The Revd Stuart Turner CF, Army Chaplain to the Defence School of Communications and Information Systems at Blandford Garrison, reflects on the centenary of the death of the Revd Theodore Bayley Hardy VC DSO MC, who died of wounds in France on 18 October 1918, less than a month before the armistice.
He says: ‘Although the Revd Theodore Bayley Hardy VC DSO MC became one of the most highly-decorated non-combatants of the Great War, this former school master was described by one of his pupils as, “the last person you would expect to win a VC”. In 1914, Hardy was a quiet, unassuming 51-year-old vicar from the Cumbrian fells. He applied to serve as a chaplain but was rejected several times due to his considerable age. Hardy was eventually accepted into service after the war took its toll on the younger generation of chaplains, especially during the slaughter of the Battle of the Somme.