HARDY Arthur

ARTHUR HARDY (1892 – 1917)

17615, Serjeant Arthur Hardy 13th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers was killed in action 4 October 1917 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.[1]  He was about 24 years old and is commemorated on the Etherley War Memorial and the Roll of Honour in St. Cuthbert’s Church, Etherley.

Family Details

Arthur was born 1892[2] at Low Etherley [3] to Francis and Mary Jane Hardy. [4]  There were 3 children to this marriage:

  • Thomas bc.1889 at Toft Hill
  • John James bc.1890 at Toft Hill
  • Arthur born 1892 at Low Etherley

Mary Jane died in 1905. [5]  Francis married Edith Raisbeck in 1906.[6]   There were 2 children: [7]

  • Joseph bc.1903 at Middleton-in-Teesdale (probably Francis’s adopted son)
  • Beatrice Annie bc.1908 at Middleton-in-Teesdale

In 1891, the family lived at Quarry Head, Etherley and Francis was employed as a coal miner.[8]  In 1901, the family lived at Toft Hill [9] and in 1911 at Mill Houses, Toft Hill.  Francis worked as a coal miner (hewer).  In 1911, 18 year old Arthur worked as a coal miner (putter). [10]

Service Details

Arthur Hardy enlisted at Bishop Auckland into the 13th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers being given the regimental number 17635. [11]  His service record has not been researched.

The 13th (Service) Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers was formed at Newcastle in September 1914 as part of K3, Kitchener’s New Army and came under the orders of the 62nd Brigade 21st Division.  The 62nd Brigade comprised the following units:

  • 12th (Service) Bn., Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 13th (Service) Bn., Northumberland Fusiliers
  • 8th, East Yorkshire Regiment left November 1915
  • 10th, Yorkshire Regiment disbanded February 1918
  • 1st, Lincolnshire Regiment joined November 1915
  • 62nd Machine Gun Company joined March 1916 left to move into 21st MG Battalion February 1918
  • 62nd Trench Mortar Battery joined June 1916
  • 3/4th, the Queens August 1917 to February 1918
  • 2nd, Lincolnshire Regiment joined February 1918

9 September 1915:  Serjeant A. Hardy [12] as part of the 21st Division landed in France and served on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, taking part in many of the significant actions: [13]

25 September – 8 October: The Battle of Loos

1916:  The Battle of the Somme: the following phases:  

1 – 13 July: The Battle of Albert
14 – 17 July: The Battle of Bazentin Ridge
15 – 22 September: The Battle of Flers-Courcelette
25 – 28 September: The Battle of Morval
1 – 18 October: The Battle of Le Transloy

14 March – 5 April: The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line

9 – 14 April: The First Battle of the Scarpe
3 – 4 May: The Third Battle of the Scarpe
20 May – 16 June: The flanking operations around Bullecourt

These 3 battles were phases of the Arras Offensive 1917

10 August 1917: the 12th and 13th Battalions amalgamated becoming the 12/13th Battalion.[14]

26 September – 3 October: The Battle of Polygon Wood
4 October: The Battle of Broodseinde

These 2 battles were part of the Third Battle of Ypres

31 July – 10 November 1917: The Third Battle of Ypres

The offensive had 8 distinctive phases:

  • 31 July – 2 August: Battle of Pilckem
  • 16 – 18 August: Battle of Langemarck
  • 20 – 25 September: Battle of the Menin Road
  • 26 September – 3 October: Battle of Polygon Wood
  • 4 October: Battle of Broodseinde
  • 9 October: Battle of Poelcapelle
  • 12 October: First Battle of Passchendaele
  • 26 October – 10 November: Second Battle of Passchendaele

Many Divisions visited the Ypres Salient during the Battle of Third Ypres and on more than one occasion.  A total of 54 Divisions were thrown into battle.

The offensive cost the British nearly 310,000 casualties, the Germans slightly less and it consumed all of the available reserves.  6 November, the village of Passchendaele was entered and the whole campaign ended a few days later when more of the ridge was taken.  It achieved none of its objectives although the Germans could no longer look down on the Ypres Salient which had been deepened by about 5 miles and they had been prevented from attacking the French when its army was in disarray following the failure of the Nivelle Offensive.  From the outset, it was obvious to the German Fourth Army that a new attack was being prepared and the previous year they had begun to strengthen their defences.  The British did not force home their initial advantage and it was not until 11 July that an air offensive began.  18 July a massive artillery bombardment commenced.  The attack itself began 31 July when the British Fifth Army attacked north-east from the Ypres salient.  Initially, good progress was made but a strong counter-attack resulted in only a 2 mile advance.  Heavy rain fell on the first night flooding the swampy ground whose drainage system had been totally destroyed by the 10 day bombardment.  As a result the whole operation was held up.

Another summary of the Third Battle of Ypres is given below:

“Third Ypres, as the battle is officially known, began at the end of July 1917 with Gough’s assault on the Pilckem Ridge. When all attempts to capture the Gheluvelt Plateau failed, in the face of increasing German bombardment from the Passchendaele Ridge, the battle was called off at the end of August and its execution handed over to Plumer. A meticulous planner and advocate of artillery, Plumer spent five weeks in preparation before reopening the offensive. Haig had been insistent that the campaign should be conducted on the “principle of advancing step by step with limited objectives and overwhelming artillery power”.105 The battle of the Menin Road Ridge, launched on 20 September, was the highly successful opening assault, the first in a four-step series of attacks based on this sensible premise. The battle of Polygon Wood followed in the same vein on 26 September. Another successful attack, towards Broodseinde on 4 October, was the third step, to be followed on 9 October with Poelcappelle, an unfortunate assault compared to its three predecessors. The main reason for this was simple: after six weeks of fine weather, the rains came at the beginning of October, and did not abate throughout the rest of the Passchendaele campaign, which ended with the capture of the ruined village in mid-November.” [15]

 4 October 1917: The Battle of Broodseinde

12/13 Northumberland Fusiliers was came under the orders of 62nd Brigade, 21st Division as part of X Corps, Second Army.[16]  The aims of the Battle of Broodseinde were as follows:

“The primary objectives of the Battle of Broodseinde were the capture of the ridge of the same name, between Noordemhoek and Nieuwemolen astride the Moorslede road, and the capture of the Gravenstafel spur to the north, both of which were on the high ground towards the Passchendaele Ridge. These objectives were entrusted to the four divisions of I and II Anzac Corps, Second Army, with Fifth Army on the left flank advancing towards Poelcappelle, and X Corps, also of Second Army, on the right flank facing the eastern edge of the Gheluvelt Plateau. The capture of Reutel village and the valley overlooking it, on the south-eastern corner of the plateau, were the objectives given to 21st Division, the securing of which Haig stressed as essential for observation of the enemy and for a more effective defence of ground already won.” [17]

The order of battle was as follows:

“21st Division deployed 62nd and 64th Brigades for the assault. 62nd Brigade on the left entrusted the first objective to 3/4th Queen’s Regiment, who went in with B Company between A and D Companies with C Company in close support. The second objective was to be taken by 1st Lincolnshire Regiment and 12/13th Northumberland Fusiliers. The Lincs went in with D Company on the left front, C Company on the right front, with B and A Companies covering them off respectively; whilst the Fusiliers deployed D Company on the right, C Company on the left, with A and B Companies in support respectively. The companies were composed of three platoons and were formed up each on a one platoon front echeloned in depth.” [18]

12/13 Northumberland Fusiliers: in action

“12/13th Northumberland Fusiliers, the only battalion detailed for the second objective to go over the top, moved to its assembly positions immediately in rear of the Queens at 2 a.m. The battalion was in position by 5.20 a.m., having encountered the enemy barrage between Glencorse and Polygon Woods, but suffered relatively few casualties. D Company was on the right front, C Company on the left, with A and B Companies supporting them respectively. The final objective detailed to the Fusiliers was a line drawn from the southern end of Judge Copse on the right to Judge Cott on the left. At zero, the battalion moved forward close behind the Queens, encountering opposition for the first time from the shell holes of the original German front line, in which remnants of the enemy appeared to have been passed over by the leading battalion. These pockets of enemy resistance caused several casualties. After crossing Juniper Trench the battalion came under fire from both flanks; on the right by a strong point that had yet to be cleared. Second Lieutenant Edmonds immediately moved A Company up on the right flank of the Battalion, attacked and captured this strong point, taking between 30 and 40 prisoners. A party of the KOYLI who came up shortly afterwards was left in this strong point as a garrison and A Company resumed its position in support of D Company. Meanwhile, on the left flank, C and B Companies had suffered casualties from a strong point near Juniper Trench, near the battalion’s junction with the right flank of 1st Lincolns. In conjunction with this latter battalion, the strong point was captured. Upon continuing the advance, the battalion became somewhat scattered owing to the boggy nature of the ground, primarily on the left flank. Heavy rifle and machine-gun fire was now directed against the battalion from the opposite ridge and a strong point near Judge Trench, causing heavy casualties. Using rifle grenades to good effect, C Company captured the strong point and its garrison. The battalion was still suffering heavy casualties from machine-gun fire from the front and right flank. Lieutenant-Colonel S.H. Dix MC therefore reorganised the left half of the battalion, and led B Company into the front line to strengthen C Company, but was killed leading the remaining men of these two companies up to the first objective. Captain G.B. Riddell, who was already wounded, took command and gave orders to consolidate the first objective. During the consolidation Captain Riddell was severely wounded, and the command of the Battalion passed to the Lewis Gun Officer, Lieutenant T. McKinnon, as all officers senior to him had become casualties. Only one officer now remained with each company. Before the barrage moved on D Company found it necessary to attack a strong-point on the right of the battalion front which was causing trouble; a large number of the enemy were killed at this point and their machine-guns captured. At 7.40 a.m., zero + 100 minutes, the barrage moved on according to plan to allow the capture of the final objective, with the Fusiliers on the right and the Lincolns on the left. The battalions pushed on towards their respective objectives, still under heavy machine-gun and shell fire directed from the ridge opposite. Having reached a point about 250 yards short of the final objective the battalion dug in and consolidated, in line with the Lincolns on the left but considerably in advance of 64th Brigade on the right. Their flank being in the air, a defensive flank was immediately formed on the right by A Company, who eventually obtained touch with 9th KOYLI. Consolidation of the position was satisfactorily completed by dusk and A Company withdrew into close support in Judge Trench. The total advance effected by the Fusiliers was 1100 yards from the original front line, but at a terrible cost. Casualties suffered amongst the officers were seven killed and 12 wounded; with 44 killed and 320 wounded amongst the other ranks.144 The OH notes that before midday on 4 October, the Fusiliers had lost its commanding officer and all four company commanders.”[19]

Was the battle successful?  This is examined in terms of:


“The Official History states other divisional casualties for Second Army as: 1st Australian – 2,448; 2nd Australian – 2,174; 3rd Australian –1,810; NZ Division – 1,643; 7th Division – 2,123; 5th Division – 2,557; 37th Division – 818; compared with 21st Division losses of 2,616.”[20]


“Despite the capture of set objectives at Broodseinde, the cost of its success was enormous. Officer casualties of 21st Division amounted to 10 killed, 51 wounded and 10 missing; those among the other ranks numbered 2,545, of whom 364 were killed, 1,699 wounded and 482 missing. The overall divisional losses were the highest on Second Army front.  Of the 86 officers of 62nd Brigade who went into action, 74 became casualties during the period 3 – 8 October. The three leading battalions each lost over 40% of their effective strength, and no battalion had more than 6 officers left in action by 8 October. The casualties suffered by 64th Brigade were similarly heavy, totalling 61 officers and 1,293 other ranks in the few days of the battle period.” [21]

Gains v Losses

“As always, an offensive can be judged by one fundamental principle: gains versus losses. Gains are measured in terms of ground taken, prisoners of war, materiel and munitions captured, and in terms of the losses inflicted on the enemy. British losses can really only be measured by casualty figures, and whether they are judged to be tolerable given what has been achieved. At Broodseinde, as Prior and Wilson have noted, X Corps achieved its objectives but only at high cost. In some areas the mud and tangled wire in the woods was so bad that the troops immediately lost the protection of the barrage and were subjected to heavy machine-gun fire from the pillbox defences. In other areas the creeping barrage could hardly be distinguished from the heavy enemy bombardment from unsubdued guns on the right of the attack. Only by repeated frontal assaults was the line advanced the required 800 yards. The total casualty list was 8,000 men.  Yet the cost to the Germans was undoubtedly as high, if not more so. Ludendorff later deemed 4 October 1917 one of the ‘black days’ of the German Army and the Chief of Staff to Crown Prince Rupprecht, H.J. von Kühl, noted Broodseinde in his diary as “quite the heaviest battle to date”.  Certainly, the German losses were appalling. Opposite I Anzac Corps, 45th Reserve Division lost 83 officers and 2,800 other ranks. Foot Guard Regiment No. 5 described it as the worst day yet experienced in the war.”[22]

Prisoners and Morale

“In terms of prisoners, Second Army captured during the day’s fighting 114 officers and 4,044 other ranks; Fifth Army took 12 officers and 589 other ranks. This brought the total for Plumer’s ‘three steps’ to over 10,000. Messages stressed the demoralised state of the survivors.” [23]


In terms of advancement, gains and losses, the assault on Broodseinde seems to have yielded the worst results: 2,616 casualties for the meagre gain of 0.2 square miles.  Yet the attack on 4 October is generally viewed as a success. Although the ground won was less than in the other assaults, this was primarily due to the setting of limited objectives. This is clear evidence of the problems of the Ypres Salient, as is the huge amount of difficulty experienced by the division during the move to assembly positions. 2st Division was never more severely shelled during the war than at Broodseinde, and in conditions that were arguably the least able to sustain such bombardment.”[24]

The exact circumstances of Serjeant A. Hardy’s death remain unknown.  Later research records that 1 officer and 4 other ranks serving with 13/Northumberland Fusiliers were either killed in action or died of wounds 4 October 1917 including Sjt. A. Hardy.  5 officers and 76 other ranks serving with 12/13 NF and 6 other ranks serving with 12/NF were killed in action or died of wounds on the same day. [25]

Serjeant A. Hardy was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals.[26]


Serjeant A. Hardy has no known grave and is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing in Tyne Cot Cemetery.  It is one of 4 memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient which stretched from Langermarck in the north to Ploegsteert Wood in the south.  The Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing forms the north-eastern boundary of the Tyne Cot Cemetery and bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are unknown.  The memorial was designed by Sir Herbert Baker and was unveiled in July 1927.[27]


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.174 Auckland 1892 Q4

[3] 1911 census

[4] 1891 & 1901 census

[5] England & Wales Death Index 1837-1915 Vol.10 p.176 Auckland 1905 Q1

[6] England & Wales Marriage Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.543 Teesdale 1906 Q2

[7] 1911 census

[8] 1891 census

[9] 1901 census

[10] 1911 census

[11] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[12] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[13] www.1914-1918.net/21div.htm & http://www.warpath.orbat.com

[14] http://www.1914-1918.net/northfus.htm

[15] “British 21st Infantry Division on the Western Front 1914-1918: a Case Study of Tactical Evolution” K.L. Snowden p.63 – 95 (a thesis submitted to University of Birmingham for a Master of Philosophy) p.68

[16] http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1917.htm

[17] Snowden p.69

[18] Snowden p.73

[19] Snowden p.87-89

[20] Snowden p.91 (Official History 1917, Volume II, p. 315 f)

[21] Snowden p.90-91

[22] Snowden p.92

[23] Snowden p.93

[24] Snowden p.94

[25] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[26] Medal Roll card index

[27] CWGC

[28] Snowden p.147 & 148


HARDY A.  Medal Roll

Medal Roll



HARDY A.  Inscription Tyne Cot Memorial

Tyne Cot Memorial