Jo Hardy – Martin (tenor)
Jo Hardy (name given as Joe Hardy in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records) was born in England, son of Mr H Hardy of Huddersfield.
Regiment number 10/1834
Wellington Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)
Husband of Emily Jane Fleming (married 27 August 1913), and living in Wellington
He embarked from Wellington on 17 April 1915, subsequently landing in Egypt before being sent to Gallipoli.
Jo vanished into the rain of fire in the charge on Chunuk Bair on 8 August 1915, where NZ briefly made ground before the advance was overcome by the Turkish forces led by Mustapha Kemal (Atatürk). Jo was just one of New Zealand’s enormous losses on this day.
At Anzac, General Birdwood and his Chief of Staff had been busily working out a plan for an advance from the Anzac position to capture the heights of ‘Sari Bair” on the main ridge overlooking the narrows and affording a position from which the Turkish communications to the south both by land and sea, could be successfully cut.
The ‘extremely difficult ground over which the attack on the Sari Bair Heights was to be carried out’ was recognized, and this – coupled with the strength and disposition of the Turks in gullies and outposts meant that the attacking force were to be divided ‘so that all three routes [leading to the Ridge of Sari Bair] could be used’.
General Birdwood’s plan provided for two main assaulting columns, preceded by a covering force. At Lone Pine and the Nek, the Australians were to provide a distraction. At the same time, forces were to be deployed in a landing further up the coast, at Suvla Bay.
Jo would have been in the right assaulting column aiming to seize the ridge at Chanuk Bair. With their attack delayed, and the opportunity to successfully surprise the Turks slipping away, the Wellington Battalion struggled up in the early stage of the attack, reaching as far as ‘Rhododendron Spur’ before day break.
Immediately the leading troops debouched from the Apex, they were met by a withering fire from Chunuk Bair, where the Turks were in force with rifles and machine-guns. With magnificent bravery, platoon after platoon pushed on across that fire swept saddle; but the advance finally came to rest in an enemy trench about 200 yards from the Apex leading up from the valley of the farm below, which the New Zealanders immediately occupied. It soon became evident that no further progress could be made in daylight and the rest of the day passed with the position on the Apex unchanged.
During the pre-dawn the Brigade advanced. However:
With the onset of the Turks in force about 6.30 a.m. began one of the most intense infantry fights in the whole War. Clinging to their shallow trench until it was filled with dead and dying, the men or the Wellington Regiment fought like tigers to hold what they had gained.It is believed that Jo Hardy was killed during this push up to the apex of the ridge, where New Zealand’s, and the relieving British force’s grasp on the territory was so dearly bought, and so very short-lived.
His is one of 850 names recorded at the Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial.
(Descriptions of the battle are excerpted from Chapter VIII – August Operations and Chunuk Bair, the Wellington Regiment (NZEF) 1914-1919, WH Cunningham, CAL Treadwell, JS Hanna)