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Ralph Walden Harding

Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Walden Harding. Auckland Weekly News, 19 May 1943. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19430519-18-9.
Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Walden Harding. Aucklan … Read more


  • Title
  • Forenames
    • Ralph Walden AWMM
    • His name is Ralf not Ralph. Public - Ralf - Direct descendant - 30 January 2018 - I am his grandson. I am named after him. My name is also Ralf. I knew his mother. I know his name is Ralf.
  • Surname
    Harding AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    Ralf AWMM
  • Service number
    • WWI 23308 AWMM
    • WWII 20071 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    29 February 1896 AWMM AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Kirikopuni, North Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • WW1 Mr Alfred Ernest Harding (father), Dargaville, Wairoa, New Zealand AWMM
    • WW1 Mrs E.M. Harding (wife), Aoroa, Dargaville, North Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) AWMM
      DSO: "At 2.30 am on November 11 (1942) Lieutenant Colonel Harding was ordered to clear the Halfaya Pass, held by a strong enemy detachment with guns and numerous anti-tank weapons. He had only two companies, together 110 strong six miles from the foot of the Pass. With great promptitude and energy he roused his men, moved forward and advanced up the Pass on foot. On nearing the top he came under sharp fire. Lieutenant Colonel Harding immediately deployed his companies and charged, with such fire and determination that the enemy resistance quickly collapsed, about 100 being killed and 515 taken prisoners, our own losses very slight [one killed, one wounded]. The Pass was cleared just before dawn and the enemy guns hastily retreated. This brilliant and important success, when hesitation would have led to a very dangerous situation, was entirely due to Lieutenant Colonel Harding's quick decision, resolution and inspiring leadership." AWMM
    • Military Medal (MM) AWMM
    • British War Medal (1914-1920) AWMM
    • Victory Medal AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM
    • Efficiency Decoration (ED) AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Wounds , Diseases, Unknown Period AWMM
    Wounded twice AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Enlisted with 1 NZEF as Private in 1916. Promoted to Corporal by the time of embarkation to Europe.

    Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on 14 February 1919.

    Served as Volunteer with North Auckland Regiment, 1933-39.

    Enlisted with 2 NZEF as Major.

    Lt Colonel and CO (Commanding Officer) of 21 Battalion, July 1942.

    Brigadier and Commander of 5 NZ Infantry Brigade, April 1943.

    Returned to New Zealand in 1944.

    Brigadier commanding 1 NZ Infantry Brigade (Territorials), 1945-51.

    Honorary Colonel, North Auckland Regiment, 1951-61.

    Haigh and Polaschek spell Harding's first name as Ralf AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    • 29 June 1984 AWMM
      Age 88 AWMM
    • 29 June 1984 21Bn Assoc. Inc. Records. MS-2008-42.
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Dargaville, New Mount Wesley RSA Cemetery, Northland, New Zealand AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (Eds.). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, N.Z.: Authors. AWMM
    • New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1917). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force Volume II. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      33: 26 AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 2 (Embarkations to 30th June, 1940). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 2: WW2 79 AWMM
    • Beattie, P.J. & Pomeroy, M. (2013-2015). Onward : portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (vols 1-3). Auckland, New Zealand: Fair Dinkum Publications AWMM
      Vol. 3: Includes portrait AWMM
    • Veterans' club : the comradeship and memories of Auckland's 21st infantry battalion. Auckland War Memorial Museum : Auckland. Accompanies exhibition held in the Pictorial Gallery, second floor, Auckland War Memorial Museum, 24 March-21 May 2006. AWMM
    • 21 New Zealand Infantry Battalion Association Inc. Records, 1955 - 2005. Auckland War Memorial Museum. MS-2008-42. AWMM
    • 21 Battalion (Official history of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45) AWMM


Command item
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30 January 2018RalfRushcutters Bay, SydneyDirect descendant
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