Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (22 July 2015)

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Date of Auction: 22nd July 2015

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

A Great War Mesopotamia operations O.B.E., O. St. J. group of eleven awarded to Major K. O’B. Harding, Indian Army, onetime attached North Staffordshire Regiment, who was also thrice mentioned in despatches for his services in the 13th Duke of Connaught’s Lancers (Watson’s Horse)

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, O.B.E. (Military) Officer’s 1st type breast badge, silver-gilt, hallmarks for London 1919; The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Officer ‘s (Brother’s) breast badge, silvered-metal; 1914-15 Star (Capt. K. O’B. Harding, N. Staffs.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Capt. K. O’B. Harding); India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, Afghanistan N.W.F. 1919 (Capt. K. O’B. Harding, 13th L.); 1939-45 Star; Africa Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Coronation 1937, enamel on arm points of the second slightly chipped, otherwise generally good very fine (11) £800-1000


O.B.E. London Gazette 3 June 1919:

‘For valuable services rendered in connection with military operations in Mesopotamia.’

O. St. J. London Gazette 2 January 1953.

Kenneth O’Brien Harding was born in August 1894, the second son of Sir Charles O’Brien Harding, Kt. and was placed on the Unattached List for the Indian Army on graduating from the R.M.C. Sandhurst in August 1914. He was, however, quickly appointed to the 1st Battalion, North Staffordshire Regiment and went to France in February 1915.

Subsequently confirmed in his intended Indian Army appointment, namely in the 13th Duke of Connaught’s (Watson’s Horse), Harding was actively employed in Mesopotamia, being present in actions on the Tigris and Euphrates and at the capture of Ana and Mosel. He was awarded the O.B.E. and thrice mentioned in despatches (London Gazettes 27 August 1918, 21 February and 5 June 1919, refer). Having then served in the Third Afghan War, he transferred to the 6th Lancers and was placed on the Indian Army Reserve of Officers in May 1924.

Next employed as a Private Secretary to Lord Wakehurst, Governor of New South Wales, Harding returned to military duty as a Major in the 1939-45 War, when he served as Deputy Assistant Provost Marshal with H.Q. 1st Armoured Division, 8th Army in the Western Desert; his private papers in respect of these services are held in the Imperial War Museum’s archive (ref. catalogue number 19779).

Post-war, Harding served as Clerk to the Executive Council of the Bahamas in the 1950s. He died in April 1967; sold with the recipient’s original O.B.E. warrant and certificate for his Coronation Medal 1937, together with a quantity of copied research.