Company Sergeant Major Robert Hardie

Company Sergeant Major Robert Hardie, 10th ( Service ) Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was killed in action in France at the head of his platoon on the opening day of The Battle of the Somme on 1st July 1916 aged 30. The first day cost the British Army about 59000 casualties with 19000 dead for very little ground gained. He was the son of Abigail Hardie of 2 Abbey Road, Coldstream and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. This massive Memorial is dedicated to the missing on the Somme and carries over 70,000 names. The Battalion attacked at Fricourt and took and held Crucifix Trench until relieved. Casualties were heavy with 10 Officers and 185 Other Ranks being killed and 16 Officers and 292 Other Ranks being wounded., a total of 493 or about 50% of the Battalion strength. Before enlisting he had been employed as a porter by Mr W. Elliot, Chemist, High Street, Coldstream. He had enlisted in October 1914 and had been made up to C.S.M. during the Battle of Loos in September 1915. He was quite a poet and often wrote home in verse with regards to his comrades and trench life and his devout Christianity showed through in these epistles. The photograph shows troops advancing over a wide no mans land with very little cover and the colour photograph shows a peaceful scene on the Somme today. ( ” no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing now”, a line from the song “The Green Fields of France ” ).

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