Maj. William James Hardham, VC

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Maj. William James Hardham, VC

Death: April 13, 1928 (51)
Wellington, New Zealand
Place of Burial: Karori Soldier's Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of George Hardham and Ann Hardham
Husband of Constance Evelyne Hardham
Brother of Ellen (Nell) Hall; Alice Louisa Kennedy; Annie Smith; Leonard Archer Hardham; Charles Henry Hardham and 4 others

Managed by: Clayton John Rayner Hall
Last Updated:

About Maj. William James Hardham, VC

William James Hardham was born in Wellington in 1876. He attended Mount Cook School and worked as a farrier and blacksmith until volunteering for service with the 4th New Zealand (Rough Riders) Contingent in South Africa. He was promoted to Farrier Sergeant-Major and served in campaigns in Cape Colony, Transvaal, and Rhodesia. On 28 January 1901 near Naauwpoort in Transvaal, Hardham’s section was ambushed by a Boer group. When a fellow soldier was injured during the section’s withdrawal, Hardham rescued the solider by placing him on his own horse and guiding him to safety, while under heavy fire. In recognition of this act, Hardham was awarded the Victoria Cross, which was presented to him in 1902 by the Prince of Wales. He was the only New Zealander to earn the Victoria Cross during the South African War.


On 28th January 1901, near Naauwpoort (Transvaal), this commissioned officer was with a section which was extended and hotly engaged with a party of about twenty Boers. Just before the force commenced to retire Trooper McCrae was wounded and his hourse 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 was guided to a place of safety. L.G. dated 4/10/01 Hardham continued his army service during World War One, and was posted to Gallipoli in 1915 where he was seriously wounded in action. After recuperating, he served in Egypt in command of the 35th and 36th (Mounted) Reinforcements. He subsequently contracted malaria and returned to New Zealand in 1919. He died in 1928 aged 51, and was awarded a funeral with full military honours. He is buried in the Karori Soldiers Cemetery, near Wellington.

Hardham was also a prominent rugby player and represented Wellington District on more than fifty occasions between 1897-1910. The Hardham Cup was instituted in his memory and is a trophy currently competed for by senior grade clubs in Wellington.


  • Wikipedia contributors, 'William Hardham', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
  • J. A. B. Crawford. 'Hardham, William James', from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand


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Maj. William James Hardham, VC's Timeline

July 31, 1876
April 13, 1928
Age 51
Wellington, New Zealand
April 16, 1928
Age 51
Karori Soldier's Cemetery, Wellington, New Zealand