|THE VICTORIA CROSS AWARDED TO GUNNER ISRAEL HARDING, ROYAL NAVY, HAS BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION BY LONDON AUCTIONEER MORTON & EDEN.|
|12 December 2003|
( select to enlarge )
|Medal entitlement of Chief Gunner Israel Harding
Royal Navy ( HMS 'Alexandra' )
|The Victoria Cross, Egypt Medal and Khedive's Star awarded to Chief Gunner Israel Harding, Royal Navy, have been sold at auction by London auctioneers Morton & Eden for £75,000. The VC was purchased on behalf of the Michael Ashcroft Trust, the holding institution for Lord Ashcroft's VC Collection.
( Owing to the distribution of Israel Harding's campaign medals between his children the location of his Baltic Medal, Ashantee Medal and Brazilian Medal are not known ).
|Among several specific instructions in Israel Harding's Will were the following bequests.
For the award of the Victoria Cross
[ London Gazette, 15 September 1882 ], During the Naval Attack on Alexandria, Egypt, 11 July 1882, Mr. Israel Harding of Her Majesty's Ship "Alexandra".
"At about nine o'clock on the morning of the 11th July, whilst Her Majesty's Ship "Alexandra" was engaging the Forts at Alexandria, a 10-inch spherical shell passed through the ship's side and lodged on the main deck. Mr. Harding heard the shout "there is a live shell just above the hatchway", rushed up the ladder from below, and, observing that the fuse was burning, took some water from a tub near, and threw it over the projectile, then picked up the shell and put it into the tub. Had the shell burst, it would probably have destroyed many lives".Israel Harding was invested with his Victoria Cross by, Admiral Sir Frederick Beauchamp Seymour, C-in-C Malta, on 14th November 1882.
An extract from an article in "The Strand Magazine, dated 12th October 1896, entitled "Sailor VCs"
That fine, jovial-looking seaman, Chief-Gunner Israel Harding, gained his V.C. on board the Alexandra, at the bombardment of Alexandria. At first the practice of the Egyptian gunners was somewhat erratic, but it improved and very soon well-placed shells were dropping here and there on the British ships. "One", says Mr. Harding himself, "fell close to the sheep-pen on the Alexandra and killed all the poor animals - the only damage the missile did.Israel Harding died at his daughter's house, Silkstead House, Billinghurst, Sussex on the 22nd May 1917, aged 83, and was buried four days later in the Highland Road Cemetery, Portsmouth.
Iain Stewart, 12 December 2003