John Henry Harding (1833-1886)

Cathays has two survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade. If you have been on the Heritage Walk, you will know about William Llewellyn Rhys, who has a grander memorial … but his presence on the Charge has been questioned. There is no question mark over John Henry Harding. The Charge is probably known as much for Tennyson's poem (published only 6 weeks after event and apparently written in minutes) as for the significance of the battle itself. Best remembered as a failure of communication and command, but the Charge achieved its objective and would have been a success (albeit bloody and expensive) had the follow up support been there.

Harding's grave is marked by a simple wooden cross with bronze plaque: placed relatively recently. He was a Somerset lad and enlisted in Bath in 1850 at the age of 17. He served at Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol and was discharged "time served" in 1863. His first children were born in Shrewsbury, but he came to Cardiff around 1870, where his father and brother already lived. Before long, he was licensee of the "Military Canteen" in what is now City Road, close to Longcross Barracks. Latter soon vacated for new Maindy Barracks and Henry seems to have struggled thereafter: he then ran the Alexandra (sort of club) in what is now Wyverne Road - not a success and he died in Minny Street almost destitute in 1886 (aged about 54). Buried with son, who had died in infancy, and his wife, who had died just a few weeks earlier. But he had a grand send off: funeral procession headed by 70 men of Welch Regiment

Research: Gordon Hindess