Who Goes There? A collection with a connection?


Sergeant A.S. McHardy, 1st Gordons

Last month a local auction house featured a lot containing a large collection of photographs and some military postcards. Unfortunately I was not the successful bidder however a couple of weeks later I stumbled across eight of the postcards in a local shop.

While previewing the lot prior to the auction it appeared the collection originated from a family in Keighley, West Yorkshire. Two of the postcards were presented to “Mrs Powell” but no address or other details were provided.

The soldiers in the postcards belonged to a variety of units but most contain no information written on the back. However the two addressed to Mrs Powell do include names. The first is Sergeant A. S. McHardy of the 1st Gordons dated Oct. 7, 1918 and the second is George Smith, who I believe was a Lance-Sergeant in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (#22938). Smith indicates he was a patient in Morton Banks War Hospital from March 26, 1918 to March 9, 1919. There were more than a dozen “George Smith”s in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment however only one was a Lance-Sergeant.

A middle initial is usually helpful but in the case of Sgt. McHardy it has been exactly the opposite. I located a 21-year old Sergeant Alexander McHardy in the Gordon Highlanders (#S/14057), a Military Medal winner who recovered from wounds in Manchester’s 2nd Western General Hospital from mid-1918 to early 1919. However his service records do not include a middle initial and he appears to have served in the 2nd and 7th Battalions rather than the 1st. My investigation was brief and so there is more work to be done.

Could Mrs Powell have been connected to a hospital, perhaps as a volunteer who visited soldiers who were far from home? There is no guarantee that there is a connection in this collection of soldiers but if you have any theories please leave a comment below or contact me. Thanks very much.

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