridge. The address was 9 Brookhouse Street and the Census form states their relationship as married and Isabella was using the surname Hughes. The form also lists a two year old girl Clara Hughes and she is recorded as being a daughter to Ernest and Isabella.

By 1911 William, a blacksmiths striker had moved into Brookhouse Street with his mother and Ernest Hughes and by this time Isabella and Ernest also had a second daughter Hilda who was born about 1906.

Unfortunately William`s service record is missing and so the only bit of information with regards to his enlistment is mentioned below in the newspaper cutting which indicates that he first enlisted in about 1911/12.10489 Private William Hardman disembarked in France with the 1st Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 12th August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

Sadly, William was posted as missing in action on the 31st October 1914.

Extract from `Military Operations France and Belgium 1914`

Ghevelt and the salient of the Queen`s taken, enemy turned its attention to the 2 Companies of the 1/Loyal North Lancashire, about two hundred and fifty strong, and the detachment of the 2/Royal Scots Fusiliers, numbering a hundred and twenty, who were to the south. These troops were holding a little over a half a mile of front in a line of small rifle pits – each holding a couple of men – some fifteen yards apart, hastily dug the previous night with entrenching implements. Their orders were not to retire, but to report if reinforcements were required.

Until noon they suffered much from fire, particularly from Zandvoorde, but no attempt was made to close with them, for they had a good field of fire and shot down any Germans who showed themselves. The disaster to the Queen`s on their left was observed, and also that a company of the Bedfordshire in a wood on their right had disappeared; but the parties still held on and kept the enemy at bay. Reports of the situation were sent back, but none of the messengers reached brigade headquarters. Towards 1.30pm the Germans were all round the small force; it was under machine-gun fire from the rear at a hundred yards` range, and infantry were creeping in from both flanks. Eighty of the North Lancashire, including one Officer, remained alive to be captured, and half of this number was wounded. Next morning the survivors of the battalion mustered only one Officer and thirty five men.

William`s family was eventually notified that he was missing in action and in the hope that someone may know of his fate they had the following article and photograph published in the local paper in Preston.10439 Private William Hardman 1st Battalion

His family would later be informed that for official purposes William was presumed to have died on the 31st October 1914. He has no known grave and as such his name was recorded on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing.

After the war, his family would receive the 1914 Star & Clasp together with the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service and sacrifice for his country.

Rank: Private
Service No: 10439
Date of Death: 31/10/1914
Regiment/Service:The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Janet Davis
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